Category Archives: art

engaged!! now what? 7 wedding planning tips from a photographer

Wedding planning tips from me, a photographer.

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Happy New Year and congratulations on getting engaged! It’s fairytale romantic, until the gargantuan task of planning a wedding hits you. Fear not, what you perceive as big issues are just brimming with possibilities. Things will go more smoothly if you consider the following wedding planning tips.

  1. It’s all about you and your dream wedding, but not in every situation.

Let’s talk about moms. It is about them, too. They also want to look gorgeous, and they often have a dream of what the day will be like. They love you more than you’ll ever know. Unless you have kids, then you know. Meeting them halfway on some things will mean so much to them.

  1. Choosing a bridal party is often a sensitive task, especially if you want a big group and you have a lot of friends. Personally, I think people will get over it. And in some cases, be relieved that they weren’t chosen. But don’t be surprised if someone outside of your bridal party ends up being your angel on your big day. There is always someone who comes out of the blue and saves the wedding day. It may be your sister or your maid of honor, but often it’s a random friend who sews your dress back together, who finds your earring, who decorates the last minute indoor setting plan B. Just appreciate it and know that angels do exist.

  2. Please please don’t fret about the weather. Just be zen about it, not just on the outside, but deeply. We all know that there’s nothing you can do to control the weather. I have been to dozens of too hot, too rainy weddings, and nothing was lost. Rain is a special effect. So is fog and wind. Some of my prettiest pictures are from rainy weddings. Just make sure to prepare. One Central Park wedding I photographed came equipped with picturesque oversized white umbrellas. There was a downpour but everyone was dry and looked great.

  3. Pick vendors you personally like. A snobby florist, a pushy photographer, and an inflexible caterer have no place in your special day. Save all your compromises for your loved ones, not vendors.

  4. Cut costs wherever possible, but realize that you will pay in other ways. Sanity, time and money. Pick two. Even if you’re uber-organized and can DIY like no other those projects are very time-consuming. If you love it, go for it! But beware of the dream that you can do all flowers yourself. Once, as guests were arriving at a wedding the bridal party was still arranging the centerpieces. Avoid that kind of hustling whenever possible. And know that everything takes more time than you think.

  5. Related to #5, don’t worry about every little detail. I hereby give you permission to dump those ideas you just saw on Pinterest. No, you don’t have to make cookies in a handmade bag as a parting gift for each guest. Before Pinterest, before the sea of wedding blogs, people still got married. Weddings don’t have to have a theme. I’ve gone to weddings where essentially nothing was done to the table settings. Just some nice cloth napkins and a simple centerpiece. And I’ve been to weddings that were more elaborate than the Taj Mahal. While it’s wonderful to have those special touches, it’s not essential for a festive wedding. And not worth it if you are too stressed out.

  6. When things get stressful, repeat after me, HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHA! Don’t take it too seriously. Watch a lot of comedies on Netflix.  Remember what you’re doing, marrying that love of your life, that person who is on the same team as you, who will always go up to bat for you. Now knock it out of the park and happy wedding planning. Call if you have any further questions or would actually like solicited advice.

Bonus piece of advice. Dress for the season, and make sure your shoes are comfortable or at least broken in, but I’m sure all of you already know this.

hasselblad: summer in MA and NH

Hasselblad Summer 2016

As always, you will find us on the beach in Boston and on the little strip of beach with friends in NH. These pictures are from last summer, because this summer, I’ve been far to busy to take a vacation. I take pictures for two theater companies: The New Century Theatre and The Chester Theatre. I also work for CISA, an organization that promotes local agriculture. That and weddings and Camp Elizabeth, otherwise known as Camp Mommy to my six year old, and there’s no time to take a vacation, even a weekend one. I will be missing the Irving Penn show at the Met. Still coming to terms with that. Maybe I’ll be able to take a little trip in August. Though school starts at the end of August. Shortest Summer ever.

We also picked blueberries, went hiking, and visited Paul in Cambridge. When in Cambridge, we also visited the Semetic Museum at Harvard.

When I am with friends and family, I give the digital cameras a rest and use my vintage cameras. These were taken with a Hasselblad 500C. It has since broken, in several places, and I spent about a year upset about the future of film cameras. I went a long time without the camera, and considered repairing it. I decided not to though, because the old parts are hard to find and the cameras are phasing out. Still though, it’s the most fun camera to use, and the camera I have used the longest in my career. I love everything about the camera, and especially the lenses and act of picture taking. Someone described it as a zen moment. They are right. As an aside, Hasselblad official on instagram continually posts images of the V-Series (old film cameras) and plays on our nostalgia, yet refuses to re-introduce them, despite their popularity.

Desperate, I spent months looking for a vintage Hasselblad on ebay. Finally, the dream came true. A retired couple cleaning their attic. He bought several cameras in the late 60s. New. Thought he might want to be a photographer as a second career. (Don’t know what his first career was.) According to his wife,  “never got into the Hasselblad.” I miraculously won the bid, and the camera, along with accessories in an original aluminum suitcase, came to me professionally packed from Eagle Idaho. I wept at the sight of it. It really was essentially new. I had to unwrap original packaging off certain accessories. That was a few months ago. I’ve been afraid to use it. I’ve run a few rolls through it but have been scared to process the film. Well, we also moved house and I haven’t unpacked my equipment for processing yet. So yes, dreams do come true. I’ll let you know how the film looks. And show you the pictures.

hotel northampton wedding july 2017

This Hotel Northampton wedding gave me a new appreciation for the place. The last wedding I photographed there in October offered me little light to show off the beauty that the huge windows offer. This summer, I barely used a flash at all in the atrium, in the lobby and even in the “Grand Ballroom.” I was able to see the details of the historical hotel.

The bride is exuberant in nearly every single picture. I don’t think I even took a picture of her when she didn’t look like she was floating on air with happiness.

I made sure to include some pictures of the lovely town of Northampton, MA. The picture of her on the balcony of her room is one of my favorites.

I always like to take pictures at night, something most people forget to do because they’re in full dance mode. The couples are always to have a break and get some fresh air for a couple of minutes. The town is lively at night. The pretty turn of the century patterns along the street are especially nice at night.

The bride got ready in one of the rooms, which featured a big round window and two story high ceilings and balcony (pictured).

They had a traditional Mass at Elizabeth Ann Seton parish on King Street, just steps from the hotel.

One of the best things about photographing weddings is getting to know the key players: the wedding party, the family and cherished friends. The family was especially nice. The mom of the groom is pictured below serving me a cup of ice water. What a sweet lady. The brother of the groom got me a candy bar from the corner store. What a sweet guy.

 

 

Hotel Northampton wedding  July 2017

red barn at hampshire college wedding

The Red Barn at Hampshire College Wedding July 2017

This wonderful Wedding at The Red Barn at Hampshire College was my second at this venue. The grounds are perfect. A majestic oak tree is where the couples say their vows. The tree reminds us of all of the beauty and strength of the natural world. It protects the couple and it empowers the words of the ceremony. It really is breathtaking.

It’s a bit of a walk to the tree especially for people wearing heels so there’s a golf cart to bring people.

The catering is always great. I heard  it was Seth Mias. He does catering in the area for Smith College events and many many more. There were delicious potatoes, grilled vegetables, fish, and most tasty butternut squash ravioli with walnuts.

There’s a permanent Cornhole set that guests enjoy. Reminds me of my days in Michigan and Ohio.

I wish I knew who did the flowers and cake, because as you can see from the many photos, I really liked them.

There’s always something very unique about every couple. This bride looked adorable and pretty in her choice of tea length dress, crown of flowers, and floral pumps.

And the barn, oh the barn. One of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. That warm, old wood. They cut out these cool windows to create pictures of the landscape.

The DJ was Northampton’s own Joan Holliday from the River. A station that is located just steps away from my new home. She, like me, loves special weddings such as this one.

 

Art Reproduction photographer Western Mass

Art Reproduction Photographer Western Mass

 

 

You may know me as a photographer of families and professionals and actors and couples getting married, but there’s a lot of things I do that you don’t know about. I do a lot of pictures of art. Reproduction of well-known art for a big art foundation. I go to warehouses, galleries, auction houses, museums, and private homes to take photos. It may seem quite boring, taking pictures of art, but it presents a technical challenge, and it allows me to get up close and personal with some of the best art of the last century. Most recently, I photographed Andy Warhol pieces for a catalog for a show called Andy Warhol: Works from the Hall Collection. It was from last year in Oxford UK. Here’s a review of the show. Nearly all of the images in this art catalog from the show are by me. It’s a lovely catalog that’s displayed proudly in my kitchen of all places.

flower halo at a lake wedding, my best work ever?

The Flower halo has been a constant for flower girls, but only in the past few years have they become more and more common among brides. I think it’s wonderful for many reasons: first, because the brides I know tend to enjoy pictures without the bouquet. The bouquet will never go out of style and one can never have enough flowers in my humble opinion. But sometimes a bride just wants to feel flowery without holding onto the bouquet, which,  if you haven’t held one, is heavy and relatively delicate.

I dressed up as a bride recently and wandered downtown during this past weekend’s sidewalk sales. Forget Me Not Florist was amazing in their quick response to create a halo for me. (Rebecca the owner is so generous. Call her for anything you need relating to flowers.) Anyway, I absolutely loved wearing it, felt like a princess all day.  And it legitimized my outfit as “bride.”

The halo you see below is wonderful, large and colorful. Perfect for this bride.

This lake wedding was so lovely. It was a rainy day, and the lake was mostly calm. It was set on a slope, a small lawn, with rented tables and chairs and small tents and umbrellas here and there. For some reason, I felt like I was in Florida or something. This was partially due to the plush, green environment. Flowers everywhere. Colors abound. While editing, I found myself loving a large proportion of the images. I was only there for 4-5 hours. At the end, I marked over 200 as my picks. If I go by this parameter, it would be my best work ever. It was located in Holland, MA, on the border of MA and CT. On the Hamilton Reservoir.

Some of the guests were enthusiastic about Rainbow Gatherings, which is something I only knew about through my friend and former housemate in San Francisco, Diamond Dave. He’s counter culture, and supported peace and community. While we were housemates, I was impressed with his activities with Food not Bombs.

Dave may have been to a Rainbow Gathering or two, but when I lived with him, he was far from the edges of National Parks. He was deep in the community, promoting urban gatherings and justice (in a peaceful optimistic way) around San Francisco. I used to loan him my bicycle, on the condition that he wore my helmet. He didn’t like that. But he agreed. Once, I saw him riding up our alley street (Heron Street, SF) and he had my helmet on, unattached and wobbling around on top of his head.

Dave and I also collaborated a bit. He held poetry events at the SF public library called On the Page, Off the Page. I loved taking pictures. Since 2005 he’s been holding poetry events at the SF City Hall called Poems Under the Dome.

What a guy.

Anyway, back to this wedding. I’m not usually a lake person, unless the lake is the size of lake Michigan. But this lake, this lake wedding, was extraordinary. I hope you like the photos as much as I do.

Central Park Wedding Shakespeare Garden

Central Park Wedding, Shakespeare Garden, New York. I photographed a wedding of a couple from New Orleans. They had a small gathering in the Shakespeare Garden in Central Park. I was nervous, because the father of the bride, Oscar Rajo, is an accomplished wedding photographer, and I agreed to hand over my RAW files (my diary). After the ceremony they all went to the Plaza (Palm Court) for a cocktail. I had to sit with them because there was no other place to sit while I transferred the files to a hard drive. They insisted on getting me a drink. They rushed out because they were late, and I was still working. I told them I’d meet them at dinner to get the files to them. I rushed to Tavern on the Green and handed over the files. The whole family insisted I stay for dinner. “We’re from New Orleans, you stay with us,” the groom said. I held my breath for a few days hoping he wouldn’t hate his pictures. Then I got the following email. “Hello Elizabeth, just want to thank you for taking part in Lindsey’s big day. We went thru the images today. You do absolutely wonderful work. We’re looking at the raw files and I’m looking forward to processing the set. You captured some really wonderful / magical moments. I can learn from you. Thank you for working with me and handing over the raw files. I hope you enjoyed yourself. We certainly enjoyed having you with us. I will send the processed images in a week or two. I tried my best to be a good assistant to you. Get on Facebook and show off your work. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!”

In honor of the wonderful experience, I decided to collaborate with the father of the groom and post his favorite pictures, edited by him.