Long Island Photographer

Happiness in the Workplace: The Life of a Wedding Photographer

Apollo fields | Denver wedding photographer | New York wedding photographer | Wedding photos | Engagement photos | wedding writer

Most people don’t enjoy their jobs.  Whether it’s the fluorescent lighting or the no windows casino approach to work environments, the tired early morning commute or the death by a thousand cliches like “happy wife, happy life,” working in the 21st century is at best and worst a dull sort of suffering.  The intermittent good days make the job not quite bad enough to quit, and the benefits of a stable job outweigh childish millennial pursuits like happiness in the workplace.  Lucky for us, we don’t have that problem.

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Heather called me yesterday after her 4th wedding of the weekend (!!), and I could hear her smiling through the phone.  She was beaming about being in the center of a 30-minute horah (Jewish wedding dance celebration) and reflecting upon how grateful she is to have an occupation that lands her in the middle of these powerful cultural traditions.  Despite having no ties to any sort of religion ourselves, more often than not, we are educated on and included into these intimate spiritual circles rather than being forced to the perimeters and relegated to the role of outsiders.  Take that “multicultural day” at the office!

This wedding season, Heather has already shot weddings in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Colorado, soon to be Maine, and at the tail end of the season, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  Travel is part of our jobs and we’ve learned that there is love to be photographed everywhere! In the past, we’ve photographed weddings from the Dominican Republic to Quebec City, Canada, and we’re excited to the places our jobs will bring us in the future.  Our ever-changing workspace keeps our eyes fresh and the hundreds of miles of open road keep our hearts for adventure well-fed.

That being said, the life of wedding photographers can be stressful and inconsistent.  We don’t have work until we book it ourselves, making security and stability in our profession an autonomous responsibility of discipline and dedication.  We don’t have windows in our office either, but that’s because the sun is on our shoulders; and we can’t hear cliches because we’re too busy dancing to the live band.  Sure, it can be hard to keep the energy level high as the season wanes on, but every time it begins to fade there is a tear-jerking moment to bring us right back into the fold.  I would trade the dynamic difficulties of our job for the static grinding of the human will that permeates office culture a hundred times over—because at the end of our workday—we’re growing towards love rather than withering towards retirement.

Katy – Your Body Should Be Your Greatest Lover

Katy Copeland | Your Body Should Be Your Greatest Lover | Passion Projects | Portraits of Women | Dancers | Apollo Fields Wedding Photography | Long Island, NY

Guest blog by Katy Copeland
Photography by Apollo Fields

My body and I used to have a tumultuous relationship. I would judge her and put her down and bully her for not being “correct” and pump her with drugs and alcohol to numb the insecurities and pain. Dancers develop some pretty severe psychoses. You bend and twist and starve and gorge and try to fit molds that are impossible and distorted and therefore wind up living in constant battles of not feeling worthy. At least, this was my experience. My body and I went to war. I disrespected her, treated her like shit, beat her down and was completely shocked that she wasn’t responding with my backwards and materialistic idea of beauty. 

I met Heather during this time. About 5 years ago at a very delicate time when I self-proclaimed myself a feminist and was still wildly threatened by strong, powerful women . Cool… Having recently shaved my head for a performance gig, small parts of me felt liberated, larger parts unsuccessfully were hiding an immense amount of fear and self loathing. I became jealous of her instantly. Heather is confident without boasting. She is beautiful with zero effort. She is smart but not a know-it-all. She exudes grace with no judgement and she is vulgar yet still tasteful. How is that possible? My inner dialogue: “Fuck. I hate her. I want to be her.” It was madening. 

Never did I imagine she would lift me up in times I needed most. Very quickly Heather became my family, my kindred spirit, a precious gem who wiped my tears, held me when I started to crumble, and taught me the true meaning of female friendship. She profoundly changed the way I viewed other women, but more importantly how I viewed myself for the better. Secretly, for better or worse (mostly for worse) I would always compare us. “Us” being all women. Over time, I stopped competing and started cultivating true love with all the women I am lucky enough to know. Heather is a pioneer and champion in my story and I am forever grateful.

So when I read recently that Heather was suffering from an ectopic pregnancy with severe complications my heart shattered. My body ached for her. It was rare that I ever saw her in pain and I felt it in my bones. The female body is magical with incredible vulnerability. Therefore, when our bodies take on trauma we instantly become stronger and grow three sizes compassion, depth and complexity. Our bodies are smarter and more resilient than ever and I am just starting to figure that out.

We set a fresh pasta dinner date (for she is the queen of homemade pasta) after she was post-op and comfortably back home in Long Island. A few days before, we agreed to snap some body shots of me while I was in town. Heather asked for my vision and without hesitation I told her that I was craving photos that are raw, bare, stripped down, unabashed and unapologetic. Like most, admittedly or not, I am constantly struggling to find my authentic self. Battling my bullshit ego and trying to halt myself when I start catering to what others want to see versus what I want to be. After the experience she just had I knew if anyone could help me find authenticity and mind-body connection it would be her.   We would find it in each other.

This galley is what we created. By no means am I healed, or rehabilitated. But I am growing. I am learning. I am connecting deeper every day. My body and I are beginning a new journey. And the little voices inside my head are slowly becoming less of a bully and much more of a best friend. When my inner saboteur starts poking or prodding, I kindly and respectfully ask her to shut the fuck up. I am judging less and loving more and I trust my body will always know what to do. I just have to listen.

“Your body should be your greatest lover
for she is all you have. 
It wasn’t until I started loving her unconditionally 
that she began to respond.” —I wrote that.

They are my favorite two sentences I have ever written. That is the idea I wanted to capture with these photos, and girl… Heather did it in spades.

Leila's Three Year Old Photos at Crab Meadow Beach in Northport, NY

Sweet & Sassy | Leila’s Portraits at Crab Meadow Beach | Northport, NY | Long Island Photographer | Apollo Fields Wedding Photography

I just never get sick of photographing this cutie! I have been doing her pics since before she was born, and ever since then. I’ve done Nikki and Leila'’s maternity, fresh 48, 6mo, 1yr, and so on every chance I get! Even though we specialize in weddings, I love taking on the occasional family and kiddo. Leila is such a bright light, a sassy and sweet little girl who I just adore.

It was cold and windy at Crab Meadow Beach, but the light cloud coverage was great for photos. Leila only had about five minutes threshold for the chilliness (I couldn’t blame her, I wouldn’t have wanted to pull my jacket off either) so it was up to us to get as much of her personality out in just a few minutes). Leave it to this little girl though, because she gave us the whole spectrum — her curiosity, playfulness, quick witted little personality just beamed.

My favorite was when I was trying to keep her attention and get her engaged, and I said, “Leila can you give us a smile” and she just goes, “RAWR! I’m a monster!” Hahahaa she gave us the biggest smile right after doing a playful monster and then threw her hand on her hip and posed her pants off. What a ham!

Leila’s mom, Nicole, is a dietician and works at Memorial Sloan Kettering as well as managing her own brand, Worksite Wellness. She just published her own cookbook, The Truly Healthy Pescatarian and we were lucky enough to snag our own copy when she came out for the session! We love chatting about all healthy eating and nutrition and of course, doing anything with Leila!

Clean & Classic: The Importance of Timeless Wedding Photos

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Hey guys!  Heather here...

It's a balmy -2 degrees F here in Denver, so I'm calling it a snow day and have gone ahead and rescheduled all of my clients (trust me, it's no fun being outside in this weather).  

Snow days used to be highly anticipated events, huddled up in bed watching the flakes falling from the window, listening to the radio station with your fingers crossed, toes crossed, pajamas inside out, and any other superstition that you thought might help the chances of your school being announced on the list of cancellations.  

But now, twenty years later, I don't get that same luxury.  Being a business owner means that you have to be the one to make those calls, and it's not always as easy as just wanting to stay in your sweats all day drinking hot chocolate and watching movies.  

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Clean & Classic

It seems that the wedding photography world has been dichotomized into two categories and photographers are pressured to define themselves as either "dark & moody" or "light & airy".  

Now, don't get me wrong... I personally love both of these styles.  I frequently find myself scrolling through the work of some of these masters envious of their well-crafted brand.  As for myself, I know how-to and can shoot "dark & moody" as well as "bright & airy" while still properly exposing for my subjects.  Sometimes it is fun to play around and push my own artistic boundaries, it keeps my eye fresh and it a fun challenge.  

But I think there is a risk involved in subscribing to trendy editing techniques and why I shy away from them: they will one day be out-of-style.  I would hate for someone to look back at photos I shot of someone's wedding and go, "eek, that's so 2018".  

Let's all take a moment to remember when super-desaturated photos were in, or the all black-and-white except one color splash was considered artsy; circa early 2000's.  Or a real life example:  My parents got married in the '80s and let's just say their wedding photos are "so 1980's".  Sepia-washed prints and shoulder pads.  Oh my god, so many shoulder pads.  

This is why if I had to categorize myself, I will confidently say "clean & classic".  I want you to look back at your wedding photos and love them ten years, twenty years, and fifty years from now.  I don't want your kids laughing at them.  I mean, they can laugh a little, because that's what kids do, but it should stop there.  I want to give you timeless photos that withstand the test of trends, fads, and increasingly savvy technology.  

Here's a fun one: we have such a great time with our grooms and want to give them the attention they deserve. This photo captures our groom at a very flattering angle, but shows off his personality – fun and easygoing – to give it some uniqueness.

Here's a fun one: we have such a great time with our grooms and want to give them the attention they deserve. This photo captures our groom at a very flattering angle, but shows off his personality – fun and easygoing – to give it some uniqueness.

Another classic photo that I love. My couple is so happy in this moment and the photography stays really true to the season, their decor, and the overall mood of the day. Even though it is posed, it doesn't feel forced. I love when something feels candid even if it's not.

Another classic photo that I love. My couple is so happy in this moment and the photography stays really true to the season, their decor, and the overall mood of the day. Even though it is posed, it doesn't feel forced. I love when something feels candid even if it's not.

I love this photo because it has beautiful soft and warm light. There is still a lot of emotion, and yet in some ways it is also a classic bridal portrait. As an artist, I want to keep my viewer's eye on the image which is exactly what you get here.

I love this photo because it has beautiful soft and warm light. There is still a lot of emotion, and yet in some ways it is also a classic bridal portrait. As an artist, I want to keep my viewer's eye on the image which is exactly what you get here.

It’s okay to not perfectly fit into either the “Bright and Airy” or “Dark and Moody” Categories

I love when I am building out my albums and I feel like I can re-live the entire day.  Depending on the season, weather, venue, dress, florals, and other design and natural factors, there will be some variation in my photographs... and I think that's a good thing!  I don't want my couple's to ever feel like they are just being plopped into posing placeholders, trying to replicate some picture they found on Instagram.  I want uniqueness and storytelling, without compromising correct exposure and composition.  

I think the mark of a true artist is to have your work become distinctive enough that the viewer no longer needs a signature or a watermark to know who created it.  For me, I prefer not to categorize my work into somebody else's style.  I would say "clean & classic" if I had to label my work, but in some ways that feels boring.  Even the word "timeless" can begin to stale.  My photos aren't stale or boring, and I am constantly searching for new ways to craft my art into true storytelling and bold narration.  That is my pledge as an artist to all of my clients and viewers alike.

Photography By:

Apollo Fields & Melissa Hirsch

Morgan and Matt's Central Park Engagement Session in New York City

NEW YORK CITY ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY | CENTRAL PARK PHOTOGRAPHER | DESTINATION WEDDINGS ERNY PHOTO CO

Before moving to Colorado, New York City was my home. It still holds a piece of my heart, with so many wonderful memories there, including meeting my awesome boyfriend. As much as I love Colorado, I miss it from time to time.  So I was really excited to head back to my old stomping grounds and photograph Morgan and Matt's Central Park engagement session in NYC!

Their entire session was really relaxed and upbeat. It felt more like hanging out than a photo session! We all laughed as we explored Central Park together. Morgan and Matt were also really playful throughout their session, which was so awesome. I love how they were able to just kick back and be themselves. It allowed me to really get into my groove and take some amazing photos. 

About Morgan and Matt

These two have it all. They are smart, outdoorsy and they can cook. They're kind of the perfect couple. They also enjoy hiking, which happens to be what they were doing when they got engaged, and they also have two adorable cats. 

I cannot wait for their upstate New York wedding next summer at Handsome Hallow

Morgan and Matt's Central Park Engagement Session in New York City

Heather Huie of Apollo Fields is a New York Based Wedding Photographer who loves to travel. If you're planning a Central Park or New York City wedding, she'd love to chat with you! Reach out by using her contact form!