And The Band Played On

June 18, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

For some, music is like room spray.

It’s in the background somewhere. You don’t really pay it much attention. But it keeps the air pleasant.


For others, music is of great importance.

We love the way it makes us feel. The way it lifts our spirits. The complex arrangements, the variety of sounds, the sheer power moves us every time we hear it.


Aaron Teitelbaum As an avid music fan, and an attendee of more weddings than most, I get to hear and see quite a variety of musicians playing live. (By the way, I play flute, accordion, guitar, and piano. Well, playing might be an overstatement. In reality, I am to music what a hippo is to ballet dancing. Just ask my family.)

When it’s time to book a band for your wedding, Bar/Bat Mitvah, or engagement party, what do you look for? What do you listen for?

Bands are wholly worth spending on. Here are a few ways to maximize the music:

1. Work the Strings. Several string instruments in the entrance create an elegant atmosphere. From the moment you step into the hall, and you hear those lilting, timeless melodies, the tone is set for something very special. Your mood is lifted. A classic ambiance is created instantly. Go for at least two violins, a viola, and a cello for the ultimate sound.

2. Let the Horns Sound! When it comes to horns, the more the merrier! Saxophones, trumpets, and trombones blast out the festivities like no other. Ideally, a 12-piece band or orchestra is what you want to go for. If budget is an issue, you can get away with an 8-piece and still have it sound great. But don’t go less than 5-piece. Honestly, it really is worth the money.

3. Mix it Up. On the fence about hiring a DJ? Again, money well spent. I am so not a guy who dances (have you seen my "moves" on the dance floor?), but even I can't help myself when a great mix is happening. It makes even me want to get up and groove. (Stop laughing.)
Seriously, there’s really nothing more refreshing after a long day. Go for it.

4. The System Matters. So you have all these awesome people hired to make your party the best ever. Congrats! But you forgot something. The sound system. It matters. Why? Because with a good one, you’re enhancing the richness of what these musicians are giving, isolating the instruments and their unique sounds. Not sure where to start? When you are hiring the band, talk to them about it. They will know if the hall has a good in-house system, and if not, how to go about renting one.

Whatever the occasion, whatever your budget, there is music all around that can make it incredibly memorable.

 

So set the mood,

put your dancing shoes on,

and hit the high notes!

 

-Andre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A Fine Bouquet

May 29, 2015  •  2 Comments
Flowers. 
They make us happy just to behold them. 
 

And that fragrance...

In perfume, single floral notes capture the aroma of one particular flower, while a floral bouquet combines scents of several flowers in harmony.

Interesting that flowers and music are referenced as one feeling. I find that appropriate. After all, they both bring joy to the recipient.

 
So, when choosing a wedding bouquet, why go for the obvious?
Why not make it distinctive?
It’s a very special detail, after all. Help it out. Make it look good in photos.
As your photographer, I’m going to share a few secrets with you.
 
WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
Color. Any color. Just as long there is some color in the bouquet. Please. I beg of you. 
White flowers, against your gown, simply don’t photograph well.  Of course, the color in the bouquet should match the decor to some extent, but you have so many choices here...I say go for it. This gives you so many more colorizing options in a photo. Whether soft or rich, color pops against your white gown, and plays off the textures beautifully. 
 
Shape. Keep it round. Or round-ish. It doesn’t have to be a ball, but it needs a good form to keep it photogenic. Believe it or not, red carnations make some of the best bouquets. They may be inexpensive, but artistically, they work.
 
 
Stems. Who on earth thinks about stems? I do. I use them artistically in a shot. Stems that are too long look droopy, and call attention to themselves, so keep them moderate. The best? A nice thick base. Short, full stems that can allow the bouquet to stand upright in photos give us options for gorgeous, interesting looks.
 
 
WHAT TO AVOID:
 
White orchids.  Sorry, ladies. I know these are a favorite. I have nothing personally against orchids, mind you. But they photograph terribly. White on white, again, just won’t do you any justice in a photo. Plus they don’t have a good shape as a bouquet. And they fall apart very easily. They’re too delicate to withstand a long day of being carried around, out of water. Leave them at home. 
 
Glued-in rhinestones.  When bejeweled touches are affixed to a bouquet, instead of adding to the beauty, it actually detracts. It takes away from your ring. And your ring is very special.
 
“Pointed” bouquets. Why?  Because these types of bouquets  make an incredibly awkward shape in photos, and in person. There is just no flattering way to hold a pointed bouquet. Period. 
 
Speaking of, another no-no are pointy things sticking up out of a bouquet. Be it spiked flowers or decorative touches jutting out like little arrows, one thing you need to know: when you hold them up to your pretty face, it looks like you have strange things growing out of your nose. I’m just saying. 
 
Whatever you choose, keep in mind that what works in a vase doesn’t necessarily work in a bouquet. Need a few fresh ideas?
Why not try zinnias, anemones, narcissus, sunflowers...miniature dafodils...dahlias? Try traditional beauties like cabbage roses with berries and herbs for stunning seasonal blends. Let your imagination wander, and enjoy yourself!
 
 
(And check our Beautiful Botanicals board on Pinterest for more inspiration.)
 
I can’t wait to see what you come up with...
 
-Andre

Gentlemen, Have No Fear: My Top Tips For Surviving A Photo Shoot

May 21, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I have a confession to make.

I hate having my photo taken.

Absolutely cannot stand it. It’s up there somewhere between paper cut and a root canal.

Oh sure, when the camera is in my hands, it’s all good. But when the lens turns to focus on me, I loose my cool. I don’t know how to stand. Or what to do with my face. All I can think of is,”Are we done yet?”

Sound familiar?

The reality is, aside from our Snapchat candids, most of us have never actually spent much time in front of the camera. Why would we? We’re not professional actors or models, and suddenly the spotlight is glaring down on us. So the process is scary. (Even for awesome guys like us.) 

And besides, we can’t all be Prince Charming.

The thing is, you guys don’t really need to worry. Because I’m looking out for you. I’m going to make you look and feel fantastic. 

Here’s what you can do to help me out, in the week before the shoot, and on the Big Day:


1. Get some sleep. Not the easiest when you’re stressing over a big event. But remember why you are doing this in the first place, and rest in thoughts of the happiness to come, right? Focus on the joy, not the logistics.  Get in as much physical activity as you can handle leading up to the big day. The endorphins released during exercise will keep you feeling great, and help you sleep. 

2. Keep hydrated. Drink lots of pure water, eat water dense fruits and vegetables (like grapes, cucumbers, leafy greens and citrus fruit), and try some coconut water too. If you're fasting, you're probably dehydrated, and by the time you're actually feeling thirsty and fatigued, it may be too late. Besides keeping you well, staying hydrated will pass toxins through your system, which will combat extra weight and make your skin look alive and healthy. Added bonus: water has a cooling effect, which helps when we’re nervous. And under lights.

3. Speaking of your skin...Pay attention to it. Guys, I know. It’s not really something we think about. But it does make a difference. Stick to a regular, gentle cleansing routine using natural, chemical-free products. 

4. Stand tall. Poor posture makes everyone look terrible, and deflates your confidence. No matter what your body type, standing up straight helps immensely. Arch your back, too. If you’re skinny, it gives you a stronger presence. If you are heavier-set it gives you a slimmer line. Another svelte (slim and elegant) secret? Button your jacket. You might also want to pass on that third helping of kugel (aka a bunch of oil held together with a few flakes of potato) in the days leading up to the shoot.

And, last, but not least...

5. “Act natural.”

Ha! Easier said than done. 
I mean, at a photo shoot we aren’t exactly in our natural state, are we?
Try this: think of the last great meal you ate.
Recall how it smelled, tasted, how good it made you feel.

Got it?

Now, there’s the smile I was looking for.

Relax.

We've got this one.

I'm looking forward to hanging out with you. 

We'll take some pictures.

Sound good?

-Andre

 


 


Accentuate The Positive

May 12, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

 

It's all in how you choose to see things.

The day could start out cloudy, for instance.

That perfect light evading you.

Someone is nervous.

Or uncomfortable being photographed.

(I get that one a lot.)

In the moment, how do we turn it around?

By seeking the positive.

This holds true everywhere in life.

When I greet my clients, my heart is open. I am genuinely happy to be a part of their lives, and they get it.

We smile. We laugh. We talk. Sometimes we get silly. 

The result? Real moments. Human connection. The stuff you can't fake. 

It boils down to camaraderie, really. We're in cahoots. 

And an instant support system is created.

The other day I had the pleasure of working once again with the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation

As many of you know, the Foundation is dedicated to sharing the teachings of the The Great Rabbi, Yisrael Meir Kagan, and "Torah's timeless recipe for building a world of compassion and harmony". The photos in this post were all taken at that shoot, to illustrate their message of positivity, unity, and respect.

We are reminded to keep this philosophy with us at work, on the playground, in the home...everywhere.

Right?

And when life throws us the inevitable curve-ball, we stick together. We help each other. We bond.

Problem-solving? No problem. 

I've got your back.

Besides having an amazing day working alongside fantastic people, I got to spend some time at Yoffee, known for their superb coffees and delectable desserts.

My only regret?

Not having the time to sample any of it.

(Occupational downside.)

But I'll be back. 

-Andre

 

(P.S. Follow us on Pinterest and Instagram, too.)

 

Archive
January February March April May (3) June (1) July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December