It's been one of those months that give lie to the phrase "off-season." We are back from Dubai and finally over our jet lag, preparing for weddings and so much exciting stuff coming in April I can't even stare at my calendar directly. Here's a shot from one of my workshops at Gulf Photo Plus in Dubai. The amazing staff there worked so hard for me … maybe too hard! I primarily teach how to get good results in any kind of environment, and they wrangled up a bunch of five-star hotels like The Sofitel Jumeirah Beach, but we found a way to make it difficult. Here, one light is doing triple duty -- backlight on the couple, freezing the water drops in the shower, and providing the nicely formed silhouette. Best of all, no one got wet! Ok, I got a little wet.
The first time I shot at the Rockleigh Country Club, it was just 36 hours after Hurricane Sandy destroyed the region. This time, during the reception everyone's phones started clanging with flash flood warnings. So our reaction? Let's go out in it! Thanks to the Michelle and Michael's willingness, an intrepid Tatiana assisting, a helpful wedding guest, and four umbrellas, we made this shot work in the driving rain.
These people. This wedding. Just wait. Thank you Tatiana for letting me play at this gorgeous Monday wedding.
Last week Tatiana and I went down to Mexico to shoot with the all-around fantastic Tyler Wirken. It was a hilarious, wonderful heart-warming affair … and also body-warming. Did we mention Mexico is wonderful this time of year? If we tried this shot in New York right now we’d get a bunch of interesting documentation from the hospital later. More to come… This was shot hand-held. It was … not easy. — Nikon D810, 12-24mm @ 12mm, f/14, 1/2 second, ISO 320
No library books were harmed in the making of this photo.
I’m in Europe, where I’ve just got done teaching two London workshops and am currently taking two days in Paris. It was an absolute blast with fantastic attendees, and a fair share of beer and foosball (or “table football,” as it is called here.) But some of the things I stressed were pushing yourself into places you don’t usually go, and working with clients for creative results, so I thought “well, let’s actually practice what I’m preaching.” As part of the trip, I was reunited with Claudia, a great model who moved off to Germany after getting married, but in the process she never had any wedding photos of her own! So we arranged a bridal session. The problem before me was this: I knew we could get gorgeous photos. She’s gorgeous. I could put her in decent window light and take a snap with my iPhone and it would be gorgeous. And if I’d been doing a couples’s shoot I knew I could find the uniqueness in their relationship. But her husband couldn’t make it from Germany, so how do you shoot a bridal model’s bridal photos without it looking like just another bridal modeling session she’s done? We’re celebrating the real thing here. I reached back to an idea I’ve had for many years, and I realized this would be the perfect time to put it in practice. And, more importantly, it was fun. Belt Craft Studios was a perfect place for this, with all sorts of props that we re-appropriated, but also a bunch of stuff that we simply stole from our apartment. This was one of the tableaus we created. Thanks to Tatiana Breslow for assisting, and to Claudia for being an amazing bride, and really working her core strength for these.
Sometimes the problems solve themselves, at least when you have brides like Jennifer, awesome enough to brave a forest trail in a gorgeous couture gown. We've had this strange but beautiful thing where all the rain and nasty weather has fallen on weekdays. The New York Times even had to point out that there is no reason for special seven-day cycle in the weather. Me? I credit karma. Apparently the reason that sometimes you come to my site and there is no site there is that someone out there has been attacking ryanbrenizer.com for a long time. We're working on fixing it, but in the meantime, please hold back for a bit, Mr. Cyber-Jerk. I have so much great stuff coming to the blog this week, from gorgeous weddings to camera reviews, that we'll probably bring the site down all by ourselves.
Elizabeth had long dreamed of a November wedding in Central Park. This is why.
I was looking at old galleries and I like this pose better than the one that's been in my portfolio for 6.5 years…
Sometimes photography requires a good deal of trust. The coordinator from the New York Botanical Garden stood in front of me and said “We have transportation, and you have access to all the wonders and beauty of the gardens at your disposal. Where would you like to go?” “Well … I saw a really great patch of unmowed grass. Can we go there?” Trust can pay off.
One from Taylor and Grant's rainy but beautiful, crazy wedding. Southern wedding portrait at EV -1.4 (geek speak for ludicrously dark).
I was trying for this, with about a half-second's notice, but I doubt I could set it up again if I tried a million times.
Melanie and David at the Dream Downtown
Fantastic couple, fantastic venue
Rocking in Boise
Sometimes dynamic range is overrated.
Fun in the Kowloon fruit market.
Using strobes to transform what is apparently a very popular photo spot.
Cathy and Glenn had a gorgeous wedding at the Central Park Boathouse on Saturday. But there was just one little problem — the only way to easily get to the Boathouse is on foot, normally a lovely little jaunt through the park. But right as they reached the edge of the park, right when guests would be trickling in, the skies opened and it began to pour. The timing couldn’t have been worse for them, as the logistical problems piled up, but they handled things calmly and efficiently. “Hey guys,” I said. “I know you’ve been handed a tough situation. If you come about five feet to the left, we can use this terrible weather to take some great photos. This will pass soon and you’ll just have a great story to tell.” And so we did. The next night, Cathy sent me a gracious message: “Thank you for making lemonade out of lemons.” I love this job.
When Jerry proposed to Stefanie, she had to sit down to hyperventilate on this very bench. 20-something "Brenizer method" panorama.
Even if nothing else comes of it, I am so glad we've been working like crazy this week to film an educational video about flash composites just so I could take this picture.
"Brenizer method" pano, 30 images with the 105mm f/1.8.
1. Maintain a strict sense of decorum. These are the photos that will end up on the mantle for generations to see, and the parents and older relatives will want to order copies. 2. To make that easier, try and get these photos done before the alcohol is served. 3. Never upstage the bride and groom. They are the stars of the show. 4. Make sure that you get a clear, flattering shot of everyone in the party, that way everyone will order copies. 5. To heck with it. Gauge the desires and attitude of your bride and groom, and the party. Wedding photography shouldn't be one-size-fits-all.
I was supposed to be shooting Erika and Chip's fabulous Brooklyn Botanical Garden wedding right now … and then came Irene, and more than half of their guests cancelling. But you can't mess with love, so Erika and Chip got their closest friends and family together, found a nearby restaurant, and got married anyway. Even though the subway system is down in New York, you can't mess with me either -- so I walked. It was fabulous anyway, and the Brooklyn wedding is still to come.
I've made a lot of changes you cannot see, but it radiates through everything that I do. People ask me "What are your goals for the new year?" But in 2015 and beyond I am trying to tear down my goals and focus on the purpose behind them. Goals are dust -- if all you have are goals then the last thing you should want is to achieve them, because then you have nothing left. What is your purpose? I've always known the purpose I have for the work I do for my clients -- it is so obvious every time I share and document tears of joy, years of relationships balled up into a single shining, gemlike moment. But why do I share? Why do I teach? Why do we photographers spend so much time talking to other photographers? To get likes? To go viral? To be a virus? If virality mattered we'd have spent the entire last year talking about our new corporate masters, Dollar Shave Club. I share and show so that I can see as many of these wonderful moments as I can, but also so I can take part in the conversation, so I can say "Give me a spare corner of a golf course, a couple in love, and the ability to find my angle, and this is what I will do." And it is not what you may have seen, and so I leave something behind … a moment, a way of seeing, a piece of the conversation that I love being a part of. That is my purpose. It is not the fire that burns but the foundation we build every day we care about what we do.