I have shot, and been the “trusted advisor” for over 250 weddings during the past seven years. The thought of having to sit down, and “choose” my “best” work to showcase becomes a little silly because there is simply no such thing. The term “best” is so subjective. What you may feel is best, others may not. Everyone has their own opinions on photography, and thats a good thing… otherwise everyone’s work would all look the same. Hopefully, you are able to connect with my style and figure out what is best for you.
Below are some of my personal favorite images, that I happen to like. If you want to see more verity, be sure to check out my blog to see more content from different weddings. I have taken the time to talk about all the images below, and offer my commentary so that you can get a better feel on why I like them, what went into making them, and any extended thoughts I may have. 🙂
Julie & Joe’s wedding 2015 at the Westin Colonnade in Coral Gables. This shot of Julie with her eight “bridesmaids” has become viral within my brand. This was very much a “Vanity Fair” inspired image that existed in my head before I created it. I specifically worked with Julie before the wedding, and planned the entire “getting ready” process so that all eight girls were –actually– ready on time, and this shot was possible.
Wedding dress hanging in the window. However, here I am using powerful lighting to expose for the outside ambient light. This is what enables me to show the blue sky, and the beautiful building that was there. The “mirror” is not an “effect”, but actually created in camera by using the glass table what was in the room. I did this to have a very artistic capture, and I love it.
During any wedding “we” as photographers are always shooting some “detail” shots. Dress, Rings, Shoes, etc..etc.. and I think that is fine, and of course can look incredible. However what I feel is truly best, is to capture the details “with a heart beat”. What I mean for example.. is while that dress shot above (second image above, with the lighting) is impressive, and very artistic and extremely eye catching. It is just a “static shot” shot of a wedding dress. I am sure the dress designer loves it. However, for Julie it makes more sense to also have a shot that brings her into it. The shot above, shows that in a very elegant, and chic way. Now, I am showcasing the dress.. and Julie is the secondary as she is looking down and not making eye contact with the camera. Arguably in an album, this would be the winning shot. Both versions are great (and I take both), but one is much more “meaningful”. Here, her expression and eyes are just…stunning. This was taken with all natural light during the final stages of the makeup. I have controlled the ambient light in the room by “feathering” the curtain slightly closed to create that “drama” and separation so that she does not blend into the white wall into the distance. The term “photo journalistic” is an over used term in the wedding industry. Most people don’t truly understand what that really means. Basically, anyone taking images on the wedding day.. of –anything– can be considered a “photo journalist”. However, when I think of this term it really means that I am capturing moments that are “not posed” or are “natural”. All of the little moments that happen all through out the day etc. The shot above would lead you to think that this is exactly that. However, it’s not. It was a real moment all right, but the fact they are standing in the perfect light, they are holding hands, and they are looking at each other is all by my design. Julie had just finished getting into her wedding dress, and was very excited. All of the other girls, and mom were running around the room doing random things. It was me, that said.. “Okay, let me get mom, and maid of honor over here for a second” then, I bring in Julie to join. I knew what I wanted to create, I just needed it to look completely natural. My personality, the things that I say, the way I say them etc.. plays an incredibly important role in the images that I take. This image above really represents that, and I am willing to bet anything that in an album this would be a top pick. Now, the vail is on and Julie is ready to go. But, first.. lets move over to the window and get some more detail shots… of her. So, now I have the vail to play with and I want to also showcase all of her accessories, and her as well. I needed an “excuse” to pose her hands and this just came to me. I then pull the vail over to make it very soft and “romantic” and I get this (above). Joe getting ready. Here a close up of the cuff links, and the tie is left undone. I love this shot because of the lighting, and texture I was able to create. I had two windows to work with, and I sandwiched him between them. The grand staircase at the Westin Colonnade Coral Gables. This is an impossibly hard shot for a photographer to get, and get “right”. The issue here, is that the stairs are so far away from the “alter”, and that the room is naturally very dark and “mood” like. So, this means to get light on the subject (Julie and dad walking down) my regular on camera flash was going to be of no use. So, instead I installed two different remote flashes, and clamped them to the second floor. Before the ceremony started, I had my assistant stand on the stairs and we “aimed” them in the specific spots I wanted to get the shots. This, allowed me to have a very solid control of the situation and break the room down into different sections as it related to lighting. This shot now hangs proudly in the sales office at this hotel. If you want to see more from Julie & Joe’s wedding check out more images over on my blog. Leslie & David’s wedding. A Biltmore Weddings dream. This shot (above) was a little “risky”. Leslie is literally sitting on a wall, that is one story high. Sitting, in her “Vera Wang” wedding dress no less. Luckily, David was right by her side, and holding on tight so I could get the shot. Sure, we did not have to do it at all, and could have taken another “regular” shot standing somewhere outside the hotel.. but, I wanted to create something truly different and unique. I have never seen a shot like this done before, and I really loved how it came out. A shot that I have done before, and will continue to do at the Biltmore Hotel is this tree shot. It is so wonderful. I love shooting this with the wide lens, and in this case I am actually holding the end of Leslie’s vail near the camera for effect. The long flowing vail “mimics” the tall flowing tree branches, and is visually very appealing.
Here was an interesting shot (above). I wanted to create some movement, so I had them dance in place. I had a very powerful remote studio light that my assistant is holding onto, camera left hidden behind the pillar so that I could control the sky and background. I shot this from a very far distance at 200mm almost standing in the main lobby looking back (which is a few hundred feet away). I needed to do this, so that I could “compress” the archway to fit into the viewfinder, as I did not want to shoot with a wide lens, because it would have made them look too “small” in the frame. This was a truly “candid” moment with David getting ready.
Walking through the lobby at the Biltmore Hotel, and I see all the bell hops standing around not doing anything. I instantly spring into action, and put them to work for this unique stylized shot. I am using a remote flash in the background to pull more detail from behind Leslie. Maybe one of the most expensive wedding dresses I have photographed. Vera Wang. This shot, shows texture, dimension, and mood and of course a stunning dress. I love this shot of David looking at the wedding dress for so many reasons. Honestly, it’s become one of my fav. wedding images ever. Not only do we have the wedding dress and David, but also the flowers are sitting on the table as well. It is a great “flow” of imagery that leads the viewer to wonder what David is thinking about. Perhaps he is thinking about his new life that he is about to start? Perhaps he is thinking of how incredible Leslie is going to look in her dress? No one but David really knows for sure. The image (below) of Leslie, wrapped in the vail is much of the same and was very important to capture so that in an album situation the two images can be paired up to “tell a story”. A Biltmore Hotel Wedding. Just look at this stunning room! I have shot weddings in this room with over 300 people before, and it’s always incredible each time. Now, if you have been reading along you will know that I spoke about shooting “static” detail items vs. shooting them with more meaning from Julie’s images. Honestly, I’d rather be doing more of that on the wedding day then this. However, just look at this ring shot! I mean, this could be the poster child for that ring manufacture for a long time to come. The crazy thing.. is that I shot this in about 30 seconds on top of a glass table at the Epic Hotel. Alyssa (above), just looks very elegant in her wedding dress. The warm tones, and “soft” manner in which this image was taken just strikes me.
In the other room, we have Mark getting ready. I basically came into the room, set the “stage” for images, and moments to happen by controlling the lighting, and then let him get ready with very little input from me. In this shot, I love how it is “real” and at the same time looks like a magazine ad. Whenever I have a group of guys all together on the wedding day, it’s great to get a shot like this. Something that shows love, and support for the man getting married. Here, I took Mark placed him near the window and then took all of the other guys and “built” them around him. I let them go and joke around, and I am adding to the fire by saying things to spark reactions, and emotion. It’s always a fun time. Another “static” shot of the wedding dress. This was totally done “in camera”, and there is no “photoshop” of any kind. I am standing in the doorway at the Epic Hotel, and the dress is hanging on the glass. I have my assistant holding a powerful flash to one side, and I am placing my lens directly on the glass to get this effect. This shot, another “static” detail image was an accident, and turned out so much better then I could have done. Here I am taking care of Jimmy Choo by shooting this in a way that would look like a magazine ad. I simply went out on the balcony, and use my flashes to get the exposure I wanted. The “accident” was getting that flare from behind. That was one of the flashes, and I loved how it all came together. This image of Jackie shot at the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables is very timeless and elegant. I have over exposed this image to give a slightly washed out look. I really love this shot, because it shows her beautiful wedding dress so well, and the tones in the room are very “regal”. Looking down is always a great vantage point for creative shots. It can be very hard to “pull it off” however, and I always try to shoot things in a way that makes sense, and not just for the sake of doing it. In this case, I posed Jackie by the piano and told her to think about “the rest of her life” while looking at the window. I had already shut down most of the window light in the room to create the drama this type of shot really calls for, and then once I was in position on the second floor of her suite, I told her to pull down on the end of her vail so her arm, had something to do and was not just by her side. The lighting of this ball room was incredible. Blue they wanted, and LOL blue they got! This was taken just seconds before all the guests would enter the room to be seated. I wanted to “show off” Jackie’s figure for a kinda “sexy” shot. I have posed her, aiming her waist away from camera, bending the leg closest to camera, and then having her face turn back toward her man (and my light). This created the lines I wanted, and resulted in a very flattering shot of her! Admittedly, Christian (groom) is more of a “prop” here in this shot LOL, but that was the whole idea. For what it’s worth I did other variations of the same thing for them.. it’s just that “I” liked this one best. Here is what I refer to as a “layered” shot. I have taken the subjects (bride and sister) and positioned them in the location / lighting I wanted.. then.. rather then having a “dead space” lingering in the background (which still would have looked okay).. I decided to take mom, and dad who where walking around getting things ready to go, and place them in the background. This (in my opinion) makes for a very creative, loving, and story telling image that will no doubt look great when placed along side of all of the other images from their day. Image (above), I have posed my bride in the dining room of moms house and I wanted to show the back of the dress, and the detail in her hair (for this shot). I did not want her to make eye contact with the camera, and keep the focus on those two things. My assistant is holding my flash camera right. After the shot we just did (x2 above) I then wanted to show the front. So, I moved very close to some large sliding glass doors and used the window light as a main light source. I had noticed the “fall off” of light (meaning it was getting too dark behind her) so I added some “pop” by using a simple flash camera right to “separate” her from the now too dark background. I looked at the camera LCD and was very happy with this result (above).
This is a very “artistic” shot and to be clear… I also take all the “traditional” shots on the wedding day too LOL. It’s just that one or two where I think I can make something extra special or really stand out. For shots like this to happen many things need to kinda fall into place… I need the right client that will appreciate something like this, I need some time to “come up with the shot”, and it most importantly needs to all make sense in some way. Here, I shot this at the Addison Reserve Country Club on the wedding day. My bride Natalie, did not want to go outside at all on the wedding day because it was extremely hot, and humid (can’t blame her either). I was in a position where I needed to come up with something creative, as most of the truly great shots that I had in mind were all outside LOL.. so, I look over and I saw this image in my head. I saw the painting, and the light that was shining down. I then took Natalie, and posed her in a way that would give an “excuse” for her to look up, so that the light would hit her face. The dress, now had hard shadows on it (which is the goal) to show texture, and dimension. The chairs I deliberately left in the frame to provide some foundation and symmetry. The result is undeniably stunning. Even the light shape (rain drop) “pouring down” is very artistic. Natalie loved this image 🙂
Here is another creative shot I did on the wedding day. This was taken on the second level of the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Miami. This was actually my first time here, and we were on the way down from her room to get my SUV from Valet, when the elevator stopped for another guest on the 2nd floor. I happen to look out, and see this! I quickly said, “lets all get out here for a sec.”. About 2min later I had both the above, and below images in my camera and THEN I was ready to go back down and get my car from Valet! Lighting here is one medium soft box camera left, shot at 200mm laying flat on my back and my face was literally pressed into the floor. Where is waldo? LOL. Yeah, this shot looks incredible BIG on the wall (where it belongs). Here I am at the Biltmore Hotel again with Marjorie & Juan on their wedding day. We had just wrapped up some of the styled images near the big tree (see a few images below) and were walking back to the hotel. I noticed, that the building itself was in perfect light. The sun, was –exactly– centered with it, and the shadows were totally even on both sides! This is something that is rare to just “catch”. So, I then posed them in a way in which they would not make contact with the camera (she is looking back at him, while he holds the dress) and I was able to get this landscape shot! Notice, I have my clients inside of the “dead space” on one of the columns and not near anything else. This was important, because if anything was of distraction to them.. it would not be as good. Marjorie in the “Merrick Suite” at the Biltmore Hotel on the wedding day. Let me tell you… if you want to get ready at the Biltmore, and have the resources I would encourage you to get ready in this room. It is the second best room in the entire hotel, and will offer you STUNNING images and plenty of room. Here, I am standing on the coffee table (glass I might add) to get the vantage point I wanted. My assistant is holding a very powerful static light source camera right to provide the “glamour” lighting I wanted. Great attention was give to the pose, and position of her legs to ensure a flattering shot. Sitting in a wedding dress is not easy (not that I have tried them on, LOL but you know what I mean!). Ah yes, here we go. This is me putting everything together as I see it. First, I have the “backlit” shot I want of Marjorie standing in front of the door / window. I then created “shape” to the dress with her lower body / legs / hips. Then, I posed her arms so that they were not distracting at all, and created a very symmetric look. This is slightly mimicked with the large curtains above if you look close. I had to open the door to create some “breathing space” for her head, otherwise it would have been competing for attention with the frame work of the windows. I got low so that I could get the top of the archway, and at the last min I had my assistant pull the glass table over to me (which I had to practically lay under to get this shot), and then finally I bought the vail right up close to the lens. The first frame looked great, and then I was sure to “line up” the horizon line (outside) with the window frame on the door. This ensured that the shot was straight (I could not breath crunched up under that table) and that it would not be distracting. It’s worth mentioned that the glass table “mirror” trick, while very artistic also “hides” some of the not so great looking part of the floor. This, in my opinion is not something I want to really show. Lastly, for my client they got a few frames without the table, just in case they for some reason would not have liked this image 🙂 Oh, all of this.. took place in less then 3min. Moving that glass table (and putting it back) was the hardest part for us. Nothing too fancy going on here, however I loved the colors I got in this frame. The time of day played the biggest role. My assistant is holding a powerful studio flash camera right for proper control. I have only been to the Boca Resort twice. I hope to go back again soon, as there is so much there I would love to spend more time and shoot. In this case, I had some clients that were referred to me by another photographer who could not shoot their wedding (he was going to be a “groomsman” in this wedding). Just before the wedding, they gave me a detailed “shot list” of “must have” shots to take on the wedding day. This is a topic all in it’s own, but I will cut to the chase and tell you that it’s generally not the best idea… for many reasons. Well, long story short after I took all the shots that they thought they wanted… I then said “okay guys.. real quick, lets try this” I then took my assistant and placed him behind the stairs with a powerful studio light, and got my clients to “humor me” for 1 min. I placed them on the staircase, and simply had them smiling at one another.. being very careful to leave a little space between their heads (so they won’t blend together). and I got this shot. This image, was so much more impactful, and artistic then anything else they (or anyone else) could have “told me” to do. Danny here showing the “boys” at the Ancient Spanish Monastery in North Miami. Just a fun shot, and I like how the pose and “feel” ended up looking. Then.. moments later it started to rain. Hard. Eli, (bride) was not even close to being worried about it. In fact, I was joking around with them that “we should get some shots in the rain”. Well… talk about trusting me. She said “okay, lets do it”. We ALL got soaked, thankfully I was able to shoot all of this “natural light”, and my Pro camera (Canon 1DX) is water proof. I started here with them walking in the rain. Here, a close up with them using the vail in the rain. I mean, could this have been any more romantic? Have you ever heard the term “Photographers post their “lucky” shots, and thats why some people’s work looks so good? Well, here you go (above). This was my “lucky” shot. I am being completely honest, I did not give any direction for this frame, other then where to stand and where to look. Deborah (bride) just grabbed her man, pulled him in tight, and gave this “Vogue” look that just about melted the camera’s memory card. LOL. Shot with all natural light. This is really the only “lucky” shot that I am showing in this portfolio tho 😉
My bride here (Danielle) who had a beautiful home based wedding, had just finished with the “getting ready” and we were moments before the ceremony and I took this shot. I used the strong backlight of the window / door to fill the room with light, and I then shaped her dress by posing her legs under (to give shape) my assistant “fluffed” the bottom of the dress, and I held the vail in my hand while I snapped away. What I like about it, is that everything was very balanced in the frame. The pictures on the wall, the crown molding, the door, etc. all were very symmetrical. Shot at the Wyndham Grand Jupiter on the wedding day. This “sky bridge” was just stunning. Unbelievably, my assistant is actually outside camera left standing on a near by balcony with a remote flash to provide some fill light through the glass. I had to use my cell phone to communicate with him. I love this shot because of the strong lines, and the “visual effect”. The small splash of color from the flowers made it extra special. This image above is quickly becoming another one of my all time fav. shots! This was shot in a matter of seconds in the lobby of the Wyndham Grand Jupiter on the wedding day. This one is interesting, because I have positioned the light in a way to create a “spotlight” on the wall. Then, I have turned my clients just enough where I can get them to clearly come out in the shadows on that spotlight, on the wall. The “repeating pattern” of the light balls is a great effect that leads the eye directly into them, and because this shot is more about the “graphics” and creative composition no eye contact was called for. Just a nice, romantic moment. Nice, and easy for them. Oh, yes.. classic me.. found a small glass table in the lobby.. and this was moved into position for my use to give that “mirror” that I love so much. To be clear, yes.. I also took about 20 other frames, and some were more close up, and did not have that “mirror” effect, however as a stand alone image presented in a gallery like this.. this take was the winner for me. So, where would you guess I am here? (above). Anyone? Would you think I was standing in the main lobby of the Coral Gables Country Club? I took the image, and even I have a hard time believing it. Let me say.. I have seen this image printed large (24×36) and it is just breath taking in that size. It truly looks like they are in some other world, caves, etc. How did I do it? Simple. I had one too many ice tea’s and had to goto the bathroom. I went to where all the guests were going, and found myself in a line! So, I turned around and thought “there must be another bathroom”.. so, I went around to where the other ball rooms were on the opposite side of the venue.. and as I turned the corner I saw this large painting on the wall! I stopped, and immediately turned back to get my assistant and my clients.. I told them “I have an idea, come with me”. I posed them a good distance away from the painting, and used a speed light to light the painting, and my assistant used a static light on my clients (two of them in fact). The “effect” was caused by the compression of using a long telephoto lens at 200mm. This made the background “larger then life”, and I knew when I had walked by that this painting (at 200mm) would fill the frame. Bingo. Thats all I needed, and I confidently walked away with an award winning image. This all took about 4min to setup and shoot, and will be on my clients wall for a lifetime. After I got the image, I proceeded to the bathroom. Amy & Neil’s wedding at the Kampong was just so beautiful. Really, I love this place and can’t wait to go back this coming year (2016 booking). The image (above) is just a nice, solid, traditional, lets put this in a nice frame for the fireplace kinda shot. It show’s them, nice expressions, just beautiful lighting and if you look close even Amy’s beautiful flowers sitting on the edge of the bench. Lighting here was late day sun shining at their backs, this gave a pretty nice “separation” from the background, and then I used a 400watt studio light to balance things out. I don’t think I even used any diffusion on this one. More fun at the Kampong… this time, I wanted to create a dynamic “fun” shot of the two of them. So often, people can be too “serious” in images so I always try and get a good balance of shots in an actual wedding day. This is a good example of that (above). Looks easy right? Not a chance. Here was the entire “creative process” that took maybe 4min to shoot… First, I found the exact spot where I wanted them to walk and started them at the top of the path. Then, on the first take I had them hold hands, and looking at each other walking along. It was “good” but, I knew I could do better.. and.. I wanted to show Amy’s shoes and a little “leg”. SO.. I told them, “okay, that was good.. lets do it one more time” this time, I had Neil hold the back of Amy’s dress, and now with Amy’s hands free.. had her hold up her dress (and that also made it even easier for her to walk along). I gave the flowers to Neil to hold because I thought it would be cute, and I did not want his free hand just flopping around. They started walking, and about half way down the path I tell them to FREEZE!, I yell (and I mean I am laughing, and yelling myself) to Neil, “don’t move your foot, and pull her in for a kiss on the cheek!” he does, and they start laughing (because I am also laughing) and I get the shot I wanted. Notice too.. that when I said “freeze” that I stopped based on Amy’s stride. Her camera front leg is crossed over the other, and this is a very flattering pose for her. Whenever I “snap a pic” of a women walking, I always pay attention to her legs. When the one leg is crossed over the other, this is the most slimming position to take the image. Oh, lighting was tricky.. I actually had to have my assistant “track them” while they were walking with the studio light. I had to really, really pay attention and time my shots correct, as the studio light has to “recycle” power from shot to shot, and that takes about 2 seconds. This shot is the album cover. 🙂 Here is a genuine, raw, happy moment. (above). I am several, several feet away with a long telephoto lens and I am just cleaning house with emotional shots. This one, tells the whole story. So many people in this shot too, are so happy. I absolutely love it. On this very point, when I am shooting a ceremony I am not looking into my camera “squinting” like most people do. I look straight through my viewfinder, just like I was looking at you normally and I am using my other eye to watch everything around me. When I see mom, dad, a bridesmaid, etc.. cry, or have any type of emotion.. I am capturing it. Melissa & Leo’s Wedding at the Westin Colonnade. Here I have a very simple shot of Melissa with her MOH (maid of honor). I posed them inside of the bridal suite, on the stairs and used all natural light. I love this room –so much– because of the two story window, and the curtains that can be “feathered” in any direction to control what the ambient lighting will look like! I think I have shot at this hotel more then any others in my career, and I know it like the back of my hand. A very powerful shot on it’s own. This is the main staircase at the Westin Colonnade, and have taken Leo and posed him in a way of “security”. Think about “James Bond” coming to the rescue, and that ball of flowers in his hand is the gun. This was –actually– what I said too. I have Leo’s arm straight and “strong” along with his stance. His shoulders are back, and he has become the “rock”, Meanwhile, I wanted the opposite look for Melissa. I wanted her to look as if she was being chased by someone, and was fearing the worst. Lighting here was a studio light on remote camera left on the second level with a 20 degree grid (to control spill), and my assistant is actually holding a 13 foot (thats no joke) boom with another light for the main light. I have the light positioned in a way that is very “directional” and not “flat” to evoke more “mood” and pull out details in the wedding dress, which I achieved. Yeah, you can relax.. I am never going to “make you” stand on a table in the middle of a busy hotel lobby and ask you to give me your best pose. LOL. Or will I? So, the deal here is simple.. I had an idea to create a very “interesting” shot, and was pretty sure it would be worth giving it a try. I’ll be honest, sometimes things don’t work out, and thats okay. This time , that was not that case. This shot looks like a fashion ad. Melissa, on the high from all the energy we had going on while shooting was pretty flexible to do anything I said. You have to understand (and appreciate) that as a busy wedding photographer that attends so many weddings, and all in the same places there comes a time when I just want to “break the mold”. Here it is. Risky, bold, and stunning. I broke the mold on this shot, and I am so glad that I tried doing something that was a little crazy. Lighting here was nice and simple, one octa bank camera left, and very “directional” for the main.. and no other. The “baseline” in the camera was set for the hotels light (top of the picture). I can’t honestly remember if the shot (above) was taken by me, or my assistant. It may have been my assistant. Either way, we are on the same page LOL. Raw, emotion in the car arriving at the church with dad. Melissa’s mother specifically asked me “can you get a shot from the back when she walks down the isle”, I tried my best to say “I don’t think that will be possible”, simply because I am standing up front (for obvious reasons) and I have my assist watching other people, and the groom. so.. I don’t roll with three assistants LOL, and I had no idea how I could do this and make everyone happy. So, rather then saying “no”, I did some thinking and I did it! How? Well.. I had to build in a little extra time into the timeline to get to the church just a little sooner so I could setup a third “un manned” camera. I took my “backup” camera out, and mounted it to the balcony with a special clamp. I used my assistant, and focused the camera in a specific spot on the isle, and programmed the camera for “manual focus”. Then, I installed a “radio slave” on this camera, and I took the remote and placed it on top of my camera. This way, when ever it was “on” and I was shooting, it would also automatically trigger this remote camera too! It was brilliant, and worked perfect. This was my assistant all the way (above) Check out that close up of the ring shot! “You may now kiss your bride”, so this is always a tricky situation for photographers. Now, we need to instantly change all the camera settings, turn on a flash, and walk backwards to capture you, the bridal party, mom’s, dad’s etc all coming back down the isle. So.. this image (above) is exceptional because, I am not using any “on camera” flash at all. I hate that “look” that it gives. So, here what I did was install two off camera flashes on clamps to the second story balcony in the church before the ceremony started. I “pre programmed” my fancy “pro” camera for the flash settings that I would need at this very moment, by using my assistant as a “test dummy”. LOL. Once I was happy with the result, I turned off the remote on my camera and was set. When the time came, I simply pressed one button on my camera to switch over modes, and flipped on the transmitter to activate the lighting and I got this. A texture rich image that has dimension, and looks stunning.
That moment just before the kiss. This moment, I love even more then the kiss. It’s just as exciting to look at as it is in practice. This beautiful capture I love because of the expressions (or lack there of) on their faces, and the lighting / composition. It’s not all the time where I actually have a “foreground” in my images.. this time, I did and it was great. I shot through a flower / plant with a long lens and got this “I am a fly on the wall” prospective. Lighting here is actually quite powerful.. I shot the first take with no backlight, and it was.. meh. “okay”. Then.. I powered up my Ranger pack.. and dialed in 1100 watts of power (needed to over power the ambient) and got this incredible bead of light around them in broad daylight. Same location as above, and almost the same lighting (except now I have two lights going on). I had already got some romantic shots, and some other “fun” shots.. so now it was time to get some more “styled” looking shots. I wanted a pose that had some “flow” to it. I absolutely can’t stand when “photographers” take “static” “flat” images of their clients. Because of this, it has become very easy for me to “shine through” with my work, as I take a very different approach to how I create my work. Here, I have them “leaning” into the camera to create a little “dynamic” and have posed each of them to flatter each the best I can.
I shot this on the wedding day, in the building in which my bride lived. She got ready at home, in an apartment building in Brickell. In the main lobby, they had this “blue chair” and I loved how it matched some of the flowers she was holding. Lighting was very simple (all natural) and I exposed for her, and then some. This let the bright window light flood the room, and I got a nice result. I walked into this hotel room, and I had very little to work with in terms of “where to shoot the dress”. The main living room was packed with hair, and makeup people and several bridesmaids.. (you should read this article if you want the best getting ready shots..) and this then left just the smaller “bed room” to work with. There was one window, and I was not too impressed with just shooting the dress hanging there on it’s own. While I did take that shot (just to have it), I knew that I could do something better, and more artistic. So, we moved the glass table from the living room into the bed room, and I shut the curtains almost all the way. This, allowed the light to come through the back of the dress, and create this “glow”. Because the rest of the dress (and room for that matter) is now dark, the contrast is pretty amazing. The final touch was to get my camera lens as close as possible to that glass table, and I walked away with this shot, made completely “in camera”. (below), is much of the same, but for the shoes. I left the dress in the back ground as a “graphical element” and to prevent the frame from getting too dark. By using a high “compression” lens I was able to make that dress in the back look much larger then it actually was. Natalia (above) is all dressed and ready, and I wanted to get some shots of her alone in the dress. Here, I simply used a bare wall for the background, and by my “feathering” the curtain I could control the amount of contrast I had. I love this look for her, I have her arms posed in a way that create a small space between her body, further “showing off” her attractive figure. I am shooting on the “shadow side” of her face, and letting the natural light shine in camera left. Natalie again, here is the “garter” shot. This is a sexy shot for her, and for her groom 🙂 It will look nice in the album along side the other getting ready shots I took. Here is Josue, Natalia’s man. He was getting ready in the next room over and was easy for me to pop on over and get some shots of him also getting ready. Here, I positioned him near the window and again by controlling the “fall off” of light, was able to get the type of shot I wanted. It’s important to note, that I “myself” shoot both the bride prep, as well as the groom prep on the wedding day. I actually design the timeline to support this, and is very important so that images “match up” and make sense. Now, when I take this image, and place it along side of the other images that I took of Natalie “getting ready”, it will tell a story like no other. This will always give the best results.
Another close up ring shot 🙂 Natalie & Jose on the wedding day. This was shot out on the golf course, in mid day nasty sun. Trust me, it was not a pleasant condition to be working in. It was hot, and very, very “bright” outside. I was able to control the lighting here by way of a VERY powerful 1100 watt strobe camera left, on a boom stick held by an assistant. I then, had one of the bridesmaids come along and help hold the vail so that it would look like the wind was taking it (it was not windy). I love this image, because of the clean, concise composition and beautiful light. A few steps away from the above image, I saw this little “pond”. It had something to do with golf (I am not a golfer, so I have no idea) and we walked over. I placed them near the edge, and I underexposed the water a bit, and got this. A totally different look from before, and it only took seconds. One of the key things here is keep some “separation” from each of them so that they do not “blend” together too much. This last one I am choosing to showcase from Natalie & Jose’s wedding day is unique, because it is not what it may seem. So, hopefully to you, (the “viewer”) it looks like the sun is setting behind and creating some nice beautiful light, and that I took advantage of that and used the vail.. etc.. Right? Wrong. LOL. I wish that were the case.. Rather, the sun went away completely at this point and now the light has changed and is nothing special at all. So, I used my lighting and “gelled” one of them (CTO 1/1) which basically gives the light an “orange” color. I used this, and powered it up until I had the “look” I wanted and got a very nice, and unexpected shot like this. Something to think about.. it’s one thing to see an image like this (and all the others that I show) and think that may look nice, etc.. however.. for the client (Natalia & Jose) in this case, they knew there was no light going on. They never expected shots to look like this, so when they see them…. they are blown away. All of these images are very relative to each, and every wedding in some way or another. Whats not to like here, three beautiful women posed well, in good light! This was taken at my first Indian wedding in up state New York. I love the color, and the contrast of this image. It was something that was taken as I was just walking by the hotel. They were all ready, and I wanted to get a “quick shot”. For this shot of Ruby & Shire on the wedding day, we walked over to this stunning castle structure that was near where the ceremony had taken place. The “tones” in this shot are what make it so nice. I have used my lighting in a very directional way (camera left) and have selected a background that compliments the red colors very well.
This is the same location (above, and below), just wanted to show you some different view points. There I am in the grooms room with the guys “getting ready” Some still needed to finish up, and I saw all of these nice items and thought, lets make a magazine ad! First (above) I took everything and put it tougher on a glass table. I then exposed the camera for the outside, and used a simple off camera flash to lit it. Then, the groom told me how much his watch cost, and how important it was to him.. and decided to take one of just that (below) LOL. On that watch shot.. notice that nice warm tone on the band? Yes, I actually used two lights to get this. The “rim” light was gelled CTO 1/1. My stunning bride Sarah, and her maid of honor finalizing the back of the dress. Again, (for me) it’s all about having that lighting in control. I have adjusted the curtains to allow “some” light into the room, but not to “flood” the room with light. I have then, shown Sarah where she should stand, and then I just sit back and let the moments happen. So, while I have a great deal of control on “how” the images come out, I am also letting for free moments to happen all through out the day. I basically just “set the stage” for moments to happen. After Sarah, and all the girls were ready we stepped outside at the Boca Resort and I found a little space where the light was just… perfect. At times, photographers can be “seduced” by a location and not see the “light”. For example, arguably there was better “backgrounds” somewhere at the Boca Resort to use for some shots like this. However, the light was not. In photography, I have been very successful in finding the best light, and using that to leverage the best shots. This is far more important then allowing a “location” dictate where a shot should happen. So, here (above) and (below) the images have a gorgeous backlight that was created from the sun. This is what I needed. It evokes a fun, warm, and loving emotion. Lighting for the (above) image was assisted by a bare bulb flash camera right and the one just below was all natural light as they walked. It’s also worth noting that in the walking shot, I had found a spot in the pavement that was not in shadow, and this was very bright. This patch of road was just barely in front of the camera frame. This acted as a “natural reflector” and was bouncing light back into the girls. THIS is what dictated where I was going to have them walk, as I needed some fill light on them A beautiful ball of flowers 🙂 My wife loves this shot, and so here it is. Plain and simple. I gotta listen to her once in awhile LOL. This was lit with an LED video light camera left, and yes.. I do like how it came out. Here we go, this was one of the fastest shots I think I have ever done (above). Things were starting to run a little late, and the car was there at her house waiting to bring her to the venue… She also had a video team there capturing content, and I had a split second to “take a look, at what i’m looking at” and I saw this image form in my head. The second the video guys cleared the frame, I posed her body, and had her look off camera for this capture. The lighting was a simple, on camera flash that was used off camera (left) and the car, as well as background was lit by the sun. By shooting it this way, I was able to retain all of the color, and detail in every part of the frame. This, to me, could fit right into any magazine. Another “static” ring shot. This was actually completely lit by the sun!. I was in the house, and decided to go outside to have a look around.. and I saw this “bush” that was mostly yellow. The sun was high in the sky, and I was able to use it to my advantage here. Shot with a Macro 100mm at around f/4. Here we are with Oylime (bride), her mom, and grandmother at the Cooper Estate. This was a quick capture that happened just before the ceremony actually started as people were starting to arrive. The light was perfect then, and I placed the sun behind them, and used all natural light for the shot. Such a soft, and meaningful image to have. I am sure they will love this image forever 🙂 The Cooper Estate is truly a very unique property. As you can see (above) the main barn / dinning area is just stunning. The image (below) is of the “Brides Cottage” and I just love how it all looks. The “Grotto” at the Cooper Estate. This is where they have the actual ceremony. This was an evening wedding, and I love the candle lighting. This was a capture from my camera, and I just love how there is a tiny space between their lips, and camera left we have maid of honor, and the child all gasping in excitement. I remember this wedding like it was yesterday, and it was a blast! Zipping up the back of the dress. It’s always nice to have all the girls (if they are ready) to come, and be apart of this process. I love shots like this, because I can “fill the frame” with people, and make images that are very meaningful. This maybe a good time to mention an article that I have written on this very topic. It would be well worth taking a second and read “5 Getting Ready Tips” This was an interesting image (and situation) (above). Here my bride Maria had just finished the “getting ready” process, and was ready for some create shots of just her. I was at a hotel, in which the main lobby was PACKED with people, and there were literally no other viable inside locations. It was about to down pour rain (note the dark clouds behind), and going outside was something that took a lot of guts to suggest. But… I did, and we quickly went out and got this capture. Now, I must say… that I am using a tremendous amount of lighting here to make this look as good as it does. I have a gelled back light camera left up on some stairs, to give a nice “separation” of her vs. that wall. Next, I have a small beauty dish on a boom, held by my assistant for the main light. I have under exposed the sky for some drama, and got a nice shot. This (specific) shot with her not looking at the camera is all about the dress, her flowers, and just “looking beautiful”. It goes without saying, that I also took other variations looking at camera. 🙂 One of the “most fun” brides I have ever worked with. She was in the bedroom trying on her shoes, and at the same time the flowers came. I said, “you should lay back, and kick your feet up while smelling the flowers”. and she did. It made for a unique shot that shows many of the details “with a heart beat” (if you have been reading from the top, you know what I mean). So here.. I got shoes, flowers, and her final makeup all in one fun, sexy, capture. Now, of course I also shot all of those images “statically” but, this was the more meaningful shot by far.
Speaking of rain.. here it is again.. about to roll in. HARD. This was just moments before the ceremony too.. and she is so easy going. I kept assuring her that the images I am getting are beyond stunning, and for her not to worry. Here, (above) I have the sliding glass door in the hotel room open and I am standing back 200mm worth of distance to “compress” this shot as much as possible. I have one 400 watt strobe camera right for the “rim” light, and another connected to a beauty dish camera left as the main light, held by my assistant on a boom stick. This was Layda and Chris after the ceremony. It had rained, and was very humid. We quickly got this shot walking back to the reception room at the Hilton Key Largo Resort. I had spotted this tree area near the beach, and I actually used a studio light gelled with a 1/1 CTO camera left to create the “effect” of a sun set on the trees. Then, my assistant held the main light on a boom camera right for them. Here we are on the dock at the Hilton Key Largo Resort, and the sun was setting. I quickly grabbed Layda & Chris, and brought them down for this stunning shot! What you don’t see… is my assistant holding a 13–foot boom, camera right with a light attached to the top, standing on the VERY edge of the dock! This shot of the Manolo Blahnik shoes, and the ring shot (below) go together and I am showing them together, to showcase how I try and use “tonality” on the wedding day. In other words.. I shot the shoes (above) like I did, using a brownish / red background.. so, I kept this in mind when I shot the other details (like the ring) so that when you pair up the images in an album, blog post, etc.. everything tends to “make sense” and match. So many people will shoot one thing one way, and another a totally different way, and while the images may look nice on their own.. it often looks “un-easy” when paired together in an album. It’s worth noting that I like to submit my weddings to many publications, and wedding blogs.. and I have been educated over the years on what “they” look for, and what actually makes for a print worthy wedding. This is one of the keys.. keeping things in proper and consistent tone will look incredible once you start looking at the wedding as a whole. I love this “final touch” image taken on the wedding day. The room in which she was getting ready was rather dark, and I decided to “pop” some highlights from the back, and further gel them a nice warm tone. The main light, was all natural, and when she was completely done with the makeup I had her move to this spot right next the window light. Now, when you do that (get the subject super close to the window light) the background is going to get darker and darker.. so this is why I needed to use my lighting in the back so that her hair did not fall too much out of detail. Later that day, out on the golf course at the Miami Shores Country Club, I got this beautiful shot of them together with the sun setting in the background. I love this shot simply because of the sunset, and the soft lighting on them.. which was provided by a simple reflector. Texture, Dimension & Mood. That’s why I love this image (above) of the table setting. In a dark room like this, lighting is key and I have used the light to “cut across” all the items on the table to introduce some shadows. This creates an image that pops, and is filled with wonderful details. More rain on the wedding day! The shot (above) was taken on the wedding day where it had been raining all day, and all night. It give me a ton of creative freedom, as the “expectation” now from the client was that “I am not going to get good shots”.. which was the farthest thing from the truth. So, I walked around the reception, and I found this little spot near where the cooks were making the food for the guests. I saw the french door, and more importantly I saw it was covered from the rain. So… I got my clients in position, and used a flash to create the mood I wanted, and to also show the little rain drops as they fell. Final touches for makeup, this shot was incredible because of the “color” that was retained. Her eyes, and all the vibrant colors camera left from the makeup all blended in to create this rich looking image. This was a quick “snap shot” of my bride before we had to head off to the church. Standing in the entrance of the rotunda at the Westin Colonnade in Coral Gables. I have “framed” her between the curtains, and in the middle of the purple lit columns. For lighting, I used two. One was on a stand camera left, giving that light to her vail, and to ensure that she did not just blend into the background. Then, the main light was a small soft box on a boom, held by my assistant camera right. Capture was done in about 2min. Getting ready at “moms house”. I love this shot, so much. First, I spotted the “dining room table” as a location right away that I knew I wanted to use for a creative shot. Once my bride was ready, I brought her over and had her posed behind one of the chairs. I have taken careful attention to the detail, and if you will look.. there is a small symbol on the chair back of two figures that are symmetrical. I wanted to “mimic” this with her arms, and hands on the chair back. Next, I gave some “shape” to her by having her cross one leg over the other and further, “leaning” into the frame a bit. I also ensured that I had the vail hanging on both sides to keep the attention on her. From 200mm away (across the entire house in this case) I was able to “compress” the background, and foreground so that it was all about my beautiful bride. Lighting was a GL1 “gun light”. camera left. The sun had just gone down, almost completely. Only a sliver of light remained, and was “tickling” the tree behind my subjects. I had them come over, and stand near it. I put them into a “romantic” pose, and used a “gun light” to place the light on them. This is another good example, of NOT letting the “location” dictate shots.. and to be able to “see” the light, and make creative shots happen.
Now, back inside at the Coral Gables Country Club I wanted to get a shot that was creative, and would show them together at the “sweetheart table”. I had my assistant stand camera left with the LED light, and I got this capture. I shot this gorgeous image of my bride as she was walking to her man. It was done in all natural light with my 85mm 1.2 L lens. I was shooting pretty “wide open” at f/2, and dialed in a super fast shutter to prevent any blurred images. This was not a “first look” or anything like that.. it was literally just something I came up with on the spur of the moment while at the reception. I looked out the window while best man had just finished his speech, and noticed… the.. light. I just needed a few seconds with them, and I knew I could get something really nice. Notice in the image (below), that I have captured a flattering frame of the bride walking.. her leg is crossed over the other and this made for a very sexy “walk”. It was nothing that I needed to “pose”, it is something that happens naturally, I just needed to ensure I was paying attention to the details, and pushed the shutter at the right moment. Check out this incredibly creative shot of mom, and daughter in the mirror. Wait, it gets better. So, in this case I was informed before the wedding that getting a shot with mom, and daughter was a family tradition on the wedding day. The brides sister had done a shot like this (well, not like mine.. but, in the mirror) on her wedding day with mom.. and here, my bride (Kristina) asked if we could do something like this on her wedding day. I was horned, and decided to make it very special, and creative by shooting it like this. I saw the repeating reflections in the bevel when I walked into their house, and knew right away I could work with it. However, it was extremely difficult to actually get everything to “line up” in the camera. I had to stand on the other end of the house, and shoot with a long lens to “compress” the image, and as a way to get me, myself out of the mirror LOL. My assistant is standing camera left with an “Ice Light”, and had to keep his back tight to the wall so that he too would not come out in the picture. Here we are at the Deer Creek Golf Club, Kristina and her dad are walking down the isle for the ceremony. Dad looses his emotions, and I start to tear up myself. I love this image not only because of the content, and how they must of felt.. but, because of how “I” felt when I was there capturing it. This is one of the reasons my career as a Miami Wedding Photographer is truly so gratifying. In this shot we were outside of St. Patricks Church on the beach, and it was late.. the ceremony had just ended and everyone was starting to drive back to the reception location. The bride and groom had asked me to take an image with the car, and I did. I took the ones that everyone would have expected (standing outside of the car, etc.).. but.. then.. I asked them to get inside, and give me one quick second.. I took a flash, and placed it inside the car, and then had then look at each other to close the gap between them, I took a few frame, and got this (above). My bride (Loni) had just finished with her hair and makeup, and we were at a hotel near the beach on one of the upper levels. I gotta be honest, I did not see a whole lot of “great shots” to be had around the hotel, and started to think “outside of the box”. I noticed, there was a “roof access” stair case, and it was only one level more. So… I poked around, and saw an opportunity. I took her, and her maid of honor up with us to help, and we did this shot on the roof deck of the hotel LOL. After about the second shot, I could hear a helicopter coming in the distance… I turn.. and see it coming VERY close.. I yell back to Loni, “pull up the dress, and look back over your shoulder”. She did, and I timed it perfect for when the helicopter had passed by. The lighting was a beauty dish on a boom stick camera right.
Finally we get to these two last images that I am going to share. The (above) image was taken at the hotel in which my bride Vanessa got ready in, The Waldorf Astoria New York. This was hands down one of the nicest hotels I have ever seen. Here I have her posing in one of the empty hall ways I could find. (everywhere else was packed with people). The image below was taken just after the ceremony, in “Forrest Hills”. I found a residential area that had lots of beautiful stone work to use for images, and this worked out perfect. The lighting was simple in all cases, just speed lights off camera.