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Lavish Hudson Valley Wedding at Whitby Castle

When you think of the Hudson Valley weddings, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Castle weddings probably aren’t on the top of your list, but this stunningly regal and lavish wedding at Whitby Castle in Rye, NY will have thinking otherwise.
 

Jamie and Dale got engaged in Paris, and so a castle wedding was only fitting! Their wedding was dripping in gorgeous details…from jewelry, to flowers, to signage, this couple has exquisite taste, and their wedding photographers, The Ramsdens, captured every detail perfectly.
 


 

Vendors…
 

Venue: Whitby Castle

Bride & Bridemaid’s Dressess: Lady Gray Bridal

Hair: Lulu’s Hair Studio

Flowers: The Flower Barn

String Trio: Capriccio Ensemble

DJ: Enriquez Entertainment

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WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

Library-Themed Wedding at the Historic Barns of Nipmoose

“Kristina and Philip planned a library-themed destination wedding in the mountains of New York State. They picked a location with gorgeous historical barns, and worked hard on the decor and design of their wedding! I absolutely loved the details that they picked, being a fellow book and library lover! I also loved the florals with a mix of succulents and peonies! The entire day felt like a fairy tale with gorgeous weather and an absolutely stunning sunset. The band was rocking inside of one of the barns and guests were spread out on the grounds enjoying delicious food and drinks, yard games, and fire pits. The day was spectacular and a perfect representation of the two of them!” – Brooke Azevedo, Brooke Ellen Photography
 

Vendors:

 

Band: Silver Arrow Band

Florals: Rose to the Occasion

Caterer: Jeff Loshinsky Catering

Event Venue: Historic Barns of Nipmoose

Photo credit: Brooke Ellen Photography

 
WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

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Wedding at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills

Stunning Country Glam Wedding at Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Ashlea and Zach’s wedding at Blue Hill at Stone Barns was the perfect setting for their August wedding. “Blue Hill at Stone Barns is a gorgeous place with amazing food. Blue Hill is a working four-season farm and educational center 30 miles north of New York City. We had perfect weather for their wedding day,” says James Ferrara of J. Ferrara Photography
 

He says, “Ashlea was a beautiful bride, with an extremely unique and awesome dress by designer Yolan Cris. She did a first look with Zach, and they were so cute together- laughing away and just so in love. We walked around the grounds to do their portraits, and this place is just so beautiful, there are so many amazing spots for photos.”
 

The ceremony itself was just as special as she walked down the aisle with not one, but two special people. Ferrara says, “Ashlea was walked down the aisle by both her dad and her stepdad, and I thought it was very sweet.”
 

As for the reception…”The party was ridiculous with lots of dancing and music by the Cafe Wha? band who were just terrific! The room was gorgeous, with the split stone walls and the candles and amazing floral designs,” says Ferrara.
 

Vendors

 

Florals: Verde Flowers

Shoes: Manolo Blahnik

Dress: Yolan Cris

Band: Cafe Wha? House Band

Venue: Blue Hill at Stone Barns
 

Take a scroll through this gallery for some amazing wedding inspiration. Featured photo and gallery courtesy of J. Ferrara Photography
 

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The Timing of Your Portrait Session and Why it’s so Important

By Madison Baltodano, owner, and photographer at Bella Luz Imagery
 

Many photographers refer to the “Golden Hour” when suggesting times for your photos. So what is this “Golden Hour” of natural light and why is it so important? How do you use it to your advantage? What happens if you take photos outside of the “Golden Hour?”
 

What is the “Golden Hour?”

 

The “Golden Hour” is the last hour of light as the sun is setting or the first hour of light as the sun is rising. During this time of day a beautiful, soft light is created which creates very flattering portraits. You can use this natural light to your benefit in many ways: posing with the sun behind you or with the sun in front of you. Each way will give you very dramatic and different images. Let’s take a look.
 

Sun behind the subject

 

Putting the sun behind the subject creates magical backlighting and artistic sun flares.
 

Sun behind the subject. Photo credit Bella Luz Imagery


 

Sun in front of the subject

 

Keeping the sun in front of the subject creates stronger contrasted images, yet still with soft, flattering light.
 

Sun in front of the subject. Photo credit: Bella Luz Imagery


 

What happens if you don’t take photos during the “Golden Hour?”

 

Sometimes couples want to do a first look, and take photos before the ceremony so that they can spend more time with their family and friends during the cocktail hour. This is a great idea and I highly suggest it, but a few things need to be considered for taking photos during the day.
 

Mid-day sun

 

An experienced photographer will work with mid-day sun to use it to their advantage in certain situations. Putting it behind your subject if at all possible will help, or taking wide sweeping landscape shots where the harsh shadows on the face aren’t as apparent also works well for high noon sun.
 

Mid-day sun. Photo credit: Bella Luz Imagery


 

Mid-day shade or clouds

 

Shade can be your best friend. Anytime you are taking photos in the shade, especially the shade of a large dense cloud, it is as if the sun has been put into a giant, soft box, again creating beautiful, soft, portrait quality light. So if you are taking photos mid-day or even early afternoon, look for a shaded area to do the first look and family photos.
 

Shaded photo, mid-day. Photo credit: Bella Luz Imagery


 

Cloud cover, mid-day. Photo credit: Bella Luz Photography


 

Overhead sun

 

If at all possible, avoid taking portraits with the sun directly overhead, which may create dark shadows on your eyes, or have you squinting as the sun hits your pupils.
 

Your photographer will know what lighting works best and what lighting they are most comfortable using and best suited for their style of photography. It is best to consult with them when planning your photography timeline for your wedding day.
 
What’s type of lighting is your favorite? What time will you be getting photos taken?
 

Featured photo shows the sun behind the subject. Photo credit: Bella Luz Imagery

 

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J Ferrara Photography Poughkeepsie Grandview Wedding

Summer Wedding at the Poughkeepsie Grandview

“Rita and Alex’s wedding at The (Poughkeepsie) Grandview was nothing short of one amazing day,” says James Ferrara of J. Ferrara Photography. “The bride’s dress was beautiful, and all day she was one big smile. She was relaxed, had fun, couldn’t care less about the rain that threw us for a loop,” he says. Summer weddings in the Hudson Valley can be unpredictable, and unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about the weather. “It goes to show you how much the attitude of the bride sets the tone of the day,” says Ferrara.
 

“We went to the church (St. Martin De Porres Roman Catholic Church in Poughkeepsie) for the ceremony, and afterward, we headed up north for photos, with looming storm clouds on the horizon,” he says. “Just as we pulled up to Franklin D. Roosevelt Estate for photos, the rain started. We were only there several minutes, then headed to the Poughkeepsie train station and waited out the storm. Once the torrential rain and wind died down, we did bridal party photos there.  From there, we headed to The (Poughkeepsie) Grandview ballroom, where the rest of the night was great with a live band that kept everyone on their feet.”
 

How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal?

 

Rita says “We met as Freshman in college at The University of Scranton Chapman Lake Retreat Center. We worked together, attended a few classes together, and were friends for nearly all of college before we started dating. There was always something special about Alex. We shared fun times throughout college and when Alex and I finally realized we really liked each other more than just friends we started dating a few months before graduation. he and I were long distance for 3 years before we no longer had a 2+ hour drive between us.”
 

“The day of the proposal was also my dad’s birthday,” says Rita. “Before going to dinner with my dad, Alex took me back to the place we met. He got me there because he and mom cooked up a story… Since she works for the University, she told me that she thought she lost her wedding ring at a meeting there the day before. What an actress! On the way there, I asked Alex, “Do you think we’ll find the ring?” He said, “If there’s a ring there, we’ll find it.” When we got to campus, he proposed in the same exact place where we met…There are no videos or pictures from the proposal but I remember every single part of it…oF course, we go to the “birthday party for my dad” to find that he and mom knew all along. Dad says that 65 was the best birthday he’s ever had.”
 

What was the inspiration for your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?

 

“I had many inspirations during the planning process… but, in reality, the inspiration was quite simple: we wanted to throw a party to celebrate our families, who made us who we are (ultimately the best partners for one another!),” says Rita “With every single detail and decision, Alex reminded me “we have to keep it fun” and we certainly did…The band was key to a fabulous party. Before we knew any details, we knew we were going to have a band. In terms of colors… I focused on romantic ivories, pinks, and peaches with lots of fresh green accents. Our religious ceremony was very traditional with both sides of the family having key parts in the mass. It was important to bring the family together from the very beginning. The Groom’s Mom sang during Communion and the Bride’s Mom was Maid of Honor. It meant a lot for me to have my father walk me down the aisle…Our priest, Father Scott Pilarz S.J., was someone we both met while attending The University of Scranton. He drove in from Maryland.
 

Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?

 

Rita says, “The wedding theme was an elegant, fun party that would ultimately bring everyone together on the dance floor. The venue was perfect with guests entering through a tunnel walkway to a windowed room that overlooked the Hudson River. Guests had the option to go outside on the deck or stay inside to enjoy the view from a room resembling a winery. We had a memory table with picture displays we created that sparked great stories about family not with us. When it was time for the reception the curtains that created the tunnel were raised allowing the guests to enter a room filled with summer flowers, candlelight and lots of love. We were blessed in that our venue was so stunning in itself. the view of the Hudson River was perfect (luckily, no rain for the cocktail hour) and our flowers were perfect for our space.”
 

What were the florals like? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?

 

“The flowers were magnificent and brought the elegance, beauty, and color we wanted,” says Rita. “We wanted there to be a romantic garden feeling that was soft and yet bright. The centerpieces and tablescapes were alternated on the tables allowing the eye to capture the beauty of the room with sparkling candlelight. My bridal bouquet incorporated flowers from my Communion veil. My Aunt Am, who was also my Godmother, made the veil. She passed away from cancer six years ago. Our florist was able to take these flowers and seamlessly weave them into my bouquet so part of her was with me throughout the day.”
 

Did you personalize the day in any way? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?

 

Rita says “The question is: What wasn’t personalized? Our signature drink at the cocktail hour was named “The Chapman Cooler” after Chapman Lake where we met and also where Alex proposed. Every single food choice was chosen based on our individual family favorites. Making sure there was pasta for my family and pigs in a blanket for Alex’s. We had a saxophone playing during cocktail hour. Alex worked on recommended songs to give the band for a year leading up to the wedding. Capping the night off, a Venetian hour and pretzels to-go kept the guests engaged and partying until the end. The University of Scranton has been a key part of our lives. As mentioned, not only were we married by our friend, a Jesuit priest, Fr. Scott Pilarz but we also had so many of our college friends in attendance…”
 

Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look?

 

“I tried on dozens of dresses,” says Rita…”I truly did not know what look I wanted. but, I did know that it needed to match our theme: It needed to be fun! However, much like everything else, it also needed to be elegant and timeless. I wanted something that had a wow factor and that no one had seen before. I truly believe I found that in my Tara Keely dress…I felt like such a bride rocking that train down the aisle. As for Alex, he wanted classic black which is always something that I’ve loved. in fact, it is what my bridesmaids also wear. At first, I thought the bridesmaids would wear blush and the men navy. but, like many things when planning a wedding, visions evolve and at the end of the day, I loved how Alex’s shawl-collared tux stood out from the groomsmen.”

 

What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?

 

“It’s tough to say what was the most anticipated or special moment of the day,” says Rita. “When you are so involved in the planning, you are excited about every element… but, for me, the most anticipated moment of our day was our first dance. Alex and I struggled with the choice for our first dance for months (maybe a year). we went back and forth. Alex is very well versed in music so he was picky and I was less picky on the song but, having some dance experience, I knew the kind of dance we wanted…We danced to “Because the Night” by 10,000 Maniacs. We received so many compliments on our dance because it was a song that no one expected and truly kicked off the night as a party.”

 

Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice?

 

Rita says, “For a few weeks after the wedding/honeymoon were over, I went through something referred to as “The Princess Crisis.” It sounds a little dramatic but I truly loved every single part of the planning that when it was over, I missed it. It just went by as quickly as everyone says it does. We danced all night and WITH EACH OTHER. I know that sounds funny but it is easy to get separated when there are so many people pulling you in different directions. Our friends gave us the advice to stay together during the day and we did. I would also say to process everything as “this is part of my story; it’s ok”… on the day of the wedding, my blusher was missing, it was raining during our pictures and we had to choose a new location, my bouquet was left at the first photo location and I didn’t have it for the second. Well, let me tell you what happened from all of those seemingly “imperfections” — my lovely friends saved the day and came through for me, we ended up getting beautiful pictures at the second location and beautifully romantic ones of Alex and I with an umbrella…and my flowers were safely recovered and there for my entrance. Every single thing is part of your story and no one’s story will be alike. If it was, weddings would not be as fun! Overall, my advice is from the moment you are engaged to enjoy the journey. Make the planning a partnership with your fiance. Take opinions as “just opinions” and make decisions based on what is most important to you – and on the day of, have the time of your life because that party is for you!”
 

Vendors:

 

Photographer: J. Ferrara Photography

Dress: Tara Keely

Florals: Flowers by David Anthony

Venue/Catering: The Poughkeepsie Grandview

Band: Sound Image Entertainment

Cinema and Video: Kevin Fonash Studios

 

 

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Charming Rose & Gold Wedding at Falkirk Estate & Country Club

Falkirk Estate & Country Club in Central Valley, NY was the perfect setting for Amanda and Chris’s wedding. Having met in high school, they weren’t high school sweethearts…just friends. Little did they know, they would turn out to be each others soul mates!
 

After hanging out in the same circle of friends, they realized they had a lot in common and became close as time went on. They even did the baby project for health class together! Once high school was over they kept in touch and one day, they realized that their friendship was turning into something more.
 

During their first year of dating, Chris, who at the time was working a part-time job with not much extra money, decided to make Amanda’s birthday gift. He went out and bought construction paper, stick-on googly eyes and a couple of other art supplies to hand make a picture frame of himself. When Amanda opened her gift, she thought it was the sweetest and most thoughtful gift anyone has ever given her!
 

Seven years later, Chris, as an ode to their first year of dating, wanted to show Amanda how far they have come. He proposed to her the same way!
 

On a random Thursday, November 5, 2015, Chris picked up Amanda from work. As soon as she walked into their apartment, she saw a beautiful display of red roses, along with a handmade picture frame of Chris with the words “Will You Marry Me?” going across it. After she said yes, they celebrated by popping a bottle of champagne and calling all of their loved ones to share the news!
 

Vendors:

 

Venue: Falkirk Estate and Country Club

Photographer: BOM Photography

Dress: Memories Bridal by Reem

Cake Designer: Palermo’s Bakery

Floral Designer: Yumila Wedding and Event Floral Design

 

Photo Credit to All: BOM Photography

 

 

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J Ferrara Photography Hudson Valley Wedding Hollowbrook Golf Club

Fall wedding at Hollow Brook Golf Club

Christina and Mike celebrated their late fall Hudson Valley wedding at Hollow Brook Golf Club. According to their photographer, James Ferrara of J. Ferrara Photography, “Christina and Mike are SUCH a fun couple. When we arrived, the girls were all just hanging out, putting on custom temporary tattoos with the couples hashtag. Christina’s dress was gorgeous and fit her perfectly.” Once “getting ready” shots were taken, Ferrara says, “We did a first look on the porch, and then walked and drove around the grounds on a golf cart to do their portraits. It was a chilly day for sure, but these two were troopers and the cold doesn’t show through the images.” However, the cold temps did mean an inside ceremony. “With it being so cold, we had the ceremony inside, which is a first for us, but it worked out just fine. Anthony from Platinum Entertainment DJs kept the party rocking all night, even getting the bride and groom to crowd surf!! It was a terrific day, filled with love and laughter and lots and lots of fun.” Check out this amazing gallery of this amazingly fun wedding to get inspiration for your own special day.
 

Vendors:

 

Photographer: J. Ferrara Photography
 

Photo Booth: iFlick Photo Booth
 

Transportation: Silver Star Limo
 

Bakery: Dream Cakes Bakery
 

Florals: Joseph Richards Florals
 

Officiant: Jeremy Ziegler
 

DJ/Entertainment: Platinum Entertainment DJ’s
 

Reception Venue: Hollow Brook Golf Club
 

Photo Credit to all: J. Ferrara Photography

 

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Mohonk Mountain House Wedding in New Paltz, NY by J. Ferrara Photography

Mohonk Mountain House Wedding

“Jessica and Justin were married at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY.   It ended up raining for the whole day, but that didn’t stop them from having a great time anyway.  They are so in love, and so sweet together, it was easy for us to capture great images without leaving the porch area.  They had a sweet ceremony with personalized readings and a sand ceremony including Justin’s two sons.  Jessica’s dress was stunning and fit her perfectly.  They are both kettlebell fitness enthusiasts, so we got a shot of them with their kettlebells as well!” – J. Ferrara Photography
 

Photo Credit: J. Ferrara Photography

 

 

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Should I Hire a Professional Photographer for My Wedding?

Everyone knows planning a wedding is expensive. That’s no secret! Yet, while you think that you may be saving money by getting family or friends to help you out with some of the services you would otherwise hire out, it’s safe to say its a short-term gain. For many couples, the first thing that comes to mind when saving money is hiring a friend or family member who is a really good amateur photographer to take their wedding photos.
 

I mean, how hard is it to take a photo, right? Wrong!
 

Taking wedding photos is actually more complicated than you think and goes so far beyond clicking a button. Similiar to any other wedding vendor you may be thinking of hiring, they are experts for a reason. Your wedding photographer, if you hire a good professional one, is shooting weddings EVERY. SINGLE. WEEKEND during wedding season!  That means they are constantly and consistently practicing their craft.
 

As our final article in our Photo and Video Summit, we asked Hudson Valley wedding photographers to share their thoughts on hiring a professional wedding photographer. You may be surprised by what they have to say…
 

 

Hire a professional wedding photographer for peace of mind

 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

Erica Leman of Sweet Alice Photography says, “When planning a wedding, I think it is absolutely normal to try to save money wherever possible. Weddings are expensive! It’s common to want to try to save a few dollars where you can, and so the idea of potentially asking a friend to take care of your wedding visual needs is often presented. However, while some minor items can be swapped out for less expensive options, photography and videography shouldn’t be one. When hiring a professional photography or videography vendor, you are basically, first and foremost, paying for peace of mind. When hiring these types of individuals, you are hiring them not only for their talent behind the camera but also for their dedication to your wedding; the assurance that they will be at your wedding, prepared and on time; their insurance backing; their skills as an editor; and their experience in the industry and with weddings, in general. Weddings are not days to take lightly, and hiring a trusted vendor over a friend is always a better choice.”
 

Hire a wedding photographer based on passion

 

“Friends should be your guests,” says Doug Madden of Duetimage Photography… “Unless your friend has a great passion for photography and photographing you.  If that sounds like the friend you have in mind, then, by all means, have him or her shoot for free.  Seriously.  Because that’s what a pro brings to the table.  Passion for the craft, passion for the equipment, passion for making great imagery for their clients.  If you sense a lack of passion on the part of your friend, or even a pro, then you should look elsewhere for your photographer.  Otherwise, you’re likely to regret it.”
 

Hire a wedding photographer based on proven results, not just hope

 

A wedding is an uncontrolled, once in a lifetime event,” says Lynette Romero of Pioneer Media. “Even if your friend has a creative eye and a good camera, they are missing real-life experience. A professional videographer will excel when difficulties arise, because of their EXPERIENCE. Difficult lighting? Less than perfect sound setup? Huge bridal party? Makeup and hair running late? These hurdles can happen on any wedding day, and you don’t want your “photographer friend” learning on-the-job at your wedding. A pro will come to your wedding with proven solutions, backups, and contingency plans.
 

Editor’s Note: This is the last of the The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit – a weekly series where the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. This is not a sponsored post.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Pioneer Media

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Featured Couple: Jenny & Janine

Their Love Story…

 

“We met at a summer camp for children in Cold Spring Harbor, NY the summer of 2008,” says Jenny. “We were both camp counselors.” Jenny and Janine are long Island Natives and still live there today.
 

Their Proposal…

 

Jenny said yes in July of 2015. She says, “We spent a week at the shore in our favorite beach spot Rehobeth Beach, DE. I went to the University of Delaware for my undergraduate degree and we have a lot of memories from many fun-filled weekends at the beach. On our return trip home from vacation, we stopped at the University of Delaware to walk the campus, visit with old friends who stayed in the area, and bought some new college sweatshirts from the college bookstore just like old times. We ate lunch on Main Street and then decided to walk the large campus green. Janine got down on one knee under a huge oak tree in front of my favorite college historic dorm. I cried, and of course, I said yes! We had been together already 6 years prior. I was completely surprised!”
 

Why the Hudson Valley…?

 

Photo Credit: J.Ferrara Photography

“The Hudson Valley is near and dear to my heart,” says Jenny. “My grandparents lived in Cornwall-on- the- Hudson their entire lives. I spent many summers, holidays and special occasions at my grandparents’ house. In 2014 my grandfather passed away, their beloved home, which my grandfather built by hand, was sold, and the Hudson Valley is the one place in the world I can still feel close to him. There is something about the Hudson River and the mountains and the smell of the air of there that I feel his presence. Having our wedding at the Caldwell House Bed and Breakfast was a no-brainer. We wanted a long weekend wedding celebration with our immediate families, just 15 people. We rented every room in the entire main house for the weekend.”
 

Wedding Theme…

 

Jenny and Janine had a small wedding with a rustic, autumn theme full of simple, elegant touches
 

Most Memorable Moment…

 

Jenny says, “When I met my soon-to-be wife under the most beautifully decorated fall gazebo under the bluest clear sky. It was a picture perfect weather day.”
 

Advice for Engaged Couples…

 

Jenny says, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. The magic of the day passes so quickly so savor every moment. Everything will fall into place.” She also says to “Laugh a lot. It’s a good stress reliever.”
 

Vendors…

 

Venue: The Caldwell Bed & Breakfast, Salisbury Mills, NY

Photography: J. Ferrara Photography, Cornwall, NY

Dessert: Jones Farm, Cornwall, NY

Rehearsal Dinner: Billy Joe’s Ribworks, Newburgh, NY

Centerpieces and Bouquets: hand-made by Jenny
 

Photo Credit to all J. Ferrara Photography

 

 

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Expert Advice For Finding Perfect Photo Locations

I remember when my husband and I were planning our wedding, I spent hours looking for perfect locations for photos.  I scoured Pinterest endlessly pinning wedding photos of every kind…outdoor photos, indoor photos, posed photos, and everything in between. Then my husband and I made a list of all the places we wanted to go to get photos that would give us the desired look we found in all those Pinterest photos.
 

Through no fault of our own, we had a 3-hour gap between our ceremony and reception, so we thought we had all the time in the world. In fact, one of the places we thought about going for photos was 40 minutes away from our wedding and reception.
 

 

When we finally got our list complete and felt it was good enough to show our photographer, he stood in silence for a few minutes. I’m not quite sure what he was thinking, but we could tell right away that we had no idea what we were doing and that our lack of knowledge cost us a ton of time, time we could have used doing other things.
 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

Once our photographer had time to process our list, he broke it down and rationalized what we gave him. He gave us the best advice we ever received. Keep the list small, keep the list simple, and keep the list local. While three hours was a long time, it actually did go by very fast, which he warned us it would. We narrowed down our list from 6 locations, two three, one of which was the church.
 

Apparently, choosing too many locations is a common mistake couples make. So, we asked Erica Leman of Sweet Alice Photography, for advice on how to find perfect wedding photo locations:
 

Keep locations close

 

“It has become standard for most weddings to occur in either one or two main locations,” says Leman. “Either both ceremony and reception in one spot, or ceremony in one location, and reception in another. As much as possible, I would recommend staying in one main location for photos. Traveling between a few different places for photos, especially with families and wedding party groups, can cost precious time on a wedding day.”
 

You’ll be surprised how many photos/poses you’ll be taking at each location, and all the little nooks within a location you’ll find for your photo, so there’s no need to drive all over town to find the perfect spot.
 

RELATED: 5 WAYS TO GET BEAUTIFUL WEDDING PHOTOS ON A TIGHT BUDGET

 

Look for at least one outdoor spot

 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

“If your ceremony and/or reception location is really not conducive to photographs,” says Leman,”I would recommend finding a great outdoor spot that:
 

1) Has enough space for the entire wedding party and family, if needed, and
 

2) Has open shade, and the ability for at least a semblance of privacy so you do not have meanderers in the background of your photos (local and state parks are great for wedding photographs, but sometimes picnickers will be around – just be aware!).”
 

Keep in mind that locations can change

 

Leman says, “One location may look amazing in summer, but it will be a totally different story in the winter! And, keep in mind that some locations change occasionally; for example, if you are counting on an open field, and a developer buys it, they may start to build on your awesome space before your wedding day (this does happen)! It’s important to take a peek at your photo location just prior to your wedding to ensure that it is as you expected it to be.”
 

Pay attention to permits

 

Leman says “If you do choose a location besides your ceremony/reception spot, make sure you don’t need permits to shoot there. If you do, make sure you request them as soon as possible to ensure that you won’t run into any snafus on your wedding day. Keep in mind that ordering a permit is often the responsibility of you as the client, rather than the photographer – take a peek at your photographer’s contract to be sure of where this responsibility lies!”
 

So, we want to know, what locations have you chosen for your wedding photos? Did that list change at all?

 

Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly series (through December) where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. This is not a sponsored post. Join us next week as our Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit continues with more great advice from Hudson Valley wedding photographers as they answer the most commonly asked photography questions.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

 

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How To Get Great Wedding Photos In All Kinds Of Weather

by Doug Madden, Duetimage Photography
 

 

“Don’t be angry with the rain. It simply doesn’t know how to fall upwards.” — Vladimir Nabokov
 

It’s not going to rain on your wedding day!
 

How do we know that?
 

Because that’s what the Knot and Wedding Wire and Style Me Pretty and every other blog in the universe tells us. Just look at all those real wedding photos. Not a drop of rain anywhere. All those real weddings are outdoors, under sunny blue skies, with the Santa Monica Mountains in the distance.
 

Wait a minute — Santa Monica Mountains?
 

If you’re a SoCal bride, the odds are in your favor that you’ll have sunny blue skies. But if you’re a Hudson Valley bride, there’s a very big chance that your wedding day could have less than desirable weather conditions.
 

Here are some of our tips for getting the most out of your wedding photography in rain, snow, and — yes — full sun.
 

Taking Shelter

 

Rain is a major game changer because everything you might’ve planned for the outdoors has now got to happen indoors. Your imagery will then depend a lot on your photographer’s ability to handle artificial light.
 

Quite often in the wedding photography business, you will hear photographers say things like “I prefer to shoot in natural light” or “I only work with natural light because flash looks too artificial.” In some cases, this comes out of an aesthetic value that is genuine because honestly, nothing beats “Mr. Sunshine”. But in most cases, I think this statement can be translated to mean: “I don’t know how to shoot with a flash”.
 

Light has a mind of its own. It bounces off walls, ceilings, and floors. It reflects off bright clothing or gets gobbled up by dark fabrics. With the sun as your sole light source, you always know where it is and where the shadows are. But when a flash tries to take over the job, especially indoors, there are a lot of unknowns. Your photographer’s experience will help him or her envision what that flash will do once it is fired. There’s a lot of brainpower that goes into the mathematical calculations required for a good exposure. For photographers who like working with artificial light, this is a challenge they eagerly await. For natural light photographers, however, this is a task to be avoided.
 

If you’re concerned about rain, it’s a good idea to have an honest conversation with your photographer. Ask how they feel about shooting indoors if rain forces you inside. Also, look at their portfolios. How many indoor images do they show? The number will tell you a lot. If every shot you see is taken outdoors on a sunny day, your real concern is not just rain: it is really about how well your photographer will handle all aspects of indoor photography (like your reception coverage).
 

RELATED: 7 THINGS YOU NEED TO DO IF SEVERE WEATHER THREATENS YOUR WEDDING DAY

 

snow wedding photo

Photo Credit: Duetimage Photography

Snow is Your Frenemy

 

Snow, like rain, can force you indoors when it’s really bad. But when it’s a gentle snowfall or after it has already accumulated, it can be magical.
 

First, let’s talk about the magical. Snow changes landscapes and compositions. It brightens things up with a certain glow and brings purity to your imagery.
 

Put a lot of thought into your outerwear if you’re planning a winter wedding. Furry wraps, fluffy scarves, headwear will all have a role to play in your look. Do you want to be Elsa the Ice Princess, or Lara from Doctor Zhivago? Footwear is a practical decision as well as a fashion decision. Bring along some nice winter boots for any outdoors photos then switch over to your glass slippers for the indoor portion of your event.
 

Pinterest has a motherload of ideas for props and things to do in the snow, but here, off the top of my head, are a few ideas for posed imagery:

     

    1) Make a miniature snow bride and a snowgroom as self-portraits

    2) Trace your name and wedding date in a field of snow

    3) Toss some powdery snow into the air and let it come down like confetti.

 

As for the ugly side of snow, the things you need to be concerned about are mostly financial. If a blizzard strikes on your day, you and your guests won’t likely make it to your venue. Make sure that your photographer’s retainer refundability is spelled out. In the event of snow cancellations, our studio will honor your booking for another day. Other vendors and venues have their own policies regarding snow cancellations. Wedding insurance is a VERY good idea for winter weddings, and we can’t stress that enough.
 

Sunshine: Too Much of a Good Thing

 

Photo Credit: Duetimage Photography

We all have an assumption that all’s well when the sun is shining on your wedding day. But as we all know, there can often be too much of a good thing.
 

For photographers shooting in strong sunlight, especially at midday, there is the problem of strong shadows. In such situations, photographers will try to compensate with reflectors or flashes, or seek shade in which to take pictures. But an even better way to deal with the issue is to schedule portraiture for hours when the sun is not directly overhead.
 

RELATED: 4 AWESOME BENEFITS OF DOING A FIRST LOOK

 

If you’re planning an outdoor ceremony, be careful to check which direction your audience will be seated in relation to the officiant. If your officiant will be standing with the sun directly at his or her back, your photographer (just like your guests) will be staring directly into the sun. This can create flares in your imagery which can be pesky; sometimes they look great, sometimes they can blow out an image. If you have control over your outdoor ceremony staging area, take steps to minimize a bright sun from upstaging your nuptials.
 

Finally, hot sun can cause discomfort, makeup fails, and health issues. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors, make sure you and your guests have plenty of sunscreen. Brides should consider makeup with UV protection and which stands up well to perspiration. Make sure water is readily available for everyone, and for those senior citizens on your guest list, try to make sure there are umbrellas or some other forms of shade available.
 

Embrace Mother Nature .. and Your Photographer

 

It would be wonderful if we had total control over the weather. But as we are mere mortals, that’s just a fantasy. The final and best piece of advice we can offer is to trust your photographer’s creative instincts to use undesirable weather to your advantage. If you’re comfortable with getting wet, cold, or sunburnt for great images, go for it.
 

Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly series (through December) where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. This is not a sponsored post. Join us next week as our Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit continues with more great advice from Hudson Valley wedding photographers as they answer the most commonly asked photography questions.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Duetimage Photography

 

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4 awesome benefits of doing a first look

I have to admit, I’m a bit superstitious. When I was getting married, the idea of doing a first look was a very new trend, and one my husband and I quickly dismissed. We were always told that seeing each other before your ceremony was extremely bad luck.

 

In the years that followed, and as the trend got bigger and bigger, we realized that, superstition aside, doing a first look would have been kind of cool to do. To have a private moment, just the two of us, would have been really very special.

 

As our photo summit continues, we asked Alicia King of Alicia King Photography to share some of the benefits that come with doing a first look, besides a private, romantic moment.

 

 

Doing a first look saves time

 

“Have more time to focus on pictures of the two of you,” says King. Scheduling time for photos of just the two of you saves you more time later in the day. If your reception is directly after your ceremony, you can go straight to your reception without having to be pulled away for photos. “You get to enjoy cocktail hour, as does family and wedding party if it’s all done beforehand,” says King.

 

Enjoying cocktail hour, not just for the food, is a great benefit of doing a first look. King says. “You have more time to spend with your loved ones who have traveled from near and far to see you.” Often times couples have to take time out of their dinner to greet guests, whereas doing a first look eliminates that step giving you have more time to enjoy your reception and more time to talk to those you love.

 

RELATED: HOW MUCH TIME SHOULD YOU ALLOW IN YOUR DAY FOR WEDDING PHOTOS?

 

Photo Credit: Alicia King Photography

Doing a first look reduces stress, nerves, and anxiety

 

Additionally, King says “You get to see each other up close instead of from down an aisle for the first time that day.” It really gives you a chance to look at each other and tell each other how wonderful they look. You put a lot of time and effort into choosing your perfect gown and doing a first look gives your spouse the chance to admire your gorgeousness!

 

Doing a first look does not diminish the emotion of the ceremony

 

Some might think that doing a first look might take away from the “magic” of seeing each other for the first time at the altar. “It doesn’t take away from the ceremony at all,” says King. “I’ve had multiple couples do a first look and then get extremely emotional during the ceremony itself.”

 

Seeing each other beforehand is one thing, but when you are in front of all your loved ones, with the music playing and your bridal party all in formation, it gives you a different energy and emotion altogether.

 

RELATED: 4 EXTRA BENEFITS OF HIRING A PROFESSIONAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

 

Doing a first look helps you get better photos

 

From a photographer’s viewpoint, doing a first look has many benefits. King says, at the basic level, your hair and makeup is freshest. While hair and makeup will last you all day, nothing beats seeing it when it’s freshly done.

 

Another benefit is timing. “If your ceremony is later in the day, you would be chasing sunlight during cocktail hour (if you do photos after your ceremony), especially for late fall and winter weddings,” says King.

 

Lastly, doing a first look gives your photographer more time to focus on other photos. “Your photographer has more time to focus on reception detail shots, & guests at cocktail hour if possible,” says King. The time that would have been spent photographing you, will now be spent taking photos of other parts of the day that might have been missed.

 

Did you do a first look? We want to know?

 

Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly series (through December) where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. This is not a sponsored post. Join us next week as our Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit continues with more great advice from Hudson Valley wedding photographers as they answer the most commonly asked photography questions.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Alicia King Photography

 

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The Forgotten Benefits of Hiring a Second Photogrpaher

Today’s blog post is written by Jeremiah Shaffer, Photographer

 

Whether you’re having 300 guests at your wedding or 98 guests, a second photographer can greatly impact your final wedding images. In the past year alone, I can think of several specific instances that my second photographer got a shot that became invaluable to the entire collection. Shots that would have never happened if I were shooting alone. It was actually after one of those instances that I decided I was shooting with a second photographer pretty much exclusively. Even for a smaller wedding where the thought of a second photographer might seem a bit overkill.
 

 

Starting right from the beginning of the day 2 photographers has it’s biggest advantage; I’m with one (generally the bride) and the 2nd is with the other (groom). Now we have photos of everyone getting ready, which might not seem like a big deal until you see your final wedding images in their entirety. Seeing your day, the progression from start to finish really completes the collection of images. And guys, getting ready pictures are a lot more than just getting dressed. Laughing at raunchy jokes together, playing cards, sipping whiskey, maybe playing a quick pickup game of basketball or whiffle ball before they head out to the ceremony. There a lot of things you’re doing before the ceremony that might seem meaningless and trivial at the time, but there’s a lot more meaning when the day is done and you’re looking back at it in its entirety. Shooting by myself, unless the couple is getting ready at the same hotel or in the same house, those memories would never be captured. Moments that would be missing from your day.
 

RELATED: 4 EXTRA BENEFITS OF HIRING A PROFESSIONAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

 

Now, at a wedding with a couple deciding to do a first look; 2 photographers = 2 different views and angles of the same moments of seeing each other for the first time. Getting the reaction of both the bride and the groom are nearly impossible with only one photographer. And from there as we continue on with the formal style portraits, 2 different sets of eyes taking portraits at the same time will give us more options for your final wedding photo delivery. Everyone sees a situation differently, especially 2 photographers. As much as we may have a similar shooting style, our inspirations for a situation may be coming from different places resulting in 2 completely different images from the same moment.
 

Photo Credit: Cody Tatro for Jeremiah Shaffer

A wedding that doesn’t utilize a first look will benefit even greater from 2 photographers. As the wedding begins and the bride starts walking down the aisle, I can photograph her reaction as my second photographer is capturing the groom’s reaction simultaneously. And afterward, since we didn’t do your portraits before the ceremony, we have to do them before the reception begins. During the time we’re getting portraits, my second photographer is photographing all of the reception details before guests start getting comfortable at their seats. Your place cards, centerpieces, table settings, etc… all of the little details that you’ve lost sleep over since you began planning your wedding. That way, when your reception is set to begin, we have all of those details captured so we can now concentrate on your grand entrance into your reception.
 

During your reception is another area of your day where you might not think a second photographer is necessary if you’re planning a smaller wedding. A perfect example I can think of is during the first dance. While my attention might be on the couple dancing, I may miss a moment of parents looking on, smiling at their children as they dance for the first time as a married couple. That’s an incredible moment that certainly can’t be missed, which might be if there was only one photographer on hand.

 

Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly series (through December) where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. This is not a sponsored post. Join us next week as our Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit continues with more great advice from Hudson Valley wedding photographers as they answer the most commonly asked photography questions.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Cody Tatro for Jeremiah Shaffer

 

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Who Owns The Rights to Your Wedding Photos? Hint: It’s Not You

When you book your wedding photographer, you will need to sign a contract. Part of the contract will include a clause about copyrights, and another clause will be about permission to share your photos. Both are VERY important.
 

Let’s start with sharing your photos. All photographers will have a clause asking if you would be ok with your photographer sharing your photos on social media, on their website, in their marketing materials, or with other blogs such as yours truly. For example, all the couples featured in our Featured Love Story galleries have signed that release with their photographer.
 

But it’s TOTALLY ok for you to say no, and photographers understand. I did not give permission. Not because I was trying to be mean, but because my husband and I are very private and wanted to maintain that sense of privacy.
 

In addition, that contract will discuss copyright and will spell out exactly what you have the right to do, and what you DON’T have the right to do, with your photos.
 

The post below is written by Hannah Servidio of  Hannah Nicole Photography to explain photo copywrites  and why they are so important…

 

 

Photo copyrights…No one really understands them but everyone needs them.
 

The technical definition of Copyright is the rights given to creators for their literary and artistic work. In simple terms, whoever pushes the shutter owns the image.
 

I know it sounds crazy because you’re probably thinking “But that’s ME in that photo! How can they own ME?!”
 

Well obviously we can’t own you personally, but the reason copyrights are given to photographers for their photos is that Photographers spend years perfecting their style and hours perfecting each image. That photo is their trademark AND their brand.
 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

When you put that Instagram filter on a wedding photo, you are actually infringing on the Copyright.
 

Don’t get me wrong I love me some Valencia filter on the ‘Gram but the reality is your photographer just spent a lot of time (which you paid them to do) perfecting every pixel of that image and putting a filter over it is offensive.
 

Besides the hurting of someone’s feelings, when you put that image up and your friends ask who did your photos, and you name your photographer in your comment, your photographer will not be happy with that. Its false advertising and not the brand that the photographer wants to be seen.
 

Other things that infringe on Copyright include scanning and printing photos. Seriously. While that should go without saying I’m just going to leave that there.
 

Printing rights are something a lot of photographers give their clients and that is different from Copyright.
 

That would be a whole other blog post but in brief ‘printing rights’ is just that. You have the right to print the photos. NOT edit them! NOT sell them! Simply just print them and hang, frame, or show them off.
 

Sometimes when you go to a drugstore to print your digital files the worker will ask to see your print release. This is to protect your photographer from having clients take the photos and print without their knowledge.
 

I know this all seems very one-sided toward the photographer but unfortunately, this is the photographers’ living.
 

Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly series (through December) where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. This is not a sponsored post. Join us next week as our Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit continues with more great advice from Hudson Valley wedding photographers as they answer the most commonly asked photography questions.

 

Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

 
Hannah Nicole Photography

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