During last nights fourth of July wedding I was graciously offered a piece of the wedding cake. I am often offered cake at the weddings I photograph. On a rare occasion I may choose to indulge in piece of cake but for the most part I decline. This got me thinking about why I don’t usually accept cake at weddings so I came up with “The 5 reasons why if I’m your wedding photographer I shouldn’t eat your cake”….
I can’t have all that sugary frosting on my hands while I’m trying to operate my top of the line DSLR to capture the magical moments of your reception.
Weekly dessert budget..
If I ate cake every Saturday that would put me waaaay over my desserts budget for the week… and sometimes I really like icecream on Sunday during Game of Thrones.
To cake or not to cake
I’m really more of an ice cream girl anyway… sometimes I’ll eat cheesecake but I’m not sure if that’s even considered cake or not.
About 5 – 15 minutes after your cake has been cut and served all of your guests will be experiencing an extreme sugar rush. Combined with the champagne from the toasts this makes for an extreme spike in activity that I need to be level headed enough to capture on film at a moments notice.
Quite honestly, I really enjoyed the steak dinner you were so generous to share with me and I could probably go for a second helping of that instead… does anyone in the kitchen have a hidden bottle of A1?
*** none of the wedding cakes pictured here were harmed by me in the making of this post. Just photographed and immortalized forever.
When I travel to San Juan for work I am blessed to have a few friends that offer to let me stay with them. This last trip into San Juan I crashed on the fold out in my friend Andreas cute Miramar apartment. Andrea is pretty much as cool as they come, she’s a writer/editor for Nuevo Dia, loves craft beer and also runs at least several miles per day. Andrea is usually breaking a sweat well into her second mile before I’ve even started to smell my coffee. She isn’t one of the uppity patronizing healthy lifestyle people though she’s real and down to earth and I think really just does what makes her happy and doesn’t spend too much time worrying about what other people think. I have seen her kick back a few whiskeys at La Factoria before calling it a night and then getting up to run 5 miles the next morning. Dedicated to great whiskey as well as a rigorous training routine. 🙂
Aside from being inspired by the productive, professional and healthy lifestyle Andrea leads I’d say my favorite thing about spending time at her place is getting to visit with her two cats. There are few more peacefully way to wake up than to a cuddly cat purring at the edge of your bed. I’m currently a happy and proud dog owner but deep down inside I’m really a cat lady at heart.
Caterpillar: Who… are… you? Alice: I- I hardly know, sir. I’ve changed so many times since this morning, you see… Caterpillar: No, I do not ‘C.’ Explain yourself. Alice: I’m afraid I can’t explain myself sir, because I’m not myself, you know. Caterpillar: I do not know. Alice: Well, I can’t put it any more clearly, sir, for it isn’t clear to me. Caterpillar: You? Who ARE you?
I can’t help thinking of Alice in Wonderland any time I see a caterpillar. They are such amazing creatures, the way they change into butterflies really is magical. These two caterpillars climbed into our tomato plants the other day and ate the whole plant! After they filled their bellies with tomato leaves they settled in to take a short nap on the branches. At first I thought maybe they were settling in to begin their metamorphosis, but later when I checked the plant they had climbed down from their branches. I love having the opportunity to photograph things in nature. The shapes and colors are so beautiful. Here in Puerto Rico there are so many opportunities to take pictures of amazing creatures.
I used my 70-200mm 2.8 lens to photograph these caterpillars. It was just a little before sunset so the lighting was nice and soft.
This past weekend I had a photo-session scheduled for 8am in Viejo San Juan. There were several large events scheduled in the San Juan area that morning creating unbelievable traffic, I was already in the city early to scout the location for my portrait session so I missed the traffic, but the couple I was supposed to photograph got stuck in the middle of it. We decided to reschedule the photo session for sunset the following day. If found myself in San Juan with my camera and lenses on a bright sunny morning and decided to take a photo walk.
One of my favorite places to photograph is the Cemeterio Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis. It is a beautiful cemetery nestled at the foot of El Morro with the caribbean sea as its back drop. To get there you go through a tunnel that is covered in graffiti. The whole place is so rich with metaphors, to me I don’t get a creepy sense being down there, things just feel peaceful. Last January I did a really interesting self portrait photography series there using my infrared camera. I love getting to revisit different locations. There are so many ways of photographing the same place. This time I did some experimenting with double exposures using the cemetery statuary as my models.
I first started experimenting with double exposures a few years ago and now I’m hooked!
I love image manipulation and creating digital art in Photoshop, but I also really enjoy capturing a distorted image right in my camera. There is something really pure about creating a really amazing distorted image without using computer software. This technique involves setting the camera to capture two images within the same frame. In the days of film photography you just wouldn’t have wound the film over, today there is a special setting on the digital cameras that allows you to do more than one exposure in a frame. I usually start with a silhouette image and then look for a fun texture in the environment near me to fill in the details.
Double exposures add fun to a photo session and also help to tell the clients story a little better. For ocean lovers, images of the beach and the sea merged into their portraits are perfect for adding some magic to the final collection of photographs. I absolutely love taking a few of these and then getting to show them to my clients on the back of my camera, it always makes people smile!
The other night I was over at my friend Amanda’s house. She was cooking up a delicious dinner and making some homemade hot sauce. Amanda is an amazing chef and has a great blog – Food Porn Daily. I’m completely spoiled as she makes fantastic food for her friends on a regular basis. Her cat Gatito is the best cuddle buddy ever! He loves to lie on your chest and just purr purr purrr 🙂 I promised my friend that if anything should happen I would take care of Gatito, so I consider myself his godmother. 😉
I’m a cat lover, but currently the proud parent of a dog, so I enjoy any chance to cuddle with a cat that I get! I had my camera with me and snapped a few portraits of Gatito on the porch outside of her house.
Pet photography can be a lot of fun. Its best to photograph animals when they are relaxed or playing. I like to get on eye level with animals or even a bit below them to make the portraits seem more personal. I have a portfolio of pet photography that you can check out here on my website.
Cory and Steven tied the knot in the beautiful state of Colorado before heading down to Rincon, Puerto Rico for an amazing party with their family and friends. They chose the beautiful seaside venue 8th and Ocean as the location for their party. We had a chance to do some photographs on the beach and in a nearby bougainvillea garden before heading back to the party. These are their wedding photographs and a Q&A with the Groom and Groom.
When did the two of you first meet?
Cory – Thanks to the marvels of technology, Steven came across an old Yahoo personals page that I had honestly forgotten all about. I was working one day when I received an email and then we proceeded to IM daily until we were ready to meet for the first time.
Steven – 10 years ago, I was 22 and new to the dating scene. I was living and working in a small town more than an hour south of Houston. Knowing that it would be nearly impossible to find and connect with a like minded individual in my little conservative Texas town, I took to the Internet to explore the newly created World of online dating. I stumbled across Cory’s profile picture and although our profiles didn’t “match up”, I saw this lively individual that I knew could open my eyes and introduce me to a life in which I could be true to myself.
Tell us about your first date…
Cory – Steven joined me and about 8 other friends of mine at a Buffalo Wild Wings for cheap chicken drumsticks and tall glasses of beer. He was in real estate then and showed up in his khaki pants and short sleeve button down shirt. I thought he was adorable. We hit it off great and everyone thought he was just the cutest. At 22 then, he was definitely the youngest at the table. We had a great first date and then just a few days later, he joined me at a wild house party. We’ve been attached at the hip every day since…for the last 10 years!
Steven – I was having a tough day at the office when an elderly coworker of mine offered to set me up with her granddaughter. I politely declined and immediately contacted Cory to see if he would be available to meet me that evening for a much needed drink. He extended an invite to meet him and a “few friends” for wings and beer at a sports bar in the city. Being an introverted and shy country boy who had never been on a date with another man, I was shocked to hear myself respond with “I’ll be there in just over an hour.” The shock continued when I walked through the restaurant doors and was greeted by an overwhelming group 8 of Cory’s closest friends. Though not a typical date, it was the perfect first date for me. I was hooked once I saw the love and compassion that all at the table had for each other.
When did you know you were in love?
Cory – My love for Steven grew and developed into something greater than I ever knew possible. Every single day our love for each other has become bigger and bigger. I literally fall in love with him every single day.
Steven – it’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love. There was a type of love that I had felt even before we had met in person. Then there was a new love and connection on our first date. It must have been love at first sight for me, because the next week I was driving an hour and fifteen minutes to be with him everyday after work and then waking up and driving another hour and fifteen minutes back every morning.
Who popped the question and how did it happen?
Cory – Steven and I, along with our close friend Sara, all rented a little house on a river out in the Texas hill country for a weekend. Sara was expecting her first daughter soon and wanted to shop at some local outlet stores for baby furniture. Before we left for an afternoon of shopping, Steven and I walked down to the river. There was a long, and very skinny bridge of sorts that we were standing on at the edge of the water. I wanted to get on one knee, but knowing how clumsy I am, I surely would’ve fallen in the water and definitely would’ve dropped the ring! I asked Steven if he had any plans for the rest of his life and asked if he would marry me. Naturally, he said yes! He was so surprised!
Steven – We had rented a rustic cabin on a river in the Texas hill country for a weekend to celebrate my birthday. My grandmother had just passed away a couple weeks earlier and we weren’t sure whether we were up for a vacation. Cory convinced me that the trip was just the type of relaxation the we needed to cope with the loss. The morning of his proposal I could definitely feel his excitement and anxiety, but I had no idea what for. He walked me to the end of a rickety pier that extended over the San Marcus river, took my hands, and asked me if I had plans for the rest of my life and would I marry him. Of course I said yes.
Cory, what are you most excited about when you think of spending the rest of your life with your partner?
There are so many things to be excited about that it’s hard to choose just one! In the last 10 years, we’ve put together such a great and happy family. We have our fur babies (2 dogs, 2 cats…and our turtle) and we have each other. I love coming home to that. I’m so excited about what our future holds. We’ve had plenty of challenges like any couple would and we just keep getting stronger, together.
Steven, what are you most excited about when you think of spending the rest of your life with your partner?
Everyday is a new adventure. I couldn’t ask for a better companion to experience all the thrills that life has to offer. I look forward to strengthening our bond more and more and continuing to learn and grow from each other.
Cory, what does true love mean to you?
True love, for me, means having that one special person that sees you. Really sees you, with your strengths and your faults and continues to love you unconditionally. They push you to be the best of version of yourself that you can be. Steven has made me a better person. I never knew that love could be this way. I absolutely love every minute of it.
Steven, what does true love mean to you?
True love is knowing that there will always be someone standing in my corner of the ring, cheering me on through life. We will always and forever be there for each other, no matter what life may throw at us. We are better people thanks to each other.
Why did you choose to have your wedding celebration in Puerto Rico?
Cory- We had vacationed in Puerto Rico a few years back on the east end of the island in Luquillo. It was breathtaking! We knew we had to come back again!
Steven- I have a personal connection and love of Puerto Rico. My grandfather worked for Pan American Airlines and he and my grandmother raised my father and 2 aunts in Puerto Rico and Panama. I grew up hearing stories of my dad diving for lobster and fishing with my grandfather for dinner… Iguanas chasing them out from under the car they were working on together. I wanted to pay tribute to my grandmothers lavish weekly dinners and dancing on the rooftop terrace my grandfather built overlooking San Juan.
What is your favorite memory from your trip to Puerto Rico?
Cory-The best part of the entire trip was seeing how amazed all of our friends and family were from vacationing there. We continue to hear how thankful everyone is for inviting them and giving them one of the best and most memorable vacations they’ve ever had!
Steven- watching most of our guests experience Puerto Rico for the first time was priceless. The comments on how friendly the locals are, how stunning the beaches are, how amazing the food is… I will never forget this trip!
How did you find Rincon Images?
Thanks to Wilson Rios, he and the owner of the villa at 8th and Ocean, had Rincon Images listed as a direct referral for outstanding photography. We browsed through your fun photos and knew that you were a good fit. We’re so happy that we were able to capture our perfect day this way!
Why did you choose 8th and Ocean as your venue?
Cory- Little known fact about Steven…the man can research! He spent quite some time looking all over the island for the perfect location for our trip and it needed to house a lot of people! After some searching, he found Rincon. There were only a few locations in the area that could hold our guest list and 8th and Ocean was perfect for our needs.
Steven- I fell in love with the location of the 8th & Ocean and instantly knew that our reception was meant to be held on their back veranda. I wanted a beachfront venue that would allow everyone to relax and feel as if they were at their own private Caribbean villa. I wanted our guests to see a side of Puerto Rico that they would not normally be exposed to. Many in our group thought I was crazy for asking them to drive several hours away from San Juan, but I wanted to see and share with them what Puerto Rico means to me.
What was your favorite thing about your party in Puerto Rico?
Cory- The ENTIRE reception! It was absolutely perfect. We couldn’t have asked for a better guest list. The staff was superb. The DJ was awesome! Food and drinks, outstanding. We set the bar pretty high that night!
Steven- watching so many people that we love and appreciate fall in love with the island life that Puerto Rico offers. Dancing to Latin music, eating amazing island food, rum drinks in hand. I believe our guests will always remember how easy it was to slip in to the island way of life the night of our reception.
Tell us a little bit about what you did after the party, did you take any special day trips or explore any beautiful places?
Cory-To be honest, we were pretty busy from start to finish. Our favorite was our trip to La Parguera. We took a snorkeling trip and had such an amazing time! Afterwards, we finished with a trip to the bioluminescent bay. Incredible! Everyone was blown away! Steven- we had brunch at a little inn on Sandy Beach while watching several professional surfers, then laughed as 2 of our group attempted to tackle the waves. Several of our guests went on a half day fishing excursion and brought back tuna that we grilled up that night for everyone. A few zip lined, repelled, and hiked the caves while others of us toured the light house in Rincon and ventured out to the waterfall. We ended our trip with all of our guests snorkeling in la parguera and enjoying a memorable sparkling swim in the bio bay that evening.
What do you think makes for a good, life long marriage?
Communication and patience. Knowing that everyday won’t be a honeymoon and to take advantage of the little things in life. Let each other know daily how much they mean to you and let the love continue to grow and evolve.
What about your wedding party was unique and different?
We didn’t really have a traditional wedding party. We kept it, for the most part, a bit more untraditional. We really just wanted a big, catered party! Every person at our reception brought their own distinct personality and together it turned out better than we could’ve ever imagined.
Steven- we skipped many of the typical wedding traditions… The first dance, cake cutting, best man speech, etc. Our reception was more of a celebration of the joining of our family and friends rather than a celebration of just us. There were no stresses of worrying what music needs to be played when, or what time should dinner be served. We allowed the night to flow on it’s own and everything happened exactly the way we had wanted.
What advice do you have for brides and grooms having professional pictures taken for the first time?
Relax! I was a little shy at first about the whole experience. It was our first professional photography session. But after a little time, and with the coaching from Frances, it worked out just fine!
As an LGBT couple did you experience any discrimination while planning your event? Do you have any advice for LGBT friendly wedding vendors?
We actually didn’t experience any discrimination. Everyone was extremely helpful through the entire process. We did make sure that all of our vendors knew that we were a same sex couple up front, just to make sure we wouldn’t come across any issues at our event. That didn’t seem to phase any one we worked with.
When planning your wedding party what were your favorite places to look for inspiration? (you had so many fun details, I loved the insta-camera! Who came up with that idea?)
Cory-Steven handled the majority of details when it came to the planning. He wanted to make sure that we kept with the beach motif, but also to keep things simple. And lighting was key for the dinner table!
Steven- Pinterest, of course, was a go to for great ideas! I wanted something more memorable than just a guest book for everyone to sign and I thought a scrapbook of sorts would be a great idea. With a little help from Pinterest, I fell in love with the idea of taking instant photos and having our guests write personal messages to commemorate the evening. I also wanted a few momentos that people could take home, so we decorated frames with shells for each guests instant photo along with personalized do not disturb door hangers.
Looking back is there anything you would have done differently?
Absolutely not a single detail would’ve been changed. It was simply perfect.
Is there any party of your day that you wouldn’t change for the world?
We feel truly blessed that everything went so perfectly. We couldn’t have asked for a better event, location, weather, group of people, or better vendors who we now consider to be friends. Many thanks and much love to all who were involved!
I am so thrilled! My beautiful June Brides were chosen to be featured on ForReal – A marriage equality blog! ForReal is a wedding blog about real LGBT couples who are tying the knot. They feature only the best in LGBT wedding photography so it truly is an honor to be published on their blog.
This is a video slide show of the photographs from their wedding.
Here are a few more of my favorite photographs from that Arecibo wedding.
Last summer I was contacted by Lambda Legal, a large not for profit legal organization that defends the civil rights of gay, lesbian and transgendered people all around the united states. I covered their press conference in San Juan and took portraits of their clients who were filing law suits on the steps of the government building where the press conference was held. It was such a wonderful experience to work with such a great organization and to meet the couples that were being brave enough to stand up for change. On March 20th, 2015 the government of Puerto Rico declared that it would no longer defend the ban on Same Sex marriage in Puerto Rico. Read the full story from Lambda Legal here.
Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal, said:
In declining to further defend the Commonwealth’s discriminatory marriage ban, Puerto Rico’s government finally recognizes that denying marriage to LGBT people is harmful and cannot be justified. The marriage ban’s sole purpose is to perpetuate discrimination, and it is just plain wrong. Same-sex couples, LGBT people and their families are part of Puerto Rico’s rich social and cultural fabric. Today’s actions fulfill the constitutional promises of justice and fairness for LGBT people in Puerto Rico. Simply put, discrimination is never in Puerto Rico’s best interests.
I feel so honored and excited to have been a part of this historic happening. Even though my photographs were only a very small part of the process of moving the island towards marriage equality if feels wonderful to have contributed to something so important to me. As a wedding photographer I get to make people happy by creating amazing photographs of them in love on their wedding day. I do this for both my gay and straight clients. Although getting to use my talents as a photographer to create portraits of brave couples that were used as part of a national campaign for marriage equality has been a truly rewarding experience. I can’t wait to photograph the wedding days of all loving couples when everyone is legally allowed to marry on the enchanted island of Puerto Rico. For more information about my photographic approach to LGBT weddings in Puerto Rico check out the LGBT wedding photography section of my website.