Hockey Fans Turned Pittsburgh Lovers – Engagement Photography – Incline & Point State Park

Ever since this photo shoot I’ve been contemplating, have we, as Buffalonians, hit the point where it’s totally fair to have “another” team?  Are our sports programs SO wretched that we need backup to keep us engaged in the sports we love to watch?  I’d like to say that’s totally, 100%, cheating on your team… jerks… but… maybe there has to be a breaking point?  Can we really still hate on fair weather fans?  I’m torn.

For Ryan, an avid hockey fan, that breaking point started creeping up around the time Sydney Crosby first put on his Pittsburgh sweater in 2005, and gradually grew as Crosby’s dynamic career has unfolded.  As the fandom blossomed, so did Ryan’s relationship with Tricia, and the two decided to travel to Pittsburgh to see Crosby on home ice.  This started to become a regular tradition for these two and they started to simply become fans of Pittsburgh as a whole.  These two still call Buffalo home, but Pittsburgh is a place they return to time and time again and has become an important place to them.

Tricia and Ryan are planning a wedding for next June back in Buffalo, but decided to bring me out to Pittsburgh for their engagement photos to honor this place that’s so special to them.  I had a blast working in some new places and exploring Pittsburgh for a day.  It’s sure a nice place.  But… let’s go Buff-a-lo!

Give Me Love and Literal Light – Tahleen + Luke – Wedding Engagement Photography Session – Knox Farm – Buffalo, NY

Give me love and literal light – there will be photo magic.

People have asked if I ever know which couples will make it, which relationships will stand the test of time, and I like to think I do.  Honestly, my only credentials for making such a statement are that the one couple I’ve photographed in 12 years that I know has split was also the number one couple about which I thought, “meh… I dunno about those two.”  But this begs the question, what does love look like?  It certainly takes on many shapes as it molds to the personalities of those it inhabits, but there are just certain couples where you can see it, that THING, they have it!

When I critique photographers work, the sentiment I share more than any other is, “it doesn’t FEEL like anything.”  Taking a picture of a pretty thing – that’s easy.  Finding or creating good light, finding great color, using an engaging composition, all of these things are vital.  But if the photo doesn’t FEEL like anything, what’s it all for?  Sure, light and color and composition help create feeling, but there’s more.  Finding the light, the color, the composition, then finding Love, captial L-love, and using the elements and principles of art to let that Love shine, that’s where the magic lives.  That’s the photo that makes you take a deep breath,  soak it in, maybe even let out an audible “mmmm…” because you can just FEEL what it’s like to be present, then and there.

This magic trifecta came to fruition with Tahleen and Luke’s engagement session.  At some point I realized I was being pretty quiet during this shoot.  That’s rare for me.  I’m always making conversation, jokes, asking questions… But this session was beyond.  The light was there, the love was there… all I needed to do was focus.  Not focus the camera, though that’s important too… but focus on how to make art out of everything the world was so generously throwing at me.

My greatest goal with a picture is to transport people to a place in time, to give the world living, breathing pictures that they can FEEL with all the senses, not just sight.  I think these pictures have that… because I did my job, and Tahleen and Luke just have that THAT thing…

In short, to me, this is what love looks like folks.  Soak it in.

 

wedding engagement photography of bride and groom laughing and walking down tree lined street at Knox Farm State Park near Buffalo, NYbride and groom kiss along old wood fence in field during wedding engagement photography at Knox Farm State Park near Buffalo, NYgroom squeezes bride along old wood fence in field during wedding engagement photography at Knox Farm State Park near Buffalo, NYgroom squeezes bride along old wood fence in field during wedding engagement photography at Knox Farm State Park near Buffalo, NYgroom squeezes bride along old wood fence in field during wedding engagement photography at Knox Farm State Park near Buffalo, NYgroom kisses brides forhead along old wood fence in fieldduring wedding engagement photography at Knox Farm State Park near Buffalo, NYbride and groom kiss in field during wedding engagement photography at Knox Farm State Park near Buffalo, NYbride and groom laugh together during wedding engagement photography at Knox Farm State Park near Buffalo, NYbride and groom embrace in forrest in small puddle of sunlight during wedding engagement photography at Knox Farm State Park near Buffalo, NYbride and groom embrace in forrest in small puddle of sunlight during wedding engagement photography at Knox Farm State Park near Buffalo, NYbride and groom look at each other and embrace along old wood fence during wedding engagement photography at Knox Farm State Park near Buffalo, NYbride and groom kiss along old wood fenceduring wedding engagement photography at Knox Farm State Park near Buffalo, NY

Kellie + Trevor – Samuel’s Grande Manor – Garden Wedding – Buffalo, NY

On the drive home from every wedding, I inevitably reflect back on the day – favorite moments, favorite photos, all the different characters I met, etc.  Leaving Kellie and Trevor’s wedding I thought, “well that sure was pleasant.”  There was a calm among this crew.  Kellie and Trevor are those sorts of people you can tell really go out of their way to make the people around them feel great.  And I think it really reflected back on them during their wedding – you could look around and just FEEL everyone was genuinely happy for these two and so happy to share in the celebration.

We started the day at Kellie’s parents house which is always such a special and personal treat for me.  I love seeing where my clients grew up and the people and places that shaped them.  THE one and only Lizzy Dugan and the crew from Salon Elizabeth joined us and filled their lil’ kitchen with all the beauty and glam imaginable.  I can’t recommend these ladies enough – true top notch pros.

Meanwhile Trevor and his groomsmen got in to all sorts of shenanigans over at Kellie’s sisters house.  Trevor owned a skate shop for years and I knew he wanted to incorporate skateboarding in to his pictures, so I figured he and my second shooter would have a lot of fun working working together… had no idea it would lead to what you see below, but that’s all part of the  fun. (:

We spent the rest of the day at Samuel’s Grande Manor where the rain cleared JUST in time for a beautiful outdoor ceremony in their lush gardens with a reception afterward in their second level ballroom.

Many thanks to Kellie and Trevor for including me in this celebration, it has been such a pleasure!  All the best to you both!

photography of brides dress hanging before garden wedding ceremony at Samuelphotography of brides shoes and jewelry before garden wedding ceremony at Samuelphotography of bride getting hair and makeup done by Lizzy Dugan of Salon Elizabeth before garden wedding ceremony at Samuelphotography of bride getting hair and makeup done by Lizzy Dugan of Salon Elizabeth before garden wedding ceremony at Samuelphotography of bride getting veil adjusted by Lizzy Dugan of Salon Elizabeth before garden wedding ceremony at Samuelfunny photos of groom shaving with knife before garden wedding ceremony at Samuelmugshots of groomsmen before garden wedding ceremony at Samuelgroom skateboarding past groomsmen before garden wedding ceremony at Samuelgroom smiling in front of groomsmen before garden wedding ceremony at Samuelgroom high-fiving ring bearer before garden wedding ceremony at Samuelgroomsman fallen through deck stairs before garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride getting dress fastened by bridesmaids before garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride putting on earrings and shoes while flower girls parents dress her before garden wedding ceremony at Samuelflower girl laughing while surrounded by puffy dress before garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride pinning boutonniere on father before garden wedding ceremony at Samuelring bearer relaxing before garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbagpipe player walks down aisle before garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride walks down aisle as groom reactsfather giving bride away during garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride and groom look at each other during garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride and groom exchange vows during garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride and groom exchange vows during garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride and groom exchange vowsduring garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride and groom exchange vows behind flameduring garden wedding ceremony at Samuelmoms light candle during garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride and groom light candle during garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride and groom say vows during garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride and groom exchange vows during garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride and groom exchange vows during garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride and groom exchange rings during garden wedding ceremony at Samuelwide angle photo during garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride and groom share first kiss during garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride and groom toast during garden wedding ceremony at Samuelfamilies pose for portraits after garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbridal party poses for portraits after garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbridal party poses for portraits after garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride and groom pose for portraits after garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride and groom pose for portraits after garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride and groom pose for portraits after garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride and groom pose for portraits after garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride and groom pose for portraits after garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbride and groom pose for portraits after garden wedding ceremony at Samuelbrides flowers near fountain after garden wedding ceremony at Samueldetail photos of room, cake, card box and center piecesduring wedding reception at Samuelbride and groom are introduced and share first dance during wedding reception at Samuelbride and groom share first dance during wedding reception at Samuelbride cries while sharing first dance with groom during wedding reception at Samuelbride and groom cut cake during wedding reception at Samuelbest man and maid of honor deliver speechesduring wedding reception at Samuelguests cheers after toast during wedding reception at Samueluncle receives brithday cake during wedding reception at Samuelbride dances with father during wedding reception at Samuelbride dances with father during wedding reception at Samuelgroom dances with mother during wedding reception at Samuelgroom dances with mother during wedding reception at Samuelguests dance during wedding reception at Samuelbride tosses bouquet during wedding reception at Samuelbride sings and dances during wedding reception at Samuelbride and grooms rings during wedding reception at Samuelbride and groom pose for portraits outside during wedding reception at Samuel

Second Shooter – Joey Galdieri

Hair + Makeup – Lizzie Dugan – Salon Elizabeth

DJ – Samuel’s Sound

Flowers – Michael’s Flowers

Bakery – Just Say Cheese Cake!

 

 

Lilac Festival – Highland Park – Rochester, NY

Each spring, Rochester, NY erupts with gorgeous blossoms and the city celebrates the season the way any fine city should, with a massive 10 day festival. Lilac Fest features dozens of concerts, rides, craft beer and wine tastings, a parade, running races and so much more.  I had the opportunity to cover a couple days of the festival, a fairly massive undertaking as the activities are seemingly endless and span a massive portion of Highland Park.  It was a treat to experience the festival in such a hands on capacity.  Check out a few of my favorites below and check out the festival for yourself next May!

marching band and participants perform during parade in front of cherry blossoms Lilac Festival at Highland Park in Rochester, NYclown on bike poses for photo during parade at Lilac Festival at Highland Park in Rochester, NYveterans march with flags during parade Lilac Festival at Highland Park in Rochester, NYparticipants laugh while marching in parade Lilac Festival at Highland Park in Rochester, NYgroup of people offer free hugs in purple cross walk Lilac Festival at Highland Park in Rochester, NYa juggler performs and visitors enjoy rides and art vendors Lilac Festival at Highland Park in Rochester, NYpeople walk through lilacs and cherry blossoms Lilac Festival at Highland Park in Rochester, NYcouple embraces in tree Lilac Festival at Highland Park in Rochester, NYcouple laughs while enjoying wine at the craft wine tasting festival Lilac Festival at Highland Park in Rochester, NYfriends cheers during the craft beer festical Lilac Festival at Highland Park in Rochester, NYmusicians perform concert Lilac Festival at Highland Park in Rochester, NYmusician performs at concert Lilac Festival at Highland Park in Rochester, NYmusicians perform at concert Lilac Festival at Highland Park in Rochester, NY

Sam + Sean – Buffalo, NY Wedding Photography at St. Joseph’s, Tifft Nature Preserve and Pearl St. Grill and Brewery

As years go by in a chosen profession, you realize little nuances, and not so little nuances that give your work meaning and purpose, your, “whys,” so to speak.  I’ve grown to realize many wedding photography, “whys” over time… free wedding cake, for example.  But there’s one that takes an ever-growing priority as time ticks.  One that has reshaped the entire structure of my business.  Connection.  When I’m able to personally connect with people, and through my work, connect these people to their pasts, the present of course, and even their futures, that keeps this job interesting and full of joy for me.  Using photography as a vehicle to connect people to their most important relationships gives the work greater meaning for me than “another wedding.” That’s when the work starts to feel like part of the legacy of the subjects – that’s when you can look at a photo and remember what it FELT like to be in someone’s presence – that’s the stuff the “keepers” are made of.

This wedding season, more than ever before, I’ve been working to get to know my clients a bit before their weddings.  I used to photograph 35 weddings in a summer.  The weddings were a lot of fun.  The work load was not.  For me, for my work, I realized I wanted MORE time with the people, more time with the pictures, and I wanted to be more personally connected to all of it.  So now it’s 20 weddings per summer instead.  I’m texting with my clients all the time, getting together for coffee or an adult beverage before the wedding, trying to establish mutual access to one another.  In the end, this is a collaboration, I don’t want to just show up, snap some photos and collect a check.  I want to understand the depths of what I’m photographing, and it’s really hard to do that 35 times in a summer.

Other photographer’s have asked me about how to avoid “burnout” while hustling to wedding after wedding.  They worry about keeping things fresh and exciting.  “Should I get a new lens or maybe try out a new location” they’ll ask.  That’s all well and good, but my best advise it truly to invest in the people.  People are FASCINATING and family dynamics are as complex as could be.  Every story is unique and quirky and beautiful in it’s own way. It’s our job as photographers to find those special stories, all the little nooks n’ crannys a la English Muffins and document them.  That’s what keeps it fresh – fresh people, fresh personalities and stories, not a new pose or lighting technique.

Enter Sam and Sean.  I’ve photographed three weddings for this family and several others for their extended friend group.  I recognize the faces, I’m learning the traditions, people are familiar with me and that brings a comfort and ease to the day that makes it easier to really dig deep in to the story line without seeming like a total stranger weirdo with a camera to everyone.  I’ve loved getting to know all of these people and being present for SO many of their life events.  It has truly been a privilege.

I chatted with Sam’s dad for a little while just before the first dance was about to begin.  He said “giving away” his daughter was a really strange feeling and that it has been harder than he thought.  He went on to say how excited he was though, how strong Sam and Sean are together.  I added that Sam and Sean’s smiles shine bright on their own, but you can tell they stretch just a little further when they’re together.  He went on to say how they’re both special-ed teachers.  I mentioned how it takes special sorts of people for that sort of work and he agreed.  It was a very quick conversation, but it reminded me of how COMPLEX these days are, the range of emotions felt by so many involved.  How much leads up to it, decades of parenting – love, tears, support, discipline, etc. etc.  THAT is what I’m photographing.  Sure, there will be pretty pictures of centerpieces and flowers too, but it’s the pictures that represent a lifetimes worth of highs and lows leading up to this celebration that mean the most. Here’s hoping these pictures hold their place in Sam and Sean’s history and continue to tell their stories far long after we all can.

Without further babbles, Sam and Sean’s wedding highlights (!!!):

mother of groom pins flower at wedding in buffalo nygroom and groomsmen laugh during wedding at St. Josephgroom poses with flower girl during wedding at St. Josephbride smiles before ceremony during wedding at St. Josephfather walks bride down aisle during wedding at St. Josephbride and groom kneel during wedding at St. Josephbride and groom smile during wedding at St. Josephwedding at St. Josephbride and groom exchange vows during wedding at St. Joseph bride and groom exchange vowsduring wedding at St. Josephbride and groom kiss during wedding at St. Josephbride and groom smile at guests during wedding at St. Josephchildren dance during wedding at St. Josephpriest blesses bride and groom during wedding at St. Josephgroom smiles at bride during wedding at St. Josephguests pray for bride and groom during wedding at St. Josephbride and groom walk down aisle during wedding at St. Josephbride and groom look out door during wedding at St. Josephbride looks out window during wedding at St. Josephbride and groom exit church during wedding at St. Josephbride and groom exit church during wedding at St. Josephbride and groom exit church during wedding at St. Josephbride and groom pose for portrait near "greetings from Buffalo" mural in downtown Buffalo, NYbride and groom pose for portrait near "greetings from Buffalo" mural in downtown Buffalo, NYbride and groom pose for portrait near "greetings from Buffalo" mural in downtown Buffalo, NYbride poses for portrait near "greetings from Buffalo" mural in downtown Buffalo, NYgroom poses for portrait near "greetings from Buffalo" mural in downtown Buffalo, NYbride and groom pose for portrait near "greetings from Buffalo" mural in downtown Buffalo, NYbridal party walks at Tifft Nature preserve during wedding in Buffalo, NYbridal party poses for portrait at Tifft Nature preserve during wedding in Buffalo, NYbridal party poses for portrait at Tifft Nature preserve during wedding in Buffalo, NYbridesmaids pose for portrait at Tifft Nature preserve during wedding in Buffalo, NYbridesmaids pose for portraits at Tifft Nature preserve during wedding in Buffalo, NYgroomsen and women pose for portrait at Tifft Nature preserve during wedding in Buffalo, NYgroomsmen hug at Tifft Nature preserve during wedding in Buffalo, NYbride and groom embrace at tifft nature preserve during their wedding in Buffalo, NYbride and groom embrace at tifft nature preserve during their wedding in Buffalo, NYbride and groom embrace at tifft nature preserve during their wedding in Buffalo, NYbride and groom embrace at tifft nature preserve during their wedding in Buffalo, NYbride and groom embrace at tifft nature preserve during their wedding in Buffalo, NYbride and groom embrace at tifft nature preserve during their wedding in Buffalo, NYroom photo at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYdecoration details at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYplace settings and cake at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYflowers at at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYcandy bar at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYguests mingle during cocktail hour at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYbridal party entrance dances at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYbride and groom enter and eat cake at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYpeople giving speeches at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYbride and groom dance at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYbride and groom dance with ribbon wrapped around them at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYbride and groom dance with ribbon wrapped around them at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYbride and groom dance with ribbon wrapped around them at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYbride and groom dance with ribbon wrapped around them at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYbride and groom kiss in front of cheering guests on dance floor at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYguests dance at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYguests lift bride during horah at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYwedding photography of rings at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYwedding photography of bride eating cake at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NY

Preparation:  Private Homes

Ceremony: St. Josephs University Parish

Portraits: Tifft Nature Preserve

Reception: Pearl St. Grill & Brewery

Second Shooter: Joey Galdieri

Flowers: Flourish

Makeup: Ashley Ledowski

Hair: Maria Miosi

Cake: Muscoreils

Video: Justin Bondi Productions

Limo: Status Limousine

DJ: Toy Bros