Gratitude Journal #3 - Will You Join Me?

posted on: November 26, 2010

Today I'm so grateful for you. I'm so thankful that you take the time to read my blog. Even if you've never left a comment, I know you're there and that you care. You've seen that I've started a gratitude journal on my blog to share the ways in which I'm inspired by the thoughtfulness and kindness of others. I would like to expand this experience across multiple blogs to encourage more people to recognize and share the beauty of others around them. Together our small stories can make a big impact.

Will you join me?

When you're ready, post a gratitude journal of your own on your blog and leave a link to that blog post here in the comments. Once I get your link, I'll visit your blog, read your gratitude journal and leave a comment with a link back to my latest gratitude journal. We can do this exchange as often as you'd like! To be consistent, write "Gratitude Journal" in your blog title so that it can easily be found. I would love for each gratitude journal to serve as a starting point for exploring the ways in which we can all be more beautiful, gracious, and loving people. I can't wait to read your stories and be inspired by you!!!

Hugs and love,

Photo taken at Pizzuti Studios!

Do I Need A Second Photographer?

posted on: November 21, 2010

I have the ability to work solo or as a team, which means I'm often asked if couples need two photographers on their wedding day. I don't believe in one-size-fits-all solutions, so here are a couple things to consider when it comes to one or two photographers:

1. How big will your wedding be?
Are you going to have over 200 guests, or less than 70 guests? While I've covered a 500 person wedding on my own with no problems and great images, sometimes the sheer size of a room with many guests in it is better covered with two or more people. However, if what you want is an intimate wedding with a relaxed feeling, two photographers may be overkill and might make your guests feel as if they're always being watched. The images below are from an intimate wedding of only about 30 guests. You see three completely different perspectives from one person, and I didn't feel limited by trying to avoid another photographer being captured in my shots:

2. Will there be important moments happening in different places at the same time?
Obviously one person can only be in one place at a time, so if your wedding events involve important moments that you'd like documented simultaneous in different locations, you'll obviously need a second photographer. The next question would be, is it necessary for the second photographer to be just as skilled as the primary photographer? Some photographers bring along an "assistant" to every wedding, but that doesn't mean the "assistant" is a capable photographer- they may be more of a bag wrangler who might grab a photo if needed. Determine the importance of that second photographer and their ability to capture events when the main photographer is not around.

3. Does your location have restrictions on where photographers can be and how they can move?
Many couples may not realize the policies and implications that their venue places on photographers or videographers. Some churches won't let photographers into the sanctuary at all during the ceremony, which would completely kill the need for a second photographer. Some will allow photographers to be stationed in different parts of the church as long as they don't move around, which might mean that a second photographer can get a different angle without movement. A photographer's favorite place to shoot is obviously one in which they aren't restricted. Know what restrictions your venue has so that you can speak with your photographer about how they feel they can best cover the events.

4. How does your favorite photographer prefer to work?
As someone who shoots both solo or as a team, I can see the benefits and drawbacks to both situations. What it really comes down to in the end, is selecting a photographer for their images. Images that make you fall in love when you look at them. If you start your decision with the work, than you can allow the photographer to decide what they need in order to capture those images. Ultimately, no matter how many photographers there are, there's only one editor deciding which images are worth keeping. Some people create their best work in a team and feel completely off without a second photographer in the same room, while others create their best work when they are the lone gun, getting all of the shots they want on their own without worrying about where a second photographer is or what they're capturing. There's really only one best angle or shot at any given point in time, so even if two people are shooting the same moment, it's highly likely that only one of those images is going to be worth keeping. Whatever your wedding requires, trust that your photographer will make the best recommendation that what will allow them to get the best images for your particular event.

Myth: A second photographer means better images
Quantity does not equal quality. Hiring two inexperienced photographers over one experienced photographer isn't a better "deal" if you're ultimately disappointed with the quality of the images that were produced. The best "deal" is to hire the best quality you can afford, no matter how many people it takes to achieve that quality.

Q2 '07 WPJA

Myth: More photographers means more images
There are times when I've worked alone and captured more images than I did when I had a second photographer. Each photographer has a different style of capture and editing images down to the final selection. Ask your photographer approximately how many images you can expect from your wedding, and ask to see an entire proof gallery featuring the images of the photographer that you're going to be working with. Take notice of how many posed vs. candid vs. detail images they capture and decide if that's the same balance you'd like from your wedding day.

Myth: Males & females see things differently
Any two people will have different perspectives no matter what their chromosome structure is. Bigger factors in the way that people perceive the world may be how tall or short they are, if they are near sighted or far sighted, what lenses they prefer to use, if they like details or people more, if they prefer to be in control or go with the flow, or if they get more excited over candid or posed images.

Myth: Guests and family members with cameras will provide acceptable additional coverage
First off, if you're getting an album from a photographer, a guest's images are not going to be included in that album. Secondly, I've seen the photos your guests and family members take and I'm in no fear of losing my job to them even if they do have a "fancy camera". They aren't very good at anticipating moments, they don't know how or where they can get the best angle, they really don't understand lighting at all, they generally limit themselves to taking pictures of only people they already know, and they don't have back ups of things like batteries and memory cards in case their camera dies or they run out of memory. Oh, and you may never actually see the images they took if they forget to upload and share them.

Myth: Two photographers is more expensive
Everyone has different expenses in their personal and work life, so you can't automatically assume that two photographers will be more expensive than one. Sometimes intern photographers join me as a second shooter for free just to get experience and build their portfolio, but I also don't guarantee the quality of their work or rely on them for important moments. If all you want is an extra photographer as a back-up plan, ask the photographer if they can provide that for you rather than hiring or inviting someone else who is going to try and compete for the same important moments.

Emotional Toast

Hopefully my responses do not elicit a definitive yes or no answer, but rather points to consider. First and foremost- look for a portfolio that has imagery you can fall in love with- then talk about the rest with the photographer who created that portfolio and make sure they're a great personality fit as well. Most client relationships with wedding photographers last 1-2 years- so you really want to make sure you enjoy working together!

Recently I heard a very disturbing story about a local photographer who tells couples they'll have two photographers for their wedding day, only to send one "second" photographer to the wedding to tell the couple at the last minute that the "first" photographer was too sick to make it. In reality, this "first" photographer is booking multiple weddings on the same day, hiring a bunch of "second" photographers to tell couples the same story, while he may not even be photographing a wedding at all that day! It's people like this that make me sick to my stomach. The couples end up just being glad that the second photographer is still there, even though they've paid for two photographers and the person they met with isn't the person shooting their wedding. Please make sure you do your research before hiring a photographer. Check for online reviews and ask for references from three recent couples before hiring someone to document your once-in-a-lifetime event. Make sure that the quality of the images on their website represent the quality that you'll receive. Since a wedding day is something you can't do over, you want to make sure you're getting the best you can afford so that you'll have no regrets later.

Doug - A Personal Lifestyle Portrait in Greater Boston

posted on: November 18, 2010

When Doug contacted me about doing a portrait for him, I naturally assumed we'd be doing professional headshots for his online business presence. I had originally met Doug over coffee at Brew'd Awakening to discuss website development for the project and I learned that he had developed the website for my local Aveda Salon: Salon City. I was a little surprised when I asked him where he'd like to use the images and the response was not for his business website, but rather for a personal profile. I was so delighted that not only would I be creating something more personality driven, but also something that might lead to an attraction. I'm a total romantic and I can't hide it. Just the thought of love makes me all giddy inside and turns my cheeks into pink squishy balls of joy! I still wanted to make sure I got at least one good portrait for professional use, just because it's good for everyone to have, even if only for a Linked-In profile:

Doug Personal Lifestyle Portrait

For me, the key to a great personal lifestyle portrait is to capture images that are friendly, inviting, and tell a little story about you. If a picture can say a thousand words, we want to make those words a clear and honest reflection of who you are so that they attract someone who shares your values and interests. When I asked Doug what kind of things he likes to do when he's not behind the computer, he mentioned that he loves riding his bike and he's currently in the middle of some home renovation. So, we hung out at his home for a little bit and then took his bike out for a short walk in a local park. The other key for me with personal portraits is to make the photo look as if a friend with a really nice camera could have taken it - not too posed or overly creative, just natural and relaxed, as if it were happening in the middle of an activity. We want to make sure it doesn't come across as if someone is a model or that they are using a stock photo of someone else, but that it just happens to be a really great picture caught on the fly. Why can't anyone do this? Because not everyone knows how to use all of the technical tricks to make people look more beautiful while doing it. (Thanks to another web guru, Lara Swanson, for the link!)

Doug Personal Lifestyle Portrait

I actually like that he's talking in this one because it feels more candid...
Doug Personal Lifestyle Portrait

Doug Personal Lifestyle Portrait

So, I'd love to hear from you... do you think I was able to create something that matches his story and is flattering to him?

Actor Headshots - Suburbia

posted on: November 16, 2010

The UML Off Broadway Players contacted me about doing their actor headshots again, this time for their production of SubUrbia by Eric Bogosian. Since the show is a little more in your face and comical rather than emotional and dramatic, I went with the subway tile background and the actors decided to choose images that were more casual in nature. There are only 5 shows for this performance, so make sure you get out to support student driven theatre!! For showtimes and info on reserving seats: {CLICK HERE}

Suburbia Headshots for UML Off Broadway Players

Suburbia Headshots for UML Off Broadway Players

Suburbia Headshots for UML Off Broadway Players

Suburbia Headshots for UML Off Broadway Players

Suburbia Headshots for UML Off Broadway Players

Suburbia Headshots for UML Off Broadway Players

Suburbia Headshots for UML Off Broadway Players

Suburbia Headshots for UML Off Broadway Players

Suburbia Headshots for UML Off Broadway Players

Suburbia Headshots for UML Off Broadway Players

Suburbia Headshots for UML Off Broadway Players

Suburbia Headshots for UML Off Broadway Players

Cabaret Show Fundraiser - The Miracle Providers NorthEast

posted on: November 15, 2010

On Saturday evening I had the joy of seeing my first FULL Cabaret Show done by the Miracle Providers NorthEast. The theme was Fairytales & Fantasies, and WOW. Just, WOW. It was an INCREDIBLE show. The costumes were AMAZING, the makeup was phenomenal, the dancing was insane, and the lights, sound, and set made the Lowell Elks Lodge look like a fabulous cabaret club. I was in awe for most of the performance but still managed to take some photos from the back of the room behind the crowd (no flash, mostly 135mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.0 - 2.8, 1/160th sec, tungsten white balance, captured in large JPG.) They did a great job of performing in the round, and the set up allowed everyone to have a fairly intimate experience with the performers as they roamed the room. The best part of the evening is knowing that almost all of the proceeds go to benefit families and children who are affected by HIV/AIDS. If you're interested in volunteering for a show or any other events, please visit:

Here are some of my personal favorites from the evening:

Fantasies Fairytales 352

Fantasies Fairytales 428

Fantasies Fairytales 431

Fantasies Fairytales 358

Fantasies Fairytales 363

Fantasies Fairytales 373

Fantasies Fairytales 376

Fantasies Fairytales 382

Fantasies Fairytales 390

Fantasies Fairytales 398

Fantasies Fairytales 406

Fantasies Fairytales 426

Fantasies Fairytales 437

Fantasies Fairytales 449

Fantasies Fairytales 454

Fantasies Fairytales 458

Fantasies Fairytales 481

Fantasies Fairytales 493

Fantasies Fairytales 501

Fantasies Fairytales 497

Fantasies Fairytales 532

Fantasies Fairytales 540

Next time I'm going to have to buy my ticket in advance to secure prime seating so I can get even better images!! To view the full slideshow of 197 images, click play below:

Gratitude Journal #2 - Trash Scavenger

posted on: November 14, 2010

There's a dumpster behind our apartment and it's a popular spot for scavengers looking for bottle deposits and other cash attracting items. It has side access making it easier to discard items without lifting the top, which also makes it easy for people to dig through the trash at standing height rather than climbing in over top. Most scavengers I've encountered just hunt furiously through the discard until they find enough bottles and can move on to the next opportunity. I don't acknowledge them, and they don't acknowledge me. I always walk by with a negative feeling weighing over me.

I'm coming home from work one day and as I get out of my car, I see a woman in the parking lot. She's wearing plastic gloves like our maintenance workers do. She greets me with a huge smile and points out what a lovely day it is. I don't recognize her as one of the regular maintenance people, and it's a Sunday, when I normally don't see the maintenance people anyway. I figure, maybe she's a neighbor going for a walk- but with gloves? As I walk past her and to the door, I look back and realize she's scavenging through the dumpster. Yet, her demeanor is a complete 180° from every other scavenger I've encountered. She's friendly, welcoming, happy to be there, enjoying the day, and being leisurely enough in her activities that she has gone out of her way to say hello to me and make small talk. As I"m looking back, she looks up from the dumpster and says, "Have a great day!" I smile, nod, and process what just happened as I walk in the door.

I have no negative feelings. Quite the opposite- I feel inspired. The trash lady made me want to be a better person.

How did she do it?! How did she take something which normally gives me negative feelings and turn it into something completely positive and inspiring? It was so simple, so disarming. She wasn't ashamed of what she was doing; she presented herself with an ease that made it feel like it's perfectly normal and completely acceptable for people to scavenge through other people's trash. She gave me a huge genuine smile, and she engaged me in recognizing the beauty of the moment and the day. It's so simple and so elegant. How many times have I been in a hurry that I just didn't acknowledge someone, or my first words to them were something other than a kind greeting? How many people have I walked by and not even tried to give a smile to? How many times have I let my own situation at the moment make me less of a decent person to others? If a trash lady can make the time for human decency, what the hell is my excuse?!

So, to the woman who occasionally visits the dumpster in my parking lot: I'm grateful for your smile. I'm grateful for your appreciation of a beautiful day. I'm grateful that you take the time to greet people and share your warmth and good spirit with them. I'm grateful that you were digging through the trash behind my apartment, so that I could experience how deep and strong your inner beauty is. You set an example for how we should always treat one another, and you make me want to be a better person. Thank you.

I would love to hear about someone who has unexpectedly made your day better. Feel free to send it to me in email, post to your own blog, or in the comments below. I love being inspired. ;-)

If you post a gratitude journal of your own, please leave a link to it in the comments so that I can visit and be inspired by you!

LOVE IT: Daily Affirmation

posted on: November 13, 2010

This morning, I woke up feeling a lot like Jessica (Click play to watch):

I believe she starts off the video by saying, "Look, I can be a Sark!" If you don't know of Sark, well, here's where Jessica may have attained her inspiration, and could be another full Love It post for me: Planet Sark

Honoring Our Veterans - UML Flag Raising Ceremony

posted on: November 11, 2010

Yesterday I had the privilege of documenting the flag raising at UML in honor of our Veterans. Here's a little sampling of the event:

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-01

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-02

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-03

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-04

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-05

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-06

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-07

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-08

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-09

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-10

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-11

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-12

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-13

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-14

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-15

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-16

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-17

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-18

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-19

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-20

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-21

Honoring Veterans Flag Raising-22

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