Dumbo Portrait Session//Abby+Jeremy

Some people come into your life, and set a marker for a distinct period of time. Abby and Jeremy are two of those people. They heralded the beginning of growing my business from just me, to having an associate and studio manger, and allowing me the freedom to believe in growing beyond myself as the face of AGP. Not only was their wedding one of the first big weddings shot my associate Shannon, but it was also one of the funnest most magical weddings of that year! Abby and I have stayed in touch over time, and she has been my champion, sending legions of newly engaged couples our way, so this is also a big thank you to her for that as well. Since her wedding she launched a fashion blog called Clothes and Pizza, and I’ve loved following along, from her getting dressed in the morning videos, to her lovely travel stories. Jeremy shoots all the photos, and does a great job chronicling her vintage finds, and making it all seem so effortless along the way. After living in this city for 10 years, there comes a time in every NY transplants life to decide if this is it, or if you’re going to move on from the city that never sleeps. Well, they have decided to hit the road, and make their home in California, like so many of my past clients have. It seems to be in the air, and to be frank, I am a bit jelly! They are also my second past clients, to have asked to do a farewell to NY photo shoot before heading west, so I think this may be a new trend. Farewell to Abby and Jer, and wishing you all the best on this new chapter.

 

xo

Amber

Best Wedding Photographer//Brides Magazine 2018

Summer highlights include being named one the Top Wedding Photographers by Brides Magazine.

This year has been a wild ride with some big wins and some challenges along the way as well, but there is certainly much to be grateful for. One of my big wins of 2018 is ending up on the Brides Magazine Top Wedding Photographer list, and it’s one of those things that you never really think is going to happen, and then boom, you’re name is on a list of some really great people in the industry. I have to give a shout out to the editors Anna Price Olson and Nic Williams at Condé Nast for showing me so much support, and for including me on this list. Congrats to everyone else who made it as well, you all deserve this shout out! 

 

xo

Amber

Greenpoint Loft and Box House Hotel Wedding//Melinda + Theresa

This is one of those weddings that just goes deep for me. I couldn’t ask for better clients, a better experience, or a more perfect day for a Brooklyn wedding. The Greenpoint Loft is one of my all time favorite venues, and getting to witness such sweet people say I do in this setting was such a treat. These two ladies truly were such a joy to work with, and I’m super honored that they asked us to document their big day. Thank you Melinda and Theresa, wishing you the best always!

xo

amber

Venue: The Greenpoint Loft

Planner: Dream Makers

Caterer: Amoraco

Dessert: Dough Doughnuts

Florals: Rosewood Productions

Stationary: Minted

Dresses: BHLDN & Lovely

Hair & MUA: BeYOUtiful Bride

 

Hushed Commotion Spring 2018 Collection

Today I get to share something special I did a few weeks back with one of my dear friends, Thea of Hushed Commotion! She is a long time friend of mine in the wedding biz, and you may also remember her from her wedding I shot a few years back in North Carolina! We have collaborated on so many projects, and it was great to revisit that creative space with her again! It’s actually been quite a while since we’ve worked on a shoot together, so it was really fun to get to work on her newest collection for her spring 2018 line. Thea designs bespoke bridal accessories including earrings, headpieces and belts. One of the funnest parts of working with her is how much trust we have in each other during the creative process, which means we work together early on to bring her vision to life. One of the lucky things that happened while scouting for places to shoot, was that we reached out to The Williamsburg Hotel to see if it might be an option for a photo shoot, and it turned out to be the perfect location. We had been considering several ideas, and TWBH ended up being the perfect fit. Shooting in their gorgeous suite was insanely perfect, because of what gorgeous light it gets with wrap around windows, so if you are a bride/groom looking for a place to get ready for a wedding, I would highly recommend this location! They also have a ball room that they are currently working on that looks pretty sweet as well, so can’t wait to shoot a wedding there soon! The other most perfect part of this, was the fact that we truly had one of the loveliest teams on board for the shoot! From out sweetest model in the world, to the hair and makeup team! Natalia had reached out to me so long ago about wanting to collaborate on something, and I finally followed through! I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to pop up, and this was the perfect moment. 

Anyhow, thanks for reading if you have reached the end, and be sure to check out Thea’s new line!

xo

Amber

Location: Williamsburg Hotel

Model: Miz Muttu

Make Up: Natalia Bizinha

Hair: Whitney Lauryn

Gowns: Chana Maraelus from Spina Bride

Accessories: Hushed Commotion

 

501 Union Wedding//Charlsie + Jeremy

Charlsie and Jeremy. You light up my life! It was truly and honor to work with you and capture all that is good and right in this world!! You are both such a joy, and your smile is infectious my dear!! It was so fun to cross pollinate work life with friends on your big day and I love being a part of such a big family in this little industry of ours!! Cheers to you both my dears!!! May your life filled with all of the love, and all of the laughs!

xo

amber

Venue: 501 Union

Hotel: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

Coordinator: Modern Rebel Co.

Catering: Frankies 457 Spuntino

Cake: Milk Bar Bakery

Florist: Foraged by Falcon

Stationary: Paperless Post and Minted

Dress: Alexandra Grecco

Suit: Ermenegildo Zegna

Shoes: Kate Spade

Hair & MUA: Brittany Romney

DJ: DJ Leecy T

Planners Dinning Club X Love Union at The Green Building

If you don’t know, now ya know! My dear friend Jove Meyer hosts a monthly event called the Planners Dinning Club, wherein he brings together the best of the best in the industry. Jove says, “I founded the planners dining club in 2014 as a way to gather planners together to foster community and experience caterers and or restaurants first hand so we could best recommend them to our clients with confidence. Since it started with an intimate tasting with six planners in 2014 it has grown to fully produced events showcasing a new venue, caterer, florist, photographer and other vendors at each event. I plan and design each event based on the season, space and creative partners we have on the team. I aim to push the envelope of design and love getting to be creative without limits.” Well, I was invited to document one of his last events in tandem with The Love Union, another great co-working and networking event that happens here in Brooklyn. I’m super fortunate to have such great friends in the industry and to be a part of so many great events. I especially loved getting to be a part of this event, as the concept and design was so lovely! The best part of this, is that we coincidentally scheduled this post today, which is also Jove’s birthday! Happy Birthday Jove! To many more great celebrations in style!

xo

amber

Founder / Planner / Designer Jove Meyer Events

Venue + Tables  The Green Building

Rentals Broadway Party Rental

Caterer Poppys Catering

Entertainment  Anthology Strings

Flowers  Buds of Brooklyn

Wine  Waterfront Wines

Stationery  Julia Bez

Lighting Universal Light and Sound

Bowery Hotel Wedding// Kaileigh + Grant

First and foremost, this is what I would consider a dream wedding and dream clients! These two were so kind, so chill, and sooooo stylish, I mean who are you??? How can we make more of you?? Seriously, The Bowery Hotel is a dream location! I highly recommend getting married here if you are looking into a classic NYC wedding with lots of style and loads of fun! Every single vendor they worked with was also amazing, I would highly recommend any of them, and if you copied everything they did, you would not be the first of my clients to follow in the footsteps of one of our past couples! Listen, I am giving you some golden wedding advice here, take heed my friends, and celebrate. Also, leather jackets are all the rage these days, and I LOVE the look! I love how it tones down the bridal look and gives it a little more edge. I’m hoping to see more of this trend in 2018. Thank you Kaileigh and Grant for being my dream clients! To see this featured in Brides, follow the link

Venue: The Bowery Hotel

Planner: Jove Meyer Events

Florist: Rebecca Shepard Floral Design

Stationary: Katie Fischer Design

Dress: Reem Acra

Leather Jacket: Free People hand painted by Janice Holden of Coastal Cottage Studio

Suit: Tom Ford

Shoes: Gucci

Clutch Purse: Alexander McQueen

Hair & MUA: Miss Harlequin

Cake: Milk Bar Bakery

Band: Moxie Jazz Quartet

 

Guatemala//Travel and Family Reunion

guatemala-amber-gress-0012-.jpg

This is going to be long. I might start all of my travel posts like that, but this is different. This has everything to do with the personal nature of this post. My mom is from Guatemala, my dad is from California, of German, Irish, and other European decent. I lived in Guatemala when I was 5 and 6 years old with my grandma and two uncles. My family went back to California after a visit, but I did not. To this day, there is still some confusion as to how this was all decided, but I did one year of school there, and learned to speak Spanish, and forgot how to speak English. I have not been back to Guatemala since 1986. 

As you might imagine, this was a reunion of sorts, which included myself, my partner Shawn (I’m sure I’ve mentioned I hate the word boyfriend, because we are too old for that), and my mom, who has gone back regularly every couple of years. I barely traveled in my twenties, due to lack of funding if you will, and only started delving further into the our giant planet a few years ago. I finally decided it was time to make the proverbial pilgrimage back to the motherland, and I wanted to go with my mom so we could have the full family experience. My uncle Carlitos was kind enough to be our driver for the duration of the trip, so that’s how we got around. 

Our first stop was of course my grandmother’s house, where she lives in Guatemala City. Carlitos still lives with her, as does her domestic assistant and family friend Epifania, who was also around when my mom was growing up.

Going back was so crazy, because I remembered so much of it so vividly. I remembered the exact layout of the house, the pila in the backyard, which is what they use to hand wash clothes, and the garden, which was now overgrown due to my uncle Jorge having a major green thumb. We arrived late at night on Saturday, and everyone stayed up to greet us and offer us food, including mangos. After going to bed, we all got up the next day, and the first thing I did was ask to see some old photos, which they had so many, it was overwhelming, and exciting. I have just a couple to share with you, and yes that is me looking very excited for whatever it is that is happening there with all that blue eyeshadow and pom poms. Just above that inexplicable insanity is my parents on their wedding day. They actually got married in Guatemala, however many years ago that was now, but more than 35! 

After a thorough trip down memory lane, we had breakfast or lunch, depending on how you want to look at it, which consisted of black beans, hand made tortillas made fresh daily, yumm, pacaya, and fruits. This is what we ate almost every day. Haha! Guatemalan's are very simple when it comes to food, but it might just be my overly health conscious grandma as well. The photo just above, is of Carlitos when he was young, and my grandpa Alberto on the left. Just above that, are pics of my young grandma, looking very cute! Below, brunch, and grandma present day in her dining room.

Finally we  head out to Lake Atitlan, a well known lake about 3 hours from Guatemala city, and surrounded by 3 volcanoes. It’s an area that is known for the women who weave traditional mayan textiles, which is one of the things many people love about Guatemala. The textiles are truly amazing, and it’s really fun to see the similarities between different styles around the world, from India to Africa and beyond. The work they do is all done with natural dyes, and processes, and make for truly beautiful designs. 

This lovely young woman was so cool, and showed us how her and her collective work from cotton to final product. We loved talking to her, and supporting her business, and I hope to be back soon! The next morning, we were lucky enough to catch the cutest parade of the local kids, who were celebrating marimba day, which is the national instrument of Guatemala. They are all wearing their traditional clothing, and obviously having a very good time.

After spending a couple of days in Lake Atitlan, we decided to head out to Zunil, a remote mountain village just outside of Quetzaltenango, with volcanic activity, lending itself to be a natural steam bath destination. This is definitely not a huge tourist destination, but it was truly fascinating, as we got to see how the locals live and farm. The farming blew me away, and the area is known for being a great growing climate. It’s also very high in elevation, so there was a ton of low hanging fog, which added to the mystique. 

We stayed in a nice hotel overlooking the valley and steep farms, and the hotel is known for having private steam rooms in your hotel room. They are natural, and come from the volcanic activity all around the area, so it’s pretty lovely. Upon arrival we got a chance to see the local market, and purchase a few items my mom was excited about. Once we got to the hotel we had lunch, which was great, because they had one of the traditional dishes known as Pepian. It’s not the national dish, as they don’t have one, but it could be if they had one. It is essentially a stew, that is somewhat similar to molé, and has an array of veggies and meat. This dish is extremely delicious, and I highly recommend you try it if you get the chance.

After wrapping up our spa day, we headed back to Guatemala City, but not without stopping in Quetzaltenango, and saying hi to my mom’s cousins who live there. I would definitely go back to check out this city, it was rather charming, and one of the young girls in town was filming a little TV spot, and I asked her if I could photograph her and she said yes. Something to know about the indigenous Mayan people of Guatemala, is that they do not like to be photographed, so it’s very important to ask permission before doing so. Child trafficking is also an issue in Guatemala which contributes to the desire not to be photographed, so proceed with caution and understanding. The only people I photographed, I asked directly or had an interaction that allowed me to know that is was ok. Otherwise, I just took large overall photographs to capture the scene. Almost everyone I asked, said no! Haha!

We finally got back to my Grandma’s, and even they don’t want to be photographed, they obliged, since you know it had been 30 years since I had seen them! I had to share just a few. 

Once again, we set out for our next destination, which was Antigua. The former capital of Guatemala, but was destroyed three times by earthquakes, so they moved it. Now it’s just an awesome historic town, that is a UNESCO heritage site, and a favorite among travelers. 

We only got to spend one night there, since our trip was unfortunately short, but we made the most of it by going on a little food tour given by some friends of friends who moved down there a few years ago. It was a great way to get to know more about the city, and see some hidden gems that we would not have otherwise seen. We highly recommend getting a tour from them if you’re in town. Here is a link to their website Antigua Foodie Tours. PS, the secret garden action in this town is crazy, including this amazing flower called, the Jade Vine. It is a turquoise flower guys!! What????? Discovering new and different Flora and Fauna are one of my most favorite parts of traveling. I always take in the plant life, just as much as the people, the food, and the culture.

Since this was such a run and gun trip, I left the food tour knowing I wanted to take some more pics before we left at Sunset. I was so glad I did, because there is so much beauty to see here, and I couldn’t leave without catching just a few more shots. Also, I promise, I’m not trying to get Shawn in a beer commercial! Haha.

The last leg of this trip was all about going to my uncle Jorge’s house in Cuilapa. This might have been the highlight of the trip. He and his wife put together the most beautiful lunch for us, I LOVED seeing his home, and his life. He really is obsessed with plants, but especially orchids and cacti. He is also an incredible painter, and showed us all the types of orchids he has in his garden. He took us up to his studio, and showed us some of his work, and book collections, and educated us about different Mayan Gods. After an insanely large lunch, his wife Wilma kept bringing out more stuff, including all kind of different fruit for us to try, which was amazing. One was the caimito, the purple and white one, which is known as milk fruit, another fruit rendition I’d never had was naranja con pepita, which is essentially oranges with ground up squash seed, like pumpkin seeds, but different. That was truly another level.  I am definitely sad, I did not take more pictures of his garden, but there just wasn’t enough time with all the eating and catching up there was to do. P.S. That pineapple below is the best I've ever had!

Thanks for coming on this journey with me, I know it was long, and now that it’s done, I don’t really have any travel tips, other than letting you know that the main tourist destinations in Guatemala are Lake Atitlan, Antigau, and Tikal, which is where the Mayan Ruins, are. You should definitely go if you get the chance, but I’ll save that for another time! Also, eat all the fruit!!!!

 

xo

Amber

LES Engagement // Sam + Matt

I have not posted an engagement session in a LONNNNGGG time, so I thought this little Lower East Side session would be a perfect way to kick of Valentine’s day! I love everything about this one, and how New York it feels. It feels like a time capsule of Sam and Matt’s lives, and that makes me happy. Wishing you all so much love!

 

xo

Amber

The Foundry Wedding // Caity + Alex

This is from my last wedding of the year shot at the Foundry in LIC, and I couldn’t be more overjoyed to shared this one with you today! Caity and Alex are one of those dream couples that just trusts the process the whole way through and manages to enjoy the heck out of every moment, while making everyone around them feel great along the way. Everyone who worked on this day commented over and over about how much we loved this couple, and that there couldn’t have been a better way to end out the year, than with such a lovely couple! Thanks so much to Jose Rolon for sending these beauts along, and to Lara my trustee second who rocked this one this me!

xo

amber

Venue: The Foundry

Planner: Jose Rolon Events

Catering: Marcey Brownstein Catering & Events

Florals: Ivie Joy Floral Arts + Events

Stationary: Al Stampa

Dress: Alexandra Grecco

Hair & MUA: FaceTime Beauty

 

The Wythe Hotel Wedding// Brad + Brian

Getting to work with clients like Brad and Brian is what makes our jobs and lives such a joy. When they reached out to us, we knew immediate that this was a fit, since they had a clear vision, and it involved have lots of FUN! No fuss, no muss, just a good time with their friends and family at The Wythe Hotel, one of our favorite venues! The love that they share comes through clearly in the photos captured by Shannon and Carly, and I am obsessed with the party pics, and the glow in the dark elements that they threw in, which clearly added to the celebration! Thanks for having us Brad and Brian! Congrats!

 

xo

Amber

Venue: Wythe Hotel

Planner: Dawn Mauberret

Catering: Wythe Hotel

Florist: Honeysuckle Flowers

Stationary: Will Geddes

Suits: Freemans Sporting Club