East Greenwich Animal Protection League Fundraiser

I had the privilege of being part of a great event over the last two months for the East Greenwich Animal Protection League, a local non-profit, no-kill shelter for homeless animals. Myself, along with my friend and fellow photographer, Stacey Doyle, photographed close to 40 RI “celebrities” with shelter animals to raise money for the Animal Protection League .

The event coordinator, Kimberly Kalunian, picked well known Rhode Island locations for all the photo shoots, and I had a blast exploring some new areas of the state. It was such a fun project to photograph because each shoot was so different than the one before it. There were no real rules that I needed to follow, which made it interesting for me each time I went out.

I photographed some great local people, including American Idol finalist Erika Van Pelt, Kelsey Fournier (Miss RI), WPRI News reporter Ted Nesi, WJAR Traffic & Technology reporter Molly O’Brien, Radio show host Tara Granahan, actress Amanda Ruggiero, Kevin Willette & Adam Palazio, Talia Triangolo, Providence’s most eligible bachelorette Jay Davani, 2 Children’s Wishes children, Rachel Ladd, Alyssa Gorgone, Governor Lincoln Chafee, and Rhode Show host Michaela Johnson.

The event and silent auction was this past Friday in East Greenwich, and though I haven’t heard what the Animal Protection League raised, from the looks of the event, they raised some good money for the care of these animals. If you weren’t there, you missed a great event!

Post to Twitter

Meghan & Patrick: Married, New Haven Lawn Club

I traveled down to New Haven, Connecticut a couple of weeks back for Meghan & Patrick’s wedding day. I started my day at the gorgeous Omni New Haven Hotel in downtown where Meghan and Patrick were getting ready. Once everyone was ready, we headed over to Dwight Hall on the Yale University campus for the ceremony – which was performed by Meghan’s cousin. I love weddings where a family member or close friend performs the ceremony – it always adds a nice personal touch to the wedding ceremony! After the ceremony, we took some family pictures outside, before walking the streets of New Haven a bit with just Meghan and Patrick, stopping at a few spots for pictures. Once at the New Haven Lawn Club, the bridal party relaxed with some snacks before jumping back into pictures. I got a chance to peek inside the ballroom before all the guests entered – and it looked great! I love uplighting in rooms like this one, it really adds a level of atmosphere that just elevates the whole mood!

Meghan and Patrick were introduced and went right into their first dance before sitting down for dinner. I pulled them out for 5 minutes as the sun was setting to get a handful of portraits outside the club now that the light had dropped in the sky a little bit. Back inside, Meghan surprised Patrick with a grooms cake that kicked off the dancing for the night. The dance floor was full until the last song was played! It was a great day, for sure, and a good (unofficial) start to my season!

Thanks, Meghan and Patrick! I was so happy to spend the day with you both.

Post to Twitter

Actor Headshots

I’ve been busy this winter, with no real “slow season” like I’ve seen in the past. That’s a good thing! I had weddings into January, and I’ve already got another behind me in March. A lot of the work, however, that I’ve been shooting has yet to see the light of day. That may make it look like I’m not working. That couldn’t be further from the reality! I’m wrapping up work on a project for the East Greenwich Animal Protection League on a series of portraits for a silent auction in April, working on getting my personal photography project off the ground, (which I’ll tell you more about soon) as well as a handful of commercial assignments that don’t produce (or allow) much to be blogged.

That being said, I’m happy to share with you some images I took of a great local actress and model last week. She was looking to update her portfolio a bit with a variety of new images. We met in South County and shot in studio first, then roamed around an old textile mill looking for some good light. I’m really happy with the images!

Post to Twitter

Lighting Workshop – A Success!

I co-hosted a lighting workshop last weekend in Wakefield, RI for photographers looking to take their lighting game to the next level. It was hosted by fellow wedding photographer, Seth Jacobson (pictured above) and myself. It was more on studio lighting this time, where the last few times hadn’t really even touched on studio lighting. We had a group of really wonderful photographers who produced some incredible images from our day together! I didn’t shoot many images myself, but I did take a few of each setup that I really ended up liking.

Thanks so much to our models, the hair and makeup artists Lynda Williams and Jenn Hodge! Thanks also to Trevor Holden and Matt Jacobsen for some behind the scenes photography and assistance in setting up and breaking down the piles of gear we brought with us, as well as taking some participants under their wing as needed. Most of all, thank you to all of you who came out to learn and play with some new lighting techniques on Saturday!

This may not give you much of an idea of what the workshop was like, but this time lapse video is a good way to show you everything that went on during it.

Post to Twitter

Michelle & Roger: Married, Bittersweet Farm, Westport

I met Michelle when she signed on to be my son Michael’s primary care nurse as he prepared to spend 12 weeks in the NICU almost three years ago. She spent each one of her shifts taking care of Michael, making sure he got the best care possible. So when Michelle asked if I’d be interested in photographing her wedding, I didn’t hesitate to say yes!

I met up with Michelle at a friends home where she preparing to go and meet Roger for their first look. Roger and Michelle enjoyed a first look overlooking the water down by where Massachusetts and RI meet, way down in Westport. After a few minutes, we took some pictures, and headed towards Bittersweet Farm where they would spend the rest of the evening. The ceremony was held in the loft of the rustic post and beam building. After Michelle and Roger said their vows, we took some pictures with family, then they headed down and enjoyed some drinks before sitting down for dinner. Once dinner was through, Michelle and Roger cut their wedding cake, and the dance floor opened. The band, “Big In Europe” rocked the house – it was great!

Thanks so much Michelle and Roger – I had a blast, and thank you for having me along!

Post to Twitter

What’s Up With Facebook?

Facebook is a hugely popular website right now, and chances are good, you spend some time on the site just about every day. From my perspective it’s getting tough, as a photographer and someone who relies on networks like facebook to reach people who want to stay in the loop with what’s going on with my business. The website is starting to purposefully throttle back the amount of people that are shown my posts from my business page, as they roll out a new “pay to play” style of social networking. I’ve gone from almost 100% (everyone sees an update, unless of course, you’re logged off of Facebook for a few days) down to 10-15% of my “fans”. It no longer works in the way that it used to. It used to be that if you clicked “like” on my business page (or any other page you may follow), you would be alerted to new posts in your news feed, the same way that you might if say, your cousin posts a new picture of her puppy. That’s all changing, and even though you may have “liked” a business page in the past, and still currently want to receive updates from that business, Facebook is showing you less and less of what they (and I) want to share with you. Facebook is hoping that I will pay for each and every post that I do, based on the amount of people that I want to receive my updates. Paying for one or two posts wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but over the course of the year, it’s outrageous how much they want small businesses to fork over for “social” style sharing.

In the meantime, you may have noticed that they’re also showing you things in your newsfeed that you may not have ever “liked”, because some Facebook algorithm thinks that you might like it. The other day, in my feed, I was shown a tequila company, and they suggested I like it. I hate tequila! But I like hearing about local businesses, like Sweet Indulgence in Warwick who makes delicious chocolates and cakes, yet after a quick look on their page, I’m noticing I haven’t seen any of their recent updates in weeks. If I didn’t consciously think to visit their Facebook page, I wouldn’t ever have seen any updates from them.

What does that mean for you?

This means that you may be seeing less of my posts on Facebook. If logging into Facebook is the way you stay on top of what’s happening in my business, then you may just be falling out of touch with me and not even realize it. It spells bad news for me, because I do rely heavily on word-of-mouth marketing, and referrals from past clients. If you follow my work, I can only assume that you like my work, even just a little. (Thank you!) It would make sense, then, if you like my work (even just a little) you’d want to tell others that may need a photographer for a wedding, event, or portrait about me. (Thanks, again!) Unfortunately, as time goes by, and you see less and less my new work and updates, you may have a hard time remembering the name of that photographer you once knew.

Aside from waiting along with me for the next great social media network to come along, there are a few things you can do to see more of my (and other businesses’) work.

First, because Facebook is making it harder for you to see what businesses are up to, let’s connect elsewhere! Find me on Twitter at @smithbrad, or go direct to my blog (you’re on it!) and click the RSS logo to add my blog posts to your RSS reader. Not everyone reads blogs this way, but more and more people are jumping on board this quick way to stay on top of multiple blog feeds. Bookmark my page and/or blog. It’s an old-school way to stay in the loop. Let’s be friends on Facebook. As far as I know, Facebook isn’t throttling back personal posts… yet. Let’s connect there, I promise I won’t bombard you with a thousand pictures of my kids!

And finally, see the tips in the article below for configuring Facebook to show you more of what you really want to see.

I rely on social media and word of mouth referrals heavily to develop relationships with new wedding couples as well as corporate clients, and others who are looking to hire a photographer. I appreciate it every time you mention my name to someone else. It’s what keeps my business going! I’d hate to think I was passed over because of something like Facebook neglecting to show you any of my new work. So please find me in one of the other spots I mentioned above, or take the steps to modify the way you see pages on Facebook that you care about. I appreciate it immensely!

How to see more of the stuff you like on Facebook

1. Find a page you’ve “liked.” How about trying my facebook page?
2. Hover you mouse over the “Liked” button, or click the “Liked” button.
3. After clicking “Liked,” try hovering over it again.
4. Once you (finally) get a drop down menu, confirm “Show in News Feed” is selected.
5. Click “Get Notifications.”

In theory, this should put all more posts from the page back in your newsfeed.

Or not.

Hard to know, since the only way to test it is to keep visiting every page you’ve “liked” to compare their posts to your newsfeed. (Which no one has time to do. I understand.)

Post to Twitter

Kara & Matt: Married, New Years Eve

I started my day with Kara at her parent’s home in Cranston where I found her surrounded by her bridesmaids, parents, and close friends. My second photographer, Dave, started his day with Matt as he and the groomsmen got ready to head over to the church for the ceremony. After the ceremony, we headed over to the Quonset “O” Club for pictures, cocktails, dinner, and dancing. The dance floor was packed all night! Kara and Matt had a great crowd at their wedding, and kept things going strong through the countdown to midnight. It was great evening, and I was thrilled to ring in the new year with them!

Post to Twitter

Michelle & Josh: Married, Kirkbrae Country Club

Michelle and Josh were married a few weeks ago at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center. The building, if you’ve never seen it before, is simply a huge greenhouse full of exotic plant life, as well as some gorgeous diffused light. It was a pleasure to photograph there! Michelle got ready at her parents home nearby, which is where I caught up with her.

The ceremony itself was wonderful, with a close group of family and friends surrounding Michelle and Josh as they said their vows. Once the ceremony was finished, we headed into the other side of the Botanical Center for family pictures. It was nice to have access to such a nice (warm!) indoor space, because at the end of November, it was pretty chilly outside! We made a stop at the Carousel, also within Roger Williams Park, before heading up to Kirkbrae for the cocktail hour and reception. Michelle and Josh were troopers and hung around outside for a few more pictures before heading in to get warm and prepare to greet their guests at cocktail hour. Once inside, introductions were made and Michelle and Josh had their first dance. Dinner was served and dancing begun.

It was such a fun wedding – thanks Michelle and Josh for having me along!

Post to Twitter

Keighley & Peter: Married

Keighley and Peter’s wedding day was fantastic!  As is always the case with late season New England weddings, we were worried about temperatures dipping but we truly lucked out as the sunshine beamed down and it was just a little chilly for the big day.  My second shooter, Dave and I arrived that morning to meet up with Keighley and Peter at the Newport Hyatt.  I went to meet with Keighley while Dave, went off to meet with the guys.  It’s safe to say that both the bride and groom were nervous and filled with about all the anticipation they could handle! The wedding ceremony was held at Kay Chapel in Newport.  As pretty as the chapel is by itself, things got a lot more romantic for their processional when the bag piper started to play!

After the ceremony we made our way toward Quidnessett Country Club for the reception.  We made a stop at the Wickford waterfront for some formals and Keighley and Peter’s limo driver even rolled out the red carpet for us, literally!  We had fun posing around the docks and it was a nice time for Keighley and Peter to shake off the wedding jitters and get ready for the reception to come.  We managed to beat the early sunset and get outside for some pictures at Quidnessett.  Then came the introductions and some very nice speeches. Rick from Arpeggio Wedding Entertainment did his usual great job of keeping the music going. It was a great day, thanks for having me along!

Post to Twitter

Mona & Ben: Engaged

I met Mona and Ben up in Boston the afternoon before Sandy blew through town. The weather was starting to deteriorate, but we moved quickly and dodged raindrops as we photographed the session. We spent some time inside The New England College of Optometry, where Mona & Ben met in class, years ago. Now with careers, they returned back to shoot some pictures inside the classrooms, library, and common areas that they spent time in when they were in school.

Thanks, Mona & Ben for showing me around your school – it’s a beautiful building, inside and out. I had a blast! Thanks!

Post to Twitter