We originally met Elena and Danny through a classmate of ours, Brent, who also attended the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts. Brent would have gladly (and ably) documented their special day, but he unfortunately had a scheduling conflict that prohibited him from doing so. He graciously gave us their contact info, and the process began. We like to communicate with our clients several times before the day of the event. The more comfortable we all feel with one another before the day of the ceremony/event, the more time we have to do what we’re actually there for – crafting images.
We found that Danny and Elena liked more natural expressions as opposed to obviously posed photos. We also learned that their wedding would be a smaller affair – only around ten people in attendance. During those discussions, we realized that Carolyn had enjoyed a meal and cruise on the Maid of Honor and Best Man’s boat years previous! As Facebook revealed, they were acquainted through a close college friend of Carolyn’s. Is it coincidence, or some type of cosmic fate? My own personal belief is that it is an affirmation of our decision to follow this course.
With redoubled excitement, we scouted several locations to meet their needs. We scheduled a full three hours for them to account for weather and travel time between locations. They wanted a few shots in unique New Orleans green spaces, mixed with photos of themselves enjoying the urban scene.
The event was to take place in the Lafitte Guest House, a small, quaint hotel/gallery on a quiet part of Bourbon Street. We decided to start there, with a few shots of the skyline to set the stage for the day.
Both Elena and Danny had pretty solid ideas of what they wanted the final product to look like, which helped us greatly when preparing for this shoot. The more clearly our clients communicate their vision to us, the better we can translate that vision into an image. It doesn’t hurt to have a professional cinematographer and professor of cinematography (Danny) as one of your subjects.
The Guest House has a serene atmosphere, despite it’s precarious proximity to the sinful stretch of Bourbon Street. The shot above was actually requested specifically by the couple, and I think it turned out wonderfully. It was shot from the second floor staircase looking down onto the main entrance.
As we moved away from the debauchery, the streets laid out a bounty of different colors and moods.
After our time in the French Quarter was spent, we moved to the heart of the city to get some shots down on the bayou – Bayou St. John, that is. We found this little spot a few days before the shoot.
While we weren’t contracted to document their actual wedding, Carolyn decided to stay and catch up with old friends and get a few more shots in. The photos that follow are a few moments that we love!
All in all it was a beautiful day; a day filled with old friends, new friends, and photos we hope these two will treasure forever.
Our first wedding!
The day was finally upon us: October 4, 2015, the day of Dana and Ben’s wedding. It was held at the Audubon Tea Room, a lovely venue nestled inside of New Orleans’ famous Audubon Park. We may have been as or more nervous than the couple getting married, because they were years long friends, and we were but newborn wedding documentarians. We attended the ceremony rehearsal on the day prior to the event, and felt as prepared as we could have been. One of the challenges that we foresaw in the process was organizing and directing all of the wedding participants so that we could get what we needed without being obtrusive. To that end, we developed a practice of getting a “facebook” of sorts (not to be confused with the popular social media site.) Because we wouldn’t have time to learn and remember all of the VIP guests’ names and faces the day of the ceremony, we did so in the week beforehand with flashcards. This really saved us time, and we will carry that practice forward into our future wedding shoots.
Ben and Dana decided to do a “first look” so that they would be able to take wedding party photos before the ceremony. After the ceremony we still had to photography the family formals, so it was nice to be able to split up the photo sessions.
The groomsmen consisted of Ben’s brother and best friends – a happy lot that seemed to laugh and joke constantly. That made shooting pretty easy and fun, if not formal.
The bridesmaids, Maid of Honor, and bride were less rambunctious, but definitely gave it their all when it came time to relax and take the fun photos.
Dana was in luck when it came to finding a flower girl, as her sister and Maid of Honer, Angela, has two young daughters.
The Flower Girl, Cara, and the Jr. Executive Assistant to the Bride, Molly, were all smiles for the camera, and all shivers when downtime came, due to the early fall chill in the air.
The Lieber wedding was one of the Jewish tradition, with all the ancient and beautiful rituals practiced therein. One request made by the bride and groom was thorough coverage of the chuppa, which was made by Rabbi Gerson’s wife (who is also a relative.)
When the ceremony came to a close, it was time to capture a few moments of the family of the newlyweds directly after the nuptials.
The prevailing image that Dana held in her mind of her special day was one of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, and the hall was decorated accordingly.
As Dana was a relatively new friend to me, it was great to hear family members make toasts filled with stories of Ben and Dana’s childhood and young adulthood.
Dana and Ben shared a mid-toast kiss.
Dana made her own wedding coffee cakes. They were delicious, which was to be expected as she attending pastry school in Chicago.
This Sunday morning wedding let out mid-afternoon. We celebrated our first wedding shoot by going out to eat an early dinner at a Thai Restaurant and discussing how the day went. We agreed that while our feet hurt and our arms were sore, it was a very exhilarating day. I never knew how intimate the relationship is between a wedding photographer and the bride and groom. It was extraordinary to be invited to not only witness the day, but participate in creating the memories of such an important event.
Adam and I were lucky enough to be called by my college friend, Kelsi, and asked if we would like to join her, her boyfriend – Kristian, and her mother – Cheri, for a vacation in Cabo San Lucas. Cheri had participated in a charity event where she bid on a week long stay at Esperanza Resort. Kelsi was my roommate senior year of college, and we had only been able to see each other twice since graduation 3 years previously. I was thrilled to be able to reconnect over margaritas.
Hurricane Odile struck this area in 2014, permanently changing the landscape. The soft sands that had once led up to the ocean washed away and revealed large rocky formations, making it less than ideal for swimming. This was not a problem, as the resort had multiple pools to swim in while enjoying the ocean view. (We were able to swim in the ocean at a popular beach a few miles away.)
Bentley, Cheri’s Pomeranian, was a wonderful addition to our vacationing crew. He is a trained service dog, so he is consistantly well behaved, and because he is also a beloved companion animal he is always up for cuddling and the occasional ride on a swan.
After a week of swimming, tanning, jet skiing, watching a new episode of Game of Thrones, drinking, eating (so much quacamole), getting lost getting back home from restaurants, and sailing, we had one more dinner. This was a sunset dinner on the beach that was a part of the package Cheri bid on.
During the trip Cheri told us that Bentley has been battling cancer. We wanted to do a small photoshoot with Cheri and Bentley as a thank you for inviting us on the vacation.
As long as we were having fun taking photos before dinner began, we took some couple photos of Kelsi and Kristian. During the trip Kristian was waiting to hear back from Brown to find out if he was accepted to medical school. A few days after he returned to New York, we got his acceptance letter! He will be attending Brown Medical School starting this fall. Kelsi is still studying in New York at Fordham for her Ph.D in school psychology. I happen to love both New York and Providence, so I hope they have a fun year of going back and forth to visit one another.
Here is a photo of all of us!
Welcome to our first blog post! Adam and I (Carolyn) were pursuing documentary film and legal videography when my friend, Dana, told me of her impending nuptials. I wanted to get more experience in still photography to improve my cinematography, so I asked Dana if she would be interested in Adam and I taking her engagement photos. She was excited about the idea and we began planning the photoshoot.
Dana and Ben love coffee, so we decided that the best place to start would be their favorite coffee shop, Flora Gallery and Coffee Shop. Equipped with their favorite coffee mugs, scrabble, and our cameras, we set out.
Since this was early on in our photography careers, we had gear more suited to filmmaking. As we had yet to purchase flashes (which are not used in filmmaking), we managed to shoot this entire project utilizing only available light. This was particularly difficult in the coffee shop, which was cozy, but to our camera’s eye, dimly lit.
Once we finished our drinks and food, we travelled to the St. Charles street car lines.
This cloudless spring day afforded us as much natural light as we needed. We didn’t have to direct the couple very much, because they just knew how to look in love while having fun.
The heat was starting to catch up with us, so it was off to The Creole Creamery to cool down with some ice cream cones!
We ended the day on the grounds of the Milton H. Latter Library on St. Charles.
At the end of the day Dana asked us if we would like to photograph her wedding. I was very honored and excited by the request. I also knew this meant the start of a lot of photography training. We said yes to shooting the wedding and Adam and I both enrolled at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts in a photography class with Zack Smith. We are so glad we said yes as it was the start of our photography business adventure!
Hello, and a big “Welcome to the Planet” to little August!
This is Adam from the Cola & Soley Media team. In today’s edition of our blog, we get to talk about our shoot with Summer, Bobby, and August. If you’ve read my earlier blog posts, you’ll probably see a recurring theme: weird coincidences that end up in fun shoots and awesome shots! This shoot was no different, and has a fun (albeit long) backstory.
Summer is a long time friend of mine. We were freshmen at Tulane together, and spent many a Friday and Saturday evening out on Maple St. in Uptown New Orleans (I more than she, to be sure!) As usually happens after college, we all went our separate ways – to that place in today’s old friendships where one sees another on their Facebook feed and likes a post. I saw Summer and Bobby’s wedding photos in one such moment, unaware of the fact that I would be the one photographing her family in the years to come.
With enough time spent living, working and relaxing in New Orleans, one simply cannot avoid running into old acquaintances. Carolyn was taking an art class at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts in the evenings after our photography classes ended. She had befriended a wonderful young lady who had also attended Tulane, she told me. She also said that she built websites, which was quite fortuitous, considering that we were struggling to build our own. When she said that her name was Summer, I knew that it had to be the same. A few quick Facebook messages confirmed that it was indeed her – and that she was pregnant!
For brevity’s sake, I’ll just say that the website was built, and baby August was born! Woo hoo! We decided to wait for a while to do this shoot, because everything was a bit hectic in all of our lives. Because of this, we got to get some great fall light and fall colors. We shot the first portion of the day at the Fire Station on Carrollton Avenue in Mid-City New Orleans. Bobby is a firefighter, so he asked the hard working guys at the station to open up the station doors so we could shoot by the truck. If there’s one thing that boys young and old love, it’s firetrucks.
Our second location was in Audubon Park, at the landmark the Tree of Life. For anyone that’s never seen the tree in real life, it’s immensity is more than we can capture with the lenses that we currently own, and shots from far away or with a wide angle lens hardly does it justice. I attempted to use the size of the tree to give a storybook quality to the shots. At that same location, there is a collection of cypress that I spied that gave us the more seasonal colors that we see in a few of the shots.
It’s always great to see an old friend doing well, but it’s especially nice to meet an old friend’s new family. Bobby is a great guy, and as I was telling him after the shoot, there’s probably no more well-loved profession than that of a firefighter. He, like a modest firefighter would, offered teachers as an alternative. Now, I’ve seen firefighters teach people things, but, with all due respect, I still have yet to see a teacher run into a burning building to save anyone. Props.
A few weeks ago, Carolyn and I had the opportunity to add yet another major life moment in the Lieber family history. Ben and Dana are personal friends of ours. If you look back through this blog, you might notice that we also photographed their engagement and wedding! We feel honored to have had the opportunity to capture these special times and thankful that Dana and Ben trusted us way back when to do their engagement photos when we were just beginning our photography careers.
David Michael Lieber was born on February 12th, weighing in at six pounds, eleven ounces. And what a champion this guy was already at 10 days old. He slept like a baby (in the way I assume they meant that phrase, not like a baby on an airplane.)
Dana and Ben asked for a few casual family photos. Ben decided to go towards the silly side of casual with this Hangover Movie inspired pose.
We love this beautiful last photo of the Lieber Family and we look forward to photographing them as they grow.