Friday, October 31, 2008

My Mom is on Facebook!

Yeah. :) I invited my mom to join me on Facebook because I knew she would enjoy reading things like my daily status updates ("Enna is looking for the best way to deskunk her dog") as well as the random photos that I post from our weddings, portraits, and daily family life. She's been cruising along over the last few weeks, dabbling with her Facebook settings, chatting here and there with her two Facebook Friends (me and an old roommate of mine). Then one day she accidentally invited her whole address book - she felt kind of stupid, but it's actually REALLY easy to do this in Facebook. So now she's got all her cronies asking her how to use Facebook. She asked me for help explaining to them how to get started. So, here goes...

First, what is Facebook? Facebook is like.... a bulletin board, and you control who has access to it - you get to decide who gets to walk by your bulletin board, and those people can both read and post on it. Or for an even better analogy... it's like a back yard. The yard can be all private, or it can include a more public section, like the front of the house and front porch. You get to decide which friends are able to enter the yard, and you can also decide how high to build your fence (and whether to have one at all). You can decide how much of your personal business you conduct in your own yard. It's still the Outside, so unless you are truly an exhibitionist you probably don't want to expose all your private parts. If your children are in the yard you probably want to keep an eye on them, to make sure they are playing safe (and you should play with them, so that they can learn from you how to play appropriately, and you will get to learn about the pitfalls). Of course if your children are old enough to play unsupervised they'll probably be much happier if you leave them alone and head to the front porch for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine...

So to continue with the yard analogy, I've written a few pointers for my mom and her friends.

1. Before you let the dog out, build a fence. The first thing you should do after you sign up for a Facebook account is modify your privacy settings. For those just starting out, I suggest going through all the options and select "Friends" only for everything. This means that only those who you have accepted or invited to be your "Friend" will be able to see this section.

2. Hang a few jingle bells on the back gate, so that you know when your friends are visiting. Go to Account Settings and set your Notifications. You can set Facebook to notify you by email if someone posts on your wall, posts a picture with you in it, or sends you a private message, among other things.

3. Get dressed. Okay, some people including me hang out in the back yard in a bathrobe. But on the off-chance that your boss drives by, or your child's teacher drops by unannounced, you probably want to be wearing something fairly decent. Create an avatar - this is a picture of you. Or at least it's a representation of you. Remember, you can control who sees the avatar in your privacy settings. You should also complete some of your profile information - again, you control who sees this, so you shouldn't have to worry too much about the wrong person finding out that you "live in Arkansas", or "love Michael Jackson", or that you are a "bona fide liberal". Just make sure that your profile contains information that you're comfortable sharing with your future Facebook friends.

4. Invite some friends over. Facebook has a tool that allows you to invite everyone in your address book - it's pretty efficient, but you may not want to share your back yard with everyone in your email address book (mortgage officer, doctor, ex-friend, workplace acquaintances from 10 years ago...) So I suggest using either the "find a friend" feature, or invite people to become your friends. Also check for "friend requests" in the upper right corner - these might include invitations from others who have found you on Facebook. If you don't recognize a name, just hit "ignore".

5. Maintain the yard. Oops... did you invite your whole address book? Chances are this is where Facebook will show you one of its most wonderful benefits - helping old friends reconnect. But there may be a few people in your address book who you don't wish to share your yard with. If this is the case, first head over to your privacy settings and make sure that the world isn't notified when you add or drop a friend. Then go to your list of friends and remove the people you'd rather not network with on Facebook. Your best friend will probably notice if you remove him or her. But a casual acquaintance or person you met once at a conference five years ago probably won't notice, or if they do they might not realize that it was because you removed them from your friend list.

So there you have it. Simple guidelines for a pleasurable Facebook experience. I think Facebook could be fun if you just have one 'Friend' on it... though for maintaining that kind of relationship there's no substitute for personal emails, letters, phone calls, and in-person get-togethers. But for casually maintaining a network of friends, family, close acquaintances, and keeping them up to date with our somewhat mundane but sometimes humorous family and business life I've found that it is really fun!

A couple of things to remember about Facebook and the internet in general:
  1. Part of its beauty is that it can help to strengthen the network of real people in your life. So use your real name.
  2. It's the internet. So if you're posting anything sensitive, private, or that can be misconstrued depending on who is reading it, consider your other options - send a private message or email, pick up the phone, write a letter, or don't post at all. Or go back and delete if there's a post you regret.
Just like on our blog, I try to keep a fairly even mix of business + personal on Facebook (though on Facebook I share a bit more personal stuff). I have more thoughts on how to use Facebook to your advantage with business networking, but that's for another post.

PS - feel free to send me a Facebook Friend request, but be sure to write a message identifying yourself and letting me know HOW I know you. I "ignore" facebook friend requests from names that I don't recognize.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Wedding in Mexico

This was a tough wedding to blog about - I started with about 30 images that I wanted to post, but had to narrow it down as that would be a very long blog post! I spent a week in Cancun Mexico with Dilnaz and Joe to photograph their wedding. They live in California, so we had not met in person until I arrived in Cancun. We immediately clicked and enjoyed a week of dinners, clubbing, sight-seeing, and of course...celebrating their wedding! The weather was great. Rain lingered the first day I was there, but after that it was nothing but sunshine (and high humidity). We swam with dolphins, saw Mayan ruins, snorkeled, swam in a huge underground sink hole, and missed our chance to go diving with whale sharks due to staying out too late the night before.

Dilnaz and Joe actually eloped about a year ago, but then decided they needed to have a wedding celebration. So they invited their family and closest friends to spend a week with them in Cancun. The months leading up to the event were not easy as Dilnaz's mother passed away. Then Dilnaz, her sister, and Joe became very ill while traveling to India for the funeral. Nonetheless the wedding was a very special week for them and it was an honor for me to be there to document it.

Their invitation

The dolphins jumping over Dilnaz and Joe. The dolphin pool was right below the balcony of our rooms.

The cave. This is actually a sink hole. We drove for a few hours to get there and at the entrance there is a well with a spiral staircase going down. We went down about 75 feet and it opened up to this amazing site. The water was perfect!

Dilnaz at the rehearsal dinner with a gun.

Joe jumps in with a change of props for a fun shot

Dilnaz making her way down the steps

Uninvited guest

The ceremony was beautiful on this ocean cliff

Resort photographer and video guy. This is how I had to shoot, but I managed:)

A cool shot of the ladies sporting the "just married" shades

I caught this quick detail of Dilnaz walking on the rocks. how women do this with heels is beyond me

A quick roll in the sand for fun

Congratulation Dilnaz and Joe!!! I had so much fun. I enjoyed meeting your friends and family and I hope to cross paths with you all again soon. ~Matt

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Harvard Campus Wedding

Heidi and Wesley were such a fun couple to photograph! I really admire their ability to just have fun, be in the moment, and express joy.

Before their ceremony, we went on a fun photo-walk through Harvard Square.

The Chess Master invited Heidi to make the first move.

A glowing bride at the beginning of the day

Look at Heidi's father as he sees his daughter for the first time on her wedding day

Wesley's father gave his blessing at the ceremony.

They took a very unusual approach to their reception. After light hors d'oeuvres and a first dance, a microphone was passed around and almost everyone in the room said something special about Heidi and Wesley. These two have touched everyone in their lives in a most special way, and it was a great honor for me to spend their wedding day with them.

Here they are after cutting their cake:

Their friends decorated a hot car for the getaway:

Congratulations Heidi and Wesley!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jill & Allen, a Caramoor Wedding

Jill and Allen were married at the Caramoor Music and Arts Center in NY. This was one of the most beautiful wedding settings we have ever seen! Sunlight filtered down through the trees and cast everything in clean yellow light. In the week before the wedding we were so worried that we would have to shoot the day in a hurricane, but fortunately for Jill and Allen, the hurricane blew by the day before, and there wasn't a sign of the storm except for the sparkling fresh air.

Here are a few highlights from the day... Jill and Allen you were a joy for us to photograph!

The happy couple:

Another great "1st look" image by Enna:

Allen working on his vows:

Jill looking beautiful:

Allen looking very suave before the ceremony:

I was inspired by my good friend and mentor for this shot - photographer David H. Wells, who emphasizes the importance of light, shadow, and motion:

This is the kind of image that we live for: I got this shot of Allen's mom completely in the moment and very emotional:

Enna was quick to see and catch Allen's mom holding his hand and feeling the new ring on his finger. Just beautiful.

I was asked to be a witness and sign their marriage certificate after the ceremony (an honor for me).

Last but not least, I have to post these 4 ladies who were all great sports and enjoyed being caught in matching outfits!

Thank you Jill and Allen - it was an honor to be your photographers!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Love Story - Joya Beauty

Okay brides and blog-reading friends... it's time for me to share one of our treasured secrets... Joanne of Joya Beauty. Oops, did I really write that? If you're one of our own clients RUN to your telephone and book Joanne now, before all our other blog-readers snap up her remaining dates!

Joanne is probably the most talented makeup artist we have ever worked with. We LOVE it when our brides book her, because we know several things: 1) our clients will be utterly charmed and cared for by Joanne - and for busy brides this is priceless. 2) they will look fabulous... need I say more? Brides who look good feel good, and brides who feel good look better in their pictures! And finally, reason number 3) this is our little studio secret... when we work with Joya we do less photoshop retouching. All of these things free us to do what we love most - documenting the moment and portraying the inner and outer beauty of each client, their stories and relationships.

I have to admit, I am makeup challenged. Choosing, buying, and using makeup is intimidating for me. I have some tried and true techniques that work (light mascara, lip gloss, a smudge of eyeliner), but beyond that I am totally lost. I can never select the right color base for my skin, and even if the color turns out right it is usually the wrong consistency for my skin type and I end up never using it. So I need some serious hand-holding when it comes to choosing and wearing makeup.

Last week I visited Joya Beauty with Sallie (one of our FAVORITE clients ever... mother-of-the-bride extraordinaire), and we both got custom blended makeup and application lessons.

Joanne custom blends everything from scratch, testing on your cheek as she goes, and this is always wonderful because she is just so fun and peaceful to spend time with. I always feel rejuvenated and inspired after spending time with her, and I know this is her special gift.

Joanne's shop is super fun to visit. It's full of beautiful colors, powders, and components... it's sort of like a chemistry lab too, because she mixes everything by hand.

Thank you Joanne, for a lovely afternoon (and Sallie too). I'm LOVING my new makeup!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Style Me Pretty, Baby!

Does anyone out there have a favorite blog? We do... of course there are tons of blogs that we peek at once in a while just for fun, and we follow all our photographer buddies' blogs, but for wedding style our top pick is Style Me Pretty. Abby's blog is choc-full of beautiful DIY ideas, pretty inspiration boards, and lots of links to fabulous weddings vendors in her Little Black Book. She looks at photographers' work from all over the world on a daily basis, so I was SUPER flattered when this blog mistress extraordinaire called me for her new baby's photos. I spent the afternoon with her family at their home in Boston... we ventured out for a few photos in the pretty afternoon sunlight, but it was brrrr cold so mostly we just stayed inside and I took photos of baby Audrey snuggling with her happy parents.

Baby Audrey is pure gorgeousness isn't she? Audrey and her parents were a delight to photograph. Thank you for choosing me, Abby!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oanh & Patrick - Let it Rain!!

Oanh and Patrick invested a lot of time planning their special day. They were referred to us by Laura & Rebecca, whose wedding seems so long ago now. At the time Enna and I were living in our little apartment with two baby boys when Oanh brought her siblings, nieces and nephews along for the visit. The living room was packed with people, every chair in the apartment was being used and we all had a great time getting to know each other. Then about 6, maybe 8 months passed. We hadn't heard back from them and were thinking they hired another photographer when we suddenly got a phone call from Patrick, "are you still available for our date?" We were thrilled to hear from them and even more excited to still be available for their date. They both drove to meet us at a wedding show in Newport RI that weekend to retain us and they decided to hang out at our booth and talk us up all day to the visiting couples. It was incredibly sweet of them. It turns out, according to Patrick, they had taken their time shopping around and interviewing other studios, but after 6 months or so of research, decided they liked us best. I was beside myself when he told me this. So now, almost 2 years since we met, we are proud to show off the images from their beautiful wedding at Glen Manor:)

An awesome shot taken by Enna during their first look.

Oanh's fabulous shoes:

Oanh and Patrick refused to let the rain stop them from having portraits outside. Never before had I seen two people so happy and having so much fun getting soaked. Here they are rushing back for cover when the rain became torrential downpours! Enna had an umbrella, but I just got soaked. Good thing Nikons are weather proof!

Oanh retouching after being out in the rain

Nothing but attitude:)

One of my new all time favorite bridal portraits!

At the end of the evening they both dressed in traditional Vietnamese wedding attire

Patrick cutting loose on the dance floor!

At the end of the night I caught this intimate moment on the patio: