Matt and Kayla In Providence [RI Engagement Photos]

Matt and Kayla are good friends of myself, Tara, and Ezra. You may remember Matt and Kayla from the blog awhile back when I posted some of their engagement photos. They weren’t traditional engagement shots, but rather pictures of the actual engagement. We had all gone out to eat together and I brought my camera for when Matt popped the question. You can read about it here.

Anyways, it was time to do a regular engagement session, so we all (Matt, Kayla, myself, Tara, and Ezra – we’re big on carpooling) got in the car and went to Providence one evening.

Matt was pretty anti-get-your-picture-taken and I think it was a little more difficult than normal because we weren’t strangers. There’s something that makes it easier with strangers I think than getting your picture taken by someone you know. Anywho, after the rocky start he loosened up and things went pretty smoothly.

Kayla was pretty natural in front of the camera. Their photographer will have a pretty easy job on their wedding day. Wait, it’s not me? They didn’t even hire me?! What kind of friends are these people? I guess being a groomsman rules you out of being the photographer. It’s hard to take photos of the bridal party when you’re in it.

The weddings coming up very soon. I won’t be shooting it, but I will be bringing the Bluecube. It’ll be at the Quidnesset Country Club. It’s probably better off that I’m not shooting it since I got in trouble there at a wedding in the past. I went to shoot in some area where I wasn’t supposed to go. I got called into the manager’s office and got scolded. I already had the photos though, so the reprimand was worth it. Hopefully they don’t recognize me in a tux.

Keep your eyes peeled for the Bluecube shots on the blog when it’s over. Here’s to the wedding…

Allyssa and Steve At the Carousel [RI Wedding Photography]

Allyssa and Steve got married a few days before the fourth of July this summer. They are friends of ours that we go to church with, so their ceremony was at Ocean State Baptist Church in Smithfield, where we go.

They had their reception in the carousel building at Goddard Park. Apparently there’s no longer a carousel inside. Like everything else in Rhode Island, it’s the building that used to have a carousel in it. Regardless, it was a pretty awesome building.

Allyssa and Steve opted to have the Bluecube at their celebration which definitely provided some entertainment.

The makeup was done by my not-often-enough partner in crime Ashley Tucker, of A&L Co fame. Check out her Facebook page to see lots of face scrubs and chapsticks that are so natural you can eat them. Not that I’ve tried. Lately.

A few things happened after the ceremony that caused a delay for the bride and groom to get to the reception, so we were a little pressed for time with the photos. Hungry guests make for a hostile wedding, so you can’t keep them waiting. We ended up sneaking out for ten minutes or so after the meal to get some quiet shots of just Allyssa and Steve. I’m glad we made the little trip to get some extra photos.

Best of luck to you both and enjoy married life (and your pictures!).

The Mattesons [Rhode Island Family Photography]

The Mattesons are good friends of ours and just had their third kid, Lee. It was time to get some family shots so they piled in the car and headed down to a park in Providence where me, Tara, and Ezra met them. For shoots like these, the tradition is that Tara figures out a location to go to and then I complain about it once we get there. This was no exception.

The sun was hard with no clouds in the sky. Most of the shade I could find was provided by sparse trees which caused speckled sunlight to pour through and ruin the pictures. I guess it was nice if you were there for a picnic. We weren’t, we were trying to take pictures.

Anyways, as always, we found ways to make it happen and it worked out just fine. Three kids are not only hard to get to smile and look the same way, but with one of the kids 8 days different than Ezra at about 20 months old, it’s hard to even keep them in the same area for a few minutes. We had some escapees throughout the shoot, some of which we were able to capitalize on.

Jared wanted to get some shots of him throwing the girls into the air, so I put the wide angle lens on to get the maximum effect of his impressive baby toss. While the angle does exaggerate the effect, Sophie and Amelie were both getting some serious height.

I got a little jealous and wanted a turn of my own, so I handed the camera to Amanda and let Jared throw me up into the sky. OK, so in the interest of full transparency, this picture might’ve been helped a little bit by Photoshop.

It helped to  dangle a carrot (or in this case, ice cream) in front of the girls throughout the shoot to get them to smile and stand still, and then Amanda and Jared made good on the promise and we walked to an ice cream shop down the street once we were finished.

Enjoy the photos!

Christy and Chris [RI Maternity Photos]

We landed at an awesome location for Christy and Chris’s maternity shoot. It was a farm tucked away in Chepachet, RI called Whispering Winds Farm. I have to admit, Tara did the legwork and found this one.

Christy and Chris are due in the middle of August and wanted to shoot in a rural setting. It doesn’t get much more rural than farms so that’s where we headed. They’re situated on a lot of land and take care of race horses, give hay rides, and raise an assortment of other animals. Their big thing is horse riding lessons for competition, given by the owner Pat, who competes herself. Pat was more than kind to let us roam around the grounds and go wherever we wanted.

The spot worked out perfectly, as it gave us a traditional farm environment along with a cool indoor spot that was a huge cavernous room and also the discovery of a really old beat up pick-up truck. I don’t think the truck was on the farm property because we had to hop across a stone wall, but no one came out to yell at us so I guess it was fine.

We couldn’t have asked for better light. The trees were filtering the sunlight and making some pretty sweet light patterns everywhere. I love shooting evening hours.

Christy is a sister of Jen (Riley’s mom for those of you that remember those shoots) who is the sister of Shaun (Ava’s dad for those of you that remember that shoot). It’s so cool to get recommended from one family member to the next. Thanks Tucker clan.

Looking forward to meeting their baby girl and taking some newborn photos of her (and them) in August.

Check out the full album here and the Facebook highlights here.

fiona’s father’s day gift

this was fiona’s second father’s day on planet earth (as it was ezra’s, coincidentally). olga (the mom) wanted to give pasha (fiona’s dad, olga’s husband) something nice for father’s day. why was it just so difficult to introduce three people?

olga had spray painted two cardboard letters (D and A). conveniently enough, the word ‘dad’ happens to only have two unique letters, allowing olga to only do 66% of the work but end up with 100% results. they came over to the pseudo-studio in the porch and the chaos began as i tried to shoot a fourteen month old holding letters while not wrinkling the cotton backdrop and also while my eighteen month old ran around like a nut in front of and behind the backdrop. tara did her best but was no match for the speedy ezra.

the goal was just three shots. one with the ‘d’, one with the ‘a’, and one with the ‘d’ again. the three pictures would be framed in succession spelling out, you guessed it, ‘dad’. i figured it would take five or ten minutes to get the three shots. an hour later we were still trying to wrangle things together. i had to banish ezra and tara to the living room to minimize distractions. ezra found the umbrellas over the studio strobes infinitely interesting and i didn’t think his poking and grabbing was going to end well.

a couple hundred shots later, i think (read: hoped) we had the three we needed.

here’s a composite that i put together. pretty cool. good idea olga.

happy belated father’s day to all you dads (i had to wait to blog about this so i wouldn’t spoil the gift for pasha).

holistic photographs [yoga]

some of you may remember the lovely kaitlyn from way back. we did a fashion/modeling style shoot together in worcester, mass. she ended up climbing emergency ladders on buildings in back alleys and hanging over nasty vats of who-knows-what wearing heels and a dress. it went well.

we ended up emailing back and forth not too long ago and she mentioned she needed some photos for a new endeavor. she’s been studying yoga and is getting ready to launch a career as an instructor, starting off as one-on-one and maybe doing class style teaching as well. i loved working with her last time, so of course i said yes. we decided to do a few studio shots and then head into the providence area to get some outdoor yoga action.

the studio shots were a test of my photoshop prowess. the lesson i learned from this shoot is this: iron your backdrops, because the ten or fifteen minutes it takes you to iron it will save you hours upon hours in post-production later trying to remove wrinkles and shadows and other imperfections. it’s my typical ‘save some time’ attitude costing me tons more time afterwards. this is a bad habit that applies to all areas of my life.

anyways, i did what i had to do in post and ended up coming up with a few logo type ideas for her as a bonus. here’s one:

This next one I think is pretty cool. It’s another one that might not be considered a photograph because of how much post was done, but i still think it was cool how my wrinkly white background turned into a glowing green blurry amoeba.

here’s one more studio shot, then we’ll move on to the providence session:

i like this shot, the framing of it is working for me and the pose she does fits really well i think. maybe they can use this picture for the ‘official stretch of providence’ ad campaign. you know the one.

we spotted this yellow fence and kaitlyn really liked it, so we took a few shots. i wasn’t crazy about it but film’s free so i figured why not? when i sent the pictures to kaitlyn she said she loved the yellow fence ones. i still wasn’t crazy about them. coincidentally, when i showed the pictures to tara, her first remark was that she loved the yellow fence. i was outnumbered. it’s still not my favorite, but i have to defer to two women and just assume i’m missing something.

if any of you readers are familiar with providence, this next shot is from that little park that overlooks the city with the giant stone statue. it has a name, but i’ve only lived in rhode island my whole life so i can’t remember it. i’m still learning my way around. there was a black wrought iron fence surrounding the statue area with crazily sharp points on the end to discourage people from climbing over and exposing themselves to the potential of a fifty foot drop on the other side. after kaitlyn and i looked at each other and exchanged a few words she jumped the fence so we could get the shot. i love that. yoga trespassing.

best of luck to kaitlyn with her new adventure, glad to have been able to help out a little bit.

blithewold’s best (gianna and joe’s wedding)

the day started out with near-torrential downpours, but not a single drop of rain fell once the wedding started. that worked out pretty well since most of the festivities were outdoors.

this, my friends, was a wedding. why? because it had everything you need for an awesome wedding:

a great venue – the ceremony and reception was at blithewold mansion in bristol, ri. the ceremony was outdoors in one of the many meticulously kept garden areas. cocktail hour was held on the ‘back deck’, as much as a castle type building can have a deck. the reception was under a tent that was uplit by groove productions. uplighting always adds a cool dimension to the atmosphere, transforming an otherwise mundane white tent into a cool blue, green, and pink party area.

a live band – i hope i don’t offend my dj friends, but nothing compares to a live band at a wedding. let me correct myself – nothing compares to a GOOD live band at a wedding. gianna and joe had east side horns play at their wedding and they were awesome. it just so happens that my high school band teacher is a the trombone player for them. they were musically tight and i don’t think the dance floor was empty the entire night. if you’re looking for a band for your wedding, hire them. i lost count, but i think they showed up with about fourteen people. guitar, bass, drums, trombone, trumpet, sax, singers, sound guys, etc… they are the real deal when it comes to bands. serious musicianship.

exceptional hair and makeup – conveniently enough, gianna’s mom happens to own and run calma salon, a full on beauty shop in cranston on park avenue. i arrived there first and all the girls were getting their hair sprayed, their faces make-up’d, lashes curled, nails painted, and whatever else girls do when they get ready. besides taking photos, my other priority was making sure that my lens didn’t suffer a direct hit from one of the many active hair spray cans. i felt like a photographic ninja trying to protect my equipment. when i got home i had to get my chisel out to take the hairspray coating off the glass. that’s the price you pay for beauty i suppose. really though, calma did an exceptional job on the hair and makeup. good makeup really makes a difference in photos, and you can tell especially by looking at gianna and seeing what good work the salon did. it made me wish i had hair so i could get an up-do.

good food – the 1149 took care of the catering, setting up shop all over the tent with different food stations like a meat carving station and a create your own pasta dish station. tara and i have eaten at the restaurant once before (they’re located in warwick, ri) and it was pretty good, but i didn’t know they did catering until the wedding. good stuff. (i am aware the picture is of candy and cake, i figured we’d skip right to dessert).

outrageous flowers – the enchanted florist had a crazy display of flowers everywhere you looked. i’m no flower expert, but i can tell you that this wasn’t some single rose centerpiece. each table must’ve had a hundred flowers in a huge bouquet. they were everywhere and the variety was impressive. i can’t tell what flowers they were, but i can definitely tell there were a lot of different ones and they all looked good together. the enchanted florist is based in cranston, ri on park ave if you live in the area and are in need of some original arrangements.

a photobooth – not just any photobooth, but the ultimate photobooth. yes, i am referring to the bluecube. it was actually the official debut of the bluecube. i was so proud of my little picture taking box. i felt like it was similar to putting your kid on the kindergarten bus on the first day of school, although i haven’t gotten to that point in life yet. i setup the bluecube and went back to taking photos of the wedding. i was spiraling into depression because there was no action happening at the cube for the first hour or so and i had settled with the fact that the bluecube was a complete and utter failure. then i remembered that everybody was eating dinner and sitting down at their tables. it helps to have a little perspective. once dinner finished up and people started wandering around, the first few unsuspecting guests discovered the bluecube and realized what it was. once the flash started popping, others came over to check out what was going on. from that point on until the night was over, there was a line of people at the bluecube waiting for their shot in the booth. i couldn’t have been prouder of my creation. the photos came out awesome if i do say so myself (check out the album on the blueflash facebook page. don’t forget to ‘like’ us once you’re there).

a very handsome, charming, and capable photographer – ok. i admit, i was the photographer and that was a shameless self-compliment. obviously gianna and joe decided to go with blueflash which i’m very happy about. it was great to be a part of their wedding. have i mentioned that i would recommend blueflash for your wedding? really, that’s an unbiased recommendation.

one of my quiet favorites from the day:

all the best to gianna and joe. thanks again for having me at your wedding.
check out the full albums (wedding album and bluecube album) here.

welcome to earth [baby photos]

good friends of ours stan and karissa (of klm photography just had their first baby a few weeks ago. his name is zekiah stanley. some of you may remember that karissa took photos for us in the hospital when ezra was born. she was with us for almost the whole birth (no small feat considering it lasted about 48 hours).

karissa wanted to have pictures at her birth, but it would’ve been a little awkward of a shoot for me (and her). instead the plan was for tara to go hang at the hospital and snap some photos as best she could. turns out karissa had the opposite birth that tara had. she didn’t even bother calling tara because the birth happened so fast she probably wouldn’t have gotten to the hospital in time.

after ezra took so long to arrive, i’m always glad to hear when other people have quick and complication-free births. while i didn’t take any action shots while the moment was actually happening, we did go visit the next day and i took a few snapshots of the new family in the recovery room.

we went by their house  the other night to see zekiah and he seems to be doing just fine. i forget how small babies are now that ezra is almost a year and a half old. once they both get older the year and a half gap will shrink and maybe they’ll get to nerd out just like me and stan do when we hang out.

babies are so cool but they’re also really strange. what the heck are they thinking? how come they can’t do anything when they’re first born? why does ezra demand that i wear slippers every second that i’m in the house? some things i’ll never know i guess.

congratulations stan and karissa, enjoy as your new alien invades your home.

one face (but it’s a good one)

i have lights and i’m not afraid to use them. i am, however, hesitant to use them with paying clients in ways i’ve never tried before. enter jaclyn, my friend who was gracious enough to lend me her time and face.

jaclyn, her husband nate, and their mini-human mykenzie came over for dinner one night and we shoveled some homemade pizza and ice cream down our throats before pulling out the camera gear and makeup. earlier that day i had set up my studio strobes and a seamless white background in what is usually the porch, but that night (and other nights) served as the impromptu studio space.

i’ve been wanting to give tethered shooting a try, meaning when you press the shutter button the photo goes directly to a computer so you can see it on the big screen. i ended up really liking it because it’s much easier to see how the shots are looking on a computer screen versus the three inch screen on the back of the camera. it was especially helpful when trying to make fine adjustments to the lighting setup. anywho, i digress.

my goal was to get a few good head shots that were cropped really tightly. i wanted to to get variety from the lighting, not the posing. jaclyn made one face, which we affectionately referred to as ‘the face’. it was a good face. the one shot below where she’s using a different face was really a shot i grabbed while she was laughing at one of my many extremely clever jokes.

i backlit this shot with two full power strobes, one on either side and both angled toward the back of her head. shooting into the strobes gave me the lens flare that you see. there was hardly no post production work on this shot, it’s pretty much right out of camera.

this next shot was the one that i thought was going to be my favorite. i spent the most editing time on this one, only to realize that my actual favorite of the night was a different shot that only required 45 minutes of editing. go figure. note ‘the face’ in action for this shot and the one above, just different lighting. this shot had a full power strobe directly behind her head, bare bulb. the other strobe was at about a 45 in front of her with a shoot-through umbrella.

and lastly, my pick of the night:

i like it because it’s clean, bright, and the pose is natural. i was making her be serious most of the time, but maybe i should’ve let her smile more. when ya got a good thing, you should use it, right?

i’m happy with the results and i’m grateful to jaclyn for sitting through all the pictures. i’m even more thankful to nate for hanging around with mykenzie while we shot. i’m even more thankful to tara for making ice cream.

real time engagement [proposal photos]

this was a first for me. usually engagement photos happen sometime after the actual proposal takes place. these were actually of the proposal. matt and kayla are good friends of myself and tara. matt came by one saturday morning and showed me the ring, explained the plan, and asked if i would take some snapshots of the proposal. i said yes, and tried the ring on – it was very emotional. his plan was for the four of us to go out to eat at the locals, a cool little restaurant in north providence where the menu changes every couple weeks depending on what food is available (all their ingredients are sourced locally, hence the name). it’s pretty much our go-to restaurant when we go out, so the idea was for kayla not so suspect anything weird.

matt called ahead and had them make kayla’s favorite dessert, which was some type of white cake with chocolate frosting and strawberries. they actually ended up making a ridiculously oversized cupcake type thing, as can be seen in the pictures below.

as the band played (there is live music most weekend nights), tara and i took ezra over to watch them so we wouldn’t awkwardly be sitting there during the proposal. the waitress brought out the crazy cake, which on the same plate contained the ring in one of the flower petals. once matt found the ring, he dropped to his knee, presumably said “will you marry me?”, and i charged the table while haphazardly mashing shutter button with my speedlight pointed who-knows-where and bouncing off who-knows-what. technically, it was not my most shining performance as a photographer due to the secret nature of the situation. i’m just glad people don’t have surprise wedding ceremonies.

so here are some shots, in chronological order, starting at the knee-drop. you may be wondering why some of the pictures are weird shapes… that’s what happens when you have to crop out ezra’s high chair and his collection of food scraps that he launched onto the floor. that juxtaposition just wasn’t working out. congratulations to matt and kayla. keep on the lookout for a more normal engagement session of these two in the near future.

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