Michael C. Fina

Locations: Engagement Sessions, Part II

Tips From Photomuse On Choosing Your Location

 

In the first part of this series,  I suggested choosing a location based upon your mutual activities or a location infused with meaning for you.  There are definitely plenty of times when in the absence of a location with meaning, I am asked for some assistance in thinking of a location.  When you first narrow down your season, it can help set the tone for the rest of the session.

 

Winter

Pros: Quite romantic if you can get snowfall.  Contrast of colors popping against white snow lends itself to graphic images. Playful, quiet – fewer people out and about if you are shy.  The wedding season is not as busy in the winter, so you’ll have more available dates to choose from.  You can also take advantage of a holiday theme (and use an image for a holiday card).

Cons: Cold, shorter amount of light in the day will mean a tighter frame of time to shoot.  Temperature might mean less time shooting. Clothing choices will be more restrictive.

Possible activities: sledding, making snowmen, snowball fights, quiet walks under a canopy of snow laden trees.

Photomuse Engagement Sessions - Winter

 

Spring

Pros: The abundance of blooming flowers and trees make for wonderful settings. Colors tend towards pastels and soft hues.  The temperature enables a wider selection of    wardrobe possibilities.  Cherry blossom season, wisteria, tulips to name a few.  Petals flying through the air.

Cons: You won’t be the only ones out and about enjoying the renewal of the season, so if you are shy, or if you are in a city area, you’ll be contending with others.  If you are   prone to allergies, you won’t be too comfortable.  The weather can be more unpredictable    with more possibilities of having a rainy day.

Possible activities: picnics, walking under a canopy of cherry blossom trees, laying in a bed of flowers together, riding bicycles.

Photomuse Engagement Photography Sessions - Spring

 

Summer

Pros: Warmer temperatures (this could lend itself to a con as well if it’s too warm).  Beaches become an option.  The day is longer, which will enable you to schedule a session for later in the day.  The weather is more predictable.  Sundresses and sandals become  possibilities.

Cons: If you live in NYC, you’ll be contending with many others who are also enjoying    what the summer has to bring.  Can sometimes be too hot which may affect your hair and makeup negatively.

Possible activities: water related activities like being on a boat or playing on the beach, walking along a boardwalk, carnivals and fairs.

Photomuse Engagement Photography Session - Summer

 

Fall

Pros: Fall foliage creates a stunning backdrop.  The temperature allows for a wider range   of clothing choices.  The colors reflecting off the autumn hues are warm and lush.  You can also take advantage of the fun activities at this time of the year.

Cons: Autumn is prime wedding season, so you might have a harder time scheduling your session (plan ahead!).  Weather could potentially work against you and the leaves might not be ready, or might even have all fallen.

Possible activities: hiking, playing in a leaf pile, Halloween themes, pumpkin and/or apple picking, hayrides.

Photomuse Engagement Session - Fall

To view more location images, be sure to follow Photomuse and Michael C. Fina on Pinterest!

Locations: Engagement Sessions, Part I

Tips from Photomuse on Choosing Your Location

On a warm July evening, Zack’s attention became captured by a girl who was chatting with her friend near the subway station.  Zack decided to make up an excuse to interrupt their conversation and ask the girl (he’d later come to find her name was Kim) for directions. After some playful banter, he made his way down to the subway platform wishfully thinking about the girl he had just met.  As fate would have it, a few minutes later while Kim was also excitedly pondering the guy whom had just surprisingly approached her, the two former strangers serendipitously reconnected on the subway platform and stepped into the same train car moments before the doors closed.

The entrance to that subway station became the setting for Zack’s proposal to Kim.  It also became the inspiration for where we would photograph their engagement session.

Typically when couples ask for advice on where to shoot their engagement session, my first suggestion is to think about a place with meaning or symbolism.  Make it personal.  Where was your first date, or perhaps your most memorable date?  Where did the proposal take place?

Perhaps it’s not a particular place, but instead where you both share a favorite activity.  Hiking?  Leisurely sipping a latte at an outdoor cafe?  Spending time at the beach?

Tips from Photomuse - Engagement Session Locations

I view the engagement session as an opportunity to take a break from the daily grind and simply relax together and have fun.  The more fun I can make this session means that taking photographs won’t potentially be seen as yet another thing to do prior to the wedding day.  Think about it as a fun date…with your very own paparazzi!

 

To view more location images, be sure to follow Photomuse and Michael C. Fina on Pinterest!

Engagement Sessions: Various Tips

Tips from Photomuse to Make Your Engagement Session a Winner

Congratulations!  If you are currently reading this while wearing a gorgeous engagement ring from Michael C. Fina, most likely you will be photographing an engagement session with your photographer soon!

I have a few tips that I would like to share with the Fina Family that will help you make the most of your session.  I will be breaking up engagement session information over a series of posts and I would LOVE to hear from you!  We welcome you to leave a comment below and be sure to check back regularly for the subsequent posts!­

  • Timing: Always be sure to arrange for your session well in advance.  Not only will you be sure to get a confirmed date with your photographer, you will have time to use your images for a Save The Date or have a personalized guest book created.  Additionally, the closer you get to the wedding, the busier you will be and the more inclined you may be to view your session as a chore instead of the fun time it really is.
  • Location: I’ll be talking more in depth about locations coming up, but you should first pick a season and then figure out a location that is best suited to your needs.  Personalize it!  Finding a way to bring some meaning into your location will be an addition to the experience you will have.
  • Communication: Be sure to communicate with your photographer about what you are hoping for.  This is also a good time to talk about anything about yourself that you don’t like in photographs.  Additionally, involve your photographer on the decision-making process such as wardrobe, time of the day, location and themes.  Discuss ahead of time your plan if it’s a rain date or if the weather is not good.
  • Light: The time of the day is crucial and your photographer will most likely guide you on this.  I always prefer shooting during the end of the day, just before the sun is going to set.  The light is warm and after it sets, it becomes a soft pastel color.  It’s the “secret sauce” to making your images spectacular.
  • Wardrobe: Another item of communication between you and your photographer.  It’s a matter of taste.  I do want my couples to be relaxed and enjoy themselves, but I find the images are much more grand when my couples dress up.
  • It’s The Little Things:
    • Watches: Don’t wear them (unless for a symbolic reason), as it can detract from the timelessness of the images.
    • Hair elastics: Often forgotten about and become distracting on the wrist.
    • Shoes: Bring a pair of flats to save your feet while walking between locations.
    • Purses: Leave your purse at home as it detracts from the spontaneous moments or becomes a potential theft liability.
  • Research: Looking at images on the blogs or Pinterest is totally fine, but be aware that there are so many factors that went into making that image what it is. Some of these things could be: it was 100% reflective of the couple, the lighting and weather was unique to that moment, the wardrobe was appropriate, the personality of the photographer taking the shot and the location was particular to that image.  Personally I like to photograph my couples as unique individuals and create images that are suited to THEM, not anyone else.
  • Be On Time: This is often so crucial because your photographer is setting up your session based upon the light.  Light can change quickly and every minute that you are late is a potential loss of exquisite light.
  • Have Fun!  Enjoy yourselves. See this as a date. Make plans to go out for dinner afterwards and just put this day aside as a special day without wedding planning, work or other obligations.

 

To view more images, be sure to follow Photomuse and Michael C. Fina on Pinterest!

Choosing Your Photographer: Part II

Tips from Photomuse to Help You Choose Your Wedding Photographer

You said “yes,” but before you say “I do,” check out these tips on getting the most out of your wedding photography from Photomuse.  We will be breaking down the tips over a series of posts, so be sure to check back often to catch them all.  And as always, we’d love to hear from you.  Leave a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions on what you would like to know from the photographic perspective of your wedding day.

 

Wedding Photography Styles

One of your first steps in choosing a wedding photographer is to choose a style that you like.  I’ve assembled some of the genres that you can find out there today. Be aware that these terms can vary broadly across the internet.  Try not to allow yourself to be too caught up in these terms.  Most photographers today are a hybrid of these styles.  The important thing is to find the images that move you the most, a photographer that fits your personality and budget and when you do, book him/her right away!  Photographers get booked up quickly.

Wedding Photojournalism: The photographer captures candid moments without direct interference. Consider the moments as pieces of a puzzle that later come together to reveal the whole picture. Often you will see B&W, angled images, voyeuristic viewpoints and an increased use of natural light.  A hardcore wedding photojournalist will never arrange details or pose images.  He/she is strictly a silent observer, “unobtrusively” shooting in the background.  Documentary or reportage is another word used to describe this style.  Many wedding photojournalists have a background in storytelling or news/issue reporting.

Traditional: With a solid background in posing and portraiture, this type of photography is often seen as classic and formal.  The photographer will be more hands on, guiding and directing to create the shot…more akin to your parents’ wedding photography.  Traditional photographers will typically utilize more control over lighting, posing and backgrounds to make you look your best.  If you have a “shot list,” then you want might a traditional photographer.  I often think about Renaissance paintings or formal wedding portraits that the Royal Family might have taken when I consider this style.  Many traditional photographers have a background in studio portraiture.

Choosing Your Wedding Photographer - Photomuse for Michael C. Fina

Contemporary: Okay, this is where I’m going to insert my opinion a bit.  I consider the above styles to be the Adam & Eve to today’s wedding photography.  Most photography today stems from these two styles and are simply infused with another element which can be derived from other genres of visual art out there.  I consider all of the following sub-genres to be classified under the “contemporary” heading with their roots based in one of the above.

Fine Art: Fine art photographers are basically looking at the wedding day from their own unique perspective.  No two weddings are alike and they employ creative vision, posing and more increased post production in Photoshop.  Think textures, use of graphic elements, and unique color palettes, composites, intentional blur.  Fine Art could be classified under the trendy category as well.

High Fashion: You may also see the terms: editorial or high end. Here you will see images infused with sexy and glamourous poses reminiscent of fashion magazines. Posing is a key element here.

Choosing Your Wedding Photographer - Photomuse for Michael C. Fina

Trendy: With wedding blogs setting trends in today’s planning, it only makes sense that the photography seen in these blogs would be considered trendy.  I consider examples of trendy to include things such as: large amounts of details, highly stylized shoots, muted or monochromatic colors, vintage and lots of posing and individualism.

Choosing Your Wedding Photographer - Photomuse for Michael C. Fina

A huge thank you to our friend Kristin Reimer at Photomuse!  Want some more wedding photography advice?  Check out her other posts on our blog and continue to check back for more!

Choosing Your Photographer: Part 1

Choosing Your Photographer with Photomuse and Michael C. Fina

Tips from Photomuse to Help You Choose Your Wedding Photographer

You said “yes,” but before you say “I do,” check out these tips on getting the most out of your wedding photography from Photomuse.  I will be breaking down the tips over a series of posts, so be sure to check back often to catch them all.  And as always, we’d love to hear from you.  Leave a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions on what you would like to know from the photographic perspective of your wedding day.

 

How to Choose a Wedding Photographer:

I will begin by saying that you can search the Internet and find loads of pages about what questions to ask a potential photographer.  I’m writing you as a wedding photographer who has been shooting weddings for over fifteen years.  I’d like to share a bit of what I know, and I hope it helps guide your decision making process.

 

Before the search begins -  Once you start looking, you will discover the choices in photography are overwhelming.  The more decisions made ahead of time, the easier it will be to focus and save some time. Here are a few things to consider:

 

1. Is your decision based on price or quality?  I typically tell my couples that sure, today you can probably hire a photographer at a low rate and get “documented” photos of your day IF the day goes perfectly without anything unanticipated happening.  Are you a gambler?  Here are some examples of the types of things that an experienced professional is capable of handling:

  • Bad weather. Rain, snow, humidity, bad lighting: these all affect the way a photographer shoots.  An experienced professional not only knows how to handle it, they know how to work it to their advantage creatively and to provide you with unique images.
  • Equipment malfunctions. In addition to backup equipment, a professional also has a network of resources to call upon if necessary.  Yes, that also includes fellow professionals who can come to the rescue in case of an emergency.
  • Timing.  Yes, weddings typically always run later than anticipated.  Don’t stress.  A pro knows how to go with the flow and won’t add further stress to your day.  Additionally, no matter how unique the wedding may be, there are certain aspects that remain the same.  A professional is guaranteed to know when important moments are about to occur and be ready to capture it.
  • Other Vendors. The professional knows how to play nice and get along with your other vendors, and in many cases, already has established working relationships with these vendors.  All of these things help provide better access and a smoother day for everyone involved.  Collaboration is a key element.

 

Essentially, that extra money in your budget for photography won’t just be for the creative talent, but additionally for the therapeutic effect this person can provide to your whole outlook on the day!

 

2. Style. I often hear from couples who tell me that they don’t look good when they pose for photos.  Don’t let that be the motivating factor of your style choice.  The candid and photojournalistic images are enjoyed so much because the subjects are being themselves. What if you found that photographer who could pose you while allowing you to feel comfortable enough in being yourself?  Would that make a difference in your choice?  The right photographer will know how to help you feel relaxed and how to get the best shot of you in all circumstances.  What is more important to consider is what images move you the most.  What can you see yourself looking at ten years down the road when you open your wedding album?  How much interaction from the photographer do you want?

 

I’ll go more in depth on styles in another post, so be sure to check back!  The important thing here is to find what moves you the most.

 

3. Personality.

“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” – Edward Steichen.

The photographer is one vendor that you will be spending almost the entire day with.  The photographer’s attitude will make a big difference to your day.  I can’t tell you how many times I hear about photographers that are rude or bossy.  Years after the day, that is the impression that some carry with them long after they have viewed their wedding photos. When I receive compliments from my couples on their images, I always tell them that it was a collaboration.  My personality is reflected back to me when the couples are comfortable enough to be candid and to trust in what I am doing.  This always shows in the final image.

Make a point to talk on the phone or better yet, to meet the potential photographers in person. Find out if you click!  (Yeah, bad pun intended!)

 

4. Questions, questions. Lastly, I recommend doing a search on all of those other guides on the internet about choosing a wedding photographer.  It is important to know what you are getting for your money, and what to expect.  There are definitely some solid questions to ask, that’s simply being an educated consumer.  If you want to know your photographer a little better though, try to break him/her out of the “wedding interview script.”  Find out what he/she likes about shooting weddings.  What part of the day is their favorite to photograph?  What got them into wedding photography?  Do they continue to educate themselves?  Do they photograph for personal enjoyment outside of weddings as well?  Do they listen to you and allow you to talk as well?  Are they taking an interest in your life also?

 

Wedding photography is not just about the images that remain, it’s also about the experience that will remain in your heart.

A huge thank you to our friend Kristin Reimer at Photomuse!  Want some more wedding photography advice?  Check out her other posts on our blog and continue to check back for more!

Our 2013 Diamond Dash

Michael C. Fina’s fourth annual “Diamond Dash: Dash for a Diamond & a Cure” was held on Saturday, October 26, 2013.  Congratulations to this year’s winners, Rachel & Jordan!  They were the lucky recipients of a $20,000 platinum and diamond engagement ring from Hearts On Fire!

Want to see more from this memorable day?

Check out a recap of the day on the fabulous proposal blog How He Asked!

Also check out a slideshow from the award-winning photography team at Photomuse!

 

Congratulations again, Rachel & Jordan!

Get the Most Out of Your Wedding Photography

Photographs © Photomuse / Kristin Reimer

Are you looking for a wedding photographer?  You’re in luck.  We are great friends with the award-winning photography team at Photomuse and they have some fantastic advice about how to get the most out of your wedding photography.

 

This generation’s tech-savvy bride and groom can take advantage of a range of options in the new frontier in photography happening right before our eyes today. Couples today have a distinctive style of their own and they are driven to find wedding photography that reflects their individuality. Beyond knowing what style of photography is important, there are several other key ingredients to maximizing the investment that has been put into your wedding photography.
Of course the first, and probably the most important part of the equation, is finding the right professional to document the day. While today’s cameras and the eyes behind the cameras are more prevalent, wedding photography involves more than a good eye and technical know-how. You want someone who is familiar with the frenetic pace of a wedding and has the ability to adjust to the unexpected (weather, equipment malfunction, stress, etc). Your wedding photographer often becomes your planner, your therapist, your stylist, your best friend, mediator and of course, your talented, inspired artist all rolled up into one.
Once you have found this person, don’t delay in securing your day with him/her or you may lose your date. Once secured, there are a few things that can help everyone in creating wonderful photography.
1.  Communicate. Don’t be afraid to discuss what is/isn’t important to you about your photographs. Include the photographer on your plans for the day as he/she may have some helpful tips on how to make the best of the visual side. Communicate if there is something you dislike or fear as it relates to the photography. Did you have an engagement session? Use it as an opportunity to tell the photographer what did/didn’t work for you.
2.  Light. Light is integral to beautiful imagery. The good ones know how to find, use, create and if necessary, fake it. There are times of day that create the most impact. I personally love it when a couple includes me on decisions that involve choosing the time of the day for an outdoor ceremony or formals for instance. If you are drawn to a particular image or style, at times, specific lighting can be a major component of it.
3.  Keep it Clean. Emotional moments reign when the gown is first put on. All of those beautiful moments should not be forever enshrined amidst a messy room. Appoint someone to keep things neat.
4.  Time. Work with your photographer to establish the proper amount of time to accomplish the type of images you desire.
5.  Nourishment. It’s all too easy to forget to eat, but it’s a long day and the time goes by so quickly. After the adrenaline is left behind with the final vows, hunger and thirst will hit you. Often this is the time for the creative portraits/formals. You may lose patience and enjoyment and that will show in the final images. Take care of yourself ahead of time or appoint someone to help take care of your needs.
6.  Is That a Pencil in Your Pocket? Men, you are looking quite dapper! Don’t spoil the look of your tailored wardrobe by filling your pockets up and creating bulges. Hand everything off to your trusty sidekick.
7.  Strike a Pose. Have your photographer communicate to you how to look your best when posing for the camera. But one important item I recommend is to inhale, stand tall, and then relax your shoulders right before the shot is taken.
8.  Smile With Your Eyes. Let your smile reach beyond your lips and show the twinkle in your eyes.
9.  Weather. Relinquish control to Mother Nature. Embrace what the day brings you and look to the positives (images in the rain are actually quite romantic!). A professional photographer knows how to work with what is given and make your images unique to your day.
10.  Connect. If you find yourself feeling nervous or intimidated, take a moment to look to your new spouse. A loving glance, a shared whisper, a touch or kiss, all of these things bring a moment to connect together and to allow the rest to disappear. Remember what brought you to this special day and focus on the reasons you said “I do.” Your images will be uniquely you.

 

Great wedding photography is truly a collaborative event. When I can combine my skills and creativity to the candidness and connection my couples bestow before my camera, magic always follows.

 

All photography courtesy of Photomuse.

You Are Engaged!

Michael C. Fina - Courtesy of Photomuse

We’re so happy to share another blog post from our friends at Photomuse!  Check out what they have to say about being inspired for your wedding!

 

If you are one of the lucky gals radiating with some stunning bling from Michael C. Fina on your finger this month, congratulations!  What happens now?  Chances are, you have already begun to envision what your wedding may look like.  You may have already been fantasizing about this day since childhood, but what images are conjured up when you visualize yourself on your wedding day?  Take a moment to consider it.  Maybe you have already begun checking out the bridal blogs and various magazines.

The proliferation of blogs and websites dedicated to wedding planning has made it easy to virtually collect ideas and view the latest trends.  On the other hand, too much immersion can also turn it into an overwhelming process, or possibly create further pressure upon you to fit into a particular mold.

Let’s talk about vision and inspiration.  What makes you unique?  Seek those things that you’ve always loved and gravitated towards, or simply make you feel alive.  What do you and your fiancé have in common? Jackie-O and John Kennedy?  Zombies swing dancing in the moonlight?  A night in Casablanca?  Make it yours!  Turn it into a date night and use this as an opportunity to get to know your fiancé even more.

 

If you are stuck, take a cue from the Five W’s and see if this helps you:

-Who inspires you?

-What inspires you?

-When are you are inspired?

-Where are you inspired?

-Why are you inspired?

Photography by Photomuse

 

“Be true to your work and your work will be true to you.”  Follow your heart and find those elements that are true to you.  Not only will that approach potentially help narrow down the worldwide web of choices, but it will bring confidence, strength and above all, fun, to the wedding planning process.  In the future, as you reflect upon your wedding day, you will remember who you both were, not who the trendsetters wanted you to be.

 

(Oh, and if you are having a wedding that actually involves zombies swing dancing in the moonlight, please be sure to call me.  That’s a wedding I would LOVE to photograph!)

 

With love,

Kristin Reimer, Photomuse

 

What inspired you when planning your wedding?  Did you have a specific theme or were there very specific traditions or elements you wanted included?  We would love for you to share with us!

All photos courtesy of Photomuse.

Diamond Dash: Dash for a Diamond & a Cure

Michael C. Fina will be hosting our third annual Diamond Dash: Dash for a Diamond & a Cure on Saturday, November 17 in Manhattan.  Dash participants will be supporting and raising awareness for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The winning Diamond Dash team will receive a handcrafted Tacori engagement ring setting, matched with a Tacori Diamond, valued at $20,000, an engagement photography package from the award-winning photography team at Photomuse, and certificates to be used towards wedding bands and a bridal registry at Michael C. Fina.  The dash will culminate with a live marriage proposal.

Dashers will make their way to various destinations in New York via a clue sent to their mobile device and contained on their clue sheet. Upon reaching each location, they will be asked to take a photo of themselves in front of the designated dash signage and text in a code, confirming that they have reached this specific location.  The top three teams that complete the highest number of clues and in the quickest amount of time will be deemed finalists after verification.  Finalists will then compete in one last challenge for the grand prize.

We have extended the registration period until November 7, 2012.  Interested couples can register for their chance to participate at www.diamonddash.com

The Engagement Session

We are lucky enough to share another post by our friends at Photomuse!  They share their thoughts on the newest and popular photography trend, the engagement session.

 

In my experience, this title tends to bring either a “love it” or “hate it” to the couples I work with.  Very often, its importance is misunderstood.  The session is a collaborative effort between you and your photographer – an opportunity to bond and develop trust.

 

I want to share a story with you, which I hope will convey why I feel engagement sessions are so important.

I met a wonderful couple.  Jack said to me, “Kristin, I hate having my photograph taken. I’ve never had a photo in my life that I liked. Wait, no, I did once, I was FIVE.”  I assured Jack that I could change his outlook on photography.

On the day of their engagement session, Jack’s face showed that if he hadn’t really loved her, he wouldn’t have been there.  Jill was thrilled, she had been so busy with the planning of her wedding that the day provided them both with much needed “couple time.”

Over the course of their session, Jack had discovered something.  He had such a good time just being with Jill, that he had completely forgotten he hated having his picture taken.  He even confessed that he felt like he was on a first date.  In addition, their wedding photographer now had become a friend, not just another vendor.

Two weeks later when Jack saw the images, he rewarded me with a huge hug and a smile. Jack said to me, “Kristin, on the wedding day, you go wherever you want, do whatever you need to do.  I’ve told everyone not to bother you.  I have so much confidence in you. Thank you for making me look good.”

When the big day arrived, it flew by.  I found out later that some things on their wedding day, outside of the photography, did not go as they had planned.  They told me the one thing that stayed constant for them was that they felt confident that I wouldn’t let them down.  They told me not only were they ecstatic with their images, but they were surprised at how I was able to capture so many sides of them.

 

I always credit the time bonding during the engagement session for this.  Your photographer is not just there to take a beautiful portrait of you, but to find out what makes you unique.  The wedding day goes by so quickly that by having this knowledge, we are able to capture those emotions we know are coming.  When we catch him giving you a look that is meant for you alone, perhaps it’s the look on his face of awe and pride that you are really his.  A smile, a tear, laughter – we are ready for it.

This is for you as well.  Take this as an opportunity to communicate with your photographer about what worked for you and what didn’t.  Let the photography be the last thing on your mind when the big day arrives.

Lastly, the engagement session should be fun.  Choose a place with meaning, a place you enjoy going to, or a location that represents who you are.  It’s a relaxed time to be together and connect.  Make it a date, get dressed up, and always make sure your new ring from Michael C. Fina is shown off in all the photos!

 

With love,

Kristin Reimer,  Photomuse

 

Did you have a unique theme for your engagement shoot?  We would love for you to share your engagement session experience with us!

All photos courtesy of Photomuse.