May 24, 2016 08:09 AM Blog

"What do we do if it rains?"

Its a popular question,  and I can't blame anyone for asking.   The weather is that one factor that we truly have no control over.   So if we can't change something...  we deal with it. 


Ok,  I will admit that "Deal with it"...  well, That can sound a little harsh.    I prefer "Take advantage of it"


Some weather advice..   STAY OFF THE 10 DAY FORECAST!   *said with love*  It will only give you anxiety and is never accurate..    The only thing I've ever seen accurate on a 10 day forecast is the date..  

If you are still searching for your photographer (or any vendor)  Ask "What kind of vehicle do you drive?"     The appropriate answer should be obvious but I personally have always owned a 4WD or AWD.

When you select your venue,  Look for interesting locations inside..    If its cold,  rainy, or 100 degree heat..   Having an indoor option is always nice

When all is said and done,  the one thing I can guarantee is that the weather will not change our
ability to take memorable photos.   If anything it gives that added bonus to create images that your friends and family
have never seen before. 

Enjoy your day,  your friends and family.  

Locations for the images in this post:
The Desoto images - Branch Brook Park
The Fog Photos - Garret Mountain Reservation
Snow photos - Il Villaggio ,  The Richfield Regency & The Addison Park
Umbrella Rain - Rock Island Lake Club
Blue Rain -  The Palace Somerset Park

May 16, 2016 05:24 PM Blog

Spring has arrived!!!   (Well, the calendar says it has,  I'm no so sure considering it was 40 degrees this past weekend)..    With that I am full speed ahead with engagement sessions.  

So,  this blog post is all about "WHERE"..  WHERE should your engagement session?

Once you ask yourself "Who are you?   What do you like to do together.."  The answer is pretty simple actually... 

When I discuss locations with clients Its a matter of personal style and what interests them.    Over the years I've narrowed my suggestions down to three main types of locations. 

: Hoboken is one of my favorite city locations as it offers great views,  easy access to multiple places that are all within walking distance.   Another area that offers the same combination is DUMBO in Brooklyn.

PARKS: New Jersey has an amazing assortment of Parks.   The New Jersey Botanical gardensGarret Mountain ReservationGrounds for Sculpture to name a few.  

BEACH:  New Jersey has roughly 141 miles of beach front for you to go to,  as mentioned earlier I try to choose locations that offer some variety.  Meaning the beaches I prefer don't just have a beach.   But have more to offer in addition to a beach.   

Sandy Hook and Asbury Park are two of my favorites as they offer a nice beach + older historical buildings.  Sandy Hook however is one of the few locations in New Jersey that we get sunsets on the water. (see photos)

For clients who like to play and have some fun,  Jenkinsons has all the rides, games as well as the beach.  (see photos)

Still undecided?  A few unique locations I've had.   Giants stadium, Yankees stadium,  Private airfield,  The Met
,  A family members private home etc.

The bottom line, I look for clients to choose a location that has some historical or sentimental meaning to them. Like an activity that they have always enjoyed doing or a place they went to often while dating.   This allows them to reach their comfort zone faster resulting in more natural images. 

As always,   If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask!

May 3, 2016 12:46 PM Blog

Most of my blog posts are mainly for engaged couples.  This one, however, is for the photographers as well.   Some of this post will be fairly simple,  yet I will admit some is going to be very emotional for me.  

A common question that is asked by potential clients is "what is your backup plan?"  

As a photographer dealing with clients priceless images I have a multi level backup system. 


While photographing the wedding,  typically during cocktail hour,  a backup of images that have been taken so far is made.   (these are the images that I use to create the same day slideshow for your guests to enjoy) 


When I return home from the wedding the task of downloading all images to the servers begins.  I use a program called PhotoMechanic that has proven invaluable to me over the years.   Images are downloaded simultaneously to two locations.  My editing drive and an external raid. 

I've been DROBO user for awhile now.  Its simple..  does exactly what it says it will do when there is an issue with a drive.  Another excellent option would be Synology NAS Disk Station

A cloud based backup like CrashPlan that will give that extra level of redundancy is also suggested.

With this simple system..  I have master images in multiple locations.    They KEY to any backup system is simplicity...  It has to automated or else you will eventually miss a step,  miss a backup, something. 

ALL hard drives fail.  Its just a question of when. 

Ok,  now for the emotional portion of this post. What does one do if something happens to the photographer?  No,  I don't mean what happens if you have a case of the sniffles..  If you have a cold you deal with it.  I've done triples with a pulled hamstring.  I mean a major life changing event.

This past December, Tim,  my long time 2nd shooter/assistant/partner and best friend passed away.   It had been decided years ago in the event anything was to happen to either of us we would manage each others company on behalf of the family.   While, when we made this agreement I truly never thought I would have to use it. I will admit It was a much easier transition simply because we already had a plan.  

So,  if you are a boutique type studio,  Sole Proprietor and run your business on your own.   Get yourself a "person". If you are a bride interviewing photographers.  Ask them "what is your backup plan?"

He was my person and I was his.

May 1, 2016 12:54 PM Blog

In my previous post about Wedding day schedules, I discussed some simple tips I've often used when establishing a stress free timeline for your wedding day. 

Today's tips help with the ceremony portion;  Just some odd, random things brides rarely think of.   Most of these are geared towards a church-based wedding, but can be applied towards other locations and denominations as well.   

1) "The priest says the ceremony is 45 minutes long"...  False! 

Well,  It's more of a half truth.   HIS portion is 45 minutes;  however once you add processional and recessional, its easily over an hour.  If you add family photos after that then you are on the property a total of 90 minutes.  As long as you take that into account when doing your schedule, you will be fine

2) Question, "Do I need to do a receiving line?"

Answer:  Depends. If you are tight on time this is an easy way to save 20 minutes. Now, granted 95% of my clients get to enjoy their cocktail hour so this is always an easy thing to skip as they will be able to greet guests at that time. If you do not plan on going into the cocktail hour, it is expected that you do a receiving line. How do you skip a receiving line? You skip a receiving line like so...  Exit church, go to the side and come back in through the back entrance. Hide in a side room OR go up to the balcony of the church (see photos below).

3)  Family photos after the ceremony.  

So, while I love the portion the day when I get to create cool and fun images.  I still feel is extremely important to dedicate some time for family photos. 

- The "A-list" =  Grandparents, Parents,  Siblings + spouses and children if they have them.  

-If members of  your bridal party are married and his or her spouse is NOT in the bridal party.  Make sure the spouse is aware they will be needed after ceremony.   I can't tell you how often a spouse, usually the husband  (Sorry guys!!)  heads home or to the hotel not realizing he will be needed.

-Grandparents.   If grandparents have any issues walking or standing I will just have them stay put at the end of the ceremony.  "Don't you go anywhere,  we will be right back" 

I do have a very methodical and calculated way of doing family groups. It has proven to be very efficient and inclusive of all the key players with multiple combinations. 

Thirty minutes is typically more time than needed.

In summary,  you have so many variables that need to be accounted for when planning your big day.   I often compare it to playing a game of chess,  meaning while I am doing one thing I am planning what will happen next.   This allows a nice casual flow for my clients.   

Planning a wedding is a big job in itself and some clients do it very well on their own.  If this seems overwhelming in the least I do encourage everyone consider hiring a wedding planner.    Its not supposed to be stressful! 

A few planners I've had the pleasure of working with multiple times.

Jenny Orsini Events
Kathi Evans - ATB
Tina Lamorte - Oh So Fab

Hire a planner - Enjoy your day.  


      April 25, 2016 04:42 PM Blog

      I am often asked "what about the day of schedule?"..    I guess with 20 years of weddings behind me I have become some sort of expert! 

      So here are a three of my favorite tips and tricks I used when establishing your schedule. 

      1) Lie to the hair and makeup people.   Yes,  you read that right..  Lie to them.

      It's nothing personal really,  the stylist knows they take 45 minutes to do the brides hair.   They know this because that's how long it took them to do it for the trial and the bride loved it!    Now put that same stylist in a room with 10 other women and you are guaranteed to have multiple 2-5 minute distractions over a 45 minute period.   This will add 15-20 minutes to their expected time.  

      Now it's really just a white lie,  if I need a bride ready to get dressed at 11:30,  I have the bride tell her stylist that I need her ready to get dressed at 11.  In the end its a win for everyone.   If the stylist is on "lietime".. Great!  If she runs late then the bride stays calm as can because she doesn't feel any pressure of being late.

        There is one exception to my trick.  Michelle at Pink Comb salon in Westfield..   She is always on time!! 

      2) What sort of dress do you have? Corset?  Zipper?   It's a simple tip really..  Some dresses are a "15 minute dress" while others are a "30 minute dress"    

      Zipper + snap =  10 minute dress

      Buttons with elastic bands that pull over =  20 minute dress   (bonus tip,  bring a crochet hook with you to pull the bands over easily) 

      Corset = Yeah..  schedule 30 minutes to get into that beauty..  

      3)  Hotel Room to Limo = 30 minutes

      Nope,  not even kidding..   Take into account that you have 10 people to consider it will take 15-30 minutes.  From leaving a hotel room + walking down the halls +  taking the elevator + whoops someone forgot something and has to run back up! = getting into the limo.  

      So,  similar to the hair and makeup fib,  if I want the bride in the limo at 12,  at 11:30 we tell them all to head down.  

      The reason I do schedules this way is for one simple reason..  Less stress.   My schedules are very relaxed, with extra time hidden that is not dedicated to anything.    A wedding day needs to have the ability to change and accommodate unforeseen things.  In the end my brides are more relaxed and able to enjoy more time with their close family and friends.  

      Please do not hesitate to write if you have any questions and of course if you like this post, please share it!   


      April 3, 2016 04:00 PM Blog

      This particular post requires some story.   Its a little weird that when we met to do this session.  It was actually the firs time Tracy and I had met in person...   Weird as we have known one another through mutual friends for a good 4 years.    Ted however I met as he was the best man at his brothers wedding a few years prior at Maritime Parc in Jersey City

      The moment Tracy and Ted contacted me to do their engagement  session I knew it would be different..   Our first messages went something along the lines of
      ME "Where are you thinking?
      Her "Something unique,  I am not sure yet"
      Me "I hear the sunflower fields are in season now..   "
      Her "nah...   He plays the guitar..  we like basketball..  and how do you feel about planes?"

      She had me at "planes".....

      March 30, 2016 10:38 PM Blog

      First post for the new blog..  Seems fitting that its the first wedding of the year at The Estate at Florentine Gardens

      Colleen & Sean's SDE from Evan Soloff on Vimeo.


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