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Posted by: In: personal 12 Mar 2017

Another wedding season approaches and usually this time of year I’d be heading to the mall to buy some wedding attire that fits a bit better. Winter had always allowed me to pack on the pounds. Too much comfort food and too much couch. This never helped me as a photographer as I got into the wedding season. Spring always meant trying to shed some weight before wedding season. Things have changed for me this year. Six months ago I started training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Paradigm Academy in Lowell. It has seriously transformed my life and body. My daily schedule is way more healthy, I’ve made a ton of friends and just in the last 4 months I’ve lost 27 lbs. The irony here is that I still need to go to the mall and buy clothes that fit because I’ve lost so much weight.

You’re probably thinking, “whoah, that’s great but combat sports are not my thing!” I totally get that and in honesty, it was not my thing either. In fact, the first time I observed any type of jiu-jitsu class, my first and only thought was “HELL NO.” Immediately after telling the coach that I’d be letting him know when I was ready to train, I was quick to think of all the excuses as to why this wasn’t my thing. Flash forward six months and I’m training 3-4 times a week and seeing improvement and feeling so much better about myself physically and mentally.

A few things to consider about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu:

  1. There’s no striking, which means practitioners can train with 100% resistance without getting injured through punches or kicks.
  2. You’ll burn over 600 calories in one 60 minute class (according to MyFitnessPal). The workout is aerobic and anaerobic and completely full body.
  3. It’s incredibly friendly and welcoming. For many, this is a family activity for dad, mom and the kids.
  4. Learn self-defense. This particular martial art is incredibly applicable to real life scenarios. It’s always good to know how to protect yourself.
  5. It’s super fun and an incredibly healthy life choice.

The school where I train, Paradigm Academy, is an incredibly warm and inviting place. Experienced practitioners are eager to help the new men, women and children get acclimated to the art. Everyone is dedicated to helping everyone; and when you are starting something that is foreign, challenging and at occasionally,  seemingly impossible, it’s good to have friendly people surrounding you.

If you are looking to shed some winter pounds for wedding season, BJJ will guide you in the right direction. And if you are looking for me this weekend, I’ll be at J.Crew making sure I look good for wedding season, with pants that fit.

Rich

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: In: personal, Wedding 17 Jan 2016

You know that feeling when you open your mailbox and there’s actually a handwritten envelope in there? If any email could give you that same excitement, it would be the email you receive from a couple after you’ve photographed their wedding. Oftentimes we hear from the bride, but occasionally we receive an email straight from the groom. This email from Bill, whose wedding we photographed this past summer, absolutely floored us. It reminded us of how our photography, and our presence on a wedding day, affects the memories of our clients.  This is the reason we photograph weddings. Here’s an excerpt from Bill’s email:

“I can’t tell you how pleased both Ashley and my families were with the photos you shot. I look at them probably twice a week and it brings me back to that Saturday in late June. People always wish they could bottle a feeling or a special moment and save it for a rainy day or hard time. Your photos do just that. As you probably know, the bride and groom are always so rushed that the entire wedding experience is a giant blur of toasts, dances and “I Do’s,” but the albums you provided blow that concept out of the water. Every time i look at the picture of Ashley and I high-fiving after walking out of the church, I feel the sun on my face on that low 80s day. When I look at my Aunt dancing next to one of Ashley’s friends, I’m deafened by the sound of chatter, the shaking dance floor and the music. I could go on, but needless to say, working with you guys on our wedding was an immense pleasure.” Bill G.

Each time I read it, it sends shivers down my spine. Knowing that we succeeded in not only making great pictures,  but creating a memorable experience for Bill, Ashley and their friends and family is the best compliment we could receive. At its core, what we provide to a couple is only 50% photography. The other 50% is the unique experience and attention to detail. Photography is 2nd nature for us, so we know going into every wedding we are going to make great photos. But our goal isn’t just great photos; we also want to have a positive impact at every wedding we photograph. We strive to create a calm and fun atmosphere and leave a good impression on not just the couple, but on their family and friends as well. When Ashley and I read this email from Bill, we knew from his descriptions of how he felt when he looked at his wedding photos, that we delivered beautiful photos AND a wonderful experience.
Atlantica-Wedding-Cohasset-MA_044

 

Being a photographer equals a lot of late-night hours, a lot of working weekends, and a packed summer and fall. We enthusiastically brag to our friends about the perks of not being in traffic on Monday mornings and how we can take Fridays off, but we also miss out on friends’ weddings and cookouts at the lake. When we became wedding photographers, we made this choice and we absolutely love the work that we’ve done over the last 8 years. The relationships we cultivate with our clients, and emails of gratitude like this, make it easy for us to make that same choice over and over again. This is the reason we photograph weddings.

 

Posted by: In: personal 15 Feb 2015

http://inspirephotoretreats.com/2016-retreat-details/

 

Why did it take so long for us to get here!

The Inspire photo retreat started right in our backyard in 2010. A close-knit group of New England photographers put it all together and created something special. Ashley had just entered our 3rd year of business and we had just started to get to know the community of photographers in this area. This was also the 2nd year of our engagement and we were in the midst of wedding planning.

We didn’t go to Inspire that year. Money was a bit of an issue as EVERYTHING we had went into throwing a wedding. Some of you many know what that’s like 😉

Honestly, we both had to shut down our social media that week… our entire internet was overrun with Inspire quotes and photos. We were just a teeny, tiny bit jealous (a lot jealous), for obvious reasons but we had other priorities with the wedding coming up and all.

2011 rolls around and guess what? Ashley’s pregnant and we were planning to move to this amazing new live-work, artist building called Appleton Mills. Again, we missed out on Inspire, but the disappointment was masked by the overwhelming stress of starting a family and of course moving.

As far as 2012 and 2013 go, we have always had travel obligations to see family on the west coast so unfortunately we continued our streak of missing Inspire. It became ritual that the very day all of our friends left for Inspire we would shut down our social media to avoid all the fun everyone else was having.

From the very first one, Ashley’s been trying to get us to write a proposal for an Inspire presentation. Personally, I was always hesitant because “who am I” to be teaching people. I didn’t feel I had reached that level yet. So for 2014, Ashley and I came up with something that was not actually a class, but a fun group activity. (For obvious reasons we are not going to divulge on the details of this activity because we are hoping to use it in the future once we can master it.) Well, we didn’t get selected, which was a blessing in disguise because last year we wouldn’t have made it due to unforeseen family stuff. It would have been torture to put in all that work and have to bail at the last minute, so we were actually relieved that we didn’t get selected.

But sadly again, we did NOT attend 2014 Inspire.

This would all change this year. After we missed out on Inspire 2014, Ashley and I were determined to get there. However, I will admit that I had presentation cold feet and told Ashley that I didn’t feel like we had any solid ideas for presentation material. If you know Ashley you know that she is fearless and as I went to sleep the night before the due date, Ashley sent in a half dozen proposals. I woke up to an inbox full of “Thank Your For Your Inspire 2015 Proposal.” It’s good to have a wife and business partner that pushes you to be better and overcome your stupid little hangups. We still had to wait a few weeks, but when we got the acceptance email it was the “oh shit” moment… we were going to do this!

When we arrived in Portland, ME the night before the retreat I really did not know what to expect. I knew that I was going to be distracted by the fact that we had to give a presentation in front of 75+ people in three days time, but I did not want that to affect my experience. Although we had to spend some time tightening up the presentation, it really didn’t take anything away from enjoying the week. Our goals were to keep an open mind, meet as many people as possible and to learn from EVERYONE, not just the teachers.

We seriously could NOT have had a more positive experience.

This was so much different than the networking events that I usually see some of these photographers. There, we meet up after not seeing each other for weeks/months/years and “catch up”, small talk, yada yada, make plans to connect later on and then say “goodbyes.”

This retreat was special to us. We were all in the same building and we weren’t going anywhere;  that changes things dramatically. We all got to experience Inspire collectively and there was such a sense of open camaraderie that it created a vibe that is really tough to describe. There was an empathetic reach that made everyone feel like family.

We met so many wonderful people. Acquaintances became friends and friends became just a bit closer.

The workshops and classes were inspiring, insightful and emotional. Students were strongly critiqued to the benefit of the photographer (and the audience) , presenters shared techniques and workflows, and some shared personal stories that brought tears to your eyes. But no one was a stranger at Inspire. If you didn’t know someone, it’s only because you hadn’t introduced yourself yet.

My only regret was that I didn’t get to meet everyone. There’s always next year, right?

From our perspective, Inspire Photo Retreats is about shedding the insecurity and the ego and enjoying the company of like-minded photographers.

Oh and our presentation went over well… I think. No one heckled us 🙂 — And we learned that it’s way easier to present in front of dozens of people than it is to practice alone in a hotel room. If we get selected to speak again, I think at least I will be a lot less nervous.

Thanks to the hosts and alumni! Inspire 2015 will never be forgotten.

Here’s to Inspire 2016!

 

 

Posted by: In: personal 14 Feb 2015

Love

Love is taking your boots off by the door

Love is pouring apple juice before she asks for it

Love is letting her sleep because you know she was up all night working

Love is digging through bins of toys to find her favorite pony

Love is having a wife and daughter

Love is family

http://megbelanger.com/

photo by Meg Belanger http://megbelanger.com/

 

 happy valentines day

Posted by: In: personal 15 Jun 2014

fathers-day-2014-blog

 

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY – 2014

Every single wedding that I photograph, there’s always a moment that hits home and personalizes the experience for me. It’s the father-daughter dance. I’m not going to lie to you, I get a bit emotional. You see, I have a near 3 year old daughter and during the dance I can ‘t help but think about Evie’s wedding day. Where are we going to be? How tall will she be? What type of guy is she going to marry? Will we have a close relationship? How sweet will my beard look? 🙂

And yet as these powerful emotions and thoughts rush into my head, I’m still taking pictures. I’m changing exposure, changing angles, making sure that I’m making great images all the while trying to hold back the personal feelings. It’s hard to describe, but the emotions are never a distraction. I’ve never been caught with my camera down, day dreaming of the future. No, it’s more like I am MORE focused, MORE driven to get the shot. But these pictures are more for dad than they are for the bride and groom.

When I think of the bride and the groom and their families looking over the galleries after the wedding, I want dad to stop at a dancing picture and smile. I want him to feel special because I made that picture for him.

A father’s love for his daughter is indescribable, but I often think that a single image can do more than words when it comes to this. I chose the above image for a few different reasons. First, it is one of those happy accidents in photography where your initial intentions don’t work out, but you end up with an unexpected surprise. In this case, one of my flashes didn’t fire so I ended up with a little bit of motion blur and a darker image than intended. I love this photo. Secondly, the dad from this wedding told me months later that this was his favorite picture from the wedding. That meant a lot to me.  Lastly, and this is just coincidence, but this photo was taken exactly one year before our daughter was born.

So, I have a couple of decades before I have to start worrying about how much I’m going to cry during my daughters wedding. As a procrastinator I enjoy knowing I have the time. But luckily I get reminded of the opportunity to dance with my daughter at her wedding. It brings me joy, and sometimes watery eyes.

Happy Father’s Day to all the men who have made their little girl smile… even when they are not little girls anymore.