Michael C. Fina

Care Tips: China

Caring for china can be stressful, especially when you don’t know where to begin. But by following just a few simple tips, you can ensure that your china will continue to look brand new, forever.

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1. While most china can be cared for the same way, be sure to check the manufacturer’s specific instructions for any exceptions.

2. Most fine china can washed in the dishwasher but to prevent chips and cracks, position each piece in a way that prevents them from knocking into one another.

3. If your china has hand-applied decorations, avoid putting it in the dishwasher, as the heat can damage gold or platinum bands.

4. Let your china air dry when putting it in the dishwasher. If your dishwasher does not have an air dry setting, simply stop it before the dry cycle begins and leave the door open.

5. Place liners or paper plates in between fine china when stacking them for storage to keep them looking pristine.

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6. Instead of using scouring powders or steel wool on your china when you need to clean off dried-on food, soak each piece for several minutes. This will remove the food, while preventing scratches.

7. When hand washing your china, place a rubber mat or a towel at the bottom of the sink to avoid chips or cracks.

8. China can crack from temperature extremes, so avoid moving your pieces directly from the refrigerator to the oven.

China is special, and often something that you want to pass down from generation to generation. By following these simple care tips, you can ensure that your pieces will remain in perfect condition for years to come.

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!

The Ultimate Promise with Mark Patterson

For over 25 years, Mark Patterson has created stunning, handcrafted jewelry that combines traditional styles with sleek, modern touches for an inimitable signature look.

These gorgeous designs reveal Mark’s focus on quality craftsmanship that seamlessly blends the old and the new. Mark Patterson’s focus on simple, yet beautiful, pieces imbues both his bridal and fine jewelry with a timeless flair that will never go out of style.

 

Mark Patterson jewelry is sold in Manhattan exclusively at Michael C. Fina.  To view his beautiful designs in person, visit our store at 500 Park Avenue (E. 59th Street between Madison & Park).

 

Credit: Mark Patterson Jewelry from Erik Thienes on Vimeo.

How will you sparkle in 2014?

Top Engagement Ring Trends at Michael C. Fina for 2014

Will 2014 be your year to get engaged?  We’re sure you’ve been diligently searching our website and Pinterest boards to find your “perfect” engagement ring, so we’ve decided to do some work for you.  We’ve predicted six engagement ring trends that are sure to be hot in 2014.  Find your favorite, take notes, and start dropping hints!

1. Art Deco – Aren’t you “jazzed” about this trend?  Vintage styles have been popular for years, but Art Deco styles will be extremely popular in 2014.  The strong lines and intricate details bring you back to another era.  This vintage appeal shows no signs of slowing down!  If you love the look, check out this stunning platinum Tacori engagement ring fit for a princess!

2. Floral – Add a touch of romance with florals and blooms on your engagement ring.  Inspired by nature, some of these rings will have an organic feel to them as well.  Many women will love the ultra-feminine style of floral engagement rings.  This platinum “Juliet” ring by Penny Preville showcases a bold leaf design and is inspired by the most famous love story of all time!

3. Yellow Gold – Yellow gold is making a comeback!  2013 was all about rose gold and 2014 will be all about yellow.  Pure gold is yellow in color and some women love this natural, warmer look.  Another thing about yellow gold that many women might like?  The sentimental feel of it.  Many women who got engaged and married in the 1980s sported yellow gold rings, so women today might want to match their mothers!  Want a yellow gold ring with a ton of sparkle?  Check out this 3-sided pave engagement ring from Michael B.’s Princess Collection.

4. Twisted Bands - Some women love a classic style, but want a little bit of a unique, modern update to their ring.  The streamlined, sensual design of a twisted band accomplishes this.  Looking for the “perfect” twisted band?  We love this platinum ring from the Refined Collection by Hearts On Fire.  It shows off The World’s Most Perfectly Cut Diamonds!

5. Cushion Cut Diamonds – Celebrities have been all about the cushion cut recently!  (Thank you, Kim & Kanye!)  A striking blend of the oval and princess cut shapes, the cushion cut is a rounded square design that has surged in popularity in recent years. Commonly seen in antique rings, the cut has a classic look that differentiates it from the standard round cut. The overall shape varies from a rounded square shape to a longer, more rectangular design.  One of our favorite and classic designs for a cushion cut diamonds is this platinum pave halo setting from Mark Patterson’s Promise Collection.

6. Mixed Metals – The mixed metal look is for the woman who loves the look of more than one color metal…or for the woman who can’t decide which metal she loves more!  Many women wear jewelry in all different colors, so this trend is perfect for them.  This adds a modern, unique touch to your jewelry!  The flowing lines of the Eriskay ring by MaeVona brilliantly mix platinum and 18K rose gold!

Which trend do you love the most?

It’s Christmastime in the city…

New York City Christmas Cufflinks - Michael C. Fina Holidays 2013

Dress him up in holiday style this year to ensure he has a very merry New York City Christmas!

Whether he is a native New Yorker or just a lover of the Big Apple, we have the perfect cufflinks to match his personality!

Want to check out more cufflinks?  Be sure to visit our website!

 

Top 5 Gifts Under $500

Top 5 Gifts Under $500 - Michael C. Fina Holiday 2013

We’ve hand-selected our favorite gifts for you!

1. Mikimoto Pearl & Diamond Pendant

2. Jonathan Adler Brass Gala Box

3. Cufflinks Inc. Batman USB Flash Drive Cufflinks

4. L’Objet Gold & Crystal Frame

5. Cub-Ar Spherical Table Lighter

Do you like our top five favorite gifts under $500?  Visit our website for more ideas!