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 (!!!):

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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

 

 

BR + MRS + MSN NP = CHAMP bride. Rosanna & Justin – Holiday Valley Wedding – Ellicottville, NY

What happens when you complete your MSN, work a side hustle and plan a wedding simultaneously?  Bronchitis.  That’s what happens.  And so sometimes you just need to roll with the punches, medicate, get married and graduate within a 24 hour period – and that’s just what Rosanna did!  Despite all of that, Rosanna and Justin’s day was just beautiful.  This ski lodge wedding on a warm spring day was cozy and sweet, and maybe just what the doctor ordered.

 

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Venue: Yodeler Lodge at Holiday Valley – Ellicottville, NY

Second Shooter: Joey Galdieri

Hair: Hannah Clark (Enix Salon)

Makeup: Melissa Elnicki (makeup_by_mel)

Florist: Jackie Bartels

Cake: Dessert Deli

Kim + Tom – Buffalo, NY Wedding Photography – Lofts on Pearl, Hotel Lafayette, Delaware Park, Pearl St. Brewery

The first official wedding of the season is in the books, and it sure was a pretty one. Kim and Tom had visions of whimsical bohemian details combined with a rustic urban setting for their wedding, and they brought in some real pros to see it all through.  Vintage pieces from Quaint Rentals were styled by Rebecca Duda and the greens and flowers arranged by Alicia Reilly over at William’s Florist topped it all off.  Kim REALLY wanted lush greens for her portraits, and, well, the trees hadn’t bloomed here in Buffalo yet, but we made the most of it and rolled with some lush browns and spring blooms instead.  At the end of the day, it all created the perfect backdrop for Kim and Tom’s family and friends to come together, from all over the world, to celebrate their union.

Kim’s family is originally from Vietnam and it was such a nice treat to see a traditional tea ceremony take place at the beginning of the reception.  The tradition calls for the parents sit around a small table and the bride and groom then serve the parents tea.  Afterwards, the parents offer their wedding gifts to the couple.

Tom is an Irish American from Niagara Falls, and, well, a brewery reception seems like upholding enough Irish tradition for this lass.

Many thanks to second shooter extraordinaire, Steve Karosik, and the fine folks behind the Lofts on Pearl, Hotel Lafayette, Delaware Park and Pearl St. Grill and Brewery for all their hard work making this event come to life!

details from whimsical urban woodland themed wedding photography in buffalo, ny at webb lofts, lafayette hotel, pearl st brewerybridesmaids see bride for first time atwhimsical urban woodland themed wedding photography in buffalo, ny at webb lofts, lafayette hotel, pearl st brewerycouple stands in courtyard during ceremony at whimsical urban woodland themed wedding in buffalo, ny at webb lofts, lafayette hotel, pearl st breweryguests and bridal party release balloons at whimsical urban woodland themed wedding in buffalo, ny at webb lofts, lafayette hotel, pearl st brewerybride and groom hold hands beneath ivy bride at whimsical urban woodland themed wedding in buffalo, ny at webb lofts, lafayette hotel, pearl st breweryphotography of bride among spring blossoms at whimsical urban woodland themed wedding in buffalo, ny at webb lofts, lafayette hotel, pearl st brewery

Preparation:  Lofts on Pearl

Ceremony: Hotel Lafayette

Portraits: Delaware Park

Reception: Pearl St. Grill & Brewery

Flowers: William’s Florist / Alicia Reilly

Styling: Quaint Rentals / Rebecca Duda

Makeup: Makeup by Allina / Allina Morticella

Hair: Beauty by Summer / Summer Slomka

Cake: Village Bake Shop

Donuts: Paula’s Donuts

Video: Andy Morin

Groom’s Tux: Bureau

On Impulses, Mindy, and it All Coming Together

The cherry blossom. A simultaneous representation of both the beauty and fragility of life. Here’s to taking advantage of these fleeting times while they last.

 

Every once in a while an impulse decision leads to an awkward situation, something along those lines, but for me, never a regret.  I can always rest easy knowing that I followed my gut, and maybe worst case scenario learned a lesson.  So there I was this past Saturday night, resting after a long, beautiful and eventful wedding, thinking back on all the places we went and events I witnessed, and… well… I just wanted more!!!  So I texted one of my favorite past clients, Mindy, literally in the middle of the night.  I had photographed Mindy’s engagement pictures, bachelorette and wedding a few years back and she and I have become friends in the process, but not like, “I can text you in the middle of the night” friends.  Whatever.  I knew if I waited I would forget or get busy or whatever other life stuff.  So I texted and asked if we could bump up her maternity session a little bit – I talked about the symbolism of the new life represented by the spring blossoms as a backdrop for the new life in Mindy’s belly… I don’t know it made sense in the moment.  Being all pregnant and such Mindy apparently doesn’t sleep much and replied right away!  Next thing I know she’s trying on dresses and I’m recharging batteries and suddenly we’re in the park making magic.

I left the shoot feeling really great, like I had put extra work in and it had really paid off!  But then I got a text from Mindy.  It was just a little, “thank you” because the session made HER feel so good about herself, that it was a boost she needed, stuff like that.  Trust me, this was a 100% a selfish idea on my part, making Mindy feel great was not my purpose.  But boy do I love when things just come together like that.  When impulses turn in to these magical little snippets in time and everyone is better for it.

Anyhow, without further ado – some maternity photos of Mindy taken at Delaware Park in Buffalo, NY

 

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