It may have rained on Julia and Wael’s wedding day, but they weren’t going to let a little downpour get in the way of their fun.

When I arrived at Julia’s parents’ house that day, it was an unseasonably warm day for the end of October.  The sky was blue with barely a cloud in sight.  I was thrilled to get to photograph all her wedding details outside in the natural light without freezing my fingers off.  At Wael’s aunt’s house they had a fabulous bright yellow classic Buick for my second shooter Shawn Black to have fun with and Wael was wearing a midnight blue tux. It is the type of thing we wedding photographers salivate over.

Once we got to the venue it was time for the big reveal. We found the last patch of the property that still had some fall foliage left and used it to its fullest! During this shoot I completely fell in love with Julia’s stunning eyes. When we were all done shooting, Wael showed what a true gentleman he was by picking up the train of Julia’s dress instead of leaving it up to her venue provided attendant. Only a few minutes after we got them inside the heavens let loose a massive downpour so the ceremony was moved indoors at the very last minute.  Fortunately the fireplace made for a beautiful backdrop for their ceremony.

Upon making their entrance to their reception Julia and Wael were promptly lifted upon their guests’ shoulders.  Shawn got one of his signature shots of them during their first dance with Julia’s arms around Wael’s neck, showing off her ring perfectly. The cake was soooo yummy.  It was decorated with coordinating flowers and exposed the different flavors of the cake from the side for a modern twist.

As the rain continued through the night we figured we might as well use it to our advantage and do an epic romantic rain shot.  Julia and Wael were game.  Shawn, my assistant Nick, and I went out and worked with the lighting to highlight the raindrops with backlighting, getting it just right, so that Julia and Wael wouldn’t have to spend too much time in the rain.  Once they came out we quickly got the shot, but they wanted to stay out even longer as it was so nice to get a little time for themselves to cool off from the hot dance floor.  But they couldn’t stay out for long.  Soon they were back in for one of the craziest garter tosses I have ever seen. The evening ended with a super sweet candy and cookie bar that was almost as sweet as Julia and Wael.


Photography notes:

I really wanted to highlight the time of year the two got married in the photos so I did whatever I could to showcase the fall foliage. I initially photographed the bouquet on this great rock, but then noticed a few feet away a pile of fall leaves that had been raked up.  I took a few minutes to place them strategically in the background.  Look at the difference from the first shot to the second.  I think it made a really big difference.


Julia’s mom asked me in advance if there was anything they could do to prepare for the day.  I asked her if they could have the front room that had the best light clear of clutter for Julia to get ready in.  They did exactly that.  It provided me an amazing space to photograph Julia from multiple angles without worrying about getting clutter in the background of the shot. Normally I have to declutter rooms myself that day, but it made my job so much easier!


Last but not least I want to thank Julia’s hair stylist.  She had first done Julia’s hair in a tousled loose fashion that is very popular right now.  This style is great for a date, but not for a wedding that will last all day.  I mentioned to the stylist that I would be using backlighting for some of the shots of Julia during the reception and that it would show every hair that was out of place, would she mind tightening up the style a bit.  Without question she completely fixed Julia’s coiffure so that it would come out looking like perfection in photos.


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I was honored to be asked to review‘s Forever Thine wedding workflow last week.  After playing with it for some of my more recent weddings I find many of the tools to be useful, particularly their included brushes for local edits. My personal editing style is to make the image look its best without it looking overly processed.  For a few of the bridal portraits I may convert them to black and white, or edit them so that they are more dramatic for a beautiful fine art canvas.  Overall, what I am always looking for is a preset that can be applied to a large percentage of my properly exposed images that will “JPG-ify” my RAW images nicely.  I want that crisper, ever so slightly processed look that would come out if I shot it in JPG in the camera, while still maintaining the ability to tweak things the way I want after in post.  A one size fits all preset will never exist, as there are always different lighting conditions to contend with, some images are underexposed, some are perfectly exposed, and some are overexposed. Some are backlit, high key, or low key. Additionally venues and dresses, and even different couples, lend themselves better to different editing styles (more contrast, or less, warmer, or cooler tones, natural light vs. flash, etc).  So I like to have several different JPG-ifying presets in my arsenal.  I found “At the Chapel” and “Soft Dream” to fit the bill well.  “Best Man” works particularly well if your images are slightly underexposed.

The following images I intentionally shot underexposed on the day of the wedding so that I could retain some of the blue of the sky.  The first image in each sequence is straight out of camera, the second is applying the “Best Man” preset, and the third is how I personally edited it myself after many steps of editing. If the image wasn’t one of my favorites from the day, the single click “Best Man” preset probably would have done the trick.  But for my favorite images, I still would tweak them individually.

The Exposure presets included in the workflow are useful, but could stand to have a few more small tweak adjustments instead of only having 1 full stop adjustments available for exposure correction.  Most of my images are maybe a third stop over exposed or under exposed, not anywhere near a full stop.  The color correction tools for skin tones are great to try as a quick global adjustment fix first instead of having to jump right to a local adjustment.  The rest of the preset collection is great if you have clients that want that highly processed “artsy”, “retro vintage”, or “romantic” look to their images.  That just isn’t really my client base though.

What really helps SleekLens’ presets stand out from many others I have seen is their naming conventions.  Often LR presets are all just named indiscriminately with fun names, so you are left fumbling to remember which preset, among hundreds, you want to use to get the chosen effect.  Not so with SleekLens.  They have brilliantly labeled all the presets and brushes with descriptive categories so that you can more easily find the effect you want, instead of just relying on hovering over the preset and looking at the tiny preview window.

The brushes are great in that they are already perfectly set for typical wedding related issues, bringing out details in tuxes, lowering highlights in dresses, bringing up the brightness of the dress, etc, and they are labeled as such.  This is nice because instead of just arbitrarily selecting highlights and then painting on the effect and then sliding it until it is right, generally the brush settings are pretty darn close to start with to what I would need in the end.  Making local edits even faster is the biggest time saver this workflow affords you in my opinion.




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Lauryn and Joe met in Lauryn’s home state of Texas at Sam Houston State University.  This southern belle and James Dean lookalike were sweet as pecan pie together.  After graduating, the two left the lone star state and moved up north to Massachusetts where Lauryn became a teacher at the Lowell School.  I met Lauryn through my friend, and second shooter, Stacy Vachon who also works at Lowell.  This was the second time I have had the pleasure of shooting a Lowell School teacher’s wedding, and I hope it won’t be the last.  Those ladies sure know how to have fun!

I was so excited when Joe and Lauryn told me their wedding would be at  Joe’s family’s home in Bar Harbor, Maine.  Bar Harbor is one of my favorite places on earth!  I grew up in flat as can be South Florida, but as a high school student I fell in love with New England after I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a summer in Bar Harbor exploring it’s AMAZING natural wonders, so it will always hold a special place in my heart.   The day before the wedding I got into town to shoot a few prep shots of the dress on the rocks in Joe’s backyard, but finished up in time to get to do a little walk down memory lane as well, finishing up the day with some outstanding stargazing. What a treat!

The wedding day was full of fun and laughter, but what really struck me was how close both Lauryn and Joe were with their families.  The giant dessert bar was baked and artfully set up by Lauryn’s sister Meaghyn.  Joe choose to have his father as a member of the bridal party, and his dad’s speech brought him to tears.  The parent dances were so very touching.  No one was looking to me to get photos with cheesed out grins.  They were totally absorbed in the moment and there is nothing I like to capture more than that.  It is so beautiful!


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