I’ll be the first to admit that email doesn’t exactly excite me. Our inbox is often flooded with promotions and daily routine stuff that barely registers on the radar. I suspect all of you know exactly what I mean.

But when there is an email saying “Hey, wanna take a road trip to shoot a wedding” … well that’s a different story. It was about a year ago that Lisa contacted us to say, “Hey, I loved the job you guys did on my best friend Megan’s wedding, any chance you will come to Connecticut to shoot my wedding?”

“Hmmmm, let me think about it. Uh, YES!!!!!!”

And so began our journey with Lisa and Matthew, an amazingly funny and sweet couple living in Hartford. It also was the beginning of one of my favorite weekends of work. There is nothing like a road trip to get the juices flowing … all the new things to see, places to explore and the amazing locations for photos. It also comes with challenges, most of which have to do with realizing you don’t know anything about where you are going to shoot. So that starts with a bunch of research online. You don’t want to show up on a job and have no idea where to take your couple for great photos.

Here’s where I should thank Bob. He started poking around and called me and said, “It looks like Hartford City Hall might be a nice place.” That was an understatement. The place was spectacular.

OK, I figured I better make some phone calls and make sure that it’s ok with the good public servants of Hartford that we show up and do some photos. After a bunch of calls, we were told no problem, the doors will be open and the time we wanted to be there would fit perfectly. I remember thinking well, jeez that seemed easy. I really liked Hartford.

Fast forward to the wedding day and Bob and I have been shooting all morning. We’ve been to salons and hotels and the church. The day is going perfectly and the photos are really nice. It’s time for City Hall. Admittedly, I was pretty excited about going there. Photos I found online were eye-popping. The building is amazing. Plus, it was blisteringly hot outside so a little time inside would be nice. So while Bob grabbed a few photos of Lisa and Matthew in the courtyard, I strolled up to the security guard to let them know we were there and ready to go in.

That was my mistake.

“Hi, My name is Chad. I’m a photographer and we are scheduled to do some photos in City Hall now.”

“Oh, that’s nice. Good day to be inside. It’s hot.”

And that’s when it happened.

“I’ll just need to see your permit.”

“Um, permit?”

“Well, yeah, I can’t let you inside without a permit. That’s how it works.”

Now, technically I’m a professional photographer. I’ve found through the years of doing this job, my real gift is being able to talk myself out of tight jams like this. My head was spinning. We only had about 45 minutes to do photos before I had to get our couple to the reception. Photos outside were not really an option. Way too hot and the backgrounds were not all that appealing. Plus, I’m on the doorstep of one of the nicest places I’ve ever been able to shoot. And here is a security guard asking me for permits. We were going to need to come to an understanding, fast.

“Well, what if I don’t have a permit?”

“Well, then it looks like you won’t be going inside.”

So I did what any other person would do in my shoes. I started dropping the names of every single person I talked to when I was arranging this photo shoot. I was talking so fast I could remember listening to myself saying, I’m not even sure you’re making any sense. I didn’t care. We needed to get inside City Hall.

So I played the only card I had left. I turned to the guard and pointed to Lisa and said, “Look over there. Do you see that girl in the wedding dress? Do you really want me to go over there on one of the greatest days of her life and tell her we can’t do photos here? I’m not doing it. Do you want to go tell her?”

Silence.

That was it. I’d love to say that he got a tear in his eye and said something beautiful about love and the importance of finding the right person. But that’s not what he said.

Instead.

“Whatever, go ahead.”

It wasn’t poetry but it was enough to get those doors open and get inside.

What we found inside was mind-blowing architecture and more places to get photos than we could imagine. So we ran around like nuts, putting Lisa and Matthew here and there and just about everywhere, soaking it all up as we went. By the time we were done, Bob and I had smiles as big as Lisa and Matthew. We hopped back in the car to get over to the reception and I relayed the story about the security guard to Bob.

“Now, imagine if we weren’t able to shoot there.”

It was almost unthinkable.

What a day with a truly amazing couple. We can’t thank you enough for that one email, asking if we would mind taking a road trip.

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Sometimes I wonder if people can still surprise me. I wonder if the couples we meet and photograph can still surprise me. Keep in mind, no matter what you do as a bride or groom, there is some stress that goes into pulling off a wedding. (Of course, having DPNAK helps  – a lot) And more often than not, there can be a little stress on the wedding day, too.

My point is that Bob and I are often in the unique position of meeting new couples and then before long seeing them put under stress and seeing how they react to that stress. Almost all of them handle it with remarkable grace. It would be easy enough to end the story there. We have great clients and are better people for knowing them. Done.

But then something will happen and you learn a little more – a tiny window opens that show you there is a whole  level to your new friends that you get to see. And it might be the best part of this job.

Shortly after Lauren and Alex’s wedding a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to send her a thank you email. We exchanged a few times and finally I had to tell her that I thought the speeches at the reception from her sister, Alex’s brother and a couple of groomsmen were genuinely remarkable. All of them spoke with such passion and at times tears about how open and loving and supportive Lauren and Alex were to them in good times and maybe more importantly in tough times. It can be hard to keep taking photos when you listen to people put their hearts on the line and share with a couple hundred people what impact two people have had on their lives.  I’ve heard countless really good toasts and speeches at weddings but the love that surrounded Lauren and Alex was special, and it allowed all of us a unique glimpse into the impact two people can have on the lives of countless others. Even I was surprised and feel very blessed to be a part of it.

Thank you, Lauren and Alex, for inviting us to be a part of it.

Here are some photos of their day.

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“The only way the weather can affect your wedding is if you let weather affect your wedding.”

I just came up with that little tidbit. I wonder if that will become a mantra someday. I’m guessing not, but it’s true. Too many couples spend too much time worrying about the weather on their wedding day and honestly can you blame them? There’s a lot of preparation and money that goes into it.  Is it too much to ask for comfy temps and a little warm sunshine? Sometimes, apparently it is.

But Crystal and Marc you just did not care. It rained and rained hard on your day.

Didn’t matter though.

Nothing was getting in the way of your Iron Furnaces wedding, and we love you for it. This was your wedding and that’s what was important. All of the other stuff going on around you was just stuff. This was about you guys celebrating starting your lives together and doing so with the people closest to you.

So you threw on some boots and danced in the rain. Oh yeah, spending some time staying dry in West Scranton High School was pretty fun, too!

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I thought long and hard what to write in this post. After all, this is a photo blog and words can just get in the way. But Bob and I wanted to share some photos of Niko. He is the newborn son of Ellie and Sean, friends whose wedding we shot a couple of years ago in Lancaster. It was a road trip wedding for us and an incredibly good time that saw us visit a brewery before going to a reception at the Cork Factory Hotel, one of the coolest places you will ever find. Just click on this link to see some of those photos.

When I sat down to write, still with really no idea what I wanted to say, it came to me. No matter what I say about what Bob and I do as we tell the stories of our couples and other people we meet it all comes down to one thing. We are in the family business and that’s a really remarkable job to be in. We are there at weddings when families are just starting and we are there as families grow and children are born. A lot of times we are there for the family portraits a few years down the road when generations get together for that photo they have been thinking about doing for so long. And that’s really an honor and something we are really thankful for.

So thank you to Ellie and Sean for adding another chapter to this incredible book of memories that we have. We cherish you and all of our clients who invite us to be a part of it. And welcome to the family, Niko.

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I was standing on a bit of a hill at Shawnee Inn and Resort. It was behind two cottages where Sarah and Paul were staying and getting ready for their wedding at the Stroudsmoor Inn about 15 minutes away. I was out back looking for a place to knock out a few bridal party photos once the girls were done getting dressed. I could see the Delaware River below. I have no idea how wide it is but suffice it to say it’s a pretty big river. As I’m looking for my spot, I see two guys crossing the river. They are basically chest deep, sludging through the water. I thought, “Wow those guys are up for a bit of an adventure. That’s pretty cool. Dangerous, but cool.”

It turns out  one of those guys was Paul, the groom. I didn’t find out until after the ceremony when we were doing some photos, and I was relaying the story that I saw some guys crossing the river.

“Yeah, that was me. I went for a hike before getting dressed.”

I’ve said this before. I’ve seen a few crazy and cool things on wedding days, usually it’s at the reception when the drinks are flowing. This had to be the coolest thing I’d seen a groom do to relax before a ceremony.

Anyway, it was an amazing day with a giant group of friends who are so close to Sarah and Paul and took such joy in celebrating their wedding it was really an honor to be a part of it. It’s also the only wedding where I think the guys outnumbered the girls on the dance floor. That just doesn’t usually happen –  so nice work boys!

There are a ton of photos we love from the day so here are a few. Enjoy them, and as always, thanks for taking the time to look.

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It was a few years ago that Bob had his “one good idea.” He claims there have been others, but I don’t remember them and when pressed neither can he. Although in fairness it might have been his suggestion that we each purchase black sneakers that we can wear on wedding days rather than dress shoes. That has been a gift from God.

But that’s getting off track. Bob came to me with the idea he called, “Clients for Life.” Here’s how it works. If you book Bob and I to shoot your wedding, you become “Clients for Life.” That means you can come back to us once a year forever for any type of photos, whether they are family portraits, pet portraits, whatever and we waive any session fee associated with the shoot.

My reaction, which Bob smartly ignored, was “Who the hell is gonna come back and see us?” Not one of my finer moments because as it turns out just about everyone comes back to see us for one reason or another. The most popular, not surprisingly, is when our couples start a family. They want some shots of the little one.  If I were to be honest, it might be the best idea we have ever implemented in our studio because he really cherish the friendships we build with our clients and it’s a total bonus to us as well because we get to see them again and catch up. So write this day down. “BOB, THIS WAS A BRILLIANT IDEA.”

OK before he gets too excited let’s move on to the reason for this post. we wanted to share some photos of Annette and Darren’s one-year-old, Peter. We did newborn photos of him and just finished yup doing his one-year photos. We love how they turned out and love even more watching him grow up. It’s just an amazing thing to watch our couples go from newlyweds to parents.

So enjoy the photos and know we enjoy taking them every bit as much as our clients enjoy seeing them.

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