Blog Category: Engagements (Page 2)

Capture the big ask with a surprise wedding proposal photographer

A “surprise proposal” seems a bit redundant, after all most people don’t expect to be proposed to when it happens, and that’s the idea after all. But the kind of surprise proposals I get most excited about are the ones that take it a step further, and hire me as a photographer to stake out the proposal location and secretly capture the big ask.

There’s something covert about the whole operation, it requires some stealth action on my part, and reminds me of my early days as a photojournalist for Greenpeace, working behind the scenes to snap quickly and efficiently without being seen. Life as a proposal photographer on Martha’s Vineyard is a bit more casual of course, and I often find myself crouched down in a patch of beach plums or quietly lying on my stomach in the sand (sometimes with my arch enemy, poison ivy lurking nearby) waiting for the perfect shot.

Recently, I’ve been contacted by more and more couples to photograph secret proposals and I think it’s a brilliant idea. The raw and honest emotion and excitement that follows the big question make for some of the most endearing moments I capture all year! 

For the couples we work with it’s a time they’ll never forget, and a story that will be told again and again. Having stunning proposal photos is the perfect way to relive the special occasion, plus they provide a meaningful memento to mark the very beginning of the couple’s next chapter together.

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of assisting a client with a surprise proposal to his girlfriend on the beach. It was followed by a thoughtfully executed visit by two alpacas–which he had also secretly organized, given her affection for the friendly farm animals. Not only was I able to capture the initial shock and joy of the proposal, but the second surprise made for even more emotional photos–it’s not everyday you see an alpaca on the beach.

I’ve photographed secret proposals at some of my favorite portrait locations, including South Beach in Edgartown and further up-Island at a private beach in Chilmark, and each one has been a truly touching affair. Many have been followed by a second reveal, like an unexpected after party of friends and family to join in the celebration, making it that much more meaningful.

If you’re planning a secret wedding proposal ask yourself what types of environments and landscapes are important to your partner? Is there a place on Martha’s Vineyard that holds a significant meaning? Or maybe there’s a personal spot that’s totally out of the ordinary–we’ve even seen couples get engaged at the famous Jaws bridge! Wherever and however you’re thinking about proposing I can help you pull off a surprise proposal that you and your partner will be talking about for years.

Need some more inspiration? Check out some of the featured proposal stories on howheasked.com by The Knot.

What’s next? Wedding trends to look out for in 2018

Over the last thirty years we’ve photographed hundreds of weddings both on and off Martha’s Vineyard. Each one is different and uniquely personal and we’re always impressed with the thoughtful, creative details our brides and grooms incorporate into their special day.

We’ve seen a lot of wedding trends come and go (remember disposable cameras at each table, and the introduction of the cupcake tree?) and 2018 weddings will no doubt be marked by their own styles and traits. We’ve been following along with our favorite wedding blogs–The Knot, Martha Stewart Weddings, WeddingWire, Junebug Weddings–and have highlighted five trends and predictions we keep seeing pop up for 2018.

  1. Even more personalization. As the traditional wedding has evolved it seems now more than ever couples are embracing personalization and customization over the conventional. Nowadays the wedding planning process begins with the couple determining the overall vibe they want to set and the experience they want to curate for their guests. The Knot offers a helpful Style Quiz we recommend to those in the early planning stages, and if you’re planning a wedding on Martha’s Vineyard get in touch with our friends at KG Events & Design to determine the best theme for you.

 2. Taking it inside. It looks like more people might be opting for indoor venues as a way to safeguard against the unpredictable weather, while embracing architectural details that speak to them. Historic homes, libraries, museums, and industrial lofts will top the list, offering eclectic, romantic touches. On Martha’s Vineyard we love the Old Whaling Church and the Daniel Fisher House in downtown Edgartown. Both can be reserved through the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust for a  (relatively) reasonable tax deductible fee.

3. Flowers, flowers everywhere. Look forward to seeing more flowers in unexpected places, from lush arrangements to living botanical bars, to vertical hanging plants above the tables, potted plants along the aisle and large bohemian statement wreaths. Dogwoods and baby breath are expected to make a comeback, along with a lot of greenery. As far as color goes the trend seems to be dark and moody, and all signs point to purple being the color of the year. Think dramatic hues like wine, lilac, lavender, and mauve. When it comes to wedding flowers on Martha’s Vineyard we trust the thoughtful and creative work of Morrice Florist and Tea Lane Farm to provide the perfect floral designs for any affair.

4. Covering up. Sleeves and capes are likely to adorn a lot of wedding dresses this year. Brides are taking cues from the runway and this year they’re saying that bell sleeves, sheer capes, lace capelets, and kimonos will appear at the altar too. On Martha’s Vineyard the extra fabric will be especially useful to combat the chilly ocean breeze and cooler temperatures of the spring and fall.

5. Embracing the local culture. As the trend of destination weddings continues (and Martha’s Vineyard popularity too) couples are more and more invested in connecting with the local culture and sharing it with their guests. We recommend sourcing locally made wedding favors, like small jars of honey from Island Bee Company of Martha’s Vineyard, or the delectable confectionaries of Chilmark Chocolates. Another great way to embrace the local scene is to plan a pre or post wedding activities that is specific to the wedding destination. On Martha’s Vineyard try hosting a clambake in Menemsha, a bonfire on the beach, or a fishing charter for a rehearsal dinner or special event.

Spring will be here before you know it and our weekends will soon be packed with weddings of all kinds–romantic and whimsical, woodsy but chic, intimate and extravagant–and we can’t wait to see all that’s in store! In the meantime we’ll keep you informed of wedding trends and our favorite ideas for planning the perfect occasion. If you missed our last wedding post be sure to have a read for helpful planning tips and our recommendations for local vendors on Martha’s Vineyard.

Don’t miss the chance to enter to win an engagement photo shoot with us, winners will be featured in the Summer/Fall 2018 issue of Martha’s Vineyard Island Weddings magazine. Deadline to enter is March 16, 2018 at 12:00 PM.

 

 

For the love of engagement sessions

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and recent engagements are in the air. When two people commit their lives to one another it’s kind of a big deal.

First comes love then comes marriage… after the engagement photos of course! As photographers we get to see a lot of people get excited about a lot of things, but newly engaged couples remain some of our favorite subjects. They’re smiling from ear to ear, and so deeply wrapped up in each other. They’re about to begin the next chapter of their lives together–there’s really no better time to get in front of the camera.

Engagement sessions are a great way to help curb couples’ camera jitters so they’re that much more at ease once the big day rolls around. 

We encourage them to get lost in the moment and forget that the camera is even there. 

We’ll get them comfortable with our shooting style and build their camera confidence. There’s no guests, no strict agenda, and no distractions, just two people in love appreciating their time together. Fun is the name of our game!

In advance of the shoot we’ll ask how the couple met, how the proposal went down, thoughts on the wedding, and romantic ideas for their session. We’ve got an arsenal of favorite locations sure to satisfy every personality and theme.

Be it woodland, coastal, rustic or chic–we’ll help them select the perfect backdrop, uniquely catered to the their personality and the season.

During the shoot we’ll embrace the provocative, the sexy and the sentimental, but above all we want our clients to get lost in the moment. We recommend outfit choices that they’re comfortable in, above all we want them to feel relaxed and confident. We take a back seat and allow the couple to simply enjoy each other, honestly and intimately.

The shoot itself is just as important as the photos we’ll capture to remember it by. We always get excited to hear about the sweet and creative ways our clients have used their photos: save-the-date invitations, wedding guest books and websites.

Some clients have even displayed them alongside wedding photos of their parents and grandparents at the reception–we just love how sweet and sentimental they can be. Whatever the reason, wherever they end up, they’re evidence of a special day together and an unforgettable period of time that should be treasured forever.

Recently engaged or know someone getting married? Get in touch and we’ll get collaborating. We’ve also teamed up with Martha’s Vineyard Island Weddings magazine to offer a free engagement shoot to one lucky couple. Winner will be selected March 17. Click here for details.

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

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