Love Story: Stephany & Mike

Stephany and Mike had an awesome way of celebrating their engagement. Their idea to hike up McCauley Mountain in Old Forge would only work under a perfect fall day, however, or the ridiculous views up there would be hidden. It has been decades since I’ve been there, so I was eager to enjoy some beauty in the Adirondacks no matter the weather! As luck would have it, we had a perfectly clear day! I couldn’t be more pleased with the shots, these two are as fun and playful as they come…plus, we had the added bonus of spectacular fall color!

With a warm and personable couple, a walk in the woods became that much more enjoyable!

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What a beautiful day! Thanks for an unforgettable hike, looking forward to the wedding day!

xo

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FAQ: In The Bag

I receive quite a few inquiries each month about what I shoot with, so this is an effort to help anyone who is curious about the lens choices behind my shooting style. Or, just in case someone wants to start their own wish list! I shoot seven days a week from April through November. There are zero days off for me or my equipment so I need absolute workhorse lenses and tons of backups. It’s one reason I don’t mess around with third party lenses (Tokina, Sigma, etc…) I can be rigid with my lens choices, which means I won’t even consider shooting with generic zooms or “fun” lenses (tilt shift, fish eye). At any given time, I’m carrying three main lenses for news assignments, portraits and weddings.

Here’s what never leaves my bag:

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35mm 1.4

This wide angle is great for the getting ready portion of the day because I’m typically in cramped quarters (hotel room). It’s also helpful to bring in the environment into the shot, to give some scene setting in the background when I like what’s going on around the subject. Because it goes down to f/1.4, I never have to worry about getting enough light. This is also the number one lens for any and all fast dance photos during a reception!

Radisson Hotel Utica Wedding

The 35mm is also absolutely essential for most news assignments.

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News is often about context:

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It’s also nice to get some super close-up shots of a couple during an engagement session. I have no problem getting really close to people, so this is a beautiful portrait lens for those more intimate candids.

50mm 1.4

If I need to get a little space from my subjects, this is my go-to lens. I will often document the V.I.P’s watching the bride get her makeup on with this lens. This is the cheapest lens I own by far (and the one that doesn’t get used a ton when compared to the others, ha ha). So if you’re looking for a first pro lens, this is it!

Also, I use this for posed group shots.

Beeches wedding photography

85mm 1.4

My primary lens for all portraits and headshots, including those signature bride shots.

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Before I arrive to photograph the ceremony during the wedding day, I swap out my 85mm and grab my 70-200mm 2.8. I could absolutely document an entire wedding with just the 35mm and the 85mm, but I do use the 70-200mm a TON. We have three of them because we use them so much! Particularly if I am shooting in a church where I am relegated to the back or sides or balcony, I could not be without this! I need that length it gives without being obtrusive.

This is also my absolute main lens during an engagement session because I love the bokeh it produces, everything just fades to the background.

CNY Farm engagement photography

It’s also a great lens for news portraits.

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This is the only lens I use for sports photos (I was using a 300mm 2.8 until it broke in half, but that’s a story for another day!)

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Each of those four lenses are in heavy rotation.

What second shooter Peter has for his primary lenses:

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24mm 1.4

I’m obsessed with these balcony shots of the church he takes, and so are my couples. They always make the wedding album and he gets them at each and every wedding. They are the showstopper environmental pictures, particularly when the bride is walking down the aisle. The lens is the widest I own and it’s gorgeous.

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He also takes the 24mm 1.4 with him for the guy’s getting ready. As cramped as I am during the getting ready portion, usually the guys are in an even smaller room! This lens is also gorgeous for really showing the beauty of the entire scene during formal portraits for a wedding or engagement session.

Cape Cod engagement photography

50mm 1.4

He doesn’t use this quite as much either during the wedding or engagement sessions, but usually the group shots are handled well with it.

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70-200mm 2.8

This is Peter’s number one lens. Once he gets what he needs from the wide angle 24mm 1.4, he picks up this telephoto and uses it the rest of the night. While I am arranging posed group formals, he is almost always to the side, getting stealthy candids. It’s such a nice addition to the coverage of the day!

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It is truly a beautiful portrait lens for any occasion!

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Other lenses that occasionally get used:

105mm Macro 2.8

This only gets pulled out for the ring shots or other jewelry. Maybe I shoot ten frames per wedding. MAYBE. It doesn’t focus as quick as the others so it’s rare I use it for people pics! It is essential for close-ups of details though!

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Both of our cameras are Nikon D4s, we won’t shoot with anything else, until Nikon replaces it with something better. But, let me tell you, I could shoot for the rest of my life with this camera, I love it that much. I lug this beast around with me everywhere I go, choosing it over an iPhone or my smaller cameras each and every time. I just love it so! The good news is that this lens has been out for so long that it is now over a thousand dollars cheaper than they were when we bought them!

A lot of people ask me why I chose Nikon to begin with, and you won’t find me ever disparaging Canon. They are both fantastic systems. About ten years ago when I switched to digital (I shot with a Minolta film camera) the ONLY reason I went with Nikon is because my photography idol used Nikon. Completely unscientific, I know! The lesson today? Advertising works, ha ha, (he is a Nikon ambassador to this day!)

Hope this helps friends! Happy shopping…and shooting!

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Caroline & Collin: Fruitlands Museum Wedding

On one of the best autumn days I’ve ever experienced, these two beauties stood in front of a spectacular sunset to commit to each other for the rest of their lifetimes. With a carefree vibe to the day, it was an absolute honor and pleasure photographing great moments for Caroline and Collin. I already knew a lot of the V.I.P.’s, since I photographed Caroline’s brother’s wedding a few years ago. On days like that, you feel like you have a cheat sheet to the closest relatives, so gathering great moments is a breeze! You always know where to point the camera!

A few favorites…

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This view. It will never get better than this!

Fruitlands Museum wedding photography

The former groom-turned-officiant, Caroline’s brother, did a PHENOMENAL job!

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Just a few relaxed portraits before the celebration began…

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I feel like Caroline’s dress should have a photo shoot of it’s own. It is one of a kind and made only for her…

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When the bride’s dad performs at the reception? Night made!

Fruitlands Museum wedding photographyFruitlands Museum wedding photographyCaroline and Collin, it was truly and honor. I am so humbled to have been able to experience the day with you. To Chris and Mallory who made it happen, THANK YOU!

What an unforgettable wedding with the most amazing people!

xo

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Elissa & Chris: Finger Lakes Wedding

This is a long one, so brace yourselves! I loved Elissa and Chris’ day so much that it was really hard to narrow it all down! This wedding had all the elements for an amazing day: Tons of stunning D.I.Y. items, a breathtaking sunset, V.I.P.’s who were emotionally invested in the couple…and best of all, two of the coolest, generous and INCREDIBLE people. Elissa and Chris are rock stars, everyone in their orbit is happier because of them and I LOVE how they interact with each other. They are one of those rare couples whom I don’t say a word to while we’re doing our bride and groom portraits, they are so beautifully natural and adorable!

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Some of the many authentic moments that I was in love with…

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All of their elements were do-it-yourself, everything was well thought out, timeless and gorgeous!

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We had already taken a few quick portraits after the First Look but the sunset was so unbelievable, Elissa and Chris didn’t mind heading back out and getting those glowy sunset shots with wildflowers for miles…

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Beauty: All Revived Hair Studio

Entertainment: Dan Smith

Cake: Delicious Designs By Sherry Thomas

Dress: Etsy

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Love Story: Abby & Wills

Just when I think I know every square inch of Connecticut, two beautiful people show me one of the most gorgeous, secluded places on the shore I’ve ever seen! Abby and Wills were an absolute delight, never mind that they are the coolest people I’ve ever met! This shoot was so much fun, I think their playful personalities really shine. They just have this gorgeous vibe about them…effortless, gracious and beautiful, there were many favorites…

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Connecticut engagement photography

xo

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