Engagement Sessions

My engagement sessions are something on another level.  At some point I have crossed that line of “Lets go out, and snap some fun images for a couple of hours” to “Lets make this count, and produce something incredible”.  Unlike the wedding day, this is a time where I don’t need to follow a “timeline” so I take advantage of that by working with my clients to collaborate on truly great ideas, and then we go and produce it.  I can’t tell you how much fun it is, you just have to experience it 😉

Just like my other galleries, I have added in my commentary on most all of the shots so that you can get a better idea on what your looking at, what went into it, why “I” like it, and even some technical photography stuff too 🙂


Times Square Engagement Photos

The image above (NYC Times Square), we actually shut the pedestrian side of it down to take this shot.  Something, that was absolutely incredible.  The entire area was roped off for us!  Check out the video below to see me in action 😉  More images, as well as the full story can be found on my blog here.

Miami-Engagement-Photographers-038This shot (above) was taken near “Bill Baggs Park” on Key Biscayne.  The soft tones, tall grass, and muted color really all came together for a shot that I could not stop looking at after it was taken.  While this may look like a “natural light” shot, your wrong.  Camera left there is a large, deep dish octa bank dumping around 400 watts of power to control shadows. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-037I have been to Vizcaya Museum & Gardens at least 100 times over the past eight years for shoots.  Never have I been able to get a clean shot without people around, AND on an over cast day like this!  I got very lucky on the weather conditions here.  This shot (above) of them walking, and laughing was done all with natural light.  Their expressions, were controlled by my crazy personality and joking around 🙂  Miami-Engagement-Photographers-062I had talked about this image of Varune & Cristal (above) on my blog when I showed the whole session.  I saw this puddle, and wanted to use the reflection as part of my composition.  I had them stand very close to it, and I got very low with the camera to “amplify” the mirror effect from the water.  Cristal;s dress was rather long, and was going to touch the water.. so I come up with an “excuse” for her to pull it back, turn, and kiss her man.  The end result was a beautiful capture that shows excellent creativiity.  For lighting here, I am using a mix of natural light and an off camera studio light camera left for some “pop”.

Deering Estate Engagement SessionI love this image (above) from Lindsey & Chris’s engagement session. Everything from the elegant attire, to the colors, the location and.. of course my fabulous lighting.  This was taken at the Deering Estate in Miami, and was apart of a full “story” shoot that was a little different then the “normal” session.  Be sure to check out their full story on my blog!

Want to see how I work, interact, and get some of the amazing shots that I do?  Well, sit back and check out this amazing behind the scenes video of me in action!  I give exclusive commentary on whats going on, and you truly get the feeling that your there with me apart of the shoot!  For more videos like this, be sure to check out my YouTube channel and suscribe!

Miami-Engagement-Photographers-054Here are a few images from Leslie & David’s shoot.  Leslie wanted to have some images taken of them at home, doing some of the things they love to do.  I love the images (above) and (below) not only because of the content, and the actions that are going on in the imagery, but also I really love how all the colors, and tones came out.  Specifically, the stainless steel, and more muted tones are behind them.. they have been dressed in black / darker clothing for contrast, and then.. we have the “pop” of the vegetables on the cutting board.  This was all done this way by no accident.  Also, in the image (above) there is something about Leslie holding that knife..  Love it 🙂 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-019 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-021We then went to the Biltmore Hotel for the second location.  They actually rented a room for the shot (above).  The “pillow fight” was a great idea, and while I must have taken 100 frames of this alone, I really liked this shot.  Let me give you a better idea on what actually went into this shot…  First, I had two assistants on this shoot.  Here, one of them has a huge bag of feathers and is dumping them on top of a large fan, blowing them into the air.  Then, my other assistant is holding a boom with a very large “Octa” bank for lighting that was camera right.  I needed a very large, soft, flat lighting source as the room was pretty dim on it’s own.  Everything came together, and we had SO much fun with all of this! Miami-Engagement-Photographers-056This is the main lobby of the Biltmore Hotel.  Many images were taken here, and this was one of my favorites.  We had the hotel staff bring out some champaign, and little munches to give more structure, and to add in some more “believability” to the shots. (in some of the other frames they are drinking, etc.). They wanted to create some images that are very “regal”, and upscale and this shot kinda says it all.  The lighting here was pretty complex.. I had a Mola “beauty dish” on a boom stand, and two full length strip banks camera left, and right for a balanced “rim” light (if you look close you can see the light I am talking about).
Miami-Engagement-Photographers-057After some lobby shots, we poke around in one of the empty ball rooms.  I saw this, and Leslie had this crazy idea for David.  LOL.  She wanted him to sit in the chair with this “muted” look upon his face, and body, and Leslie wanted to kinda “provoke” him with her sexiness.   Lighting here was just two strip banks camera left, and right. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-058In that same room, I saw this shot in my head, and just had to do it.  I wanted now, a more interactive and “romantic” image of the two of them together, on the floor.  I positioned them in front of the window, and used my two lights again.  The shot is impressive because of the composition, which was taken at 200mm from THE LOBBY!  (which was very, very, very far away).  Why?  Because… if I had of used a “wide” lens to capture this, my subjects would have been very small in the image relative to the entire frame / room, etc.  This was not what I wanted, and nor what I knew they would have wanted to see.  It would have shown “too much”.  Too much of the room, walls, etc.  No.  I wanted to keep things well proportioned, yet still include the beautiful chandelier.  My position here as well, was flat on the floor.  This was to control the “spill” of light that happened from my lights.  Regardless of how tight I “gridded” my lights, I still had some spill on the carpet.. and this was minimized by, me, getting very low.   Miami-Engagement-Photographers-022The pool at the Biltmore Hotel. I have no idea if we were actually “allowed” to do this.. and, frankly at this point I don’t think anyone cared.  The hotel was already warmed up to us, walking around with all the gear, and doing the crazy shots.. that I am sure they just let it slide.  This was a shot that Leslie wanted to get, and I was all for it! Miami-Engagement-Photographers-035This eye catching image (above & below) were taken along side of Key Biscayne.  What I really love here the most is the lighting.  The time of day played a huge role, in that the sun had just gone down and I was there pulling what little detail remind in the sky back out with my camera as a “baseline exposure”.  The challenge then was to get some light on my subjects, without making anything look too “flash like”.  So many times, I see photographers use flash, at night.. and it looks.. well.  Horrible.  LOL.  The key, is to get the light to strike my subjects in a non direct way, yet still renders a beautiful capture.  The image above, I have one small flash on a stand camera right FAR away so that the light would completely “wrap” my clients.  Most of the exposure is ambient light, which I was careful to gel my flash to match. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-070 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-066We were in Key Biscaye for the engagement session, and came upon this nice long path way lined with trees.  I had an idea for a creative shot, and wanted to give it a try.  First, I knew I wanted to showcase the “trees”.  The fact they were all in a line, made for a nice framework to build upon.  The lighting (ambient) was nothing special, it was flat, and getting dark pretty fast.  What I wanted, LOL was the “sun set” to be happening behind them.  So.. I made my own!  I took my powerful 1100 watt studio light, and raised it up high on a 20-foot air stand, and tucked it away far in the trees (camera left).  This light was gelled 1/1 CTO to provide that “sun” for me.  Then.. up front, my assistant is holding a deep dish octa for the main light on a boom stick.  Together I got that lighting I wanted, and it looked incredible right out of the camera with no edits of any kind.  My lens was in fact a “wide” 16mm, and I wanted this to elongate Marjorie’s leg, and to jump up and grab the top of the trees. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-073Working at night can be VERY challenging for any photographer, at any level.  I tend to excel in this area, and have all the tools I need to allow me to get the shots that I do.  However, I must say that even with all the right tools it will always come down to the person using them’s ability to leverage for the best results.  Kinda like when someone says to me “Hey, thats a nice camera.. it must take amazing images”  I always reply with “Yeah, thanks!  I actually taught it everything it knows ;-)”  Okay, the image (above), a sexy capture of Marjorie & Juan in front of the Epic Hotel in Miami.  Here I have pushed the camera (Canon 1DX) to the limits (12,800 ISO) and I am holding around 1/50 of a shutter if memory serves.  This is what I needed to get the background to come out like I wanted.  Then, I had to use two lights on them.  This is where things can get tricky… when your using “studio” lights,  sometimes the “minimum” power setting is still… too much.  So, I have to use some ND Gel, on top of the CTO to “dumb down” the power output.  You may think “well.. why can’t you just back the light off farther away?”  (this would be a good workshop lesson), the fact is the light quality changes, and the shadows are more pronounced when you do that..  anyway, this is how I got the shot I wanted..  Miami-Engagement-Photographers-074I absolutely can’t stand when I see some photographers pose the groom / guy etc.. with the “hand in the pocket”, and the bride / girl etc.. is right next to him, showing emotion.  It’s as if he has something “better” to do, and has “no time” to be here doing this shoot, nor paying any attention to her.  What this really is (in some cases) is the photographer just runs out of ideas, and says “okay, and you sir.. put your hand in your pocket”.  To me, it always looks so silly.  Unless…  you have a specific reason for doing so (above).  So, here in this case –extreme– attention went into this pose.  I wanted to create a dynamic image that had some “flow” to it.  Notice Juan’s foot.  It is raised.  Notice his body position.. it is leaning towards Marjorie.  Notice his contact with the camera far hand.. it is on her, and of course he is kissing her on the cheek.  Now, lets look at Marjorie.. Much of the same..  I have created a space with her shoes, ensuring that the camera front leg is bent (this always gives the most flattering shape), she is also leaning in to the shot, she is interacting with Juan (pulling the tie), and her face says it all.  For this shot.. if Juan had of pulled his hand out of his pocket, and grabbed her waist..  it would have taken away from all the other things I had going on, and it would have looked a little less “in the moment”, and more like another “posed shot”.  Does that makes sense?  It took ALL of the other little details to come together to make this what it was.  Even if Juan’s foot was flat on the ground, it would have suggested that “I’m too good for this” and would have not worked.  (now, lets compare a similar shot below…) Miami-Engagement-Photographers-042In this shot (above) much like the one (x2 above) I wanted a sexy shot, this time with the city in the background.  We are shooting in downtown Brickell and they are standing on a thin wall by the water. (not for everyone I might add!)  to make matters worse, I insisted that Marjorie wear her “tall heels” that she had brought along, and I wanted it to look like they were “dancing”.  I got several frames from this part of the session, some where they are facing each other, some where only Juan is looking at camera, etc.. But, this one.. I said “pull her in for a kiss” and he did, and Marjorie just looked over on her own, and gave me this perfect smile.  Here Juan, has his feet flat (and thats good, as he needs to be careful on that wall).  Because he is making more interaction with Marjorie, (hand holding, dancing etc) it all works well.
Miami-Engagement-Photographers-034Whenever you think of Miami Engagement Sessions your no doubt going to see images taken from “Vizcaya” from just about every photographer out there.  Nothing wrong with that, it is a beautiful place without a doubt.  However, going there time and time again and trying to make it “unique” is in fact a challenge.  I enjoy that challenge, and to a point it even motivates me to somehow be better then I was last time.  This image (above) was taken on the upper level in the back of the property.  I wanted to really showcase the “building” in this shot, and make my clients a “graphical” part of it.  So, I have them posed in a way to allow some space around them, and behind (so they don’t blend too much into the background / building) and then I have my assistant hiding behind one of the column’s with one of my remote studio lights.  I have under exposed the exterior of the building by a fair amount to offer some “mood” and dimension.  Miami-Engagement-Photographers-039This was one of my favorite shots from Bella & Blake’s session (above).  I saw the sun was lighting up all the trees around us, and would expose nicely in the camera.  I just needed to find a shaded section for them to stand in.  After a few seconds of finding the “right” spot, I positioned them in this gap (between the two trees), and decided to let some foreground come through into the frame.  My assistant is holding a boom, with a powerful studio light on it to “amplify” what the sun was already doing.  I am actually shooting on the shadow side of them, but because of my lighting position it looks very natural.  The details here can not be overlooked, the hand positions, the tiny space between their noses, where I have instructed them to “look” .. to me.. it reminds me of a more “cinematic” shot, that could have been a movie that was paused.  This was what I was going for, and I really liked the end result. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-045This is the “Garden Maze” at Vizcaya, and works well for engagement shoots.  Here, I wanted to show that maze, but I also did not want to “show too much”.  What I mean, is that the surrounding area is not a maze, and as such it was important to control what I did not show, as much as what I did.  So, I used a long lens (200mm) and “compressed” the background to make it appear larger then what it actually was. For the pose, something romantic made the most sense here, and I have positioned them both in the same direction, as my light was coming from camera right.  If you look close, you will also see some “fog” or a bit of white at the very bottom of the frame.  This was actually achieved “in camera” by shooting directly next to a wall, and allowing some it (just a fraction of a mm) come in front of the lens. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-072I have spoken previously about not letting the location dictate the shot, and rater.. focus on where the best “light” is.  Here (above) is another example of that.. although, at a place like Vizcaya, everything looks nice.  But, looking a bit closer.. we can see that the sunlight was shining in the background, and in fact was creating a beautiful hair / separation light for my subjects.  All I needed to provide was the main / fill light in the front, and I had a wonderful shot.   Miami-Engagement-Photographers-041For the (above) and (below) images, I am using only natural light.  My power packs were about exhausted, and I wanted to create some images without having to use them.  It’s worth saying, that while the use of my lighting gear plays a very important role in my photography, that I am still very capable to shoot with only “natural” light, and at times I actually prefer it.  The key… is to be very proficient at both. This way, when images are paired together in a series (as I have shown you here with Bella & Blake) nothing looks “out of place” and somehow they just all make sense, and blends well together.  All too often a photographer maybe good at one thing, but struggle with another.  Generally speaking, photographers “start out” with “natural light” because it is avail to anyone, and is free.  LOL.  Then, they may or may not ever work up to using more complex lighting in their work, and brand themselves as such “a natural light photographer”.   Myself, I am neither.  I truly “call it as I see it”, and think of all the gear that I have as “tools in the tool box”.  It’s there when and if I want to use it.  This gives me total control, regardless of the situation I am faced with.. and that is a great feeling to have. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-071 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-030Now we are talking about some crazy control!  This was very much a “production photo-shoot” and this is where my true “technical” abilities as a photographer shine above everyone else.   First, this is Melissa & Leo’s engagement session, and it was shot at the “Wings Over Miami” museum.  Leo is actually a commercial pilot in real life, and this shoot was themed to bring that into the imagery.  The image (above) was my favorite from the set (it just looks like a movie cover to me).  Let me talk a little bit about what went into this.. first, I had a Rotolux Deep Octa bank camera right, in close for Melissa.  This was powered by a Ranger Speed AS pack at about full power (1100 watts).  I had another pack, far, camera left bare bulb into a silver reflector aimed right at Leo.  This light is “throwing” it’s power a great distance.  Next, I needed to “lift” some of the shadow value out from under the planes right wing, so I gelled a speedlite, and set it on the ground in the back.  Every time I hit the shutter, it sounded like a firecracker “snap” of light.  It was pretty crazy. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-029This shot (above), I wanted something a bit more “romantic”, and brought them in close.  I was able to also move my lighting in close, and get a faster “recycle” between shots (more efficient on the technical side).  You will notice that “sun set” like color on the back of the plane, and Leo.. this was a gelled studio light.
Miami-Engagement-Photographers-031 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-032We moved to the back of the plane (above), and simply moved the light with us.  Well.. almost.  Unbelievably, I actually clamped (I have a very special tool for this) one of my studio lights to the rear wing, exactly behind my subjects and have aimed it at their heads.  I wanted to have some back light for this shot (yes, even in mid day), and I think it gave it a very nice “pop”.  Honestly, I took the shot without it, and looked at the camera screen and said “it’s okay.. but.. if we can get a light behind…” and here it is.  Another important note here.. is.. compression.  This simply means, I am using the full length of my 70-200 to get as much of the plane to “compress” behind them as possible.  Many “photographers” don’t yet, understand this concept, but it can completely change the game once you start looking at things not only in terms of lighting.. but, also in terms of “focal length”. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-061Just look at this sexy shot.  This was taken inside the hanger, and I have two small speed lights firing a full CTO 1/1 gel to give the color I wanted.  One is behind the subjects, and the other is far camera left.  I am shooting this on the “shadow side”, allowing the direction of my light to do all of the work.  Whats impressive, is that this was taken at the tail end of our “2 hours” that the museum allowed us to shoot with, and I was able to get this shot done in less then a min. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-068Speaking of “sexy”.. here it is.  This image was created at the “Deering Estate“, and is another great location for an engagement session.  I have been there a few times, and am sure I will be back again soon. Here it was late in the day, and I just had this wonderful low, and directional sun to work with.  I simply placed that sun in the back, and filled in everything else with my powerful lighting tools.
Miami-Engagement-Photographers-063Again, at the “Deering Estate“.. I found this old machine in the woods LOL, and thought it would make an excellent “prop”.  The color tones also worked well with one another, and I had enough sunlight that was lighting behind the machine, that all I needed was a fill light up front to “amplify” the natural light that was already there. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-067Sometimes (and it’s rare), but sometimes I am able to use the harsh, direct sunlight for a nice image.  See (above) for that example.  In this case, I have them “smaller” in the frame and most important not looking at the camera.  I have gone with a more “artistic” composition with the lines in the trees, and have taken care to frame my subjects between them.  Because I am now “shooting with the sun” the exposure value remains the same for them, the water, the trees, sky etc.. so it will come out looking perfect.  They just can’t look towards the camera LOL.  Otherwise they will have the sun in their face, and will not work. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-044I don’t know how many times they practiced that dance move.. but, they nailed it!  I wanted to show this one, because it shows my technical abilities as a photographer working at night (I have already gone into great detail above in other night shots on this), and this pose, lines, and composition really came out well. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-069Without a doubt, one of the best times of day to shoot is later, close to evening.  The sun becomes more directional and I have to work less at getting the type of lighting I want.  Here (above) you can see that sun providing a perfect full body “rim” light on my subjects.  This, and this alone dictated the spot in which I had them stand for this portrait.  The main lighting, was provided by my studio light… however the camera’s “base line” exposure was of course set for the ambient highlight first.  I am careful to choose a darker background for my subjects , as I am having to expose for some of the ambient and don’t want to pull the attention away. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-064I am shooting all natural light for this image on the porch (above).  I am standing on the ground (lower) then they are, and I found a little “patch” of openness in the flowers that surrounded the front of the rail.  I posed my clients in a way that brought them close to the edge (for the light quality), and then got my shot.  I very much like the composition, using the “space” for her shoes and playing from the color pink.
Miami-Engagement-Photographers-009This was an early morning shoot!  I don’t do enough of them and it’s a shame, because thats when all the colors are out in the sky 😉 (above image).  This was taken around 5:30am when it was just barely getting light outside.  The best colors (living on the easy coast) happens just before the sun comes up.  This is good, and bad.  Good, because I get stunning, color rich content like this.. bad, because this ambient light only lasts a few min, and then you are left with a very different look. (see below).  The image (above) was lit using a small handheld LED light!  The image (below) was lit using 1100 watts of power!  A radical difference that all happens in the blink of an eye.  This makes shooting at sunrise challenging, and can limit the amount of shots we are able to get. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-010The image (above), shows what I mean… now the sun is up, and is right in front of us!  Everything changes.  I am not saying it is not as good (that would be silly, it is a beautiful image) however, it will look much different then ones I took just a few moments ago (x2 above) as the sun is now climbing in the sky.  Now, taking a look at the image itself, it is showing some emotion, and tenderness which.. can be very hard for a photographer to get.  I have created something, that almost looks as if it were a movie that was “paused”.  Perhaps, they were just shipwrecked and washed up on shore.. no none knows.  But, it is timeless, and will always look great. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-011More from Natalie & Jose’s engagement session.  Now, I am shooting at the Biltmore Hotel.  Just look at the outfits!  I loved them.  For this shot (above) I am going for a more posed, “fashion” look and have used Jose as more of a “suggestion” in the frame by keeping him in the background.  For this image, I am in fact using all natural light, that is being re-directed with a large Sun Bounce panel camera right. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-012Without changing anything, I had Jose come over, grab Natalia from behind and give a kiss on her shoulder.  I told Natalie to “close your eyes, and enjoy the moment” and she did.  I racked my lens in to 200mm, and stepped to my right to get a slightly better point of view (above image). Miami-Engagement-Photographers-014Now we turned up the heat (and lighting).  Driving around, we found this old, abandoned car sitting in a parking lot.  I just HAD to get some shots with it!    Now, it’s worth mentioned that I have spoken about not letting the “location” dictate the shot, and always “go with the light”.  well.. this was a time, where that rule was broken, and thats because I knew I may never have a chance to get this, and because I was prepared to “minus” out all the ambient light, and replace it with my own.. which.. is –exactly– what I did.  Here, the camera is set to “black frame”.  Meaning, without my lighting there is no picture at all in the camera, it is well below the ambient level, so 100% of the data hitting the camera sensor is coming from my lighting.  Okay, so.. I have two lights here, one camera left up VERY high pointing down on the car / subjects.  This is gelled 1/1 CTO for the “warmth”.  Then, I have my assistant holding the boom stick with the main light camera right, which in this case was a small deep “octa bank”.  I wanted a sexy shot, so I have Jose make some moves on Natalie on that car.. and got this shot (above) Miami-Wedding-Photographers-001One of my favorite “silhouette” shots.  Here it was so easy, as I already had the lighting just as I wanted it. I simply, turned off my main light and repositioned the back light to create this image.  I love the hint of the car in the background, and all of the texture I am picking up with the ground, wall, and Natalia’s dress.   Attention was given to this pose to allow some breathing space around their legs, shoes, and upper bodies. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-023Another very early am shoot on the beach with Melissa & Steven’s engagement session.  Just like I talked about above, we had just a few min of this nice light / sky before things got too bright.  The lighting here was an LED static light camera right, on a very low power.  I love the simple lines in this shot, and how Melissa is making contact with her man via her leg.  Very romantic. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-024Now, the next several images (above, and x3 below) were all taken in a dance studio.  This is actually where they first met (dance lessons) and so they wanted to bring that into their session with me.  Let me tell you right now.. this was one of the hardest sessions I have ever done.  Period.  Getting that studio space cleaned up, free of distractions, and then getting my lighting into place was not an easy task, and if I ever do something like this again.. there is going to be a premium price for it!  It was a ton of extra work, but.. it paid off!  Image above, this is no pose.  This is c o m p l e t e l y captured in the moment of them moving FAST.  My lighting, and timing had to be on par!  Lighting here was two full length strip banks with grids camera left and right, and a beauty dish as a main light, slightly camera right.  Photoshop was used here but ONLY to remove the light stands that I could not avoid. Less then 2min edit. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-025Here, I wanted a more controlled look.. and to feature Melissa.  I used some smoke for a more “mystic” effect and gelled one of my lights red, and used it as a hair light.  This also helped to bring out the smoke camera right.  The main light, is the dish with a grid in very, very close to control the light spill. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-059Both the image (above) and (below) are more action shots.  I have created a small photo studio around them, and have directed them into the action so that I can get them into the light.  Not easy! Miami-Engagement-Photographers-060 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-026In this image (above) we were shooting at the “Gold Coast Railroad Museum“, and this was a very themed part of the session.  The image above I very much like, the rustic train car, and the hint of reflection from the small puddle on the ground all make some of the fine details that I aim for.  Lighting here was about a 50/50 mix of ambient and flash, powered by a large deep Octa bank (one I no longer use in fact) camera right, held by my assistant. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-027After walking around some… I spot this long silver train car and decided to make a more intimate capture.  Notice, that I don’t have Melissa’s back to the train.  I have specifically asked her to “arch” her back, and make minimal contact with the train car itself.  The little empty space that is present between her back, and the train car is very important to define her figure.  Her waist is pressed tight with Steven’s to bring them as close as possible, and I have ensured that I have some separation with her shoes so that they don’t blend together.  Lighting is with two remote lights, one camera right on a stand up high, and gelled 1/1 CTO, and the other is also camera right, and was a large deep “octa bank”. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-028This was the best shot from the session by far (above), it really was a “commercial grade” production.  First, what your looking at is not some “photoshop” trick..or “art” LOL. it was real, and was manufactured in the camera.  To start, Melissa told me for the save the date they wanted to create an image that was like they “were catching the train”, but she also told me that should would understand if I could not make that happen.  Now, I am not about to take some “gimmicky” photo of them trying to catch a train that is not moving.. so I started thinking “how can I make this happen”.  The train was not moving, not “powered”, and posed the first problem that needed to be solved.  I needed to bring it to life.  SO, I took three small speed lights, and gelled them all 1/1 CTO and placed them inside the train car aimed at the ceiling spaced several feet apart.  I put them all on the same channel so I could control them all at the same time with my remote.  Next, I needed to deal with the lighting on my subjects.  I used only one studio light, and had it camera left, bare bulb, and with a 20 degree grid (to control the spill, and prevent it from hitting the train itself) then carefully aimed it between them.  It only took me 2 or 3 “test” shots to get the lighting where I wanted it.  Okay, next was to get the “motion” of the train, and to a point them as well.  This was actually done in camera by use of a slow shutter speed.  I was somewhere down around 1/10, maybe 1/20 ish.  I braced the camera tight into my chest, and carefully panned the camera as I pushed the shutter.  I had to “pre focus” on my subjects, and then do this motion.  I took maybe.. 20 frames back to back, and none of them came out.  Then.. I saw this.  His face was in focus, and the rest fell off.. and thats –exactly– what I wanted.  To be clear, they were posed and not moving at all.  Only the camera moved.  I will say this.. it was very hard, and they took me, and my assistant out for a steak dinner, and drinks after this long day.. and it was very well deserved 🙂 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-033This is an interesting image (above), and is a wonderful example of what lighting can do.  Here, we are actually shooting in a bar (without people in it), as they wanted to have something that reminded of how they first met.  I’ll say that I like this image because (to me) reminds me of a movie.  It’s almost as if I were watching a movie, and I just hit the pause button.  Would you agree?  Anyway, for the technical details, the camera was set to almost “100% black frame”  This means that no data from the ambient was actually hitting the camera sensor.  In fact, the only thing that was.. was that light fixture way in the background camera left.  The background (blue) was two of my speed lights with a blue gel on them, aimed at the background to create a “mood” like the place was actually open.  The main lighting in this shot is actually coming from camera left in the back, and is more of a “backlight” then a main light.  The main subject (Amanda) was “filled” with a static LED light camera right, behind the bar.  The smoke is real, and my shots were timed based on that alone.  I have them both posed to evoke that initial feeling when we are out, and meeting for the first time, and I think it all came together beautifully! Miami-Engagement-Photographers-003Here is an image (above) that is using no artificial lighting at all!  This was 100% sun, both on them and on the wall behind.  So, we were strolling along in the “design district” of Miami, and saw this wall.  My god, could it have been any more perfect?  LOL.  The issue was, that the sun was very direct, and harsh for any other type of pose (looking at camera, or eyes open).. so.. I came up with the idea, to pose them in a way that would not require them to look anywhere near the camera.  This, then allowed me to expose for them (and the wall) all at the same time, and effectively use the sun as my main light. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-048Now, on to a much more romantic image (above).  In fact, our clients had just taken us (myself, and my assistant) out to dinner to kinda celebrate a full day of working together.  We had a great meal, and some drinks too! On the way out we saw this “back room” which also transformed into a club at night!  We asked if we could take some images, and the restaurant said sure!  So, here we go!  To get this shot, I had to stand on a small table and shoot downwards.  The lighting was very quick, and simple (video LED light) and I was sure to include some of the light fixture (camera right, top) so that it helped tell a bit more of the story, and “ground” the image.
Miami-Engagement-Photographers-050Right after we captured the romantic image (x2 above), we walked into the “club room” way in the back, and spotted this couch, with the erotic artwork above it.  My clients thought it would be a fun idea to “replicate the same thing”, as that picture (picture, in the picture) was also taken in this location.  So.. here we have it.  A very unique, “mirror” image of another picture, within a picture.  It’s worth noting, that I did not want to make it –exactly– the same, so some of the posing and expression was made to be “mine” vs. what someone else did.  I wanted it to be 90% like the other image, and 10% me.  🙂 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-004If you have read my post “10 things about me“, you will know that I love aviation.  So, when Kristin & Brad contacted me wanting to shoot with Jet’s and Helicopters I was 100% in!  To be clear, Brad is a police officer and yes, the gun is real 🙂  For the lighting here, it was three lights.. one on the lear jet camera right, and I used a 20 degree grid to keep most of it in shadow.  In the back of the helicopter, I have another light that is giving a little highlight to Chris, and the cockpit.  Lastly, I have a boom with a “beauty dish” camera right for them. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-046In this image (above, and below) it was all about the legs, pink shoes, sexy, and to feature Chris.  Lighting was a studio light directly behind to fill the frame with light, and to give them a nice “halo” of light around them.  On the camera side, I used a gridded dish to help control the spill camera left. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-047 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-005We were lucky enough to use Brad’s police car, however I did need to remove the markings in Photoshop to protect the identity of the unit.  This image (above) plays on the edge of a little romance, and fantasy if we are being honest.  What I love about it, beyond the actual content is I have exposed this in a way where I am using the police car lights to create the “mood” and as a source of the lighting in general.  The actual “main” light is a gridded beauty dish camera right, aimed right at Kristin. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-043Here we have Natalie & Kevin, and we were shooting in Key Biscayne (which is always a nice choice).  The day was getting close to sunset, and for the shot (above) I was able to just use all natural light.  I love this, because I am able to be very fast and accurate with the camera… and this will always lend me a more spontanious looking result.  It’s worth saying that on my sessions, it is a blend of different setups, looks, and even styles.   Miami-Engagement-Photographers-075Now, here (above) it may look almost like the image before it.  However, it’s not.  I am still in the same general location, and the sun is still doing what I want however I wanted to amplify what I saw in reality, and make it even a bit more powerful.  In other words, I wanted a tremendous amount of light to come and wash up my clients, when in reality the sun was in fact there… but… just very little.  So, I took my studio light, placed it on a stand camera right FAR away on full power and then positioned myself so that I got the “flare” from the light into my lens to create this effect.  The shot is further posed in a way to bring my vision to the camera sensor, and I get a very pleasing and very unexpected result. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-036We were honestly just walking slowly around, and I looked over and saw a trace of sunlight coming through the trees.  I brought my clients over to it, and then used the crates as a “prop”.  From there, it led me to have them seated, and then I just flowed a pose that made sense.  This is both interesting, and important because it had nothing to do with the location and everything to do with that tiny, tiny bit of “free hair light” that I got on them both.  I have said before, and LOL I’ll say it again.. never let the location fully dictate the shot, look to the light and make it work for you. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-017Speaking of making the light “work for you”, here (above) is an example where that was the case… however, no part of it was natural light.  This was 100% manufactured by my lighting.  I had a gelled 1/1 CTO 1100 watt lamp camera right, on a stand and then a 400 watt light (main) camera left.  I had the more powerful light as the “rim” because it was FAR away, and I needed the “throw’ of light to cover much more then just my subjects (as you can see the wall, trees, subjects, etc.) are all lit by this.  The smaller light, (just out of the frame camera left) was very close, and not much power was actually needed.  In terms of the actual picture, I love that I was able to in fact get a very “candid” capture and still use my lighting.  Generally this would have needed to be a “natural light” shot to keep a higher frame rate in camera to get some “lucky” shots.. however, I have practiced the art of timing, positioning, and by way of my own personality get my clients to do things they never thought possible.  In a way, I kinda have my cake, and eat it too 😉  Miami-Engagement-Photographers-051For this shot (above, and below) almost the same tech. setup as the image before it.  (in fact it was),  The only difference was power levels. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-052 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-001Funky Fresh!  I have been to the “design district” many, many times for shoots.  Here, Joe and Fran nailed it!  This was a great outfit, and worked so well vs. the artwork on the walls that had vivid color.  This image was shot using all natural light form the setting sun camera right.
Miami-Engagement-Photographers-002The image (above) was created on the beach after we had left the first location.  Right after I had them sit down, it started to rain.  I had just gotten the camera all set, and the lighting dialed in too.  They started to get up, and I said “hold on a second!”.  I then, proceeded to pose them and I got this beautiful image of the water being backlit.  It almost looks like snow.  This image is actually very popular, and in 2012 it was featured on the Weather Channel for a story that had to do with weddings during the “rainy season” in Miami. Miami-Engagement-Photographers-007This was another rainy situation on the engagement session.  Right after we started, it of course… started to rain.  LOL.  However, rather then stopping we decided to make it “creative” and use the rain for effect. I found a parking garage that provided some shelter, and then simply positioned them near the falling rain, put my light far away (also covered) and just had some fun.   Miami-Engagement-Photographers-008 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-013 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-015 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-016 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-018 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-053 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-055 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-020 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-040 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-065 Miami-Engagement-Photographers-076