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Times Square Engagement Session |New York Photographer

This past weekend Mike and I drove to New York for a quick engagement session with the sweetest couple ever! It was so great to finally meet them and connect with them while roaming the streets  in 90 degree heat :)

Rachel and Adrian are planning their white winter Vermont wedding and finally got around to meet for their engagement sessions. I didn't get a lot of time to edit yet but I am so very excited about this one picture of the two of them in Times Square! I always wanted to play with a slow shutter speed and I finally had the chance- These two were troopers and up for anything :)

Thank you for indulging me with this one you two!! 

Times Square Engagement Session | New York Wedding Photographer

Times Square Engagement Session | New York Wedding Photographer

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Family formals | Keep it light. Keep it fun |Vermont Wedding Photographer

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Family formals | Keep it light. Keep it fun |Vermont Wedding Photographer

Family formals. Not the most creative part of the wedding day for us photographers but maybe one of the most important parts of the day for you, the couple. Every single person you love is there, looking beautiful. Dressed up. Huge smile on their face.

Perfect picture opportunity!

Lets take full advantage of it :)

Sure, the moments in between are just as important and oh so sweet to capture... But let's not forget the importance of the group pictures. Ultimately, these are the ones that will most likely go into the wedding album, up on the wall, or in photo boxes waiting to be discovered by generations to come. They are important. They are part of the family history and legacy and should be treated as such.

But, they should also be kept light. And fun. And as something to look forward to instead of dreading. I know, you want to get them done and enjoy your cocktail hour with guests before the reception... I feel your impatience and want to get them done as fast as possible for you.

So, without further a do, here are some tips on how to get the wedding group pictures done right, fast, and fun.

People think that a wedding day is not a place for children but I tend to strongly and respectfully disagree. They are rays of sunshine when they are around. They are important members of your family and should be treated as such.

People think that a wedding day is not a place for children but I tend to strongly and respectfully disagree. They are rays of sunshine when they are around. They are important members of your family and should be treated as such.

Vermont-wedding-photographer-family-formals
This wedding group picture, taken at the beautiful Quechee Club Golf Course in Vermont, is probably not going to make it in the wedding album, but... by taking it before the "serious" one, I ensured that everyone was relaxed and happy and in a stellar good mood.  What a fun bunch of beautiful people!

This wedding group picture, taken at the beautiful Quechee Club Golf Course in Vermont, is probably not going to make it in the wedding album, but... by taking it before the "serious" one, I ensured that everyone was relaxed and happy and in a stellar good mood. 

What a fun bunch of beautiful people!

1. Since group pictures are usually done immediately after the ceremony, please inform your family well in advance to stay put and not rush to cocktail hour. The more information they have about what to expect, the better. So maybe, a week before the wedding, it would be great if your immediate family would get a short, kind, and sweet reminder about the family formals, especially the location of where they will be done and the timing. Mention their importance and that you look forward to having them all there. Treat this moment of your day as a great opportunity to catch up with your family members that you don't get a chance to see too often. Once you get to the reception, the music will be too loud and there will be dancing to be done...

2. Designate a family representative for each side (bride's side and groom's side) to help with organizing. I always try to remember everyone's name and role, but it is almost impossible to get everyone right. Also, I have a soft voice and struggle with being loud and acting like the "family formal commander." 

The family member you choose, ideally will be the organized, fun, and energetic family clown - that one person that has a knack for keeping everyone happy and in line all at the same time.

3. The LIST! Have a detailed list of each group you want to take pictures of and the order it should be done in. As a rule of thumb, it is way easier to subtract family members from a large group than doing it the other way around. (If you start with the small grouping, you will have a lot of sitting around for a bunch of guests. The other way around, you can dismiss people as they are done so that they can go enjoy the cocktail hour.)

4. If you have a group large than 15, make sure you have chairs handy, or a way to get them fast. Large groups need to be organized in layers with the shortest members in front and grandparents or seniors sitting. (not necessarily because of the age, but mostly as a sign of respect to them). I usually make sure I have at least 5 folding chairs in my trunk at all times for this reason... (sometimes, the ceremony chairs are used to set up the reception room so it's best to be prepared for anything and everything.)

5 Lighting. Everyone craves that creamy, natural light. No matter how skilled the photographer is, that is a very hard look to achieve in harsh sunlight. It is usually the reason we look for that patch of shade and try to keep the sun behind the group. Sure, flash and off camera lights are an option but they tend to look a little fake. It is also a matter of taste and if you do prefer that look, please make sure you let your photographer know ahead of time. If instead, you love that bright, creamy, natural light look, keep in mind that shade is needed. Sunlight is great for adding drama but not in family formals. I won't even mention the constant squinting... Oooops...I mentioned squinting...

6. If your ceremony is later in the day, make sure the sunset light is reserved for your couple portraits. So, if you work your way back from couple portraits during golden hour, you should easily figure out the ideal time for your ceremony and family formals. Allow about 1 hour for the group pictures (but this also depends on how large your family is and how many different groups you have)

 

I hope these tips were helpful. if you have any questions, do comment and ask or send me a sweet e-mail. :)  I will be happy to help you figure things out. 

Geesh --- I talk a lot, don't I ?!?! 

 

 

Peace. Love. Family.

Always...

 

 

 

 

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Family memories

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Family memories

 

Of all the memories we hold dear to our hearts, the ones we can all agree are the most precious, are those of our family. 

While the regular family portrait is probably good enough, I am an active advocate for a more relaxed, journalistic approach to family portraits. For me, there is nothing better than capturing the every day moments.

The precious Saturday morning where you are all still in your PJs at noon making waffles with your 3 year old. The Sunday adventures in the park or on a hike or simply a lazy day in the back yard. Those moments to me, hold your family story. There is so much more that can be captured in a adventure session as opposed to a traditional one. 

 When I was little I had a lake in my life. A wonderful place filled with memories... My grandfather, who played a huge role in my life, loved it there. We went bbq-ing and swimming every weekend. Our whole family would get together and we would spend the whole day in the sun. I wish I had more pictures of those days. As vivid as they are in my mind, I wish I could flip through a book and relive them everyday.  I found a couple of older pictures of my family at the lake that I would love to share with you. They make me smile every time I see them.

These are my people.

Captured as they are.

Beautiful, relaxed, happy.

This is my mom at our "shared" childhood lake. Shared, simply because we grew up in the same neighborhood. This lake was in her childhood just as much as it was in mine.  She was pregnant with me here even though you would not even be able to tell. Isn't she just beautiful?!

This is my mom at our "shared" childhood lake. Shared, simply because we grew up in the same neighborhood. This lake was in her childhood just as much as it was in mine. 

She was pregnant with me here even though you would not even be able to tell. Isn't she just beautiful?!

My mom again :) She has the most infectious laugh... She could light up a million rooms with it <3 ( My grandma looks so giddy in this picture!)

My mom again :) She has the most infectious laugh... She could light up a million rooms with it <3 ( My grandma looks so giddy in this picture!)

This picture of my grandma was taken by my talented grandfather. I love the light he captured. She looks like a Queen- -So beautiful, so proud, so loved and adored. He had a true passion for photography and used to develop most of our family pictures in a makeshift darkroom in the bathroom. He gave me my first camera, a Smena 8M, and thought me how to use it.

This picture of my grandma was taken by my talented grandfather. I love the light he captured. She looks like a Queen- -So beautiful, so proud, so loved and adored. He had a true passion for photography and used to develop most of our family pictures in a makeshift darkroom in the bathroom. He gave me my first camera, a Smena 8M, and thought me how to use it.

My grandfather was the moving force behind the lake gatherings. He loved it there. He loved walking through the woods, with a skip in his walk and whistling. He loved BBQ and watermelon and teaching us things. I miss him dearly.

My grandfather was the moving force behind the lake gatherings. He loved it there. He loved walking through the woods, with a skip in his walk and whistling. He loved BBQ and watermelon and teaching us things. I miss him dearly.

 

So I feel like it's my turn to take as many pictures as I can of the everyday. This beautiful lake that is now so close to us, smells like childhood memories to me. 

Enso enjoying Lake Shaftsbury, a little peace of heaven <3 He calls it " the beach" :)

Enso enjoying Lake Shaftsbury, a little peace of heaven <3 He calls it " the beach" :)

On this particular trip, he couldn't help but jump in the water, even though, I thought it was way too cold and we were completely unprepared, hence all the clothing... (If you know me, you know I usually just wing it and not plan too much). Oh the joy! I could watch him for hours... It was a struggle getting him to leave.

His little soul is so happy and content there! I wish I could bottle it all up for him- the smell, the beauty, the freedom...

His little soul is so happy and content there! I wish I could bottle it all up for him- the smell, the beauty, the freedom...

 

Where is your happy place? Lets get together and take pictures of your every day adventures.

 

 

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