Downtown Syracuse, NY | Gary + Tara are Engaged!

Posted by / April 25, 2017 / Categories: Engagement, Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Happy Spring! Engagement session season is in the air and my calendar days are filling up with sessions galore! It’s in the air and the air is thick! It’s a good thick, though, not an awkward thick! 🙂 Awkwardness aside (maybe? probably not), I wanted to share with you this season’s first engagement session! Tara and Gary visited for their session, from Rochester, with some epic ideas!
I had the pleasure of documenting these two in my studio’s neck of the woods. Downtown Syracuse’s finest, Armory Square! I haven’t really made it public knowledge, even though I’ve been there for almost two years now, but my studio is just steps from the best Irish Pub in town, Kitty Hoynes, a few more steps and you’ll be enjoying a beer (with me) at the Blue Tusk, and if the wind is going in the right direction you’ll be able to smell the delicious scents of BBQ wafting over from (my wedding venue) Dinosaur BBQ! If you can’t tell, I’m a foodie and the restaurants near me make me happy and make it easy to schmooze or eat after a shoot! Anyway, more about my awesome couple, Tara and Gary! We wandered nearby for some casual outdoor snaps and then made our way inside for some unique portraits including a green screen and a vision for laser beams (think 1990’s yearbook portraits)! I’m going to stop writing now because I think what’s going to follow is better than words. Enjoy!


SHP 2016 Wedding Season Highlights | Fun + Silly Wedding Party Shots!

Posted by / April 20, 2017 / Categories: Uncategorized / 0 Comments

As you may have gathered from our Behind the Scenes blog post from last week, SHP likes to work hard and play hard. The quality of photography we provide our clients with is very important to us, and the experience we give them from the beginning stages, to the day of, and finally their products and online gallery is also something we take pride in as part of the unique service we offer. The “big day” takes TONS of intricate planning for our clients and we respect that! So, in the mix of documenting their day, we like to give them the space to let loose, have a little fun, and maybe get a little goofy (and/or weird!). It’s their best day ever, and we’re there to document anything and everything!

Allowing for at least 30 minutes for family photography, 30 minutes for wedding party photography and an intimate 30 minute session for just the couple, is the minimum allotment we prefer on our couples big day! This specific time frame for formal (and fun!) images is super important to us for delivering the final product that we take pride in. We discuss this timeframe with our clients beforehand, during their planning meeting. The 90+ minutes we ask for gives us time to get the formal photos expected (if that’s what the clients ask for) and then have some fun by allowing the couple to express their personalities with the people they deem closest to them. We offer to meet with our clients as many times as it takes before the wedding day to get the timeline solidified and to create an efficient workflow and day of shot list. We refer to the shot list throughout the day to make sure we’ve captured everything we’ve discussed in the planning and final meetings beforehand. Work hard! Play hard!

Get goofy with us and check out some highlights from our fun & silly wedding day shots!

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Featured Venues | Wolf Oak Acres | Turning Stone Casino | The Lake Placid Club | Franklin Square | Casablanca on Cherry Island | Virgilio’s Event Centre | MKJ Farm | The Frog Pond

SHP 2016 Wedding Season | Behind the Scenes

Posted by / April 12, 2017 / Categories: Uncategorized, Weddings / 0 Comments

The 2016 wedding season was quite the whirlwind for SHP. Not only did we shoot a record number of weddings, we lived to tell many stories after shooting 4 double-header weekends! (Dramatic, I know! 😜) We traveled just about everywhere!  Including Buffalo, Remsen, Alex Bay, Utica, all over our lovely city of Syracuse and we even had a long weekend in Lake Placid. It was a very exciting and challenging season that allowed us to grow as a team.

Like any good team, we each have our roles to play. Sarah is the primary photographer and is tasked with getting the key moments and expressions from the couple during the day (the kiss! that first dance embrace! Etc). Jenn is the second photographer, and has been shooting alongside Sarah for EIGHT years now!  She focuses on details that help tell the couples’ story and catches emotions from family members and friends. Jenn complements Sarah’s set of images by filling in the story with her second perspective. She’s basically priceless! Speaking of priceless!  Wesley is also a huge asset to SHP! He assists Sarah with lighting throughout the day, so Sarah can make beautiful lighting where ever she goes. He’s also really good at picking things up and putting them down, but are you really surprised? Look at those guns! 😂 Wesley always photographs the ceremony with us too, which adds an awesome and unique 3rd perspective!

While we work, we can’t help but capture each other in action. We document our clients best day ever and sometimes we even snipe each other hard at work in the process. We also like to stand in for each other for lighting tests! (Example moments or locations: cake, introductions, family formal, etc. [and we keep it interesting!])

We can’t wait for you to see share some of the crazy that is the behind the scenes with SHP.
Sometimes it takes straddling a garbage can to get the shot, ya do what you gotta do!!!
Sarah and Wesley like to accomplish a dress portrait during the beginning of the day. They can pretty much hang a dress anywhere now (even if they have to whisper to it over and over again to “please not falll!!!!”). When there’s time for a #selfie…Look at those dress hanging skills! #shootingface
Wesley is our lighting extraordinare. He makes it possible for Sarah to shoot with beautiful lighting anywhere. He can even be photoshopped out of the shot if necessary, like in the image of Sarisha & Adam at MKJ Farms above! #barefootshooter is one of Sarah’s life goals.  Jenn is a pro at eating and shooting at once (especially if there’s fried pita bread to be found!) #fatkidforlife Wesley is so good at holding things. #bertquadcam Sarah’s so pretty in the pitch black at 1,000,000 ISO!  Jenn is also really good at daydreaming. #jennjennWeeeeeeee! #workfaces Wesley can really strike a pose! …told ya! Proof Wesley sleeps on the job. Say Cheeeeeeeese (and give the sweet limo driver bunny ears…. JENN)! Cameras are fun! I like cameras!Sarah may want to reconsider letting Jenn get so close to the cakes……for real. They may be in danger.  Sarah loves all her clients. She tries to get photos with them when it’s appropriate!  You should see her in a photo booth!! Why aren’t we models yet?! 

And that’s behind the scenes of our 2016 season. Thank you to all our wonderful clients for making these moments possible! <3

SHP Winter Series | Ring Shots

Posted by / April 6, 2017 / Categories: Uncategorized, Weddings / 0 Comments

Spring is officially here, but it’s still a bit rainy and gloomy out there, so for our final installment of this years’ SHP Winter Series we thought we’d feature some beautiful bling to get us in the Spring mood!

Photographing the rings is a something we find to be a very important part of the image set we care to provide to our clients. We specifically set time aside during the wedding day to get these images. Typically, we set time aside during the dinner portion of the day. During the later months of year, however, we try to to photograph them as early as possible. It’s a great idea to get the rings cleaned soon before the wedding day and/or bring a cleaning kit on the day of. This ensures everyone’s bling is on point, bright and clean!

Sarah usually takes charge of creating these images. She likes to start with a traditional shot with the rings nestled in the bouquet. After that, she gets creative with her surroundings and tries to make something more unique for each client. You’ll see this process in some of the images displayed below!

This post brings our first Winter Series to an end. We hope you enjoyed exploring our portfolio thus far as much as we did. Here’s to Spring and warmer days ahead!

SHP Winter Series Blog Posts || Floral HighlightsThe Value of an Engagement Session | Parent DancesThe First Look | Getting Ready Moments | Boutonnières & Ties | Dress Portraits |

SHP 2016 Wedding Season Highlights | Epic Night Shots!

Posted by / March 30, 2017 / Categories: Uncategorized, Weddings / 0 Comments

Skim any 2016 SHP Wedding Day shot list and you will find the item “Epic Night Shot!” towards the end. Every single shot list in our 2016 season had this item because we had made it a goal to work more with off-camera flash. Every season, we set goals and this was one of the biggest for the season!

While every wedding doesn’t allow for a night shot, we wanted to at least train our brains to create an epic night shot image at each venue, whether just in our heads or actually inside the camera. For the weddings that do allow us time for a night shot, Jenn usually stays inside and covers the party going on while Sarah and Wesley set up the shot. Once the shot is perfectly set, we ask the clients to have 10 minutes of their time and whisk them off to the shot location. We were able to execute a bunch of 2-3 light set up images this year, and we are super excited to share them with you.

We’ll keep the Epic Night Shot on our shot lists for the 2017 season, but Sarah has some new ideas to add to the list, which is super exciting. She’s been working with these ideas on the off season, and we can’t wait to share! Wedding days go by fast, but we enjoy creating original, creative images for each of our clients.

One interesting thing to note that we discovered upon reflecting on this goal, is that we started at the Landmark Theatre, returned there almost exactly half way through our season, and finished at the Landmark Theatre! It’s obligatory to get that beautiful marquee in an image.

Here are the epic night shots we accomplished this year!

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Featured Vendors || The Landmark Theatre | Craftsman Inn | The Frog Pond | Rosamond Gifford Zoo | Hotel @ The Lafayette | Casablanca on Cherry Island | Lake Placid Club | DoubleTree Inn | MKJ Farms | Arrowhead Lodge |

Personal Post: A Little Self Employment Celebration

Posted by / March 25, 2017 / Categories: Personal / -

This week has been special to me because I’m celebrating my 5th year of owning my business without any other side job or financial help. I’m proud of where I’ve come and even surprised by what I’ve built. I never enjoyed showing up to work for someone else and it took a while for me to realize I was on the path to becoming self employed. My friends and acquaintances supported me, pushed me and encouraged me to keep growing, and I listened. I feel that my career fell into my lap thanks to those people and I couldn’t help but to embrace my talent. I’ve set my business up to allow my schedule to be flexible. At my day job it was the set schedule that I battled with the most. I didn’t want to be forced to create, I wanted to plan for it in my own time and then let it flow. This time 5 years ago, I said goodbye to my day job and hello to SHP full time.
So! Here’s to my 10th year of photographing weddings and my 5th year of being able to support myself solely on the support of all of you. Thank you and happy weekend!


SHP Winter Series | Floral Highlights

Posted by / March 15, 2017 / Categories: Weddings / -

As Storm Stella engulfs the north-east with all of its cold and snow, we thought this was the perfect time to reflect on our summery floral portfolio. We think it’s definitely time for a reminder that Spring is right around the corner! In this installment of the Winter Series, we’ve picked some floral highlights to share. We love flowers and we take a special interest in seeing the awesome works of art local florists manage to create for centerpieces, boutonnières and bouquets! This post highlights floral bouquets, and with all the snow around here… it’s just so necessary!

It’s important (and fun!) for us to capture floral bouquets and centerpieces since their beauty is so fleeting. We also like to use the flowers to enhance detail shots, so when planning for your big day, make a point to have the flowers arrive at the beginning of the day. It may even be a good idea to assign someone flower duty! This way, the flowers are sure to be in the right places at the right times. Flowers enhance formal photos and are a great prop for portraits, and for as valuable as they are, it’s important to us that they are documented in creative ways for our couples.

To our fellow Storm Stella captives – stay safe & warm! We hope this post warms everyone with reminders that the future is bright.

Featured Vendors || Whistlestop Florist | Village Floral | The Clinton Florist | Westcott Florist | Olney’s Flowers |

SHP Winter Series Blog Posts || The Value of an Engagement Session | Parent DancesThe First Look | Getting Ready Moments | Boutonnières & Ties | Dress Portraits |

SHP Winter Series | The Value of an Engagement Session

Posted by / March 8, 2017 / Categories: Engagement, Weddings / -

In this installment of our Winter Series we’ll highlight the value of an engagement session.

Engagement sessions, or an e-sesh, as Sarah likes to call it, can last sixty to ninety minutes (or longer – if beers are in order after!). Sarah and the couple meet at a previously agreed upon location for these sessions. We encourage the couple to center the location choice around some of their favorite activities or their favorite locations. But don’t worry if you don’t have an idea or may be from out of town! We have many lovely local suggestions to offer.

When you inquire with us, you’ll notice that each of our packages includes an engagement session, but before you’re tempted to ask – no, we’re sorry, removing the engagement session will not lower the price of a package. We’re happy to explain why – engagement sessions are invaluable if we are working with you on your best day ever.

Working with our clients means getting to know them. It’s important to feel comfortable with your wedding photographer and be sure you come to share the same vision! Engagement sessions allow for an opportunity before the big day to understand what to expect and get comfortable working with Sarah. Sarah also gets to know you and the directions she may need to give to achieve the best photographs! Hanging out can also ignite creativity, and collaboration is always fun. These sessions also give our clients a chance to get comfortable in front of the camera and have some practice for the big day. Clients can even maximize this opportunity and plan their trial hair and makeup around engagement sessions.

An engagement session can be the best trial run for your big day, which will allow for less worry once it arrives. We think that’s pretty invaluable! Our engagement session adventures have allowed us to turn clients into friends, network with local businesses, and preserve our clients’ memories forever.

We’d thought it’d be fun to show some of our portfolio off in a different way this week! We picked some highlights from past engagement sessions and paired each one with a portrait from the couple’s wedding day. We truly find that getting to know our clients as best we can enriches our work and art as a whole and increases the quality of our work on their big day!

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Featured Locations || The Frog Pond | Hotel at The LaFayette | Landmark Theatre | Virgilio’s Event Centre | MKJ Farms | The Lake Placid Club | Orchard Grove Farms | The Oncenter | Turning Stone Casino | Now & Later | Al’s Wine & Whiskey | Franklin Square | Armory Square | Baltimore Woods | Cazenovia Lakeside Park | Upper Onondaga Park | LeMoyne College | Skaneateles Pier | Inner Harbor | Thornden Park | Breitbeck Park |

SHP Winter Series Blog Posts || Parent DancesThe First Look | Getting Ready Moments | Boutonnières & Ties | Dress Portraits |

SHP Winter Series | Parent Dances

Posted by / March 2, 2017 / Categories: Weddings / -

In the fifth installment of our Winter Series, we reflect upon our parent dance portfolio so far! “Parent Dances,” or “The Loved Ones Dances,”  are cherished wedding traditions our clients often chose to include in their wedding receptions. We’ve come to find that the day goes smoothly when these dances are planned after the couple’s first dance and before toasts and dinner. This allows guests to enjoy their meals and head right into partying in honor of the happy couple once finished. Once it’s decided when the dances will happen, it’s super important to let the photographers know when to expect them! This way we are completely prepared to capture these unique moments.

Throughout the years, we’ve seen many interpretations of this tradition. Brides and grooms pick a parent or another special person in their lives to share a spotlight dance with. We’ve seen brides dance with their moms, the newlyweds dance with their children, grandparent dances, sibling dances, and we look forward to more iterations as the years go on.  We absolutely love music and have documented our couples dancing to a variety of different songs. We’ve even photographed a quickie 60 second parent dance (bye, spotlight!) which was just long enough for them to get that special moment with their loved one, and for us to capture that moment! No matter how long or short, they are all special and it’s a tradition that over the years seems to be a keeper.

Here are some highlights of these special dances from our portfolio:

Feature Vendors | Marriott Syracuse Downtown| The Frog Pond | Hotel at The LaFayette | Landmark Theatre | Virgilio’s Event Centre | The Brewster Inn | Wolf Oak Acres | MKJ Farms | DoubleTree Inn | The Lake Placid Club | Orchard Grove Farms | The Oncenter

SHP Winter Series Blog Posts | The First Look | Getting Ready Moments | Boutonnières & Ties | Dress Portraits |

SHP Winter Series | The First Look Experience

Posted by / February 23, 2017 / Categories: Uncategorized, Weddings / -

When we meet with our prospective clients, we ask them about the vision of their big day and if they have considered the idea of a “first look”. While we can certainly make a wedding day shot list work without one, we do enjoy when clients opt for the first look experience. Working a first look into the wedding day timeline has a few advantages. It allows the couple to get their personal photos done and out of the way so they can be apart of some or all of their cocktail hour. It can also allow the couple to spend more time together on their best day ever! Additionally, it gives Sarah more time with them to explore the venue and make creative images. So, if you are thinking of choosing a first look, we would recommend planning at least 30 minutes for family photos (more if you have an extensive list for photos), 30 to 40 minutes for creative and formal wedding party photos, and at least 30 to 40 minutes for a first look, including a mini session with the couple. Two hours would be the ideal time allotment for completing these 3 sets of photos before the ceremony. Some people chose to modify this timeline a bit and do just the first look along with their mini session and wedding party beforehand and family photos after the ceremony, which is also a great way to lay out your photography timeline.

With that being said, this brings us to the fourth installment of our Winter Series! When clients opt for the first look experience, they are choosing to see each other before their ceremony. By doing so, this may allow for a combination of things – shaking some jitters (you’re about to see everyone you love in one room!), allowing more time for the lovebirds to be side by side on their big day, and/or providing a more relaxed or ample timeline for photography.

We’ve chosen a few first looks from our 2016 season to briefly explain how we provide a special first look experience for clients that choose to incorporate one!

First, we have Caitlin & Tom‘s first look. Jenn spent the morning with Tom and his guys documenting their experience as Sarah and Wesley did so for Caitlin. Tom got ready right at the wedding venue, so at one of our pre-wedding day meetings, we all decided the best place for the first look would be the Everson Museum – right across the street from the wedding venue, The Oncenter. Once the men were ready, they met on the courtyard side of the museum to wait. Jenn and Sarah communicated their whereabouts to each other to ensure the love birds would not get a glimpse of each other too soon. Once Tom, Sarah & Jenn were in place, Wesley instructed Caitlin to walk up to her soon to be husband… This is what happened next:

Next, is Stephanie & Alan‘s Lake Placid first look experience. Sarah and Wesley met Stephanie at her hotel room, while Jenn met up with Alan and his fellas at a condo near by. Once the guys were ready, they graciously drove Jenn to the First Look location. While they waited for the ladies, Jenn grabbed some shots of the guys and Alan with his parents. Once Stephanie arrived with Sarah & Wesley, we communicated via phone call to make sure Stephanie was in place without Alan seeing her. Then we got Alan in place, his back to the corner where Stephanie stood, and Sarah gave Stephanie the go ahead to allow this to happen:

We had planned to photograph Heather & Matt‘s first look at her father’s golf course, but the weather would not cooperate. Heather was getting ready at the wedding ceremony location, DoubleTree Inn, so Matt, his guys, and Jenn decided to head there instead of the golf course. While the guys had a drink in the bar, Sarah, Jenn & Wesley scoped the hotel for a photogenic area to do the first look. Once we found a nice corner, we placed Matt against the wall so he would not see Heather approaching. Sarah then instructed Heather to pause as she approached to allow her to grasp Matt’s hand before seeing each other; at this point, they exchanged letters to each other and the rest unfolded as such:

Finally, we have Kalee & John‘s first look experience at Hayloft on the Arch. While the weather didn’t cooperate for the outdoor ceremony they had planned, but it did give us a lovely hazy break so they could at least have their first look outdoors. After Sarah and Wesley moved about a million chairs (anything for the shot!! [We all put them back after – phew!]), Sarah placed John at the arch with his back facing the venue. Kalee was escorted down the stairs by her mom, which was so sweet. Once she was close enough to touch John, Sarah asked Kalee to pause and instructed John to turn to look at her:

After the first look experience, we have time to photograph the couple together in various settings and alone for formal portraits. Sometimes we even have time to photograph the bridal party and family! Once these things are complete, it allows for the couple to go into their ceremony with a lot accomplished and a lot of fun to look forward to experiencing!

SHP Winter Series Blog Posts | Boutonnières & Ties | Dress Portraits | Getting Ready Moments |