Picks of the Litter 2015

As I prepare to head home to New Orleans for the holidays, I wanted to look back at the weddings and elopements I photographed in 2015 and find some of the most memorable moments I had the honor to witness this year. I have many more than the few I'm featuring here, but these images all have something I look for in every wedding I do. Occasionally elements like light, moments, and composition just come together in a way that makes me happy. And there is usually a story there too. Here are a few to share with you:

("Pick of the Litter" comes from my friend, the photographer Syndey Byrd, who passed away this fall.)

Bridesmaids (3 were sisters of the bride, who was the firs to marry) in New Orleans just after the bride had a first look with her father. I've never seen so many tears! It was so sweet.

We are sitting on the Williamsburg Bridge stuck in traffic on the way to the Marriage Bureau at City Hall, but these two aren't worried at all. It was just so infection to be near this Australian couple who had made a decision to have a surprise elopement and they were so happy! It was a very relaxed day and exactly what they wanted. It makes me happy - no matter what the wedding or elopement be like- that the couple gets the day they wanted. And the gorgeous flowers were by Sprout Home.  

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I'm peddling as fast as I can in a surrey with 3 wedding guests and the rain is coming in from the side as we speed down a path on Governor's Island.  My camera gear is getting wet, but everyone is having a good time marveling at how crazy it is to be doing this! There are almost no visitors left on the island except for me and about 12 of the couple's nearest and dearest. I like to think of this as an "adventure wedding" as I'm sure no one will forget that rainy ride anytime soon! But it was fun and I have the photos to prove it. :)  We managed to visit and take portraits at the locations the couple requested and boarded the next ferry. Luckily for the guests, the couple arranged for a lovely dinner in a wine cellar at an Italian restaurant. It was the perfect cozy place to be after such an adventure!

As a surprise, this groom sat in with the band not once, but twice! I'm glad I had my ears perked up and overheard the band mention something about this, otherwise I could have missed it since I wasn't told ahead of time. (Note to couples, don't keep secrets from your wedding photographer. I promise, I can keep a secret, I just don't want to miss out!) He slipped in and it was not even obvious the regular drummer for Soul System Orchestra (who are awesome, btw) was on break. I just love this moment of the groom rocking out and was lucky I had a light near the stage to turn on him. Drummers are tricky to shoot!

This adorable Scottish couple had a rough time getting to NYC for their wedding. And actually, they had to marry the next day but we didn't let that stop us. The bubble guy in Central Park will do bubbles around you for a tip and the results can be hilarious. I just love their reactions and capturing their genuine smiles. Happy they were game for it and the legit bubble guy was there. (One time the "bubble guy" was really an actor for a mayo commercial and his bubbles sucked!)

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Being the city gal that I am, rarely am I in almost total darkness. At the end of this Adirondack lake wedding, the couple decided very last minute to depart by boat. There wasn't any time to think of better lighting than a hail mary 1/1 manual power literal shot in the dark. After getting a few shots as the boat left the dock, it circled back around and all I could see was the dim light on the bow. I'm happy I, (my Canon really) was able to focus and get a few shots in that extremely challenging situation. Next up was wandering though the dark woods to the after party at the camp next door.  And my phone was dead. Luckily the bride loaned me a flashlight to get back to my car. Whew!

Everytime I look at this photo I can't help but smiling. It was snowing and the middle of Times-Square on Valentine's Day. Only a few hours earlier the couple had been married near a giant heart in the middle of Father Duffy Square as part of the Times-Square Alliance Valentine's Day marriage event. After which they received the full 15 mins of fame treatment with foreign news crews asking them questions on camera and a promotional gift of a Keurig coffee pod maker. (I was actually having to resort to my old photojournalisim days during the ceremony by elbowing other photogs out of my way. I mean, they are my clients! Get out of my shot!) Anyways, we took of for Grand Central to warm up and experience a bit less of a circus. And then on the way back to their hotel we ran into this iteration of the Naked Cowboy who insisted the groom spank him. I figured why not. Why not....)

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When I lived in Greenpoint one of my favorite cafes was Milk and Roses. It was very close to my apartment and I always liked the food, coffee and ambience. And back in the day, there were bunny rabbits in the garden. Lucky for me this Greenpoint couple decided to marry there and hire me! And even better was the bride is German and many of the guests were German too. (I speak fluent German, always great to practice!) It was really a fun wedding for me, thought a bit tricky lighting wise. It was in the afternoon and with dappled light filling the garden. That looks pretty, but is really hard to shoot in. As the bride walked down the aisle surrounded by family and friends, she stepped into the right light and I just love this image.  It was an intimate but truly lovely wedding where it was clear everyone had a great time. Sometimes smaller is "bigger" in many ways.

Grand Central Terminal is a popular shoot location, and for good reason. But it is also popular with travelers and tourists and is almost always busy. Depending on the time of the year and day, the light shines through the giant windows differently, so one never know just what situation you will encounter. I’d never been to the terminal with light like it was during this early April elopement.  I positioned the couple and went to take the shot, hopefully getting lucky with a break in the crowds. When I tuned around some guy had approached the couple and started talking to them. And talking. Of course I have the break, but now they are occupied. Finally he left and after a few more mins waiting I was able to make this photo. I asked them after what the guy wanted. He’d wanted to spread the word of Jesus, and gave them a Starbucks gift card for $10. Then I noticed the groups gathering in the terminal, Spring Break tourists with mission on their minds. At least I still got my shot.