When Gena and Alex reached out to me last year, about their Los Angeles wedding, I almost jumped out of my seat with excitement! Her and Alex planned their wedding reception to take place at the Millwick in downtown Los Angeles. Alex is from Hawaii, so his family planned an awesome backyard celebration for them, in the house he grew up in! They also wanted to be able to celebrate in LA, so this was more of a reception slash awesome party to celebrate with their friends in family in California. I’m originally from California, so I spend a lot of time going back and forth between California and NY. Since they planned to celebrate in January, it was perfect timing for my winter exodus from NY, and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect couple to work with in the middle of January. Between getting ready at the Ace Hotel, her Stella McCartney dress that was also donned by Rhianna on the red carpet a while back, and the magic that is the Millwork, this was pretty much my ideal couple! Cheers Gena and Alex for getting me out of NY for a great celebration in LA!
Photography by Amber
Hotel: Ace Hotel
Planner: Sweet Emilia Jane
Catering: eco caters
Cannoli: Eagle Rock Italian Bakery and Deli
Stationary: Aida Klein
Dress: Stella McCartney
Suit: Hugo Boss
Ring: Anna Sheffield
Hair & Make Up: Brittany Monge
Well, I guess 2017 is off to good start! I landed my first magazine cover in Rangefinder's latest issue! Inside the magazine, I also talk about what it's like shooting in the city, and different ways to approach it. I loved taking a minute to think about shooting in the urban landscape, since it really did have an impact on the way I shoot. I moved to NY from LA, and I really hand to change the way I shoot. I used to be able to lug gear around LA in my truck, and load up with all kinds of fun things for a shoot, but living in NY, is a whole different game! I downsized dramatically, learned to embrace the chaos, and had to become real quick on my feet. I love the challenge, and I love what it's taught me on how to shoot with less. Would love to hear your thoughts about shooting in the city! Check out Rangefinder for the full article!
As I’ve mentioned many times, I LOVE California. I was born and raised on the Central Coast here, and since moving to NY, I think I may have even developed an even bigger love for it since leaving. Every time I come back, I find new things to love, and old friends to come home to. I love spending time here, while NY is covered in snow, and I feel less compelled to leave my house, so this is my way of avoiding becoming a total hermit. My last few visits have included trips to the desert, while this time, a few of my friends made a trip to Northern California, which couldn’t have been a better idea. It was the perfect way to start off the new year, and spend a little time in nature, while taking in some of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve seen in a long time. Our first stop included a visit to our friends organic vegetable farm in Willits, where we got to harvest fresh veggies for our trip out to the coast. We loaded up on kale, brussels sprouts, chard, and a few other items for our trip. After leaving the farm, we drove in the rain to a spot right on the Beach in Mendocino County, and spent some time taking in the views, the air, and the ocean.
Serendipitously, two of our friends are engaged, so of course we did an impromptu engagement session on the beach, and the beautiful woods that we hiked in the next day. We found the loveliest trail in the Jug Handle State Natural Reserve. This trail was certainly the highlight of the trip, the most beautiful backdrop for some great images of my lovely friends. If you make it out that way, I highly recommend this trail, it’s pretty spectacular! Happy New Year to you all, and I look forward to blogging much more this year!
Everything about these two made my year! When they reached out to us, I knew we had to make it work, even though Shannon and I already had weddings that weekend! We are not big on double wedding weekends around here, but if you are magical unicorns like these beauties, we can make an exception for you. Since their wedding was on the smaller side, and didn’t require the same number of hours of a big wedding, we made it work, and I couldn’t be happier. Luckily Shannon was available, and off she went to make magic with Bri and Andreia. They live in London, but Bri is from New Jersey originally, while Andreia is from England. They both used to live in NYC, and they love Brooklyn, so choosing the winery was a no brainer for them! They got ready together at the Wythe Hotel, and took a stroll around Williamsburg to shoot some photos, in their amazing custom suits!! I’ve literally been waiting for this moment forever! I love a beautiful same sex wedding, and I usually see brides wearing two white dresses, so seeing these two babes slay in their matching custom suits, paired with their floral Ted Baker shoes, I literally gasped! These two are everything, and I couldn’t be more honored that you chose us for your big day! Wishing you all the best together, and I hope that’s not the last time you rock those amazing suits!
the AGP Team!
Photography by our Associate Shannon
Venue: Brooklyn Winery
Suits: Gromley and Gamble
Stationary: Made by the Brides
Shoes: Ted Baker
Makeup: Makeup by Pennina
Florals: Sachi Rose
This wedding is a prime example of you get what you give. These two really came through with time to shoot, and an openness to anything I suggested for photos. I honestly can’t get over how lovely and no fuss this wedding was, with a guest list of only 14, including them. I don’t get to shoot solo very often anymore, but I have to say it was such a treat, just getting to bop around the wonderland of upstate during fall with these two. The colors, the location, the intimate setting was just one of the loveliest weddings I have ever been witness to. They were both so mellow on the day of, and looked fabulous to boot! I am completely in awe of Conor’s no holds barred floral wedding suit. I mean come on, not many people can pull this look of, but he killed it. It complemented Hannah’s Boho lace dress perfectly, and how about her bouquet!!! Those colors kill me. Fall is officially my favorite for weddings. Also, I can’t recommend the Hotel Tivoli enough, I was lucky enough to dine there after the wedding, and everything was amazing! Thank you Hannah and Conor, you rule!
Venue: Hotel Tivoli
Ceremony: Poets Walk
Florals: Flower Kraut
Dress: Dreamers and Lovers
Shoes: Maryam Nassir Zadeh
Hair: Bodhi Holistic Spa
Makeup: Clare Lille
I had the pleasure of meeting Megi when I first move to NY, and just getting my toes wet in the photo scene out here. My friend Linda had just created a new fashion line, and she needed a model and a photographer, which is where Megi and I came in! We kept in touch via FB and that’s how this all came about, well of course, that is after her chance meeting with Chris at a birthday party in Manhattan. I love how things come around, and we get to revisit friends from the past, and usher them into a new chapter of life! Funny enough, her and Chris just moved across the country and now live in the same area I grew up! I love how they chose to celebrate their big day, and always enjoy working at one of my favorite venues, 501 Union in Brooklyn!
P.S. For those of you who don’t know, we are now offering video as part of our services, and we are so delighted to share Megi+Chris’s video with you!
I'm delighted to share this lovely feature in this issue of White Magazine alongside some of my awesome friends Samm Blake and Team Woodnote!
We went to Cuba, and I have lots to share with you.
It’s no simple task addressing a country that has been written about, photographed and documented as much as this one. I will be providing you with a massive amount of information, so that if you want to go too, I will make it as easy as possible for you! When traveling I’m always interested in getting on the inside, and discovering the interiors of a place that can sometimes prove to be difficult in a short period of time. The experience we had is not even remotely reflected in the photos I have, because so much of what happened occurred after dark, and my biggest regret was not bringing a flash. This was a lesson learned on my part. I like to travel light, so I did not pack one, even though I briefly contemplated it right before we left. It was so hot, that the best hours of the day, were always after the sun set, giving a brief, but much needed respite from the blazing sun, and oppressive humidity. After being out all day, we had to come back to the house and shower, and change out of our sweat drenched clothes to go back out after dark. This became our routine. We were lucky to land a sweet Casa Particular, essentially the Air Bnb of Cuba, where families host travelers from around the world in their homes. These are government regulated, and are now part of the burgeoning private businesses that are popping up around Cuba. Before 2008, everything was state run, and since Castro’s brother Raul took over, he has loosened up the restrictions, which has created a rise of many private business around Cuba. This has been great for everyone, in that Cuban people are able to make more money, while providing travelers access to better places to eat, sleep, and explore. It was once illegal to house US residents in your home, and now it’s so common, that it’s just part of the social fabric of Cuba.
Before I go on and give you some tips on what to do, where to go, and what to eat. I’m sure you will want to know the how of getting there. I will skip this part, since my friend Caroline over at Team Woodnote, did such a brilliant job of that for you already. She explains a lot of the logistics on her blog, as well as shares some great photos. We definitely have some other tips for you, so be sure to read both for a very thorough profile of Havana.
We paid $30 CUC to get from the airport to Vedado. It should not cost more, $25-$30 is the going rate. While in Havana, you will need to take cabs pretty much everywhere. The average cost of a cab from Vedado to Havana Vieja is $3-$5 CUC. If you want to do it Cuban style, you can stand on one of the main thoroughfare’s where you can wait anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour to jump in a “collectivo” cab and pay .50 CUC to go to a central location, of either Parque Central or up and down 23rd in Vedado, and just tell them which cross street you want to jump out at.
Wifi: All the hotels have wifi. Cuban’s all use prepaid wifi cards, and there are only certain hotspots where they are able to pick it up, so you will notice where the hubs are, where there are lots of people congregated staring at their phones. We didn’t bother with this, since I wasn’t even sure our phones would work, and I was happy to just unplug! Go to the Hotel Nacional to use the internet. Also note, that there is still a firewall between U.S. and Cuba, and I was not able to log into my business email account. Facebook was the best way to communicate to friends and family that we were alive :)
Hotel Nacional pictured above
Havana's very own Chinatown. We did not partake in the Chinese cuisine, but did enjoy one of Havana's favorite local spots blelow called La Juliana Cuba
Food and other places to eat:
Cuba is most certainly not a food destination if you are a super foody. Essentially you go for the music, the culture, the sights, and to get your belly fed when it calls, but don’t expect to be wowed by the food. Cubans eat a lot of Pizza and Spaghetti to go! We tried the Cuban Pizza, and it was ok, everything there tends to be sweet. The sauce definitely has a lot of sugar in it. It was not terrible, and if you are on a budget, it does the job. We did not try the spaghetti that was oh so prolific, I’m good on that. The best things I ate were all more traditional criolla food. I stuck to things like Ropa Vieja, which is a shredded beef in a tomato sauce, usually accompanied with rice, and some type of veggie. I also loved all the shrimp and seafood that I ate there. It tasted fresh, and not like farm raised shrimp. Another thing to note, is that things run out, like a lot, so always have two things in mind when going out to eat. Steak is almost completely nonexistent, although it will be on the menu, don’t even think about it. Pork is always available, so think about eating something with pork if you don’t want to be let down. La Gitana in Havana Vieja, definitely one of the best meals we had there. La Bien Paga for a good Cuban sandwich, and Topoly, an Iranian restaurant in vedado if you want to switch it up, order the jugo de melon for sure! The best watermelon juice that I craved every day!
We went to Playas de Este. This beach was absolutely lovely, with a restaurant near by for lunch, beautiful blue waters and white sand, as well as the fact that it is not touristy. The beach everyone in Cuba raves about is Varadero. There are lot more all inclusive resorts there, and everyone says it’s gorgeous, but we did not make it. To get to Playas de Este, it’s only about 30 minutes out from Havana Vieja, where you can go Cuban Style, and go from the the parque central or hire a cab to drop you off and pick you up. We paid $20 CUC each way for the cab, or you can pay for the bus $5 CUC round trip. Here is a great link to read more about those options.
I really didn't expect this gorgeous beach to be so lovely. The best part was that we stayed the whole day, and just as we were leaving this dark storm blew over, and created these gorgeous skies. Luckily we were close to a restaurant that we could take cover in, while we waited for our cab.
Arainbow just after the storm.
One of the best parts of our trip was reuniting with one of Shawn’s old friends he met in Cuba 13 years before. They have not been in contact since, and amazingly Shawn still had his address written down in a tattered old notebook. We just walked over to his street and yelled up at the balcony. This is Raul seeing Shawn for the first time in 13 years. The most amazing part, is that he doesn't even live there full time anymore, since we spends most of the year working in Jamaica now. It was pure luck that we found him at his house taking a little vacation while we were there.
Another serendipitous event was meeting our new Cuban friend and his Norwegian girlfriend at this cute little cafe called El Dandy. This is moments just before our meeting, and they ended up leading us to some of the best parties and events we went to during our time in Cuba. Shawn and I were taking a short break to rest from all of the walking when this couple came in and started chatting with Shawn because they liked his hat. This hat was our ticket to many things in Cuba, so shout out to our friend Fred Stuy, local maker of said hats! Turns out they were on their way to a hip hop show on a rooftop nearby and invited us. We pretty much stuck with them the rest of the time we were there.
Our new found friends also invited us to this amazing party at an abandoned theater in Havana Vieja. Knowing that I did not have my flash, I asked them to give me the directions so I could go photograph it during the day, since it sounded like it would be something super fun to photograph. I’m glad I did it, because these are definitely some of my favorite shots.
This is the infamous Callejon de Hamel. Towards the end of our trip, we hit this spot. It is definitely a tourist hot spot, so go if you're daring. The music was good, and Shawn insisted we go, since he enjoyed it a lot on his previous trip. Much has changed, but he still loves a good Rumba beat, and I found some great people that let me take their portraits.
I LOVE this guys look, and he was kind enough to take a walk with me to take some photos.
For a day trip, we headed out to Las Terrazas. It took about an hour and a half by taxi to get there, our driver stayed the whole day, and brought us back after. This is a small eco village made famous by a singer who died an untimely death named, Polo Montañez. There are several areas to visit, including this lovely little abode with the best meal we had on our whole trip. They roasted a whole pig and served it with rice and beans, bread fruit, taro root, fresh avocado, and more. Lunch was $12 CUC per person, and I’m just sorry I didn’t take picture. It's a bit far just to go for lunch, but if you want to hit the Baños de San Juan too, you won't be disappointed.
Our home for 10 days pictured below at Casa De Minverva Y Martino. We highly recommend it!
By luck, were set up with some friends of friends in Havana, which meant that we stayed in the section of Havana known as Vedado. This is the more “suburban” area of Havana, meaning that it is a bit more residential with not as much nightlife, or rather than meets the eye, because all of the best things we did were in this area and around. We loved staying in Vedado, but if you want to feel more centrally located, I would recommend going for a spot in Havana Vieja. The upside to our place, is that we only paid $25 CUC per night, and our place was LOVELY. Our private room had AC, which was a god send, since I don’t know if I could have slept without out it, and the shutters are almost black out, so there was not much light in the room at night, and it was a very quiet safe neighborhood. The bathroom was impeccably clean, they had a cute little doggy that I was obsessed with, and a beautiful garden with a terrace that we would sit in the morning and have breakfast.
The local market in Vedado
Places To Go Out:
This place is where the coolest of the cool hang, and it has a great international scene. The best part about it, is that they keep the cost low, so that everyone including locals can go! Truly an unbelievable place! It’s essentially a giant warehouse that is part art gallery, part club, part bar, music venue, and they even have food. When you pay to get in, they hand you a card, they use that to tally you drink order, DO NOT LOSE IT. Pay when you leave. Get there early, the line is long! Luckily, we made friends with a local, who got us through the line! Thursday through Sunday 8 pm - 3:00 am
The Malecon is where the kids hang out. It’s the place where you know your friends will be hanging after dark, and drinking rum or crystal, the typical beer of Cuba. Drinking in public is no problem there, and you will see plenty of folks walking around with their bottle of rum and a cup, so they can partake in a drink. One thing I noticed was that although drinking in public is totally acceptable, I did not find there to be very many super drunk people in the streets acting crazy, or being generally wasted. That was refreshing.
A cool place that has live music every night. The city doesn’t really have much a going out culture from Monday-Wednesday, so this is a good option when you are there on an early week night.
Safety: Cuba is safe. It’s somewhat unbelievable to be in a foreign land, and yet feel so at ease. There is relatively no crime there, and you can feel it. We walked around all hours of the night, and didn’t have a single problem with anyone or anything. The only things to be aware of is what is referred to as a jinetero. Cuban people are amazing, but like anywhere there a hustlers. They are not dangerous, and are rather friendly, just trying to make a buck, but sometimes you can pay a high price for this, so just be careful when anyone offers to take you to a bar, restaurant, excursion, etc. Here is a helpful article about that. http://www.casapartycular.com/en/jineteros
Luckily we did not have any experiences with this, but we did hear lots of stories from other tourists, that they were definitely not excited about.
Fortunately for us, everyone thought my man was Cuban, and I speak Spanish, so we were pretty much in the clear for a lot of that kind of thing.
Ultimately, we had the best time, had no issues, and enjoyed the heck out of ourselves. I would just recommend taking a map with you, to get yourselves oriented, as there is no wifi as I mentioned, therefore no GPS!! We picked up a copy of the Lonely Planet Cuba, which included a very helpful map in it. I have to say, I loved the experience of not having wifi, not being able to google anything, and have to usereal map. It was such an interesting feeling to not have access to those things that have become such a normal part of our every day life, but reminded of what it used to be like before the internet, when you actually had to ask someone for directions, use a map, and learn an area well enough to recognize it in the dark. I loved meeting random people and being befriended by locals that could take us to the cool local spots that could not be found in any guide book. That was the most fun. I hope you all get to go one day soon too!
This is one of those shoots that you dream about getting a call for. Lucky for me, I got that call, and I said, hell yes! These two hotties just relocated from Seattle, where they met, at the ad agency they both work for. She was stationed in Costa Rica where she is from, and he was working at the Seattle office. One day MJ roles into town to meet the Northwest crew, and Jonathan spots this little fire cracker, and immediately announces to his coworkers, “I’m going to marry that girl”. Guess what, he did, and they eloped right here in Brooklyn. I was lucky enough to show them around Bushwick, a neighborhood that is completely new to them, and had everything they were looking for in a shoot. I couldn’t be happier about this one, and it’s especially nice when one of them is an art director, and knows with out a doubt, that you are the one for them!! Thanks you two!! I had a blast, you rule!
Flowers: Fox Fodder Farm
Hair and Makeup: Brittany Romney
What can I say, this was a magical wedding, with a magical couple, in a magical location. It doesn’t get any better than this kids!! These two brought out all the stops, and threw a pretty epic party at non other than Blue Hill at Stone Barns. I think these two might have more fun than anyone I know, and I wish you both the best!! You two rule the world!!!
Wedding Planner and Designer : Jove Meyer Events
Ceremony + Reception Venue : Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Specialty Rentals - Patina Vintage Rentals
Band - The Social of Elan Artists
Stationery - Fourteen-Forty
Cake - Lulu 's Bakery
Hair & Makeup - SB Beauty
I know I have been absent in the blogosphere, but it’s with good reason. I’ll elaborate more later, as I’m more excited to talk about this shoot I recently did in Joshua Tree with my dear friends Carrie and Hal, and Arlo. This shoot has been a long time coming, as I have been friends with these kids since they met, 15 years ago. Carrie and I worked together in a trendy coffee shop in West Hollywood back in the day! I was a barista, she the waitress, Hal the coffee delivery guy. He used to come in once a week to drop off the order, and would kill time at the counter waiting to get paid, so we all got acquainted with him. Back then Carrie would talk about how she had a crush on him, but never madea move. One night, they ran into each other out on the town, and the rest is history. It’s pretty unbelievable that we have all stayed in touch this long, and that the story continues on, especially with this little beam of light they call Arlo! She is almost 5 now, and is a super star of a child! She fell in love with my man on this trip, and I can’t get over how cute that is. Anyhow, we were lucky enough to score this beautiful spot located right next to Joshua Tree national park, which ended up being an insanely perfect location for this shoot. I can’t get over how beautiful the landscape is, as it was our first trip to Joshua Tree, so we will definitely be back! I’m insanely honored to have captured this little moment in all of our lives, as we ended up having a really magical trip with their family, my boyfriend, and my long time friend Nancy who is now my studio manager. After doing a little boulder climbing behind our abode, we shot until dusk, and just as the sun was going down, a big coyote ran by, and started howling at us under the moon, all the while Hal put on some tunes for us. Obviously The Doors was our soundtrack, what else would you listen to in this landscape? Thanks so much to my dear friends for putting this trip together, and being open to the magic. Besides being a super mom, Hal and Carrie are the bad asses behind the site Red Cap Cards, a highly curated online market place for fine art stationary, featuring some of the best illustrators around the world. Be sure to check it out, it is pretty amazing! Happy Mother's Day Carrie!
I've been quietly holding onto this little gem, since I knew it would be coming out this month! This was definitely one of my faves from the year, and I absolutely adore Lauren and Ben!! They are just the most sweet, stylish, and graceful couple who really trusted what I do and knew that I would take care of them the whole way! I'm so so so grateful to couples that understand what I'm about, and stay open to the process! Trust and collaboration are what make the work shine!! I adore you both, and happy new year to everyone! To see more of this fabulous wedding, check out the link here, and see all the beautiful details below!
Ceremony+Reception: The Foundry LIC
Planning and Design: Jove Meyer Events
Dress: Naeem Khan
Suit: Ralph Lauren
Shoes: Miu Miu
Stationary: And Here We Are
Hair and Makeup: Jackie Schneider
Catering: Fig and Pig
Hotel: Wythe Hotel
Second Photographer: Shannon Roddy
Big big thank you to The Knot for Featuring us!!!!
I've been saying this a lot lately, but we've really had the best year. I mean that with total gratitude and appreciation for all of our amazing clients and vendors that we work with! This year has been such a big growth year for us, as our amazing associate Shannon has been putting in some amazing work with us! She really has gone above and beyond to help grow with our team, and has given her all to some of our loveliest clients like Sara and Joseph. From the moment we met them, we knew we were going to be a great fit. They just have such a laid back and lovely approach, which we love! The type of clients we have are always people that I say we could be friends with! It's what makes the work shine in the end, and I love what Shannon did to capture their big day! Big thanks to our friend Daniel for shooting this one with us, we owe you!
Venue: Studio 450
Planning/Design/Flowers: DM Events
Dress: Ysa Makino
Shoes: Proenza Schouler
Hotel: The Edition (NYC)
Hair and Makeup: FaceTime Beauty
Rings: Gaby's Jewelry and Co.
Catering: KG Fare