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Brides On Broad

Brides on broad

Broad Street, Philadelphia.  The one location almost every Philly bride wants.  When we first started shooting weddings, I was determined not to do the expected shots.  And I definitely, did not want to shoot Broad Street Brides.  It was cliche. It was overdone.  I wanted no part of it.  But as it would happen, one of the first couples that booked us wanted the big Broad Street shot, at night, on New Year’s Eve.  It’s a tricky enough shot during the day, but on the biggest party night of year in the middle of Center City, it was definitely a baptism by fire.  We decided to take model Tesla Baretta for a spin around the area in a wedding dress at night for some practice.  I think practice in our business is widely disregarded as working “for free”.  These model shoots have been instrumental in the leaps our wedding photography has taken.  Our couples hire us because in the middle of traffic on the busiest night of the year, we know what works because we’ve practiced.  Because our off-time is spent learning new techniques, practicing them and being able to add them toolbox of skills to bring out quickly and effortlessly in the middle of timelines and guests and nervous energy.  We are not afraid of shooting it differently.  When everyone else straps on a 24-70mm and shoots with available light, blowing out City Hall in the afternoon, we know that Paul is more than likely going to put on a wide-angle or play with long exposures on a tripod to tell the story, and I’m going to a long lens for the lens compression to bring City Hall closer to our couple, and to turn traffic lights into bubbles of color.  We know where there is space for a light stand in the middle of the street without it being wiped out by traffic, and have gotten ridiculously good at setting one up from the back of a party bus.  We are unafraid to shoot it in the middle of the afternoon and underexpose that tricky noon day City Hall light with a pop of off camera flash.  We know from dressing model Lily Cheshire in a gown from Simply Bridal and playing around on Broad Street that a back light on a gorilla pod makes a beautiful rim light relatively safe from pedestrians and now that we have fallen in love with our new Mag Mods, we have a new way to shape our light that will take it even one step further.  I’ve got a new technique that I’m dying to try on Broad Street, so you might want to check out #bridesonbroad to keep up with our on-going journey documenting this fabulous Philly wedding tradition in new and better ways every single time we shoot it.

When Rainstorms Happen to a Classic Philly Wedding

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As most of the models we work with will tell you when they ask what our plan is if it rains, our answer is always “bring a cute umbrella”.  I love rain.  I love rainstorms and lightning and wind that blows hair in every direction but the one you want it in.  So what happens when you’re shooting the perfectly classic Philly wedding with stops planned at all the big wedding spots…the Art Museum, Love Park, and Broad Street and a torrential downpour begins?  You grab an umbrella, brave the winds and make it work.

Following Trisha and Adam’s beautiful ceremony at St John the Baptist, our photo tour began.  Although the skies completely opened up while we were on the museum steps, we still managed to get some beautiful shots, and a nicely unique perspective on the standards.  Trisha was just about to call it quits on the wind and rain, when the sun burst through the clouds and gave us the opportunity for some beautiful Love Park and Broad Street shots.

For a couple of photogs who pride themselves on loving the alternative, unique, offbeat weddings we do…I gotta admit the more we dip our toes into the more traditional celebrations, the more I begin to adore them.  As long as there’s a really good rainstorm, a bride and groom totally in love, and lots of love and laughter, we’re good.

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Philly Wedding Classic

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Someone recently asked me why I love shooting weddings.  I think we approach them differently.  Not only differently in terms of trying to shoot in a more unique way that all those big wedding studios, but we treat each wedding as a unique event unto itself.   Most weddings have similar elements.  The challenge of wedding photography, and what I think sets us apart, is that we don’t have a set way of how we shoot those similar elements, or how they get processed.  Take the classic Broad Street shot, for instance.  No two are exactly alike.  Some are light hearted and playful, others deeply romantic, some have that perfect dip, and some look like they’re straight out of fashion magazine.  Each wedding leaves me with a different impression of what made it beautiful and uniquely special.

Kelly and Mike had the ultimate classic wedding.  With their movie star good looks, her classic dress screamed old Hollywood glamour.  From a traditional ceremony at Old St Mary’s Church to fun bridal party photos at Race Street (where we were lucky enough to grab a fabulous shoot with model Porsha Terry in the spring), this wedding seemed to beg for tons of grainy Ilford film black and whites and Portra color film treatments.   Here are just a few of my favorites from the day.  Enjoy!

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