Posts by Matthew Hall:
Weddings are full of joy. Usually, it is the excitement of the couple that carries the day. As a wedding photographer, you learn to tap into it and let it carry you along and provide the energy and focus that the day demands.
Then you get the call. One of your close friends from way back when is getting married, and they want you to photograph the wedding. Then, it’s not just the emotion of the couple…this is an important person in your life, and you can share directly in that joy and celebration.
So it was when Tina got in touch several months ago. We were good friends back at Fairfield U, and I would have bent over backwards to get to photograph her big day. And since she now lives on the same road as the university, and was having the ceremony and portraits on campus, I was prepared to bend over backwards to photograph the wedding.
Other friends were also involved in the day. Kerry and Rebecca were in the wedding party. Sidebar: when Tina asked me to shoot the wedding, she insisted there would be no bridal party. Real small and simple, she said. She ended up with 12 bridesmaids.
And Kristie Kistner, another dear college friend who has a photography business in Connecticut, was able to help me out second shooting.
I loved it. Now that I am done with the photos, and the gallery has been delivered, it’s really pleasant to think about what I have contributed to a friend’s life. Decades from now, when her grandkids are looking at the photo album during some family holiday, they’ll be looking at the work of a good friend. That makes me feel good.
Plus, it was a great wedding. Congratulations to Tina and Brian, and many many many best wishes as they continue their lives together.
What keeps wedding photography fresh and exciting as the years go by? The couples. That’s it. Over and over again, I am given pause by how much I can enjoy meeting new couples and seeing how different they are from one another.
Often times, weddings skew younger…there is hub-bub and to-do, bridesmaids excited and flustered as the ceremony approaches and the small details are fretted over. This is, after all, The Big Day. The big new beginning.
Which brings us to Judith and Randy’s fantastic Art Alliance wedding. This day was calm. Serene. Peaceful. Quiet and confident. The small group of friends and family gathered in the courtyard for pre-ceremony champagne and hugs and catchings-up, and then moved to that amazing central staircase and smiled big smiles as the bride and groom exchanged their vows.
Then it was down to Le Cheri for a meal far above and beyond the typical wedding catering. This meal was serious business.
And after that, that was it. Simple, sweet, wonderful day. I have had the pleasure of running into Judith and Randy a couple times at Philadelphia Orchestra events as well, and it’s always great to stay in touch.
As a fun aside, the wedding was also covered by the New York Times, who sent their own photographer. Pity that I couldn’t just have one of my dream employers run a few of my photos, but it was also fun rubbing elbows with one of their photographers and watching her work.
This beautiful country wedding is going back in the archives a bit, and for some reason it never came up in my blogging queue. Which is funny, because this is just the kind of wedding I love to photograph. I’ve been shooting so much in Philadelphia recently, and there’s lots to be said for working in the elegant Center City venues, but when it’s a beautiful autumn day and there’s a fantastic historical venue and a gorgeous couple, well.
So congratulations to Will and Luann! Their ceremony and reception, both held at the historic Anthony Wayne House in Paoli, PA, were the height of elegant, laid-back, all-smiles-on-deck joy. A heart-felt outdoor ceremony under a handmade wedding canopy. A walk along a rustic fence beneath full-blown autumn color. A tent reception on a perfect evening. A fire ring. And I’d like to call your attention to the photograph of the setting sun shining through the champagne glasses as the toasts approach.
Really. In so many ways, a perfect day.
As an aside, Luann’s makeup artist for the day was Kim, one of my brides who has appeared here previously. It took me awhile to recognize her, but I finally came around to it. Always great to see past couples out and about in the world!
Alright, alright, once again it is time to confess that I am a terrible blogger and really need to refocus my attention here to keep you up to date on what the heck I am doing, who I am working with, and what wonderful venues I’ve been shooting at. So what the heck have I been up to while not posting regularly?
Well, a whole bunch! Shooting lots and lots of weddings, for sure. Still shooting the occasional story for the Inquirer. Running a ton. Learning to knit. Raising two kids. Trying to get through Middlemarch, which is a fantastic book, by the way. Learning to wrtie web code. Grocery shopping…I’m sure many of you know the deal.
So this post is just to remind you that I am still here, still alive, still taking great photographs of great couples at great weddings. In the coming week or so I’ll get back to posting weddings, and I want to share a bit of news about changes to my business and pricing that will make it simpler for us to connect and get you a wedding collection that you’ll love.
In the meantime, my most active social media outlet right now is Instagram. Head on over there and check out what I have been up to, weddings, running, kids, crafts, and all.
See you in a bit with more info!
I’m looking forward to kicking off a new wedding season this Saturday, and what better way to get back into the spirit than to update the blog with another wonderful couple who brought with them truly one of the funniest assemblages of family and friends in recent memory. Angela and Sean’s wedding day was chilly and rainy, but an absolute hoot. We shot some film, we shot some digital, we were challenged with locations and logistics, but in the end, two people got married, lots of people danced, a few people cried, and the shrimp at the cocktail hour buffet were plentiful, and delicious.
Congratulations, Angela and Sean, and we wish you all the best!
Preparations: Doubletree Plymouth Meeting
Ceremony: St. Philip Neri, Lafayette Hill
Reception: Plymouth Meeting Country Club
A mutual friend–ok, technically my boss at the time–referred Albert to me. It turns out that he had been just over there, at work, for some time. He was working as a copy editor at The Philadelphia Daily News while I was doing my internship there. But since he moved in the words-world, and I was usually out and about on photography assignments, we had never had occasion to meet.
Good thing that we eventually did. Albert and Keith put on a wedding that balanced the height of elegance with the kind of back-slapping, hugs and kisses affair that makes you forget that the reception is happening amidst priceless artifacts of antiquity (note to other photographers: yes, the Penn Museum checks to see if you have insurance. Yes, you will really really see the value of a general liability policy if you ever shoot there).
This wedding was just shortly after Pennsylvania came to its senses and stopped enforcing its ban on same-sex marriages. Albert and Keith having been together for a long time, the emotional reaction was as predictable as it was touching: a sense of “Finally!”, and sense of “This is right!”, a sense of “It is as it should be.” It was a wedding of deep gratitude, love, community, and sharing.
Shot mostly on film, as weddings should be!
But seriously! The reception!
Emily and Vic’s wedding at Philadelphia’s Knowlton Mansion was wonderful for many reasons, but this wedding party stood out as a great group of people, and in photographer-speak, that means that they were very willing to have their pictures taken.
Knowlton Mansion has this little sitting room, or maybe it’s a parlour, but whatever it is called, it is a richly textured space that just really really wanted me to do something a bit more photographically.
I spend a lot of time looking at non-wedding photography, and love how I can grab inspiration even for how people sit when I’m looking outside the box.
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Emily and Vic were married at Philadelphia’s Knowlton Mansion, and even though the wedding itself was almost a year ago, I just had the pleasure of finishing up their album and seeing them again to hand it over.
Knowlton Mansion is such a fantastic venue–pity the ceremony couldn’t have been outside. The giant old house has all kinds of little nooks and crannies and intimate spaces that create great light, and the event space is also wonderful.
Emily and Vic themselves were also fantastic, a chill, slightly wry couple with a sense of humor and go-with-the-flow demeanor that is so enjoyable to work with. Detail of the day: Vic and his dad made the wine that was used in the ceremony and that was handed out as favors at the end of the night. Always lovely to see one of my photographs on a wine label!
Congratulations to this beautiful couple, and I wish them many years of happiness!
For those who want to know, many of these images were shot on film: Kodak Portra 400 and Tri-X, the two greatest films around these days.
Indra and Chris’s wedding at Glen Cove Mansion was one I almost did not get to shoot. When the couple initially booked me to photograph their wedding, it was planned for Philadelphia. A change of plans moved the celebration to Long Island. I’m always disappointed not to get to work with a couple when plans changed, so I let them know that I always welcome the opportunity to travel someplace far (not that Long Island is terribly far), and they ended up sticking with me and having me drive up. I am so glad that I did.
I am such of fan of ceremonies and rituals…anything that shows how one culture or another celebrates momentous events. Indra and Chris’ wedding was just that. First, there was a Hindu wedding ceremony with all of its rich colors, textures, ornate decorations, and elaborate symbolism on the altar. There are the shawls and the circling of the fire, the music. It was wonderful and beautiful.
As if that were not enough, they then went outside and had another ceremony in the American tradition, outside, on the patio, with the tux and the white dress and a lovely harp. The day was transitioning to evening and it could not have been more perfect.
One more transition to inside for cocktails and a beautiful reception, with a long string of friends and relatives giving testimonial to what a wonderful couple, what a wonderful day, what a wonderful celebration was at hand.
Thanks so much to Indra and Chris for having me drive up to Long Island for the wedding. Great people make the drive worth it, and this drive was worth it. Many many congratulations!