2016 | Year In Review

Hey! Matt here. Welcome to our annual year in review post. Why two weeks late, you ask? Well we were working furiously to get our brandy new website launched to start the blog back up and due to some backend technicalities it ended up passing our Jan 1st target. Water under the bridge. The important thing is – do you like it? We are pumped about starting off 2017 with a new website. Our previous one had run its course. It wasn’t very mobile-friendly and we always like to be friendly in everything we do.

2016 Happenings

So 2016… The years are flying by at an insane rate. It seems like just a little while ago that this idea of Blueflash was in its infancy. On a personal note we added another person to our family (Rory Calvin) back in August. He decided to drop in during the peak of wedding season. Thankfully our team is awesome and we were able to seamlessly cover everything. Here he is when he was a newborn:

Photo of my third child Rory Calvin just days after he was born

 

Rory’s arrival trumps all the incredible things that happened with Blueflash in 2016. That’s not to say it wasn’t an eventful year for us here at Blueflash, because it was. We continued to be a part of nearly countless weddings. Our clients continue to let us in on one of the most important days of their lives. They tell other people about us and we get to see them again at future weddings. That’s so cool.

New Stuff

What’s shiny from 2016? A good amount of things. If you’ll indulge me:

The Website

Yes, the one you’re reading this on was born today (January 13th). You may very well be one of the first few people to lay eyes on it depending on when you see this post. As mentioned above it’s a big upgrade in terms of mobile experience. I’m anxious to kickstart the blog back up (it was down during development of the new site). We’ve got a backlog of events that we can’t wait to post about and get out there to everyone. Hope ya love it.

Bluecube 3

We built our third Bluecube toward the end of last year. It’s a bit of a departure from our original two. It’s got new capabilities that we’re pretty excited about. One is the ability to email or text animated GIFs right from the touch screen. It also looks pretty slick. We’re always trying to up our own game and I’m really pleased with how this project turned out (the glowing blue lights really help). Keep an eye out for it at an event near you this year.

Britt

If you’ve contacted us in any capacity since March then you’ve met Britt. She’s our full time studio magician, I mean, manager. Bringing her on has transformed Blueflash, the things I’m able to spend time on, and most importantly the client experience. We’re constantly brainstorming together on how to improve what it’s like for a client to work with us.

Drones and other UFOs

We launched (pun intended) our aerial add-on service to cinema and put our drone up in the air at a bunch of weddings. A ton of our couples have it booked for 2017 and we’re excited about that. It’s been really awesome to splice that footage into our highlight films. Abby’s moved into our primary pilot spot. If you see her with the controller in her hands at a wedding, don’t mess with her.

Stuff

‘Stuff’ isn’t a very descriptive header but it’s all encompassing and that sure is convenient when you’re trying to keep a blog post to less than 10,000 words. There are so many things that we’ve been implementing over the years to make all aspects of the business (both back end and front end) better. I could bore you to tears with the stuff we have in Slack conversations, Trello boards, Wunderlist lists, and Evernote notes. I won’t. I’ll spare you. Just know that we don’t stop.

The Team

These guys are the best. All credit goes to everyone on the Blueflash team. They are experienced, reliable, talented, dedicated and most importantly fun to hang out with. I love to see people on the team advancing into different roles, stepping up to fill various needs, and learning new skills and excelling at them. I am honored to work alongside them and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Below is a sample of the various awards we’ve won over the years. I’m putting it there as a testament to their hard work. We’re especially proud of the latest awards we won which were from Borrowed and Blue. Industry peers (aka other vendors) voted on these. We won gold for best photographer, silver for best cinematographer, and we won the “Rising Star” award which is described on their site like this: This promising vendor is one to watch, someone whose talent and hard work has created a name for themselves both creatively and professionally within Newport. It was only awarded to one vendor in RI.

2017 January Badges Collage

The Closer

I wrote an ending in the 2014 year in review post that I then copied and used again in the 2015 one. As I sit here writing the 2016 post I feel like I still can’t do better so I’m recycling with some minor tweaks once again. The sentiment is still relevant.

As humans we’re never sure what the future will bring. We can only anticipate, plan, hope, and trust in God. I think this upcoming year will be another exciting and wild one. This crazy adventure is a lot of fun and we are so appreciative of all of you that have come along with us to be a part of it at one point or another.

It’s all about doing what you love with people you respect and admire. I get to do that every day, which is more than I could ask for.

Thank you for enabling me to have this be my job, to be able to support my wife and three kids, and to provide work and opportunities for everyone on our team. All of us on the Blueflash team thank you for trusting us with your wedding day. Thank you for telling your friends and family about us and saying kind things. Thanks for the little notes and emails that let us know how happy you were – that helps keep us going more than you know.

Thanks 2016. Here’s to 2017. Hope you all have a great New Year!

The Meaning of Photos

What is the meaning of life… I mean photos?

 

Sometimes as photographers we can become so immersed in the process of taking literally tens of thousands of photographs in a year that we forget the bigger picture (see what I did there?). Fun fact – the Blueflash team took over 200,000 photographs last year alone.

 

The Bigger Picture

What is the bigger picture? What I mean is that these photographs serve as important markers and reminders in the lives of the people that are in them. As Tara, Ezra, Finn, and I wait for the newest member of our family to arrive (four days behind schedule as of today) I’ve been thinking about how your family permanently changes with the addition of each new member. It’s a great thing, but it’s change, and with any change after some time it becomes difficult to remember how things used to be. What if you want to be able to remember?

 

Why Photos Are Important

That’s where photos come in. Emily took some photos of our family a month or two ago. A pregnant Tara and our two kids got together for about 30 minutes (that’s all you can get out of little dudes) and because of that we have that stage of our lives and our family preserved for us to look back on. I can already see with two kids how hard it is to remember what it was like when we just had one. Don’t even bother trying to remember the time before kids! The only thing that transports me back to those different stages is photos and videos of those times.

 

Wedding photos fit into the mix just as nicely. Your wedding day becomes an anchor and representation of the beginning of your married life together. For all the years ahead you have these pictures that transport you back to a certain point in time in your lives. Along with that come thoughts, feelings, and memories that surrounded that timeframe. It’s pretty cool stuff. Sometimes it’s just hard to see that value in a simple photograph when you’re still in the moment. It’s one of the few things that is guaranteed to increase in value as time goes on.

 

Looking at these photos made me start thinking of these things so I thought I’d share it with you guys along with posting some highlights from our family session. Big thanks to Emily for being awesome. Enjoy!

 

-Matt

 

GoodPeople - Blueflash Photography 001.jpg GoodPeople - Blueflash Photography 003.jpg GoodPeople - Blueflash Photography 007.jpg GoodPeople - Blueflash Photography 009.jpg GoodPeople - Blueflash Photography 011.jpg GoodPeople - Blueflash Photography 020.jpg GoodPeople - Blueflash Photography 022.jpg GoodPeople - Blueflash Photography 025.jpg GoodPeople - Blueflash Photography 031.jpg GoodPeople - Blueflash Photography 035.jpg GoodPeople - Blueflash Photography 038.jpg GoodPeople - Blueflash Photography 041.jpg GoodPeople - Blueflash Photography 045.jpg

FAQ Video Refresh!

 

Hey all! We’re really excited to launch a sorely needed update on the Blueflash FAQ video. We got together last week and recorded all the parts, ate some pizza, gave each other a hard time about being on camera, and all sorts of other fun stuff.

 

Make sure you stick it out to the very end. Hope ya like it!

 


 

Drone License Acquired | RI Aerial Photography

This one’s short and sweet – we finally (7 months after applying) got our Section 333 Exemption from the FAA. That’s their strange label for essentially a drone pilot’s license. This is exciting stuff. Technically you’re not allowed to fly a drone for commercial purposes without this exemption/license. It’s really difficult to get and they don’t hand them out liberally, so we’re pumped that we got ours.

 

Want some aerial shots from your wedding? We can do both photos and videos from the sky. A few aerial clips adds a really nice touch to your highlight film. Talk to us about it if you’re interested! That’s all for now…

 

Fly On Blog.jpg

A Blueflash Welcome for Britt!

We love announcements. We’re always changing, evolving, improving, and moving forward. Exciting new stuff is always fun and today we have a big one for you.

 

New Things

We are so excited to announce publicly what’s going on behind the scenes here at Blueflash lately. Things have gotten so crazy so fast for us in just the last couple years (which is awesome) and we’ve been doing our best to keep up and adapt. As with everything in life, you eventually hit a breaking point or a ceiling and become stuck; unable to continue growing and improving and doing things as great as you’d like. That’s where we found ourselves toward the end of last year.

 

The Fix

We started feeling like we weren’t really giving our clients the full awesome experience that we wanted to. There were things we know we wanted to do but just couldn’t because we had to prioritize the must-do’s (i.e. shooting, editing, delivering, etc…). Our vision has always been to provide an experience that is smooth, easy, and enjoyable for all our brides and grooms. It became time to have someone dedicated to client happiness. Enter Britt. Things are changing and they’re all for the better. The way better. We’re so excited about the things that are already transforming and all sorts of awesome stuff that is being put in place.

 

Blueflash Welcomes Full Time Studio Manager Britt

 

We’re Client-centric to the Core

Just a few weeks ago Britt has come on board as the full time studio manager. Her official title(s) is “Studio Manager | Director of Client Love”. What does it mean for you, the Blueflash bride and groom? It means whenever you have a question about your wedding or need help with anything, Britt is there to get back to you. Fast. She’s got years of wedding planning and coordination experience which surely doesn’t hurt. It means we’ve got someone on our team that is solely focused, full time, on you. Because really it’s all about you guys, our brides and grooms. It means a whole lot of other good things, but we can’t really tell you what those are yet.

 

Join us in welcoming Britt for this new chapter in the Blueflash adventure!

Blueflash and Oggi | Love at First Sight

We’ve got something exciting to tell you about. Here goes…

 

Blueflash and Oggi Photography

 

We were approached by Julie and Stephan of Oggi Photography toward the latter half of last year. They let us know they were looking to retire the wedding part of their business and wondering if we’d be interested in taking over for them. After realizing how awesome of human beings they were we decided to go for it. We’re honored that they would even consider us to carry on the torch. Here’s the four of us smiling a lot:

 

Blueflash and Oggi Photography Group Photo

 

This has been in the works for awhile now but we waited before announcing and making it public. Julie and Stephan have been a pillar in the RI wedding photography scene for decades. They revolutionized wedding photography in the area, helping with the transition from ultra-traditional to the journalistic and candid approach that has become the standard of today. They have been the go-to studio for discerning and sophisticated brides for years. When they started doing weddings they were shooting on medium format film cameras and have successfully kept up with the technological changes throughout their tenure and were able to not only stay competitive but remain as a highly sought after studio while others fell behind because they weren’t able to adapt.

 

They are and have been set up in Bristol, RI and will remain in that building while Julie continues to service commercial clients and small events and Stephan pursues his fine art and continues to teach. They are infinitely interesting people with hearts of gold and leave us very large footsteps to fill. We plan to do what we do better and better every day in order to not only maintain the standards of the Oggi name but advance it and push it forward. Good things to come. They might even teach me how to develop film!

 

We greatly admire and respect what Stephan and Julie have done over the years artistically, business-wise, and personally. We’re excited about this new step along the crazy adventure we call Blueflash. To celebrate we decided to jump in the Bluecube together. It only seemed appropriate.

 

Oggi and Blueflash Photo Strips

2015 | Year In Review

 

Hi All !

2015. Wow. That’s probably the best way to sum it up. Once again this adventure we call Blueflash has taken us to new places that we couldn’t have ever imagined. So much has happened over the past year and we’re incredibly thankful for everybody that was a part of it – most especially our awesome brides and grooms that have entrusted us to be a part of their wedding day.

 

Thank you.

 

Really. From the bottom of our memory cards. We mean it.

 

SOME STATS

Why are we so thankful? Because we were able to be a part of so many weddings, meet a ton of awesome people, and do what we love over and over again. You guys let be a part of 113 weddings this year. That is completely outrageous. I always like to break down some stats and compare them to the previous year. Here goes.

 

We photographed 82 weddings (In 2014 we photographed 58)

We made 54 wedding films (In 2014 we filmed 27)

The Bluecube got invited to 56 places (In 2014 it was at 43 events)

We provided uplighting for 7 weddings (in 2014 we didn’t even offer uplighting!)

We provided event coordination for 6 weddings (coordination was just introduced this year)

 

In addition to that we have been building out our commercial and corporate side of the business and got to do a pretty decent amount of work in that realm (http://www.blueflashphotography.com/commercial if you’re interested). Add some family sessions and other miscellaneous things to the mix and you can see that we kept ourselves pretty busy!

 

Fun Facts

Here’s some other numbers and milestones and fun 2015 facts:

 

– We delivered over 50,000 final edited photographs to wedding clients this year

– We won Weddingwire’s Bride Choice Award for the fifth year in a row

– We won TheKnot.com “Best of Weddings”

– We got the cover photo on Newport Wedding Magazine

– We launched a new service: Uplighting

– We launched another new service: Event Planning, Coordination, and Design

– We launched yet another new service: Boudoir sessions

– We launched even ANOTHER new service: Aerial photo and video with our new drone!

– We got be a part of an incredible destination wedding in Puerto Rico which we photographed, filmed, and coordinated

– We got published in a handful of bridal magazines (SNE Weddings Destinations, RI Monthly Engaged, etc…)

– We were RI Monthly’s Official Photographer and Cinematographer (and are again for 2016)

– We took part in a few bridal shows, including one in Manhattan

– We released our own rendition of I’ll Be Home For Christmas (missed it?! Watch it HERE)

– We survived

 

OUR TEAM

Just like last year, we had quite a few additions to our team this year. Here’s how the face of Blueflash has changed:

 

– Kearsten, Fred, Brian, Jaimie, and Kim joined the team as photographers. Kearsten helps on the back end with post production as well and Brian has jumped in to help out with cinema when needed. It’s been awesome having these talented people in the mix.

– Breanna came on board to help out with some behind the scenes things, namely the blog. She’s been writing almost all the posts and is helping us work through our giant backlog of blog entries that need to be written. If you’re wondering, I (Matt) am writing this one, though. She has also stepped up to help with Bluecube and documentary add-on when needed.

 

It’s really exciting when new people join the team. It’s hard to find the right people for a variety of reasons. It’s totally worth the effort when you do, though. These guys are some of the most talented people out there and they all care intensely about what they do.

 

We’ve also had some crossovers in 2015. Caleb started with the Bluecube but has done some uplighting and can now hold his own in the cinema department as well. Abby started with Bluecube and also added uplighting to her resume. The versatility of the team is a really cool thing to see.

 

NEW STUFF

We mentioned above in the “Fun Facts” section about the new services we launched this past year. For 2016 we don’t have any plans to introduce any new services. Instead we’re going to focus intently on client experience and really make the whole process as enjoyable and awesome as possible.

 

I think we are in a good place with what we’re able to offer brides and grooms and now want to optimize and improve it all as much as possible. One way to do this is by Britt taking the role of full time studio manager starting in March. I think this will be a huge step toward really serving our clients in the best way possible.

 

It’s a big step for us but are confident it’s the right move and are really excited about the possibilities it will enable, especially on the client experience side. In the end we just want our brides and grooms to walk away loving every bit of the experience with us and I think having Britt on full time will be a giant leap forward in that department.

 

2016

I’m shamelessly lifting the following text from last year’s recap blog post (and changed the dates) because I feel the same way again as I did last year.

 

As humans we’re never sure what the future will bring. We can only anticipate, plan, hope, and trust in God. I think this upcoming year will be another exciting and crazy one, topping the prior one just like 2015 did to 2014. This crazy adventure is a lot of fun and we are so appreciative of all of you that have come along with us to be a part of it at one point or another.

 

It’s not about all the numbers that were listed above, though it’s cool for us to look at them as a metric for growth and progress. I’d be lying if I said it weren’t. It is, however, about doing what you love with people you respect and admire. I get to do that every day, which is more than I could ask for.

 

Thanks 2015. Here’s to 2016. Hope you all have a great New Year!

A Blueflash Christmas Song

Last year we picked up our guitars and warmed up our larynx and recorded a Christmas song, our own version of “Oh Holy Night”, to celebrate the onset of Christmas. This year we wanted to do a song again and decided on “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”. It’s super chill and laid back. Emily kills it on vocals and I do my best to keep up with her on guitar.

 

What does this have to do with photography? Nothing really, but we’re just regular people and a lot of us happen to love music. This song was written in 1943 in honor of the WW2 soldiers who weren’t able to be home with their loved ones for Christmas. A fun fact courtesy of Wikipedia.

 

As Christmas comes and goes in the next few days we hope that you’ll be able to take some time to reflect on what it’s really all about. As Linus reminds us in “A Charlie Brown Christmas”:

 

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. -Luke 2:9-12

 

The God of the universe, creator of all things, came to earth in the form of a baby. That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

 

We hope you enjoy watching and listening. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

 

New Service | Event Planning and Design!

The other day we announced the launch of our uplighting division. For us that was already pretty awesome and exciting. Here’s part two of two of our announcements:

 

We are proud (and pumped) to introduce event planning, event design, and coordination! You may think we’re crazy, and that might be true, but the side benefit is that now you can get a ton of stuff in one place! The only way we’re able to offer this is because we brought a certain someone onto our team. A big welcome to Britt! She’s going to handle all the planning, design, and coordination for us. Here she is:

 

Britt - Event Planner

 

Read her bio on the about page (click HERE). She’s cool. You’ll love her. We do.

 

I don’t want to rehash all the info on planning, design, and coordination in this blog post. You can check out all the info right on the page dedicated to it here – Blueflash Planning and Design Page.

 

This is a big new adventure for us. Are you looking for someone to make your life easier? Help you plan out every detail? Do it all for you? Talk to us and we can hook you up.

 

So where does that leave us? One roof, five services: Photography, cinematography, Bluecube, uplighting, event planning/design/coordination. That’s enough to keep us busy for now. Tell all your friends, tell your neighbors, tell everyone. Thanks!

New Service | Uplighting!

One of our two new services starting this year is uplighting. I’ve found that a lot of people I’ve mentioned it to have responded the same way: What’s uplighting? Because of that, here’s a short description:

 

Uplighting is a way to transform your venue space. It can set the mood and tone of the night and stitch all of your design elements together. A picture is worth a thousand words, but we haven’t had a chance yet to deploy our uplights at any events because, well, this is the launch post so it’s pretty new.

 

Basically it’s a light that sits on the floor and points upward. No surprise there. The ones that we have are wireless so as to not clutter the floor and create tripping hazards for your guests. They’re LED so they last for plenty of time on a battery charge. They have red, green, blue, and amber LEDs in them. Not to get deep into color theory in this post, but with light you can make all colors from mixing red, green, and blue in varying amounts. Unfortunately the white is harsh and cold when you do that, so these lights have a set of amber LEDs which allows you to achieve a soft, warm white. Pretty cool.

 

Long story short, they can be set to any color imaginable.

 

We hope that by offering this we can save our brides and grooms from having to enlist another vendor. There’s a bit of selfishness to it as well – when a venue is lit properly, the photos and video look better. It’s a win-win for everyone. Read more about it on the uplighting page here.

 

Blueflash – now offering wedding and event uplighting. Interested? Shoot us a message on the contact page.

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