I’ll start off with a little history on me. I’m a second generation photographer. My father started the business over 30 years ago and when I was 11 years old I started going to weddings and shooting with him. I guess you can say photography is literately in my blood. I began taking photography extremely serious at the age of 19 and never looked back. As I grew our business grew. Now ten years later at the age of 29 I’m still doing what I love. I’ve managed to keep our old photography business very young and fresh. My father who I refer to on my blog as “Big Joe” is still shooting weddings too. I don’t like to call myself a “wedding photographer” but rather a photographer who happens to photograph people in love. Maybe it sounds sappy or corny but that’s what I do.

One of my favorite things to shoot are engagement sessions. I enjoy these because as a photographer I get to know my clients. Sure by wedding day I’ve exchanged countless emails and phone conversations, however spending an hour to an hour and a half photographing my clients and having fun really breaks the ice. By the end of an engagement session I feel like we’re old friends.

This was down in the financial district in NYC this past July..

Here is a result of what I was capturing..

Picking a location for an engagement session is always fun. With my sessions I like to shoot in different locations rather then a typical downtown city look. Don’t get me wrong, I do those all the time too. However if I can make them different I’m all over that. Before we choose where we’re going to shoot, I need to know why. Is this location relevant to the couple? For example I’ve shot in Fenway Park but if they were Yankee fans that probably wouldn’t have worked. I’ve shot at The Historic Saratoga Race Course, a fair and on the Brooklyn Bridge. Choosing locations like this allows me to give my clients unique images that their other engaged friends probably won’t have.

This was one of my favorite engagement sessions of all time. Shooting in Fenway Park in Boston, MA was just awesome! The Red Sox were on the road and there was actually a PHISH concert going on that evening. The groom Alex, used to work for the Red Sox and had a connection and got us into the park for a couple hours. It was us and PHISH sound checking while we shot. It was pretty neat having live music to shoot to.

If you look closely you can see them actually playing on the monitor.

I’ll often share behind the scene shots like this on my blog. My viewers love this stuff.

The result.

One more of my favorites from this session.

This was shot at a local summer fair. I just love the color. I have a metallic print from Miller’s Lab that this color just screams off of!

In Saratoga Springs we have a 147 year old horse racing track. Saratoga Race Course was a blast to shoot at.

Last but not least, I shot an engagement session on the Brooklyn Bridge. I know maybe this is more of a common location however it was the most difficult location to shoot at. There were people coming at me in all directions and I had to be patient for it to pay off.

After love comes marriage right? Our wedding photography approach is fun and simple. I don’t like to jeopardize the day or make it about me what so ever. Our clients hire us for that reason. Aside from liking our style, reputation and reliability, they love our personality. I have a go-with-the-flow approach on wedding day. Although I guess I say that with caution because I’m not one of those photographers that doesn’t take charge or speak when needed. We know the shots we need to get and let the rest kinda happen. I think that’s why our images have a natural look.

At every wedding I have to get a token shot. I like to think of it as the couples icon from their wedding day. These are the images people hire us to get. My requirements for this token shot is bride and groom in the image, natural light only, unique and real. Here are a few favorites from the 2010 wedding season.

Something else I do at most of my weddings is the Elario Photo Booth. It’s not a “booth” per say… It’s simply a backdrop setup that allows for fun, loose and interesting party shots. I exclusively use drop it MODERN backdrops. Why? Well for starters they are totally unique and different. I could setup a white seamless but then my photo booth would look like everyone else’s. These backdrops allow me to have a different look that all my clients just love. I have created a behind the scene’s video showing how exactly I do this setup.

I’d like to thank Scott Kelby for this huge opportunity to be a guest blogger. I enjoy sharing information with the world. Most importantly I love what I do.

Peace,
JP

blog-site: joeelariophotography.com
twitter: @jpelario
facebook: facebook.com/elario
photo lab: millerslab.com
backdrops: blog.dropitmodern.com