At Randi Baird Photography it’s not business, it’s personal

We know choosing a photographer for your special occasion can be overwhelming, and we appreciate the opportunity to not only have your business but to have your trust. On Martha’s Vineyard there are dozens of other photographers offering similar services at comparable prices. Our discerning eye, our creativity and our technical knowledge are critical to our business, but what really sets us apart is the time and energy we invest in our subjects.

From the initial point of contact with our clients we take a genuine, personal approach, and strive to build a meaningful relationship before the camera comes out of the bag. We want to know what brings our subjects together, and use that information to not only make them feel more comfortable once we meet, but to help us determine the best setting for the shoot.

For our family portrait clients we want to know where they call home, what they enjoy doing together and how old the kids are. For our engagement shoot clients we want to know how they met, how the proposal went down and what’s planned for the wedding and honeymoon. We also offer suggestions and recommendations on wardrobe, and hair and makeup preparation to help ensure our clients arrive with the utmost confidence. This type of communication and information sharing allows us to better connect with our clients and prepare for our time together.

Once we arrive to a shoot we already have an established relationship and can expand on that with the camera. Photography is a personal business and we love making new friends! We enjoy conversing and engaging with our clients, we’ll talk constantly and ask questions to help distract them from the lens. We encourage natural interaction between our subjects, and use these candid exchanges to make our clients feel more comfortable, while we capture the best shots.

One of our favorite techniques is to incite laughter and joy among our subjects. It is so important for people to feel at ease and forget that they are having their picture taken! We don’t force fake smiles or demand people look directly at the camera. The best photos happen when people let their guard down, be themselves and live in the moment–this is how we enable our clients to help us tell their story most authentically.

For some of our more comfortable clients we’ll even suggest some really silly poses. We’ve photographed kids upside down, dad’s making funny faces and parents being climbed on by their kids. Their courage and self-assurance often yield some of the best photos of the entire shoot, and most honestly capture their personality and spirit. Basically however our subjects typically and most genuinely interact is how we want to shoot them.

We honestly love what we do and truly enjoy being able to capture life’s most cherished moments for our clients. Whether it’s a secret proposal, an intimate wedding, or a lively family reunion we have the tools to capture the perfect photos of your affair.

Have something planned? Contact us and we’ll get started planning the ultimate shoot for you and your family. In the meantime take a read through some helpful posing tips so you can build your camera confidence and ensure the most flattering shots.

 

Twist Your Body and Position Your Arms.

We know you’ve heard this red carpet trick before, a.k.a. ‘the skinny arm.’ By twisting your body and placing your camera-facing arm on your hip your upper arm will look smaller. If you find the pose to be a bit forced, try holding your bent elbows out from your sides ever so slightly or put your finger tips into your front pant pockets.

 

Chin Down! 

You usually want to avoid direct head-on shots. Why? Because there’ll be an absence of shadows, which could make your face look wider, larger, or slightly discolored. Instead, stand slightly sideways and tilt your chin a little bit downward.

 

Cross Your Legs. 

In general don’t position your body straight on towards the camera, it’s not interesting and appears flat and broad. We recommend creating angles with your body, such as crossing your legs, starting at the calf. For ladies we also recommend putting your right foot forward, knee bent and place your weight on your back leg. These poses will make your hips look narrower and your legs look longer, plus it looks a bit more casual. During the shoot we work with our clients to direct and suggest different angles and shapes that can flatter the whole family.  

For more tips on getting the perfect pose check out StyleCaster.com.

www.randibaird.com | 508.505.5909 | info@randibaird.com

January’s Harvest of the Month: Get on board the whole grain train

The New Year is upon us and for many that means resolutions of healthy, clean eating. On Martha’s Vineyard we are fortunate to have access to dozens of local farms and purveyors that can provide us with the resources to help us stay true to our commitments of good health, while supporting the local food community.

Our friends at Island Grown Initiative (IGI) actively support a resilient and equitable food system on Martha’s Vineyard by providing food and agriculture education, and developing infrastructure to make a year-round local food system viable. As part of their mission they strive to educate Island children and families on the benefit of eating healthy, locally grown food, through Island Grown Schools (IGS), a community food education program.

Each month IGS designates a Harvest of the Month, highlighting a locally available crop in school cafeterias, restaurants and grocery stores across Martha’s Vineyard.

According to islandgrownschools.org Martha’s Vineyard was the first school system in Massachusetts to pioneer Harvest of the Month in 2012-3, and is now working with the Massachusetts Farm to School Project to spread their model across the state. Pretty incredible, huh? In efforts to help support this important cause we’ll be regularly promoting each month’s Harvest of the Month on our blog.

For January that means focusing on whole grains, a critical component to a healthy diet, that are packed with nutrients and fiber that have been proven to help reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease–just to name a few.  In Simple Green Suppers, the vegetarian cookbook I launched earlier this year with the incredibly talented Susie Middleton, an entire chapter was devoted to Susie’s appreciation for grains.

Foods like corn, wheat, rice, and oats are abundant in their versatility and can be easily incorporated into just about any meal! They can be prepared wholesomely and deliciously, to complement a hearty protein or antioxidant rich vegetarian meal, or used as a standalone snack. They’re a healthier alternative to pasta and other starch heavy foods and won’t leave you feeling bloated after you clear your plate.

Start off the New Year with theses healthy substitutions and you’ll quickly feel the difference, and see it too. Some of our favorites include farro, wheat berry, barley, and quinoa. Need some more inspiration? Try Island Grown Schools recipe for Overnight Oats and see just how sweet whole grains can be.

Whole Grains

Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

½ cup whole rolled oats

½ cup milk of choice (dairy, almond, coconut, soy)

1 tsp maple syrup (or you can mash ½ banana to replace sweetener)

1/8 tsp vanilla

Pinch of salt

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a coffee mug or 8oz mason jar and mix with a spoon until everything is combined. Cover with a lid and place in the refrigerator overnight.

When ready to eat, give it one last stir and top with your favorite fixings!

*Add-ins/toppings: cinnamon, fresh fruit, nuts, shredded coconut, dried goji berries, dollop of nut butter or yogurt, lemon zest, plain cooked quinoa for some extra protein and fiber!

*Tip: Use the last of your favorite nut butter jar as the container to make sure to use up all that hard-to-get peanut/almond butter!

 

Randi Baird is a founding member and president of Island Grown Initiative’s Board of Directors and has long been committed to promoting local, sustainable food choices on Martha’s Vineyard.

 

Randi Baird Photography | 508.505.5909 | info@randibaird.com

Making a list and checking it twice: Wedding planning on Martha’s Vineyard

Tis the season for engagements! We all know that the holidays are filled with joy and laughter, and that the holiday spirit is a very real thing. With family and friends gathered, and love in the air, this time of year also yields a lot of heartfelt proposals. In many cases once the ring is received the wedding planning process begins quickly thereafter.

Planning a wedding is an exciting, intimidating, time consuming and often emotional task. Choosing the perfect location and curating the ideal atmosphere that reflects you and your partner is no small feat, and getting ahead of the event is important. Fortunately, we have over twenty years of wedding photography experience on Martha’s Vineyard and have assembled some helpful tips to ease the selection process.

Venue The Vineyard is home to beautiful beaches, rustic homes, historic churches and charming pastoral settings to name a few. If you’re looking for an iconic Island setting near the ocean that’s centrally located try exploring some of our favorite downtown Edgartown wedding venues including the Edgartown Yacht Club, the Harbor View Hotel, the Old Whaling Church, the Federated Church, or the Daniel Fisher House. For a more relaxed, rural setting up-Island, check out the Allen Farm and Beach Plum Inn in Chilmark, or the Duck Inn and Vanderhoop Homestead in Aquinnah. Many couples also create intimate venues from family homes or private estates.

Some will also pick another location (in addition to where the ceremony and reception is being held) to have extra photos taken, allowing you to make the most of several picturesque Island settings.

The rehearsal dinner location is another important consideration, and there are plenty of restaurants from fine dining to casual to beach cantinas that can accomodate a large group. State Road in West Tisbury is a warm and inviting contemporary tavern that serves modern American cuisine. The Winnetu Oceanside Resort in Katama offers an expansive dining room with attached deck, cozy fire pits and a stunning view of South Beach, while Atria in downtown Edgartown boasts a formal dining room set in a charming nineteenth century Captain’s house, a brick cellar bar, a tented patio and an expansive lawn.

Food Your guests are ultimately coming to celebrate you, but they’ve likely made the trip to Martha’s Vineyard and deserve a great meal too. Martha’s Vineyard is home to fresh seafood, locally grown produce and outstanding caterers who have made it their job to provide the perfect culinary compliment to your big day. Some of our favorites include Kitchen Porch, Jamie Hamlin, Buckley’s, and Tea Lane.

The Island also offers two great local breweries Offshore Ale and Bad Martha, that can bring some local flavor to your bar. If you’re looking for a professional, customized bar experience enlist the help of Island Cocktail Co. who can set up a gorgeous, well stocked bar that your guests will swoon over. 

Music Your musical selection sets the mood and tempo for your entire event. The Island may be small but the talent pool for musicians here is big. The Vine Shakers (formerly the Joanne Cassidy Band), the Mike Benjamin Band and the Sultans of Swing, are energetic party bands that will ensure a packed dance floor. If you’d rather go with a disc jockey DJ Ras Toe (of Island Thunder) is a crowd favorite, as well as DJ Smooth B and D.C. Rose of R & B Entertainment of Martha’s Vineyard. For a bluesier vibe have a listen to Jeremy Berlin and Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish.  

Cake On your wedding day you actually can have your cake and eat it too! We’re so impressed with some of our local bakeries and cake artisans including Cakes by Liz, Val Cakes (offering cake pops and macaroons too), Pie Chicks and Martha’s Vineyard Gourmet Cafe and Bakery (also home to Back Door Donuts–you may have heard about their famous apple fritters which make a great late night snack).

Flowers There’s thousands of varieties, endless color schemes and all sorts of considerations like season, texture, and fragrance. We’re constantly amazed by the stunning arrangements from Tea Lane Farm (a gorgeous flower farm in Chilmark), North Tabor Farm, Morning Glory Farm, Donaroma’s and Morrice Florist (they’ve got a wonderfully curated retail space in Vineyard Haven with great gift ideas as well).

Party Favors Martha’s Vineyard boasts a wide variety of locally made products that your guests will really appreciate (not to mention a thoughtful Martha’s Vineyard keepsake). Chilmark Chocolates and Murdick’s Fudge are popular for the chocolate lovers and Island Grown Bags, By the Sea Salt, and local honey from Island Bee Company make big hits.

Hair While you’re figuring out how to make everything else look good don’t forget about yourself. The glam squads at Sea Spa Salon, Divine (formerly Enhance MV), Revive by Sarka and Treat Yourself can help you look great and feel even better. As for the groomsmen send them down to Benito’s for haircuts, shaves and pampering.

If it all sounds like too much to tackle on your own we highly recommend enlisting the help of trained professionals, like KG Events and With Grace, our rockstar Martha’s Vineyard wedding planners who have made it their job to make sure your Island wedding is the ultimate affair. Even if you can’t employ a planner for the entire process we urge you to consider a day-of coordinator to help ease the pressure and make the day go more smoothly.

And last but certainly not least–there’s the engagement photo shoot to schedule. This gives you a chance to really celebrate your engagement together, while getting comfortable with our team and the camera, and securing some great photos to use for the save-the-dates, or reception decor to make it more personal. Over the years we’ve seen some couples display their engagement photos alongside framed wedding photos of their parents and grandparents for an extra sentimental touch. We also offer a photo book of your engagement photos that can double as a guest book at your wedding, it’s a great place to show off your engagement photos and encourage personal wishes and sentiments from your guests.

We look forward to working with you throughout your engagement and wedding planning process and we wish you all the best along the way! Please feel free to contact us with any questions regarding your engagement or wedding photography options, or any other general planning questions–we’re happy to help.

For additional resources on planning a Martha’s Vineyard wedding visit mvy.com, mvislandweddings.com, mvpreservation.org, or mvol.com.

www.randibaird.com | 508.696.5335 | studio@randibaird.com

Photographing a special proposal in Chilmark for Hilary and Lindsay

One of the best things about life as a photographer is being invited to share in a special moment between two people, and to be able to genuinely capture that lifelong memory for them. Earlier this year I had the opportunity of shooting a proposal between Hilary and Lindsay, a couple brought together by their love of Martha’s Vineyard, and whose family I have come to know in recent years.

In early August I received a brief email from Hilary’s mom Jill, asking if I was available on a particular date, with little details provided. I had previously worked with the family on a spectacular birthday celebration for Jill, and I was happy to take on any additional projects. I was later informed that my new assignment would be helping Hilary stage the perfect proposal for her girlfriend Lindsay, at a private Chilmark beach on the north shore overlooking Vineyard Sound. I was sworn to secrecy and delighted to play a part!

Soon I was with Jill and Hilary’s father, Alan, scouting the perfect beach location – a stretch of sand the couple had both, separately frequented as kids – the day before the big ask. Jill and Alan staged the proposal themselves, with Alan even getting down on one knee to mock the exact setting for Hilary –  it was a true family affair. The following day I returned for the real thing. While Hilary’s parents hid a celebratory picnic of oysters and champagne behind the big rock, I hid out of sight to photograph the proposal. The plan was for Hilary and Lindsay to arrive at 4pm, to ensure we captured a beautiful fall sunset after she popped the question.

I positioned myself far off in the dunes overlooking the rock where Hilary was planning to ask Lindsay. As I laid on my stomach, silently waiting for the perfect shot, I was reminded of my time as a Greenpeace photographer, aboard the Rainbow Warrior, covertly capturing a moment in time that told a much bigger story. There I was, sneaking in the sand, set to record an event that was so rich, and had so much meaning for these two women and their families.

Eventually Hilary and Lindsay emerged from the stairs leading to the beach and walked to the rock. Soon Hilary was confessing her love to Lindsay, down on one knee and presenting a ring, while I discreetly captured the whole thing from above. The happy couple savored the moment together and then summoned me to the shore, for some more shots of them basking in their newly engaged bliss. The day finished with a congratulatory dinner at State Road restaurant, where Lindsay was surprised yet again with her family and Hilary’s, and I was yet again there to capture it all. It was a magical day for us all,  and an experience I too was grateful for.

Creative proposals have become a very big trend (I shot six others just this year). More than that they mark the beginning of a new chapter in a couple’s life together and the forging of their families – not to mention a great story for the grandkids. Thank you to Hilary and Lindsay, as well as their families, for allowing me to share in their special memory.

You can read Hilary’s version of the events at howheasked.com.

RANDI BAIRD PHOTOGRAPHY  |   508.696.5335   |  studio@randibaird.com

The making of ‘Simple Green Suppers’: My first cookbook

Tis the season for giving (and eating!). If you’re looking for a great gift for the veggie-loving foodie in your life pick up a copy of Simple Green Suppers: A Fresh Strategy For One-Dish Vegetarian Meals, my first cookbook with three time cookbook author and farmer Susie Middleton. Released earlier this year, Simple Green Suppers is chock full of helpful tips and recipes for preparing seasonal vegetables and plant-based meals, not to mention it was a blast to work with Susie. Once the holidays are behind us we’ll all be eager to jumpstart the New Year with good, clean, eating and Simple Green Suppers has you covered.

Even non-vegetarians will be impressed with the flavorful veggie-centric recipes that Susie compiled – I know I was. What I genuinely love about this book is that it educates people on how they can easily feature vegetables as the star of their meal, and pairing them with staple ingredients like noodles, grains, beans, greens, toast, tortillas, eggs, and broth. The book even offers tips on stocking your pantry, and streamlining your food preparation to save time. Ultimately, it’s a manual for enjoying vegetables in easy, delicious ways and her recipes are so, so tasty. The flavor these dishes deliver is truly remarkable; we ate all the food on the shoot so I know first hand!

I spent four seasons working on the book, regularly shooting at Susie’s farm and capturing many of the ingredients at peak season, ripe for the picking. I also had the opportunity to take many still life shots of the vegetables, highlighting the vibrant colors, interesting textures and unique variations of the main ingredients. The final eighty dishes featured in the book were prepared in the studio, shot with pottery by Leslie Freeman Designs and against beautiful, rustic, wooden backdrops by ReFabulous Decor, a local, upcycled home decor company. It was truly a labor of love.



I have long been committed to promoting local, sustainable food choices on Martha’s Vineyard, and using my work as a photographer to help educate and encourage social change and healthy habits. The book allowed me to showcase my food photography skills and celebrate the bounty of our Island’s local produce. Contributing to Simple Green Suppers was the perfect project; it married my love of photography and devotion to food activism, and enabled me to have a lot of fun working with an author I really admire.

Hungry yet? You can pick up a copy of Simple Green Suppers locally on Martha’s Vineyard at Bunch of Grapes bookstore or online from Shambhala Publications/Roost Books, Independent Booksellers, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon.

                         R A N D I  B A I R D  PHOTOGRAPHY  |  508.505.5909  |  info@randibaird.com
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