Dover Hall Wedding
Living as a full-time wedding photographer for the past 8 years, there is always this constant “itch” to go and do something truly different and unique. While it’s nice to visit my vendor friends in all the local hot spots here in Miami.. nothing compares to a true adventure, and this Dover Hall Wedding in Virginia was exactly that.
Very simply put, it was STUNNING.
I think you will agree that this is a location and wedding backdrop like no other. Just an absolute photographers dream, and creative playground for people who are truly skilled in this profession.
BUT.. An incredible location is worthless without great client’s to put in the frame. When Stella first called me about her Dover Hall Wedding (more then a year ago now), I was excited to work with her. I could tell that she appreciated the type of photography that I offer, was in tune with reality and was of the personality type that would let me be.. me. The fact that we got to work this amazing Dover Hall Wedding was just a sprinkle on the cake. Let me explain.. Her first wedding venue “fell through” some months ago, and left her scrambling to find a new venue. When this happened she called me, and said that she thinks she has found a really cool new location (and in my head I was thinking the worst of course LOL).. but, in no way did I understand just HOW “cool” this place was. Thank god the other place did not work out, there is no way it would have compared to this!
I could go on and on about this incredible Dover Hall Wedding and speak all about the dynamics like I generally do on my blog. But, instead.. I want to take you along with us. That’s right.. sit down, snuggle up and give me 30min of your time. Watch this video, and EXPERIENCE some of what we did.
There is absolutely no better way in this world to convey what this wedding was like, or more to the point what working with me is like.
This behind the scenes video truly showcases everything. I will provide some additional technical commentary on the images below.
WATCH THIS BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO!!
I know everyone is short on time.. so I made a 60 second preview of the full 30min episode! When your laying in bed with your iPad, plug in your headphones and watch the full version 😉
60 SECOND PREVIEW:
FULL 30-MIN EPISODE! You gotta see this!
When I first rolled down the long drive way in my rental, this is what I saw. At this point, I turned to my assistant Jorge and said.. “dude”. “This is going to be epic.” Just look at this place! With 9 bedrooms and countless other rooms with totally one of a kind decor it was overwhelming. I knew there was NO WAY I was going to be able to leverage this massive 33,000 sq foot palace with only the wedding day timeline LOL.. so, I offered up an opportunity to Stella to actually go to the venue and do some styled shots BEFORE the wedding day. And.. this is exactly what we did 🙂 (I explain all of this in my video above) Check out the images of the dress. Texture! This is what I wanted to show. I wanted to show the room as much as I could, and also create some dramatic images that pulled it all together. If you watch the video above, you will see that Stella in fact was NOT going to be getting ready here in this amazing room. Nope, it was going to happen at a hotel about 15min away. The reason was mixed between the added cost of the venue (totally understandable too) and the fact that the ceremony was also not going to happen here. SO, on paper within the timeline it was planned that we were only going to go to the hotel and then afterwards head to the church. It was me that spoke up, and said “no way! LOL” I begged BEGGED them to change that around. I said, “let’s keep the hotel as a functional space to keep all the clutter” and then lets stop by the venue for some “pretend” shots, and also we can do the first look there as well!” I also spoke with the venue and they were okay with all of this, including the shoot we did the day before. So, ALL of the shots that you see here of her getting ready in this amazing place, were all manufactured by me and only exist because I spoke up for the greater good. I think looking back.. Stella is pretty happy that was the case, what do you think? 😉 I mean, if your going to have a Dover Hall Wedding then you need to get shots like this! One of the things that makes me very unique in the wedding photography market place, is the fact that I can go from all natural light shots like this (above) to some seriously controlled lighting shots, and pull them all off with ease. Generally photographers subscribe to a “style”, and with me I do what makes sense in my head and have the skill set to move freely into any situation with total confidence. THIS lends me to shots that really stand out, and are worth talking about. This shot (above) was a “Vanity Fair” inspired image. I have done this shot in the past at this wedding, and we wanted to give it another go. To be clear I also have shots with all the girls looking at camera 😉 I just liked this one for the blog post. So the next several images of Stella alone were all taken the day before the wedding on our “styled” shoot. Stella is a formal model, and really wanted this style. I was more then happy to make that happen for her. The wedding day is all happy, emotions, etc.. so, this was a nice way to create a contrast of “commercial” and “wow”. Then when you mix them in with the other shots, the wedding becomes this stunning showcase of whats possible. I can only imagine her wedding album! WOW! Hands down one of my fav. shots from the entire trip (above). Be sure to watch the video on how all of this happened! It was so much fun! The rule is this.. IF you have a fireplace in your bathroom.. then.. we need to get shots of that LOL! The hard part is “selling” this in a shot, and I think we did a really great job at doing just that. If you watch the video, you will see me take this second shot (above), while Stella was actually on the phone! I captured this “lucky” shot when she was talking on a speaker phone. Go check it out! “You like tigers right?” LOL. See the video, and you will understand why this is so funny. This was the ultimate “guys” room. I had to convince Stella to do a “first look”. At first this was never going to happen, and WOW.. what a waste that would have been! See what happens when you trust me?! 🙂 Watch the video, and see how this all unfolded, and you too would re-consider! As much as the estate was incredible.. these fall colors were just to die for! I can totally see this upper image printed large and framed on the wall. People often ask “how I get the shots that I do” and worry that “formal” shots are too stiff, or whatever. It’s about the personality of the photographer. The video shows how I quickly leverage laughter, and personality to get the “looks” that I do from my clients. I think this is so important, and creates an end result that is truly worth while. Now.. I did not say this in the video, but I will say it here. The church was 30min one way back and forth, and while I am sure this was important to Stella I can only imagine what the ceremony would have looked like at the venue. I can’t wait to shoot another Dover Hall Wedding and find out 😉 I mean.. seriously.. look at this entrance! Stella’s mom played a special role, there were many heath related issues with her before the wedding and I know that Stella has been struggling with this for a long time. Although she could not stand, it was so nice for her to take the mic and say a few words. I teared up myself. Here it is.. my last styled shot of the day (night). It started to rain and I was tired (at this point 14 hours on my feet) but still wanted to try something. I got them to come outside for one last trick, and WOW, am I glad we did this. After this I went straight to the bar and got a Vodka Tonic. This was a hell of a long day, and one in which I was very proud of.. not only because of what we did do.. but because of what I knew it would have been if I did not speak up and take some control over logistics. This is why you hire me. This is what it means to me to be a professional at what I do.
I am going to leave you with this..
I want to shoot more destination weddings. I want to travel a little more then I do, and here is why.. Motivation. You see when we are shooting a wedding like this, I am not only creating images for my client, I am creating images for ME. THIS, is a remarkable thing because it naturally extracts every, single bit of “creative fiber” in my body and puts it into motion. It’s almost as if I am shooting my own wedding, myself. When I am truly excited, and have motivation that comes from more then just “client expectation” your going to come out on top. So, I seek more adventures in the future and cant wait to tell that story..
I also want to credit the vendors that made this wedding what it was:
Makeup: Kirsty Smit Wingfield
Hair: Katia Ocampo
Dress Designer: Allure Bridals
Bridal Salon: Caryn’s Bridals
Vail: St. Anthony’s Bridal
Custom stitching: Natale Alterations
Flowers: Christopher Flowers
Linens provided by Megan De Vita: Fantasy Designers
and last but not least is my favorite vendor from this wedding.. and to be honest, most all the weddings that I have gone too. It’s Adam with Memories Video. Working with Adam was an incredible experience and I always say when it comes to vendors you need to hire the person first, and their end result’s should always be second. For the first time in what seems like forever Adam reminded me what it’s like to work with a true team player at a wedding. I wish I could fly him to Miami for all of my weddings LOL.. he’s that good to work with, and I worked with him all day! He also beat me to the punch with getting content back to the client (never happens) It took him just a few days to get the sneak peak video done, and it took me 7 days to get this blog post up, and images back to my client. Safe to say we are both on top of our game, and this is what you want to look for when hiring out vendors!