It started at work. Over harmless flirtations and banter that was witty. They sat next to each other, their desks across from one another. And somehow the conversation just made the days go faster. It was easy to talk to Chris. Easy to laugh with him. And out of water cooler antics and drinks after work, she looked up one day... and found a best friend.
But how it turned into romance is, as these things usually are, a bit more of a more complicated story. It started with a kiss, that much is certain. And perhaps an extra glass of wine or two. And then... radio silence. A few long days went by without a word. As each of them tried to play it cool. And make sense of what had just happened. Hillary prepared for a marathon. And for long stretches of days without the comfort of Chris. Convinced that what they had would never be the same again. But on the day of the race as she approached and rounded for the finish line, she found Chris waiting on her. Holding a Hello Kitty balloon. And right then she just somehow knew, he would always be the one waiting on her and cheering her on.
Because just like always, she looked up...and found a best friend.
Happy Thursday & welcome back for another batch of pancakes! Hot off the griddle!
As we speak. I'm working on our most recent engagement shoot that we just did with Hillary & Chris all around the Yale campus, as the cherry blossoms are just starting to bloom up here. And I'm pretty much in love with them. Hillary & Chris... AND their shoot! I can't wait to show you guys!
It got me thinking a lot about how our approach to engagement shoots has been evolving into what it is now. As well as some things that we've learned and started doing, that are getting us into the kind of shoots that we really want to do. And that pretty much sounded like the perfect makings for a new batch of pancakes to me!
So here it is! We hope you enjoy!
Pancake Session: Approaching the Engagement Shoot.
1. What (not) to wear. A couple of weeks before the engagement shoot, we'll get in touch with our couples to get them started on thinking about everything. This would be the time when we would ask the four questions we use to help build their design board. But it's also a great time to start sharing some of our best tips & practices to make the shoot a success. Among those, our top 3 are: 1) having their hair & makeup professionally done so that they feel their most beautiful/confident*, 2) educating that we'll be shooting during "Golden Hour" and what time we'll need them to show up to make sure that happens and 3) giving them an idea of the kinds of outfits and colors that work best. As you can see in the board below, we recommend to all of our couples that they go with clothes in the palette of navy, light blue, pink, gray and/or cream with accents of brown leather, and stay away from anything in the super bright orange/red spectrum because it doesn't register as well on the camera. We also ask that they choose clothes that are solid and stay away from anything with a lot of patterns. Because we believe these kinds of outfits lend themselves to more classic, soft images. Finally, we'll recommend that they bring things like scarves, headbands, hair pieces, jewelry and fun shoes to bring out their own style. Also, if they happen to have a horse they should definitely bring it along! :)
*HUGE thanks to Jasmine Star for that first one....it's pure genius!
2. Personal Stylist Part of the timing for when I'll tell our couples to show up is based on this second step. We always like to allow enough time for them to meet us at our place first. This way we can hang out for a bit, share a glass of wine if they want (which tends to help with the shoot!:) and it allows us to look through what they brought and help style it for the best look. So I'll always tell our couples to bring a couple different outfit options each, and we'll help them put it together. Just having that little bit of extra input has really gotten us a lot closer to the kinds of shoots we've been wanting to do, and I think it's been a huge help to our couples who've never really done this before. So just helping them to figure out what works best together.
3. Location, Location, Location. Since a lot of our couples are coming to us now for the shoots (and even when we're going to them!), we've been taking a much more active role in helping to pick out the location. We definitely always want a location that reflects who each individual couple is, so for a while we were just having them pick the spot. But what we were finding is that a lot of the locations we were finding ourselves in had sentimental value to the couple, but didn't necessarily make the best backdrop or have the best light. So now what we do is try to figure out what that location stands for (we love to travel, we love food, we love the water), and help pick one that will reflect that about them, while also making for a great backdrop. With the way that we shoot (wide open, a lot of close crops), the background really becomes more about a vibe or an overall feel than a specific location anyway. So this way we're getting the best of both worlds.
4. I Don't Know What to Do With My Hands As you can also see in the board above, we always try to suggest one or two things for our couples to bring with them, just so they have something to do with their hands. In the beginning of the shoot when the nerves are running a little higher, just having something to hold on to like a bunch of lavender or a coffee or a book/leather journal can take a lot of the pressure off knowing exactly what to do. And for whatever reason Will Ferrel totally got it right...we always want to make sure they know what to do with their hands!
5. From Clients to Friends. Finally, at the end of every shoot we always try to take the time to go grab a drink or maybe some appetizers or have them back to our place to hang out a little longer. That's when the pressure of the shoot is off, the nerves are gone and we can really start to connect as friends. And that's always been my favorite part about doing these shoots.
The Why: For us, we really struggled for a long time about what the engagement shoots should stand for/why we were doing them in the first place. Everything at the wedding is actually happening, events are unfolding, emotions are running high. It's a beautiful thing. And therefore, a photojournalistic photographer's dream. The engagement shoot on the other hand is literally all about the shoot itself. We're not just documenting something else that's already going on. And that was really hard for us to reconcile. So we did what we do, and we asked ourselves the Why. Here's what we came up with. 1) The engagement shoot is about documenting this time in life where the couple is just engaged and what these days feel like. We want future children and grandchildren to be able to look back at these pictures as a window into what life looked like for these two people when they were just starting out on this life together. 2) We get to hang out with our couples and go from clients to really feeling like friends and that's super important for getting those really emotional images on the wedding day, and finally 3) We don't want the first time that we point a camera in someone's face to be on their wedding day. We've done it before and it works out fine. It's something we definitely can do. But it's just always that much better and easier, when that's not the case. And once we've done the engagement shoot, it all just flows that much easier on the wedding day.
Hope this helps at least a little! Feel free to leave any questions in the comment box below!
Happy Pancake Day!
There are very few things I love more in this world than going to see a movie in the theater.
From the moment you walk in the door and get blasted with that vent of buttery popcorn air, to the sugar high on Junior Mints you get while watching the previews unfold....it is my bliss. When I lived in England for a year, there was a group of about six of us besties (aka The Binghams Crew) who hung out pretty much 24/7. And one of our absolute favorite things to do was to go to the movies and just stay there all day watching two or three films (don't worry! before all the haters come out of the woodwork, we paid for them all!) Of course over there it was theatre not theater, and Mars bars not Junior Mints. But... I loved every minute of it. And I miss those days often.
I'll be honest, it's been a long stretch since there's been a movie I've just been really excited to see. Those were some dark, grim days during the winter months trying to decide between Cowboys & Aliens and Mr. Poppers Penguins. Or y'know just sitting at home watching re-runs of Frasier on Netflix. I do love me some Frasier.
But now, it seems like Hollywood has finally gotten it together and there is a whole new streak of movies to go see again. First and foremost of course being May the odds be ever in your favor...The Hunger Games!! I have been counting down for this one for months ever since I read the entire book in one sitting. And when we finally got to go see it, as soon as it was over I wanted to go see it again. Because I'm crazy like that. And because it was just that good. I spent the entire movie reminding myself to breathe. And to relax my shoulders before I developed a permanent hump. I was completely blown away by Jennifer Lawrence's performance, to the point that I felt like I was going up in that tube to fight to the death with her. And I'm a lover, not a fighter. So that's saying something.
So yea, I think I will go see it again. Y'know, to bide some time until Mirror Mirror & American Reunion come out. :)
So since there are all these great movies coming out, we thought we'd send a few of you to go see them! I also know we have a lot of new readers who came over from the posts on Jasmine's blog & The Rock & Roll Bride blog, so we want to meet you! :)
The contest is really simple, anyone can just leave us a comment in the box below saying hi and that will get you entered! And then we are going to pick 3 winners to each receive a $25 gift card from Fandango to go get your movie on! And if you're local maybe you'll use it to go see Hunger Games with me a second time!
We first met opera singer turned floral design ingenue, Yumiko Fletcher, in the very early days of Justin & I starting our business. And she has since become a loyal ally, friend and champion to us. Someone we are lucky to call a friend. Yumiko first left New York and the bright lights of the stage shortly after 9/11. She's since found a quieter life by the water of the CT shoreline designing blooms for the likes of Vera Wang. But rest assured, whatever she does, wherever she goes...you can be certain that she will shine.
The first time I fell in love with photography was not, as it turns out, when someone first handed me a camera when I was thirteen years old.
I mean let's be clear. I was first handed a camera when I was thirteen years old. That happened. It happened for me, just like it happened for so many of us. The difference is....I didn't fall in love.
It was a birthday present. My parents had gone out and spent money they probably did not have. My mom most likely found a sample marked down at the Ames store where she worked, and put it on layaway. And she probably went in every Friday for twelve weeks and made a payment on it right out of her paycheck. Money that probably should have been going to the ever growing stack of bills. Just so I could have this thing that I'd asked for.
When I opened it, it was shiny and new. And it had a lens that zoomed in and out. It took a special kind of battery I'd never seen before. And there were dials where you could pick a few different settings. By every account, it was a beautiful thing. But when I saw it... my heart sank.
I turned it over and over in my hands and sized up the situation. It didn't have lenses that came off like my aunt's did. She was the real photographer. Or a strap that went around your neck. This one just went around your wrist. Like a purse. Or a really heavy charm bracelet. And the case it came with was just a little black bag with draw strings. Not the big case with all the different compartments for lens caps and film that she had. As I sat, heart sinking, listing out everything in my head it didn't have... I heard my mom say, We thought you could start with this one and practice. And then maybe one day you'll work your way up to one of the big ones. I smiled and nodded. Said it sounded like a plan. And then we ate cake.
When it was all said and done, I shot maybe 5 or 6 rolls of film total on my first camera. We'd take it to the Rite Aid and get it developed. Double prints. Some of them made it into albums. But after that, that camera just sat in my drawer. What was shiny and new over time became scratched and faded. And I very quickly lost interest in this thing that I thought I would love.
When I look back on it now I realize, I never really gave myself the chance to fall in love with it. Because I got so caught up and convinced myself that it was the camera that made the photographer, that I missed what photography is really about. Which is just...Life. Those moments that are gone too quickly. The series of right nows that make up forever. And that the real heart of photography is just about all of us trying to find a way to hold on to that for just a little while longer.
I think about all the life that I missed out on being able to hold on to now, just because I was too worried about the kind of camera that I had then. And if I could go back and say anything to the thirteen year old me right now, I would tell her:
1) Don't worry about the perm. It will eventually grow out. And...
2) Photography, and life, is never really about what you have. It's about the heart you put behind it.
This past weekend, people all across the country stopped worrying for just one second about the camera that they have, or how many followers they have on facebook, or what their place is in the industry. And we all just went out and shot. From the heart. Just because we love it. We documented- and shared- life. Together.
And that my friends is how I plan to keep on falling in love with photography.