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Special Olympics New Jersey Polar Bear Plunge Seaside Heights 2014

Special Olympics New Jersey Polar Bear Plunge Seaside Heights 2014

Today, I went to the Polar Plunge in Seaside Heights to benefit Special Olympics New Jersey. More than 5,000 plungers were expected to participate, with the organization planning on raising more than 1.2 million. This was the 21st year of the plunge, Seaside Heights had hosted since 2007 & Point Pleasant hosted prior to that.

I made plans with a fellow photographer friend of mine to meet up at the plunge as we had done 2 years ago. We had so much fun taking pictures of the crowds and crazy outfits. Last time we went, we had no trouble getting on the beach. This time, we were not allowed without a wrist band so we had to run around and get press passes so we could get down by the water and take pictures of the crowds of people running in and out of the water. It is such a fun event to be at. I am so glad we went and I know we are going to keep the tradition.:)

See a few of my favorite photos from the plunge below.

xo

2.22.14_POLAR_PLUNGE_SPECIAL_OLYPMICS_SEASIDE_HEIGHTS_IMAGERY_BY_MARIANNE-62.22.14_POLAR_PLUNGE_SPECIAL_OLYPMICS_SEASIDE_HEIGHTS_IMAGERY_BY_MARIANNE-52.22.14_POLAR_PLUNGE_SPECIAL_OLYPMICS_SEASIDE_HEIGHTS_IMAGERY_BY_MARIANNE-42.22.14_POLAR_PLUNGE_SPECIAL_OLYPMICS_SEASIDE_HEIGHTS_IMAGERY_BY_MARIANNE-32.22.14_POLAR_PLUNGE_SPECIAL_OLYPMICS_SEASIDE_HEIGHTS_IMAGERY_BY_MARIANNE-22.22.14_POLAR_PLUNGE_SPECIAL_OLYPMICS_SEASIDE_HEIGHTS_IMAGERY_BY_MARIANNE-1

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Doolan’s Shore Club Winter Wedding | Elegant NJ Wedding Photojournalists

Doolan’s Shore Club Winter Wedding in Spring Lake | Elegant NJ Wedding Photojournalists | Wedding Photojournalism NJ

Noreen & her brother, Steve, have been great friends of mine since I was around 5 years old. Noreen had emailed me that she was getting married and was interested in hiring me to photograph her wedding. I was so excited when I read the news and immediately following that, I received a call from her brother and another email from her dad.:)I was so anxious to see their whole family because it had been years since we had all been in the same room together.

Noreen & her husband, Steven, are both in the Navy and met where they are both stationed currently, in Spain. Her parents did an amazing job helping plan a wedding from across the Atlantic Ocean. The happy couple flew in on the Sunday before the wedding and were married the following Saturday evening. Noreen even purchased her wedding dress on Monday for her wedding that same weekend! They were both exhausted from traveling for days and celebrating with family and friends upon their arrival and throughout their stay.

Everything fell into place and they had a wonderful day of uniting and celebrating. They were married at Doolans Shore Club in Spring Lake Heights, NJ.

Below are a few images that I started editing and couldn’t help but share. I look forward to sharing the entire day with you soon. What a fun wedding!

xo

DOOLANS_SPRING_LAKE_NJ_WEDDING_-1DOOLANS_SPRING_LAKE_NJ_WEDDING-2DOOLANS_SPRING_LAKE_NJ_WEDDING-3DOOLANS_SPRING_LAKE_NJ_WEDDING-4DOOLANS_SPRING_LAKE_NJ_WEDDING-5DOOLANS_SPRING_LAKE_NJ_WEDDING-6DOOLANS_SPRING_LAKE_NJ_WEDDING-7DOOLANS_SPRING_LAKE_NJ_WEDDING-8DOOLANS_SPRING_LAKE_NJ_WEDDING-9DOOLANS_SPRING_LAKE_NJ_WEDDING-10DOOLANS_SPRING_LAKE_NJ_WEDDING-11

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Finding THE Wedding Dress | Fabulous NJ Wedding Photographer

Finding THE Wedding Dress | Classic NJ Wedding Photographer | Modern Photographer for the Unique Couple | Rustic Chic Wedding Style

I started this series of blogposts about my personal experience with planning a wedding to help educate couples on what to expect and that it is ok to be doubtful or disappointed about different aspects during the planning process. Finding the IT wedding dress was one of my biggest hurtles in the wedding planning process.

My husband and I lost our home to Superstorm/Hurricane Sandy 3 weeks after we were engaged and we were just about to sign a contract with our venue when we lost everything. We lost everything besides each other, our cars, the clothes on our back & the few things that we left the house with. I took my clients files on external hard drives & all of my camera equipment, a pair of UGG boots and a pair of yoga pants for what I thought would be a night over at my dads house, lounging. As most of you know, it turned into at least 7 days without power, a gar shortage, among many other things. I had a long conversation with my parents about continuing our plans and moving forward with the wedding, so we all decided that the rebuilding of our house could wait and the wedding would happen first.

Right after the storm, there was a woman on the radio who owned a bridal shop in central NJ called True Love Bridal that was offering some of their older samples dresses to brides that had lost so much in the storm. I made an appointment as soon as I could and made arrangement for my mother to come to NJ to visit and we went to the appointment to look at the wedding dresses that the shop was offering the Sandy victims. It was a very upsetting few weeks and my emotions were totally getting the better of me for a while. It was an emotional day, my mom was visiting and I had not seen her since this experience and now we were looking for my wedding dress. Mike and I had no idea how much oney we had or what we were going to have to contribute, so logically I jumped at the opportunity to possibly have help with the wedding gown.

I tried pretty much every gown that fit me on and did decide on a dress from this shop. The girl that helped us wrapped up the dress and handed it to us. We were shocked that we were able to walk out of the store with this dress that day and I felt a ton of weight lifted off my shoulders. I did purchase a veil & shoes from their clearance section while we were there because it all just seemed to match and feel right.

Months later, when other vendors and plans were falling into place, I started having second thoughts about the dress and how it made me feel. I think that the heartache and emotions that I had tied to the storm came back every time I put on this dress. It was beautiful, but I did not feel that it was a WOW dress. As soon as I told my mom and bridesmaids that, it became a mission to look for something else.

5 months before my wedding date, I had asked my MOH, Trina, to come with me to a bridal shop in Brick, Nj called Nicole’s Boutique. I wanted to go there because they carried Maggie Sottero dresses and I knew I loved that designer as I used to work at my mother’s best friend’s  bridal shop a few years ago before she sold it. I tried on about 5 dresses and I was going to settle on one that made my waist look smaller, but I wasn’t in love. My MOH, being the wonderful MOH that she was, asked the sales girl to pick out a few gowns based on the criteria that I described that I wanted. The first dress that the sales girl brought to my dressing room ended up being THE ONE!!!!

After my countless dress shopping experiences, as soon as I put this wedding dress on, I KNEW. I finally had the feeling that everyone was telling me about. It is a REAL feeling and every bride should feel it. It was very stressful to make sure it was here on time and tailored to me because I ordered it only 5 months before my wedding day, but it was soo worth it and I am glad that I followed my gut and did what had to be done. You are spending so much on your wedding day, but guess what, the dress, hair & makeup are in EVERY shot, so please love them or you are setting yourself up for future disappointment.

xo

MM-7022-2888457924-OMM-7023-2888458004-OMM-7030-2888458325-OMM-7044-2888458731-OMM-7142-2888462063-OImages by Kay English Photography

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Finding the Perfect Wedding Photographer | Best NJ Wedding Photographer

Finding the Perfect Wedding Photographer | Best NJ Wedding Photographer

On my way to each and every wedding consultation, I mindlessly think about what I want to say to the couple that I am meeting about wedding photography. Educating the client is the most important part of the process for the vendor because you want to not only express to the potential clients exactly what your personality is like, what your perspective of a wedding day looks like, why they should be so excited to work with you & why they should value you and your work at your going rate. I have been doing some of my own research to possibly change the approach in which I discuss wedding photography with my potential clients.

Decide what style of wedding photography you prefer. Are you looking for a traditional approach with mostly posed images? Or do you prefer lots of candid shots in which the subject may not even know he or she is being photographed?  or do you prefer a photographer who combines all of these styles?

My photographic approach to your wedding day is a little bit of both styles. I consider myself a wedding photojournalist because I try to be unobtrusive and document the day as it unfolds but I also make sure to pose certain aspects of the day that will look better compositionally in an album or in a print that you might have blown up and hung on a wall in your home like: putting your dress on with your MOH & mother behind you, staging the First Look so I can see both of your reactions when you see each other for the first time or the select posed images we will do of you and your husband/wife immediately following the ceremony.

Determine your Budget. Photographers coverage fees, prints, albums, etc. generally come to approximately 12% of the entire wedding budget. This will allow you to quickly discard photographers which you cannot afford.

Once you have a budget in mind, don’t be afraid to ask for photographer’s price lists if they are not listed on their website. I currently list my starting price to give potential clients an idea of the cost of my services. I do not list the entire price list on my website because I would like to explain why certain things cost what they do and I have several physical samples that I can show potential clients at our first meeting as I explain their purpose on my price list.

Decide if you want to use a studio or a boutique. Do you want the personal touch of using a boutique, meaning dealing with one or two people throughout your whole experience with them or would you like to use a studio consisting of several photographers and sales associates throughout your whole experience and possibly not knowing who will show up the day of your wedding to photograph it?

I personally like the boutique experience. I handle everything from email inquires, to consulting with potential clients, to booking the engagement session & wedding day details and so on. You will only deal with me from start to finish. My work is only done when you have received all of your tangible items at the end of your experience with my business.

Decide how you will use your pictures. Do you plan to purchase just an album for yourself, or also pictures for your walls, prints to give to friends and family?

I do sell a few alternatives to a wedding album if one is not within your budget but I also explain at consultations that an album, although not required, can also be purchased after the wedding day when it might be a financially better time to invest. You can also purchase loose prints in a beautiful display box or you can have groupings of canvas prints made for your living room that do not require purchasing frames & matte boards. The possibilities are endless.

I suggest to potential clients to invest their budget in the best wedding day photography coverage that they can afford and to worry about tangible items after the wedding if they are on a tight budget. I would rather see a couple get excellent coverage and not have money to print the images at the moment than opting for a lower budget photographer that will provide a lesser quality of service and products. (Remember garbage in, garbage out) If the images taken are not spectacular, than how can you expect your album or prints to be?

Determine what form of your pictures you will want from your photographer. Just purchasing the prints is sometimes economical if you do not want an album.

All of my clients get their edited, high resolution digital images with their package. Then, they can decide to add on prints, albums, canvases, etc… The budget options are fairly endless. I do create customized wedding photography packages based on some clients needs. If the wedding day is shorter than 8 hours or if it is as long as 10 hours, if the couple does not what an engagement session or if the couple wants a second photographer. Those are all factors in creating a customized package to meet your needs.

When interviewing make sure to ask questions about liability insurance, sales tax, do they have a back up camera/gear? 

I tell potential clients this all the time. It is not required by the state of New Jersey for professional photographers to carry liability insurance. Please ask any vendor that you meet with if they carry insurance and how much. It is very important that each and every vendor that you use carries it incase you run into a problem later. Many wedding venues here in NJ require proof of insurance from all of your vendors because they do not want to have to charge you, the client, for damage that one of your vendors might have caused in their facility. As venues renovate each year, the demand for vendors to carry their own insurance grows  higher and higher.

Make appointments and meet with each finalist face to face. Go to these meetings with your spouse-to-be if possible. Look at samples of their work, get any paperwork or brochures  with details about wedding packages, ask for a copy of their standard shot list (if they use a shot list which most experienced wedding photographers do not as they have well-memorized all the shots they need to get), and ask questions. Notice how polite they are. Ask yourself, “Is this someone I will want to be around when I am stressed, exhausted, dehydrated, overheated, and ready to faint in those uncomfortable shoes?”

I do make a point to spend time with each couple that book me so we are on a friendly basis come the day of the wedding. That is one of the reasons I include my engagement sessions in all of my packages because I want to get to know the clients and already have in my head how I like to position them, what flatters them the most and maybe I will learn a few inside jokes that I can use again on the wedding day to make the clients laugh, ya never know. The complimentary engagement session is really an audition or practice session for both the photographer and the clients.

Discuss with your spouse-to-be all the photographers you visited. Spend time together comparing the packages available from the photographers you BOTH like. Decide which photographer and package best fits your needs and expectations.

Remember to think about the quality of the final products when considering several different price ranges, the experience you will receive from each photographer  & the genuineness of the photographers. Does the photographer you like seem to be really interested in photographing your wedding? Do you both click with a particular photographer? If you do, it should be a no brainer. If both parties, client & vendor are happy to have found each other, if is most likely a match made in heaven. I usually get a feeling from potential clients at our first meeting and if they decide to book me, I know it is mutual. Then, when we plan & do the engagement session, the clients confidence in me grows strong and I get the opportunity to build a friendship with them and get to know more about them as individuals and a couple before the wedding day. On the wedding day, we all usually feel like old friends and I am just the friend with the camera giving instructions at the wedding.

I hope this blogpost covers some of your questions regarding where to start to look for a wedding photographer for your own wedding. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I would love any opportunity to make a new friend and help educate someone on what the key elements are to finding the right wedding photographer for you.

xo

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Finding YOUR Wedding Day Style | Fabulous & Fun NJ Wedding Photographer

Finding YOUR wedding day style | Fabulous & Fun NJ Wedding Photographer

A wedding style is a necessary part of wedding planning process because it helps you to define all of the elements of your wedding – venue, decor, type of reception, and so on. Your wedding style will also help you when trying to convey to other vendors what your wedding vision is. A perfect example is when I met with the florist that I was consulting with about my wedding. I asked her to meet me at the venue and I described my vision and showed her my inspiration boards, pictures of tons of bouquets that I adored and what I liked about each of them since I knew nothing about flowers or what was in season that time of year. The style of your wedding can often be described with adjectives such as: modern, elegant, vintage, rustic, classic, country etc & can even be multiple adjectives combined into one amazing wedding day style.

Try looking at Pinterest, wedding blogs & bridal magazines to see what styles you are drawn to and create an inspiration board of your own. When planning my own wedding, our style was basically dictated to us by choosing the venue as we chose: a newly renovated rustic barn, so when we made that decision, we decided that the look and feel of our wedding day would be rustic-glam. I loved the look and feel of rustic, country weddings but did not want it to be a casual affair, so we defined our own style my customizing many elements of our wedding day to fit the vision of the style we wanted. Sometimes a bridal gown that you fell in love with might dictate the overall feel of the wedding and everything else will be carefully chosen to fall into place with that style.

Backyard, beachy, bohemian, country, classic, elegant, hollywood, garden, glamourous, green, romantic, vintage, whimsical are all adjectives that could describe your wedding style. I have a bride that is going for a 20′s style kind of old-hollywood theme. Once you define your wedding day style, you will have a much easier time finding things that go or do not go with it.

To start, ask yourself the following questions

1. Do you envision your wedding ceremony to be indoors or outdoors? Are you more traditional or less?

2. What kind of “vibe” do you want your wedding to have? A casual barbecue, chic cocktail style, or formal sit-down dinner? 

3. What kind of things are you drawn to? What is your own style like (clothing, accessories, home decor)? And your future spouse?

4. Is there anything in particular that you *have* to have at your wedding? Milk glass, mason jars, bunting, etc? 

5. Is there anything in particular that defines your relationship? Perhaps a favorite hobby, a shared career, or a love for travel? 

Answering those questions can help you brainstorm a few ideas or help recall your favorite stores or magazines that you might want to reference for inspiration.

Best of luck!

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