Who is this guy?
Hi, I’m Joe. I’m a hiker, skier, sea kayaker, and a cyclist. That should tell you a lot! 🙂
What kind of weddings do you like to shoot?
I like weddings with mountains, barns, dogs, water, snow, great weather*, chocolate cake, and AWESOME music!**
* Snowing counts as “great weather” in my book.
** If your wedding is going to have all of these things we REALLY need to talk, truthfully though, if you have one of any of those items, I’ll be pretty stoked.
What’s your style?
My style is you! I follow the action and document it. Because of this your personality plays a role in defining my style for the day. I’ll tell you what’s not my style: following the latest Photoshop trends. Truthfully I couldn’t do my job without Photoshop, it’s an essential tool. That said, certain Photoshop “filters” are similar to fashion as they go in and out of style and in time, many of these filters are going to look dated. I’d just rather avoid that by providing you with solid, well composed photographs that will stand the test of time. Hey, that doesn’t mean the hairstyles and clothes will survive, but at least the Photoshop processing of the photograph won’t get in the way of telling that story.
What kind of experience do you have?
Lots of it! Over 10 years. I’ve shot weddings that range in size from 30 people to over 400 people. Backyard weddings, beach weddings, cathedral weddings, barn weddings, rain, hail, sleet, snow, tropical island weddings, not so tropical island weddings, sunlight, candlelight, stifling hot weddings, freezing cold weddings, hilarious weddings, the list goes on. I’ve seen quite a bit. Because of my experience spanning more than a decade, I’ve developed a better sense of what’s going to happen next, and am able to anticipate what’s going to happen next. That experience can be priceless.
What kind of equipment do you have?
I have really awesome equipment! With wedding photography, redundancy is the name of the game. I carry 3 camera bodies and have multiple backups for other equipment as well (lenses and flash heads). All of my equipment is top-of-the-line. I can experience multiple failures and still continue to work.
How many photos do you take? How many images do you deliver?
The number of photos I take varies from event to event depending upon the number of locations and the timeline. On average, for an 8 hour event I deliver anywhere from 400 to 600 images. For reference, 480 images averages out to one photograph every minute for 8 hours straight! Images are selected for both artistic and technical quality as well as emotion. The goal is to tell a story while prioritizing quality over quantity.
Is there anywhere you’d like to shoot, but haven’t had the opportunity yet?
Yes! I’d love to shoot a wedding at a ski area in Utah or Colorado (summer or winter). I’ve already shot a wedding at a few ski areas in Maine. Using the chair lifts for the formals was a blast!
Do you shoot same sex weddings?
YES!!! I also support the Human Rights Campaign.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? – I suppose the correct answer is “I’ll tell you when I grow up”… but here’s the list:
- Olympic Downhill Skier (yes, I was very specific about that)
- Professional Cyclist (with of course, aspirations to win the Tour De France)
- Professional Musician (that actually happened for a time)
- Marine Biologist
- Freelance Photographer
Okay, so that’s the list, how did you end up as a wedding photographer?
I took me by surprise. I didn’t see any of it coming and it all just kind of happened. Music has always been a driving force in my life. I ended up attending Berklee College of Music. My principal instrument was piano, and I enrolled in their dual major program in Music Synthesis, and Music Production & Engineering. Early on I received a repetitive stress injury from practicing piano, yadda yadda yadda (any Seinfeld fans out there?), I took a semester off to try and heal. During my semester off I ran across the river to start studying software engineering at The Lowell Institute at M.I.T.. One thing lead to another and I found myself doing Software Quality Assurance at Lexicon (a name most music recording nerds will recognize). After some time at Lexicon I eventually moved to the San Francisco/Bay Area to take a job with another company in the music recording industry, Euphonix. I continued studying Object Oriented Programming and Design at the University of California @ Santa Cruz’s extension program whilst working as an embedded software engineer.
During my time in Silicon Valley there was a huge tech boom and paper millionaires were showing up everywhere. Seemingly overnight, that bubble burst and I lost my job during one of the worst economies in recent years where unemployment in Silicon Valley was projected at over 15%. To give you an idea of just how bad it was, IKEA opened up a new store during that time. On the first day they opened their doors for job interviews they saw 400 people, most of whom held Masters degrees or Ph.D.s in engineering. They were applying for ANY job they could get. After sending out more than 100 resumés myself and receiving very little response, I decided I needed to make my own job. Photography had been a passion since I was 8 years old. Armed with a sink or swim attitude I took my life savings and decided to turn a passion into a career.
Symphony Photography was born in late 2002. Initially I had no intention of shooting weddings. As a matter of fact I swore up and down that I would never shoot a wedding. Too much stress, too much chaos. Well, so much for that. A friend of a close friend got married overseas and they were holding a reception for their American friends in the Bay Area. They asked me to shoot it but I declined explaining that it requires a specific set of skills, and all kinds of back up gear that I didn’t have. A week later they asked again and I declined a second time. A week after that… okay I finally caved and agreed to do it. We agreed on a fee and I used that to rent some additional gear. Realistic expectations were set based on my experience and concerns.
Something happened that I didn’t expect… I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the fast pace and dynamic environment of event photography. I also enjoyed the “people watching” aspect. Sitting back from a distance, with a long lens, and just capturing the natural reactions of people who were unaware of my presence. That was the catalyst. From that point I started assisting with other wedding photographers and learning the trade and soon after started shooting my own weddings.
So, I’ve now knocked two things off of my “what I want to be when I grow up list”… professional musician, and professional photographer. Next up… Astronaut? 🙂
What do you do for fun?
Hike, bike, sea kayak, ski, CrossFit! You could say I’m outdoorsy! I’ve summited over 116 4000+ foot peaks in the past year. I’ve completed my first round of the New Hampshire 48 4000 footers list and am close to finishing round 2. In April 2013 I went through the AMC’s Leadership Training course. I lead hikes (mostly in the White Mountains) for Random Group of Hikers and co-lead for the AMC. If you’re having a wedding atop a 4000+ footer and need a photographer fit enough to make the hike, I’m your guy! 🙂 My dog Zoe is almost halfway through her NH 4000 footers list (23 summits so far) and her little sister Kara (interestingly enough, both dogs were named after characters from Battlestar Galactica) will be starting her quest for the 4000 footers in April or May.
I also play a number of musical instruments but for the past few years, bass has been my passion. You can sometimes find me around various music hot spots in the Boston area sitting in on a blues jam. I’m also attending Berklee College of Music part time. If you need a referral for a GREAT band, I know the best bands in the area.
Here I am in my native habitat (Franconia Ridge):
Can we go hiking or skiing with you?
Sure! I hike all year, in all kinds of weather and I have a season pass at Wildcat/Attitash/Bear Peak (and Crotched is in there too). It’s a great way to get in shape, and a great way to stay in shape. Most of the hikes I do are in the White Mountains and range from 10 miles to 20+ miles in a day. Feel free to join me on one of the trips I lead, or let me know if you want to put something together off of the books. Just hit the contact button in the menu bar.