Blog Category: Family Portraits

Micro Weddings pack just as much meaning, only in a much smaller package

We all know bigger isn’t always better, and when it comes to weddings smaller scale events are just as significant, and often less stressful and more affordable than the large and lavish variety. As a wedding photographer on Martha’s Vineyard for over thirty years, I’ve witnessed nuptials of all shapes and sizes. More recently I’ve noticed a trend towards more intimate affairs, and the concept of Micro Weddings really seems to be catching on. Basically a Micro Wedding is a wedding on a smaller scale, that involves a lot of the same details but for a small group of people, generally 50 or less. Here’s a look at what makes Micro Wedding so appealing. 

More affordable 

With average wedding prices in the tens of thousands, many brides and grooms simply can’t afford a large wedding, or are choosing to forego the big expense in favor of a longer honeymoon, or a downpayment on a house. Micro weddings can be significantly less expensive as they require less resources and involve less people, freeing up money for other things that can contribute to the couple’s new life together. Typically, brides and grooms are constantly reworking their numbers and spreadsheets once a new RSVP card is received, trying to see where they fall in their budget. With a micro wedding your money can go further and you may be able to do something on a smaller scale that you wouldn’t have been able to provide for a larger crowd.

More intimate

It’s no surprise that weddings have become big business and it’s easy to forget about the essence of the ceremony when there’s so many vendors to organize, details to consider, and guests to appease. Often the pomp and circumstance of a larger wedding can overshadow the basic meaning of a wedding, which at the core is a celebration of a couple’s love and future together. With a Micro Wedding brides and grooms can be more selective with their guest list, which creates a more intimate gathering with those nearest and dearest. While the task of writing a guest list can be the hardest part of a Micro Wedding, brides and grooms can take comfort knowing that those they invite are among their most dearest to share in their commitment. 

More manageable

It’s a well known fact that wedding days seem to go by faster than most other days in our lives, and many brides and grooms struggle to find the time to sufficiently interact with all of their guests before the party comes to an end. Micro Weddings mean less guests so it’s easier to get more quality time together without being stretched so thin. Less guests also means the event becomes more manageable as a result. With a smaller group the day can be more fluid and less rigid, and plans can be changed on the fly if needed. On Martha’s Vineyard weather can be an important factor for any special event. If rain and wind are in the forecast you can push back the ceremony or figure out a change of venue a lot easier when accommodating less people. 

More choices

Given the smaller size and scale of a Micro Wedding your options and vendor pool can actually increase. Perhaps you wanted to book that venue on the water that you couldn’t afford with 120 people, but when accommodating 40 people it’s very much within reach. Some venues might not even be able to accommodate a large group but once your numbers go down you realize there’s even more places to tie the knot than you had thought. Or maybe there’s a preferred caterer or private chef that you can swing with a smaller head count that will increase the quality of your guests’ experiences. When it comes to making choices for your Micro Wedding you can be even more creative and innovative! 

More sustainable

I’m all for reducing waste and being more eco-conscious when it comes to weddings and special events, and I’ve written about it before on the blog. We all know weddings can get expensive, and excessive, and lavish choices can often have serious implications for the environment. Micro Weddings on the other hand, tend to mean more control and less excess, which is a win-win if you’re wanting to reduce your costs and your footprint. Even thoughtful considerations on a small scale can make for a big impact on your big day. 

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Weather or not, the shoot must go on

We all know we can’t predict the weather, but over the last thirty years we’ve become really, really good at planning around it. As photographers on Martha’s Vineyard we need to be flexible, adaptable and ready for anything! When we first engage with clients when initially booking our shoots we’re all hoping for the perfect weather. Partly cloudy, partly sunny, dry, and a comfortable temperature. 

If you’ve booked a photo shoot or planned a special event, you’ve likely visualized the same thing. You’ve crossed your fingers a hundred times and obsessively checked the weather for the weeks and days leading up to it. But no matter what you do, ultimately Mother Nature will have her way, and no matter what you’ll still end up with fabulous photos with RBP. 

So how do we do it? Firstly we always build in a rain date as a backup in case the weather turns especially bad. We’ve become really good judges of the weather, and have learned how to interpret it hour by hour. As the date approaches we utilize all of our favorite weather apps and make an assessment based on the forecast to determine whether or not we should postpone the shoot. 

We work with our clients to determine their level of comfort with the weather that is being predicted–it’s often an exercise in seeing how adventurous people are! Here on Martha’s Vineyard we frequently experience microclimates, so the specific location of the shoot is important to assess as well. It could be beautiful on one side of the island while a storm is brewing a few miles away. 

If it’s only a chance of showers we keep calm and carry on. First and foremost we want to have fun with our clients. If the weather is going to be a stressor and the clients are not going to have a great time, we postpone it. Some of our favorite photos have been those that we’ve captured in unpredictable weather, where our clients have rolled with the punches and embraced the skies!

Plus “bad weather” can often make for some really fun times. Umbrellas are a fantastic prop in the rain, we especially love the clear umbrellas that you can see through! We always have a couple on hand and love when our clients come prepared as well. If rain is predicted during a wedding shoot we always suggest our brides and grooms provide umbrellas for their guests–it makes an impromptu wedding favor they’ll be sure to reuse and never forget!

Remember, sometimes the most ominous looking weather gives way to the most stunning photos. Here on-Island the colors that make their way through our sky are simply breathtaking, especially before or after a storm. Often it’s the weather you’ve feared the most that makes way for the most epic photos, not the perfect sunset you meticulously planned for. 

The long and short of it? Don’t stress about the weather. Keep an open mind, embrace the skies, and know that no matter what the weatherman says you’re in good hands with RBP.  

Love is love, this month and every month

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month and we’re proud supporters of it!

The occasion is marked each year to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City that sparked an international gay rights movement.

“Stonewall” served as a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States, and across the world, and we’ve come a long way from it.

Over the last fifty years millions of people have spoken out and spoken up to defend the rights of the LGBTQ community, and we’ve been right there with them, firmly believing in equality for all, no matter your sexual preference!

As Lin-Manuel Miranda famously said in his 2016 Tony award acceptance speech “Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.”

This month we honor those who have paid the price for standing up for themselves and others, for simply wanting to live and let live.

Today we live in a country where same sex marriage is legal, and many of our politicians and influencers are openly gay.

We’re grateful for the progress that has been made, and we know there is still work to be done.

Here’s to looking back on all of the beautiful love we’ve witnessed over the years and here’s to looking forward to even more.

In search of the perfect holiday gift? Have a look through your photos

Holidays are fast approaching and we’ve been contemplating the best gift ideas for family and friends. Proper gift giving requires thoughtfulness and planning, but finding the right gift for all of those special someones can get overwhelming. Want a tried and true approach to gift giving? Start by picking up your favorite device and scrolling through your photo library, it’s a treasure trove of unwrapped presents.

Today we live in a world where everyone takes photos, sometimes capturing dozens a day. A selfie here, a candid there, often for instant gratification in the form of a social media post, or for sharing in real time with friends, and then forgotten. Even more photos stay sitting on hard drives or in camera rolls never to be seen or utilized. For posterity perhaps? Only if the future knows where to find them.

Remember developing a roll of film and flipping through each print excitedly, reliving the moment portrayed in each one? Chances are you’d run home to frame a few for yourself or others, tack one up on the refrigerator or get to work on a photo album or scrapbook. With today’s dependence on digital photography it can seem like a novelty to even make a print, giving extra impact to that physical object. Just try to walk by a beautiful framed photo of your child or grandchild without smiling or experiencing a moment of pure happiness.

This holiday treat your loved ones to a cherished photo gift and watch them light up with joy and appreciation. It’s a feeling they’ll get experience again and again every time they see it–making for the ultimate gift that keeps on giving.

Need some ideas? Check out this list of our favorite photo products that we have available to our clients all year long.

  • Holiday Cards We can custom design holiday cards right in our West Tisbury studio, tailored to your specifications. Choose two to three favorite photos from 2018, and a favorite holiday greeting, and we’ll put together a compelling card that anyone would love to receive.
  • Bound Book or album Simply put everyone loves a well produced photo album, but people rarely get around to assembling one. It’s easy to skim and can be shared on your coffee table or passed around at family events. Weddings, family portrait sessions, and baby’s first year photos are especially well suited for albums, and can be easily flipped through for a trip down memory lane.
  • Wooden Box Print your favorite photo on the lid of a wooden box and the recipient will be reminded of a special moment every time they open it. Take it one step further and fill the box with a sentimental item that correlates to the photo.

  • Large Prints and Wall Displays Everyone appreciates a large print in a nice frame that can be admired at their home or office. Photos can also be printed on canvas, metal and acrylic, or choose a selection of photos and create several pieces for a collage wall or cluster display.

  • Calendar Share twelve separate memories in one with a desk or wall calendar. Photo calendars are a beloved classic and get good use. Plus it doesn’t limit you to having to choose just one photo and the pages can be saved and repurposed after each month has passed.

  • Magnets This is an affordable and easy option you can gift everyone in your family, and you know they’ll get prominently displayed.

  • Ornaments Create an ornament or gift tag with your favorite photo and attach it to a wedding, birthday, or holiday gift.

  • Phone Cases Let’s face it, we’re always holding our phones so this gift would get a lot of exposure, and it’s an easy way to identify your phone.

  • Coasters Personalized photo coasters are both versatile and practical. Who could cry at spilled milk when one of your favorite photos is staring back at you?

Interested in placing a holiday order? Let us know. Orders typically take two weeks but can be rushed in time for Christmas if received before December 17.

If you really want to shine this year give the gift of a family portrait session or baby’s first year session–the experience and the lasting memories make for the ultimate photo gift. Contact us for details and quotes.

Happy gift giving!

Dressing for success when it comes to Family Portraits

We capture a lot of Family Portraits on Martha’s Vineyard this time of year. One of the first and most obvious questions we hear from parents is “what should we all wear?” It’s understandable, we all want to look our best, and Family Photos are a special occasion to get everyone together. Plus, like any professional photograph, you want to love the results! Fear not, with a few simple strategies–how to properly coordinate colors and patterns, keep it comfy and true to your individual style–you’ll have your brood outfitted appropriately in no time.

Here’s our tips for choosing your Family Portrait wardrobe wisely. Keep in mind these considerations are just as effective when organizing a DIY family photo shoot too. And if you’re still looking for some professional shots this season get in touch, we’d love to help you work our magic with your family!

Dress for the location. First and foremost you want your family dressed comfortably and appropriately for the place you’ll be taking your photos. Consider the ground you’ll be walking on. If you’re planning a beach shoot your family should be in shoes that can get sandy and can easily be taken off for some shoreline fun. And heels don’t make any sense here. Select shoes that your family can easily walk in and are tried and true. New shoes, especially on kids, can be a gamble and may result in cranky children, something we want to avoid, avoid, avoid on Family Portrait Day!

Dress for the weather. This might sound obvious but really think about the temperature and time of day you’re taking the photo. The Vineyard cools down very quickly in the evening and locations near the water can come with a chilly breeze. If you’re taking photos later in the day be sure to plan for sweaters or jackets as part of your family’s outfit and bring them along to the shoot. Our three favorite words when it comes to wardrobe selection are layers, layers, and layers.

Choose props and accessories wisely. Hats can look great on kids and can make for some extra cute shots, big bows and headbands too! Be mindful that it could be windy by the water so you’ll want something to tie back long hair if necessary (we always carry extra ties too). Don’t try to force your child into clothing or accessories they’re weary of or uncomfortable in. That goes for you as well. Everyone photographs best when they feel like themselves! If you have a favorite top or go–to outfit that you consider a second skin don’t be afraid to wear it.  

Select lightweight, breathable fabrics. When you’re posing you want to be able to move freely and comfortably cycle through both standing and sitting. This is hard to do when clothes are too tight and provide limited mobility. Plus its summer on Martha’s Vineyard so casual comfort and casual is what it’s all about!

Coordinate, but don’t try too hard to match. There’s an important line to maintain between properly coordinating your family’s clothes and being ‘matchy matchy.’ You want to complement each other’s outfits by choosing colors that work well together, but not dressing identically so everyone blends in as one. We like to provide our family portrait clients with some sample color palettes as a guide if they’re looking for inspiration.

A classic, nautical palette that compliments the natural backdrop of the Island is a combination of blues and whites. Don your family in different shades of blue–think navy, sky and royal, along with white and khaki or denim. If you’re looking for something bolder and brighter a la Lily Pulitzer, work off of a palette of coral, and bright blue or teal, and pink. And of course Nantucket red, it’s Martha’s Vineyard after all! You can pair that with whites and denims and light pastels like muted yellows and mint green, for a more understated look with color.

Don’t be afraid to dress your family in prints, as long as they complement one another, and avoid styles that are too bold or flashy. Choose smaller patterns that won’t distract from the subject matter. Also avoid wearing branded clothing with words or logos, as again these styles can draw attention away from the subject.

If you’re on Martha’s Vineyard and need some last minute staples check out Basics in downtown Oak Bluffs for simple, stylish pieces for the whole family–and yes, we have Vineyard Vines too. If you’re still undecided about what to wear, pack a second outfit to bring to the session, and do the same for any small children that might get messy.

For even more tips on preparing for the perfect Family Portrait click here. Just remember the point of family portraits is to document authentic family connections that will provide lasting memories, while having fun in the meantime! Remember to be yourself and good photos will follow.