Mission Accomplished

There is a new review of my book on Amazon:

“I went to a bookstore to buy a completely different book by a different author, but in the end I bought this one – really judging the book by its cover and a few more photographs that got my attention. I am so happy I did, as it’s pure enjoyment to read and learn from it. Not new to photography, but new to wedding photography, I feel like I know what to expect from my first wedding I am going to shoot. The book provides great layout – chapters are based on what you’d expect from the wedding schedule plus a few extras. I’ve also found the book very inspiring – it just made me want to go out and set up some shoots and practice more and get better. If the author writes another one, I’d be ordering it in advance.”

She hit all the points that were most important to me when writing the book:  that it be practical, truly useful, AND inspirational.  I LOVE that she says it makes her want to set up some shoots, practice and get better.  Right on!

Thank you, Olga Courtnage – I’m thrilled that you have gotten so much from the book!

5-Star Review

My book is making its way into the world, and it’s so gratifying to get feedback on it.  Today I learned that “Photoshop User” magazine gave it a perfect (and rare) 5-star review… I’m feeling pretty good about that…

Click the link at left to purchase, and use the promo code “SCWEDDINGS” to receive 35% off the cover price + free shipping!

Experience Matters

I recently photographed my last wedding for the season.  As I was finishing up my “good-byes” with the groom, he grasped my hands, looked into my eyes, and said, “Suzy, thank you so much.  Everything was wonderful, and we are so glad that we hired the right person to photograph our wedding.  We love everything you did, and we appreciate it so much.”

So great, right?  I was grinning from ear to ear, ecstatic that my clients were so very happy with my work… without having seen a single image.  This groom responded so strongly to my manner – how I interacted with him, his fiancee, their families and guests.  How I kindly-yet-firmly took charge of day at key moments (family portraits!) and allowed things to simply flow organically the rest of the time.  How I created a sense of intimacy during the portrait session with the couple, which allowed them to overcome their inherent being-photographed-anxiety and actually enjoy that time together.

This stuck with me over the next several days, and it really illustrates one of the main points I make in my book:  that the experience created for the couple on the actual wedding day is important – just as important as the resulting images.  As a wedding photographer, I am committed to applying my skills, preparation, and knowledge toward the creation of this type of experience for my clients.  I think of it as giving them a gift – one they may not even fully realize they need, but will certainly appreciate once they’ve received it.

Simple and Good

My book, Weddings:  From Snapshots to Great Shots contains a chapter with my thoughts about the most useful photography equipment for covering weddings.  As an off-shoot to the book, I recently wrote an article for Peachpit Press (out in November) about what lens features are most important for wedding photography, and how to determine one’s next lens purchase.  This got me thinking about the equipment that I’ve used over the years… especially when I was just starting out.  The first few weddings I shot were unpaid portfolio-building gigs — friends, or friends-of-friends… basically, anyone I could find that was getting married, and didn’t mind me showing up with my camera.

My gear?  An old, completely mechanical Olympus body and three lenses (a 35mm, a 50mm, and a 135mm), a hand-held light meter and some 35mm film (mostly black & white).  Oh, and a fully loaded, fully taped-up Holga with 12 frames.  That’s it.

And here’s the thing.  The images are lovely. 

My gear was old, but it was sturdy, and most importantly, the glass was beautiful and sharp.  I couldn’t zoom into a scene, so I moved around a lot more to get a good variety of shots.  I only had one camera body, so I was more limited in what I could do at any given moment – but that made me very thoughtful about my choices.

Before long, of course – and before I began charging for wedding jobs – I upgraded my gear.  For many years, I’ve had amazing, expensive zoom lenses with a much wider range of focal lengths and incredibly smart camera bodies with all sorts of capabilities.  They are phenomenal tools, and I’m grateful to have them at my disposal.

But it’s really nice to go back to these very first wedding images and realize that, provided a few key quality criteria are met, then truly – the work has much more to do with the person making the images than with the tools used to make it.

Don’t be seduced into thinking that you need to buy that $2,000 lens or that $8,000 camera body to make wonderful images.  Are they nice to have?  Absolutely!  But are they completely necessary?  No way!

Research and choose your tools wisely; get to know them intimately so they become an extension of you; and invest the time and effort to hone your craft and develop your creative vision, and you’ll find that you have all you need to create the images of your dreams.

Brides Magazine Ultimate Guide to Photography

I’m thrilled that the editors of Brides magazine selected me for their Ultimate Guide to Photography in the August issue, along with wonderful photographers like Thayer Gowdy, Liz Banfield, John Dolan, Lisa Lefkowitz, Jose Villa, and Melanie Nashan.  I’m truly honored to be featured alongside this amazing group, many of whom have been friends and inspirations for years.  Cheers!

Black Swan Lake Loveliness

Thanks to Kathryn at Snippet & Ink for posting Lyn and Scott’s lovely Black Swan Lake wedding HERE!  Once again, I worked with the dream team of Kristi Amoroso Special Events, Ariella Chezar Floral and Event Design, Paula LeDuc Fine Catering, Sam Godfrey of Perfect Endings, and Sarah Hyde, among others.  Here are a few more of my favorite images from the day: