Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Newest Contest!

As you may know, most of my business comes by way of word of mouth. Last year I had the fortune of working with a bunch of amazing couples who spread the word about me in ways I could never imagine! I decided that I needed to thank these couples, which lead me to creating another contest! This one was open specifically to couples who booked engagement sessions with me for 2008, and are getting married in 2009. This contest is a little different, though; Not only does the winner get a free session, they also get to pick the kind of session! I had a total of 6 entries, and everyone will win something. Prizes include a free session, enlargement, gift certificates and a couple of surprises! Each contestant was asked to submit their favorite photo from our engagement session last year, and had to tell me why it was their favorite, as well as what kind of shoot they'd like. I've also selected MY favorite from each shoot. Your job? Read through the entries and click the poll below to vote for your favorite!

Jagoda and Danny
Jagoda's favorite shot was taken on the steps of a carousel in Brooklyn. She loves it because it captures her and Dan just hanging out enjoying one another's company, as if there wasn't even a camera there. She writes "We're not posing, we're not dancing, we're not aware of our surrounding, we're just enjoying the moment." This one is actually my favorite, too, so I've posted my second favorite :)
She'd like to have a post-wedding shoot because her country club wedding will result in photos of green gardens, and she'd like to capture some images of her and Dan in their wedding gear on the beach or in the city since her wedding day timeline doesn't allow for that. She has a really cool idea for what she'd like to do with the pictures, but I don't want to spoil any surprises in case she wins!

I picked the below shot because I love the model poses I got from them here! Would you believe this was taken within the first 5 shots? Their body language is great, and you can so feel the love between them. Plus, they've each got a little hint of a smile! This was one of the most serious shots we took, the rest were mostly smiley and fun (there are a few with tongues sticking out at each other!), so this one stands out to me. Plus, it nicely showcases how much style they both have!

Vivian and Victor
Vivian picked this photo because it shows the closeness and love her and Victor share. She tells me the photo is very emotional for her to look at, and says "It's hard for me to put into words but there's such a connected and belonging feeling between him and I. We can't wait to be husband and wife." She'd like to do a trash the dress session on the beach, because she thinks it would be fun. And with her wedding coming up soon, she doesn't want me to stop being her photographer (awwww!).

I chose this photo because I love the looks on their faces. They've both got these cute smiles on their faces, like they're really enjoying the moment. I love how Vivian is stealing a kiss, and Victor is just going with the flow! I didn't have to do much posing with these two, but when they got into a pose they took it and ran, turning it into something completely new.

Lauren and Brad
Lauren and Brad chose this photo because they feel it is symbolic of their relationship. With both of them working three (yes, three!) jobs, life can get very hectic. Throughout all the chaos, they manage to still make time for each other whenever they can to enjoy "those precious moments that only the two of us can share...even if we are surrounded by hundreds of strangers in Grand Central Station." Lauren and Brad are undecided as to what kind of shoot they would like, but reminds me that they are down for anything fun!

This photo is one of my favorites not just because of how it looks, but also because it reminds me of how much fun these two are! Just a few moments later, this dramatic just-about-to-kiss photo turned into Lauren kicking over the escalator (in some seriously amazing red heels) and Brad doing crazy karate moves in the air! They were so into each other, they barely even noticed anyone else was there. I'm still surprised we didn't get kicked out of Grand Central with all the stunts we were pulling!

Liz and Dewayne
Liz tells me that the contest was hard on her because each time the looks through them, she has a new favorite. She likes this picture because it's different. She writes that "out of 300 pictures of Dewayne and I hugging and kissing I feel this one really expresses our love." They've been together for 9 years, and she had never realized that they always hold hands like this, and that it makes her feel like they will always be there for one another. Dewayne has even agreed to do a post-wedding session if they win! They would like to take time together to take some nice relaxed portraits, and Liz has already picked out an awesome location!

Before we had the shoot, Liz had mentioned this photo she had of her grandparents on their wedding day. She wanted to incorporate it somehow, and wound up getting this awesome frame for it. I love how Liz chose to incorporate such a special photo into her own engagement session. Aside from that, I just adore how in love they look. The smile on Liz's face is so peaceful as Dewayne gives her a sweet kiss.

Barbara and Michael
Barbara had such a hard time picking a photo, she sent 7!! In all fairness, I can only post one...so she left me with the task! I picked the 7th photo she submitted, because when reading her reasoning, it seemed to be the one she was most excited about. She loves how the image captures their passion, and how no one would ever know they were freezing (in all fairness, so was I! When they went into the water, I went too! haha). She writes that "This is the picture people dream of...and I really can not thank you enough for making it ours." She loves that she will always be able to look back at these photos and remember the feelings they had on that very day. Barbara wants to do a trash the dress shoot, as she too is up for anything! She loves her dress and wants to get some non-traditional shots while getting to wear the dress again--What girl wouldn't want that??

Well before our engagement session, Barbara sent me a link to a music video that captured the mood she wanted for her photos. I studied it quite a bit and came up with a ton of ideas. One of them, we discussed via email. My favorite photo from the shoot came from the series of photos I took with that idea in mind (one of her 7 favorites was the exact photo I had described before the shoot). This isn't the exact photo, but as I was setting it up, Michael dove in for a kiss. I love how natural these two look in this one. It has so much passion and love behind it, and that smile on Barbara's face is worth 1,000 words.

Angela and Rudy
Unfortunately, this entry somehow wound up missing! I received an email from Angela this morning saying that she noticed her entry was left out. I literally jumped out of bed and ran to my computer. I took a look and sure enough, it was in with my Spam. UGH! Computers! Anyway, here is their entry!
Angela sent three photos, so I've picked my favorite of the bunch! For Angela, her engagement was bittersweet. She's never been one to like how she appears in photos, and knew that a wedding meant having a lot of them taken of her. She didn't think she would be happy with the end results, but Rudy "reassured me that it didn't matter because I am beautiful to him inside and out. And, the day of the pics he made sure that he had me smiling and not worrying so much." She likes this photo because during the shoot, he was whispering things to her that he knew would make her laugh and keep her mind off the photos (he, on the other hand, was totally into the shoot!). Angela also writes, "He told me, "Don't worry" "Stay close to me" and I will take care of you. And, that's exactly what he did." How sweet is that? And not only that, but I personally think Angela looked gorgeous in every single photo!
She didn't specify what kind of shoot she'd like, but I'll take that to mean she wants to leave me in suspense!

I chose this photo because it is alllll about Angela! These two were one of my first few engagement sessions and during the shoot we had a LOT of fun. Rudy kept us all laughing, especially Angela. At this moment, they both let their inner supermodels take over, and the result is stunning. We snuck onto someone's stoop for a few shots. I love the lighting here, and I think they both look amazing! I love how Rudy is sticking so close to Angela. Their love and closeness as a couple really shines through!

So now it's your turn. You've read the stories, you've seen the photos...now you tell me....

*Voting will run through 11:59pm on March 7th. Winners announced March 8th.*

Saturday, February 14, 2009

And the winners are...

...That's right! It's time for me to announce the winners of the free engagement session! First off, let me wish everyone a very Happy Valentine's Day! It was way too hard for me to judge these on my own, so when my hubby and I got home from our V-day date, he went through all of the entries with me to pick the winners!

We had a lot of fun reading through your stories. We got to read stories of heartache turned to love, long distance romances enduring the tests of time, devoted parents, and a story of love lasting through some very difficult times which brought tears to my eyes. A lot of the stories were very personal, so I chose not to include them in full. I've summarized them below :)

There were 8 entries total, and we both agreed that everyone who entered should win something! Which means there are multiple winners in each category aside from the grand prize. Oh...and did I mention I've increased the prize values? Because I did! Which brings me to what you've been waiting for...

The Grand Prize, a 2 hour long engagement session goes to....
Kevin and Jennifer!!
These two had quite the story (the one that left me in tears). When my husband read it, he immediately handed it over and said "We have a winner!" These two were engaged on February 7th after knowing one another for 11 years! They have been through a lot over the past few years, but their strength both individually and as a couple has pulled them through. They have a ton of awesome hobbies that include hiking and sword fighting! Maybe they'll show me a few moves when we shoot?

First prize...which has been increased to a $125 gift certificate good toward an engagement session...goes to...
Amy and Jason
Janelly and Rolando!!

Amy and Jason are another recently engaged couple! These two spent 4 1/2 years commuting to each other between Boston and New York. One time Amy got stuck on a bus for two hours...NEXT TO Jason's apartment!! (The bus driver wouldn't let her off!) Her email to me outlined just how dedicated they are to one another throughout uncertainties (and those fun, silly and sometimes scary bus rides). The challenges they faced were nothing compared to their love for one another!

Janelly and Rolando are another couple who endured a long distance love...between Queens, NY and the Dominican Republic! Since they were 11!!! These two were nominated by their thoughtful coworker, Lisa (don't forget to thank her!). Lisa told me a story of how the relationship between Janelly and Rolando survived because of much dedication. They would write each other letters during the school year (all of which Janelly still has!), and Janelly would visit Rolando every summer. Janelly went for a visit over Christmas of 2007, when Rolando got down on one knee to propose! Last summer he packed his bags and movd to NYC to be with his childhood sweetheart! And they say long distance romances don't work? HA!

Second prize (increased to a $100 gift certificate toward an engagement session) goes to...

Shaquia and Peter,
Rashida and Vaughn,
Janice and Edward!!

Shaquia and Peter met at her son's school. It took 3 months to ask her on a date (after what sounds like some serious flirting!), where he took her out dancing all night! As she puts it "the man that sweeps me off my feet is my man"! After dating a while, they merged their two familys (they have two boys, who are now the best of friends!) moving to a town they love, and it has been all about the kids ever since! They both work hard both at their jobs and helping their sons with math (no easy task!) and are always on the run.

Rashida and Vaughn...happy 5 year anniversary (it's today)! These two are busy being parents to 1 year old twins while planning a 2010 wedding! They're hoping to enjoy some alone time to enjoy each other's company and create some lasting memories with their engagement session.

Janice and Edward met quite by chance through their friends (and coworkers) in June of 2006, when Janice's coworker invited her to dinner with her husband, where they ran into his coworkers (one being Edward). Edward tells Janice that he was in love as soon as he saw her smile! They hit a slight bump, but made it through...soon after, they took their friends out to dinner to thank them for their role in Janice and Edward's relationship. They went back to the same restaurant and even sat at the same table...where Edward proposed! Janice wrote that reading over her email made her realize just how lucky she is, and how she can't wait to be Edward's wife! (She also sent me pictures of her gorgeous bling!)

Finally, third prize (which is now a $75 gift certificate) goes to...

Cindy and John
Jennifer and Maximo!!

Cindy and John are college sweethearts. While it wasn't love at first sight, they started chatting online while working as teaching assistants. Cindy realized her feelings for John when he went to visit his family in China for three weeks. She confessed when he returned, and he revealed that he felt the same! The rest was history!

Jennifer and Maximo have been together for 9 years and have 3 children! Sadly, Jennifer's grandmother passed right before Christmas of 2007, but had expressed her desire for them to get married several times beforehand. Max proposed soon after and they set a date! They spend every day together, and Jennifer tells me that Max is an amazing dad to their children and also works hard to keep her smiling.

Congrats to all of the couples! I can't wait to work with you! Your gift certificates will be in the mail soon, but please contact me at any time to set up your session!

How's that for Valentine's Day romance? I hope you all had a great day, and that everyone reading enjoys these stories of love!

For more love...check out my next blog with yesterday's Friday the 13th wedding (my first wedding of 2009!)

Another blog will be posted tomorrow ;)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Congratulations Ania and Vincent!!

Earlier today I had the honor of photographing the Friday the 13th wedding of Ania and Vincent! Friday the 13th has always been my lucky day, and today wasn't any different! Though a bit chilly, the sun was shining and yesterday's intense winds had disappeared.

There's just something so romantic about a city hall wedding. These two decided to share their day with a bunch of friends and family (I think they had the biggest entourage there) and it was a blast! This crew definitely knows how to have a good time! The NYC marriage bureau recently underwent a massive overhaul and the result is stunning. Ania and Vincent got the East Chapel, which was sooo pretty. The ceremony was short and sweet, and there were so many cameras...I felt like part of the paparazzi! After the ceremony, we got some group shots and then headed out for a post-wedding session with the newlyweds. I had such a hard time choosing favorites, so I've posted quite a few. Enjoy!! And congrats Ania and Vincent!!!! I wish you both the very best!

(don't forget to click on the photo to see it larger!)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Only 2 more days...

Just a reminder....2 days left to enter the contest for a FREE engagement session!

Good luck to all that entered, and to everyone else...send them in!