A Season to Give

This year, we've heard from more relatives and friends than ever who are opting to make a charitable donation instead of giving holiday gifts. We think this is a great trend, and as our way of thanking all of our blog readers, we've made a donation to Heifer International (in the form of honeybees, Matt's favorite).

Are you thinking of making a charitable gift this winter season? Whether you're making a financial donation or offering your time as a volunteer, we recommend choosing a cause that is meaningful to you - this way you can follow the organization's progress and really get a sense of how your contribution helps over time. In case you're looking for ideas, here are a few causes that are near and dear to our hearts:

Heifer International
Room to Grow
Habitat for Humanity

Your local food pantry and community arts centers are also great options, especially if you want to give within your community.

We count ourselves as deeply lucky that we have wonderful clients who make it possible for us to make a living doing what we love. Thank you to everyone who we work with, who re-blogs our photos, who offers us encouragement and advice, who refers fabulous clients to us, or who simply is a fan - we have each of you to thank for another successful year!

~ Matt & Enna
Grazier Photography

Beautiful Family

One of my favorite ongoing jobs is to photograph the children at our sons' preschool. While I don't exactly have favorites, there are two siblings (aside from my own) who I have always adored photographing. In November they got a new baby brother, and I was overjoyed when their parents asked me to visit them for a family portrait session.

Check out those peepers!

Here are proud big brother and sister:

Baby Julian is super kissable...

Leo and Willa did an excellent job holding, playing with, and soothing Julian!

I wonder who will have bigger feet when they're all grown up...

All of this visiting made baby Julian very tired

I'm predicting right now that Julian will sleep with his hand like this for the rest of his life:

Congratulations Nikki and Jeremy - you have a beautiful family!

The importance of the "Get To Know You" Engagement Shoot

The engagement shoot as it has been known for many years has become an endangered species. It has been replaced with something much more dynamic and fun, the "Get To Know You" shoot. An engagement shoot is nothing new to the world of wedding photography, but only recently has the "Getting to Know You" approach become the dominant style for the engagement shoot. This makes perfect sense as photojournalism has also become the in-demand style for wedding photography.

During a Getting to Know You shoot we focus on getting to know our couples (as the name suggests), but in addition they get to know us as well - during the process of the shoot our relationship turns into a friendship, which is very rewarding for Enna and I. When we take pictures our goal is to tell the story of our couple's relationship and personalities - the shoot is no longer about making one formal image to hang on the wall or print in the newspaper. We often meet in the late afternoons to take advantage of the best light of day, and after the shoot it is not uncommon for us to stop at a pub for a drink or two:) What better way to be more comfortable in front of your photographer's camera on your wedding day than to spend a few hours with them having your photo taken and getting to know each other over drinks and food!

When our studio was new Enna and I charged separately for the "Get to Know You" shoot, but not every couple included it in their package and we missed having an established bond with those couples on their wedding day. We also noticed that that those who did the GTKY shoot laughed more, felt more natural, and interacted more passionately with their guests on their wedding day. So we made the "Get To Know You" shoot a complimentary item for all of our brides and grooms. The result of which has surpassed our expectations. Not only have we been able to create more intimate images, but we have also made closer friendships with couples who now invite themselves over for Sunday brunches, invite us to concerts, and Enna's favorite - out for great meals :) But the core reason of the complimentary shoot shines through so much in our wedding day images. The smiles and laughing is genuine and the emotions are intimate because trust has been established. The trust our couples have becomes a sort of camouflage for us on their wedding day, as they have an established comfort zone in front of our lens.

Over the past few weeks I have been traveling around meeting up with some of our 2009 couples for their GTKY shoots. I always encourage our couples to go someplace special to them. Here are some of my fav's from 3 recent GTKY shoots.

Nicole & Dominick

Nicole & Dominick live just outside of NYC. We met up in their favorite neighborhood and went for a fun walk. Their wedding will be at the Harbour Oaks Estate in RI next summer and is sure to be nothing short of amazing. How do I know this? Because they have strong bonds with family and friends. As a photographer I am always asked to talk about amazing weddings and people will expect me to talk about the huge flower arrangements, designed lighting, designer gowns and other fantastic details of the wedding day. But regardless of fashion designers, locations, and other big-budget items, I always talk about the people and the love they share... nothing beats that!

Gretchen & Paul

Gretchen & Paul are our 2009 Valentine's Day couple. That's right, they are tying the knot on the most famous day of the year for Love at the Ballroom Veronique. They invited me to the bridge where Paul proposed to Gretchen. We had a tough time getting our schedules in sync, so when it rained, and I mean it rained hard, they had no intention of trying to reschedule. They marched right on out with umbrella in hand and had a blast! I love the Red Sox vs. Yankees image. As you can tell from the fun they had in the rain to the established sports feud, these two have a great sense of humor and are very carefree, totally able to go with the flow:)

Noelle & Dane

What do you call someone who lives in Cambridge, works in cambridge, and just plain ol' loves Cambridge? A Cambridge-ite? A Cambridgian? What ever it is, these two fit the bill:) Noelle & Dane met and fell in love at The B-Side Cafe, which unfortunately closed its doors forever just a couple of weeks ago. We were fortunate to get in for a few photos (and drinks) before they closed for good. The photo of them sitting at the bar with the support beam between them, is the exact spot where they first saw each other and met. Their wedding will be... where else... at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge!! One random fun fact discovered between us, Dane works with my cousin-in-law and good friend Joe! Here are some cool shots of them taken around the Central Square area of Cambridge...

Fumiko & David

Fumiko & David were married at the Old State House in Boston, and held their reception at the Downtown Harvard Club. What was so much fun about their wedding was being able to walk from the Boston Harbor Hotel - to the Old State House - to the Downtown Harvard Club - with them. Fumiko and David are some of the happiest people I have ever met and the laughing, joking around, and hugs seemed endless! I was joined by my good friend James Federico for this shoot and we had a blast hanging out together. Check out the fun we had on the streets of Boston...

David's mom was so happy and excited she just let it all out when she saw him for the first time on his wedding day

Fumiko & David

Fumiko gave David these awesome cufflinks

The next 3 rockin shots were taken by James!

There are a ton of images of everyone having fun in the streets - to keep this post reasonable in length I chose only to show this one of Fumiko looking amazing

The wedding party

This is one of my new all time fav groom portraits

The mustache is officially back in style!

It's always fun to have security guards clear their desk so we can make a fun portait:)

Congratulations Fumiko and David!!! It was a blast to be their for you on your wedding. Thank you ~Matt