Our first impressions of Alexis and Mike came long before we ever met them in person. Mike was a guy who (unbeknownst to him, until now…probably) took a sizable chunk out of my 2012/2013 availabilities simply by being my #1 fan (well actually, there’s another in their circle – but we’ll meet her in another post in the very near future!). We currently have 5 couples (and counting!) who can trace their origins back to Mike and Alexis, and we are SO incredibly honored and humbled by this group of friends and family’s love, support and appreciation for our work. I’m not sure which is more amazing though: the fact that Mike was able to pull up my page on his phone during the wee hours of New Years Day (and people actually remembered), or the fact he showed up to our first meeting after having extracted FIVE of his wisdom teeth just the day prior. You’ve gotta love a guy with all that heart, and we send all that love right back atchas.

Alexis and Mike share a kiss inside a laundromat during their engagement session with awesome NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau on Long Beach Island.

Scratch that. What’s even more amazing than all of the above is that we actually pulled off this shot in ONE TAKE.
We I immediately broke out into the Carlton Dance afterwards.

Alexis and Mike sit outside a green wall with yellow door in Long Beach Island with awesome NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

We drove around all over town and finally fell upon this spot by accident, and we love happy accidents almost as much as Bob Ross.

Mike and Alexis pose against a wall in their Yankee jerseys during their engagement session on Long Beach Island with awesome NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

I should also mention, it was also Mike’s birthday when we did this session.

Alexis grabs Mike

Happy Birthday Mike, and you’re welcome :).

Alexis lays her head on Mike

We’ve heard so many great things about Long Beach Island (our regular beach is actually where Snooki and The Situation resides).
Long Beach Island is very nice indeed. We may have to bring the Lil Monster out the next time we come here :).

Alexis and Mike play on the beach during their engagement session with NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau. Mike and Alexis play on the beach during their engagement session with awesome NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Mike and Alexis pose on the beach during their engagement session with awesome NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Alexis hugs Mike on the beach during their engagement session with awesome NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau on Long Beach Island.

One of my favorite catches from this weekend :).

Alexis and Mike ride their bikes by the beach during their engagement session with awesome NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Bikes with wicker baskets are pretty cool.

A bike parked on the side of the road during an engagement session on Long Beach Island with awesome NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau. Mike and Alexis ride a bike during their engagement session on Long Beach Island with awesome NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Alexis and Mike ride off during their engagement session with awesome NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.
Alexis and Mike were just so fabulously awesome. The midday sun had the potential to make this a very difficult session, but these two lovebirds pulled it off with flying colors. Congratulations to the both of you, and we can’t wait to see you guys again in a few months!

In other news, Summer’s (unofficially) here! Looks like we’ll be heading down (to) the shore all summer (90% work, 10% play). What do you folks have planned?

Happy Monday, ya’ll,

Ben & Karis

  • Lauren Carline - Lexi and Mike, these pictures look amazing!! Can’t wait ti the wedding, it will be beautiful!!ReplyCancel

When one thinks of country weddings, New Jersey usually isn’t at the top of that list. But truth be told, Yulan and Herbie’s wedding at Mountain Lakes House came pretty darn close. This old country house sat on a quiet nature preserve which featured a quiet lake with it’s own resident geese family. No chandeliers. No spiral staircases. Nothing but a simple, no-frills celebration of love between two individuals who are absolutely enamored with one another. Allow me to share a sneak peek of their special day!

Groom checks himself as he prepares on his wedding at the Mountain Lakes House in Princeton, NJ. Captured by awesome New Jersey wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Bride prepares her headpiece on her wedding day at the Mountain Lakes House in Princeton, NJ. Captured by awesome New Jersey wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Groom leads his bride into a field of grass on their wedding day in Princeton, NJ. Captured by awesome NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Bride and groom share a kiss in a field of trees on their wedding day in Princeton, NJ. Captured by awesome NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Another spontaneous drive-by which yielded an amazing backdrop for this awesome couple.

Bride and groom pose in their photobooth at their wedding at the Mountain Lakes House in Princeton, NJ. Captured by awesome New Jersey wedding photographer Ben Lau.

What’s this? A photo booth? Say it isn’t so!

Stay tuned folks. There’s more where that came from :). Hope you guys have a wonderful weekend!

Macaroni and cheeeeeeeese,

Ben & Karis

New Jersey Wedding Photographer Ben Lau at work on Long Beach Island, NJ.

Not long ago, we were driving along an empty road on Long Beach Island, seeking inspiration for an engagement session (which was in-progress at the time) when we found ourselves with a bit of photographer’s block. We didn’t have the time to scout the area beforehand and it wasn’t like any kind of environment we’d ever shot in, but we welcomed the challenge with open arms anyway. I remember the sun bearing down on us, with nothing but blocks (and blocks) of vacation homes in our immediate vicinity. Where the heck were we going to shoot? Certainly, heading to the beach would’ve been the obvious choice, but of course that would’ve been too easy :).

Once upon I time, I had a penchant for the unusual, off-beat and border-line restricted (fences? what fences?) back-drops for my clients. I still occasionally partake in those adventures to some degree, because that’s what my clients hire me for: my unusual and off-beat vision for their special day (even if it means hopping some fences). And I would be lying if I said that every one of my semi-loitering/trespassing attempts bore delicious feasts for everyone’s eyes. The true reality is that trial-and-error still takes place, even while the sessions are in-progress. I will also be the first to admit that I’ve taken my fair share of crappy photos, despite all the trouble we go through with getting into places where we’re not supposed to be. But we all do it anyway – because there’s still that chance the photo will come out jaw-dropping-ly amazing, and pre-visualization is meaningless without a shutter click.

The truth is this: it’s rather difficult to screw up a shot when you’re surrounded by giant chandeliers. It’s also pretty hard to screw up a shot when you’re surrounded by marvelous architecture. Same thing goes for old abandoned buildings. But those aren’t my everyday environments. This means I have to work with whatever raw materials I have available, even if it’s a stack of pipes in the middle of nowhere :).

I do have my preferences though, especially as a natural light photographer.

We were looking for a safe, clean place. It didn’t need to be glamorous, but it needed to be accessible and in the shade/indoors to avoid harsh shadows and my clients squinting/scowling at me in all their images. We preferred as little distractions as possible. No trash cans, funny smells, cars and/or gawkers who would serve no higher purpose in life than to break my subjects’ focus. If it featured pretty shapes, patterns and colors, even better. All these were the things were going through our minds while we were chugging along the empty boulevard that morning at 35 miles per hour.

Then suddenly, something caught our eyes and we both started banging on the back of their seats – our not-so-subtle way of letting them know we’d found what we were looking for. Poor couple was only 30 minutes into their engagement session :).

Alexis and Mike sit on a stack of poles during their engagement session on Long Beach Island, NJ with awesome New Jersey Wedding Photographer Ben Lau.
What we’ve discovered is that the strongest compositions are the ones that come naturally (we really, really tried with the first image – but sometimes, things don’t work out as you planned). If the comfort is there, those images will always trump the pose-y shots in front of giant chandeliers and awe-inspiring architecture (which I’m also occasionally guilty of doing, upon request). When I’m scouting, I’m no longer looking for landmarks and environments that will take any attention away from the couple, but rather environments that will serve as a relatively clean palette in order to draw our focus towards the couple. This includes walls, trees and yes, even stacks of PVC pipes. I explain to my clients that I generally shoot wide open, which helps us smooth out any distractions that don’t really “belong” in the picture anyway. That being said, it doesn’t really matter where we shoot, because the focus will always be just the couple and the lovey-dovey bliss they show on their faces :).

We want to thank Alexis and Mike for being such great sports during their engagement session. We’ll be seeing more of them in an upcoming post!

Keep those camera’s clicking,

Ben & Karis

Rob poses along a barn wall during his engagement session with awesome NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau. Kelly poses along a barn wall during her engagement session in NJ wine country with awesome central New Jersey wedding photographer Ben Lau.

I remember meeting these two lovebirds one rainy evening not long ago. I had arrived early for our meeting at a local bookstore chain, and settled in with my coffee while I watched tiny droplets form on the giant windows next to me. It’s a similar affair for most of my week nights when I’m not shooting, conjuring my plans for world domination of the wedding photography industry, while tucking myself quietly between the maternity and monster truck sections of the magazine racks.

Cat sits by a barn wall during Kelly & Rob

The cafe was filled with the usual types: studious students, couples on their first dates, retirees looking for a quiet place to read their papers along with other wedding photographers. Wait. Other wedding photographers? Of course, Central New Jersey is filled with them, to the brim actually :). How was Kelly & Rob ever going to find me in this sea of leather bound albums and swipe-y iPad action going on around me?

Kelly and Rob pose in a vast field of tall grass during their engagement session in NJ Wine Country with awesome Central NJ Wedding Photographer Ben Lau.

I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Are you Ben? You look kinda wedding-photographer-y”
Well, who am I to argue with such an astute observation :).

Kelly and Rob share a kiss in the vineyards during their engagement session in NJ wine country. Captured by awesome Central NJ Wedding Photographer Ben Lau.

After a brainstorming session that lasted a couple of weeks, we decided to trek across New Jersey wine country for Kelly & Rob’s engagement session. Wait, NJ has a wine country? You better believe it :). Karis and I are huge wine drinkers (though not so much at the moment – involuntary sympathy sobriety on the account of #2 on the way), so we felt totally at home with the open country. It was a nice change of scenery from the urban jungle of New York City.

Kelly and Rob share a kiss in a NJ winery during their engagement session with awesome Central NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Kelly lays her head on Rob during their engagement session in NJ wine country with awesome Central NJ Wedding Photographer Ben Lau.

Kelly and Rob pose for the engagement session in NJ wine country with awesome central NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

How cute are these two?

Kelly and Rob pose for their engagement pictures in NJ wine country with awesome Central NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Kelly and Rob play in a field during their engagement session in NJ wine country with awesome Central NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

When we tired ourselves in the open fields, we took a spontaneous drive around the country side.

Kelly and Rob pose inside the woods during their engagement session with Central NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Kelly and Rob sit in front of an old garage during their engagement session in Central NJ with awesome New Jersey wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Rob and Kelly jump in the air for their engagement session in Central NJ. Captured by awesome NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

When couples ask me if they could squeeze in a quick jumping shot for their engagement session, my answer will always be an emphatic “HEEEEYLLZ YEAAAH!” Many thanks to Hopewell Valley Vineyards for their kindness and generosity, and a big “WOO HOO!” to one of our newest couples to take the plunge this year with Ben Lau in attendance. We are so incredibly honored to be capturing Kelly and Rob’s special day. Cheers to many more jumping pictures in your futures :).

(Eat,) Drink and be married!

Ben

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