Rinat Halon

Photography ideas and information you need to give you results you desire.

Archive for 'Engagement'

The one thing that always happens before a photo shoot – and ALWAYS catches my clients by surprise – is the pre-photo shoot emotional meltdown they experience.

Usually it comes in the form of a text or an email the day before we are scheduled to photograph. My client is asking to reschedule. “The dog ate my homework” laundry list of excuses ranges from “I didn’t get a chance to get my hair done” to “I can’t make it tomorrow because I need an emergency eye surgery”.

When we talk some more, the truth always comes out.

They are scared.

Of course they are scared. Standing in front of a camera is one of the most vulnerable things you could ever do. It also involves trust – trusting the person who is photographing you that they will make you look good.

Not an easy emotional task, that’s for sure. Did you know that the Native Americans did not agree to be photographed? They believed a photograph captured their soul. I can see why they believed that. It kind of does.

As we all know – the camera doesn’t lie. In fact, it pretty much is all about “In your face, truth!”. Facts we like to tell ourselves little white lies about – like “I didn’t gain any weight in the past year”. Or: “I have a full head of hair and there is no bold spot up there”. Or my personal favorite white lie I tell myself: “My teeth are pearly white” – all these stories come crashing into the great wall of reality check before a photo shoot, as our mind realizes that after the photo shoot tomorrow there will be nowhere to hide from the truth any longer.

And so, the logical decision to make is – cancel the photo shoot. Forget it ever happened. And keep living a lie.

Or…

How about we consider what is behind door #2? Yes, it is scary; we don’t know what’s behind it. Yes, it means we will have to face the truth. But – and stay with me here even though you are already so uncomfortable just reading this –

How about you be vulnerable and trust the professional you hired?

To me, being a professional photographer doesn’t just mean I have the best photography equipment. It doesn’t just mean I know how to technically get a perfectly exposed capture.

Being a professional photographer means to me that I know how to capture my clients best self. I know how to bring out the sleeping beauty inside a woman who tells me she is not photogenic or the handsome man under the insecure fellow who walks into my studio.

And if we are photographing on location – in your location – be it your home or office or spaceship – part of my job is to make the space look good for the shoot. Being a professional photographer means to me that I know how to set up your location in a way that compliments the shot – and hides the mess and the dust bunnies – or the spaceship’s peeling paint job.

If you are reading this article, chances are you are one of my clients. So before you pick up the phone to text me that the dog ate your makeup/ tore your tie up and you just can’t make it to the photo shoot – read this carefully.

And remember – part of being a professional photographer means to me that I am here to talk you off the ledge. So if you still need to hear my voice explaining to you why your upcoming photo shoot is going to be one of the best life experiences you have ever had – call me.

I am here for you.

And YES – YOU ARE photogenic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marilyn Monroe said it best, we ladies do love our diamonds! Here are 8 tips on how to take better pics of your new and shiny engagement and wedding rings for the world to see:

 

 

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

 TIP #1: Let your fiance and his groomsmen have the rings as they are getting ready for the wedding ceremony. They will start goofing off I can  guarantee it, and you will get fun shots like this one!

 

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TIP #2: The classic “hands over flowers” pose always looks great thanks to the contrast the beautiful flowers add functioning as a backdrop to the rings, and the dress and tux pull it all together perfectly

 

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TIP #3: Have your man hold the ring, that way you get the intention and the action in one shot. Its one of those shots that make people tilt their heads to the side and go “OOOOOHHHHHHH!!!”…(and its a Facebook “Like” machine)

 

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TIP #4: Let a child hold the rings. Something about a child’s little hand holding a ring…well, it’s not for nothing we have a ring bearer in a wedding, right?

 

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TIP #5: Before you put on your bling shoes – use them from a different point of view

 

 

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TIP #6: Sometime you have to kiss a few frogs to find your prince. But when you are done kissing frogs, how about having the frog pose with your rings?

 

 

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TIP #7: Keep it simple. Have your sister or best friend hold the rings in her loving hands, that way you capture a great memory of the rings, held by the person you love so much, who held your hand through the good, the bad, and the ugly cry

 

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 TIP #8: Using the rings in a different way, something fun and unexpected, always creates a memorable shot!

 

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To see out wedding proposal photography packages CLICK HERE

For more information and to contact Kelley Thomas as Marylin Monroe CLICK HERE

 

 

Year round, photography is my profession. I am always thankful for that fact, and that this is how I have been making a living for the past 17 years.
But this time of year is when I reflect on what a miracle this is. Considering the fact that I never wanted to be a photographer. The only reason I took photography in college in the first place was because no other “real” classes were available my first semester in OSU. Who would have guessed that I would fall in love with this craft? That I would be lucky enough to capture life joys for clients in a way that would make them smile from the heart every time they look at these photos? That I would be able to reflect to people through my camera lens how beautiful they truly are, the beauty they just don’t see in themselves. Who would have guessed that I would have a box of tissues ready in my meeting room because every single one of my clients would shed happy tears looking through their wedding album for the first time?
Not me. I would have never guessed. And what I learned so far is that if I have to choose between money and love – I would choose love every single time. Because money can’t manifest love, but love sure can manifest money, and so much more. I am living proof of that, serving clients whom I love, and they love me. Clients who come back year after year allowing me to document for them their life’s milestones. From calming down a nervous young man before he pops the question, as I am there to capture that moment, to the joy of capturing engagement photos, to looking into the eyes of a stressed bride right before she walks down the aisle, holding her hand, and reminding her that her best friend is waiting for her at the end of this walk. And seeing a smile of relief on her face as she realizes I am right.
To sharing the joy of my client’s getting pregnant, and capturing all the wonderful memories of their baby’s first year. To fun holiday family portraits as their family expands.
To creating a photo marketing strategy for clients as they decide to take the plunge and start their small business. To sharing the joy of photography by teaching my clients how to take better pictures as we go on a group photo tour.
To chasing my client’s beloved pets around the studio to capture their pet portrait, to be invited to photograph wedding anniversaries. And birthdays. And high school senior pictures.
And this is just a partial list.

This time of year I feel that I am the luckiest woman in the world. Not having a family of my own at this point in my life, not being able to show off pictures of my children – I am SO proud to show off pictures of YOUR children that I photogrpahed!
I am grateful that I’m invited to witness, be part of, and capture all these incredible life moments you live. Thank you for trusting me with capturing your precious moments.
Becuase, to me – being your photographer, is nothing but a small miracle.
Happy Everything!
With love,
Rinat

Please visit my WEBSITE to see the packages & pricing information for the different photography products and services I offer

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1999, Ohio State University, me in the photography Department women’s bathrooms, first selfi ever!

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Every couple planning their wedding day dreams their beautiful vision will come to life perfectly – and dreads the possibility it will not.

How do you ensure your wedding day is perfect? Well, you really can’t. A wedding day is a very complex day, comprised of many moving parts and relay on many people’s involvement and efforts. If one thing doesn’t work in this chain – it can create the domino effect that may turn a beautiful wedding day vision into a frustrating mess.

The good news is, there are two things you can do to increase the odds of your wedding day success exponentially

The first one is PLAN. Plan as much as you can. Research, prepare, create vision boards. Ask recently married couples what they would have done differently on their wedding day if they could. As the saying goes – planning, really does – make perfect.

The second thing to do is HIRE PROFESSIONAL WEDDING VENDORS. Nothing – and I mean NOTHING will affect your day as much as your decision who you trust to execute this most important day of your life.

Professional wedding vendors understand it’s a team effort and will work together to carry your vision into reality. They are reliable, knowledgeable and accurate. Most importantly – they have seen it all, and they will know what to do when something doesn’t  go as planned – and if there is anything I can guarantee, it is that something will not go as planned on your wedding day.

These pictures are from behind the scenes of Noel & Cesar’s perfect wedding day at Paradise Cove. Yes, a couple of things did not go as planned. But the group of professional vendors were there to fix the issues and move on – without anyone noticing.

Because on your wedding day, after you did all the planning and hired the professional vendors – you want to relax, have fun – and your only job should be to say “I Do”.

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Professional make up team arrive on time, do beautiful work, and have the wedding party ready for their pictures on time. In this picture Kristy Alonzo and her team prepping Noel & Cesar for their close up. Kristy Alonzo Design Team

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My wonderful assistant Shelby Gavin allows me to be creative and not have to worry about the small stuff by ensuring we follow our timeline – and that I drink plenty of water.

 

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Kayli from Paradise Cove, phone on hand, coordinating all the moving pieces of this complex wedding day Paradise Cove

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Rich the wonderful seaplane pilot took the grooms special entrance to a whole new level – and with such a smooth landing! Florida Seaplanes

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And ensured no one’s feet got wet getting off the seaplane

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See the guy in the black shirt behind the grooms and the drag queen? (Yes, I will have a whole other blog post about the wedding itself) He is one of the Paradise Cove employees who was always around if help is needed – and at the same time he made sure to stay behind me so he is not “photo bumbling” any of my pics.

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Tam N Ho, one of my second shooters, did a great job capturing the day from another angle.

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The video team from Castaldo Studios ensuring they are capturing the moment and staying our of my photographs. Castaldo Studuis

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Kayli giving the grooms last minute directions as the guests are being prepped for the ceremony.

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Kristin Wilson from Our DJ Rocks working the fog machine so the grooms can dance on cloud 9 Our DJ Rocks

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While Gaby from Our DJ Rocks MC’s and teaches the guests some new dance moves

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End of the day I am going over my wedding day shot list ensuring I captured every treasured moment.

I absolutely loved working with Meagan and David from the moment we met. Since this sweet down to earth happy couple was such a joy during the engagement session, I was very much looking forward for their wedding day.

After our pre-wedding phone meeting I knew this was going to be a beautiful wedding to capture. And since we will be in the quaint Park Avenue area, I was getting very excited about the photo possibilities.

The next day after our conversation I realized what was THE shot I wanted to get. I called Meagan and David and asked them if they remembered what the Beatles album cover “Abby Road” looked like, and proceeded to explain my vision of an Abby Road style wedding picture.

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To my delight, the cherry on top of my vision coming to life was that the beautiful Maid Of Honor was very much pregnant. Since the Man Of Honor had to walk barefoot (thankfully he didn’t have to think twice when I asked him to take his shoes and socks off for this photo…) I got to capture let alone an Abby Road style wedding, but a “barefoot and pregnant” at that.

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Here are some more wonderful moments from Meagan & David’s wedding day:

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When seeing his daughter for the first time as a bride Megan’s father could not hold back his tears – and neither could Meagan.

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The dress awaits – in a moment Meagan will become a bride

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The frog turned into a prince in this love story

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The ring barer boys were so cute, I asked them to talk to their sleeve and pretend they are secret service – they pulled it off no problem! 

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Surrounded by love after the ceremony

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The bridal party at the beautiful Alfond inn

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Happy Ever-After!

Vendor list:

Photography: halonwp.com

Second shooter: Chris Gillyard

Photography Assistant: Shelby Gavin

Venue: The Alfond Inn

Coordinator: Pixies and Petals 

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“I’m walking in sunshine, woah

I’m walking on sunshine, aooah

I’m walking on sunshine, woooah
And don’t it feel good!!”

(Katrina and the waves, as well as any Bride-To-Be that ever lived)

You just got engaged and you feel like you’re floating on air. Everything is perfect. Life is beautiful. You are lovingly planning your perfect wedding. You know you want tasty food, a great party, and beautiful photos. You’re on Pinterest all day creating your wedding day vision board, adding more and more reference photos of how you envision you will be photographed.

Then the budget reality hits. You realize how much this party is gonna cost you… You and your fiancé start thinking about where you can cut some costs. Venue and food – you know they have to be perfect. Same thing when it comes to your dress (hello?!?!?!?!? You’ve been dreaming about this wedding dress since your Barbie was wearing one).

You and your sweetheart seem to hit a cost cutting wall. But then, as your Facebook friend posts photos from her wedding and you go on bridal blogs and read what other brides are sharing, you know you hit the jackpot of cost cutting:

The Photographer!  You turn to your honey and excitingly announce: “Eureka! We can cut cost with the photographer we hire to photograph our wedding!”

After all, everyone is a photographer nowadays. The market is saturated with photographers, and really anyone can do it. And with that in mind you lower your wedding photography budget to an open bid of whomever offers you the lowest price to shoot you wedding. And you are very happy that you found a way to cut your wedding day cost!

Of course, you just turned your wedding day memories for beheading at the nearest guillotine, where the unmerciful blade chopped off what was to be the only thing left from your magical wedding day – your beautiful photos that is. Because unlike common believe NOT everyone is a photographer. The fact that everyone owns the tool – a camera – does not mean they are qualified to capture your once in a lifetime precious wedding day memories. Think about it this way– anyone can buy a stethoscope on line. Does that make them a doctor you would trust with your medical diagnostics & treatment?

With that in mind, here are my top 5 tips on how to determine what qualifies a camera owner to be your wedding day photographer:

Tip #1 – Is this how the photographer makes a living?   – “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst” said Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the fathers of photography. My question for you is – do you really want your wedding pictures to be within someone’s first 10,000 photographs? There are many photographers who are dipping their toe in the professional photography pool.  They want to make sure the water feels good before they jump in. Of course, sometimes the water is cold…and they decide they don’t want to jump in – and back to their day job they go! If you hired one of them to be your wedding day photographer one of the following may happen to you: A week before your wedding the photographer calls to let you know they cannot make it to your wedding day leaving you shocked and, well, ditched / If they do show up it takes over a year to get you wedding day photos back from them / you get your wedding day photos only to realize many key moments were never captured, and the photos that were captured are just not what you were hoping for.

I tell my students photographing a wedding is like being a war photographer – the difference is the only shots on a wedding day are done using a camera not actual weapons (let’s hope). Just like photographing during a war, you have to be on your toes, alert at all times in order to get THE shot. Because once the moment is over – it is never coming back. And that, my friends, takes practice. Lots and lots of practice. It also takes jumping into the cold dark water of the professional photography pool, cannon ball style, “nothing’s holding me back, I’m all in and can handle anything this wedding throws at me” attitude – which is a badge of honor only experienced professional photographers can proudly wear.

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Tip #2 – How long has the photographer been in business full time?  So let’s talk about the business of professional photography. Just like any other small business owner the professional full time photographer actually WORKS in their business. They have a business license. They have contracts. They have liability insurance. They pay sales tax and income tax on their profits. Many times they have a couple of employees. They are aware of the latest copyright laws and know how to protect you and them from image theft. If you hire a photographer to photograph your wedding day that is not a full time photography business owner you may encounter one of the following: No contract to refer to when the photographer decides to leave your wedding since they feel they got enough shots / When your aunt trips on the photographer’s tripod and breaks her ankle you get the hospital bill/ Yelp and the Better Business Bauru never heard of your photographer, so the bad reviews you post after the wedding day about the photographer walking in on you naked while you were getting ready, demanding to photograph you – are absolutely useless.

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Tip #3 – Are they a member of a professional organization?  Doctors have the Hippocratic Oath, where they vow to be ethical. I wish photographers had the Nie’pce Oath, or the Dagnuerre Oath (both are considered fathers of photography). Well currently there isn’t a professional photographer oat. And the closet thing you can find to such an ethical oath is if a photographer is a member of a professional photography association such as the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). Members of these organizations are at the very least passionate about their craft, and most likely are professional photographers, not enthused photography wannabe’s.

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Tip #4 – Do you like the photographer?  One of the first tips I ever got from a professional photographer was to get a personality. No he wasn’t talking to me specifically, but to a room full of photographers, telling us why clients like working with him. “You have to have a good personality” he said, “and if you don’t have one – buy one”. What he said resonated with me, and felt applicable over the years especially when it came to wedding photography. Here is why: On your wedding day the one person you will spend the most time with – is your wedding photographer. That’s right. More than with your bridal party. More than with your parents. More than with your honey. Your wedding photographer will be glued to your hip all day long. What can I say? You better like them!

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Tip #5 – Will their past clients recommend them?  So here is the thing: what you really, truly want to do before you hire your wedding photographer is connect with their previous clients. I mean, the photographer can show you beautiful photos they took, but what you really want to know is what happened behind the lens on their wedding day. Was the photographer on time? Were they pleasant to be around? Were they creative with the wedding photos? Did they deliver everything they promised? And the Million Dollar question (drum roll please)… If they could go back in time – would they hire that photographer again?…

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As you can see, none of the tips is about cost. I will say this – if its sounds too good to be true… you know the rest of this sentence, right?

Choose your wedding day photographer for the 5 reasons above. Then see what they charge for their services. Chances are if they want to photograph your wedding day they will work with your budget (as long as it’s realistic compared to what they ask for). They may help you with a payment plan, or give you the option of purchasing your album after the wedding day instead of upfront. Here is an example of something I offer that surprises my clients:  Gift registration with my studio. That way, their wedding guests can purchase from my studio gift cards that will apply towards any prints, enlargements and albums the couple will want to order.

And if all else fails and you find out that the photographer you had your heart set on is out of your budget – simply look for another photographer. Lucky for you there are many, very talented business owner professional photographers out there. Since they are professionals they charge what they know their talent and services are worth – and these prices vary from professional photographer to professional photographer – one of those could fit in your budget.

Do your research. You will not regret it. Many years from now when your granddaughter climbs up to cuddle in your lap with a treasure she just found – your wedding album – and she turns the pages asking you if it’s really you in these photos, and telling you how beautiful you looked, you will feel the joy. The joy of your memories coming back to life. The joy of being able to share these memories with a mesmerized child you love so dearly. The joy of knowing your beautiful wedding day is treasured forever.

You may not remember you read this article. But in your heart you will thank the universe for making the right decision and choosing a qualified professional to capture your wedding day memories. And these memories lived happily ever after…

 

  • Rinat Halon, previously Walt Disney Imagineers In House Photographer, started researching the power of a photograph while working on her personalized honors degree from The Ohio State University in Photography & Visual Merchandising ,where she wrote the thesis “The Influence of photographic Images on Brochure Appeal for the Family Financial Management Program” (May 2001). For the past 17 years she has been photographing internationally portraits, weddings and magazine lifestyle & fashion spreads. To see Rinat’s wedding online gallery and contact her to check availability for your wedding day CLICK HERE

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This month I asked the event planner Andrea Pavone to write her thoughts on how to hire a photographer for an event or a wedding. “What do you like and what do you not like about working with photographers?” I asked her. Andrea and I have known each other and worked together for over 10 years now. I love working with her and value her professionalism, attention to detail, and great personality. 

Andrea was very gracious to write this blog post for us. Here it is, in her words:

In my opinion Photography is one of the most important investments you will make on your special day.  There is no way to go back and redo the photos or capture that moment again so be sure you have made the right choice and hire a professional photographer that fits your personal style.

As a wedding professional for over 10 years, here are some tips on wedding photography:

Be a Team Player and Follow the Timeline: The wedding day is so hectic and there is so much going on and so much to do.  It’s important to have a planner to keep you on schedule so you can get all the shots you want to get. The worst thing is when the photographer is taking the bride and groom off for photos and it’s time to cut the cake or time for parent dances.  Your wedding team is there to capture all your moments and make the day special for you.  Ask your vendors who they normally work with and at least look into their services.  The more vendors you have that work together on a regular basis the smoother your event will run. Johnston wedding

 

Communicate to your Photographer what shots you want taken: It’s so important to communicate definite shots you want taken so those can be a priority on your wedding day.  You can’t go back to your photographer and be upset that they didn’t get shots of something if you didn’t communicate that to them, especially if it’s not the norm.  Ask your photographer what shots they always do and any suggestions they have for your venue or style of the wedding.  A good photographer will be honored to do something unique for you, given the opportunity to be creative.   Stengl278

 

You want someone with a great reputation: You want someone who is a true professional and has a great reputation in the industry.  They will dress appropriately, show up on time and work well with the vendors you have hired.  The last thing you want is your photographer showing up in shorts and a tank top, even if it is a beach wedding.

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Don’t be afraid to ask for references: And call those people.  These are going to be the best testament to what you can expect on your big day.

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Remember you have done your research and have hired this photographer for a reason, let them be creative, sometimes those shots are the best ones. When they catch a moment and you weren’t even paying attention.

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Lastly, relax and enjoy your special day! It goes by so fast and when you get your photos you get to relive all those moments again and again.

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Photo by: Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

 

 

      Andrea Pavone, Pavone Events

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Pavone Events is a boutique planning company that offers personalized and customized service to all of our clients.

 

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When Noel called me for the first time he was very hesitant. First he asked if I do engagement shoots, and I told him I did. “Well”, he said “I want to make sure you are comfortable with photographing us”. I was guessing what he meant, but kept listening quietly. “We are same sex couple” he said “and many times before photographers were not comfortable photographing us”.

I felt so sad to hear that. It took me back to a phone call I received a year ago, from a transsexual who wanted new portraits made for her and her wife. As she explained it “I don’t look like the man in our photos any longer, and I want my wife and I to have new memories”. I was so honored to create these new memories for them!

As a professional photographer I’m aware there may be plenty of situations that could make me uncomfortable to capture. So far in my 17 years career I turned down only one photo shoot because it made me uncomfortable. However, I was uncomfortable because I felt this man may have intended on hurting me. Aside from that, as I told Noel over the phone, I am happy to photograph any kind of love.

We decided to do Noel & Cesar’s engagement photos at one of my favorite locations – Paradise Cove, where they will be getting married next year. We had such a great time capturing their engagement photos. When we walked back to the car, I realized we forgot to photograph the Campaign toast they wanted to capture. It was turning into a good old hot and sticky Florida day, so Noel and Cesar were almost ready to forget about it, but I wouldn’t. So we got the Campaign bottle and glasses out, and walked back to take a few more pictures. When I got the shot of Noel popping the cork off the Campaign bottle, I know we got THE shot, and the photo shoot was a wrap.    

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One of the things I highly recommend for couples who book me to capture their wedding day, is doing an engagement session with me. First off, it gets them comfortable in front of my camera. It also gives me time to find out about what they like and don’t like about themselves in photographs. For example – someone may dislike their smile. Someone else may have a side they consider to be their “good side” and only want that side photographed. . This in turn makes capturing the wedding day photos so much easier, as the couple and I are on the same photographic page – they know where their chin needs to be for a great composition, I know which angle they don’t like to be photographed from. And that means we can get the pictures done so much faster on their wedding day – they actually get to enjoy their cocktail hour!

As my clients indicate on the post wedding feedback form the engagement session is one thing I do that they absolutely love and value, as do I – because it increases the odds of incredible wedding day photos significantly.

So, back to Noel & Cesar’s engagement session, by the end of it session, Noel, Cesar and I were BFF’s.  What can I say? In the words of the wonderful song: “what the world needs now, is love sweet love” –

Noel & Cesar sure bring plenty of that to the world!

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I am fortunate enough that in my 17 year career I got to capture two double weddings so far – What are the odds? Both double weddings were of two sisters getting married. The first double wedding I photographed about 10 years ago was a Scottish one, complete with grooms in kilts and two beautifully red haired sister brides.  

The double wedding I shot this past September was of two sisters again – Galit who married Nick, and Yael who married Riley. It was a lovely backyard wedding, as the double couple tied the knot under a tree canopy in the park across the street from their home.  

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As oppose to the Scottish double wedding I photographed which was an intimate affair, this backyard double wedding had a large bridal party – which meant I needed a second shooter. I was so happy when Chris Gillyard agreed to take up that roll. As I told Galit in our pre-wedding phone consultation, they got lucky as Chris is a great professional photographer with as much experience as me if not more.

Having Chris on board, and Brittney my oh so wonderful assistant on my side– I knew I was surrounded by the best team, and could relax and enjoy capturing this wedding.

Posing them was a hoot, and one of the bridal party photos turned to be one of my favorite of all times. Isn’t it great?

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Galit wanted a photo with her sister at the park, and Chris captured the three of us as I was composing the shot

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The groom’s cake was shaped as a sandwich since both grooms love sandwiches

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This double wedding had double the emotion and double the fun – and we captured it all! Happy Ever After to Galit & Nick, as well as Yael & Riley!

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Here are some more of my favorite photos from the day:

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