Archive: May 2018

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Posted on May 14, 2018

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9 Important tips for getting great South Florida Beach Wedding Photos.

Posted on May 29, 2018

BELOW: Beach wedding photography offers endless opportunities to get creative unique wedding photos. The photo below was taken at the Delray Beach Marriott. For this shot I used a slow shutter speed and a tripod. During the slow exposure I had the bride and groom hold still while the bridesmaids ran behind the bride and groom.
The Delray Beach Marriott gives the bride and groom the opportunity to shoot fantastic photos around the hotel as well as the opportunity to get those fantastic beach photos. It's the perfect Florida hotel for the bride who wants to keep her wedding gown neat and clean before and during the ceremony and then take photos on the beach during the cocktail hour.

The idea of having a beach wedding is very appealing to many people. While a South Florida beach wedding is certainly a novelty for people living in cold climates up north, a wedding on the beach also holds a strong appeal to people living almost anywhere in the country. Warm breezes, the soothing sounds of the ocean, the feel of sand beneath ones toes are all reasons why many couples choose to have a South Florida beach wedding. Not to mention, those romantic “beachy” bride and groom photos that will be taken! Southern Florida has a huge selection of beach locations. Beautiful Florida beaches are found in many different towns such as, Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Miami Beach, and all over Broward County as well as Dade County. There are, however, some important tips to keep in mind when planning a wedding on or by the beach.

BELOW: The photo below was taken at The Palms Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach. The Palms Hotel and Spa is a fantastic place for a Florida Beach Wedding. This location gives the Bride and Groom the option of having either a beach ceremony or a ceremony under their beautiful gazebo located on the hotel property. Many of the hotels on Collins avenue in South Beach and Miami Beach are located in public beach areas. For this photo I had to photoshop out several beach goers. If you're a Florida Beach Photographer than having awesome photoshop skills is a must because because removing objects from background comes with the territory.
If you are planning a wedding in Miami Beach or Dade County than a visit to the Palms Hotel should be on your list.

Tip #1: Managing a windy day

Although the beach can be a beautiful spot for a wedding, it is a wide open area with no barriers - and the wind usually blows in from the ocean to the shore. Depending on the particular conditions on your wedding day, you could end up in a very windy, uncomfortable position as the bride. If you are facing the camera with your back to the ocean, the wind could definitely be an issue. A long flowing hairdo could end up more than windblown, flying in your face and creating a uncomfortable problem and affecting your photos. To avoid potential issues, be sure to check the wind forecast for the day and work with your hairstylist to create an appropriate hairdo that will best withstand wind.

BELOW: It was certainly a windy day when the below photo was taken. I shot this black and white photograph at the Harbor Beach Marriott in Fort Lauderdale. As one of Broward County's most beautiful wedding photography locations the Harbor Beach Marriott offers a wide range of shooting locations.
Since it's a hotel located on the beach, brides and grooms have the option of having either a "toes in the sand" beach ceremony or a "keep your feet clean" ceremony on the upper deck.

Tip #2: Crowd control

If you are getting married at one of South Florida’s many magnificent beachfront hotels such as the Eau, Palm Beach, Boca Raton Resort and Club or The Breakers than crowds, shouldn’t be much of issue, but if you are conducting your ceremony at a public beach, crowding could be a problem – especially on a Saturday or Sunday. Definitely keep this in mind when selecting the perfect spot for your South Florida beach wedding. If you book your entire wedding at a hotel location, if it becomes too hot out at the beach, guests can escape indoors to cool off. This isn’t possible at a public beach location, so be sure to provide cold water and select a somewhat shady area if at all possible.

BELOW: An Ocean background always makes for a great photography opportunity. The flowers and ceremony canopy in this shot were created by Xquisite events in Boca Raton. Flowers and decor always look great against the sand and ocean.

Tip #3: Obtain proper permits

This brings us to tip #3. If you do decide to have your wedding ceremony at a public beach location, make sure that you contact city hall to obtain a permit if necessary. After all, you’ll be setting up chairs and possibly an arch, maybe even having musicians set up. The last thing you’ll want to happen is to be evicted from your location for not having a legal permit. Again, this is not an issue if you are using a beachfront hotel property as your location.

BELOW: This photo was taken in Naples Florida. There is a big difference between the beaches on the East Coast of the Florida and the West Coast of Florida. The East Coast Beach locations such as, Palm Beach, Jupiter Beach, Fort Lauderdale Beach and Miami have thicker sand and larger ocean waves.
The West coast of Florida which includes Naples, Marco Island, Fort Myers and Sarasota have finer softer more powered sand and much calmer water. The ripple effect on the sand is caused by the fine powder like sand which is only on the west coast of South Florida.

Tip #4: Transportation

If you are planning to take your wedding photos at a beach location, you should arrange to have transportation for yourselves and your wedding party to be dropped off and picked up. Parking can be limited at South Florida public beaches, especially on weekends or in the high tourist season. In addition, if you are having your ceremony at the beach, but guests are coming over from a hotel or other single location, you should consider arranging transportation for them. It could be very frustrating for guests to arrive at the beach and then not be able to find parking. This scenario could also hold up your ceremony from beginning on time. It is much easier for your guests to know that their transportation to and from the beach ceremony is being handled.

BELOW: Taken at The Breakers, Palm Beach. Looking out your hotel window and seeing a beautiful ocean view is a great perk of having your wedding at a hotel on the Beach.

Tip #5: Sun block

The South Florida sun is strong and one might get sunburned even just sitting outside for ½ hour for a wedding ceremony. As the bride, work with your make-up artist regarding sunblock or make-up that provides some sort of sun protection. Also, make sure that your bridal party and family are prepared with sunblock protection as well. I have photographed many weddings with embarrassed red-faced bridesmaids.

BELOW: Choosing a Fort Lauderdale Beach location means that you could very well have a cruise ship in your ceremony background. The Broward County Port Everglades Terminal serves many cruise lines. Ships usually pull out of Port Everglades around 5PM which means if you are having an evening beach ceremony you very well may be treated to the scene of a cruise ship in your ceremony background.

Tip #6: Hire a wedding planner who specializes in beach weddings

Destination weddings are very popular in South Florida – and BEACH destination weddings are especially requested by out of state couples planning weddings here. Some wedding planners actually specialize in producing beach weddings and know which beach locations and hotels are best. The can make great suggestions as to which vendors to use who can best manage a beach wedding and make the most of it for the bride and groom. An expert wedding planner can make a big difference in making sure that the experience of having a South Florida beach wedding is a memorable one and not one that is uncomfortable and haphazard.

BELOW: Another windy beach photo. This photo was taken at a beach local to Boca Raton Resort and Club. For this photo the Bride, Groom and myself were dropped off at this location. We walked over to the beach for this shot. It was a very windy day but by having the bride face the ocean her hair and veil were blown back behind her keeping the hair out of her face. Since the groom had short hair he didn't have to worry about the wind as much.

Tip #7: Bring sunglasses

These are helpful for keeping your eyes comfortable and can also be use as beach props for photos. If your eyes are at all sensitive to the sun, definitely bring a pair of good sunglasses – there is always a glare at the beach. You can also possibly have these made as a “gift” for your guests with your wedding date and name imprinted on them. Other sun-protective items that you can use include hates and parasols. These are also excellent props for taking cool and fun wedding photos at the beach.

BELOW: The photo below was taken at The Palm's Hotel in South Beach. The rocks that line the ocean waves made for a great multi level pedestal for the bridal party. This shot would also have worked great with the entire bridal party wearing sunglasses.

Tip #8: Hire a photographer who can handle beach lighting conditions

As a South Florida wedding photographer, I highly recommend that you select someone who has lot of experience photographing events at the beach. The lighting conditions may be harsh, so experience shooting in these conditions can be very helpful and make the difference between good usable photos and photos with bad lighting that are just plain unflattering. The beach is a beautiful place, but due to its all natural and open setting, the lighting (sun) can be directly overhead and a heavy back lit situation may occur. There could be soft lighting at dusk or really bad direct lighting right in your face. Our studio has a tremendous amount of experience shooting at the beach. First, in Southern California where the sun would set at the couples’ back when facing the shore. Here, in South Florida, the sun tends to shine on peoples faces when facing the shore in the evening. Some beach lighting conditions are easier to deal with than others. Certain conditions are incredibly difficult and require a lot of professional photographic skill to be able to maneuver so that excellent photos are achieved. You’ll need a photographer who is able to handle it all in stride.

BELOW: This photo was taken at the private beach at The Ritz-Carlton, Bal Harbor. Shooting at a beach location means that in addition to ocean views there is a good chance that you will have beautiful landscape views in other directions. The scenery for this shot came courtesy of the Ritz Carlton hotel.

Tip #9: Hire a studio that is awesome at retouching

Given all the random beach elements, even the best photographer will have to retouch some images to enhance them to their maximum beauty. Such things as blowing hair, shine on faces, and indiscriminate sunbathers and beach walkers in the background will have to be retouched out in some photos. It is unreasonable to expect your photographer to remove and/or retouch out these items in every single photo, but certainly in key photos or photos that will be part of an album will require extra retouching. Some studios are better skilled than others at retouching. You want the retouching to look natural, simply removing elements that detract from the beauty of the images. Some enhancements may be added that render certain photos more dramatic, such as adding color or contrast to the sky etc., but again this type of retouching should really only be applied to certain key photos – not the entire batch. As a South Florida wedding photography studio, we spend many hours retouching as necessary each wedding that we photograph, within reason, to create images that are memorable and special to look at. There are always several key images that we spend extra time on to make them unique to our style, creating an extra special memory for the bride and groom.

BELOW: This beach photo was taken at a Destination Wedding in Curacao. To add foreground interest I shot this through the beach landscape. When shooting beach photos I always try to make sure that the most flattering light hits the bride and grooms face. In this case the fact that the sun was behind the couple make for nice even facial lighting. I also added a little bit of on camera flash to ensure that the faces didn't go too dark. If the sun was hitting their faces in a less flattering way I would have used more flash power to fill in the harsh shadows making a flattering portrait.

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Neglecting Comfort for Fashion

Posted on May 22, 2018

Written by staff writer Kayla Blood with photography comments by Jeff Kolodny

BELOW: Shot at The Breakers, Palm Beach. The Breakers Sea Food Restaurant has this very cool bar with a fish tank as a bar table. Always looking for a creative shot I just had to place the brides high heel shoes on the bar.

The wedding industry is constantly changing. There’s always new and exciting trends brides are interested in implementing in their wedding—bird cage veils, two-piece wedding gowns, barn wedding venues.

There’s always something new happening in the world of weddings. While the veil and the gown are vital fashion pieces as a bride walks down the aisle, dances with her loved ones, and makes her dramatic exit, one could argue the most important piece is the shoes she has on her feet. In truth, shoes can make or break you.

Personally, I don’t think I have ever lasted an entire wedding with my high heels on as either a guest or bridesmaid. As a frequent flier at weddings, I am often on my feet for hours at a time and I ensure I am choosing shoes that are comfortable and won’t have me writhing in pain as the wedding proceeds.

BELOW: While shooting the Getting Ready portion of a wedding I noticed how these instant cameras matched the brides shoes. Actually there were not enough cameras to cover the background so I stacked the cameras in different sections behind the shoes and took a photo. When I was done I had several different photos with the cameras covering different background sections. During the edit / retouch session I stripped together the background photos making a complete photo.

Photo sessions at weddings can take hours which can be torturous on your feet when you are stuck in eight inch stilettos with no arch support. I know Jeff, as a Florida wedding photographer, has seen the same thing with the brides and bridesmaids he photographs. However, we both understand the appeal of fancy Jimmy Choo’s and they often make for great photos. Nice shoes can often be worn long after the wedding has ended so investing money in them isn’t unwarranted. High-end high heels make for awesome props and back drops, especially for showing off wedding and engagement rings.

Wedding sneakers are slowly rising in popularity. They are often customizable and come in various colors or covered in sparkles. Toms and converse are both frequently featured in wedding parties as the groomsmen and bridesmaids can all wear them.

If you’re getting married on the beaches of South Florida it’s not unorthodox to forgo shoes entirely for bare feet or opt for sandals with beaded embellishments. While sparkly converse, bare feet, or fancy flats may not be every bride’s choice in “I do” footwear there is always a solution to fit the needs of any bride. There’s no shame in having more than one pair of shoes. Buy the Jimmy Choo’s, wear them for the images that have your feet and legs displayed, and then have a second pair on hand for family portraits and dancing your butt off.

BELOW: Getting these high heel shoes to sit on top of the champagne glasses was challenge. The last thing I wanted to do was knock over the glasses filled with champagne. These glasses were sitting on a bar with a lit countertop. Drama is created in glassware whenever the light passes through a glass item. It's because of this light passing through the champagne glasses that this photo is so dramatic.

If two pairs of shoes feels like a hassle, there are companies and vendors that strive to offer both style and comfort

Angela Nuran, a former dancer, designed a variety of styles and colors of shoes that attempt to provide a new bride with comfortable shoes that look as good as they feel. Her shoes are highly recommended by both Jeff and her former customers. You can check out Angela Nuran's shoes here:

Your wedding day is important in so many ways; it’s a celebration of love, the start to a new marriage, and a day to feel like royalty. It doesn’t matter if you’re getting married at the beach, in the mountains, in a church, or in a relative’s backyard your wedding day should make you feel special and you should enjoy it from head to toe.

BELOW: Not a shoe shot, but this brides shoes made a great background for her wedding rings. Often when shooting wedding rings on a busy background the ring will get lost against the background. Because if this I made it a point to keep the background out of focus.

Wedding shoes should be a fashionable accessory that support you every step down the aisle.

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Saying I Do at the EAU

Posted on May 9, 2018

BELOW: Jeffrey and Gabrielle standing at the beach stair case. Located right on the beach, it's so easy for the photographer to take the bride and groom our side for a short toe's in the sand photo shoot.

When it comes to Florida weddings there’s an exhausting list of to-dos a couple must check off in preparation for the big day. Arguably, one of the most important steps is choosing a venue. How do you even begin planning a wedding if you don’t know where the event will take place? The venue sets the tone for almost every aspect of that magical evening. It dictates your theme, color choices, party activities, guest list, travel expenses, and so much more. After all, you can’t have a beach wedding in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. When it comes to choosing a venue, there is one feature that is consistently overlooked; the venue is the backdrop for every photo you’ll frame and hang in your home together.

BELOW: Facing west, the setting South Florida sun lit up the Eau Hotel's pool water sprayers helping to create this dramatic photograph.

As an experienced South Florida photographer, I have worked several venues across the state and the EAU Palm Beach, formerly the Ritz Carlton Palm Beach, is simply stunning. Nestled against the Atlantic Ocean it’s the perfect wedding venue for locals and out of towners hoping for an elegant night along the beach. The EAU Palm Beach offers over two dozen back drops for saying, “I do!” Hosting a long guest list? The Grand Ballroom at the EAU Palm Beach offers at amazing backdrop of six, yes six, Austrian crystal chandeliers that give your portraits that extra sparkle. Hoping to say your vows with the waves crashing in the background? They have a beautiful courtyard that offers a beach front escape for you and your guests to pose in front of.

BELOW: One of my favorite shots at the Eau. The open area located between 2 ballrooms was the perfect place for this staged ring bearer photo.

Maybe you’re looking for something more intimate and romantic to solidify your future together. The EAU Palm Beach’s Spa Garden offers a wall of twinkling lights and waterfalls that is sure to wow your guests both at the wedding and for years to come. The EAU offers a variety of event spaces for every bride. This Forbes Five Star hotel and spa is sure to impress your guests and provide them with the vacation of a life time. There is no doubt that your wedding will be the talk of the century.

BELOW: Flying groomsmen. Josh (The Groom) and his best man do the high jump on the lawn behind the hotel.

The EAU offers catering, flowers, music, officiants, luxe accommodations, and a gorgeous suite for the newlyweds to end the night. With spaces for your rehearsal dinner, reception, and brunch the next morning this venue is the perfect choice to experience your happily ever after.

BELOW: Ballroom table decor in the main ballroom.

Photography is a very important aspect of a wedding, arguably the second most important next to the venue. Choosing a photographer can be difficult, after all, you want the photos of you and your loved ones to be memorable and timeless. As a photographer it is our job but also our passion to capture these once-in-a-lifetime moments for our clients. I started my business in 1993 but I have been a photographer for well over thirty years. My experience has taken me all over the world from Hollywood to France to the Caribbean Islands and the EAU is one of the best wedding venues money can buy. Back in 2011 I helped Chris and Jenny start their lives together at The EAU Palm Beach Resort and was able to witness first hand the magic the venue bestows upon it’s guest.

Later in 2015, I captured stunning images of Jeffrey and Gabrielle as they celebrated their new marriage in this breathtaking event space which was a real treat considering the engagement shoot I did with them the year prior in the same location. As a photographer, when we experience venues like this one we are immediately drawn to their ability to turn a photo into a masterpiece.

BELOW: Jennifer can't believe how beautiful her wedding reception ballroom looks!

It’s truly amazing how what lies in the background can change the tone of what is displayed in the foreground. I can only hope to return to the EAU and photograph another happy couple hoping to start their lives together in the best way I know how, with a camera.

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