Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday week!

I hope everyone is bundled up and getting ready for a great holiday weekend!

For the first time in five years, I'm going to give myself permission do the same! I have two projects to finish, some phone calls to make, and then I'm taking the rest of the week off so I can enjoy the holidays with Wolfgang and his family.

Dan, Caroline, and I wish you a wonderful Holiday!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Helen + Rob's wedding ~ sneak peek!

My favorite bride-and-groom portraits are always the candid shots. I think this one of Helen & Rob making their way back down the aisle is probably my favorite from their wedding. More from their Malibu wedding coming soon!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

MISSING CAT! Westerville area - please look in your garages!

One of my couples has lost their cat - he ran out of their house on December 5th. His name is Buster, he's 10 years old, medium sized, short-haired, orange & white, and his nose is half orange and half white. He has an orange patch on his right shoulder. He has been neutered. Front paws are de-clawed. He's shy & probably won't come to you, but should you see a cat like this, please let me know! If you live in the Westerville area, please check your garages in case he snuck in for warmth.

Please call me or email kitty at maerstudio dot come if you see him.

If you know anyone in the Westerville area, please pass on the message. I can't imaging someone not having their pet during the holidays...it's just too heartbreaking. I hope this little guy gets home!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Katie + Bob's wedding!

I have to say how thrilled I am when I see "Style Me Pretty" on the referral line in an inquiry email... The Style Me Pretty blog has no shortage of inspiration on how to incorporate personal and unique details into your wedding. They're very big on dyi and environmentally-friendly weddings, so I was really excited to hear about Katie & Bob's wedding at Thorn Creek Winery in Aurora.

I love how Katie and Bob's classic wedding day aesthetics went so well with all their locations - the woods, city gardens, church, and the prairie setting of the winery.

Some great details: hot pink shawls for the girls - it got pretty chilly in the evening, wine opener favors that doubled as seating cards, an old cart wagon with family wedding photos and a tree for hanging messages from guests. The cart later held apothecary jars with cookies for late evening snacks on the ride home. The band, Frederick Davis, played on through the night and had everyone out on the floor. (Perhaps someday I'll figure out how to edit the impromptu video I shot of the groomsmen going nuts...it was awesome.) And those cupcakes...oh, the cupcakes....

Favorite moment of the whole day: amongst the festivities on the dance floor, seeing Katie spin around to face Bob with this enormous grin on her face, grab his hands, shake them, and jubilantly yell "I LOVE YOU!!!"

Julia + Angelo's wedding! {Kitty}

Well, shame on me...I put these up on our Facebook page, but not here!

Much fun was had by Dan and me at Julia and Angelo's wedding. Orchestrated by fabulous planner Emilie Duncan, the day went by smoothly. We had plenty of time to run around with the wedding party for photos!

Often I hear "we're thinking about a photobooth..." Yes, yes, YES!!! I'll get tons of photos of your guests enjoying themselves at the reception...but chances are, they'll be on their best behavior, especially if they know there are cameras (ie evidence) around. Not so much with the photobooth, where they have carte blanche to let go and be silly.

Friday, December 10, 2010

cori + robbie's wedding!

It's rare I accept two weddings in a weekend, but Caroline and I still talk about how happy we were that I did just that in late September.

Cori & Robbie are awesome. The weather was sketchy all day and they just took it in stride. When Cori walked into the dressing room, she was cheerful and all smiles...and Robbie was the same way while waiting to see her in her dress.

The light right after it rains is phenomenal at Darby House. And the wedding party was so easy going about running out and in and out again so we could get some group shots between sprinkles. (And, uh...I want that hat.)

It's not every couple who start laughing when it suddenly downpours during the ceremony - on queue right as Cori's brother (who was officiating) said something about how sometimes in life, God throws obstacles in your path. {I love the last shot of C&R running in the rain. It was photographed by Will Figg who was shooting along with Caroline and me.}

Never losing sight of the purpose of wedding, they ran inside (still laughing, as you'll see), everyone found a place to stand or sit, and the ceremony continued as if nothing had happened. Often when things don't go as planned it wields much more memorable moments.

Love these little "guest book" rocks!

Congratulations, Cori & Robbie, and many thanks for letting us take part in such a wonderful day!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

katie + bob's wedding ~ sneak peek!

Here are a few favorites from Katie + Bob's wedding in Cleveland. I'm going to call it a night now and dream about the cupcakes from their reception! ;)

cori + robbie's wedding ~ sneak peek!

Just a quick sneak peek at Cori + Robbie's wedding at the Darby House this fall. More to come soon!

welcome home, *Print!

So...some new changes coming up in 2011! We've done a lot of restructuring over the last few months to make our service a lot more efficient and to make your experience with us a lot smoother. {woooo, this is waaaay longer than I'd intended, but need-to-know stuff, I believe!}

First, my sister-studio *Print is coming home and rejoining my own studio. What does that mean? ONE website, ONE blog, and - this alone has improved our operations ten-fold - ONE EMAIL ADDRESS! (It's this one: hello at maerstudio dot com - please put it in your address book!)

So from now on, you'll be seeing new work from Dan, Caroline, and me right here.

Other new stuff:
1. New computers! Yeay! It's a complicated business, this...you see, every time we upgrade camera equipment, the files get bigger. Bigger files = more harddrives and slower processing, which in turn means it takes us longer to deliver your images, longer time spent designing books due to rendering, etc, etc...you get the picture. So once we wrap up this season, we unwrap the new digital-darkroom-machine and monster harddrives. When we do the swap-overs, we'll announce it here, because we're going to take a few days off production in order to do it properly.

2. New FASTER workflow! One of the first things out of my mouth when meeting with inquiring couples is this: "Just so you know - we are not fast." It's by no means an apology; we aim to deliver images that will remind you for the rest of your lives just how amazing your wedding day was. To do that to our standards takes quite a bit of time. And the response is usually, "Oh, that's fine! We want you to do what you do - it will be worth the wait!" (But....I know when I order something online and I choose 7-10 day shipping, I still check the mail box everyday. I know it's not going to be there on day 4, but the anticipation kills me.) So, we also aim to keep learning and continuing our education so we can improve everything we do. At the end of October, I attended Pictage's PartnerCon. And oddly, where my own presentation and demonstration was on retouching, from the classes I attended myself, the number one thing that stuck with me is that "immediacy trumps perfection" and that my couples probably care a lot more about enjoying their photos and sharing them with their friends and family as soon as possible than they do about a few stray hairs and an exit sign I feel I can't live without retouching out. So...I still refuse to batch process your images and I'm still going to tweak the hell out each one. But I'm going to save the all-out perfecting for my absolute favorites and YOUR absolute favorites (ie the images that go in your book or the ones you want printed over 8x10.) This means you get your photos weeks earlier and you still get your favorite images perfected.

3. New pricing! The economy still sucks. I don't know a single person who hasn't been affected by it in some way. In reality, all one needs to get married is a significant other and a marriage license - weddings and everything that goes with them are luxuries, not necessities. So in the last couple of years, many couples have had to be more careful and bypass what they want for what they need. Also in the last year, I've had more couples tell me they need great photos...the day is going to happen once, they can't go back and do it over once they're more secure in their finances. They want a book or a large canvas, etc, but later when things settle down and they can look at their finances and have time to save. So our new commission rates structure is geared to give you what you need now and what you want later. Now you can hire us to show up, document your day, process your images, and give them to you archived on discs. If you would like a book, prints, canvases, you can come back to us at any time. Also, with Dan from *Print and now Caroline (joining the ranks this year) there are several options to fit your budget.

4. My work schedule! Please don't feel bad when you get emails from me at 3am. 9pm-5am is my 9-to-5. I've always been a night-owl and I get three times as much editing & design done in the still of the night than I do in the day when phones are ringing, the email "ding" is constantly going off, the kids next door are screaming right next to my window, and Wolfgang is trying to show me funny videos on youtube. When the rest of the world is asleep, all I have to think about is the photos and how awesome your wedding was. Caroline and I will of course still be taking phone calls during daytime-hours. And email will still be checked in the day, but twice a day instead of 50x. Again, working when I'm most productive will speed up delivery of your photos!

Well, we'll be posting more about the changes going on over here as we delve into them. Right now, I'm going to get back to work - I've been dying to give Katie & Bob their sneak peek!

amanda & kelan's wedding {by dan}

Monday, November 29, 2010

jeannie & brian's engagement session

For months I was looking forward to Jeannie & Brian's engagement session. They'd sent me a few links to some inspiration images and I knew right away what we were going to do and the perfect time to do it. The planets aligned and provided us with perfect weather and light. Plus the two of them are so sweet and loving toward each other, it was easy to just step back and shoot them as they are.

I must say, I really love when my couples do some research when it comes to discovering what it is they're looking for from their photography. There are so many mixed messages on wedding planning websites about telling your photographer what you want - show your photographer photos you like, don't show them other photographer's images, etc, etc. The thing is, if you find photos you love, I can't duplicate them for you - the people in the images aren't you, the location isn't the same, nor can we guarantee the weather, lighting, etc. What I can do, is identify the aesthetic elements of the images that speak to you and I can't tell you how helpful that is!

So please - peruse the wedding inspiration websites, tear out pages from magazines, tell me what you love and (often even more helpful) what you don't like. Don't be shy! :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

meredith + joe's engagement session

I try to encourage couples to be silly and play while being photographed...and Meredith & Joe did not disappoint!

For their engagement session, we met inside Grandview Mercantile, the antique store where they found her ring. No shortage of props there...silliness abounded. Then a romp around the neighborhood ending with one of their favorite treats - real ginger ale. It was a great time with them and I'm really looking forward to their wedding next summer!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Julia + Angelo's wedding - sneak peek!

Just a quick sneak peek at Julia + Angelo!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

trends in photography (timeless vs. stylish vs. dated)

Interesting post today on my favorite photography forum...

A photographer brought up how Annie Liebovitz stated she moved into digital (as opposed to sticking with b&w film) because her photos had to match the time period in which they were photographed. The discussion on the forum was about photos that are classic and timelessness vs. those that are trendy and dated. I wrote up a rather long (and opinionated) reply and it occurred to me that hey - I finally have something to write about on my blog! I never write about how I feel about photography (mainly because I take photos so I don't have to put what I think or feel into words...it just takes too long. Those of you who've met me know it can take an hour for me to describe the colour of cement...) However, this is something I feel has bearing on my job as a photographer and it is relevant to you as someone interested in wedding photography. So here it is.

Photography is kinda like any other kind of fashion. A well cut white button down shirt is always going to be classic and timeless. Certain styles of clothing will always be indicative of the time periods during which they were worn. And then there's the trendy crap you look back upon and think "wtf was I thinking?!?"

Photography isn't much different. Most of the "effects" that indicate when a photo was taken are based on the materials that were available at the time. In the 30s, no one scratched up the borders or yellowed their prints for fun. No one set out for Polaroids to be flat and washed out and no one in the 70s said "oh, let's make 126 film with heavy yellow/green casts and OOH we can add some light leaks too 'coz that will be coooool!!" The film just sucked by today's standards and what makes us appreciate these anomalies is the nostalgia we have for these time periods.

But just like that big ass neon Frankie Says Relax tshirt in my basement, trendy fads like selective-colour (you know, everything in b&w, but the flowers are in colour), over-saturation, excessive sharpening (like when the eyeballs look like creepy glass marbles), overdone texture overlays, and other digital treatments that pretty much scream "LOOK WHAT THE PHOTOGRAPHER CAN DO IN PHOTOSHOP!!!" will most likely lead to nothing but shame and slow head shaking in less than a decade's time.

That said, styles and trends repeat themselves. The 80s stemmed from the 50s, the 90s were full of 60s influences, and this past decade has had the 70s all over it...hence the explosion of "vintage" treatments, which I have to admit, when well done, I love. Plus, I started in photography using those crappy films and cameras...each time an old beloved film was discontinued, my heart broke just a little more. I spent a long time learning how to emulate those films using Photoshop when I went kicking and screaming to digital (which still kinda sucked at the time.) So I'm just making up for what I lost.

But like anything else: everything in moderation. I feel like "stylish" makes the leap to "tacky" when it goes overboard and beyond what the original inspiration looked like. The advent of digital has given us photographers the capabilities to do practically anything...and I'll be the first to admit it's a hell of a lot of fun to "see what you can do" with the latest techniques. But too often we'll look back on our own work from the past and think "why the hell did I think that looked good?!?" The effects and treatments cannot be what the images are about - they must be about the people in the photos, their love for each other, and the moments they shared on a very special day. The processing of the images should not take the focus away from those moments.

Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with looking at a photo and knowing what decade it is from, especially for something like weddings - history should have a time stamp. But I feel like what ever we do to these photos should be classic within that time period and not just exploit the technical trends of the time (I mean, did Swatch watches really need to be scratch-n-sniff?!?...what was the point of that anyway?!?)

I hope my clients' grandkids will look at their wedding photos and say "ooh, this looks so turn of the century" and NOT "ewwww, this looks so turn of the century." Know what I mean?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

natalie + jt get married! ~ block island, ri

Yeay! Another wedding where I know half the family! Natalie was a bridesmaid (and cousin) for Erin & Nate's wedding last year and I was so happy when she got in touch when she and JT got engaged.

The wedding took place on Block Island, RI - a little pork chop shaped island 11 miles out to sea off the coast of New England. Natalie's family has been vacationing here forever and it took about 5 minutes off the ferry to see why. My best friend and fellow photographer Sarah Babcock came with me to assist and enjoy the island a bit before leaving.

I've said it a million times, but I can't stress enough the value of a great coordinator. Such a person is Mona Dwyer Helterline. We loved her from minute one when she took us for a tour of the island so we knew all the fabulous spots for photos on the wedding day right down the flawless execution of the wedding day schedule at the Spring House. All. Stress. Free. Having never been to the island before, she was a godsend.

Natalie and JT have been together for ten years and we loved spending the day with them, especially their portrait session when we rambled around the island by ourselves taking photos on the bluffs and the lighthouse. It was a fun little escape before the party. We really had a great time and there are so many images, I'm just going to get back to the editing now. But I wanted to get some of these up here in the meantime!

More to come. :)

check out the little three-legged lucky piggy Natalie gave her bridesmaids

a few moments before the ceremony (including some little wedding birdy crashers)

LOVED Natalie's flowers by Jamie Lee Rose of La Bella Rose

{ wedding planner ~ Mona Dwyer Helterline / makeup ~ Jennifer Hodge, Spectrum RI / hair stylist ~ Lynda Williams, Formal Hair Design, RI / flowers ~ La Bella Rose, RI / wedding day venue ~ Spring House Hotel, Block Island, RI }

Sunday, September 05, 2010

julia + angelo's engagement session

It was hot. Very very hot. Yet Julia and Angelo braved the sweltering air, mosquitoes, and blazing sun to get in some practice before their wedding, only a couple of weeks away. I for one found it rather difficult to breathe...mostly from the laughter. These two are hilarious together and such good sports. September 10th is going to be a good day!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Katy & Matt get married! {part 1}

I love going to a wedding and already knowing half the crowd! Such was the case at Katy and Matt's wedding. We photographed a couple of Katy's friends' weddings and we already knew how entertaining the day was going to be! Beautiful and elegant by day...and, well, anyone who knows me is aware that I hate the word "party" being used as a verb, but no other word suffices...these people know how to party whether they're eight or eighty years old. :) (You'll have to wait for part 2 of this post for those shots.)

{click on the boards to see them full size!}





Wednesday, June 02, 2010

hello, again!

Well, hello again! It's been a loooong time since I updated this blog. Last year was wonderfully busy and with the majority of my weddings involving travel, I simply ran out of time to write. Caroline offered to take over for me, but no, no, no...I'll do it! I want to write the details and little stories! Alas, time did not allow. With more help in the studio, this year I hope to do more sharing of photos here.

And for me, no better way to start the season off that with Laxmi and Lance's much anticipated event. I love Indian weddings and multi-cultural weddings are always a blast, just watching both sides experiencing and enjoying new traditions. First let me say this will probably be the first of several installments of L&L's photos...there are many. Many, many, many. I've only just skimmed through the ones I shot personally to pick out shots for this post. The wonderful Nick Fancher shot along with me, as did my new assistant, Nick Thompson. So, yes...many more to come.

I have to say, our 15 hour day was full to the brim with events and between planner Jamie Rapavy of Devoted to Details and Laxmi's vigilant observance of the schedule, everything went off splendidly. We had time to get some shots at the church (ceremony #1) and then off to the Topiary Gardens.

We started to feel some rain and only had a few minutes to get some bridal portraits. My favorite images always seem to be the "between" moments and here's my favorite of Laxmi in her dress. I'd just said "Ok, let's get out of here!" and she swirled her dress around to run out of the rain.
Back to the Hilton to change for the Hindu ceremony.

Always my favorite part of an Indian wedding: the baraat!

Traditionally, the groom's sister steals his shoes before the ceremony. He must bargain with her to get them back.

I love Bart. Not only are his floral designs to die for, he's just a joy to be around. The flowers for this wedding were amazing and everywhere.

Oh, the desert table...tons of gorgeous treats from Pastacia Vera.

...and that's just for starters! More in a few weeks!

{ planner: Jamie Rapavy, Devoted to Details / church: St. Joseph's Cathedral / Hindu Ceremony & reception: Polaris Hilton / wedding dress: Alan Ray / makeup: Megan, Mukha Spa / cake: Sue Larson, La Gateau / desert bar: Pistacia Vera }