For those who don’t know, we’ve been looking for a Thomas & Friends train set for our son these past few months now. I suppose we felt somewhat guilty that his ghetto train set from IKEA was falling apart, despite the fact we’d crazy glued half the parts together (along with a healthy serving of TWO rolls of industrial strength tape). There’s also something about watching my kid getting bullied by the bigger kids (whom I may add, were raised by wolves) at the neighborhood Barnes and Noble that makes me want to buy all the frigg’n trains in the universe for him.

We held the purchase off for quite some time; this had nothing to do with model parenting principles, but because the train sets were so frigg’n expensive! $300 JUST for the table? And then another $400 for the tracks and train? Thomas and his friends are on the pipe!

Fast forward to this past weekend, we found out Lil Monster was invited to his BFF’s birthday party next door. We left Toys R Us with a Space Edition Woody (from Toy Story) for the birthday boy…AND A BRAND SPANKING NEW TRAIN SET FOR OUR LIL MONSTER! Though it wasn’t the “real” Thomas train set, we’re hoping he doesn’t realize this until he reaches puberty :). And to facilitate this facade a little bit further, we bought him some legit Thomas trains to go with this pretty awesome knock-off :).

Tada! Pretty hard core knock-off if you ask me. Took me a whole 2 hours to put together!

Aiden plays with his new train set.

The legit trains fit on these tracks, SCORE!

Hiro goes through a bridge.

Of course we got Lil Monster an Asian train (that’s Hiro, for the uninitiated).

Percy sits under a crank.

Despite his new trains, our son still loves his Percy. Oh well :).

Aiden plays with his new train set.

We love this kid so stink’n much. Sure, we might not be able to get him the best of the best of the best of everything (not at the moment, anyway), but we’ll work our butts off to get him pretty darn close :).

Cheers :)

Ben & Karis

To demonstrate how much I love my fellow readers and clients alike, I’m writing this post amidst a flurry of construction work that is going on around me while our Lil Monster’s passed out in bed after a short, harrowing, heart-breaking ordeal at the emergency room (he’s fine now though!). But for now, allow me to present to you guys the beautiful Hae-Yoon and the not-too-shabby Bernard, who wed this Spring on the sprawling grounds of Snug Harbor in Staten Island. We were oh-so-happy to be there on their special day, but oh-so-sad that our photography adventures had finally come to its conclusion!

Hae Yoon and Bernard get ready at their apartment on their wedding day at Snug Harbor in Staten Island. Captured by awesome New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Let me tell you why Bernard is so awesome:
(1) He’s wearing jammy-pants with Family Guy characters on them.
(2) He’s drinking Dunkin Donuts while doing so.

Hae-Yoon and Bernard

So here’s the skinny on the bunny rabbit with the wings in the background: Bernard has a very particular skill set which allows him to create stuffed animals…for his darling new wife, of course. We had brought it along for our engagement session just a few months prior, but we totally forgot and left this poor fella in the car. Build-a-Bear, you cant eat Bernard’s shorts (which I’m sure also has Family Guy characters printed on them).

The groom gestures towards the camera on his wedding day. Captured by awesome New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Sans Family Guy house clothes :).

Bridesmaid gets ready before Hae Yoon and Bernards wedding day at Snug Harbor in Staten Island. Captured by awesome NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Bride puts on her shoes on her wedding day at Snug Harbor in Staten Island. Captured by awesome New York City wedding photographer.

Bridesmaids help bride into dress on her wedding day at Snug Harbor in Staten Island. Captured by awesome New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Bride checks herself in the mirror on her wedding day at Snug Harbor, Staten Island. Captured by awesome New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

String trio plays for the wedding ceremony of Hae Yoon and Bernard at Snug Harbor, Staten Island. Captured by awesome New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Hae Yoon and Bernard after their wedding ceremony at Snug Harbor in Staten Island. Captured by New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Bride and groom share a kiss under her veil in Snug Harbor, Staten Island. Captured by New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Might I add, she had a 20 foot veil? Holy moly, that thing was wazoonks long!

Bride and groom

Best man makes a toast at Hae Yoon and Bernard Maid of Honor makes a toast to Hae Yoon and Bernard at their reception in Snug Harbor, Staten Island. Captured by awesome New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Bride reacts during the speeches at her wedding in Snug Harbor, Staten Island. Captured by New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau. Bride nearly falls out of her seat during speeches at her wedding at Snug Harbor, Staten Island. Captured by awesome New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

If you guys heard these speeches, you would be falling out of your chairs too :).

Groom dances with bride during their reception at Snug Harbor, Staten Island. Captured by New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Bride dances with her father during their father-daughter dance at Snug Harbor, Staten Island. Captured by New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

I almost slipped while capturing this shot…on my own tears.

Groom dances with his mother during the mother-son dance at Snug Harbor, Staten Island. Captured by New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Wedding cake for Hae Yoon and Bernard Bouquet toss during reception at Snug Harbor, Staten Island. Captured by New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Bridal party cheers during speeches at Snug Harbor, Staten Island. Captured by New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Ceremony, Cocktail & Reception :: Snug Harbor in Staten Island, NY
Make-up :: Seong Hee Park
Hair :: Kakaboka
Band & MC:: Jerry Costanzo

Thanks again Hae-Yoon and Bernard. We wish you guys a lifetime of happiness!

It’s been a crazy Monday in our neck of the woods. Hope yours is a little bit less-crazy :).

Ben

Invitations to Lauren and Josh

Whenever wedding guests discover that I’m a non-local, there’s a high probability they’ll ask if I enjoy shooting destination weddings. I can’t help but wonder if they’re asking me a trick question because I don’t want to appear cynically ungrateful for all their generous hospitality, nor would I want to appear like I’m laying in a hammock and sipping margaritas all day while on the clients’ dime :). But the short (and true) answer is “yes, of course”, but that’s because I genuinely enjoy what I do…period. My clients could be hosting their parties inside a chicken factory in Alaska while serving up boxed champagne and I would still be having a fantabulous time. Seriously.

Workers at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa prepare for Lauren & Justin

But of course, I don’t mind the blue skies with sand and surf between my toes either.
Hammocks and margaritas I can do another time :).

Lauren and Justin

Though I’m no stranger to tropical destinations, Anguilla was my very first trip to any Caribbean island. I reassured Lauren and Justin the same way I reassure all my clients: if I’m able to create images with my clients while inside a Brooklyn garbage alleyway, my chances are pretty good inside a 5-star venue/resort :). They appreciated my candor (and inexplicable sense of humor, I’m sure), and soon found myself hopping on a plane to capture their special day.

Groom gets ready in front of a mirror before his wedding ceremony at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Groom receives a gift from his future wife before their wedding ceremony at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Mother of the bride helps her daughter into her dress on her wedding day at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Friends and family of bride look on as she puts on her dress. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Bride poses for her portraits on her wedding day at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau. Bride poses for her portraits on her wedding day at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Shoe box for wedding guests at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Guitarist playing for wedding ceremony at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Sun sets over a wedding ceremony at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Bride and daughter on their wedding day at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Groom cries during the procession at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Bride and groom exchange vows during their wedding ceremony at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Bride smiles during her wedding ceremony at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Not a dry eye on the island…or in my office for that matter as I’m writing this :).

Sun sets over reception for Lauren and Justin

But enough with the waterworks, let’s get this party started!

Dessert spread at Lauren and Justin

I have to say, with a name like CuisinArt, I was hardly surprised when they had this gorgeous spread of yummilicious-ness. NOM! NOM! NOM!

Wedding guests share a toast with the groom at  CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

The beginning of many great things to come :).

Justin dances during the reception of his wedding at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Bride reaches out to guests during her reception at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Groom dances with his mom during his reception at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Groom hugs his mom during his reception at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Chair dance for bride and groom during their reception at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Brother of groom makes a speech during a wedding at the CuisinArt Resort Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Not sure what he said, but this happened shortly thereafter.

Groom jumps into pool during his reception at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Love it.

Awesome New York & New Jersey Wedding Photographer Ben Lau with two brides!

It’s not every day I get to take a photo with TWO of my brides! Bee-yoo-tiful!

Guests take their picture with awesome New Jersey wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Sometimes guests feel bad that I’m never in any of the pictures.
I guess this’ll do :).

Bride and groom dance during their reception in their private villa at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean destination wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Wow, what can I say? Lauren and Justin, thank you for sharing your wonderfully awesome day with yours truly. The two of you have been so incredibly generous and kind throughout my stay, and I couldn’t have asked for a better couple to work with. We wish you two many, many years of love, laughter and happiness. As for the rest of you, HAPPY FRIDAY! We’ve got some serious catching up to do after I’ve gone M.I.A for almost two weeks. I wish I had a glamorous busy lifestyle to blame for my absence, but it’s hardly that sexy at all :). We’re moving into a bigger office space this weekend, so I hope to share those photos with you guys next week!

One love :)

Ben

So I spent most of Memorial Day in a catatonic state in my son’s room, lying face down on his foam play-mat in a drooling stupor – an expected by-product of the Spring wedding season. But quite honestly, I loved every, single minute of it. Sure, the lap-top that ran our photo booth crashed one day before wedding #1, but we got that quickly sorted out (ie. frantic purchase of new laptop shortly after drop-kicking the old one). Then my secondary camera nose-dived onto the ground during wedding #2, but thankfully the filter was our only casualty. So much had happened in those 48 hours that I was practically bullet-proof by the time wedding #3 rolled around. But of course, all three weddings carried on as usual…because we’re clearly just that awesome :).

There is a silver lining to all of this, aside from surviving these past two weeks and emerging relatively unscathed. I got two new cameras! Feast your eyes on these two delicious specimens of awesomeness:

While I’m tempted to ditch my 36MP monstrosity at weddings and opt for this more compact, lightweight 3MP alternative,
I’m going to err on the side of caution on this one :).

When my father joined the 21st century by going digital, his 35mm film cameras fell by the wayside. As I’ve gone through several upgrades to my gear these past few years, he’d been eyeing all of my doodads – especially since my brother casually suggested that I wasn’t using them anymore (gee thanks…). But for clarification’s sake (and we can chalk it up to my Chinese genes), none of my gear ever goes to waste and I’d squeeze the last bit of utility out of them till they burn into the ground :). Apparently, this apple didn’t fall too far from its tree because my dad’s had this camera for well over 30 years…and this sucker still works. It’s a cosmetic nightmare, but I’m absolutely amazed that this thing still works. Crazy!

I knew my dad had this guy stashed away somewhere, and when I asked him about it – he happily offered to trade this gem for one of my old battery grips. You’re kidding me, right? Needless to say, I ended up buying him a new one instead. It was the least I could do :).

Hope you guys had a great Memorial Day weekend! We now return to our regularly scheduled programming!

Ben

PS. Upon receipt of aforementioned battery grip, my dad unceremoniously put it back in its box and stored it away into his mystery storage area. Go fig.

I wish I had paid more attention in high school french, instead of being such a delinquent trouble-maker. Three years of french, and the only thing I had to show for it was my (in)ability to order a hot dog at a corner bistro in Paris. Shame on me :).

Karis of Ben Lau Photography sits inside a restaurant in Montreal.
The last time I visited Canada was in 2001: Niagara Falls for our family Christmas vacation. My lips were chapped for nearly three months. A visit in the late spring however, has been an entirely pleasant experience.

Old Montreal, captured by New York City Wedding Photographer Ben Lau.

Per the bride’s request, we visited Old Montreal in preparation for the bridal session on her wedding day.
Scouting is one of the most favorite parts of my job :).

Old Montreal. Captured by awesome New York City Wedding Photographer Ben Lau.

I’ve always wanted to photograph a solitary red bicycle on a street corner. Thank you, Montreal :).

Old Montreal, captured by awesome New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Listen lady. If you don’t see me with my gimungo camera trying to take a picture for the last 15 minutes, you got yourself a one-way ticket to my blog :). On a slightly different note, I loved everything about this street. We don’t get many cobblestone streets in New York City that are clean with graffiti-less walls.

Old Montreal. Captured by New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Not sure what I loved more – the narrow, winding, cobblestone streets, or the architectural splendor that surrounded us.

Old Montreal. Captured by awesome New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

I’ve always wanted to have one of my brides running around a fountain with her soon-to-be husband, while a flock of pigeons flew off in a confused chatter. We were going to totally rock these bridal portraits!

Cup of coffee in Old Montreal. Captured by New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

But nevertheless, we never did make it to Old Montreal on the wedding day afterall :). Lesson learned? There’s no such thing as ever being too over-prepared for your clients, especially when it comes to scouting locations. Wedding days are living, breathing, and malleable events that have minds of their own. We ended up doing their portraits elsewhere, but I’m a firm believer that spontaneity is the spice of life. Then of course, there’s another positive to come out of this: my next Montreal bride (and groom) are going to have some pretty frigg’n awesome locations for their bridal portraits :).