It's my favorite (and most difficult) post of the year. My top images from the wedding season.
Where do I even start? There's no way to tell you how amazing 2015 was... instead, I've put together my top 15 images to try and show what a remarkable year it has been. Each photo made the list for a different reason... the emotion in the photo, the aesthetic, the execution of an idea. I am so proud of this list, and I can't even begin to imagine how 2016 is going to be. Thanks to every one of my couples who allowed me the joy and honor of being their wedding photographer. Sometimes I have to take a step back and remind myself that I actually get paid to do this, and it's totally mind-blowing to me that I can make my living this way.
First some numbers:
267,187 clicks of the camera | 46 weddings | 29 engagement shoots | 17,900 miles driven | (oh, and a new Baby Boy!)
Sarah and Jeremy | Priam Vineyard | Colchester
This is the first of two images from Sarah and Jeremy’s vineyard wedding this summer. It as a bit overcast as we were shooting when suddenly a strip of sunlight opened up and illuminated the field around them. I snapped 5 frames before the light was gone, and this was the result. Love.
( 1/800 | f2.0 | ISO 100 | 56mm)
Sarah and Tiernan | St. Thomas the Apostle RC Church | West Hartford
I took a different approach to photographing Sarah coming down the aisle with her father, and I couldn’t be happier with the result. It was a darker church, and the natural grain that comes from shooting at such a high ISO only adds to the mood of the image. The color version is almost as effective, but keeping it monochrome isolates Teirnan and tells the story better.
( 1/200 | f1.4 | ISO 4000 | 56mm)
Shannon & Sandino | Candlewood Inn | Brookfield
There were plenty of options from Shannon and Sandino’s wedding (including photos from an extremely well choreographed first-dance, and a few famous Hollywood guests) but I knew right when I took this photo that I would be putting it on this list. It was a sunny summer wedding, and the sun hitting the back of the flower girl’s hair brings it from a 9 to a 10.
( 1/1000 | f1.8 | ISO 200 | 23mm ) NOTE* this image started my love affair with my 23mm f1.4
Mina & Mikhil | The Lace Factory | Deep River
If you want to see more of this wedding, you can look further down the list, or check out my “Featured Weddings.” This photo came during a traditional Indian ceremony held on a deck hanging over the Connecticut River. The little girl in the photo delivered the Mangala Sutra necklace to Mikhil, and was so excited she didn’t want to leave. That’s when her mom stepped in to help her back to her seat. The image works for so many reasons (like the colors) but I love the range of expressions on everyone’s faces. Easily a top 15.
( 1/400 | f2.8 | ISO 800 | 35mm )
Lauren & Daniel | Candlelight Farms | New Milford
One of the challenges of wedding photography is finding new and interesting ways to capture the day. I have been incorporating the crowd more during the cake-cutting ceremony, and this images does just that. It also brings the viewer to the perspective of the crowd which I am a huge fan of. The cell phone cameras in the foreground only add to it. One of my favorites.
( 1/160 | f1.8 | ISO 2500 | 35mm)
Chelsea & Taylor | Lighthouse Point | New Haven
I could have taken any number of photos from Chelsea and Taylor’s wedding this summer (the water-side ceremony, the traditional marching brass band, the sunset first dance, etc) but, I chose this one. I love the expression on Chelsea’s mom’s face. It’s a candid moment that happened just minutes before the first look between a proud and excited mom and a beautiful and nervous bride. Having the opportunity to photograph this kind of moment is what makes being a wedding photographer so rewarding.
( 1/250 | f2.8 | ISO 1600 | 56mm )
Jillian & Ron | The New Haven Lawn Club | New Haven
If you have ever been to an event at the Lawn Club you know the whole day is pretty much tailor-made for a top-15 list. Here, Jill and her dad anxiously waiting inside of an old 1940s Buick is one of my favorites of the year. In this moment, they were looking on as guests were starting to arrive for the ceremony. I crouched down at the hood of the car, fired off 3-4 photos and moved on. I much prefer a photo like this one, rather than a “look at me and smile” kind of image. What a great wedding!
( 1/500 | f2.2 | ISO 400 | f1.8 | 56mm)
Kristen & Kyle | Bond Ballroom | Hartford
Usually by the time the dancing starts at a wedding, the main portions of the day have been completed. The ceremony is over, photos of the family and wedding party are done, dinner is eaten, the cake is cut, and the bar is open. That doesn’t mean there aren’t great things happening out in the darkness of the dance floor. Here’s a moment between Kristen & Kyle I captured later in the evening. Everything came together in this image… the lighting, the colors, the expressions. My top dance-floor photo of the year for sure!
( OCF 1/16 at 50mm | 1/160 | f2.0 | ISO 1600 | 56mm )
Eileen & Marco | Capellaro’s Grove | Bethel
This image of Eileen was captured during the Maid of Honor’s toast. My job as a photographer is to find those short-lived times that can help re-tell the story of the wedding for my couples for years to come. This is one of those images, and an easy choice for my top 15.
( 1/200 | f2 | ISO 1600 | 135mm)
Sarah and Jeremy | Priam Vineyard | Colchester
Sarah and Jeremy make their second appearance on my list. Every year, when I’m reviewing my photos I try and pick out my absolute favorite group shot from the season. It’s very hard to do, and I could very easily make a top-100 list just of wedding party photos. But the lighting, the tall grass and the colors made this one pop out, and I am thrilled to have it in my portfolio (and prominently displayed in my office, I should add). Cheers.
( 1/1000 | f2.0 | ISO 400 | 35mm)
Brianna & Tyler | East Rock Park | New Haven
For the first time ever, I’ve included an engagement photo in my top-15 list (at number 5 no less!). How could I not? Brianna and Tyler literally risked their lives for this image and I am thrilled both with the results, and their willingness to listen to their crazy photographer. It was a beautiful late-fall day, just at the very tail end of the foliage. We hiked (aka drove) to the top of East Rock, and dangled over a cliff to get this one. I absolutely cannot wait for their New Haven Lawn Club wedding in July.
( 1/400 | f1.4 | ISO 1000 | 56mm)
Claire & Jonathan | The New Haven Lawn Club | New Haven
Parent dances often make for great photos on a wedding day, and this was no exception. A crying bride, a singing and smiling father, and just the right touch of light coming from the up lighting in the background make this my favorite Father/Daughter photo of the year. The color version is full of warm, candle-lit tones of orange and yellow, but the monochrome version isolates Claire and her father and let’s the emotion be the star of the photo, rather than the colors. Either way, it was a beautiful capture and another easy pick for the list.
( OCF 1/32 14mm | 1/160 | f1.8 | ISO 1600 | 56mm)
Melody & Kevin | Candlelight Farms | New Milford
Once I’m done submitting this wedding to publications it’s heading right for my ‘Featured Weddings’ page. Melody and Kevin’s absolutely stunning Fall wedding was truly one of the highlights of my career. A little drizzle and a little wind didn’t stop Melody from making the game-time decision to have her wedding outside, and the results were incredible. I could have made a top-15 list just from their wedding. In this image, we were out photographing with Melody and Kevin before a few minutes before their ceremony. My direction was simple… walk down the path and walk back up. What a wonderful photo from a wonderful day.
( 1/500 | f2.8 | ISO 1250 | 180mm)
Mina & Mikhil | The Lace Factory | Deep River
Mina and Mikhil are back as my number 2 photo of 2015. Earlier in the list, a photo from their waterside Indian ceremony cracked my top 15. Here, in a traditional Persian ceremony that happened later in the day, Mina is feeding Mikhil honey from the tip of her pinky (a traditional aspect of a Persian Ceremony). I am totally in love with the reactions on the faces of not just Mina and Mikhil, but their family members around and behind them. With the Sofreyeh table in the foreground, the laughter, the silk fabric, and the faces of everyone in the photo, this was a no-doubter for the list, and it speaks to the joy everyone felt for them the whole wedding day. It was an honor to be a part of this wedding, and it will long be remembered as one of my all-time favorites. Cheers!
( 1/500 | f4 | ISO 1600 | 35mm)
Lesley & Chris | Miyas Sushi | New Haven
I had a feeling that Lesley and Chris’ wedding (that actually happened at the Yale Planetarium) was going to be a good one. It was happening at a functioning planetarium after all. But it was this image, that occured neither at the chapel or the reception that ended up as my top image for 2015.
( A quick backstory: Lesley and Chris are Yale alumni who spent years frequenting their favorite New Haven restaurant, Miya’s Sushi before moving out of New Haven after graduation.)
After their ceremony, as the guests made their way to the Planetarium, Lesley and Chris decided to make a last-minute stop off for some sushi on the way to the venue. It was pouring out, the place was full of people, and (quite honestly) time was a little tight! But nothing was going to keep them from having one last meal at their favorite place on the most important day of their lives.
Corey and I opted to stay outside in the rain to let them have a moment alone. I pressed my camera against the glass of the front window, took 8 frames, and then hopped in the car and headed to the venue, leaving them to enjoy themselves.
Sometimes, as a wedding photographer, you have to know when you ‘have it’ and you have to know when to move on. In this case, I knew I had the photo I wanted, there was no reason to keep shooting.
This photo not only defines their personalities, but also my style of photography (as candid and unobtrusive as possible). I couldn’t be happier with how this came out. It was one of the most unexpected wedding photos of my career.
Cheers to everyone who let me into their lives in 2015. I truly truly appreciate being a part of everyone’s day.