Planning your wedding day is stressful. I have never been married, but I have seen friends and family members go through the planning stages; finding the perfect Vermont wedding venue, the most elegant dress, booking a catering company, tents, flowers, lights – the list goes on. Finding a photographer to document your day takes time, research, referrals and budgeting, and Vermont wedding photography packages are an investment, generally starting at $1,000 and up. Though it is our job as photographers to beautifully capture each moment of your day, there are a few tips that I would advise to brides and grooms to consider to assure that we can provide you with the best quality images possible.
- Scout your location prior to the wedding. Walk around the venue and identify any special places that you love (under a tree, on a bench, by some flowers) that you think would work well for couples or family photos. As photographer, I am always keeping an eye out for the best location for shots, but it helps to have an idea of a special place that the two of you love.
- Meet with your photographer ahead of time. Meet for coffee to discuss the day’s schedule and any specific requests so that they know what to expect on the day of. Give them a tour of the venue beforehand so that they have an idea of the space they are working with.
- Plan your “getting ready” shots. Identify the space that you will be preparing for the event and, if possible, make sure there is natural light in the room. Wedding photographers prefer to use natural light whenever possible and flashes can be distracting. Limit the amount of people in the room with you and keep it as uncluttered as possible.
- Get family group shots. The best time for family shots is following the ceremony, after you have had a change to say hello and greet your guests. As your guests begin to mingle, announce that family members should gather in a designated area for these photos. Keep in mind that your photographer does not know your family, so you may want to choose a helpful person to help gather all the necessary people.
- Embrace the unexpected. I am a strong believer that candid moments are the best moments.
- Allow time for couple shots. Set aside at least 30 – 40 minutes for photos of just the two of you. The best time for photographers is a few hours before sunset, as the light will be softer and will not cast harsh shadows. Enjoy these quiet moments together.
- Think about the setting and the light. Is your ceremony in a dark church? If so, flash may be necessary and can often be distracting. Try to pick a venue with some nice natural light (or outdoors).
- Allow your photographer to be creative. This is what we are best at! Trust your photographer to pose you and set up the composition.
- Play on awkwardness. Most people don’t have their photos taken regularly, so embrace the awkwardness! Those little smiles can be the best when caught on camera.
- Have fun! The day will go by in a whirl and moments may be stressful, but allow yourself to enjoy the day and let the camera naturally capture your best self. It is, after all, one of the most meaningful and special days in your life!
I remember the first time I used a digital camera. I must have been nine or ten years old and my uncle was visiting our quaint Vermont town to show off all his cool gadgets from the big city (he was from Boston, where I figured technology was light years ahead of ours). I couldn’t believe that I could view the photo I took within an instant! I snagged the camera from said uncle and for the next few hours took the most terrible photos of everything in my backyard – a dandelion, a salamander, a closeup of my brother’s face – all unfocused and overexposed from the on-camera flash.
Growing up as a visual artist, my photography skills improved considerably with the purchase of my own point and shoot camera, which soon translated into an interest in re-exploring 35mm photography with my mom’s old Canon camera that she used to take photos of us when we were newborns. As a Studio Art major in my first year at the University of Vermont, I explored the processes within the darkroom. I learned that photography was not only about having a “good eye”, but also precision, timing, and patience. Some of the photos that I took in this class are some of my favorites, as I have a lot of nostalgia and emotional attachment to my darkroom days.
The first DSLR I purchased was a Canon EOS Rebel T3i. I had just graduated from the University of Vermont and was excited about the newfound freedom of this art form compared to the 35mm. I not only loved shooting pictures and learning how to manually adjust aperture and shutter speed, but I became enthralled in editing and the post-production process. I began to use “artistic” elements in Adobe Photoshop (though some were a little too contrasted or vignetted) and soon after invested in the simplicity of Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom allowed me to use the histogram to analyze exposure, increase shadows or highlights, and easily frame or re-compose a shot. One of my favorite features of Lightroom is the ability to save presets, allowing to add the same settings to multiple photos to save time on work flow.
From there, my passion grew and became not only about pretty objects and landscapes, but about a passion for people. My friend Chelsey was happy to jump in front of the camera which allowed me to create scenes to tell a story or a closeup of facial features to capture a slight expression. We explored shooting in different areas in Vermont, adding a much more personal element to our already beautiful surroundings. I photographed my first wedding in 2015, a friend of mine getting married at the top of Mt. Philo in Charlotte. I loved capturing the emotion of the moments throughout the day, and was thrilled to be part of such a beautiful day. My candid style fit well for the event, documenting the bride and groom surrounded by their friends and family on the biggest day of their lives.
My focus for this year, in 2018, is to continue to build my business focusing mainly on weddings and portraiture. I have learned how important it is to invest in upgraded equipment (camera body, lenses, and lighting) and, and as I improve in my art form the technology will continue to improve with my skills. I am learning what it takes to market my own business, from creating and maintaining a website and social media accounts to meeting with other business owners and attending events in the Burlington, Vermont area. I am always excited for the opportunity to work with other photographers, wedding and event planners, florists, bridal boutiques, makeup artists and more! If you have vision or a project in mind I encourage you to reach out so we can collaborate!
Here’s to 2018, to hard work, passion, and success!
I have been dreaming for months now about replacing my outdated Canon Rebel T3i camera body that was my first-ever DSLR purchase from five years ago when I decided I really wanted to pursue photography as a hobby. The T3i has served me well as a beginner camera but, with an increased focus in wedding and portrait photography, I wanted a full-frame body to really step up the level of photos that I am providing to my wedding and portrait clients in Burlington, Vermont and the surrounding New England area.
The first thing I considered in a new camera body was whether I wanted to buy new or used. Canon provides a one-year limited warranty on all new equipment and, as a Canon fan I wanted to stick with the brand. I considered buying a used body but, similar to cars, cameras have a certain “mileage” before they run out (otherwise known as “shutter count“). So, to be on the safe side, I chose to buy new. B&H Photo shipped to me in literally ONE DAY and I got a great package deal that included a nice camera bag and an extra battery, not to mention $700 off the original listing price.
I chose the Canon EOS 6D for several reasons. First, it was within my price range (under $1,000). Second, it has a full-frame sensor with ability for increased ISO in low-light situations. I can tell you that this was the first thing I noticed about the picture quality when taking photos inside my house with very little light. Shooting with my Canon EF 50mm 1.8 Lens in a near-dark room, I was able to get a solid amount of light in to take photos of this adorable 2-month old golden retriever puppy. By opening up the aperture all the way and increasing shutter speed, I was able to capture some pretty decent photos as the little guy ran around.
I am still making my way through some of the camera’s other features such as different shooting modes (portrait, night, etc.) and autofocus system (quite different from the T3i that I will have to get used to). Though I don’t have a huge focus in video, I was quite disappointed that the 6D did not feature continuous autofocus while filming.
Oh, and I did I mention the Wi-Fi capabilities? This is one feature I am SO excited about! I can directly take or download photos right from my phone! This feature is great for when I want to download one or two images directly to my phone to post on Instagram when I may not necessarily have the time to download and edit all photos right to my Mac.
Overall, I give the Canon EOS 6D a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars. I can’t wait to take some more photos as the weather gets warmer here in Burlington, Vermont and wedding season starts to pick up in June.
It’s that festive time of the year again and it is snowing hard here in Burlington, Vermont. With five to eight inches of snow expected today and tomorrow, it looks like we have high hopes for a snowy Christmas!
Late December is one of my favorite times of the year. Winter Solstice has now passed, along with the shortest day of the year, and it’s time to get cozy and spend time with the people we love. The holidays make me feel warm and fuzzy inside – though it could be due to the whiskey in my hot cider – I attribute it mostly to the lights, decorations, music, and delicious food.
Keep in mind there are many people who are not so fortunate to have a warm place to sleep and presents under the tree. There are many ways to give back this holiday season by donating to one of the many charities and committees supporting in-need Vermonters in Burlington. Take a moment to review some of the ways you can help:
- COTS (Committee on Temporary Shelter)
- Camp Ta-Kum-Ta
- TSYF (Transitional Services For Youths And Families)
- Ronald McDonald House
And, because we love our furry friends so much:
Have a safe and Happy Holiday!
Me and Sweet Dee
Land of the free, home of the brave. Without getting political and opinionated about the term “freedom”, I’d like to simply say that July 4th has always been to me about one thing only — freedom to eat hot dogs. Grill em, toast em up real nice and crispy. Slather some ketchup and mustard on there, a touch of relish and a warm toasty bun. With a side of corn and bacon-wrapped asparagus (because vegetables need more protein), this meal is one to celebrate.
Independence Day in Burlington this year was sunny and hot, a good change of pace from the month-long rainstorm that has been keeping my skin from ever seeing the sun. Boats lined up along the choppy shores of Lake Champlain to watch a heroic display of fireworks that spark, sizzle, and fall back into the water. A gaggle of us watched from the rooftop of El Dorado, aka the Mansion, filled to the eyeballs with beer and food. Not a bad way to watch the sun set over upstate New York.
Oh, and we made a 200-foot slip n’ slide. There was a giant swan involved.
We have finally made it to the first day of summer and here in Vermont that means the trees are green, the flowers are blooming, and the sunset over Lake Champlain is magnificent. This is my favorite time of year, where the days are long and stretch on throughout the evening, gifting me the time to sit leisurely on my porch with a glass of wine and a summer read until the light is gone.
I was gifted a new lens from a co-worker, a fellow photographer, and was anxious to try out the new equipment. The EF-S 24mm f/2.8 lens by Canon is quite simple to use and produces photos with a really beautiful depth of field. I wanted a lens for portrait close-ups that shows really great detail and this one seems to do the trick. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any models readily available, but Sweet Dee worked her magic as my source of inspiration. I’m excited to use this lens more often and, as I build my collection of gear, my next purchase will be the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens. Though I love the 24mm, it doesn’t quite allow the space that I need to create that beautiful depth-of-field. In order to get that look I have to be quite close to the subject (about a foot or two away) since there is no zoom function on the lens. The 50mm lens will allow me to take a step or two back from my subject make use of the even wider aperture of f/1.8.
In the middle of February, Vermont is bleak and grey. After Christmas and New Years has passed, the enchantment of winter fades and I often find myself craving an adventure in a far-away place where the sun shines and the world isn’t so still.
This year, I packed my bag with sunscreen and bug repellent and boarded a plane for a twosome adventure with my mother into the Tuscon desert. Mom has been to Arizona several times over the past few years– she loves the dry heat and cool nights, hiking through state parks and observing wildlife. It’s her lifelong dream to retire, buy a tiny mobile home, and drive off into the Arizona sunset.
Though the heat was oppressive on our first day hike, I was thrilled to see a diverse and thriving landscape so different from the Green Mountains. Though mountainous, the Vermont trees were replaced by cacti and succulents, and mountain ridges were orange with sediment. We parked our rental car at Tuscon Mountain Park and followed the Brown Mountain trail which led us over several small hills and ended at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The museum features incredible gardens with vegetation ranging from the brightly colored Yellowflower Indian Mallow to the pineapple-shaped flowers featured on the Arizona Barrel Cactus. The silhouettes of coral-shaped cacti in front of the afternoon sun reminded me of an underwater scene similar to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve in Belize.
We spent the second half of our adventure in the mountains of Sedona, an immaculately breathtaking town set in the valley of the red rock cliffs. The town is known for its spiritual energy that draws in people from the west coast. Though I found the number of palm-reading shops in this town a bit excessive, there was an energy and vibrancy to the area that will surely bring me back. The two of us explored the Airport Loop Trail, which brought us around the rocky bluffs in a moderate 3-mile hike. Settling in for the night, we settled into a wine bar in the center of town, Vino de Sedona, a small hole in the wall that featured live acoustic music and delicious bruschetta. Reminiscing on our hike from the day, I envisioned myself back on the edge of the canyon, from where I truly felt on top of the world.