Tuesday, December 31, 2013

[GLAM] New Year, New You!

Here come the resolutions!!

Facebook is awash with inspirational quotes and resolutions right now. It can't be a little pretentious, I know. Nonetheless, I am a big advocate of the New Year's Resolution, so long as it is done for YOU. Too many people,  women especially, sprint off to a gym the first week of January and by March they're elbow deep in Cherry Garcia and guilt. For goals to work, you have to believe in yourself and even more importantly, you have to accept who you are NOW before you can become the person you'll be tomorrow.

Hippy-dippy bullshit? Maybe. But I can tell you that I've see what happens to women when they say "you know what? I feel like crap and I want to feel like a goddamn superhero!" My friend Kate did that when she joined the MIX Wellness Superwoman Slim Down (a whole foods detox program) last Spring. She asked me to join her and somehow we came out of that 3-week test of willpower on top. We both felt great and changed our eating habits for the better. We both "re-toxing" this month to kick the year off and perhaps to make up for the seven or eight plates of cookies I may or may not have consumed. Ahem.

Kate never does anything half-assed, so she wanted to take her detox revelations through the rest of the year. Experts on goal setting always emphasize the importance of deadlines and accountability in goal setting. Kate used our GLAM Sessions as her accountability. Kate dropped 20lbs, shopped all year for her session, brought along three girlfriends and we had an absolute blast!

I loved Kristen's Superwoman Slim Down so much I'm giving her January 2014 Superwomen discounted GLAM Sessions to celebrate their success. Now Kate is an advertorial model. Boom!

I love the idea of goal setting and what happens when you decide to get HEALTHY and LOVE YOURSELF instead of "thin". This year, set goals for you...what will truly make you happier? What will give you the guts to step in front of my camera and do a photo session for YOU. Not your husband or boyfriend...for YOU.

Kate says the GLAM Session experience is "empowering" and I love that. You are beautiful as you are, right here, right now. Say it with me ladies: I am awesome!

If you're stumped on resolutions, borrow these:
Embrace yourself. 
Love yourself.
Push yourself.

Have a safe and happy new year, everyone! We had a great 2013 and can't wait for what's next!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

[Rockstar Couple] Carissa & Pat's Nerdy DIY Wedding (Ipswich, MA)

If you're a follower of our blog, you might remember Carissa and Pat's rainy Salem, MA engagement session. We first met them on a choppy Skype call, where Carissa told us how they became engaged. Pat is a writer and decided to pen a fiction piece of sorts, and weave his proposal into the end of the story. He smiled while Carissa told us with no uncertainty that she handed it back to him and told him she didn't like his story, especially the end part. Best engagement story ever. After all, love ain't got no time for bullshit.

Needless to say, Pat explained and Carissa accepted, though she maintained that she didn't like Pat's story. We think she liked the wedding vows he wrote though...more on that later.

The morning of Carissa and Pat's wedding looked nearly identical to the morning of Carissa and Pat's engagement session, but the rain held off for us and the overcast sky had the lush greenery at Carissa's parents home all the more beautiful. Carissa's handmade touches were everywhere from big paper pinwheels to ribbon streamers.

Onto the photos!

Carissa got ready traditional style in Grandma's room with mom helping.

The guys got ready in traditional style by drinking beer.

Carissa and Pat see each other for the first time.

Carissa borrowed her vows while Pat wrote his own, he got a much better critique this time around.

 The rings! The kiss!  Carissa's dad officiated and gave a great ceremony.

Formal time, racing the rain! What's that behind you guys...LOOK OUT!! (Homage to Pinterest Dinosaurgate)

A typical formal session for us.

Seriously...that dress.

The ladies in gray.

Carissa and Pat's one and only formal photo request, an American Gothic tribute.

Limo? Psssh.

The reception was held at the beautiful (and for you photogs out there...very dimly lit) 1640 Hart House in Ipswich, MA. This place was gorgeous! 
Back at the reception, things got really fashionable. WORK!

Those shoes! This couch!

The world's cutest cupcake table.

Carissa collected vintage books, apothecary bottles and notions to decorate the tables.

Funny toasts were made!

Cupcakes were eaten.

Once the dancing started, the floor was packed all night!

We had so much fun shooting this wedding! These two were so happy and relaxed and their friends and family were so cool.Thanks for having us you two! Perhaps we'll see you at your rainy 10 year anniversary? ;)

Officiant: Carissa's dad, Joseph
Venue: Ceremony @ family home, Reception @ The 1640 Hart House, Ipswich MA/ 
 Florist: Celia's Floral Studio
Hair & Make-Up: Sapphire Hair Salon
Cupcakes: Corinna's Creations
DJ: Peter Simonelli
Invites/Paper: DIY by bride
Dress: By Allure, From Madeleine's Daughter in Portsmouth, NH
Shoes: From Off Broadway Shoes.

Father/Daughter Dance: "Tupelo Honey" by Van Morrison

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

[RANT] On "Venting" About Clients On Facebook (Feat. Photos of Greatness by Pam)

Photo of Greatness Greg Dor, Boston Rapper by Pam. Check him out on Facebook and look for his new EP The Layne Cobain EP III coming soon!

My family is one of those typical Boston-area families, with a lot of Irish genetics and pure Northeastern ice in our veins. We have the accents (though I’ve acquired the ability to “R” in adulthood), we can drink you under the table and we drive like life is a sequel to Mad Max. Because of these genetics, I am, on occasion, unable to shut my mouth when I have something to say. Today is one of those days. So join me, sweet friends, in a good old fashioned probably inappropriate in corporate life rant? 

James and I entered this business eager to network and learn from our peers, and have we ever. From the beautiful days spent sharing work in intimate setting of The Hideout forums to the brilliant workshops hosted on CreativeLIVE and Kelby Training, we learned just about every single thing we know from other photographers. We have a beautiful atmosphere blossoming in this industry that is turning away from cold competitiveness and toward shared growth. If you are better, I am better. Most of the time my head remains here, in this utopian place, but occasionally I make the mistake of joining a large Facebook group, AKA the poisoned wells of the photography community.

Greg enjoys long walks on the beach and occasional liquid lunches with Pam.

There’s plenty to be annoyed by in these large, unfocused groups usually set up to hype a product or photographer. With so many different personalities and styles in the mixing pot you get a lot of opinions and ideas of what is “good” which can be a great thing, but not always. Condescending gear-heads berate newcomers over an unfavorable shadow or pose while practically glowing with industry possessiveness, as if they’re annoyed there’s -yet another- photographer to take their jobs away and they must be punished for their crimes with poorly used sarcasm! Then there’s the constant stream of “UGH this client is the WORST” rants interrupted only by complaints about whatever product or service is hosting the forums. There’s so much negativity you barely notice the supportive posts wedged in between.

I’m torn between the pleasures I take in poking at the more obnoxious offenders for my own amusement (immature) and leaving to live a world where I never hear some uptight photographer complain about their paying clients again (mature).  That aforementioned New England blood wants the former, the 31 year old mother who should know better chose the latter. 

As with all lines of work, sometimes what you need is to vent your spleen to your peers and gain advice on how to handle challenging situations. I think that’s understood by everyone. But to do so constantly in a forum that hosts thousands upon thousands of people (who may know the person you’re complaining about) seems staggeringly unprofessional to me. I’ve seen posts about how to go about removing a woman’s beautiful arm tattoo because it wasn’t “classy” enough for Precious the Photographer to have her name attached to.  Ditto for “ugh this bride wants     –enter popular Pinterest photo here- and that is SO not my brand…how do I talk her out of it?” followed by 120 posts discussing how ludicrous such a request is and OMG DON’T YOU KNOW I’M AN ARTIST outrage. Listen, I don’t want to mimic Pinterest shots either, but can we kindly take a deep breath, close our eyes and get over ourselves? 

Follow Greg on Twitter @greatnessGD

In this age of Jasmine Star wannabes (not to say she’s a bad woman to want to be, much like Jesus her peaceful message gets twisted in the wrong hands) every photographer is obsessed with their brand, so obsessed that the lines between ‘honoring my brand’ and ‘slipping into my finest pair of judgypants’ is being blurred. Why not just write a list of things you don’t accept into your brand and post that online so you won’t be bothered at all?

“Welcome to Professional Photography Service, please no tattoos, green fingernail polish, or shot requests. I am an artist and this is my big day. Thank you.” 

Professionals establish brand by what they display on their marketing materials- blog, Facebook, business cards, sample albums, etc.  Professionals are open and honest with potential clients about what services they offer, and what they do not. Professionals do not sell themselves to a client and then go online to conspire ways to shove said client into a tidy little box of MY BRAND. If you have worked with James and me, you know we tell those cute, buzzing little suits that work at wedding venues that thank you, but we’d rather not shoot the formals at the gazebo. We don’t like gazebos. We find them to be the Ford Pinto of the wedding backdrop world. But would we ever go before thousands of people and say UGH this client wants a shot on the gazebo…NO! Double NO!
You know what we love more than we dislike gazebos? HAPPY CLIENTS.

Now I know what you’re thinking, aren’t you judging other people for judging other people? Yes. I am not only a hot blooded loud mouth at times, I’m also a hypocrite. What do I know anyway? Not much! But I do know this:
This is a service industry and without our clients we would have approximately NOTHING. 

In such a competitive industry does one REALLY want to be ungrateful? If you want to be a conceptual portrait artist that is serving only themselves, be one. You’re unlikely to be a well-liked one with that attitude but we all know Mel Gibson is an asshole but when Braveheart is on, we still watch it (for FREEEEEDOM!) But when it comes to the most important day in a couples’ life, you’d better know your role and make that couple’s photographic wishes come true using everything you’ve got including your “brand”. You don’t have to always like it, but you do have to be dedicated to it and give it 100% every time. 

The way we see it, every client is a dream client because every client is fulfilling our dreams by hiring us. RESPECT.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

[Behind The Scenes] Adventures In Teaching

During the week when I'm not saving the universe or shooting a wedding, my disguise is that of a middle school substitute teacher who goes by Mr. Barron. Unless you're a student, by which I have seven different names, like: Mr. Benji, or Mr. Z, or Mr. Hipster, just to name a few. A lot of people think I'm crazy for teaching middle schoolers. It can be tough, but it's also a lot of fun. What I've discovered is that I really enjoy it and I want to be able to bring photography to kids who are trying to find creative outlets to express themselves. I've found a lack of such programs throughout the school districts for kids in middle school that I have decided to try and do something about it. As the regular school year was coming to a close, I started looking online for summer programs that I could get a photography program at. I got introduced to a great program for Morton Middle School kids through 21st Century running my own photography class.

The first week of the five week program was at UMass Dartmouth and was all about building relationships with the kids and learning how to be leaders. It was cool to see how many of them were excited for photography. The second week it was back to the middle school for the start of the several different programs. I was definitely a little nervous for my first class: I had substitute taught but this was different. It was my lesson plans, my classroom. 

The first week, I wanted them to get comfortable with the cameras and learn about basic composition. We also talked about the different types of photography.
It just so happened that the week we got back to the school there was a heat wave and since there's no air conditioning, it's safe to say we didn't spend much time in the classroom. I took them outside (with a slew of water in tow) and we jumped from shade spot to shade spot just taking pictures. I even did a little posing for them. 

Finally, it cooled off and things got more enjoyable. It was really awesome watching the kids visions take shape just from one week to the next. We took trips down to Battleship Cove and explored the places around the school.

They even did a little posing for me while we walked on our photo safari's

The last week of school is next week and each of the kids are going to be displaying one of their photographs for people to come and view. This summer program was definitely a fly by our seat, quick to improvise, whirlwind of excitement. I learned a lot (what not to do, what to do) But hearing from students that my class was their favorite made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It has now given me a sense of direction, a way I can give back and pass my love of photography and my craft onto the next generation. 

Here are some of the photos my students have shot and are going to be presenting in class this week, Im proud of them and hope they continue for years to come. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

[Rockstar Wedding] Melanie and Metal George's Fall Themed Wedding

Autumn wedding in Summer? That's right, we're like a fashion magazine!

I've know George for a long time, and I was overjoyed when he introduced me to his then new girlfriend, Melanie at a bar in Downtown, New Bedford. "She's way out of my league and she loves Metallica" he tells me excitedly while we wait for our beers. He looked happier than I'd ever seen him, and I knew he'd finally found his match.

It wasn't much longer before they popped up "engaged" on Facebook. That makes it super-official!

Fast-forward to the wedding day and one of the cutest First Looks ever-ever.

Adorable, autumn details.

The ladies.

The fellas - prepared!

First look!

I would post a "serious" group shot, but there aren't any!

Melanie was radiant!

TJ and Andrew brought the evening's roast.

First dance sweetness.

James takes a break from shooting for some righteous camera guitar.
Thanks for having us Melanie and George! <3