Blog Archive

Breakfast Blend: What Are We Thinking?!

Ever wonder what is going through a photographer's mind during a wedding shoot? When we are shooting a wedding -- which is really a series of portrait and candid sessions strung together in different weather conditions and lighting scenarios -- our minds are constantly evaluating our surroundings, seeking out light sources, playing with different camera settings in our head and eventually, pressing the shutter release. 

For example, take this image:

Believe it or not, I didn't pull over on the side of the road when I saw a beautiful bride sitting (posing) on a vintage bench, with a backdrop of our wondrous Connecticut forest behind her. We made this shot. Here's what had to happen:

  1. We were shooting inside a house, so step one was checking out the property to see what we had at our disposal for a bridal portrait session. 
  2. While documenting the getting ready process, I knew I would have about 5-10 minutes alone with the bride, so I started thinking about where we could shoot. Inside by a window? Outside in front of some trees? about we exercise some creative freedom here...let's mix some natural surroundings with our own limited "props" to achieve a certain feel.
  3. Speaking of "feel", how did we know that we wanted an outdoorsy-chic shot? Well, for one, our wonderful bride (Shannon) is really laid back and was up for anything. Secondly, her dress was Anthropologie, which has an organic/natural style. Thirdly, the whole wedding was outdoors at a stunning lodge, so it just made sense.
  4. I saw the bench when taking detail images earlier in the morning, and with Anthropologie on my mind, I asked permission to bring it outdoors set it against this idyllic backdrop of a garden, fence and forest.
  5. Now we had to determine the shot...which lens? Lighting? What about posing? It doesn't just fall together. I wanted a normal angle of view, not too wide, not too close. So 50mm it is, shot fairly wide open. I wanted the background, but I didn't want to lose Shannon in it. I also didn't want to just blur the background out and lose the appeal of the green in contrast to the ivory/cream dress.
  6. Lighting: I opted not to use off-camera strobes for this image because it felt a bit counter to the whole "natural vibe" I was going for. 
  7. Pose: comfortable but stylish. Nothing extreme. Added some dynamics to the shot by giving her whole body a slant that has her looking off-frame. The pose prior to this, she was leaning forward and looking off the other side of the frame and it wasn't quite the feel I wanted. She crossed her legs on her own and I think it showed off the fabric of the dress perfectly.

So that's what it took to get the shot, in camera. Then we processed it in Lightroom with VSCO Kodak 100++ tweaked and added some light particles for texture. This isn't the exact image I gave her, because the light particles would have been over the top, but I added them later when doing some digital advertising, I felt like it added a nice touch without being gaudy. 

So there you have it...lots of though all going into one image! Feel free to ask any questions in the comments...

- Nate

Deep Unto Deep

Some people say they're big picture people while others are just detail people. That's all fine and well but unless you have something deep driving you, you're only going to skim the surface of life. And I think that's why we have a lot of the problems that we see today, because we're just touching the surface of what it means to be human and we take our direction from the mob.

Deep calls unto deep isn't a suggestion- it's a statement. We miss this a lot when we skim social media, silently comparing our bodies, our art and our satisfaction to the other people skimming us on another screen. We barely stop long enough to breathe, like we're afraid stopping the madness means we'll drown, like rushing through life will get us there, that elusive somewhere promised to us by everyone else chasing a best-guess.

It's reflected in our culture and in our art. There's a lot of talk about living but not enough about the deep unto deep. Not enough about the drive, the purpose, the meaning. Not enough about our mortality. Not enough about the mystery. Living deep is hard because it means going below the surface, beneath the waves, where all we can hear is our own heartbeat and every other noise is drowned out. Where we face the primal questions.

Our acute failure to live from the deep can result in only one thing: shallow living. Hard questions get easy answers. Wrestling with the profound mysteries of life are reduced to 140-character manifestos, ambiguity and anger. We lose when we refuse to go on the journey- when we refuse to seek the answers. As a society we become a sea of imitation, moving from answer to answer.

So my encouragement is this: go deep. Don't settle for the easy answers. Go on the journey yourself. Discover the intention and truth behind your design and your breath. Then your vision and your acts of creation will speak of the deepest truest love. Your art will reflect both reason and revelation. Your life will no longer be imitation but inspiration to others to ask, seek and knock on their own. 

Deep unto deep is the desperate final plunge into the abyss in search of truth. It's the longing of your soul calling out to God's heart and, when you can't seem to swim any deeper, finding your lungs filled with air rather than water. 

Deep calls to deep at the sound of your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me
— Psalm 42:7

Emily + Vince Engaged: Putnam, CT

There are few greater privileges for me than getting to photograph people who hold a special place in my heart. I've known these two for years and loved spending time with them in the small downtown of Putnam, CT. If you know Emily and Vince, I hope you enjoy seeing their personalities come through these pictures as much as I do. I can't wait, till the big day!