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!

Boston Marathon Survivors to Marry Today in The Knot Dream Wedding

The Knot Dream Wedding - Michael C. Fina

NEW YORK, April 4, 2014 — TheKnot.com, the number one wedding planning destination, today announces the wedding day of The Knot Dream Wedding. Now in its second year, the program followed one couple through every step of the wedding planning process with each element voted on by America. This year, TheKnot.com selected Rebekah Gregory and Pete DiMartino as the very deserving recipients of The Knot Dream Wedding. Today, America can tune in to watch the wedding take place at the Biltmore in Asheville, NC, live on TheKnot.com starting at 11 a.m. See all photos from the day on Instagram and Twitter by following #TheKnotDreamWedding and @theknot.

Rebekah and Pete were at the finish line of the Boston Marathon cheering on Pete’s mother last year. When the bomb exploded, Rebekah’s first thought was to protect her son, so she shielded him. She has endured 15 surgeries over the course of the past year, as well as preparing for the upcoming amputation of her left leg. Pete lost 90 percent of his right Achilles tendon and suffered multiple broken bones in his ankle. He has undergone surgeries and months of physical therapy. Their shared experience as a result of the explosion and surviving their injuries brought them even closer together and strengthened their relationship.

“We could not think of any couple more deserving of The Knot Dream Wedding,” said Rebecca Dolgin, TheKnot.com editor in chief. “We are so thrilled to help them overcome their past and bring on their new beginning to an amazing life together.”

Rebekah and Pete handed off all wedding planning decisions to America. Voting took place weekly on TheKnot.com/DreamWedding where people around the country voted for seven weeks on every element of the wedding, including the location, overall theme, bridesmaid dresses, hair and makeup, rings, cake, flowers and even Rebekah’s dress.

“Solidifying forever with Pete DiMartino just makes my heart really happy. And the fact that we get to share our special day with so many others thanks to The Knot, that’s pretty cool to me,” said Rebekah Gregory, The Knot Dream Wedding bride. “Although we do not feel more deserving of this honor than anyone else, we couldn’t be more excited to have shared our journey with so many other people and to have had America plan our wedding! Everyone has trials in life and this just happens to be ours. But if we can inspire one person to keep pushing forward by sharing our story, it’s totally worth it to me. And I don’t care if I have to hop, wheel or roll down that aisle, I will get to the other end of it because the person waiting for me is the only thing that matters.”

Since Valentine’s Day, thousands of people across the country tuned in to help Rebekah and Pete’s wedding dreams come true. Additionally, Lee Brice, an award-winning country artist, is providing the couple with his new song “I Don’t Dance” as their first dance. Rebekah and Pete will dance to the perfect wedding song, along with enjoying the winning wedding elements:

   -- Location: Asheville, NC, the couple's favorite vacation destination, was 
      chosen for the wedding among other cities that the couple has ties to, 
      including New York, Boston and Louisville. A garden ceremony at Biltmore 
      was chosen for its fairytale setting next to a real-life castle. 

   -- Theme: The theme America chose is Enchanted Garden, a vision created by 
      celebrity wedding planner Marcy Blum of Marcy Blum Associates. With green 
      and brown woodland colors, plus whimsical elements like hanging lanterns, 
      this theme is a nod to Biltmore's gardens. 

   -- Rings: Classically Cool wedding bands were selected: a pave diamond band 
      for Rebekah and a titanium band for Pete, both by Michael C. Fina. 

   -- Bridesmaid Dresses: Rebekah's girls will don chiffon gowns in falcon, 
      complete with a trendy sweetheart strapless neckline by Watters. 

   -- The Dress: Rebekah will wear a gorgeous ivory fit-and-flare dress with 
      beaded embroidery, a dropped-waist and sweetheart neckline by Sophia 
      Moncelli for Kleinfeld Bridal. 

   -- Flowers: The romantic and playful whimsical woodland centerpieces 
      features a willow adorned tree trunk base and a secret garden of flowers 
      in shades of pink, plus blooming cherry blossoms designed by Holly 
      Chapple. All flowers are American grown from the California Cut Flower 
      Commission and will play into the enchanted theme with shades of pink, 
      lavender and peach. 

   -- Cake: Cake Alchemy will create a masterpiece of delicate white ruffles, 
      buttons and stunning peony sugar flowers to match the garden theme. 

   -- Hair & Makeup: Rebekah came to NYC for a hair and makeup trial with Alli 
      Web, founder of Drybar, and Kate Watson from Too Faced. The winning look 
      will be revealed on the wedding day.

 

About The Knot

The Knot is the nation’s leading wedding resource, reaching nearly every bride in America through the #1 wedding website, TheKnot.com; The Knot national and local wedding magazines; #1 wedding planning and fashion apps The Knot Wedding Planner and Wedding LookBook by The Knot; The Knot book series; syndication placements across the Internet and regular television appearances. The Knot is the flagship brand of XO Group Inc. (NYSE: XOXO; http://www.xogroupinc.com), a consumer Internet and media company devoted to weddings, pregnancy and everything in between, providing young women with the trusted information, products and advice they need to guide them through the most transformative events of their lives. Follow The Knot on Twitter @theknot.

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!

Join us on March 6

Furrer-Jacot Trunk Show at Michael C. Fina

Join us on Thursday, March 6 for a Furrer-Jacot Trunk Show!

500 Park Avenue (E. 59th between Madison & Park)

New York, NY 10022

10:00am to 7:30pm

Introducing the new 2014 wedding band collections, as well as the premier of Furrer-Jacot’s new engagement ring collection.

Have the chance to make your vision come to life with a custom wedding band sketch by Lucas Ruppli, the Head of Design at Furrer-Jacot.

Enjoy complimentary engraving with your Furrer-Jacot wedding band purchase!

RSVP by emailing events@mcfina.com today!

Meet Lucas Ruppli

Meet Furrer Jacot Designer Lucas Ruppli - Michael C. Fina

For nearly 20 years, Lucas Ruppli has been Chief of the Design Department at FURRER JACOT in Switzerland, overseeing the development of outstanding luxury partner jewelry.

Lucas Ruppli was born in Schaffhausen, a small town famous in Europe for its gold and silversmith ateliers. This influence, combined with his childhood passion for collecting gemstones, motivated him to become a goldsmith. As the Chief of the Design Department at Furrer Jacot, Switzerland, he is also responsible for the goldsmith students within the company. Mr. Ruppli is constantly teaching willing young apprentices the art of craftmanship and manufacturing of jewelry. In addition, he is a consultant at a technical college for future goldsmiths. In 2000, Mr. Ruppli reached the final of the Diamonds International Awards and in 2004 he was one of the winners of the renowned Diamonds International Awards.

His sources of inspiration are based in so many different fields such as nature, architecture, the society or industrial design. The father of two personally prefers to explain the design idea for each individual as: “I deeply care about creating objects that have shapes and forms and relationships which derive from nature, architecture, society at large or from the mechanical industry. Looking at technical objects, I am interested about the details and on how they are integrated in the whole object.”

The designer also needs peace of mind, physical, mental and emotional well-being in order to be able to create. But the spark itself emerges from something deeper, something that triggers a chain of thoughts that will lead to something as significant as a wedding band. “I combine things that might not fit together,” he says in a calm and reserved voice, “for example, how can I make a wedding ring out of a pigeon that has been run over?” It may sound provocative on the surface, but it makes sense, more often, it may be one of the fundamental laws of creativity. The designer needs the mental tension, the dissonance that seeks a resolution in a finished product.

When a happy couple purchases wedding bands designed by him, then the tension is present as well as the resolution; certainly an excellent prospect for a healthy and harmonious marriage.

Furrer Jacot Wedding Band Designs by Lucas Ruppli - Michael C. Fina

Lucas Ruppli will be at Michael C. Fina (500 Park Avenue) for a special Furrer-Jacot trunk show on Thursday, March 6.  Clients will be able to speak with him about his designs and the event will be introducing the new 2014 wedding band collections, as well as the premier of Furrer-Jacot’s new engagement ring collection.  For more information or to make an appointment for the event, please email events@mcfina.com.

2014 Ring Olympics

2014 Ring Olympics at Michael C. Fina

The 2014 Winter Games are here…and at Michael C. Fina, that means the Ring Olympics are back!

A new round will be posted each day on our Facebook page and Instagram so fans can vote for their favorite rings in each “event.”  Be sure to check back each day to cast your vote!

Featured Rings

Platinum – Snowboarding Event

Hearts On Fire – Platinum Pave Diamond Halo Engagement Ring from the Acclaim Collection

Jeff Cooper – Platinum Baguette & Emerald Setting from the Nikole Collection

Tacori – Platinum Crescent Ribbon Twist Setting from the Crescent Silhouette Collection

JB Star – Platinum Pave Oval Double Halo Diamond Setting from the Vintage Micro Pave Collection

Yellow Gold – Ice Hockey Event

Michael C. Fina – 18K Yellow Gold Cathedral Solitaire Setting from the Embrace Collection

Temple St. Clair – 18K Yellow Gold Princess Bezel Setting from the Classic Setting Collection

Erica Courtney – 18K Yellow Gold Bezel-Set Diamond Halo “Cristina” Setting from the Gorgeous & Engaged Collection

MaeVona – 18K Yellow Gold 5-Prong Pave Setting from the Aviemore Collection

Rose Gold – Snowboarding Event

Erica Courtney – 18K Rose Gold & Pave “Ellen” Setting from the Gorgeous & Engaged Collection

MaeVona – 18K Rose Gold 2-Row Pink Pave Setting from the Cava Collection

Michael B. – Cushion Halo Setting in 18K Rose Gold from the Royal Trois Collection

Mark Patterson – Pave Diamond Setting in 18K Rose Gold from the Promise Collection

Special Hearts On Fire Event

Special Hearts On Fire Event at Michael C. Fina

On February 12-13, Michael C. Fina will be hosting a special trunk show event…just in time for Valentine’s Day!  The store at 500 Park Avenue will be unveiling the largest collection of Hearts On Fire designs in the world, including the newest 2014 collections.

February 12-13

Wednesday & Thursday, 10am to 7pm

500 Park Avenue (E. 59th Street between Madison & Park)

Secure your appointment for this two-day only event by emailing events@mcfina.com today!

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!