The Newlywed Game – CASTING CALL!

Hi Everyone!  Wedding season is upon us here on Long Island!  We just shot a fantastic wedding over the weekend and are really excited with the photos so far.  Some of them are already making their way to our Facebook page!  In the meantime, we’d like to tell you about a fun phone call we received yesterday…

Apparently the Game Show Network is currently casting for their sixth season of “The Newlywed Game!”  They are going to be taping in NYC this summer and they’re looking for super awesome couples who got married within the last 5 years.  The show is hosted by Sherri Shepherd (from “The View”) and airs nightly on GSN.  The best part?  The winning couple of EACH EPISODE wins a SECOND HONEYMOON!

They are looking for couples whose weddings or stories fall into the following special categories:

We’ve shot a bunch of weddings that fall into some of those categories, and I’m sure there are tons of other couples in the area who would qualify also, so if anyone is interested, just email
with your full names, location, contact numbers/emails, wedding date, and recent photos (hopefully some that we took!)  Good luck!

Newlywed Casting Flyer

“My Big Skinny Greek Wedding” – Photographing a Greek Orthodox Wedding Ceremony

In 2011 we had the pleasure of photographing our first Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption in Port Jefferson, NY.  Upon arriving at the church, we were handed two pieces of paper detailing the different parts of the ceremony so we would know what to expect.  We’d like to share those details with you here, copied from the handouts we received (sorry we don’t have a reference), accompanied by some photos.  Enjoy!

“The Greek Orthodox Wedding Ceremony

The Greek Orthodox Wedding Ceremony is an ancient service that has been celebrated in its current form for centuries.  The ceremony is full of symbolism to reflect the elements of a successful marriage – love, mutual respect, equality and sacrifice.

The wedding ceremony itself consists of two parts which are distinct and separate from each other: The Service of Betrothal and the Ceremony of the Sacrament of Marriage.  Each thing in the ceremony has special meaning and significance, particularly the repetition of each act three times – symbolizing the Holy Trinity: God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The wedding begins as white candles are handed to the bride and groom symbolizing the couple’s willingness to receive Christ.

Vows aren’t exchanged because marriage is considered a union between two people in love, not a contractual agreement.

Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption, Port Jefferson, NY
Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption, Port Jefferson, NY

Service of Betrothal

The exchanging of rings is the focus of the Service of Betrothal.  The priest blesses the rings by holding them in his right hand and making the sign of the cross over the heads of the bride and groom.  The rings are then placed on the third fingers of their right hands.  The Koumbara swaps the rings over between the bride and groom’s fingers three times.

The Blessing of the Rings
The Blessing of the Rings

In the Greek Orthodox religion, the best man & maid of honor are replaced by a Koumbara, a great honor with responsibility over extended duties during the ceremony.

Koumbara Swapping the Rings
Koumbara Swapping the Rings

Ceremony of the Sacrament of Marriage

The Ceremony of the Sacrament of Marriage consists of several parts – petitions, prayers, the crowning, readings from the New Testament, the offering of the common cup, the circling of the ceremonial table and the benediction.  At the conclusion of the prayers, the priest joins the right hands of the bride and groom.  Their hands remain joined until the end of the wedding ceremony, which symbolizes the couple’s union.

The Crowning

The crowning is the focal point of the marriage ceremony.  The bride and groom are crowned with thin crowns, called stafana, which are joined by a white ribbon and have been blessed by the priest.  The crowns symbolize the glory and honor that is being bestowed on them by God, and the ribbon symbolizes their unity.  The Koumbara then exchanges the crowns between the heads of the couple, three times.

Koumbara Exchanging the Crowns
Koumbara Exchanging the Crowns

Bride and Groom Wearing the Stefana
Bride and Groom Wearing the Stefana

The Common Cup

The crowning is followed by a reading of the Gospel, which tells of the marriage of Cana at Galilee.  It was at this wedding that Jesus performed his first miracle, changing water into wine, which was then given to the married  couple.  Wine is given to the couple and they each drink from it three times.

The Common Cup
The Common Cup

The Ceremonial Walk

The priest leads the bride and groom in a circle around the altar three times on their first steps as a married couple.  The church, in the person of the priest, leads them in the way they must walk.  The way is symbolized by the circle at the center of which are the Gospel and the symbolic cross of the Lord.  The Koumbara follows close behind the couple holding the stefana in place.

The Ceremonial Walk
The Ceremonial Walk

The Removal of the Crowns

When the Ceremonial Walk has ended, the priest blesses the couple, the crowns are removed and he then separates their previously joined hands with the Bible, reminding them that only God can break the union which they have just entered into.

In Case You Didn’t Know

An old-fashioned tradition is the baby-rolling ceremony on the matrimonial bed.  Babies of friends and families are placed on the mattress and gently rolled from side to side.  The bed is also strewn with rose petals, coins and sugar-coated almonds (called koufetta) to bring fertility and prosperity to the couple.”

View Through the Greek Orhodox Chuch Epitaphios
View Through the Greek Orhodox Chuch Epitaphios

Long Island, NY Wedding Photography

Bed of Roses
Bed of Roses in a Bridal Suite

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it seems like love is in the air and lots of local sweethearts are getting engaged and planning their weddings.  This is an exciting time of year for us here at T.H.E. Fitzgerald Photography!  We’re getting lots of inquiries each week and our calendars are going to be filling up quickly.

We had the pleasure of recently shooting at several locations and wedding venues in the area including Watermill Caterers in Smithtown, Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue, Chateau at Coindre Hall in Huntington, West Sayville Country Club, Venetian Yacht Club in Babylon, Fox Hollow in Woodbury, Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay, the Antique Carousel in Greenport, West Lake Inn in Patchogue, The View Restaurant (NYC’s only revolving rooftop restaurant), and even Central Park just to name a few!

We offer the following wedding related services:

  • Traditional and photo-journalistic style photographs
  • Engagement photo sessions
  • “Save the Date” photo options for your invitations
  • Boudoir photography
  • Rehearsal dinner coverage
  • On-location professional studio lighting for bridal portraits and couple portraits
  • Up to two photographers for complete event coverage
  • Wedding album providing both traditional photographs as well as the photo-journalistic photographs that allow us to create a story telling album that takes you from the bridal suite until the last dance of the reception
  • Parent albums
  • Online proofing and print ordering (we can also offer proofs in individual prints or proof books)
  • Various mounting surfaces: standard framing and matting; ready-to-hang mounted on lightweight black gatorboard; heavy-duty canvas wrapped around an internal wooden frame or rolled; box frames with mounted prints
  • Various print surfaces: glossy, lustre, matte, metallic
  • Thank You cards
  • Trash the dress photo sessions

If you’re still looking for a photographer, come check us out on our website, Facebook, Twitter, or LIWeddings and then contact us for prices or an appointment today!

Wedding Shoes
Bride's Shoes
Wedding Dress Bodice Detail
Wedding Dress Bodice Detail
Something Blue
...Something Blue

Large Group Wedding Photos

It’s been a while since we’ve posted anything wedding photography related, so today I decided to write an article about one of the fun types of shots we often get asked to take…the massive group photo!  You know the drill, we start assembling the family for a formal portrait…first the couple, then the parents, followed by the siblings…and next thing you know the entire family wants in on the action!  Some photographers might dread having to figure out how to fit everyone in the frame, but we always come prepared for anything and have a great time doing it!  Here are a few examples of some fun group shots we’ve done:

This first photo is an example of a traditional family wedding portrait we’ve shot.  After the ceremony, we gathered the entire family outside the church and used the front steps to our advantage.  The stairs always provide a natural elevation method to provide height to people in the back and get everyone to fit in the frame.  The gorgeous facade of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Roman Catholic Church in Southampton, NY (which Pope Benedict XVI recently bestowed the designation of basilica on!) provided a dramatic background to this lovely family.

Wedding Group Shot at the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Roman Catholic Church
Wedding Group Shot at the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Roman Catholic Church

The setup for the second photo here was a total surprise to us.  We were shooting a wedding and the DJ told us a special family photo was going to be organized for us on the dance floor in a few minutes.  We made our way from the dining room into the ballroom and there were two chairs in the middle of the floor.  The two brides were called in to sit in the chairs.  Next, all the children were called in to sit in front of the brides.  Next the parents and siblings were called in to stand behind them followed by the cousins, etc.  Eventually every single person at the wedding was arranged around the couple without us having to do anything!  We took a few “formal” shots to begin with and then the MC yelled out for everyone to show the photographers some love and below is the result of that.  What a fun idea!

Wedding Group Shot at the West Sayville Country Club
Wedding Group Shot at the West Sayville Country Club

Our final example was probably the craziest of them all and is proof positive of the great lengths our photographers will go to for the perfect shot!  We were shooting a wedding reception in the sprawling backyard of a beautiful home in Water Mill, NY when we were asked to take a group shot from the roof of the house!  Our chief photographer, Tom Fitzgerald, happily (and carefully) climbed up a ladder on the side of the house, full camera gear in tow, while I rounded everyone up on the grass below.

Chief Photographer - Tom Fitzgerald on the Roof of a House!
Chief Photographer - Tom Fitzgerald on the Roof of a House!

Some people were busy talking, eating, and drinking and didn’t realize why they were being rounded up since they didn’t see the photographer in front of them.  A simple point of the finger up to the roof let everyone know what was going on and soon the slight confusion turned into excitement!  I don’t think any of them had ever seen a wedding photographer up on a roof before!  The yard was gently sloped upward which provided for a nice composition of the family and once Tom was in place, we yelled for everyone to look up at him and here is the result!  He snapped a few in portrait orientation also to capture the beautiful vineyard behind this house, but here is the cropped landscape image.

Wedding Group Shot Taken From a Rooftop in Water Mill, NY
Wedding Group Shot Taken From a Rooftop in Water Mill, NY

These are just a few examples of the large group shots we’ve taken over the years and we look forward to taking many more this year!  What about you?  Have you had to take photographs of large groups of people?  Tell us about your experiences!  We’d love to hear them!

Our Wedding Photography Website Redesigned!

We are excited to announce that we recently went live with our newly redesigned wedding website!  T.H.E. Fitzgerald Photography

T.H.E. Fitzgerald Photography Website
Gallery Image From T.H.E. Fitzgerald Photography Wedding Website

The new template features a “full screen” button in the bottom left corner.  Clicking this button will expand the site to your browser’s full screen size allowing you to see the photos in an impressive format.  We’ve added a bunch of photos to our wedding galleries and are in the process of selecting more from the thousands in our archives, so please check back often for updates!

We’d love to hear your feedback on the updated site.  Whether you remember the old one or not, let us know what you think about how the site looks now.  Is there anything you’d like to see added?  Removed?  Likes?  Dislikes?  We’re happy to represent the Hamptons, Long Island, and New York City in the world of wedding photography and are always looking to improve!  Hope to hear from you soon!

FAQ Page From T.H.E. Fitzgerald Photography Website
FAQ Page From T.H.E. Fitzgerald Photography Wedding Website

Pamela Napoli wins International Award

We’re happy to announce that our lead assistant photographer, Pamela Napoli was awarded 3rd place, in a call for artists by Shicon, an Italian based design firm. Shicon began soliciting artists for a branded contest on behalf of A.N.C.I., the Italian National Footwear Manufacturers Association. Shicon contacted Pamela directly after seeing one of her photos on Flickr, taken during a wedding with T.H.E. Fitzgerald Photography.  The contest was for A.N.C.I’s “Creative Award – Cool Hunting Edition”. The top 30 photographs are being exhibited during the bi-annual MICAM Shoevent, one of the largest international footwear fairs in the world. The fair is held in Milan, Italy, the shoe fashion capital of the world, on March 6th through March 9th. Pamela’s photo is currently being exhibited there and we are very proud of this accomplishment, as there were over 300 entries by photographers throughout the world. Shicon took this call for artists very seriously as A.N.C.I. is one of the highest regarded Italian footwear manufacturers in the world. So Congratulations to Pamela for her International Photo Award.

"Tying His Shoe" by Pamela Napoli
"Tying His Shoe" by Pamela Napoli

Pamela began working for T.H.E. Fitzgerald Photography some years ago and has been a great asset to our team. While attending Boston University on a scholastic scholarship, Pamela studied Photography and Photojournalism while pursuing her degree in Computer Science. This allowed her to bring a fresh perspective to the lens when shooting as the assistant photographer. She is usually charged with shooting the Grooms Quarters prior to the wedding and then provides the main photojournalistic shots of the wedding, taking spectacular photos of guests in candid, intimate and humorous moments and also capturing small details of the wedding that are cherished by the couples we shoot for.

Pamela Napoli - Shooting a wedding with us
Pamela Napoli - Shooting a wedding with us

Engagement Shoot for Barry and Diana

OK we’re back to posting, “again”, so here is the post from the last draft we had sitting in the queue, which by the way is somethig we did in the early summer/spring.

April 10th (yes this is was the last time we wrote something, but we will be writing all the time now) was Barry and Diana’s engagement shoot. This is one of those jobs that are just easy, because the bride and groom-to-be are just cool people all around. We met up out in front of Nero Restaurant on Gansevoort St. down in The Village. It was a perfect day for shooting. Because it was late in the morning, the north west sides of the buildings provided the perfect shooting locations because of the shadow areas with fill light bouncing off of the opposing structures. We walked around a bit, shooting in various locations and got some really cooly shots. Here is a photo from that day…

"All you need is Love"

Konstantatos-Moss Wedding

Oct 2nd was Jenny and Jesse Moss’ wedding at Central Park in NYC. This was my first city wedding and the locations in the park were excellent for photography: the sun was setting, the sky was partly cloudy, sometimes mostly cloudy (see photo below shot by Pam) which turned out a lot of nice photographs because of the compacted dynamic range.

The first part of the wedding, of course, started out at the Bridal Suite, at The Park Central Hotel just South of Central Park itself. The Bridal Suite was actually a hotel room and a lot of bridal gear. This was fine by me and my assistant photographer, Pam (see photo near bottom). She had the Tokina 12-24/F4 on her camera for half the time in the Bridal Suite which allowed her to get some really good shots in such a tight space. The other half of the time she was using a 50/1.8 for some close-up still lifes of bridal accessories (shoes, flowers, etc.). I used my trusty Canon 24-105/F4L IS the whole time which allowed some nice shots at the 24mm end and around 50mm when shooting close-ups of the bride getting ready. It also allowed me to shoot around ISO 200 in a poorly lit room.

We were at the Bridal Suite for only about a half hour as the wedding was under somewhat of a tight schedule because of all the walking involved. The plan was to start at the West Side park entrance and take a bicycle-drawn wagon (one for Pam and I and one for Jenny, her baby and her mother) to the foot of Bow Bridge, where her fiancé, Jesse, would meet her. When we arrived at the West Side entrance, as usual in NYC, there was a flurry of activity bordering on the feeling of chaos. There were bicycle-drawn wagons everywhere, some for hire, others not. No idea why, but I guess like cabdrivers, they’re off-duty sometimes. So we jumped in one and Jenny in another. We had to be about 5 minutes ahead of her in order to shoot Jesse waiting at Bow Bridge for his bride-to-be, but things didn’t go that smoothly. We arrived at the drop off point about 30 seconds after Jenny did and Bow Bridge was nowhere to be found.

After realizing the bridge was not going to be a short distance away, we started walking towards what we though would be the correct location. As it turns out, we were heading in the opposite direction – mind you, this area of Central Park is very confusing. At this point, Pam and I took over and began to find Bow Bridge by asking the workers in the park.

We finally arrived at Bow Bridge, ahead of the bride and met up with Jesse. He then told us that the minister had not yet arrived and he and the rest of the family were waiting and trying to contact her. After about 30 minutes of no successful contact, we decided to go ahead with the photo session as normal, without the actual ceremonial photos. This was a huge disappointment to the bride and groom, but they were still very excited about the occasion; because I have worked with Jenny in the past and she likes my work so much, she did not want to miss the opportunity to get photos while I was there. My assistant, Pam and I quickly came up with an alternative plan and had the family gather at the top of Bow Bridge for the family photos. These came out beautiful and I was very excited to review them as there are so many potential print quality photos to choose from. I’m sure Jesse and Jenny will be very pleased once the proofs are uploaded to company proofing site. I’ve already included two photos on the main page of my website.

After the family photos, we went ahead and had the bride and groom do a “free-play” photo session, where we took shots of opportunity as Jesse and Jenny made their way back to the limousine. We stopped here and there when the scenery and/or lighting presented itself. I don’t mind saying, both myself and Pam pulled off some outstanding photos that will sit very nicely on their wall and in their final album.

Once we arrived at the limo, with the main family members already inside, Jesse, Jenny, Pam and I jumped in for a ride back to the Marriot in Times Square where The View restaurant was holding reservations for them. During the ride, we took some great shots of the bride and groom toasting to champagne and enjoying themselves with their families. When we arrived at the restaurant, Pam and I took some final photos before they ordered their dinner.

As a whole, the entire experience turned out to be nothing short of awesome. The photo-ops, the couple themselves and the weather were all perfect. Pam did an excellent job pulling the wide angle side of the job and I was very pleased with the shots I took using my new 85/1.8 prime and 24-105/F4L. Cheers…

Wykar-Hadix Wedding…

Initially we started in the Bridal Suite, where there was a large South facing window with white translucent curtains that provided for perfect light diffusion. The room was large and brightly lit, most of the time.

The day, however, was riddled with thunderstorms along with typical, ominous black clouds, which required the use of a flash from time to time, or increasing ISO to 200, 400, and even sometimes 800. I am starting to become more and more amenable to higher ISO, as the other alternatives are too costly to the photo (i.e. underexposed background, etc.).

The bridal suite was bustling with activity most of the time, so there was little absence of photo ops. Of course, during this time, photographs are judiciously taken as moments of privacy are required; nonetheless, I snapped away nearly the entire time 🙂

The Ceremony…

The ceremony was definitely the most challenging of the day, but probably the most rewarding as I was able to overcome many issues with the space available and surfaces surrounding the ceremony itself.

Because of the inclement weather, it was decided to have the ceremony on the balcony overlooking the gardens. This was a beautiful spot and had a unique aesthetic characteristic that made for a very nice ceremony. Because of the dimensions of the balcony however, it was a photographic challenge to encompass the ceremony in a story telling manner as well as get adequate close-ups of the wedding party and their families.

For the shots where I wanted to present context and story, I used my Tokina 12-24mm which provides a very wide angle and allows a slow enough shutter speed to deal with the lack of sunlight (remember it’s raining at this point). It’s also worth mentioning that the wood was a dark stain and reflected very little light, so most light had to come directly from the flash and ambient light shining directly on the subjects. In short, the balcony was just plain dark, so much so that the overhead antique hanging lights were already turned on even though it was only 4:30 in the afternoon.

For the close up shots, I used the Canon 24-105L, mostly near the 24mm end. One thing to note, the groom is very, very tall and the bride is on the petite side, so this differential made for both interesting shots and very challenging ones where I had to squat down or get higher up, in order to capture both of them in a single frame. For some shots I took the “artistic” route and cut one or the other slightly out of the frame. Usually it worked out nicely.

Another challenge, which initially I was bothered by, was the red brick wall that the balcony is attached to. One of the golden rules of photography is if you’re going to use a flash, get the subject away from a wall. Well for this situation that was not feasible. As such, I had to rely on two things: shooting mostly landscape orientation because the flash is above the lens so shadows are back and below the subjects (in general) and when shooting in portrait, use a slow shutter speed so the ambient light eventually fills in the shadow to the right or left of the subject. Next time I will have my flash bracket available so I don’t run into this problem.

As I was developing the proofs, I often use a preset in Adobe Lightroom called Wedding Boost where the saturation, vibrancy, and exposure are all increased. This gave the red brick an awesome pop as a background to the majority of the ceremony shots and wound up adding a very edgy artistic quality to these photos. This was definitely a pleasant surprise.

More to come…