A little behind-the-scenes shot as I start to update my portfolio. After selecting my favorite wedding images from 2014, I had them all printed at 4×6. Then I combined them with prints from my current wedding portfolio. Next I’ll lay them all out, try to winnow it down to my very favorites that convey the breadth and depth of my vision, re-arrange them, let them sit, get a second opinion, winnow down some more, re-arrange again and again. Check back next week to see the results!
I’ve always been a bit nosy. Whenever we visited my grandparents’ homes’ I’d love to look through their china cabinets in search of pretty shiny things. I’d admire the collection of Waterford crystal vases and gifts given on silver wedding anniversaries.
On a memorable occasion, we convinced my grandma Rose (pictured above in her high school graduation portrait) to open her cedar chest and we found layers of history. Old report cards of my uncle and father, a layer deeper the hospital jackets from when they were born, below that her wedding dress and veil wrapped carefully in layers of tissue paper, and then the fine linens and hand-crocheted lace doilies and tablecloths given as wedding gifts – still pristine because they were always too nice to use.
Sometimes I’d explore further and without adult supervision, poking my head into closets and boxes stored in basements. That’s where the true treasures were hiding. In one sagging and dusty shoebox, we found the letters my grandfather had written to my grandmother from Egypt, where he was stationed during World War II, along with snapshots of the pyramids. In another, stacks of formal black and white (and some hand colored) wedding portraits, each neatly in it’s own display folio. Both of my paternal grandparents came from large Italian immigrant families, so I spent a good while quizzing my dad on the identities of each bride, groom and member of the wedding party. Doing this, I learned that one universally-beloved unwed aunt had in fact been briefly married to a man seeking a green card.
At my other grandparent’s house, I found a fireproof box that we sifted through, finding old glass-plate negatives, my great-great-uncle’s ship captain’s paperwork, and a portrait of my great-great-aunt Minnie Harbort taken as a young woman at the famous Bachrach photography studio. At this particular time, I was in high school and immersed in black and white film photography, and my grandfather gifted me the image. Great-great-aunt Minnie apparently had strong opinions about who was a “real Harbort” and while my mother had the seal of approval I don’t know that I would. I do know that I am happy to have seen and held these images and heard these stories.
On the solstice, with a flurry of snowflakes, Kate and Lionel celebrated their winter wedding in Boston and Cambridge. Kate got ready at her parents’ home, donning her mother’s wedding gown, and then walking the few blocks to the public gardens where she met Lionel on the bridge. Following portraits in the garden, we strolled along the Commonwealth Avenue mall and made our way to their ceremony at the Church of the Covenant on Newbury Street. Kate was preceded down the aisle by attendants carrying shining lanterns, harkening to the light of love and the return of the sun. Surrounded by the warm affection of their closest friends and family, Kate and Lionel pledged themselves to each other in a bilingual English-Spanish ceremony. I love witnessing fleeting, unscripted moments, such as when Kate and Lionel briefly rested their foreheads together after their kiss. A wedding day speeds by, but these two so impressed me with their ability to live in the moment; proceeding slowly up the aisle, they shared smiles and accepted congratulations from all their guests. Later, at their wedding reception at Hotel Marlowe, they mingled during cocktail hour, were toasted by parents, siblings and friends, and opened the dance floor with a salsa.
Potential clients often ask me about my gear. Sometimes it’s because they want to know I have enough to get the job done, and back-ups just in case something fails. Others want to know because of their own interest in photography (awesome!) and want to understand the tools that I choose to use. Some are simply curious. In any case, here’s a list of what I use and some examples of how I use it.
For most of the day, I shoot with two cameras – a Canon 5DmkIII and a 5DmkII. I usually pair these with Canon’s 35mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.8 lenses. The 35mm is a normal-wide angle lens that helps capture how the day feels – there’s a strong sense of presence and place in images taken with this lens.
The 85mm is a short telephoto lens. It’s small, lightweight, and I use it throughout the day. 85mm is a very flattering focal length, and it particularly shines for portraits.
These cameras stay on me via my Moneymaker camera harness. This strap is made of black leather, so it makes me look and feel a little like a ninja. Here are a couple of photos of me sporting it.
My other favorite lens is the Canon 135mm f/2. I use this telephoto lens during ceremonies, and sometimes for the couple’s portraits, first and parent dances, and toasts.
I also have a few zoom lenses. The Canon 24-70 f/2.8 lens is the first professional lens that I bought in 2009. It’s a versatile lens that I use when I can’t move around a lot and and when I want to get a wider shot than the 35. It’s also a back-up for my 35mm lens.
Finally, I have the Canon 70-200 f/2.8. This lens is great for portraits, ceremonies, and toasts, but it’s so big that I feel like a paparazzi using it. I usually prefer to use smaller lenses as guests don’t notice them in the same way as a big lens and I am able to capture more candid and intimate moments. This lens serves as a back-up to my 85mm and 135mm lenses.
I also bring four Canon flashes (two 600 EX-RTs, a 580EX II and a 550EX). I try to shoot most of the day with available light, but come time for the reception, I’ll usually pop a flash on my camera and may put an additional flash or two off-camera. To sync my on-camera lights with off-camera lights, I use a set of four PocketWizard transceivers.
That takes care of the major gear. Then I have a ThinkTank cardholder for my compact flash cards which is always attached to me when shooting a wedding, a Manfrotto Justin clamp for putting up an off-camera flash, and a small video light. The last thing that is always stashed in my bag is a Kind bar or two. Wedding days are long, and these are great for keeping my energy up. All my gear is stashed and transported in a ThinkTank Airport International V 2.0 rolling bag.