Picture this - you have a relaxed morning together. Wake up late, have breakfast in your pajamas. Just the two of you. You treat yourself to a morning at the salon - hair, make-up, mani/pedi, whatever your heart desires. Then you each put on something fabulous (maybe you finally pull out that dress that you have been saving for a special occasion). You pack up a picnic lunch and head into the center of the city.
You spend the afternoon walking around Central Park. You sit on the Great Lawn and people watch, daydreaming of what the future will hold for the two of you. Maybe you make plans for a night on the town - visit that restaurant you've heard so much about, go to the TKTS booth and see if you can catch a show. Because when you're this close to one of the greatest cities in the world, it seems a shame not to take advantage of it. And when you have found someone you're completely, crazy in love with, it would be a shame not to have days exactly like this. Days where you forget about work, leave your phone in your purse and forget about the world around you.
Sounds like a pretty fantastic day to me. A day that you'd always have fond memories of and think of every time you stroll down a tree-lined street, whenever you smell the mix of fresh-cut grass and roasted nuts.
Now imagine if you could remember that day every single time you sat down at your desk at work. Imagine that you could glance over at a gorgeous picture in a frame of the two of you in the middle of the park. You could see exactly how he looked at you in that dress, how much he makes you smile when he pulls you in close. Photos that capture not just the way you were on that day, but how you are right now, in this time of your lives together. Because you look so good together. And the real shame would be not to have that reality frozen in time forever, the way only a picture can do.
* * *
For one day this June, Rob and I will be spending the day in Central Park doing a series of mini sessions. One day, six sessions a marathon of fun for the two of us. Because if there are two things we love it's Central Park and photographing couples in love. The sessions will be about half the time as our usual sessions and at a special discounted rate only available for these sessions. It's an incredible deal. Slots are available on a first-committal basis so Email us ASAP to reserve your spot today. Because you deserve beautiful pictures of the two of you and we'd love to capture those for you.
I walk past the three baskets of laundry, lined up in a perfect row, and I sigh. It's the second day in a row that I have walked past these baskets and I know I'm not the only one who has noticed. Rob sighs as he walks past them. He actually washed all the laundry and brought it upstairs for me to fold. But he knows I'll get to it. Eventually. When Malachy runs into our bedroom he runs toward the laundry baskets with joy, eager to pull out the clean clothes and fling them, one by one, onto the floor. I'm faster than he is, at least for now. I grab the baskets before he can get to them, shoving them into the closet before he gets the chance to liter the floor with his tiny T-shirts and pajamas.
Laundry was the thing that had to fall by the wayside today. And the day before. I'll take care of it tonight, I tell myself. I actually might. In the meantime, Malachy is pounding on the clock radio. He wants to dance. I'm happy to oblige. They'll always be T-shirts to fold and pajamas to put away. But I know there won't always be a day when Malachy's favorite thing to do is dance to the clock radio with his Mommy.
So I pick him up and give him a big hug. He lets me hold him for all of about 30 seconds before he wants to be back down on the floor, running and dancing. I place him down gently and he takes off, full speed. We dance around the room together, his infectious laugh bouncing off the still-empty walls we've been meaning to fill with pictures.
He darts across the room, over to my nightstand with the two bookshelves underneath. This time it will be my books that are strewn on the floor, pulled out one by one by tiny little boy hands. They're a jumble, his books mixed with mine. Dr. Seuss and Jane Austen. I make a feeble attempt to stop him, but I have to admit I love how much he loves books. Once he is satisfied with the amount of books on the floor, he sits down and opens one up. Doesn't matter to him if it's his book or mine. He looks up at me and then pats the floor next to him. "It!!" he implores. He wants me to sit down next to him. I'm happy to oblige. We sit, each with a book open on our lap. And for a few glorious seconds he leans his head on my arm.
In that moment I ignore the books laying all around us that I'll have to reorganize in just a few minutes. I forget about the laundry that fell by the wayside, sitting in the closet just steps away waiting for me. I let go of the pots that sat in the sink for days last week, filled with soapy water and good intentions. I don't even notice the still-empty walls surrounding us.
Because Malachy couldn't care less about any of those things. And moments like these are all that really matter anyway.
Ahh, three years ago. Seems like a world away now. Looking back, it's hard to believe what we've accomplished both personally and professionally in three years (moved to NYC, had a sweet baby boy, bought a house, added a fabulous studio manager/associate photographer to our team). It's been a three big, busy years. So big, so busy that sometimes it's easy to lose track of all the things we had done before, all those things that have ultimately led us to where we are now.
Back in 2010, we were starting on a new road. Forging a new path for ourselves propelled by the driving desire to do all those things we had been dreaming of doing. To take those written-down-on-paper ideas and make them I-can't-believe-we're-actually-doing-this realities. And we knew we couldn't do it alone. So we shared our ideas with others, talked about them (a lot) and made plans. Big plans. Plans that had me nervous. Nervous in the best way possible. Because when you're chasing after those big ideas, it shouldn't be easy. And if you're not nervous, then you're not dreaming big enough.
One of those big, scary ideas was our Taking Off Seminar and Amelie-inspired shoot in Paris back in March of 2010. It took months of planning, hours of international e-mailing and phone calling and many working lunches to pull it all together but then end result was worth all the hard work. And then some. It was such a whirlwind, that I had lost track of just how much fun it was until I was reminded of it all more recently. Looking through the images again, I was transported back and remembered how incredible it had been to see our big ideas become a reality and to feel so grateful to those people we had surrounded ourselves with that believed in us, who believed in our idea, added TONS of their own ideas and worked so hard to make it happen. HUGE thanks to Beth Chapman from The White Dress by the Shore, Candice Coppola from Jubilee Events, Paris-based make-up artist Masafumi Matsuda and the woman who pulled it all together in the City of Light, Paris-based wedding planner Kim Petyt of Parisian Events.
The resulting images have been published several times and one of them is now on the COVER OF A BOOK that I'm certain will be an International sensation: The Paris Wedding by Kim Petyt. That's right, the very same Kim that worked with us on these shoots (I think we have a knack for selecting very talented collaborators). Head over to Amazon and get yourself a copy of Kim's book. And while you're at, maybe plan yourself a wedding in Paris, or a Paris-inspired wedding in the U.S., Kim has tips for doing both in her book. And you know we'd always be happy to capture all that French-inspired beauty, wherever it may be. We'll even bring along the macarons. :)
My parents have exactly 18 professional images from their wedding. Eighteen. I know them inside and out. I could describe each image to you so well that a sketch artist would be able to recreate them.
How do I know them so well? Because I looked at them hundreds of times. I looked at them hundreds of times because they were on display, in an album. An album that was made by a professional, filled with prints made through a professional lab and bound in a book available only to professionals. From the time I was a little girl I was fascinated by it - seeing my parents so young, my grandparents and aunts and uncles surrounding them. It was a simple leather book, with the images slipped in and preserved behind plastic but it held up surprisingly well over time. Even though I looked at it more times than I could count. Even though this May those images will turn 42 years old.
But what about couples that marry today? What if they decide to forgo an album? What if they decide it's not worth the cost? How many images do you really think they'll put into frames? 5? 10? Maybe that first year married, they'll have a bunch. But then, kids comes along. Baby pictures replace wedding pictures in those frames. They move, things change. In forty years, how many pictures do you think their children will know by heart? How many pictures will they have even seen?
Today, a lot of couples think just getting the disc of images is "good enough.Ē Hereís the problem with that thinking: itís not true. Not by a long shot.
Donít get me wrong, I think that getting the files from your day is great. Today's couples probably get up to 1000 images from their wedding, WAY more images than my parents did. After all, what happened to all those other images from my parent's wedding day? They probably sat, negatives in a box, at their photographer's studio never again to see the light of day. So I think it's wonderful that couples get ALL their photos. But what worries me is that even with that option, it won't mean that today's couples will necessarily be better off. My fear is that today's couples will actually end up with LESS than what my parent's got in 1971.
Think about it, will the computers of 2055 even have DVDs drives? USB ports? Will they even have hard drives at all? If the past is any indication, the answer is no. You know what the big technological advancement was when my parents got married? 8 track players. What if their images were stored on the equivalent of that? How in the world would I see those images today?
But you know what never becomes obsolete? What never goes out of style? Photographs. And not just any photographs. Not photos printed at a drugstore. Professional photographs, printed by a professional lab. Those are the photos you find in an attic. It could be a 100-year-old photo, but it still looks good. Because back then, the paper photographs were printed on were high quality and developing them was an art form. There were no machines that spit out pictures onto cheap paper with inexpensive ink. I actually have to stop myself from intervening when I see people at one of those automated machines in a drugstore. Whatever they're charging, it's too much. Because those prints aren't worth the paper they're printed on. They will fade. They will curl. They will not stand the test of time. Not even close.
You're memories are worth more than that. And your wedding images? They are worth TONS more than that. These aren't snapshots from vacation. They aren't pictures from your iPhone. You cared enough about these moments to hire a professional to photograph them. Follow that through by having a professional print them. Have that professional print the pictures you put into frames and have them design you a high-quality wedding album that you will cherish for decades.
And please, please do not think that making your album yourself online is a good way to go. Not only are the companies that print your images in an album online most likely violating the copyright agreement you have with your professional wedding photographer, they are not going to give you the quality product you deserve. Most of them are press printed, coffee table books that are more fitting for pictures from a family vacation than a wedding. It's not exactly news that sometimes the products offered online can be deceiving - what might look great online could be incredibly disappointing in person. If you purchase an album through your photographer, you can see a sample in person. You can touch and feel it and make sure it is worth every penny.
I know that albums are expensive. Thatís for good reason. They are custom-designed books, usually hand-stitched and hand assembled and made just for you. Thatís probably not even true of your wedding gown.
But of all the things you spend money on for your wedding, your wedding photographs are the ONLY thing that will increase in value over time. As the years pass, you'll be more and more glad that you have them. Especially, if you can experience looking through them by flipping through a gorgeous custom-designed album instead of sitting in front of your computer and clicking next with your mouse.
So, figure out a way to make it happen. Figure out a way to afford that album. Forgo a centerpiece. Cut back on your guest list. Opt out of the vintage car you'll drive in for all of 20 minutes. If you're already married, it's never too late to add an album.
Don't just do it for you. Do it for your children. Do it for your grandchildren. Because when they root around in your attic in 2075, they will have no idea what do with a USB key anymore than they would with a laser disc player.
Clearly, this is something we feel really strongly about. That's why ALL of our wedding collections we now offer not only include a gorgeous custom-designed wedding album but also prints of all of your wedding images. That's because prints are always in style, and you'll always be glad you have them.
It was a hot day in the early fall of 2011. The kind of hot, sticky day that makes you wonder if fall and it's sweater-weather was every going to make an appearance. We had just finished the then incredibly routine trek from our apartment to our doctor's office downtown. Three blocks to the station, down two flights of stairs then up another to reach the center subway platform, traveling many stops on the C train, up three flights of stairs in the next station and then two blocks to her door. All for a visit that usually took all of 5 minutes (sometimes including the wait to see the doctor).
I was hot, I was bothered, I was uncomfortable and (let's be honest) I was as big as a house. We walked the two blocks to the subway station, passing the chic TriBeCa moms in their skinny yoga pants and super-expensive strollers and arrived at the subway platform just in time to hear the train moving away from us in the distance. We would have to wait.
The platform was always full of interesting people (the NYC subway is a fascinating cross-section of people from all walks of life) and I would often spend the time between trains doing some people watching. A construction worker in his work clothes, covered in plaster dust but looking relieved to be done with his day. An older business man in a suit that could use an ironing and a briefcase that was so worn the leather had lost its sheen. A twenty-something girl in skinny jeans, managing to look bored and completely engrossed in whatever was on her phone at the same time. Then there was a nanny with a kind face and tired eyes, holding the hand of a little boy. He was probably about 8 years old, dressed in a preppy outfit with his shirt tucked in and brand-new backpack that clearly had not yet been weighed down by heavy textbooks.
Rob was standing next to me, hands in his pockets. He was fidgeting just a bit, eager to get back to the studio. The train pulled up and Rob leaned in to say something to me. I couldn't quite hear him over the sound of the subway brake screeching. I wasn't sure what he said, all I could make it was that it was something about the C train (which we were walking onto). I didn't think much of it. Rob was always pointing out to me the different subway cars - the older ones, the newer ones, the ones with the plastic seats, the ones with the leather seats, the ones that were on the north-south trains versus the ones that went across town. He was fascinated by this; I was decidedly not. I guess I could have asked Rob what he said, but I was hot and bothered and not exactly interested in the particular features of this train. I was more interested in getting a seat.
We ended up sitting near the nanny and the little boy, they were just across from us - close enough that I could hear him when he spoke to her. "This isn't the normal C train," he said. I looked up. It was then that I realized what Rob had said to me. Because it was exactly the same thing this little boy was saying to his nanny. This little boy noticed the same things that Rob did! "These are the cars that are on the A train," the little boy said. I turned to Rob and told him what I had heard. He wasn't anywhere near as surprised as I was. He said an "Of course," like everyone should have noticed and then told me what made this train different than the usual one. We traveled a few stops and when the train screeched to a halt, I went to get up. Rob gently put his hand on my arm, reminding me that we still had several more stops to go. Then I heard the little boy again. "This is 14th street. Then it's 23rd street. Then 34th street. Then 42nd street," and on and on. He had memorized the entire subway map. Just like Rob had done when we first moved to the city.
I looked over at the boy and then down at my very large tummy. I'm growing one of those, I thought. Not just a little boy, but a little boy that will probably notice the subway cars. A little boy that will memorize maps and get excited for the little things that not everyone notices. In short - a little Rob. And there, in the not-usual C train, I smiled and rubbed my stomach. I took Rob's hand and held it. When our stop arrived, we walked out of the train together. Down one flight of stairs, up two more, onto the street and up the three blocks to the studio. All the while I thought, just a few more weeks and we finally get to meet our own little boy. And I hope he's even more like Rob than that one we saw on the subway.
* * *
In the seventeen months since Malachy arrived I think of that day on the subway often. From early on when I would see a look on Malachy's face that was so distinctly Rob to the every single day I look into his eyes and see Rob's gorgeous blue eyes staring back at me. The truth is I have moments like that day on the subway every single day. Moments when I look at Malachy and see Rob, clear as day. Like when he grabs a napkin and wipes the tray of his highchair, the way he meticulously lines up his blocks, how he insists on closing every drawer and pop-up feature in every toy he has when I help him put them away.
And in those moments, I feel proud. Prouder of anything else I have ever done. Because Malachy is incredible. And because the world was desperately in need of more men like Rob. And knowing that I have given the world one more piece of my wonderful husband, makes me happy.
And I know I have many more moments like that to look forward to. And that one day we will all ride on the subway together on another sticky, hot late Fall day. I'll sit next to them. Rob will tell Malachy all about the different subway cars - the older ones, the newer ones, the ones with the plastic seats, the ones with the leather seats, the ones that go on the north-south trains versus the ones that go across town. And they'll each have someone who really gets them. I'll hold their hands. And smile.