I probably spend more time in salons than most guys you know. In fact, I can guarantee it. Except for the guys who like to have a professional do the manscaping, you can find me in a salon just about every weekend hanging out with the ladies. And why not? It’s a great place to grab some photos as the bridal party is getting ready for the big day. This past weekend I was in Heaven and Earth Salon and Spa in Pottsville with Brittany and her girls. What a tight group of family and friends. They had a blast chit chatting and telling stories and just hanging out with Brittany as she got ready.

I try to always advocate for heading to the salon on a wedding day if at all possible. It’s kind of the last chance to just hang out and relax before things get really ramped up. It also gets everyone accustomed to a camera snapping all day. But I also love the moments that come from shooting in a salon. There are always a ton of smiles and laughs and well, strictly from a photo persepective, the light is usually great. Ask any salon owner and they will tell you they need great light. Total bonus for me!

This morning was also an unofficial record setter. Yeah, we were a little late getting back to the house to get the dress on and get to the church, but Brittany and her girls rallied like I have never seen. By the time I got my camera bag out of the car, the girls were dressed and ready to roll. It was like Superman in a phone booth. As it was explained to me later, most of the girls grew up in dance, so fast wardrobe changes are not really an issue. Well done ladies!

As always, thank you to Brittany and Michael for inviting us to be a part of their day. It was spectacular, and we are really grateful for being able to get to know them and their family and friends. It’s such a loving and warm group. we will post more photos soon but here’s a warm up.

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Hey all, we wanted to post a couple photos from an engagement shoot we did last week and it got me thinking about something Bob and I tell our friends and clients.

“Beautiful photos can be done anywhere. But we are doing photos of you. Why don’t we do them in a place that is special to you?”

It’s an important message we especially want our couples to hear. A gorgeous sunset on top of a mountain can be great and a wonderful image,  but if you’ve never cared much for the mountains or never been there, what is the point? That one message has led us to so many wonderful places. We’ve gone to the beach; we’ve gone to beautiful restaurants and the biggest cities in the northeast. We’ve gone to a castle built in a backyard, family properties and places you probably never even knew existed. Why? Because the place matters. It holds something special to our couples. Maybe they met there. Maybe it was their first date or it’s what they like to do together.

And we hear thank you time and again for traveling or going out of the way to do the photos. That’s really nice but we really believe those HAVE to be the photos. We think those are the only places we should do the photos.

And that brings me to Lisa and Matthew. We met Lisa last year at another wedding. She was one of the beautiful bridesmaids in Megan and Michael’s wedding at the Scranton Cultural Center. Here’s a link to those photos.

Lisa asked us if we would be willing to photograph their Connecticut wedding. Um, absolutely, Lisa! We love road trips!!!

But she wanted to do the engagement photos around here and told me that she and Matthew love going to the movies. Well that did it.

“Let’s do the photos in a movie theater!”

And that started a flurry of emails to our new friends at Regal Cinemas in Dickson City who could not have been more accommodating in finding us time and space to do the photos that Lisa and Matthew wanted.

So here are a few images from the shoot, inside Theater No. 1. The light you see in the background is a flash we set up to mimic a projector flashing on the screen. The popcorn being tossed at us is very, very real.

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Well it’s senior season again, one of my favorite times of years. It’s time to get out on the streets and in the woods and in the studio.

Above all, it’s time for cool photos! Believe it or not, I was looking at my senior photos the other day. Yes, my mom still has it hanging in the house. I absolutely love that she values it so much.

The problem is I really do NOT  like the photo. You’ve seen them before. There’s a tree, a manmade waterfall and me – leaning on the tree. That’s the photo. I think that might be the only evidence of the shoot. It might be the only photo that was taken. I honestly don’t remember. I thought having my senior photos taken was going to be torture. I went in thinking I’m gonna lean against a tree in a shirt I hate and stare at the camera. Guess what, that’s exactly what happened. Granted, my attitude wasn’t great, but I believe it could have been turned around if I thought the photos would be cool. If I thought I was going to look cool, maybe even have some laughs, the experience would be different. But I had been conditioned by years of seeing the same photo in every yearbook. I’d seen my friends photos. There was that tree and that waterfall.

So here we are a few years later on the other side of the camera. I love the irony.

The difference is there are no trees and no waterfalls. And there are other differences. As you know if you’ve read this blog before, Bob and I try to keep the principles of what we do pretty simple. We think people should have fun when having their photos taken. We think you should laugh and be yourself. And when it comes to seniors we think you should look good. That’s our job. These photos aren’t about preserving what you looked like in high school, they’re about preserving who you are.

So with that being said, we have our first senior of the year in the books and we are excited to show her off. This is Daria, a Lackawanna Trail student and multi-sport athlete and really cool young lady. We spent a couple hours in the studio working on her shots, listening to a little music and having a good time. And we really love how her photos turned out. Here’s a look at a few.

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What better way to celebrate our 400th blog post than with some throwback images … way back … like to the days of coal mining.

I can’t believe I never wrote about this, but Bob and I took a trip down into the Lackawanna County Coal Mine Tour for some engagement pictures this past winter. Seems like a weird place for some photos? Yeah we thought so too, until David, our groom to be, explained what was going on. During a Halloween party, David had the idea to propose to his then-girlfriend Jeanie. But no ordinary proposal would do. So David, dressed in period clothing of a coal miner orchestrated a dance for his little canary (Jeannie). And at the end of the dance, he dropped to a knee and popped the question.

So in a kind of re-creation, David contacted us to say “Hey, can you do these type of photos and what do you recommend?” Well, David we recommend getting back in those costumes and meeting us at the coal mine tour for a trip underground. Now, the people at the coal mine tour could not have been more accommodating. This had to be a weird request, but they never blinked.

So off we went. We did some photo outside the tour and then hopped in the cart for our trip underground. We went down with a group of other visitors. Yeah, we got a lot of looks – in case you’re wondering. Jeannie was in a bright yellow canary outfit and David looked like he was about to take a pickaxe to the walls. But as is always the case, we had a ton of laughs. How could you not, really?

So buckle up and let’s get into the mines.

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I’m always going to believe in the magic of a photo. It could be the simplest photo. It could be taken with professional gear. It could be taken with a phone. There’s a reason we have hundreds of them on our phones. There’s a reason they hang in our homes. It’s just the reason is different for everyone.

There’s also a reason I called Vanessa Sabo and told her to come to our studio with her family. She needed a family portrait. Maybe she knew that, maybe she didn’t. But she was getting one either way.

Vanessa is Elijah’s mom and Elijah is pretty sick and now living in New York City under the care of Sloan-Kettering, a renowned hospital specializing in cancer. So we invited Vanessa, Elijah, and his dad and brother and sister to visit the studio to get some photos done. To us photos can help heal a little. Maybe we invited them to heal us a little. I honestly don’t know, but I believe in the power of photos.

So last week, the Sabos came to our studio – an average family full of remarkable people and dealing with a problem we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemies. There they were standing under the lights, smiling, laughing, teasing each other and cajoling the kids to behave for just one photo. Just an average family facing a mountain.

I sent Vanessa the photos yesterday at Sloan. She said she cried. I didn’t tell her I cried too.

Try telling Vanessa there isn’t a little magic in even the simplest photo.

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So a little while back I did some photos for friends Jon and Sarah. I wanted to mess around in the studio a little with some different ideas and Jon is always willing to offer up his kids as guinea pigs when it comes to photography. I loved how the photos of Sam, their son, turned out. The idea was that if they liked the photos of Sam maybe we could do shots of all of the kids. Well, that’s what we did. The are a few things I love about this — from the photos to how we planned it out.

Let’s start with the planning because there is an important thing that often gets overlooked when going to a studio to have photos done. Ask yourself, what am I going to do with the photos? It’s great to have them, but you really need an idea of what you want in a finished photo. We talk to clients about this all the time.

That’s where Jon and Sarah come in. They think of photos as artwork to be displayed. Few people would buy a large painting without knowing where in their home they want it to hang. It’s the same with photos. If you are going to invest in photography, let’s work together and get a plan going of where things are going to be in your home. What kind of space do you have? What are the colors of the room? Will black and white work better or is color the best choice? We always recommend snapping a few photos with your phone and sending them to us so we can help in the process.

In Jon and Sarah’s case, we decided that individual shots of each kid, photographed and edited in the same style would work best. We will probably do canvas prints, each at least 30 inches wide and stacked on top of each other. We are still looking at black and white or color. The wall where they will hang is neutral so either will work. All of these little decisions can pay big dividends in the end so our clients and Bob and I have a good understanding of what we want the finished pieces to look like.

So here are the edited images from the shoot. We love how they came out and think once they are on the wall, Jon and Sarah will have really nice images of their children that they can enjoy for years.

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