I'm trying to blog more, despite being knee-deep in my editing pile, so here are a few favorite moments from last month's trek to Humpback Rock with C, E, and their two pups. I love spending time with my couples before their wedding day so we can get to know each other, laugh together, talk about favorite music and vacation spots, and just generally diffuse the jitters. I don't always recommend doing this on giant rock cliffs but these two are pretty adventurous people, so...
K & L's wedding had so many of the elements that make shooting weddings fun: unique format (private, super-small ceremony on Friday night and a big reception party on Saturday), relaxed vibe (they were firmly in the we-just-wanna-marry-each-other-so-bad camp), style out the wazoo (BRIDAL JUMPSUIT Y'ALL), delicious chocolate desserts (even the photographer's gotta eat, y'all) and plenty of enthusiastic dancing. I almost died of excitement when I first chatted with these two, who are badass law-types. You know how sometimes you meet someone and you just know that you want to hang out with them more? It was that feeling. I arrived at the wedding and felt immediately like I belonged, and there were endless genuine moments of joy and delight to capture. Here are some of those moments from their Saturday celebration.
About a year ago, I announced that moving forward all of the Carly Romeo & Co wedding packages will include photo albums. After two years of shooting 25+ weddings a seaspm and delivering tens of thousands of photos to some of the coolest people I've ever met, I still felt sad that most of those images lived mostly on hard drives, USBs, Facebook, and Instagram. After about a dozen weddings with this new system in place, let me tell you: It was 100% the right thing to do!
So here's my quick and dirty sales pitch for why you should get a photo album if you haven't already (and why you should order one in the next couple weeks for your folks):
- Photo albums create an opportunity to engage in-person with your friends and family—which is probably one of the reasons you had a wedding in the first place, right?
- They give you a chance to interact with and appreciate your photos whenever you happen to pass by the album (which doesn't happen very much when they're posted online).
- If you're more of a future-thinker, the heirloom quality of the album company we work with means it will last for years/generations. Plus, check out that sweet, sweet layflat action and super thick pages below. Yum.
Convinced yet? Email Studio Manager Fin (firstname.lastname@example.org) to start the photo album design process in the next couple weeks for delivery by late December!
Many of you know that I was in Charlottesville yesterday, August 12th, as part of an anti-fascist demonstration against the Neo-Nazi/white nationalist gathering "Unite the Right." Everyone in my group made it home un(physically)scathed, but not everyone was so lucky. If you want to contribute but aren't sure how/where, here's a list of resources/ways to get involved that I will try to keep updated. Thank you all so much for the love and support.
- GoFundMe in support of Heather Heyer's family; Heather was murdered by a white nationalist terrorist when he drove his car into a crowd of people/cars
- YouCaring in support of Alexis Morris & Noelle Morris, who were in a car that was hit by the car driven by a Nazi/white nationalist as part of the terrorist attack that took Heather Heyer's life
- GoFundMe in support of Dre Harris, who was beaten (on video) by Nazis/white nationalists without any police intervention
- Patreon for the @yesyourereacist Twitter account; this account is helping identify Nazis/white nationalists who took part in this weekend's riots
- Paypal the River City Medics, a collective of street medics who were on the scene yesterday and provided vital first aid to people injured by the terrorist attack
- General Medical Support Fund for #DefendCville -- there is an alt-right attempt to discredit this page to discourage donations, those allegations are false and this link has been vouched for.
- General Support Fund for Solidarity Cville
- Natalie Romero Medical Fund
- Guide to solidarity actions tonight/this week
- Black Lives Matter chapter list
- SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) chapter list
- This isn't for everyone, but often Unitarian Universalist Churches have connections to local grassroots movements/groups. Find your nearest UU Congregation here.
THINGS TO READ
- The Root, "Maybe Now Isn't the Time, Guys"
- Washington Post "Who are the Antifa?"
- NYTimes, "Charlottesville and the Bigotocracy"
- GQ, "Charlottesville Is the America That Donald Trump Promised"
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to present at SNAP Photo Festival as part of the Catalyst team and while teaching about how to break out of traditional gender roles when working with couples was AWESOME, I was blown away by how much I learned from the other teachers and my fellow photographers. (Thanks Wojtek of Voytek London Wedding Photography for the photo of my class! I'm hiding on the far left)
Post-SNAP, one of the things I'm really inspired to push myself further on is engagement/couples' sessions. As someone who hates being photographed myself, I'm excited to start fine-tuning my process in order to create the MOST fun experience -- and the MOST beautiful, true-to-who-you-are photos.
SO as a starting point, I'm sharing my three best engagement/couples' session prep tips. I'm planning to share this article with my future couples so they know what to expect and how to get the most out of our time together, but hopefully it can be helpful to others as well!
THREE TIPS FOR RAD ENGAGEMENT/COUPLES' PHOTOS
1. Plan what you will wear. I'm often asked what a couple should wear for a photo session, and I love to respond with the not-super-helpful "whatever makes you feel fab!" but that is really the most important part. You don't have to worry about "matching" each other, color-wise, but instead try to plan outfits that are comparably fancy (or not-fancy). For example, if one of you is wearing a cocktail dress, the other should avoid a beachy maxi dress. Or if one person is wearing cargo shorts and a polo shirt, the other should go for something more casual than a suit and tie. Other general tips: opt for solid colors whenever possible, avoid logos and items with words on them, and wear comfortable shoes. Bonus points: wear something with MOVEMENT!
2. Fuck expectations. Overwhelmed with the amount of "should"s involved in this process? Guess what: fuck 'em. Are you dying to wear androgynous clothes but think you "should" be more femme/masculine? Fuck it. Do you hate getting bug bites but feel like you "should" do your photos in an epic meadow of wildflowers? Fuck it. In the age of Pinterest and Instagram, there are countless poses and themes to emulate; we're not copying those. Instead, we'll go someplace you like (Art museum? Farm? Cafe? Mountaintop?), and do something you like (Look at art? Milk cows? Drink coffee? Fireside sing-a-long?) and I'll take photos. There's usually some off-roading, some go-stand-over-there-no-wait-over-there-ing, and we'll probably play some silly games. The goal of the session is to capture your relationship in a series of photographs, so the only thing you should be worried about is being yourselves, in love -- not trying to recreate something from the internet or doing what you feel obligated to do.
3. Mentally prepare to get be in front of a camera (and ignore it). My engagement/couples' sessions are designed to feel more like a fun date (albeit with a third wheel) than a cheesy posing experience, so my priority is to help you forget about the camera and enjoy one another. In most cases, that means you'll be squeezing/snuggling/smooching/hand-holding/etc quite a bit, but I promise if you go with the flow and focus on each other, it won't be as awkward as it sounds. Remember: a (consensual) butt grab is always appropriate. If you're extra nervous and are a person who enjoys adult refreshments, it can help to partake--in moderation!--beforehand. If you're more of a meditation person, that also works.
That's it! I'll help you find a good spot, advise on the best time of day, and bring my camera. If you're wearing something that gives you some swagger, not worrying about doing it "right," and focusing on loving each other, you're golden.
There were too many luscious details at Patricia and Sammy's wedding to mention them all, but if you saw the photos up there you probably already guessed that. Because their home base is NYC and they have lots of family living abroad, the entire ceremony was live streamed for international/east coast friends and family who couldn't make the trek. Each element of the celebration was thoughtfully blended: it was a little bit glam (that gown!), a little bit pool party (that gown underwater!); a little bit Dominican (Patricia's side), a little bit Egyptian (Sammy's side); a little bit cozy and warm (hookah and s'mores station) and a little bit chic and funky (Patricia's blue hair)!
It happened nine days ago, but I'm still struggling to accept that DJT has been elected president. I have spent much of these nine days--with the exception of a weekend facilitating Catalyst's (un)convention at the Quirk Hotel--lying in bed or wandering like a zombie around my house. I've felt mostly numb trying to wrap my mind around this new reality. Trying to adjust to the confirmation that hatred, xenophobia, racism, homophobia, sexism, Islamophobia, and disrespect for basically everyone except American-born straight white men aren't only present in our country (DUH) but are powerful and admirable assets.
This shit is devastating, yet predictable. This sucks.
I've seen a lot of amazing critiques from (queer) women of color calling out (white, straight) women like me for the newness of this revelation; many point out that oppression isn't as salient to us when it doesn't directly affect us, but now that Trump has come for all women (in addition to hating on every other minority group), we care. Y'all are 100% right, and I'm sorry. Part of working to be an ally is recognizing my weaknesses and trying to improve in the ways that I can. So instead of sulking around the house more, I'm ready to get shit done. I'm ready to cultivate my own hopefulness through my very own actions. Here's what I've got planned so far:
- Organizing a bus of folks to attend the Million Woman March in DC the day after inauguration. We will be doing pre-march get togethers at my house for sign/banner/tshirt making, and training everyone on how to safely demonstrate. We will pay special attention to how the white folks in our group can be active allies during these types of events.
- Stocking up on healthcare-related items and non-perishable foodstuffs in the event that access to healthcare or EBT/food stamps is diminished/eliminated. This includes Plan B (emergency contraception).
- Doing my very best to take action beyond the internet as much as possible, and not allowing myself to get too worn down by this administration, despite knowing that that's their goal (to tire us out). This includes calling my representatives, talking to my friends and family (especially the conservative ones), confronting hatred whenever possible (including racist/sexist/homophobic/Islamophobic/xenophobic/ableist microaggressions) and not being afraid to be "that girl" in my personal or professional life.
- Accepting feedback and criticism gratefully.
It still feels hard and a little wrong to share blissful beautiful things on this blog and on social media. I'm hoping that changes soon. When it does, though, don't worry: I'm not forgetting all the work we have to do. I'm not forgetting how awful it is that we elected a narcissistic sex criminal to the white house. I'm just trying to share some love across the airwaves.
With so much love to all of you who are also struggling,
**I want to send a special thank you to all my clients/friends who have had to wait extra time for their images over the past couple weeks. Kathryn + Nick, Camille + Mitchell + Ollie, Hannah + Everett, Seo, Evan + Emily, Ashley + Charlie: I love you. I really appreciate your patience and I hope the photos will be worth the wait!**
Picture this: It's 1999, and 13-year-old Carly sobbing the entire ride home from Nerd Summer Camp, cradling a pile of disposable cameras in her lap, inconsolable until her parents promise to take her directly to Target's 1 Hour Photo desk. Hold that young woman in your mind, and then picture her 30-year-old-self's joy at finding a box of those same photographs buried in the attic and you'll start to get a feel for how strongly I feel about the power of physically printed photos.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m grateful that technology has advanced in such a way that photography is so accessible and shareable; in many ways, it brings us closer together. But something about the printed image—the surrealism of seeing yourself half a lifetime ago, the physical sensation of holding a moment in your hands, the security of knowing that no matter how far technology advances, it won’t affect prints—is special.
After some soul searching, I've decided that in order to give Carly Romeo & Co couples the best experience possible, it's important to me that I include a physical album in all of my packages moving forward. The logic here is that sharing your photos through the internet is awesome, but having images of your celebration that actually live in your space is profoundly different. You can grab your album off the bookshelf and look at it on the couch when your relatives visit from out of town. You can bring your album over to your friend's house who couldn't make it to your wedding because of a family emergency. Your kids can touch your album with their grubby little loving fingers, and grow up in a household decorated with prints that display your commitment to love and community. I want your future selves to treasure your album and prints like I treasure my summer camp photos.
Of course, past couples can also benefit from this epiphany - so keep an eye out for some holiday album and print specials I'll be running. Those of you who never got around to printing your photos (or who did, but want even more) will be able to gift yourselves a nice album or framed print which I hope you enjoy for years to come.
TL;DR: When I first started my photography business, I did a lot of research about different business models and all the services and products photographers offer the couples and families they work with. My gut instinct was to avoid feeling “salesy” and focus on providing digital files for my couples along with a personal use print license so that they could print their images however they want, and I still believe in that freedom to choose how and where to print. That being said: after seeing (and experiencing) the joy that printed photographs bring year after year, as time wears on, computers stop being made with CD drives, and thumbdrives are lost, I am committed to including a physical album and a printing credit as part of all of my packages moving forward.
It feels cliché to say, but music has always been a really important part of my life: I grew up looking through my dad's collection of 1000+ vinyl records and rocking out to classics like The Jackson 5, Paul Simon, and Fleetwood Mac. Now that we all have millions of songs at our fingertips, it can be kind of overwhelming to try to sift through the detritus and find the songs and artists who really speak to you. This fall, I'm dedicating more time to finding music that makes me feel things: the determination to finish a hard workout, the good vibes to turn a grumpy day around, the reassurance that you're not alone in sad moments, the extra dash of delight when you find the perfect song to blast with friends. Here are twelve tunes that are on heavy rotation right now.
Every wedding is beautiful, but some weddings have elements that stick with you for months and months afterward. Laura and Dean's wedding was one of those gets-in-your-heart-and-stays-there types of weddings. Favorite details included: they intentionally only hired women- and/or LGBTQ-owned business as their vendors; Laura specifically requested that guests not stand when she walked down the aisle (badass feminist bride much??); a wedding ceremony that included a reading of Brandi Carlile lyrics; and a bright blue vintage VW "getaway van." Thank you for inviting us to document such a beautiful, sweaty-dance-party celebration, you two!
Check the vendor list at the bottom for details, including where she got that killer dress.
Second/support shooting provided by Shawnee Custalow
Venue: Hermitage Museum & Gardens
Planner: Tanya Keller @ Jane of All Trades
Caterer: East Beach Catering
Event Rentals: Distinctive Event Rentals
Florist: Laurel & Sarah @ New Leaf
Baker: Incredible Edibles
Dress: Reem Acra
Suit: Suit Supply
Quartet: Harbor String Quartet
DJ: Roger @ Astro Entertainment DJ
Videographer: The Girl Tyler
Paper Products/Graphic Design: Pat @ Pat Squared Design (Laura's Mom!!)