I love traveling, almost as much as I love photography. Despite all the stamps I’ve accumulated in my passport, I’ve always had this lingering fear that I won’t make it past customs one of these days. There’s a myth that suggests the benefits of following Asian people during the security screen, mostly because we generally check all our luggage and we possess this strange affinity for slip-on shoes. Not this Asian guy – when the conveyor belt stops during the security screening, they’re looking at all that metal and glassware jammed into my bags (it never leaves my sight). Plus, it takes the strength of two elephants to remove just one of Karis’ boots. We totally fail as Asian travelers.

Wedding dress hangs in the room before Lauren and Justin

Most recently, I traveled to Anguilla for Lauren and Justin’s wedding, whose rehearsal dinner we recently showcased (fish tacos, yum!). Needless to say, I got there in one peace without much incident :).

Lauren and Justin get married on the beaches of Anguilla at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa. Captured by Caribbean Destination Wedding Photographer Ben Lau.

Bride and Groom pose for their bridal portraits at the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. Captured by Caribbean Destination Wedding Photographer Ben Lau.

Dessert table at Lauren and Justin

Lauren and Justin

Someone jumps into the pool during Lauren and Justin

The last one’s not my sharpest captures of the night, but certainly one of my favorites :).

With all of these sneak peeks, I promise you there’s a deluge of full posts coming your way. You’ve been warned, my friends! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and wish us luck on our adventures in Montreal this weekend! Can’t wait!

Kelly blows on dandelions during her engagement session in Hunterdon, NJ. Captured by awesome NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Finding yourself in a field of wishes, waiting to be made.

Happy Thursday folks :).

We kick off the Spring 2012 wedding season with the beautiful Hae-Yoon and the not-too-shabby Bernard on the gorgeous 83 acre grounds of Snug Harbor. Just a week prior to their wedding, we had scouted the area; the trees were still bare and the air was still crisp, remnants of a winter we New Yorkers/New Jersey-ers never had and wasn’t quite ready to go away. Whether by sheer luck or divine providence, we were blessed with bountiful sunshine and leaves/foliage/whatnot on Hae-Yoon and Bernard’s wedding day. We couldn’t be happier :).

Bride Hae Yoon looking out of the limo on her wedding day at Snug Harbor. Captured by awesome New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

The gorgeous bride awaits her dashing groom :).

Bride Hae Yoon gets some final touches on her dress before her wedding ceremony at Snug Harbor. Captured by awesome New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

One of my favorite catches on their wedding day.

Bride Hae Yoon and Groom Bernard share a kiss on a bridge in the Chinese Scholar Garden at Snug Harbor on their wedding day. Captured by awesome New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Inside the Chinese Scholar Garden at Snug Harbor. We absolutely LOVE IT.

Bride and groom make a getaway after their wedding ceremony at Snug Harbor in Staten Island. Captured by awesome New York Wedding Photographer Ben Lau.

Thank goodness those leaves came right on time, lest we have ourselves a Tim Burton-esque type of getaway.

Huh?  What?  That’s it?

Of course not!

Stay tuned, friends :).

~ Ben & Karis

When Lisa and Kai mentioned they wanted to have their session in Williamsburg, I was absolutely thrilled. In my mind, I envisioned Lisa and Kai in a warm embrace as a downpour of skittles rained down from the sky…all while a paintball war was being waged around them. You guys will have to believe me when I say this: it was probably by far, the most colorful engagement session I had ever done. Plus, it never hurts when you have blue skies and miles of smiles all around :).

Lisa and Kai pose in front of a graffiti wall during their engagement session in Williamsburg with awesome New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Lisa is probably one of the most organized brides I’ve ever met. She had notated every street corner that struck her fancy (on a previous scouting mission), which saved us a whole bunch of time just scouring each street, block by block. AWESOME.

Lisa and Kai share a kiss in the midday sun during their engagement session in Williamsburg with awesome New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Our start time was around lunch time, which is not always ideal for lighting. But we made it work :).

Lisa and Kai embrace on a pier with the NYC skyline in the background during their engagement session in Williamsburg with awesome New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

LOVE. IT.

Lisa and Kai kiss under a four-eyed Dumbo during their engagement session in Williamsburg, NY with awesome NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau. Lisa and Kai share a kiss outside Roebling Tea room during their engagement session in Williamsburg with awesome New York City wedding photographer Ben Lau.

 

Based on my interpretation, what they’re saying is that Williamsburg is very much like DUMBO, but everyone is bespectacled (four-eyes…get it? har-har) and wielding a can of spray-paint. I would say that’s a pretty accurate assessment, don’t you? *smirk*

Lisa and Kai lean against a rainbow wall during their engagement session in Williamsburg with awesome NYC wedding photographer Ben Lau.

This was as close to raining skittles as we could get :).

Lisa and Kai, thank you so much for stomping around Williamsburg with yours truly. Most importantly, thank you for giving me one of the best jumping photos I’ve ever captured! We hope you enjoy these images, and we look forward to getting you guys in front of our cameras again in a few more months! Congrats again!

~ Ben

Couples pose on the beach during their engagement session with Ben Lau Photography on Long Beach Island, NJ.

When I first got started in wedding photography, I would get all kinds of requests from my brides (grooms would occasionally have some of their own as well). I have, and still do, honor 99% of those requests. This was because I was overjoyed that somebody out there was willing to hire a fella who was just starting out; I was willing to do anything and everything…even if it meant potentially compromising my work in the end.  But of course, I’m no longer starting out and I know better now. I’ve been very fortunate enough that up to this point, my final deliveries have met/exceeded the expectations of our clients. But the thing is, our goal is to exceed client expectations every. single. time.

One of the most common requests that we receive during consultation is: “Can we cut the engagement session?”. Once upon a time, this was a possibility, partially because we didn’t know any better. Now they’re currently included as part of ALL our packages, but there’s a rhyme and reason for this.

It’s not about the images (per se).
I used to offer engagement sessions simply because that’s what I thought clients wanted: extra images to share with their friends and family. Therefore, I shot them like any of my other non-wedding portrait sessions. Of course, the sessions were fun and the photos came out nice. But when we got the clients in front of the cameras again, I noticed something was different; they were easier to shoot and required less direction from me. They knew their cues and exactly how I preferred to shoot, and I knew exactly how to push their buttons (red for “smile”, blue for “Blue Steel”, or pink for “Go Crazy”). This mutual understanding on the wedding day paid back its value in the final images A-THOUSAND-FOLD.

It’s all about the relationship.
Out of all the wedding vendors a bride (and groom) will hire for their wedding day, they will develop the closest and most intimate relationship with their photographers. This is especially true for us because it’s no secret I’m a stage-five clinger the moment we meet for the initial consultation (plus, I think I’m a nice guy…most of the time!). I will literally see EVERY single pore, wrinkle, unshaven hair on the clients after the images are captured over a period of two days, and I don’t think I could possibly get any more intimate than that (not without buying dinner first, at least). My familiarity with my clients along with their physical features, likes/dislikes and personality allows me to portray them in the truest and best light possible. Their comfort with me as their photographer allow those qualities to come out more freely, uninhibited, and sincerely.

It’s about trust.
This is earned when clients receive their final images from the engagement session, and realize my unorthodox methods of photography were all done for a greater good. First encounters (engagement sessions and weddings without engagements) with clients tend to be filled with skepticism because the images are still very abstract. They’ve seen what I can do with other people’s images, but they’re unsure, hesitant, and sometimes even resistant during this first encounter. It’s not until they finally get those images in their hands that they’ll feel confident we’ll be able to deliver the second time around.

Family, friends and guests will know who I am.
There is a 99% chance that most of the guests will have seen the photos from the engagement session, which means I would’ve already had my warm introduction to most of the people on the guest list. While I’d have no problems ordering complete strangers around (because I’m sure they’re all very nice and willing to comply…especially on a wedding day), a warm introduction allows me  to skip 18 spaces filled with giant red hotels and advance directly to Go. With all these formalities out of the way, I’m able to quickly acquire some of my most helpful allies on the wedding day (for family formals, informal group shots, etc – while the bride and groom are you know, busy…getting married!). Group portraits that would’ve taken 2 hours now only takes 15 minutes. Ta-da! Now go enjoy that open bar and delicious-looking hors d’oeuvres!

Of course, every wedding is different, and every couple is different (with the exception that Ben Lau Photography clients are all pretty frigg’n awesome!). Most importantly, nobody ever buys a car without a test drive, and nobody ever buys a home without a walk-through. They’re such gimungo purchases that it’d be foolish to go into those types of commitments without knowing what you’re getting yourself into. Engagement sessions are just as much for the photographers’ benefit as they are for the clients benefit. Everybody wins, and this is why engagement sessions will always be included with ALL our wedding packages. In the end, clients hire us because they enjoy our images which are produced using a very specific formula. Once this formula is broken, its final product may not always be guaranteed.

I hope this helps. If you guys have any more questions, please comment below!

Happy Monday everyone :). I look forward to sharing more of these FAQs with you guys in the future!

~ Ben