My Un-Wedding Days

My Un-Wedding Days

The best part of my career is that one week-end I can be shooting a beautiful event at Winvian then on Monday, I am photographing with Tina Brown in a maximum security prison. My two photo worlds  make me feel like a super hero with an alter ego.  I love the idea of being a super hero. (fyi: my super power would be flying)

But those of you who are getting married or who read my blog don’t necessarily visit my other site doriehagler.com. To know the full Shoot The Cake you need to see what Dorie  does on the week days.  Below are photos from various assignments I did in 2014. Do any of you have an alter ego. I’d love to hear about it. What would your super power be, and most importantly would you wear a cape?

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Next blog will be back to our regularly scheduled wedding blog program. Let me know if you want more stories about my journalism adventures.

What is that on your hand? An engagement ring?

What is that on your hand? An engagement ring?

Red Nails at Night. A Bride’s Delight.

About a year ago I photographed Alex + Dan’s wedding.  Alex asked her bff, Haley, to hold her engagement ring during the ceremony. It was then that I noticed Haley’s red nails. And she told me, “They are always red”.haleymatt001

And now, Haley has an engagement ring on her hand as well. And because she loved Alex and Dan’s photos so much, I am the lucky photographer who gets to photograph Haley and Matt’s wedding this summer at the The Liberty Warehouse in Brooklyn.  After booking me for the wedding Haley and Matt and I had a great time taking engagement photos on the train together and traipsing around their old hood and stopping to have wine.

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I wonder if Haley will have red nails at the wedding? And I wonder which of her friends will be holding her engagement ring?

Getting Married Soon? Get in touch!

 

 

 

Haftorah in Heels

Haftorah in Heels

I am an event photographer and also a photojournalist.  Either way, this means that one day I may be doing an engagement portrait on a subway platform, the next I may be shooting in a maximum security prison with Tina Brown . One week I may be in New Mexico shooting for the WK Kellogg Foundation and the upcoming week-end I’ll be shooting a wedding in Eastern Long Island. It means that not only am I versatile photographer but I am always thinking about how best to tell each story.

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So, when I shot Davi’s Bat Mitzvah I don’t just see a kid having a big party, I see a rite of passage. I see a Jewish tradition that up until the 1960’s was not widely offered to Jewish girls. I see the subtle nuances of a thirteen-year-old girl and her friends trying to strike the difficult balance between wanting handfuls of Swedish fish and pixie sticks but also wanting to be sophisticated and attractive at the same time.

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Davi wanted me to do an urban photo shoot with her before her temple rehearsal, which gave me the wonderful opportunity to get to know her and to make some playful street portraits. Yes, she is beautiful. But she is a whole lot more than her good looks. On the photo shoot she was present, intelligent, playful, honest and sincere and she allowed me to see and photograph all of it. Sure she will make a silly face for an instagram selfie but she can also rock those four-inch-red-platform heels while singing and parading the torah around the temple – impressive to say the least.

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Davi is more than a pretty face and I am more than an event photographer. It doesn’t matter whether I am shooting an event or a forest fire I treat it the same. I anticipate. I watch people. I go into the forest with the firefighters or I go on the dance floor with the party guests. Either way, I know how to capture a great moment. I know when someone has the habit of throwing their head back when they laugh because I saw them do it earlier and so I wait for the moment to arise again. But mostly it means that I am always striving to get the best photos to tell the strongest and most visually interesting story. It means that if the room’s design and lighting is awesome, as it always is when Pamela Newman of Urban Art and Design is involved, or if there is a shooting range in the basement of the of Tiro A Signo club, then I will use the cool lighting or the shooting range to make my pictures.

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The day after delivering the photo gallery to Davi and her family, I got a heartfelt thank you from her mother – which I always appreciate. But a few days later there was another email, “Davi has decided she wants to buy a camera – she want to know if you can you recommend one.” This was the best compliment ever.Davi_BatMitzvah030

Having an event? Want more than an event photographer?  Get in touch.

 

Rehearsal Dinner: A Special Night

Rehearsal Dinner: A Special Night

I love shooting rehearsal dinners: the hugs between out of town guests, the colorful toasts, the relaxed atmosphere. It’s a great lead in to the wedding. Elena and Patrick had theirs on a beautiful summer night in Soho’s Little Prince.

 

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Weddings can be costly, but my advice is to leave room in the budget to have a photographer at your rehearsal dinner. I include the rehearsal in all of  my packages.

Getting married?  Get in touch. Shoot-the-Cake.com

3 Signs You Are Not A Bridezilla

3 Signs You Are Not A Bridezilla

People often ask, “Do you have to deal with a lot of Bridezillas?” The quick answer is, I don’t. What I know is uptight brides are not born that way, they are created. Weddings have changed. It is now an “Industry” with magazines, blogs, and reality shows dedicated to showing you how to have the perfect wedding. That’s a lot of pressure. Many succumb, but in my experience most do not. Here’s a quick checklist to see where you stand.

 

Three Sure Signs You Are NOT A Bridezilla.

    1. If you are on my site then chances are you have a sense of humor. From what I hear Bridezillas do not. Shoot The Cake caters to creative, fun people who know how to have a good time at their own wedding.

Alex + Dan2431lodarcyadrianstoryboard0072. If the weather doesn’t cooperate with your wedding day you won’t need to be taken out in a straight jacket. Truth is, dramatic weather can make for dramatic photos. Wind does wonderful things with veils and dresses and umbrellas are a cool shape.

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3. If your top priority is NOT being the center spread of a wedding magazine but instead to look fantastic while having a great time with friends and family, you are not a Bridezilla. You goal isn’t to impress anyone it’s just to do your own thing.

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What’s Your Score?

My bet is you are not a Bridezilla.  Get in touch, let’s make some fun pics at your wedding.

 

SURPRISE

SURPRISE

5 Decades. 30 Friends.

“She hates surprises”, admitted one of Anne Mahoney’s best friends just minutes before the Anne arrived. But, for her 50th birthday Anne’s friends organized a beautiful surprise luncheon at Bergdorf Goodman. All her bffs were there and by the look on her face and the love in the room, I think this was one surprise that Anne most definitely did not hate. (The amazing cake/work of art that depicted her life story was made by )

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So You Want To Be A Wedding Photographer

So You Want To Be A Wedding Photographer

A few times a year I receive an email from an up and coming photographer who would like to come with me on a wedding shoot so they can learn from me.   They offer to volunteer their time, their images, etc… Thus far I have not had an opportunity to bring a newbie along. But, I always respond politely and give whatever helpful suggestions I can think of at the time. Here are few.

 I Can Tell In Five Minutes If You Can Be A Good Wedding Photographer

Wedding photographers, well good ones, have to be more than just competent photographers. During the day of a wedding you have to be all of the following; assertive and invisible, organized and spontaneous, diplomatic and commanding and likable. You have to be able to stand for a long time, to run quickly, to climb things, to squat, lie down and get out of the way.

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Keep Your Ego in Check

To be a great wedding photographer you have to be a photographer, a friend, a social worker, a journalist, and a confidante and you have to develop this relationship within a few minutes of arriving at the wedding. Also, no matter how good you think you are, or how high your rate is, you need to remember to let the couple have a good time. It isn’t all about your photos. You’re not that important. Keep your ego in check.

The Best Photos I Never Made

Years ago I was photographing a wedding at an historic Cathedral in New York City and the bride was getting ready in a room inside the church. She had on a thong, a bra, high heels, and a long lace veil when she realized she needed to go to the bathroom and wanted to do it before putting on her dress. The bathroom was down the hall and there was no one there except the bride’s maids and me. The bride made a dash for the bathroom wearing only heels, lingerie and a veil, but before she did, she looked at me and said, “No pictures.” I did not take the picture.

I know it would have been a great and even iconic shot of a half naked bride running down the hallways of a church with her veil flying behind her. But these are the moments where your integrity as a photographer is tested. Had I taken the photo, she would have lost her trust in me and you’d be able to feel that in the photos. Because I am trustworthy and take my integrity very seriously, my clients can feel it. They are comfortable around me and allow me to take intimate photographs of their wedding day. In case you are wondering, I don’t for a second regret that I didn’t take that photo.

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It Takes More Than Expensive Gear And Business Card

Do you think you have what it takes?

 

Jen and Colin’s Wedding at Winvian

Jen and Colin’s Wedding at Winvian

The day before the wedding I spoke to Jen on the phone.  She said,” I just got off the phone with the NYTimes and they are covering our wedding for the vows column. Oh my god.”   To which I replied,  “Are you and Colin two high powered or famous people and I just didn’t know it?”.  She laughed and said, ” No.  We just didn’t meet online. We have a good story. ”  It’s true, they met at a Beastie Boys concert.

As for the wedding, here’s some alliteration.  The Winvian Wedding Weekend was lovely, as was the weather.  I love shooting weddings at Winvian and I love when Claire Gordon Events does the design and planning.  Claire  has great energy, superb taste, she is super organized AND she’s not uptight.  She’s a rare find. By the end of the week-end I realized that Jen and Colin are actually a “power couple” with the best kind of power and wisdom.  They know how to truly enjoy their lives together and they do so by prioritizing family, friends and fun.

 

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Confessions of a Wedding Photographer:  It’s eight o’clock – Do you know where your photographer is?

Confessions of a Wedding Photographer: It’s eight o’clock – Do you know where your photographer is?

Ask These Questions Before You Book Your Photographer.

 

 1. If you drop dead the morning of my wedding, who is going to be my photographer?

It’s a valid question. Don’t think this one doesn’t keep me up at night. When I shoot a wedding I hire a second photographer not an assistant. Assistants carry bags and hold stuff, I don’t need that, I need someone  that can handle the wedding on their own, should I die that morning. The people I hire are  accomplished photographers, one even has a Pulitzer to her name. Anyone of these photographers would have no problem shooting the wedding on their own. And they each have colleagues, also world press and pulitzer winners, that they can call to be their second shooter.

2. Do you have backup gear if your equipment stops functioning?

Photographers don’t expect that their gear will malfunction, but from time to time it does happen. Professional photographers should have the following backup equipment; a second camera body, duplicate lenses, more than one flash, plenty of batteries and more than one charger. This goes the same for their second shooter.

3. Where will you be the day before my wedding?

Planes, trains and automobiles can all have delays. Is your photographer flying or traveling for your event? If so, it is worth the money to have them arrive the day/night before early enough so that they can get a good night’s sleep and avoid any traveling delays.

 4. Are you shooting an event the day before my wedding?

The busy wedding season is typically from May thru Nov. During this time most photographers and studios want to book as many events as possible, even booking three weddings back to back on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Shooting a wedding requires lots of physical, mental and creative energy and the day after a wedding I know I am tired. I know that if I were getting married I would not want to hire someone who was shooting another event the day before.

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TBT: What a Cake!

TBT: What a Cake!

From the Shoot-The-Cake‘s  archive a late 90’s stiff and awkward portrait of Guy Ambrosino with the wedding cake. We loved that the cake and its pedestal had its own seamless backdrop. Dorie was having fun.  Weddings are fun.  We have fun.