Sometimes, the job is simple. Just go out and make a picture. The key phrase there is “make a picture”. Anyone can press a button and take a picture, but it’s making a picture happen that makes this job worth getting up in the mornings for.

And believe me, I got up early for this one. For a wedding, I’m often showing up 11AM, 1PM, nice and easy. When you’re meeting the techs who go out for one of Manhattan’s leading pest control companies, you get there when they do: 7AM. In the pouring rain. One thing’s for certain, we’re not taking any outdoor photos today.

In this case, I’m taking staff photos for a relaunch of a corporate website, including new domain names and all. Now there’s one thing M&M Environmental is known for, and it’s eradicating bedbugs. (Don’t worry, I promise no images of bugs on my blog. Honest.) And the star of M&M’s team is Champ. Say hello to Champ…


Champ has no concept of personal space.

That might be because Champ is a year and a half old Beagle/Pointer mix, and he’s got more certifications and degrees than you can shake a stick at, if that’s your idea of a good time. Champ’s idea of a good time is sniffing whatever he can, and when he smells bedbugs, up comes his right forepaw. I got to watch Champ training, and he is goooood at what he does. Champ’s best buddy and partner is Danny, and that dog loves loves loves Danny.


One of the things I had to show was that M&M has complete testing as part of their service, but there wasn’t a lot of equipment around that day towards that. They did have kind of telescope/magnifying glass thing around, but it wasn’t the most impressive thing you’ve ever seen. We used just the top half, and implied the rest.


Finally, I had to get a portrait of Tim, the technical director for the firm. One thing about executives– they don’t generally give you much time. And I didn’t ask much of Tim’s time. I led him up to one the meeting spaces, set up one small soft box. Tim made it easy, he just exudes confidence and comfort with what he’s all about, and it took literally 3 frames to get his portrait done. Two verticals which fit newsletters and blog postings well, and then this one, which is the type of thing you can use for a main shot for a feature article on a business profile.


I gave them tons of stock images they can use of their staff from techs to call center to their four footed superstar. They were thrilled, and Champ was too.

One of my recent gigs was covering the launch weekend of a new church in the Providence, Rhode Island area.

I had been contacted by Dan Clymer of Restoration House Ministries, a church planting organization that launches new churches throughout New England.  During my one year at Lincoln Christian College, Dan was one of my very best professors, and I’ve always held it as one of the great privileges in my life that I was able to listen to Dan explore the life of Christ for four hours a week every week for an entire semester.  When he asked me about covering the opening weekend, I was thrilled to be able to commit to it.

Northpointe Christian Church meets at Cinemaworld in Lincoln, Rhode Island.  Yeah, the church meets in a movie theater.  It takes a little getting used to, but the location is ideal– you have a room with clear sightlines, an area for using as a stage in front, a second theater is used for one part of the kids programs, the kids’ party room is used for one class space, and their offices in the mall, just outside the theater entrance, encompass the infant/toddler area.

I covered a launch party the night before the first service at the theater, as well as the first day’s program.   I ended up delivering about twice the amount of images in the slideshow, with an eye towards showing them in action, while getting them group and family unit portraits that could be used for newsletters, fundraising brochures, etc.  I’m told that Restoration House is using the images to put together a 10 minute video that explains their role in bringing a project like this to fruition.

In a lot of ways, my photojournalistic style that I use for weddings was a perfect fit for giving them an inside view of the day, without interfering with the experience for newcomers.

2009 Christmas Card front

Took a break from editing during my too-brief time home for Thanksgiving to shoot the portraits for our annual Christmas Card. With the twins now 20 months old, we’re able to get them to do a little more in front of the camera.

The basic setup for this one was white seamless paper for the background with a Alien Bees B800 monolight through a beauty dish, just to the right of the camera, as our main light. I used a white coffeetable as a combination stage/seat, as some of the photos were taken with the kids having their legs dangle over the edge, some with them standing on the table so they could move around. I also had a small flash high above at camera right running through a 1/4 inch Honl Speed Grid as a hair light, and a second small flash with a second Honl Grid behind the table lighting up the background.

Just because you’ve planned things well, doesn’t mean they always work out right.  I noticed quickly that one of my Pocket Wizard radio controllers wasn’t consistently firing my main light.  I ended up disconnecting it, and using the hair light to trigger the other two.  That required a second adjustment… it cost me a third of a stop of shutter speed.  Even on self-assigned gigs, you have to be ready to adapt quickly.

Kristina and I had a pretty good idea of our selects before the shoot was over.  The easiest part was the mixing of the five photos– I’ve had this concept (and the previous year’s card) in mind since before the twins were born.

I’m out of ideas for next year.  Maybe I’ll let Kristina come up with the next concept… Naaaaaah.

Every once in awhile, I try to link to something that’s outside the box.  Sometimes, it’s advice, sometimes it’s inspiration.  This is definitely the latter.

Found this one through Offbeat Bride.  Bride and groom are turning 30 and 40, respectively.  A dual birthday party is planned.  This (fun, sexy, stylish) film is shown at the party.  Most of the guests are unaware that Jessica and Lorien (aka “Tree”) recently eloped.  

They know now.

Mary grew up in Midway, and we really had glorious, warm weather, considering we’d had two absolutely frigid days before this.  Downtown Midway is a really cute town, full of little upscale restaurants and boutiques.  In short, a great place to take some romantic photos.  The other location was by the local mill, and with the recent rains, the little waterfall next to it was more powerful than usual.

Most of these images were captured within a two block radius, but when you pick a place that’s both meaningful to you and has strong visual resonance, you can make a lot out a rather small area.

There are certain moments that you remember for the rest of your career.  In this case, it was about 45 minutes before the wedding, when the groom came up to me and said, “Ian, I forgot to tell you something.  Entire ceremony in Russian.”

I looked at Vlad and fired off the only phrase I remember from my college Russian class 18 years ago.  I think it translates as “I badly speak in Russian.”  Whatever it means, he laughed, so I’m pretty sure I didn’t accidentally ask him for permission to do something unnatural with his Pomeranian.

Luckily, it was a Jewish wedding, and generally, if you follow the cups, you’ll be pretty good there.

Not the easiest room to shoot in– it’s a nightclub where the area the chuppah was in had a black ceiling overhead.  For a less experienced photographer, it becomes difficult because there’s nowhere to bounce the flash.  I got permission from the rabbi (who’s a bit of a camera enthusiast, so he wanted complete details so he could learn my technique) and hid an off camera flash unit in the chuppah canopy– the white silk turned the whole thing into a giant studio light, with glorious, soft, flattering light.

One of the things that sets the full-time pros apart is the ability to make a quality image in spite of the circumstances.


Got to work with a lot of my favorite  vendors this weekend on Lacey and Justin’s wedding, which took place on a gorgeous indian summer day in Frenchburg.    Lacey put a lot of work into this one, coming up with tons of great details, and got a lot of help bringing them to fruition with Deanna Dillender of Great Expectations handling design and lighting, and Jackie Lee of Every Last Detail making things run smoothly on the coordination end, and Tony the Tiger of Tiger’s DJ Services keeping the party going.

Despite the hectic nature of the very full timeline, I’ll remember the lighthearted moments best from this one:  Lacey holding Justin’s ring for the longest time before it dawned on her that she was supposed to put it on him, or Lacey rocking out to her surprise choice of music for her father-daughter dance– let me tell you, Dad’s look was priceless!  Also loved seeing them find a way to get in a pre-ceremony prayer together while still managing not to see each other beforehand, the touch of having their toast with mini Coke bottles to commemorate their first date… so many great moments!

Take a look at some of the first images to come out of the weekend…


Been working on getting some of the fall engagement shoots edited this week, and I’ve got another one coming up Sunday, after I do Lacey and Justin’s wedding on Saturday.

Just thought you might want to see a shot or two from what I’ve been getting recently.

More to come soon!


We’d been trying to get the weather to cooperate with us for awhile to take family portraits of Eugene and Lily and their two children, Louis and Autumn.  As you might have guessed by their daughter’s name, it was really important to them to have fall colors in their session.  Lily had told me in our initial conversations that while she wanted some posed portraits, she was more interested in having the majority of their images be candid photos of her family being themselves.

We got most of the posed photos out of the way early, figuring that the kids would have more patience for it early, then got them into places where they could play, first a playground, then in an area with great light and lots of colorful leaves on the ground– if you give kids a chance for free play, they often reward you with their most genuine smiles of the day, and they may even give you a playful moment with Mom the above photo.  In addition, I made a point of getting a few of Mom and Dad together for some relationship shots.

After our session, we wandered over to Angelo’s Coal Oven Pizza on West 57th St. for dinner together.  I’m a sucker for coal oven pizza places every time, and I wasn’t disappointed.  Highly recommended.


Those of you who have talked with me are familiar with the fact I never touch the cake at a wedding I’m working, even when I’m a personal friend or even family of the bride.  Well, for the first time in five years, I left the camera in the hotel room, and I even ate the cake.

The occasion?  My much loved brother Tim and his wonderful bride Nadia got married on Sunday, and for the first time ever, I was a groomsman.  Best of all, my oldest, Caroline got to be a flower girl, got to dance with Daddy at a wedding, grew up faster than her parents ever believed possible.

Not that Declan and Audrey didn’t try to participate– Declan tried to march down the aisle, and when his sister got chatty, he and his twin were picked up and relocated to the back of the sanctuary.  Audrey then chimed in loud enough for everyone to hear, “Bye!”  Later, as Nadia was giving her half of the vows, Audrey sensed what type of life change she was in for, being married to Uncle Tim, because a little voice started insisting, “No, no, no, no, noooooooooo!” (Luckily, no one other than Audrey’s parents heard her.)

Anyway, I did take a couple of shots of Caroline in her flower girl outfit before we left for the wedding.  Enjoy!

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