The room was small and not only was Jerry, Kevin and I in there with the Bride but we also had her videographer, her flower girl, her three or four Bridesmaids, her makeup artist AND hair stylist! To move in that room required at least a half dozen people to shift places at one given time.
Hazel was nervous when we first came into the room, but as soon as Jerry shot his first image and showed it to her, she relaxed right away. Jerry then spent the better part of an hour shooting images of Hazel…in the gorgeous (‘natch) window light and with her laying down on the white chaise lounge. Again, Jerry did what he wanted to do, and wasn’t distracted by anyone or anything else in the room – it was as if Hazel and he were alone in that room. He coaxed her, he sweet-talked her (in his indubitable Jerry Ghionis way) and of course the results were amazing.
As I watched Jerry shoot Hazel something slowly dawned on me….I pulled out my cell phone and sent Georgie a text message, simply stating, that I believed that I was watching a “Wedding Album of the Year” being created, right in front of me! Right then and there I just “knew” that this was definitely going to be an album that would win huge awards.
Once Hazel had dressed and we went downstairs, we found that the Delano is a very dark and “sexy” hotel. There are lots of hidden corners and unusual furniture. But it is VERY DARK. The photographer in me took one look at the lobby and said: “There’s no way we are shooting in here….there’s not enough light to shoot.” Ah, but it’s not too dark for Jerry! We went into the deepest, darkest corners and he had me hold his video light to backlight Hazel and oh my God, the images that came out of that! Again, I couldn’t believe how my eyes were being opened up to all the shots I would have just walked away from! There were billowing floor to ceiling curtains but the front door, and all the foot traffic was behind those curtains. I asked Jerry if he wanted me to take over “crowd control” and get everyone away from the doors! (It might sound crazy, but work a Wedding with me and you’ll see this in action!) Anyhow, Jerry of course didn’t need me to do crowd control. He just laid on the ground and came away with an image that looked like no one else was even around, but Hazel.
The rest of the day flew by. Alex and Hazel had a “First Meeting” before leaving for the Church and it was a wonderful moment to share. Alex is one of the few Grooms I have met, who was actually “into” his wife and how she looked. Too many Grooms act like it is a “chore” to actually attend their own wedding! Or they end up giving their Groomsmen more attention than their own Bride! Not so with Alex and Hazel. It was so cool to see how much in love they were with each other.
When we arrived at the Church, how do you think it looked?! Of course, you can answer that yourself by now! It was the cutest little church, with wonderful light coming through the stained glass windows. The side of the Church had wonderful shade that we used later for images.
One of the coolest things I witnessed on this day didn’t have anything to do with Jerry. When Hazel entered the church, and began her walk down the aisle, I looked over at Alex and he was mouthing the words: “Oh Wow”! He was beaming at her as he watched her come down the aisle toward him and I got completely choked up and started to cry! I haven’t cried at a wedding in many, many years!
We always get brides requesting the shot of “the groom’s face watching her as she comes down the aisle.” The sad thing is, most of the time, there isn’t any expression to catch! We’ve had to tell many a Groom beforehand to make sure to “put” some sort of emotion on his face, because she was expecting it, and we were supposed to capture it on film.
There was no such artifice going on at all during Alex and Hazel’s Wedding.
Their Minister was one of the best I’ve ever worked with. He gave a moving, personalized service that brought tears to my eyes more than one more time.
After the ceremony, Jerry spent over a half an hour with Alex and Hazel alone, doing B&G portraits in and around the Church. About a dozen family members waited by the altar, for those ubiquitous family formals, but again, Jerry didn’t address them. His attention was 100% on the couple. I thought to myself: “Oh hell no! He is not going to ignore all these family members and not shoot any altar returns?” Ignore them he did, for the time being. Once Jerry was done with Alex & Hazel inside, we moved outside for their “Bubble” exit.
Once outside, there were about 40 family members instead of the dozen that had been inside. Jerry then proceeded to spend about a half an hour shooting family formals with every different grouping requested. One shot had at least 35 people in it! It was funny when Jerry said: “Let’s just get the intimate family together for a shot” and 35 people walked up. Jerry turned to Alex and said: “This should only be siblings, parents, grandparents, etc.” Alex said: “This IS my immediate family! There are four boys and every boy has a wife and a few kids!” Jerry took it all in stride…I just handed him his wide angle lens, he backed up and he shot the image of that huge group!
Did I mention yet that most of these people didn’t even speak English?! This was a Spanish Wedding and I believe that Alex’s father didn’t speak English at all! There seemed to be no language barrier, as everyone at this Wedding was gracious, and having fun sharing this day with Alex and Hazel.
We spent about another hour at the church with Jerry just shooting Alex and Hazel together. By this time it was four or five in the afternoon and my legs were giving out on me! I had to sit down in the grass and relax for a moment or two.
Once we were done at the Church, we went back to the hotel where it was already getting dark and storm clouds were coming out. Did that stop Jerry? Of course not! We went out to the beach, with gale force winds and he created some awesome images of Hazel and her girls, Alex and his guys and Alex and Hazel together. It was so dark that I had to hold a flashlight on their faces for Jerry to focus by and then hold a flash, off camera, to light the scene. The images were incredible that he got on that beach.
Someone from the hotel then came down and told Jerry he needed to stop shooting the Bride and Groom and come take “room shots” before the guests were let into the room! I just cracked up! Here Jerry was creating these once-in-a-lifetime artistic images of the B&G and someone wanted “room shots”! I told Jerry to just give me a camera and I would go take the images for him!
Nope. Ever the consummate professional, Jerry finished up with Hazel and Alex and hightailed it up to the reception to get the room shots as requested!
Once Hazel and Alex had their first dance, we quickly ate and then it was off to work some more. Jerry wanted to go through his images from the day and create a Slideshow for them. By this time, I was really dropping. My shoes were off and I was exhausted. Drinking a bit of coffee seemed to help!
As we sat down to look at the images, my jaw dropped again. Jerry shoots very few images. He’s not like the photographers who shoot hundreds of the same shot, over and over again. He sets up his shot, tests the light and then takes three or maybe four images and it’s on to the next setup. As I watched him downloading his images I marveled at the fact that each one looked like it had been enhanced already! The exposures were spot on and it was hard to choose which image was the “best” of each set. Jerry made sure that Kevin videotaped over his shoulder as he downloaded his images. He told us that some people actually thought that he did “major” Photoshop enhancement work to his images and he wanted to show that it wasn’t true at all. I’m here to attest to that fact…Jerry’s images come straight off the camera, looking great!