How can I possibly sum up 2014? It would take me a thousand blog posts to capture everything that happened, but it was truly one for the books. I am so honored and blessed that I can take pictures for a living, and going back through all of the weddings has made me feel so humbled and lucky. From the bottom of my heart I want to thank everyone who was a part of making 2014 so memorable. All of my brides and grooms, the other incredible vendors, and venue staff members that I have forged relationships with… my beautiful wife, my family and friends… everyone. Cheers to the end of 2014, and another cheers to whatever 2015 has in store.
First, some numbers:
264,617 clicks of the camera shutter, 46 couples, 107 different shoots, 21,244 miles driven, 11 states, 2,611 emails, 1 black cat, and a very happy and lucky photographer named Eric.
These images just missed the top 14, but were too good not to show.
Sara and Daniel | Getting Ready | Union League Cafe | New Haven, CT
Nikon D3S| 50 mm | f1.8| 1/400 | ISO 400
Michele and Rob | Reception | The New Haven Lawn Club | New Haven, CT
Nikon D3S| 85 mm | f1.8| 1/125 | ISO 2500 | SB910 @ 1/8 +0.7 14mm
Danielle and Greg | Solo Photos | The New Haven Lawn Club | New Haven, CT
Nikon D3S| 180 mm | f2.8| 1/200 | ISO 1600
Katie and Andrew | Groomsmen Getting Ready | The Society Room | Hartford, CT
Nikon Df | 50mm | f2.0 | 1/320 | ISO 1600
Every year that I’ve done my Top of the year post, there has been a wedding or two that made the list twice. Katie and Andrew’s wedding is one of them.
Corey snapped this photo in the late morning at the hotel when Andrew and his groomsmen were getting ready. There are a lot of things I love about this image.
I’m always a big fan of any photo with a lot of people. I like a lot of action, especially when no one in the frame is aware they are being photographed. I also love that all of his groomsmen are in this photo at the same time. (Yes, I’m counting the single leg and shoe at the bottom of the frame).
There’s actually a version of this where you can see the whole groomsman at the bottom, but I much prefer this one. It’s got more character, and it tells a more lighthearted story. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone through images of the groomsmen getting ready and I see Sportscenter on the TV. This image has so many subtle elements in it that contribute to a much larger image, and I really love it.
Jessica and Mike | Solo Portraits | The Inn at Longshore | Westport, CT
Nikon D3S | 50mm | f2.8| 1/1000 | ISO 200
When Corey and I shot Jessica and Mike’s engagement photos a couple months before their wedding I knew we were going to have a great time making awesome photos with them at their wedding.
There were a lot of photos from their day that could have easily made this list. I was temped to pick a silhouette photo of the two of them dancing from just after sunset, but Corey and I were both drawn to this photo. There’s a uniqueness in this frame that really works. The alternating colors of the upside down canoes help define it as a sunny, summer wedding, and the light poles frame the two of them really well. Mike’s tan suit, Jessica’s veil and pearl bracelet – the whole thing really sets the tone for the whole day.
Nicole and Mark | Ceremony | The Inn at Woodstock Hill | Woodstock, CT
Nikon D800| 24 mm | f5.6| 1/800 | ISO 400
I am always excited to photograph weddings where the groom and/or his groomsmen are in their military uniform. There is a pride and sense of tradition in the uniforms, and it’s beautiful to capture.
At the very end of Nicole and Mark’s ceremony, as they were walking down the aisle, they paused, kissed, and each of Mark’s groomsmen drew their sword, and created this moment. Everything about this photo works – the colors, the framing, the pose. It’s a lovely image and an easy pick for my top of the year post.
Laura and Tyler | Card Reading | The Wentworth Inn | Jackson, NH
Nikon D3S| 85 mm | f1.8| 1/500 | ISO 200
Kristen and Tim | Card Reading | The Groton School | Groton, MA
Nikon D3S| 85 mm | f1.8| 1/640 | ISO 200
Kristen (Top) and Laura (Bottom) know each other well. They were both bridesmaids in the other’s wedding, they went to college together, and they both had beautiful summer weddings that I was lucky enough to be able to photograph. Both Laura and Kristen know Corey well from college, and Corey was actually a guest at both of their weddings.
Both Laura and Kristen were emotional when reading the cards that Tyler and Tim wrote to them. It was really fun to watch both moments unfold so similarly, and really great to be able to capture it for them. Even the settings I used were remarkably similar for both photos.
Each wedding was unique and had personal touches that really made them special, but seeing so many familiar faces and being able to be a part of each one was awesome. I had a blast photographing both days, and I knew after shooting Laura’s wedding about a month after Kristen’s that both of these images would be in my top blog post.
Lisa and Mike | Solo Portraits | The New Haven Lawn Club / New Haven Green
Nikon D3S| 85 mm | f1.8| 1/1000 | ISO 200
Wedding days can be busy. There is a lot to do, and you have to get it done in the time you have. That’s ultimately the challenge and the fun of being a wedding photographer. Creating great images in any condition, in the (usually) very finite amount of time you have to do it.
When I did my pre-wedding schedule with Lisa and Mike, we realized that there was a very short 10-15 minute window of extra time after their ceremony. The bridal party needed to go from the church, to the hotel to check in, and then back to the Lawn Club for the reception.
I asked Lisa and Mike if they were into the idea of running around the New Haven Green for 10 minutes while their bridal party checked in at the hotel. They were both more than excited, so we put it in the schedule and made it happen.
Typically, I work fast. Real fast. But on this day I worked even faster, and Lisa and Mike couldn’t have been more fun to do this with. The limo pulled up to the hotel, they exited and we were off. We did 12 different looks in 7 different spots in less than 15 minutes. I hustled them through alleyways, across busy streets, through groups of people, across the green, all around Yale and everywhere in between before getting them back to their limo to head off to the venue. This is one of the many beautiful shots we made during that time.
What made this work was Lisa and Mike’s willingness to go whenever I asked without hesitation. Because of how fun they were not only do we have a great story to tell, but we have great images to go along with it.
Katie and Brian | Bridal Party Portraits | Orange, CT Backyard Wedding
Nikon D3S| 50 mm | f1.8| 1/1250 | ISO 800
Calling Katie and Brian’s wedding in June a Backyard wedding is like calling the Superbowl a backyard pickup game. Their wedding was incredible, and the amount of planning and detail that went into it was amazing.
They chose to do a first look, so we did a lot of the bridal party photos before the ceremony. This gave me a good amount of time to try out different poses with everyone, and I kind of put this one together on the fly. I didn’t ask Katie to look to her right, but I loved the photo so much more when she did. There is a casualness to the pose that really works, and even though the photo is pretty symmetrical, there are some small details that make it a little more relaxed. (Brian’s jacket being closed, the one bridesmaid holding her flowers with both hands, etc).
Just like the photo of Danielle and her bridesmaids below (Number 7), a bridal party photo has to be very strong to be considered for my top blog post. This photo has all the elements that I look for in a great group shot.
Laura and Tyler | Night Portraits | Wentworth Inn | Jackson, NH
Nikon D3S| 30mm | f2.8| 1/160 | ISO 3500 | SB 910@ 1/4 50mm
Laura made an appearance earlier in this list, along with her bridesmaid Kristen. This image is completely different.
When I set up this photo I knew I wanted to backlight them, I wanted to capture the last of the sun set, the mountain, and the little bit of humidity in the air. What I didn’t know was that Tyler was going to lift her up in the air and give her a big kiss. I took two frames, the first one my flash didn’t fire, and the second one is here.
Danielle and Greg | Bridal Party Photos | The New Haven Lawn Club | New Haven, CT
Nikon D3S| 85 mm | f2.8| 1/400 | ISO 1600
I actually starting picking photos for this blog post in early December, but I put it on hold. I just had this feeling that Danielle and Greg’s 12/13/14 wedding at The New Haven Lawn Club was going to produce some amazing images. And I was right. (see the Honorable Mention list for another one from their day as well)
First, Corey would not stop talking about the bridesmaid dresses. The different hues of gold, silver and pink really pop against the chilly December backdrop.
Here’s a great example of an image that is posed, but still definitively candid. Danielle looking right at my lens while the rest of the girls laugh and look around creates a nice mix of portraiture and candid photography.
It is admittedly a very simple photograph, both in the pose, and the framing. But that’s what makes it so nice. It shows off Danielle’s dress, and the bridesmaids’ dresses perfectly. You can see the bouquets (including the little splash of pink in Danielle’s) the hair, and makeup.
Did I mention that Corey would not stop raving about the dresses? Cheers!
Rebecca and David | Ceremony | Mamaroneck Yacht Club | Mamaroneck, NY
Nikon D3S| 85mm | f2.8| 1/500 | ISO 3200
When we did Rebecca and David’s engagement photos in Boston, it was a true blizzard. And they rocked it. The images from that cold, snowy day are some of my favorite engagement images I’ve ever done.
When Rebecca and David had their ceremony, it rained. And they rocked it! They decided to do their ceremony outside rain or shine, and I was so happy with the look. I actually had a few images I could have used from their ceremony. I chose this for a few reasons. It shows off the wet ground, and the umbrellas dotting the image really define what was happening in that moment. I also really like bright, green trees way in the distance. It says to me ‘summer rain shower.’ You can also see some of the thought Rebecca put into planning her wedding… her dad’s tie and her mom’s dress both match the subtle blue in her bouquet.
But mainly I love their faces. There’s a little smiling, a little crying, and I really feel like all three of them were planted firmly in the moment. That’s one of the most important things I try and capture every wedding – emotion.
Allie and Matt | Reception | The Bourne Mansion | Oakdale, NY
Nikon D3S| 28 mm | f1.8| 1/160 | ISO 2500 | SB910 @ 1/8 +0.3 17mm
I’ve shot a lot of weddings where the couple does the Hora, but this is the first time it has made it’s way into my top blog post. There are a few reasons why.
First, the expression of Allie and Matt is priceless. They are both truly lost in the moment, enjoying the craziness of the celebration. I love photos like that. You can also see the faces of so many of their guests. There’s the guy taking a photo in the foreground, the friends holding up the chairs, and the one guy way in the back holding is phone up in the air taking a photo.
It’s a great photo. It proves that great art doesn’t need to be perfectly framed or lit, and it’s not always a soft or quiet image. Sometimes is a wild, crazy dance 8 feet up in the air surrounded by your closest family and friends that makes for the perfect wedding image.
Allie and Matt were a great time, and this photo shows how much fun they had at their own wedding. It’s so important to me that the couples who hire me get to participate in their own event, and really get to live it. This is exactly that kind of moment. Cheers!
Katie and Andrew | First Dance | The Society Room | Hartford, CT
Nikon D3S | 85mm | f2.2 | 1/160 | ISO 1600 | SB910 @ 1/16 14mm
I met Katie and Andrew in 2013, when I photographed Allie and Erik’s wedding. Allie and Katie are cousins, and it was really fun to see all of the familiar faces at Katie’s wedding a year later.
Finding alternate and more interesting ways to photograph a first dance can be challenging. I make it a habit to duck my way 2 or 3 deep into the crowd of people watching, but in this case I used a small window with white curtains to shoot through. Katie and Andrew had a wonderful early Spring formal evening at the Society Room in Hartford. Since I knew that Corey was up top shooting down on them from the balcony, I snuck out the side of the room and shot through a small window that separates the bar area from the main room. This is the result.
Danielle and Tom | Ceremony | Saint George Church | Guilford, CT
Nikon D3S| 50 mm | f1.4| 1/500 | ISO 800
It’s the simplicity of the moment that draws me into this image. The woman above is a close family friend of Danielle and her mom Barbara. When I was waiting at the front left of the church for the ceremony to start, I noticed her kneeling and praying, so I lifted my camera, took 1 single frame, and moved on.
I took the photo as sort of a half test shot (to see what the light was like in the room), and because I loved the headpiece she was wearing. It wasn’t until I got home and went through the images that I realized how beautiful it was.
The moment is quiet, and it’s personal. There’s a separation between her and the rest of the hustle and bustle of the wedding behind her. You can just make out the other guests sitting anxiously, waiting for the ceremony to start. People surround her, but she’s totally alone in that moment.
Photographing someone as they kneel quietly with their faith is not something most people will ever do. It’s a poignant reminder that wedding photography is not only the most exciting artform I have ever tried, but also the most personal and most honest.
Taryn and Phil | Bridesmaids Getting Ready | Lord Thompson Manor | Thompson, CT
Nikon D3S| 24 mm | f4| 1/640 | ISO 1600
I’ve said it many times, and I’ll say it again… I LOVE shooting through mirrors. Sometimes I do it just because I think it looks cool. Sometimes, I do it just to try out something different after I’ve already shot something straight on.
But sometimes it can be used as a very important element in the photo that can really help tell the entire story of the moment. That’s what happened here.
Taryn got her dress on in the room behind her, and wanted to surprise her bridesmaids by revealing herself to them through the door. I wanted to get both Taryn’s entrance, and the reaction of the bridesmaids.I could have simply photographed her walking out, and then spun around to shoot the reactions. But this worked much much better.
It’s a great example of the importance of being aware of your surroundings. As a wedding photographer, it’s not just my job to capture important moments, but to do so in a way that’s creative, fun, and worthy of being displayed and hung on a wall some day. I think using the mirror to show both reactions at the same time does just that.
Laura and Ken | Reception | Winvian | Morris, CT
Nikon Df | 50mm | f1.8| 1/125 | ISO 3200
I don’t think I can remember a wedding where so many of the guests had musical talent. In this frame Laura and Ken are watching a performance by Laura’s brother shortly after dinner service ended. The whole room came alive when he started to strum and sing.
I am very proud to say that I did not actually take this photo. This moment was captured by my beautiful and very talented second shooter/wife Corey. Many of you know her (and many more of you will meet her this year!), and this image is the perfect example of the stunning images that Corey takes with me weekend after weekend.
This was taken through a small plate glass window that was positioned behind the band, and it has everything that I think a great photo should have.
First, it has faces. Laura and Ken in the middle singing and smiling, and all of the faces of their guests behind them. I love the girl with the pink cell phone, the guy with the untied bowtie, and the woman holding the small baby. You can see Laura’s brother holding and strumming his guitar in the foreground, as well a small hint of the scenery outside the barn in the reflection in the glass. There are certain things I do at weddings that help define my style. I love shooting through things, I love reflections, and I love reversing the perspective whenever possible. Corey managed to put all of those things into a single image.
It is absolutely my favorite of the year, and I knew it the second she showed me on the back of her camera that night. I am so proud to share it here. I never imagined being lucky enough to work side by side with my wife and I am so honored and so blessed to share this amazing business and art form with her.
2014 was a wild and wonderful year that is going to be very hard to top. Something tells me 2015 is going to give it a run for its money. I can’t wait to see what this year brings. Cheers!
-Eric (and Corey)