Amanda and Alex are getting married in less than 3 weeks! Before they do, they showed us somewhere new. We’ve been seeing all the great construction around the Cherry St. Pier over the last few years, but had yet to explore it. We were so thrilled to get to do it on Tuesday… and that there was an ice cream trolley in there for when we finished!
Amanda and Alex told us that they had no good photos of themselves and were not good in front of the camera. Either they are liars or they’re just straight up wrong. Either way, both of those problems have been solved…
Writing blog posts this spring has been challenging. It’s a pretty good problem to have. The weather has been basically perfect. The people have been (somehow) better than that. As a blog post writer, it gets a bit repetitive. Do we need a conflict? An antagonist?
Well, you’ve come to the wrong place. It’s hard to imagine a more easy-going and fun couple of hours than the ones we spent with Sandy and Eric late last week. They looked great. They love each other. They brought great champagne. No drama or antagonism here. Just these…
Hello faithful blog-stalkers. Today we shall create a list of things that are great:
• Megan and Nick.
Whew. That was exhausting.
We’ve created quite a history with these two in the last couple of years. First, they were THOSE people at a wedding we shot. You know, the people that have more fun than anybody else? Yup. Then, Nick hired us to shoot his proposal to Megan. After that we shot engagement photos. Amy and Lindsay even took some sneaky photos for Megan that Nick didn’t know about. So… it’s been a pretty wonderful couple of years with these guys.
It culminated Saturday in an epic wedding. There was sun, sweat, rain, tears. Pretty much every method of creating water. Words can’t really say how grateful we are to have shot for these two… for their enthusiasm for each other, us, and life in general. Hopefully photos can do that instead. Let’s give it a shot…
Almost every day this spring has gone like this: Weather looks bad. Amy and Tony worry about the forecast. We go for it. Weather is perfect. Amy and Tony rejoice.
We drove up to Jersey to meet Megan and Greg and the luck continued. We walked around the fields for a while and these two couldn’t have been more fun or more easy to shoot for. Their dogs were wonderful and cute, they were great together and the whole thing was just so fun. Here’s a few favorites…
Notes: This session was photographed by Amy and Tony Hoffer of Hoffer Photography in Basking Ridge, NJ. It was shot in a field and was an engagement shoot with dogs and lots of great light. The photos were taken in early May.
But that doesn’t really begin to tell the story of Saturday. For a solid 2-3 hours, each person tried to climb higher and higher up the emotional mountain. First, there were Darcy’s heartfelt vows. Then Jeff brought the house down (and by ‘the house’, we mean ‘the tears’). A bit later, there were a series of speeches demonstrating just how wonderful these two people are. We left just hoping that we leave that kind of impression on people ourselves.
To us, that’s one thing that’s so special about a wedding. Not only are you surrounded by all the people you love, but others can really get a picture of what (and who) you value. Anyway, here’s some photos :)
Last fall we met Janet and Mike and quickly realized how compatible they were. They love to goof around together… kind of like us. Going into Friday, we were pretty excited to spend the day with them again. We knew there would be some fun quirks (and there were). We knew there would be some new things (like our first Korean ceremony). What we didn’t know was how emotional it would be… particularly during the American ceremony.
We’re suckers for people that write their own vows and theirs were fantastic. Janet barely made it through her own… or Mike’s. All in all, it’s such a fun time shooting for these two. Here, see for yourself!
Please excuse the brief the brief interruption in wedding photos. We’re just pretty excited to share this new thing we’ve been working on for the past few months.
As many of you know, there are lots of folks out there getting into (and out of) photography all the time. So, since Tony is a YouTuber now, we decided to make some videos. Specifically, we wanted to address the biggest issue we see most self-employed people run into: Pricing.
But we couldn’t stop there. Along with our friends Mike and Kari, we decided to take it to the next level. So, we created a pricing calculator unlike anything the world has ever seen… and it’s awesome. It’s called Cost-Cruncher. It helps self-employed people figure out their pricing. Completely. Easily. Fast.
Describing Kelsey and Andrew’s wedding makes us feel a little bit like Stefon. This wedding had everything: Chinese lanterns, a bride in the river, a dog named Frankie, a RickRoll, an sarcastically dramatic first dance, a ring bearer in a Lord of the Rings costume…
Although it got windy for a while, we had the the most beautiful spring day down in the park. We loved shooting at the Valley Green Inn (somehow it was our first time). The night ended with Kelsey and Andrew in a river… because that’s how all weddings end, right?
There’s something magical about our luck at Trout Lake. Our love for the place has been well-documented. Well, our luck with weather is pretty wonderful there too. Sandwiched in between some rain and a tornado warning was the wonderful 70 degree day that we got to spend with Colleen and Jeff.
One of our favorite trends lately is seeing people do their own thing… especially when it comes to having an official ‘bridal party’. Colleen and Jeff had their friends around all day without official duties or dresses. So we concentrated most of our photo time on C&J and Colleen’s super adorable daughter. She stole the show. Here’s a few favorite images…
Disclaimer: This review is meant for fellow photo-nerds like us. As mentioned in the video, we’ve had a relationship with MagMod for a while now. However, they don’t ask us for things like this. We’re doing this review because we LOVE the MagBox… Feel free to watch the video. The text that accompanies the review is meant to write out some of the same features from the video.
MagBox Review | My favorite new gear of 2019 - YouTube
The world of photography lighting has been changing… a lot. In particular, studio lights are becoming more portable. Speed lights are becoming more powerful. It’s a blend of options that’s super exciting for a photographer. With all that, the world of light modifiers hasn’t changed much. For the most part, softboxes are used in studio and faster/harder options are used on location. As two people that use softboxes everywhere we go, we were ready for the MagBox.
The short version of the review is this: If you haven’t used on-location softboxes before, you may not realize what a game changer this thing is. We’ll go into the reasons below… but its like when the App Store first opened. The excitement isn’t only for the product itself, but for what the potential is in the future. This will allow for more and more flexibility and ease when shooting on location. So, while a small octabox like this isn’t the be-all-end-all for softboxes, it’s an amazing start to a new category.
Before any review, I think it’s important to think through why this thing exists. What problems are we currently having that could be solved with something better? In the case of softboxes, there’s quite a few:
Weight: This has been improving the last 5 years
Clunkiness: Setting up and tearing down has ALWAYS been annoying
Portability: Packing and carrying boxes can be tricky
Noisy: Thanks Velcro
Gelling: Very difficult
Loss of Power: Diffusion kills power. Fine in studio, not great outside.
Modularity: Because of above, most boxes are either studio or location. Not both.
Our Six Favorite Things About the MagBoxThe Weight
The MagBox is light (thanks to a plastic interior) and the weight is centered on the back. As we said above, this is becoming a standard in softboxes over the past few years and it couldn’t be more welcome.
This is quite simply brilliant. Most softboxes aren’t meant to be moved. Setting up and tearing down is annoying. Taking them on-location usually requires you to throw them in a random bag and then to re-assemble all the metal rods when you get there. This bag fits like a glove, which makes it so easy to take on the go and set-up again when you get there. On top of that, it can be checked as-is at the airport.
The second great feature of the bag is the extra pockets. Now we can fit a lot of our most needed lighting gear in with the MagBox as we go to a wedding or a shoot. We even fit a monopod inside it for our last destination wedding. That was wonderful.
The MagBox brings the easy-gelling ways of the MagMod products into the world of softboxes. This is HUGE. Anybody that’s ever used boxes knows that once you decide to break them out, you have to answer a question: Am I going to use gels and deal with scissors and tape OR am I going to start shooting and deal with the color of the light as-is. That is no longer an issue with the MagBox. That’s exciting for a few reasons, but the biggest one will be down the road. As this system grows, having a full lineup of gel-accessible softboxes will be tremendous.
Power to the left of me. Gels to the right. Here I am. Stuck in the MagBox review.
Power and Modularity
As mentioned above, one of the frustrating things about most boxes is that most photographers have to decide if it is a ‘strobe box’ or a ‘speedlight box’. Because a lot of boxes suck up a lot of power, they automatically get disqualified when being used outdoors. Likewise, many of the boxes made for speedlights don’t produce a good enough quality of light to be used in a studio. This is the first box I’ve used that preserves enough of the power from your light to be used inside and out… while still maintaining great light quality.
On top of that, the gel-ability of these boxes makes them very easy to use in any outdoor situation. Plus, when it gets really dark you can throw on an ND gel and knock your light power way down.
Fabric and Focus Diffuser
If you’re looking into a MagBox and wondering how you can add a grid, the focus diffuser is for you. While it produces a slightly harder light (I prefer it with a studio strobe for softness), it acts just like a grid on a regular softboxes. However, unlike a grid, this actually ADDS more light power compared to the fabric diffuser. Most grids just take power away. On a day with harsh sun, the focus diffuser makes the MagBox so valuable.
This this seems like it should have been invented 20 years ago. You can probably find everything you need to in the MagMod promo videos. I’m just here to say that this thing rocks. You can feather a light down to 90 degrees without having to hold your stand. You can handhold your light using the pistol grip. It’s just SO convenient.
So that does it. The MagBox rocks. I’m so excited to have a super-portable box that maintains a quality high enough for the studio. Much more than that, I’m excited for the potential that this brings in the future. All of these things will be big time when there’s a whole suite of options to shoot with and I’m really excited for what that means for our work.