Having lived in South Florida for over 16 years now, I have had the luxury of photographing weddings at the best Miami Beach venue in town.
There is no question that Miami Beach is home to many of South Florida’s best and greatest wedding venues. Even before I moved here, I was aware of some of the area hotels. Many of these hotels are famous, and have been used in movies & television shows. If you are a James Bond fan, I’m sure you remember the opening of Goldfinger in which James Bond was watching Auric Goldfinger cheat at cards by the hotel pool. Anyone who visits South Florida, should check out the Miami Beach, South Beach area. When I vacationed during my honeymoon one of the hotels we stayed in was the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Having visited South Florida in the past we were well aware of all that Miami Beach had to offer. Fine restaurants, a beautiful beach, shopping at places such as the famous Lincoln Road all add up a a must visit location in Southern Florida. The picture in this blog post were taken directly from the couples wedding album. There are plenty of photographers here in South Florida but not every wedding photographer designs their wedding albums custom. As for myself, I offer wedding albums, and I design them as well. Not all of my couples take photography packages that include an album. The clients that do take album packages are very serious about their album and the design of the album. More on this later. Jenny and Tony had their wedding at the famous Fontainebleau Miami Beach. When it comes to the best Miami Beach wedding venue I think anyone would be hard pressed to deny the Fontainebleau is at the top of the list.
For me, my photography training started at a very early age. Now, creating wonderful wedding pictures simply comes naturally.
BELOW: – My Love for photography started at the early age of 13. My father who was a skilled amateur photographer opened my eyes to the art of photography. Most of the pictures he took were scenic and family pictures. Every once in a while we had slide show evening. This is when my dad would set up the slide projector to view the pictures from our last vacation. When each picture was up on the screen we would talk about what makes each picture special. Lighting, composition, scenery were all topics for discussion. Of course we also talk about the memories of the moments when the picture was taken.
BELOW – During the getting ready pictures I always travel from the bride’s room to the grooms room to take pictures, I do this because I want the wedding images to have a consistent appearance. Even on jobs in which thee are two photographers I want to shoot both the bride and the groom at times. When I’m photographing the bride I have another photographer with the guys. I also make sure I take pictures of all the little wedding details. This includes the shoes, the rings and the details of the gown.
BELOW – Sometimes when I see a really unique mirror frame I’ll use the mirror and frame to guide the viewers eyes to the main subject. In this case I wanted to keep the background of the bridal portrait simple. I loved the angled lines on the walls. In the case of the groom’s picture I felt that a cut out color would work well.
BELOW: – After I photographed the bride and her girls, I moved onto the groom and the guys. As a photographer I like to work quickly. This doesn’t mean I’m sloppy, I actually pay close attention to the fine details of each shot. The idea behind working quickly is to avoid my subjects from getting bored. When a wedding photographer, is slow, or stands around thinking about what to do, the people being photographed loose confidence in the photographer. For a wedding photographer having complete knowledge of the photographic process allows for increased speed. Let me explain it like this, I’m an avid snow skier, I know crazy that I love in South Florida. Hear me out. I always wanted to ski fast. When I was much younger my form needed work. All my ski instructors told me the same thing. Speed will come with better form. Get the form right and the speed will follow. Does this make sense. Same thing applies to wedding photography. If you have complete command of the skills needed, then you can work quickly with few mistakes. This is even more important when photographing guys. Most guys do not want to wait around while the wedding photographer tries to figure things out. Guys expect the photographer to be fast, decisively and take control of the situation. Only when the photographer can do this, will the pictures look spontaneous and casually posed.
BELOW – Like I said earlier, there is never enough time when photographing a wedding at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Once the bride and her bridesmaids were dressed and ready, we cruised through the hotel taking pictures along the way. I started in the marble floored walkway which is where I shot this picture of the bridesmaids with the circles on the wall. Then the some shots of the bride at an open area with that the wall of stuff and the bow ties on the floor. Next we went out the back door, which is where I shot these out door pictures. Having plenty of awesome photo spots is one of my top considerations when determining which place is one of the best Miami Beach wedding venues. At this wedding time flew by quickly. When I say the clock was running, I’m not lying. The bride and grooms wedding planner had created a very tight timeline which didn’t leave much time for goofing around. I had to pick these locations, set up my shot, and get the pictures done in a timely manor.
When photographing a wedding I match my photographic style to my clients tastes. In this case the bride’s glam eye makeup combined with the vibrant bridesmaids dresses screamed deco. In addition the reception ballroom featured a red and magenta color scheme. When I processed these pictures in Photoshop I allowed the colors and tones to become very visible. I also included some sepia images and some black and white photos as well. Whenever, I deliver wedding pictures I always give my clients both the color version and the black and white or sepia version as well. This way the client can pick what the like most.
BELOW – To say the wedding ceremony when off without a hitch would not be accurate. While the bride and groom had visions of a wedding ceremony under a beautiful blue sky with an ocean view Mother nature had other ideas. If you are planning a wedding in South Florida it’s important to remember that the weather could be unpredictable. In this case the weather was beautiful when I started the photography. Blue skies, a few clouds were all that was visible when we took some of the outdoor pictures. Even though the weather report said a 50% chance of rain, the bride and groom decided to move forward with an outdoor ceremony. The ceremony was set to take place on the hotels outdoor deck which over looked the Atlantic Ocean. Everything looked beautiful, fancy chairs and a see through acrylic arch with flowers inside stood on the hotels ocean view terrace. As everyone was getting set up for the ceremony I performed my camera checks in ballroom by the balcony doors.
Suddenly there was a loud frantic banging on the door.
When I opened the door the DJ was standing there with a look of panic. His words were, the rain is coming this way and I need to get my gear indoors now! I helped him quickly remove all this electronic equipment from the ceremony site to the indoor ballroom. Let than 30 seconds after we moved the last piece of equipment indoors, it poured buckets of rain water. Needless to say the wedding ceremony was not going to happen outdoors. It took about an hour to set up the reception ballroom for a wedding ceremony. I used this time to take as many of the posed family pictures as possible.
Once the ballroom was set up for the wedding ceremony it looked beautiful and the ceremony took place in a much drier place. If you are wondering what the outdoor ceremony would have looked like, here is a wedding that happened on the Ocean terrace at a drier time. Tara & Scott’s Miami Beach Wedding. My advise is if you are planning a South Florida wedding, have a rain plan. Also, take the pictures early. If you have sunshine and a blue sky, don’t wait to take those outdoor photos. In this case, the sky went from sun with few clouds to pouring rain in a matter of an hour.
Given the historic history of this best Miami Beach wedding venue, it’s only fitting that some of the pictures should be processed in Black and White.
The historic Fontainebleau hotel was built in 1952 and was considered the largest and most upscale hotel in South Florida. Designed my the famous Morris Lapidus it was ranked high by the American Institute of Architectslist of America’s favorite architecture. Check out some if these historic pictures of the Fontainebleau. Historic pictures of the Fontainebleau
What should you consider when choosing a photographer in Miami Beach or any part of South Florida?
I always say that there are two parts to wedding photography. One part is the creative part. When most people shop for a wedding photographer in Miami Beach or any other part of South Florida, they are determining which photographer they like best based on how creative the pictures are. Everyone has different tastes, some people like photo-journalistic black and white imagery. Other people are looking for very posed perfectly lit pictures. Some people have no idea what type of photography they like, but they will know it when they see it. Either way, many people choose their photographer based in imagery. Having been a wedding and event photographer in South Florida for over 16 years and having also been in business in Los Angeles for over 15 years prior, I think I could offer some great advise. My first piece of advise is, recently engaged couples should not choose a wedding photographer on creative pictures alone. Equally important is dependability is also a huge factor. Earlier, I mentioned two sides of wedding photography, one is the creative part, the other is the stay out of trouble part. As a wedding event photographer, I consider the post family and bridal party pictures part of the stay out of trouble part. In other words, your photographer should be skilled at both the creative and the posed.
When considering your wedding pictures it is very important to be clear regarding posed pictures. Some couples don’t care too much about posed pictures. Some couples are really into wedding photo-journalism. Most couples want a mix of both styles. When I say stay out of trouble, What I mean is, if the bride and groom (and the family), wants posted pictures it’s up to the couple, and the photographer to be clear about this. If a photographer, misses posed pictures it’s not going to be pleasant for the photographer or the client. This needs to be talked about before the wedding. I have standard posed pictures that I always try to capture. These include, Bride with her Mom, Bride with her Father, Bride and Both Parents, Bride with her Siblings, Groom and His Family as well. There are about 20 different family combinations of family pictures I capture. There are also family pictures I don’t usually take. In a wedding there are endless combinations of family pictures that could be taken. There is also a limited amount of time available. In addition the couple wants to enjoy their wedding and not feel that their wedding is one big all day photo session. My advise, be clear about the posed pictures and always consider providing a list of needed family pictures.
BELOW: Nothing at a wedding sets the atmosphere like the decor and lighting. If you want your wedding to convey a certain theme, than the lighting and decor choices are very important. Having photographed hundreds of wedding I can tell you first hand how the decor sets to tone of the wedding ceremony and the reception. Often I find myself working in the same hotel, same ballroom, however, even though the room and venue are the same, each wedding looks unique. I have seen tropical inspired weddings and then in the same ballroom, Art Deco colorful weddings. Again in the same ballroom, modern candlelit weddings. This wedding’s unique look is a result of the lighting, the decor and the colors of the flowers and table linens. As the best Miami Beach wedding venue couples will have no problem creating the perfect look for their dream wedding.
Check out this collage of reception party pictures! When a couple decides which is the best Miami Beach wedding venue, one thing they often consider is, can they party and have a great time at this place. When it comes to having a great time and a wild party, couples consider whether or not the hotel is hip, has a cool fun vibe, and ballrooms large enough for the guests to dance the night away.
Shifting gears to reception party pictures. When it comes to wedding photography, capturing great party pictures is the icing one the wedding photography cake, so to speak. Personally, I believe it the photographer can’t get all the other parts of wedding coverage right, great party pictures will not make up the difference. However, delivering awesome party pictures is always a client pleaser. It’s also one of the most fun aspects of wedding photography. Similar to sports photography, reception party pictures require the photographer to look for the action, find the right angle, and capture the images with perfect exposures and a shutter speed that is fast enough to freeze the action.
If you are searching for the best Miami Beach wedding venue then this post should give you a great tour of the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach Florida. As a South Florida based wedding photographer, working at this hotel is always a treat. My advise for anyone having a wedding here, make sure to leave plenty extra time for pictures. Just walking from one side of the hotel to another could take 10-15 minutes. Then again, if you are making that walk with the bride and groom you may not get there because there is no question you will come across a awesome photo spot. If you would like to see one more set of pictures from this hotel, check out this wedding. Lisa and Drew’s Miami Beach wedding.