Ram

We can’t begin to tell you how excited we are to finally be able to share Katie and Jason’s awesome wedding at the Ram’s Head Inn on Shelter Island. Firstly, we love coming into Long Island. It’s a nice escape from the all busy-ness of suburban life (and a predominantly urban work-environment!). Secondly, we just love this family to bits and pieces. I remember meeting Katie and her extended family on our FIRST meeting in a Williamsburg tea house not that long ago. We talked about Katie and Jason’s wedding plans as they perused my portfolio in great detail. As we mentioned in a previous post, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy to plan a wedding from so far away; we already understood how crucial it was for Katie and her family to ask all the right questions and to meet all the right people while she was in town sporadically over the following months. You could imagine our relief when we found the all-time-favorite-kind-of email in my inbox just a few short hours later, the one where the couples (and family!) had reached a consensus that we’d be a perfect match for their wedding day!

Invitations for Katie and Jason

 A summer wedding at a Long Island Bed & Breakfast? Count us in!

Guests relax on the beach on the morning of Katie and Jason

One of the perks of Ram’s Head Inn are its calm beaches by the bay.
Family friendly? Check!
Soaking in some morning rays before the wedding ceremony? Check!
Sand in the photographer’s shoes? Check 100 x’s!

Father of bride prepares signs for Katie and Jason

Notes with rings from the groom on Katie and Jason Groom preps for his wedding day at the Ram

We were given an honorable mention during speeches, with a query regarding all seemingly random things we were documenting that morning. My future son-in-law is lending me his cufflinks…what’s so significant about that? The answer was quite simple: we were there to document every detail of the entire day, which not only included portraits of the couple, but also the love of family and friends that surrounded them on this momentous occasion. Pictures of flowers, dresses and first dances were all nice and dandy, but when it came down to it, it was the whole act of two families coming together which made this day special.

Bride gets her make-up done on her wedding day at Ram

Flowers for Katie and Jason Guests wear sandals for Katie and Jason

I probably could’ve gotten away with wearing a pair of pink flip-flops, but that would’ve made it double tough for me to chase everyone around :).

Bridal portraits on her wedding day on Shelter Island. Captured by Northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Groom preps for his wedding day at Ram Groom preps for his wedding day at Ram

Some of my favorite groom prep shots :).

  Groom with his father and brother on his wedding day at Ram

Groom sheds tears during his wedding on Shelter Island. Captured by Northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Someone’s always cutting onions when I’m shooting a wedding ceremony. Not sure what the deal is :).

Bridesmaid smiles during a wedding ceremony on Shelter Island. Captured by Northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Bride and groom make their grand exit after their wedding ceremony on Shelter Island. Captured by Northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Bride and groom share a kiss outside the chapel on their wedding day on Shelter Island, NY. Captured by Northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Luggage tag table place cards for Katie and Jason

Hands down, one of the coolest table-seating systems I’ve ever documented.

Sparklers for the guest of Katie and Jason

That’s some serious Cost-Co quantity of sparklers we got there! Surprisingly, all were gone in a matter of 30 minutes!

Brother in law of the bride teaches young boy how to use a camera on her wedding day on Shelter Island, NY. Captured by Northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

This…brings a tear to my eye :).

Group photo on Katie and Jason Father of the bride makes a speech on Katie and Jason Brother of the groom makes a speech on Katie and Jason Bridesmaids make a speech on Katie and Jason

Katie and Jason laugh during speeches during their wedding reception at Ram

I’m going to nominate this photo for “Best of Laughing-During-Speeches” for my 2012 Ben Lau Photography awards :).
The fact that we actually have enough for a contest means we’re totally booking the right kind of clients!

First dance between bride and groom on their wedding day on Shelter Island, NY. Captured by Northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau. Father and daughter dance on Katie and Jason Mother and son dance on Katie and Jason Guests dance during Katie and Jason Guests dance during Katie and Jason Guests dance during Katie and Jason Guests dance during Katie and Jason Guests dance during Katie and Jason Guests dance during Katie and Jason Guests dance during Katie and Jason Guests dance during Katie and Jason Katie and Jason poses for a photo with Ben Lau during their wedding reception at Ram

You can’t begin to imagine how hard it was to do this shot with 10 lbs of camera and no live-view :).

This celebration wouldn’t have been possible without the help of these wonderful people.

Ceremony : : Union Chapel on the Grove
Reception : : Ram’s Head Inn
Gown : : Cymbeline, Paris
Jewelry : : Diamond Shop in Antwerp, Belgium
Hair : : Vera Barron
Make Up : : Vera Barron
Grooms Attire : : Austin Reed, London
DJ/Entertainment : : DJ Andy Entertainment
Photo Booth : : DIY
Catering : : Ram’s Head Inn
Cake : : Ram’s Head Inn
Floral : : Kimjon Designs
Favors : : DIY – Mother of Bride
Stationery : : Village Invites, NYC
Secondary Photography : : MJ Park

Bride and groom portraits at Ram

Congratulations to the both of you, Katie and Jason.
We were so incredibly honored to capture your beautiful day, and we wish you two many, many years of happiness!

As for us here at Ben Lau Photography, we don’t even know what day of the week it is, much less our own names.
Wedding season + two kids in the house = House full of zombies (though Karis lets me occasionally sleep in on Mondays!)

We’ve got a whole lot more in store for you. Stay tuned for more!

Much love,

Ben & Karis

At least once a month, we’ll receive an inquiry that will sound something like this:

Hi Ben,

We really love your work. But we’re wondering if your packages include the raw files. We’re [graphic designers/photographers/creative people], and we’d like to process the images ourselves. We have all the necessary programs to do this, so if you could give us ALL the images from your day, that would be great too. Is this something we can do?

Sincerely,

Graphic Designer/Photographer/Creative Person

Asking for raw beef patties from a burger place is like asking for raw files from your photographer!

Now imagine going into your local McDonalds and asking for two raw beef patties, a whole head of lettuce, and two slices of bread. Doesn’t make sense, does it? That’s because it’s not what they do. They sell fully cooked burgers, millions and millions of them, in fact. Now let’s say you found a burger restaurant that did sell you those two raw beef patties, would it make sense to then ask for the cow? Probably not :).

It’s a bit unorthodox for customers/clients/patrons to purchase something up the supply/production chain simply because they have the ability to produce a certain good/service themselves. By this logic, Morimoto would never dine at any sushi restaurant other than his own. This would also imply that Martha Stewart never buys finished window curtains either. While neither of these postulations are likely true, we can probably assume that these folks go out and buy stuff anyway – simply because they can appreciate it when someone else does it for them. Just because I’m a pretty good cheeseburger chef doesn’t necessarily mean I can’t go out to enjoy a Big Mac, does it?

To be fair, there are probably steak restaurants that would happily sell you a 32 oz. raw slab of steak, just as there are probably wedding photographers who would be willing to put together shoot-to-burn packages for you. We just don’t happen to be one of them. But that’s the beauty of any marketplace. You’re not obligated to buy anything you don’t want, and the sellers aren’t obligated to sell you something they don’t offer.

When our clients inquire about our services, we whole-heartedly believe it’s because they enjoy our work. They’ve viewed our portfolio, done their due diligence and may have even reasonably concluded that we’re pretty nice people to work with. Quite simply, if it’s our style of work that they’re looking for, then it’s our style of work they’re going to get – nothing less, and possibly a whole lot more. They are receiving a premium product with premium service because in the end, they are most certainly paying a premium for it.

There are a laundry list of reasons why our clients don’t get raw images, least of which have anything to do with their ability to process the images themselves. We spend many, many hours culling and perfecting our images to maintain some sense of consistency for our brand. We take pride in this part of our work, and it’s one that we find most rewarding. While we realize we could probably shave off a considerable portion of our workload and spend more time with our families, we owe a certain obligation to our clients to produce the kind of work they see in our portfolio. Any deviations from our usual workflow could potentially have negative impact on our final deliveries. We never took any shortcuts to get to where we are today, and we most certainly don’t plan an taking any shortcuts anytime soon either.

And quite honestly, we’re 100% confident that all of our clients, present and new, can appreciate that.

If you guys have any questions you’d like to ask us, please feel free to leave us a message below or send us an email at ben@benlauphotography.com.

Here’s to more burger and sushi (our two fave foods!) posts in the future :).

Ben & Karis

 

Planning weddings can be a tough endeavor, but planning a wedding that will eventually take place 3600 miles away from home will probably require some patience, resourcefulness and a whole lotta coffee! Even if the celebration takes place in your old stomping grounds, it’s no different from planning a destination wedding on some tropical island in the middle of the sea. And even as I’m writing this, I’m finding this somewhat amusing because Katie and Jason’s wedding did in fact take place on an island in/near/around the Atlantic ocean. You see, Katie hails from Long Island, NY but is currently teaching at an International School in Belgium with Jason. So for all intents and purposes, they were indeed planning a destination wedding as well – just in reverse. So how in the world did they end up with a New Jersey wedding photographer?

That’ll be our little secret :).

Table cards for Katie and Jason

Katie and Jason incorporated a travel theme to their wedding day. Luggage tags and country fun facts –  we absolutely loved all the details!

Groom gets ready for his wedding at the Ram

When we first asked Jason if he was camera shy, he smugly replied “Nope!”.
Fun fact: You may have seen this Jason’s face on an episode of NYPD Blue :).

Bride gets ready for her wedding at the Ram

And for the record, there’s no such thing as a camera-shy bride :).

Bride and groom

One of these days, a guest is going to catch me bawling my eyes out behind my camera.

Bride and groom share a kiss on their wedding day at the Ram

 Sneak peeks for now, please stay tuned for more!

It’s Friday and the weather’s been so indecisive these past few days. I’m only grateful that it’s not humid. As the fall season descends upon us, we look forward to the explosion of colors like kids look forward to their birthdays. We’re totally stoked!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Ben & Karis

The anomalies we encounter during engagement sessions are usually the weather-related kind; there aren’t many curveballs my clients (or weather-gods) could possibly throw at me that’ll catch me off guard. Enter stage left (drum-roll): Fran & Joe. Here’s a guy that I’ve known since he was 13 and the only thing I remember is that he used to get into all sorts of trouble with my little brother. I shouldn’t have expected anything less, 17 years later :). If you were to combine Dennis the Menace, Bugs Bunny and sprinkle in a little bit of Stewie Griffin’s destructive ingenuity, you’ll have a pretty good description of my brother and Joe.

When Joe first contacted me earlier this year, I hardly recognized this well-mannered gentleman who inquired about my wedding photography services. What? Is this the same guy who used to shoot paintballs at police cars with my brother? The same guy who put monster truck tires on his pick-up truck then forgetting to recalibrate his speedometer? (“I swear, officer – my speedometer said I was going 35mph!”) We scheduled to meet the next time I was in town, if not to discuss wedding photography, then certainly to catch up on old times.

When we finally met for our mini-reunion, the reason for this great transformation was quite clear: Fran is one stunning bride-to-be, with the kind of humor that would make most cowboys blush :). No pretense and no frills, just the perfect kind of couple that we love working with.

We started our day at Fran & Joe’s place, which was just a stone’s throw away from our old neighborhood. This is important to mention because we lived in your typical gray-collar suburban neighborhood: chickens aren’t normally part of the natural fauna around these parts. And of course, Fran & Joe have about a half-dozen in their backyard. But to their credit, these are some fancy look’n chickens!

Joe poses with one of his chickens during his engagement session in Baltimore, MD with Ben Lau Photography.
Fran poses with one of her chickens during his engagement session in Baltimore, MD with Ben Lau Photography.

Fran poses during her engagement session in Baltimore, MD with Ben Lau Photography. Fran and Joe share a kiss during their engagement session at the Loch Raven Resevoir in Baltimore, MD with Ben Lau Photography.

After having our way with their chickens, we continued on with our engagement session at the Loch Raven Reservoir.
Fran and Joe pose during their engagement session at the Loch Raven Resevoir in Baltimore, MD with Ben Lau Photography. Fran and Joe smile during their engagement session at the Loch Raven Resevoir in Baltimore, MD with Ben Lau Photography. Fran and Joe walk along the water with their dog during their engagement session at the Loch Raven Resevoir in Baltimore, MD with Ben Lau Photography.

It started to rain in the middle of our engagement session. Because we left our umbrellas in the car, we continued to get soaked.
Since we were getting wet anyway…

Fran and Joe share a kiss in the creek during their engagement session at the Loch Raven Resevoir in Baltimore, MD with Ben Lau Photography.

I’ve been wanting to take a shot like this for as long as I could remember.
I just couldn’t find the right couple…until I met these two.

Fran pulls Joe into the creek during their engagement session at the Loch Raven Resevoir in Baltimore, MD with Ben Lau Photography.

…and this is exactly why we all love Fran.

Congratulations to Joe and Fran for their upcoming nuptials in just a few more weeks! You guys were such troopers for playing in the rain/water with yours truly, and I hope you enjoy these images as much as we enjoyed capturing them. You guys are two peas from the same pod, and I couldn’t be happier that you guys have found each other. We can’t wait to see you guys again!

As for us, we think there’s something we can all learn from this – and that’s to play in the water more often :).

Splash, splash!

Ben & Karis

 

While I’m sure there’s something in the employee’s handbook about fraternizing with your colleagues, I’m glad Tessa and Dave never got the memo :). Hands down, these two are probably the coolest political scientists I’ve ever met – even if they are the only two I’ve ever met. Had they been my professors in college, I probably would’ve studied something more practical and useful than say, Renaissance and Medieval English Literature (or German, for that matter). It’d been a year since we’d last seen each other, but it was a reunion of sorts when I arrived at their hotel that morning. Upon entering their bridal suite, I felt like I was swimming in the aroma of Italian butter cookies. You know, like when Bugs Bunny floats in the air with his nose leading the way towards a cauldron of carrot soup? Yes, just like that. Goodness gracious. Thankfully there were actual Italian butter cookies in the room, or else the bridal party had some ‘xplain’n to do!

Dog looks out of the window on Tessa and Dave

Bride

I see the something blue and something new. I suppose the something old is that adorable dog :).
Couple A bride is helped into her dress on her wedding day at the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick, NJ. Captured by awesome northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau. Mother of bride looks on during a wedding day at the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick, NJ. Captured by awesome northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau. Bride poses with her dog on her wedding day at the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick, NJ. Captured by awesome northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau. Bride with her bridesmaids on her wedding day at the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick, NJ. Captured by awesome northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Bride checks her make up in the mirror her wedding day at the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick, NJ. Captured by awesome northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Groom prepares his vows on his wedding day at the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick, NJ. Captured by awesome northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Groom gets ready for his wedding day at the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick, NJ. Captured by awesome northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Groomsmen get ready for a wedding day at the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick, NJ. Captured by awesome northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Ring bearer falls asleep during the wedding ceremony in New Brunswick, NJ. Captured by awesome northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau. Father of the bride ties the knot during a wedding ceremony in New Brunswick, NJ. Captured by awesome northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Ring bearer was just saving up his energy for that evening :).

Bride and groom make their grand exit after their wedding ceremony in New Brunswick, NJ. Captured by awesome northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Bride and groom make their grand exit after their wedding ceremony in New Brunswick, NJ. Captured by awesome northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau. Bridal party portraits in New Brunswick, NJ. Captured by awesome northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau. Bridal party portraits in New Brunswick, NJ. Captured by awesome northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

Bride and groom portraits in New Brunswick, NJ. Captured by awesome northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau. Bride and groom walk around for portraits in New Brunswick, NJ. Captured by awesome northern NJ wedding photographer Ben Lau.

I remember these portraits so vividly. It was nearly 1000 degrees and unbearably humid, so we weren’t about to hike around town looking for a place to do portraits. Then there across the street, we spotted a little mall where Tessa and Dave had done their engagement photos just a year ago. Only this time, we brought along an entourage :). It’s amazing how one’s perspective could change so much in just a year.
Sign-in table for Tessa and Dave

Floral centerpieces for Tessa and Dave Wedding cake at Tessa and Dave

Tessa and Dave’s wedding reception was held at the beautiful Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick, NJ.

Father and daughter dance during Tessa and Dave

Groom dances with his sister during Tessa and Dave

Man of Honor makes a speech at Tessa and Dave Best Man makes a speech at Tessa and Dave Guests dance during Tessa and Dave

Guests dance at Tessa and Dave

Guests dance during Tessa and Dave

Congratulations to Tessa and Dave for hosting such a wonderful event, and we wish you two many, many years of smiles, laughter and a lifetime of engaging conversations surrounding global politics :). We couldn’t have been more thrilled and honored to be part of your special day, and we hope you enjoy these images as much as we enjoyed capturing them. This celebration wouldn’t have bene possible without the help of the following people:

Ceremony : : Kirkpatrick Chapel in New Brunswick, NJ
Reception : : The Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick, NJ
Gown : : Wtoo by Watters
Shoes : : Badgley Mischka
Jewelry : : Hamilton Jewelers
Hair : : Voi Salon & Spa – East Brunswick, NJ
Make Up : : Voi Salon & Spa – East Brunswick, NJ
Grooms Attire : : Men’s Wearhouse
DJ/Entertainment : : Elite Sound Entertainment
Photo Booth : : Elite Sound Entertainment
Catering : : The Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick, NJ
Cake : : The Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick, NJ
Floral : : Robert’s Floral
Favors : : DIY – Pam, Joe, Alec & Laura
Stationery : : Well Noted
Secondary Photography : : MJ Park

 

As for us, we’re happy to report that the double/triple-header craziness of the Fall wedding season has finally passed, and we’ll be on cruise control for the next two months. With a newborn in the house, this is fantastic news :).

Hope you’re all enjoying this beautiful Fall weather!

Ben & Karis