Anniversary Post: Butterfly Place Elopement

As I'm on maternity leave, I'm reposting some of my favorite weddings as anniversary posts. 

My 2010 wedding season kicked off with a gorgeous elopement at The Butterfly Place in Westford.  Congratulations, V & F!

Anniversary Post: Winter Wedding at The Ponds at Bolton Valley Vermont

As I'm on maternity leave, I'm reposting some of my favorite weddings as anniversary posts. 



This was a spectacular winter wedding at The Ponds at Bolton Valley.  Note the unified approach they have with the design - how everything perfectly suits the winter theme, and the elegant vaulted cedar ceiling inside.  The Great Room at the Ponds has this massive floor to ceiling riverstone fireplace, which had a mantle that was laid out with birch branches and white candles - setting a warm and inviting mood.  

Guests rode up in yellow school buses and were greeted by a signpost (again handmade and painted by Christa’s dad) acknowledging the distances that everyone had traveled and then with a hot chocolate bar!

Christa and Alex had hoped for a beautiful winter outdoor ceremony, and they got it.  They shoveled out a stage, where the bridal party and a few guests stood in a small circle around them.  The rest of the guests banded together on the deck, clustered under the heat lamps, enjoying the outdoor ceremony and it’s breathtaking panoramic views of the snow covered pond and mountains.  The bridesmaids kept warm with leggings, boots (hidden nicely under snow length dresses, and brilliant green cardigan and coordinating navy blue scarves and mittens.  

And then we were inside.  Mittens and cardigans and scarves discarded for hugging and dancing.  There were toasts and tears and songs. There was delicious food and wine.  And there was lots of dancing. Because when Groove Authority plays your wedding, the dancing doesn't stop.  Alex and his brother took out their guitars and played a few tunes too, to everyone's delight.

Thank you for inviting us to be a part of documenting your wedding day.  


Alex and Christa designed a beautiful winter wedding with gorgeous and thoughtful details woven throughout the day.  These were lovingly created by Christa, Alex and Christa’s dad.  Here are a few of my favorite hand made rustic winter wedding details. 

Wedding FAQ: Family Formals

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I admit that posing for formals are not everyone’s favorite moment of the wedding day celebrations. Bit - It is record making in a classic form and I do think it is important.  Wedding formals are the only time during the day when I tell you what to do and where to stand.  The rest of the day I‘m reacting to what’s unfolding.

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I’m using the word family is a very loosely here.  I consider family to be inclusive of whoever is in your inner circle (be they biological or logical family).

I want to make this as quick and painless as possible.  I want you to spend happy times with your friends and family and with each other - not endlessly lining up for posed portraits.  In order to make that happen (quickly and painlessly) I ask that everyone who is in the pictures know before hand where and when they are to show up ready.  


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We will touch base a month or so before your wedding to cement your list for family groups. We start with the largest groups of family and then the smaller ones.  Before the wedding day, I’ll be checking in with you about timelines and any specific groupings of people you want to have for family portraits.  We’ll make a list and figure out the logistics.  This varies on the time of day, the venue and the size of the families.

Be sure to tell everyone on the list.  And tell them again,  just in case.  Budget 5 minutes for each group. This will buffer in time for the inevitable diaper chance, open bar magnet, dad who forgot his pants in the hotel, etc.

So Who’s On This List?  

lyman estate wedding photos

You can, and perhaps have already, done a web search for Family Formal Shot List and found a some huge lists that cover everything and everyone you've ever met or been introduced to.  As a someone who leans towards minimalism and inclusivity - you may not have that many people on your list. 

You can start with one of those big lists and then ask yourselves: Do we actually want this picture? Are we including this group because we are supposed to or because we really want to? What will we do with this group photo? Will we print it and frame it? Will we want it in our wedding album?  The answer might be an enthusiastic YES!  Or you may beginto pare down the list. 

I recommend this at a minimum:

Wedding Couple

Wedding Couple with parents on one side

Wedding Couple with parents on the other side

Wedding Couple with each extended side

Wedding Couple with both extended sides

Wedding Couple with Grandparents


There's a portrait of my mother's parents from her wedding that is wonderful.  My grandparents look fantastic, and everyone in the family has a large wall portrait of this image.  I like to quickly get some images of the parents alone, or of your siblings and their families.  Yes, you and your fiance are the reason that everyone has gathered.  It's important to get you in the majority of the pictures, as the centerpiece. While everyone in present and looking dapper, let's take advantage of it! 

boston common wedding portrait photography

boston wedding photography common portraits


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I find the best times are either before the wedding ceremony (if you’ve done a first look) or between the ceremony and the reception (usually a little time and place called cocktail hour).  If your list is very long, it might make sense to split the groups up into smaller groups and spend a little time at the beginning, middle and end of the day.  


red lion inn wedding photography family portraits

Realistically, if you have two big families, a wedding party and family expectation that everyone gathers for formal portraits, you’re looking at at least an hour of your wedding day relegated to family portraits.

red lion inn wedding photography family portraits

If you have ideas for any other groups (friends from work/school) you would like to see photographed, make sure to tell me. Informal groupings can be done during cocktail hour, during the reception or on the dance floor.  


Occasionally, I have clients that request a picture of all of the guests present at their wedding.  If this is something you want - please be sure to tell me in advance.  These images require additional time, gear and the logistics to be worked out in advance.  Ideally, a tall ladder or balcony or drone is used.  


How to Choose Photos for Wedding Album

How to Choose Photos for Your Wedding Album

Your reference guide as you choose images for your wedding album. 

I've already given the reasons why I think everyone should move past "just digital files" and opt for printing their wedding pictures and making beautiful wedding albums.  Below is my guide on how to choose photos for your wedding album.  

The amount of images you have in your wedding album corresponds to the size of your wedding and the hours of wedding day coverage. Keep in mind that the more family and guests you want to have in our album, the bigger it gets.  I suggest you begin by choosing 40 as a starting point.

Choose the images that you feel the most connection to and that showcase the moments you want to preserve and remember. There is no one-size-fits-all formula. Just like each relationship, each wedding and each marriage, each wedding album is different.

It comes down to these two things: Look for the essentials. Trust your instincts. This album will tell your story - and your story is important. 

Here are the highlights to look for when you are choosing photos for your wedding album. 


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Choose an establishing shot or one hero image that sums up the romance of the day. This could be an image of the venue, a wide- angle view of the ceremony, or one of your favorite portraits of the two of you. Like a movie preview, this establishing shot gives an overview of the day, before the wedding day story begins.


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Select your favorites from the time before the ceremony begins. These finishing touches before vows are said are a lovely part of the wedding day story. Find the meaningful details and moments as you prepare for the wedding ceremony.


lyman estate wedding photos first look

Did you do a First Look before the guests arrived? Look for a mix of action, reaction and portraits from this reveal. Include scenic images that showcase your surroundings in addition to closer framing of your faces as you see each other for the first time.

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Don’t forget your wedding party and family portraits! This selection doesn’t need to be traditional or formal. If both sides of the families were represented, make sure to include an even mix.


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The wedding day hinges on the ceremony. Here, go for a mix of wide shots and close-up of the action. The ring exchange and the kiss are key. Did someone speak, or give a blessing?  Include any special parts of your ceremony.


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Opt for a mix of wide and close-up images of the two of you together. These can be both portraits and candid moments.


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You both chose this particular location for a reason. Pick images of the venue and the details that made your celebration unique. Things like guest seating or menu cards, your dessert table or a Revolutionary War Reenactment fife and drum.


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There’s connection, laughter, sometimes tears during these dance steps. Opt for some images from your first dance together. If you also danced with your parents, include images from parent dances.


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Go for both action (the person toasting) and the reaction (your emotional response) for the toasts. These will be designed with the speakers on one side and your reactions to their words on the other.


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Did you cut into your wedding cake, or pie, with glee? Was there smashing? Kissing? Cute children waiting anxiously? Choose one one or two photos that stand out to you.


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Make sure you immortalize a handful of those killer party dance moves on the pages of your album. Look for celebratory movement, laughter, and sweat. Some dance moves are forever.


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Think about an image with which to end your wedding album. Did I whisk you off the dance floor to make an evening portrait of the two of you? Do you want to use an image that sums up the party? You could even close with a detail image of your rings. Think final credits of a movie you love and want to watch all over again.

I love photographing weddings and sending the final images off to clients in gorgeous heirloom albums that are sure to be treasured.  

Want learn more about wedding photography and wedding albums? Just ask!  

Wedding Album from Endicott Estate

endicott estate wedding ceremony photography

endicott estate wedding pictures

The original Endicott Estate wedding post shared some of the studio favorites.  A year, and a child later we're finally getting their wedding album ready. 

Some of my favorites overlapped with theirs - and I'm thrilled with how the album design is looking.  

Their wedding ceremony and wedding reception were both held right on site at the Endicott Estate in Dedham.  These grand vintage mansions, with beautiful hand crafted wood interiors, make an ideal backdrop for a New England wedding.  

Almost two year later, I'm still warmed by remembering their wedding day; their genuine excitement and infectious laughter.  


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endicott estate wedding ceremony photography

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endicott estate wedding ceremony photography

endicott estate wedding ceremony photography

Review: Sleeklens Lightroom Presets

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To illuminate a little of my behind the scenes workflow, my usual post shoot routine is to download my raw files right into Photo Mechanic where I rename files and flag the keepers. From there the keeper are imported to Lightroom for lens and camera profile adjustments and basic edits; primarily color and exposure corrections. On export, some (my studio favorites) get a further gentle tweak in Alien Skin Exposure 10. And a few more get polished within Photoshop.  

I haven’t used much of the Lightroom’s preset capability in a while, so I was interested to explore the Sleeklens presets when they asked me to do a review of their Forever Thine Wedding Workflow.

Their Forever Thine collection includes Lightroom presets and brushes.  And oh was I excited to play with the brushes.  Brushes, radial and graduated filters are some of my favorite LR features. They also offer an editing service if you're ready to outsource. There's more than just wedding presets. Check out the Lightroom presets here

Forever Thine Wedding Workflow Presets

There are a lot of presets!  Going through all those presets, there were a handful that I immediately was drawn to:

At The Chapel, Pastel Tone 1, Pastel Tone 2, Gone With The Wind, Cindy, Grace, Helen, Serafina, Valentine’s Story, New Girl In Town, Black & White: Clean, Old School, Stardust

Many of these presets are too heavy for my editing style.  It took me a while to go through them all and learn what I liked like and how to apply them.  What’s great is that they can be tweaked to your needs - and you can save the modified presets as you like.   Used judiciously, they are a great addition to my LR workflow.  And to be fair I use about the same minimal amount of Alien Skin filters. 

In a recent website review I did, it was pointed out that the unification of wedding images are more challenging that the engagement images - because over the course of the day and the season and the venue choice lighting varies so dramatically.  I am showing here some examples from a wedding I shot last fall at the BC Club. 

Forever Thine Wedding Workflow Brushes

The brushes are awesome.  Wedding specific, there’s one that brings down the highlights on a wedding dress. Which is so needed.  This allows you to fine tune the image is smaller sections.  I love this feature of Lightroom. 


Like any addition or change to a set routine, there’s a learning curve. Here's my first go at using the Sleeklens Wedding Workflow.  

hilton boston faneuil hall wedding photographer getting ready

hilton boston faneuil hall wedding photographer getting ready

Presets: Exposure -1, black soft vignette, reduce yellow tone.

Brushes: reduce highlights, fix under exposure

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Presets: At the Chapel, Open Shadows, Reduce Yellow Tones.

Brush: Bright Wedding Dress

sooc first look hilton boston faneuil hall ring detail

sooc first look hilton boston faneuil hall ring detail

Presets: Best Man, Black Heavy 2.  

Brushes: Sharpen Face (on diamond)

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Presets: Open Shadows, Black Soft 2.

Brushes: Reduce Highlights, Define Hair, Fix Under Exposure

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Presets: At the Chapel. Brushes: Reduce Highlights

boston city hall wedding rain photography father daughter ceremony

boston city hall wedding rain photography father daughter ceremony

Presets: At The Chapel, Low Contrast

boston city hall wedding rain photography father daughter ceremony

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Presets: Open Shadows, Close highlights, Reduce Green. Brushes: Fix Underexposure

sooc horah dance bc club boston wedding photography

sooc horah dance bc club boston wedding photography

Presets: Close Highlights, Open Shadows, Sharpen

A suggestion for importing: Create separate folder for each of the Forever Thine preset categories.  The ones I found myself going back to were All in One, Color Correct, Exposure, Polish and Vignette. 

Exploring and playing around in LR with the Forever Thine presets, I found many of the basic adjustment presets to be very useful.  The included brushes, which can also be used for the radial and graduated filters, are wonderful.  The price is worth it for these brushes alone.