Second shooter, Joseph, and I really enjoy shooting our weddings together. We love being apart of our couple’s big day, and getting to know both them and their families. Amanda and Jerry were no exception. During the months and weeks leading up tp the big day, we really got a chance to bond with them, be it over beers or coffee, many laughs were had. Amanda and Jerry were just as excited to have us photograph their wedding, as we were to shoot it. Guys, it was truly an honor and a blessing. I hope you love your images, and we can’t wait to see you again! Congratulations!
Many of our clients know that they “should” have an engagement session, but don’t really know what to expect or what to look for. We always recommend starting with a creative brainstorm—and a great place to start is Pinterest. Look at various boards for inspiration and ideas, and don’t be afraid to ask your friends that have gotten married about their experience.
Ultimately, the key to a successful engagement shoot is to be yourself—be comfortable, have fun and don’t be afraid to show your love on camera! Below are the top ten questions our clients ask prior to an engagement shoot:
1. Where should we take our pictures? Choose one or a few locations that are meaningful to you. We recently had a couple select the high school where they first met, and the movie theater where they had their first date. This always effects the session in a positive way, not only were they excited to be reliving these meaningful moments, but their energy and passion was caught on camera.
2. What should we wear? First of all, bring multiple outfits. Depending on the lighting and the creative mood you’re in, you may want to change halfway through the shoot or when you arrive at a different location. Dress to your personality, be fun and creative! If you’re sporty, wear your favorite team shirt, if you have a favorite blouse that just cant stay on the hangar, wear it! Remember to try and color-coordinate, keeping it in the same color family. Some additional tips are:
· For the ladies: Wear bright colors for one of your looks, the bright colors will enhance the photo and landscape. Changing into a darker or more neutral color will help bring the focus and attention to your faces.
· For the gents: Bring a few different shirts to change into to match your partner. A button down shirt will help to frame your face rather than a t-shirt, and also provides more flexibility with your look (sleeves, buttoned up, tucked in, etc.)
3. What shouldn’t we wear? Well…most of our clients don’t ask us this…but we sometimes wish we would! Do not wear baggy or loose shirts or pants. The baggy and loose clothing will make you look wider in photos and hide your figure. Do not over tan or start tanning the week of your engagement session—you will look orange in the photos. And finally, do not wear stripes and plaid patterns, they never look good in the final shots.
4. How long is an engagement session? Depending on travel time to your various locations, an engagement session is typically anywhere between 1-3 hours.
5. What is the best time of day to shoot? We will typically schedule an engagement session in the early morning or about 2-3 hours before sunset. The lighting truly makes all the difference in the quality of the photographs, so it’s imperative to BE ON TIME.
6. Should we use a theme? While you do not have to select a specific “theme,” themes can be fun. We’ve had couples set up scenarios for their engagement sessions that fit their hobbies and interests and were really excited about the unique outcome. Some ideas are: camping, baking, picnic, sailing, staying at home, ice skating, etc.
7. Should we bring accessories or props? Absolutely! Your favorite hats, ties, sunglasses or scarf can really help to compliment/accent your outfit. Don’t be afraid to bring “out of the ordinary” props with you also—we’ve used old furniture, instruments, pets, toys, balloons and even masks and not only was it fun to shoot, but the couples had a great time and laughed the most, using the props they brought. Finally, as seen on most of our social media, we’re big fans of chalkboards or poster-boards that we can Photoshop text onto…which is always a good idea for your thank you or save the date cards!
8. When will we see our photos? Always ask your photographer how long it will take to see the photos. If you saved your shoot for the last minute and need the images for the save the date, make sure you tell your photographer. Depending on the time of year and how booked they are, it typically takes 2-4 weeks for the final photos to be posted to the gallery. We typically get excited and will post our top 10 within a week to our blog or Instagram so that you can share with your family and friends!
9. Should we get our hair/make-up done? The engagement session is a great opportunity to test out your makeup/hair styling by using this as a trial. We typically recommend that the ladies get their makeup done and a manicure—regardless of anything, we will be photographing your ring and the last thing you want is chipped nail polish. For the gents, we recommend getting a haircut prior to the shoot and also making sure their nails are manicured.
10. How do we make the most of our session? Rely on your photographer’s creative input and don’t be afraid to take risks. This may involve some out of the ordinary concepts—but if you want those unique photos that no one else has, trust in your artist. While the photographer is trying to capture the essence of your relationship, remember to act natural, don’t be afraid to play up your relationship by kissing and embracing for the camera.
Engagement sessions are a great way to create long-lasting memories to share with your friends, family and future generations. Do some research before deciding on location and don’t be afraid to ask to meet or Skype with your photographer to come up with some creative ideas! We always enjoy sending our favorite photos from Pinterest and magazines to help spark the creative juices!
Working on the walkway for the studio entrance. Next project – opening the door with the help of JEG Construction!
So a few days ago we had a wedding to photograph at a location that was about 2 hours from the studio, in Boonton, New Jersey. That morning we all awoke to the sound of thunder violently clapping. My head popped off of my pillow like I forgot to do my science fair project! “Uh oh…” Needless to say, we totally pulled it off.
This New Jersey wedding was quite the challenge: with massive thunder storms, 2 fully dressed English Bulldogs and tight space; However, Hal and Kristine were an absolute pleasure to shoot. Here are a few pics from that day. To view the album please visit our FaceBook page here; and don’t forget to “LIKE” our page while your visiting 🙂 Thanks!
Made it into the 24-7. To view the article, click the following link.
The New Portrait: Why High School Seniors are Breaking Away from Tradition
By: Theresa Weston, Partner, Carrie Weston Studios
Today’s seniors are looking for a fresh alternative to their senior portrait—a photograph that embodies who they are within this moment in their lives. After all, in a world driven by social media and the here and now, why would the senior of 2013 be interested in the boring, outdated pose? You know the one with the gray backdrop that looks exactly like your grandparents, grandparents hanging on the wall.
The change is in that all senior portraits don’t have to look the same, in fact they
shouldn’t. A senior portrait should catch the essence of who this young adult really is at this moment in their life. Whether they are a runner; a musician; gothic; preppy; an artist; a reader; a writer; a fashionista… whatever their style, whatever their personality, the bottom line is that everyone is DIFFERENT and their portrait should be too.
My sister, currently a freshman in college, refused to let my parents purchase the traditional photograph. Instead, she sought out a photographer and ensured she had a shoot that showcased her personality: an artist, a singer, a performer…she went up on the stage with a microphone and her instrument and hanging on the wall at my mother’s is just that…Catherine Weston, holding the microphone for all eternity. So what should you look for when booking your photo shoot?
- Meet with the photographer. Make sure that the photographer has experience with senior portraiture—there is an art behind posing, lighting and selecting the right scenery, make sure they’re credible.
- Have a conversation. Let the photographer know exactly what you’re looking for…are you looking for a shoot on the beach, with family, in the City? Having an idea about what you’re looking for before meeting with the photographer can help eliminate hidden fees and ensure that you’re shoot is moving in the direction you want it to.
- Ask about make-up and styling (this goes for the men too!). In specific lighting with a strong flash, you want to make sure your eyes pop and your teeth shine…ask if the photographer will be providing you with a licensed stylist—understand that the images online and in their marketing material more than likely had an artist in the room.
- Social Sharing. How easy will it be to see and post your pictures?
- Printing and packaging. Always ask about what type of printing and packaging is offered—with a true studio, you will not be forced into the traditional packages of wallets and 8×10 prints—you’ll have the freedom to print on canvas, posters and receive custom framing.
Considering the shoots I’ve had the privilege of going on, it makes me jealous that I don’t have a picture of myself at 18 on the track to show my kids. I hated dresses, I hated make-up and straightening my hair, and that’s exactly what’s hanging on the wall in my living room—someone else, which will be the monumental image for generations in my family to gawk at.
Gone are the days of the traditional…these young men and women are about to embark upon the world—it’s time their images resonated just that.
Theresa Weston is a national award winning marketer who is a partner at Carrie Weston Studios. With years of marketing experience, Theresa is adept at understanding client needs, working within budgets and turning a creative idea into a reality. She co-founded Pandora Marketing Consultants and Carrie Weston Studios with her partner, Carrie-Anne in 2011, and has since then won numerous awards and has been featured in several local publications. As a second-shooter and adept at thinking on her feet and multi-tasking, Theresa is responsible for ensuring all shoots run smoothly and those candid, memorable moments are caught on film. For more information, visit www.carriewestonstudios.com.
We had long decided that the two of us needed some shots in the studio. Professional, playful, sexy… photos for our marketing material and website. While we had gone out a few weeks earlier, those were casual outdoor photos (we will totally still be posting those as well). But we needed to engage in the full experience that all of our clients are experiencing when they come to us – hair, make up, flattering outfits… beauty and laughter. Now, after our shoot, all I can say is WOW. We looked AMAZING!
You can view the full album on our Facebook page here.
So before I say the rest, know that this is Carrie-Anne writing. Great 🙂 That being said – I will tell you this. There was a period of time where I just wasn’t feeling sexy, let alone beautiful. It was easy for me to bring out the beauty I see in others, but when I looked in the mirror, I just couldn’t find her… the strong, confident, SEXY Carrie. Where the heck did she go and why?! Okay, I know why – lack of going to the gym, weight gain, clothes that just don’t seem to fit me right anymore… I felt like just everything, was exuding “not sexy.” Then we did a Carrie Weston Studios shoot; and there I was. Our team came together to make ME feel beautiful; my hair done by Shears of Elegance in East Northport and my make up done by BettyLynn Tims. The end result astounded me.
Now, I have to tell you this and it is completely un-narcissistic, I swear it! But, I have a photo from that shoot as my screen saver on my iphone and whenever that doubtful Carrie appears, I just click on my phone and look at me. That woman, that woman on my screen – she is beautiful, she is confident, she is ME. She needs to be on my wall in a canvas print!
This is the feeling we wish to give to all of you. Come to Carrie Weston Studios. Don’t make excuses, don’t wait to loose a few extra pounds, don’t wait until you can afford new clothes, don’t wait at all… just come now and allow us to show you how beautiful you really are – right now- in this moment of your life. No matter what your inner-self may be saying – know this – You ARE beautiful and we can show you if you’ve forgotten.
We put it out to the universe that we wanted different shelving and a TV unit for the studio. Something that hides our stuff, but looks classy and simple. Then this was pretty much left on our door step. Well not literally 🙂 We had to pick it up. In a matter of days after “putting the energy out,” we got the call that our friends were redoing their living room and would like to know if we needed this (and 3 other shelving pieces) for free! We took it.
The painted backdrops and reflectors worked amazingly. We were able to bounce around the natural light in order to achieve the look we were going for. It was such a pleasure photographing these sisters in the studio. With make up by Betty Lynn Tims and custom jewlery by Callie Contopoulos Viegas, these sisters got the girls day out they were looking for.
To view the full album, check out our facebook page here.