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Shira Weinberger Destination Weddings bio picture

About Shira

I am an international photographer based in New York, an award-winning member of the prestigious Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA) , ISPWP, and a member of the Best of Wedding Photography Association. My work has been published and acclaimed internationally, appearing in Brides Magazine, Anhelo (Japan), The Knot, and The Knot China. I have also been featured on many industry-leading blogs such as Grace Ormonde,Style Me PrettyWellWedEssenceBride's CafeBrooklyn BrideOneWedMerci NY and more. Originally from Israel, I have had the pleasure of photographing many American, French, Yemenite, Ethiopian, Korean, Indian and Moroccan weddings and events. Through my photojournalistic style, I aim to capture the spontaneity, joy, emotion and ambiance of the important day with photos that present an unfolding story. My incredible clients have taken me all over the world to photography their weddings; including India, Canada, the Caribbean, etc. I am free to travel throughout the US and internationally, and am available for a wide variety of events. Feel free to look at my website.

Also, here are a few testimonials from some of my wonderful clients.

My Blog

Welcome to my blog!   This blog showcases not only my work from many of the beautiful weddings I am privileged to photograph, but also reveals glimpses of my personality.    Here is an opportunity to share some great moments  as well as give clients,  guests and friends the chance to comment. I also hope prospective clients will be able to not only explore my photography and style, but will also find inspiring ideas, recommendations , and tips for their own wedding planning.   I myself got married three years ago and I remember how overwhelming it all was- especially picking the right photographer!  :-)

Suzanne & James | Napa, California Destination Wedding

Vendor List-

AV: Got Light
Furniture: Classic Party Rentals, Wine Country Rentals, Found Vintage
Wedding Planning: Yifat Oren & Associates
Dress: Vera Wang
Videography: Hart Pictures
Music: Bobby Yang and his Unrivaled Players, Synchronicity String Quartet
Catering: Knickerbockers Catering
Flowers: Floral Theory
Hair: Liz Fanlo

Dina & Tyler Married | Sandy Lane, Barbados | Caribbean Destination Wedding

Venue: Sandy Lane, Barbados
Sandy Lane WebsiteFacebookTwitter

Monisha & Deepak | Indian Destination Wedding | Vancouver, Canada

Sometimes the whirlwind of memories of a wedding are like a dream. And like describing a dream, I don’t quite know where to start. Perhaps the best way to begin is to go back two years. Then, I received a simple, wonderfully romantic email from Deepak, who lives in Canada.  He simply wrote:

I am a student from Vancouver, Canada and was coming to New York May 14-18.  I was planning on proposing to my girlfriend in Manhattan and was hoping to have a photographer to make it a bit more special.”

I am always excited shoot surprise proposals!  We talked on the phone and arranged that the proposal will take place in the courtyard of the New York Palace Hotel. While we were in frequent email contact, I actually never met Deepak before. Deepak’s best friend Raakhi sent me a wonderful description to help me get to know their personalities and she also sent pictures of them in an email so I could recognize them.  I saved it and include it her as I found it then and in retrospect, very illuminating-  a factual and poetic descriotion.

“I can tell you a little about Deepak:

Deepak is a goofy genius pediatrician who is metro sexual and dashingly handsome. ALL the aunties love him, he is a mother in law’s dream. Let me explain… he is responsible, never goes back on his word, always takes out the garbage, very clean, trendy, on time, creative, artistic, loves to dance, can cook, make conversation across the board from politics to national geographic. He loves looking 007/GQ in his photos.

Again he loves to dance… Bollywood style :) He love his Indian background. All of it, the clothes the food, the music, the dance the family values and the parties! On the flip side of his perfection… he cant sing even if his life depended on it, he has more than a handful of embarrassing moments (including sliding down a muddy hill in the rain in white jeans) … he has a bad habit for expensive haircuts, is a bit of a bargain basement shopper on the top brands in the city therefore justifying his expenditures, he can scream so loud you’d hear it down the block. Will happily admit he is a lover of “soft rock” and owns (no kidding) EVERY mariah carey cd, been to her concert twice and has MC apparel to top it off. Sick sense of Humor and often makes himself laugh but has the fastest wit of anyone I’ve ever met.

He’s a love sicko and wants the Bollywood movie romance, (which Monisha also happily wants) of glances from across the room, subtle body language that shows their affinity towards each other and the simplicity of emotions through their eyes. Their song right now is ” Halo” by Beyonce They also like that “marry me Juliet” Song by Taylor Swift In Monisha, its in the details of a spinning skirt or wind in her hair that he finds beautiful. Her dimple on her cheek and her perfect smooth skin. He loves it when she wears heels or a new lip gloss, its the fact that she’s a girly girl.


Monisha is a quiet but not shy, hard-working lady. She’s an optometry student and the two of them have had a long distance relationship for about 2 years now. She is conservative and an amazing Indian classical dancer. She moves with grace and has an appreciation for  Indian culture.  She is very logical and has great insight.  She has a sister 10 years younger and I’ve always known her as the Nice girl. She spends lots of time with her family when she is in town and when she is away she studies hard. She is independent and warm.  Neither of them are irrational but they’re kiddishly goofy. They just want this to be the “love of their life.”

When the day itself arrived, I met Deepak in the planned courtyard. Monisha was very surprised and the picture below really captures the moment and tells the story about how she felt  when Deepak bent down and took out the ring.

A year and a half later, I received an email from Deepak that made me smile and jump up in excitement:

“It is Deepak and Monisha (you did our engagement shots on May 17, 2009), and we finally have decided on a Wedding date.  We are planning our Wedding for Friday, June 24 and our Wedding Reception for Saturday, June 25, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia.  We had such an amazing experience and connection with you for our Engagement that we were hoping to have you capture our Wedding here.  It would be a vibrant Indian wedding with a fusion of Western customs.  Please let us know if you would be available and interested in sharing this moment with us.”

That email contained everything that I wanted to hear. It was from an amazing couple, beautiful inside and out. It was an Indian wedding, which any artist will tell you is so brimming with excitement and colors, that it is just seventh heaven to photograph. And of course it was in Vancouver, where I had never shot before and thus would be doubly inspired.  I was racing to check my availability, crossing fingers on the way, and thank heaven I was free and immediately answered ‘Yes!’

Monisha was meticulously organized and considerate.  Consumed with final exams, I am not sure how she stayed abreast of everything, but every detail was carefully taken care of and extra attention paid to the needs of her appreciative photographer. As the day approached, Monisha and Deepak sent me photos of their family with their names written on each one, so I could identify them, as well as pictures of the Temple.  An upon arrival, even though we could have cabbed it, she arranged to have her friend Monica meet us at the airport. Monica gave us pre-paid train tickets, keys to their beautiful apartment and maps. Then, at the apartment, there was a wonderful welcoming letter and a basket with Canadian goodies.  With all that attention, I felt that I could have been getting married!

Along with my second shooter Paul, we shot for two days, the first day being the wedding and the second, the receptions.  It felt different than some NY Indian weddings I had shot, which compressed both into one day rather than a more relaxed timeline. I guess that is one of the differences between NYC and Canada :)

On the wedding day itself, there were two marriage ceremonies at the Sikh temple and at the Hindu Temple. Monisha woke up at 1:30AM to start her hair and make up and I started the day a few hours later at 4:30. It was quite an experience to start shooting a wedding that early.

It was a very long day for them, with all the ceremonies at the Temple and then at their homes. Still, they had enough energy and excitement to take 4 hours of portraits!  Deepak kept saying during the extended portrait session, ”this is fun.”  It really was a beautiful time.

It is very inspiring for me when the couple are so enthusiastic for the portraits.  The excitement hangs in the air. When there is a lot of time, things are relaxed, the couple is uninhibited and I can really capture the connection and feelings they share on such a momentous day in their lives.  There was no  pressure of the cocktail hour approaching when I have a a mere 15 minutes to shoot and work photographic magic. I always recommend to my brides as relaxed a schedule as possible, as photography is an art that cannot be forced. And so it was a real pleasure to have that opportunity with Deepak and Monisha, all the more so as they were so into it, and of course are so photogenic.

The portrait location was Granville Island, which held a lot of meaning to them.  It was there that they had their first date.  It is so incredibly romantic to take wedding photos at the spot where it all began.  There was a show stage, where they were in the same dancing group (through which they got to know each other) and both took part in a dance performance.  We then went to eat ice cream at the same spot where they shared ice cream on their first date.

The wedding was exactly as I hoped. The aforementioned descriptive and eloquent  Raakhi  was there for them at every moment to help and to organize things.  She was there for Monisha at 4:00 AM, came to pick me up and drive me, helped with the family shots, logistics, holding the microphone- literally everything. Monisha and Deepak are so lucky to have a true friend like her in their lives.

And of course, I have to conclude how the whole experience strengthened the connection I had with Monisha and Deepak and how truly wonderful it was for me to get to know them even better.  Deepak is a very responsible, considerate, sweet natured, genuine,  extremely smart, a talented doctor, and most importantly, a great dancer!  Monisha’s quiet facade belies a powerful and deep personality.  She is strikinlyg beautiful inside and out,  graceful, elegant, intelligent, and again, like her husband, a wonderful dancer!  It truly confirmed everything that Raakhi had told me two years ago.

The whole thing felt like a fairy book romance and a fairy book wedding.  Perhaps this was most simply expressed by Monisha herself, who holding the reception mic, declared that since her guests and family all are familiar with her love of  things Disney, said that in Deepak she finally found her Prince.

Rekha & Ravi | Weston Diplomat Resort Destination Indian Wedding

Vendor List

Wedding Planner: Preeti, Spotlight Style
She did an amazing job planning everything, I would recommend her to all my brides.
Be sure to check out her blog post from the wedding as well.

Make up Artist: Studio Sush

Flowers: Occasions by Shangri-la

Decoration: Xquisite Events

Venue: Westin Diplomat Resort

Catering: Madras Cafe

Fire Dancers: Pyro Fusion

Fireworks: Zambelli Fireworks

Rigging: National Production Services

Services: Desipandit

Lighting: PSAV

Videography: Pacific Pictures

Band: Carlos Abanto

Riri & Virraaj | Mumbai, India | Destination Wedding

It is so hard to distill the experience of shooting a 5 day wedding in India into words. There were breaks for a charming game of cricket (“The (Riri) Patel Devils vs. The (Virraaj) Mehta Sharks”) that ended unfortunately with an injury on one the Patel’s heads in the same shape and size as a Cricket Ball :) Overall, it was all so intense, that upon reflection, the days and many experiences meld into one. In sifting through the thousands of photos, I find myself at the same time sifting through and organizing my thoughts and memories. As evident from some of the photos below, the most vivid sensation was for me as a photographer, a visual one- an explosion of color that overwhelms, but somehow never numbs the senses.

I first have to express my great thankfulness for the wonderful way I was treated. A woman alone shooting in another country, always has to be a bit on guard, as my husband nervously reminded me countless times before my departure. However, Riri & Virraaj’s amazing family and extended family truly welcomed me into their family, and never once made me feel that I was on my own. They were all incredible!!!

Riri and Virraaj actually met 9 years ago when Riri was only 16 and living on different coasts. There was even a point when Riri tried early on to set up Virraaj with one of her friends! But here they were, and here I was, now in Mumbai, on the verge of a new stage in their lives together.

One of the highlights was the Mehndi ceremony, which is one of the most important pre-wedding rituals that symbolizes the bridge from the single to the married life. As is customary, the Mendi took place Riri’s family’s apartment. A professional henna artist decorated the bride’s hands and feet and one can only marvel at the astounding intricacies of the designs. The colors of the henna are meant to ward off any evil and bestow luck on the couple. Applying the colors took more than eight hours, with Riri dozing off mid-way while the artist continued to decorate her in her sleep. She had to then sleep a full night, with lemon and sugar specially applied to preserve the henna. It is also a lovely custom that in the mehndi pattern the name or intials of the groom are applied and hidden. Here, of course, Virraaj’s name was concealed on Riri, and evidently he had to discover at a later time where it was.

One has to always prepare for the unexpected when shooting at a wedding, and India was of course not much different. For example, I am always talking to my second shooters about not blocking my shots or accidentally getting into my frames (something that is important and difficult at a dynamic event). In India, I had to contend with an even more tricky situation for the videographer brought what seemed like ten assistants(!) with him, all eager to jump around with great energy and enthusiasm, but occasionally blocking what I wanted to shoot. Luckily, there was enough to capture to satisfy everyone and the videographer himself was extraordinarily nice and a pleasure to work with.

The first few shots below were taken next to my hotel. I had only a little time on my own between all the festivities, and I stayed close by. I really think the photos capture a bit of the magic and contrast that is Mumbai- the hints of majesty and poverty. While I was standing there and taking the shots, I saw a poor dog and had to buy him some food, who swallowed it in a second. A poor woman, straddled with a baby, who saw this small generosity, came and asked me for money, and of course I gave her some. It was not long before her whole family started to follow me everywhere, when I looked back I saw the dog had called over his two doggie friends to follow me as well. It was embarrassing, sad and funny, all at the same time.

As a final note, I was extraordinarily impressed with Riri. Planning a multi-day wedding in India is an extremely complicated affair, and Riri accomplished it with incredible finesse. She carries herself with a sense of authority, and has even earned the appropriate nickname from her friends of “Queen Elizabeth.” That managerial quality will prove very useful in the future for her in the new line of work she is considering- she told me that she wants to go into wedding planning! After the results I witnessed, I know she she will be unbelievable at it.

Thank you Riri & Virraaj for trusting me with these amazing moments in your life together!!!!

Many thanks to Subrato, a superb Bollywood videographer, for posting this video of Riri & Virraaj’s wedding.

Yossi & Dana | Red Rock, Las Vegas | Destination Engagement Shoot

And, here are a couple shots of yours truly (see what I go through to get photos, luckily a bit less dangerous here than on NYC streets.)

Yossi & Dana | Nelson, Las Vegas | Destination Engagement Shoot

I did a shoot with Yossi and Dana in Las Vegas last March, and I was so excited to have the chance to shoot with them again. Yossi & Dana have a tender and vibrant energy between them. They are so loving and it makes them incredibly intriguing to photograph. In both shoots with them, I felt so caught up that I didn’t want to stop. There’s a crazy inspiring energy between them that I find so powerful.

Nelson, Nevada is a hidden gem of a location in the desert outside Las Vegas. The whole atmosphere of the area feels like a movie set. Actually, it has been used as a movie set before. The place was used in the movie “3000 Miles to Graceland” with Kevin Costner, and recently Beyonce posed there for a fashion shoot.

The combination of the amazing location, and the couple’s beautiful connection inspired me so much. When I am in a perfect shoot like that, it’s like a blissful combination of factors. I felt an adrenaline rush in my body as I snapped shots, and felt like I was floating on air. This kind of shoot isn’t about where you go, but pulling inspiration from the beautiful connection the couple has, and the loving energy between them.

It was interesting to find out that the place was a famous mine that produced several million dollars worth of gold, silver, copper and lead until 1945 when some of it was destroyed by a flash flood.

Now, what remains of the ghost town is a beautiful relic of its sordid past. As soon as we arrived we were greeted by abundant wildlife. A fox and a rabbit crossed our path and immediately I had the surreal feeling that we were on a movie set. It was so much different than a New York City scene like I am used to shooting. It was actually a very refreshing change of scenery.

The caretaker of the property showed us a picture of a 9 foot long rattlesnake that had just been found there! He warned us to be careful digging around because there are about 50 snakes living in the area. I told Yossi to sit down on a chair next to a boulder, when suddenly a small yellow snake jumped out and scared us all! Yossi freaked out momentarily, but soon decided that we should continue the shoot. I really have to thank them both for being so brave even after that! I’m sure it was a great experience for them. :)

THE METRICK SYSTEM: Measuring 71 Years of Marriage

71 years.  How many couples do you know that’ve been married for that long?   These days you can come across 40 and 50 years with increasing frequency. However, 71 years is quite rare.  It says more than just a long-lasting marriage.  It speaks of a lifetime shared together, rich with memories, ups and downs, and a perspective that only long life can offer.  I figured that there must be some sort of secret to a marriage that can last for such a long time.  If I could just ask a few of the right questions to this remarkable couple, perhaps some hidden nugget would be revealed.  As a photographer in the wedding business, I wanted to be able to pass on some of that wisdom to my couples.  As a married woman, I wanted to know for myself.

So I prepared to make the trek to the home of Dr. Bernie and Mrs. Irene Metrick in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.  I was armed with my notepad –scribbled with questions, a digital tape recorder, and of course, my camera. I consider myself a photojournalistic photographer — ready to capture all those fleeting moments with my lens — but this was somewhat different.  I was going as a photographer AND as a journalist, which isn’t the same thing.   I wasn’t exactly sure how other interviewers typically worked.  For my case, I was ready to ask questions and listen attentively to their answers, but I was also prepared to occasionally interrupt the interview for some photos.  I was hoping to gleam insights into what makes a successful marriage, generally speaking, while at the same time capture this special and specific relationship.

I debated how I should shoot them.  Being so accustomed to shooting engagement pictures, I thought about taking them outside, maybe photographing them in a romantic setting.  After all, just outside their home, there’s a charming footbridge that joins Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach.  This could be a perfect spot, I thought.  However, when I entered the Metricks’ well-lived-in apartment, I could only imagine photographing them in the comfort of their own home, amidst the much-treasured art that adorns their walls and surrounded by albums of photos with time-frozen glimpses of a shared life.  I didn’t want anything artificial.  I simply wanted to photograph them as they are and as they live.  For a couple married 71 years, the romantic artifice of standing on a bridge to capture their love isn’t really required.    You could feel it just by sitting with them on their living room sofa.

I’m so used to photographing wedding settings, shoes, rings and bouquets. Here, the details that drew my eye were different. I felt compelled to photograph photographs, albums, and framed pictures. My intention wasn’t to reproduce them. I just wanted to photograph Bernie and Irene looking at their photos, and to capture them as they are today, surrounded by images which brighten any present moment with the immediacy of the past. It was these photos that were the unmistakable essential elements of their life.

I asked them to start the discussion from very early on in their lives.  Irene remarked, “We started early too.” She was referring to their crossing paths at such a young age. I meant event further back from when they were born.  Bernie chimed in: “I was circumcised after eight days and then I couldn’t talk for two years.”   I was happy they shared a sense of humor. It set me at ease.  And although they had two very distinct and independent voices, their familiarity with each other allowed them to finish each other’s sentences effortlessly.

She was ten.  He was twelve.  They had first met in the grocery store where Bernie worked and where Irene’s parents were frequent customers.  Irene was a dedicated student, but she was always happy to take a break from her studies if her parents needed her to fetch something at the store.  Of course, they were too young at the time to act on these initial feelings, and it would be several more years before the start of their relationship.

It was a fascinating coincidence to learn that Bernie had started out his career in photography.   He was only thirteen years old when he started to develop pictures. The difficulties of the Great Depression were not enough to discourage the young entrepreneur, and it wasn’t long thereafter that he opened a photography store which he rented for $10/month. A roll of film cost 25 cents to develop. Then, in an age of 3×5 pictures, he devised a clever promotion that led to a lot of business. He was the first to give away a full 5×7 with every roll developed! It was in that store when he first really “noticed” Irene. She had brought in a roll of film to be developed, and when he glanced through the negatives, he saw a more mature Irene – almost a full 16 years of age – in a bathing suit! He was now smitten and resolved to ask her out. Perhaps unwittingly, Irene knew something about promotion too.

As a wedding photographer, of course, I had to ask details about where Bernie and Irene were married.  The venue was a famous restaurant called The Little Oriental, which was located on Pitkin Avenue in Brooklyn. It was an elegant spot, and Bernie remembers it as an expensive affair costing almost $300. Luckily, Irene’s father had a liquor business in Nyack, NY and supplied all the drinks. Still, even with that help, they couldn’t afford a photographer, and Bernie took many of the images himself. He would set the timer on the camera and race into the frame. As there were no readily available color photos in those days, he would have an artist sketch a drawing of the veil and then he would paint the photos using oil colors. Bernie showed me a gorgeous photo – shrouded in a soft dream-like aura – as an example of his work. It was difficult for me to imagine how this was accomplished back then. He was so proud of his skill that he created a colored postcard of the happy couple, and sent it to all his guests after the wedding in appreciation of their gifts. It must have been the first photo ‘Thank You’ card.

As they recounted stories and leafed through the pages of their albums, they would exchange loving glances.   A photo of a young couple on Coney Island drew smiles. A photo of Bernie’s mother brought back this memory: When Bernie couldn’t afford a birthday gift, Bernie’s mother had sewed an outfit for Irene that Irene has kept to this day. A photo of Bernie’s Brother reminded them of the obstacles they had faced early on: Bernie’s brother wanted Bernie to meet a wealthier girl and thought his relationship with Irene wouldn’t last too long.    There was a moment, when I saw how happy they were surrounded by all these old photos and images, that I felt incredibly lucky to be a photographer.  Seeing how important these albums were in their lives and how pleasurable it was to simply sit and reminisce, I admit to taking some satisfaction in thinking that as a wedding photographer,  I was capturing similar moments for others to be treasured many years in the future.

As a Yiddish speaker, Bernie read the Yiddish papers that chronicled the increasing mistreatment of the German Jews, and he felt compelled to enlist in the army at 26. I asked Bernie if he feared being killed, and he replied that he only feared being wounded. For being wounded meant an unbearable hardship on his wife and his children. He lamented that today, in the context of wars with far less clarity of purpose, people forget how terrible it is to return wounded. For me, this particular remark really underscored his selflessness and sensitivity, qualities which must be the foundation of a long-lasting marriage.

Bernie was one of the liberators of the Langenstein-Zweiberge Concentration Camp, a satellite camp of Buchenwald. After the success of Allied bombing raids, it was essentially an underground slave labor camp, and decades later, required a tenacious effort on Bernie’s part to properly document its existence. It’s a remarkable story worthy of more than casual mention. I bring it up here in the context of trying to understand if there was anything that Irene didn’t know about Bernie or that Bernie didn’t know about Irene. After all, while they always presented themselves as a single unit – knowing absolutely everything about each other – I had to question whether that level of intimate knowledge was ever possible for any couple.  However, no matter how hard I pressed, the only time I could perceive even the slightest gap was when Bernie returned home and life continued without much discussion of what had happened overseas. The horrors of the war were too traumatic to even talk about in the immediate post-war years, nor was it necessary.  Irene had  treasured the heartfelt letters Bernie sent home during his absence and heard his voice emerge from the words as if he was there with her.  In that sense, they were always together without interruption.  Now, they were on the threshold of a new and glorious chapter of their life together. The wonderful and prescient dream Bernie had one night while abroad – of a little red-headed girl – was no longer just a dream.

At some point during the interview, I tried to redirect the conversation away from the biographical in order to understand what made their relationship so strong. Did their respective parents set a good example for them? Perhaps, though this wasn’t the reason their marriage was successful. Were they a model to their own kids, all of whom have enjoyed long marriages? They no doubt were positive influences, but as Irene pointed out, a marriage exists only between two people, so marital bliss isn’t something that can be inherited or passed on. Some people are naturally inclined to honor and uphold their commitments, of which marriage is the most serious. Speaking about the Ketubah, Irene said, “A contract is a contract.” Yet, other couples sign their marriage contracts with equal faith and conviction, and their marriages do not last seven decades.

Towards the end of the interview, Irene said something very heartfelt which really struck me. We were discussing arranged marriages, which were popular back then. Irene explained in plain terms: “Unlike our friends, whose friends had piled them together, we had chosen each other and our parents couldn’t do anything about it. Our friends had companions. We were not companions. We were lovers from the start.”

So was it luck? Bernie had talked about luck several times. He spoke of his belief that he had a guardian angel that always looked over his shoulder. He mentioned it in the context of unexploded bombs or incredibly fortuitous circumstances during the war that spared his life. And so perhaps it was a bit of luck – that guardian angel – that also led him to his soulmate so early in life. I couldn’t dismiss the possibility, but admittedly, it wasn’t an entirely satisfying conclusion; that they were just lucky to have found each other and to have been so well suited for each other. I was hoping to pass on something more than just “luck” as advice to my readers.

I can only imagine that when the mind reflects over the time span of many decades, it tends to overlook the bad. We want to remember that the days spent together were only happy days. Surely every relationship has its crises, I thought; those moments when all we see is what’s wrong with our partner and not why we’re so blessed to have each other. And perhaps it’s that accumulation of anger, of insufferable moments, that over time can lead to resentment and break up many couples. Yet, as I got to know the Metricks, I saw that this wasn’t the case with them. It wasn’t the gloss of nostalgia which erased from memory any disagreements and fights they may have had. As part of their daily routine, they truly did set aside their differences. Irene explained that when they argued, they solved the problem, even if it kept them up late at night, and never brought it up again.

Therefore, perhaps more than anything else, this was their secret, perhaps THE Secret to such a long-lasting relationship: that it simply doesn’t pay have big fights about nonsense or to prolong arguments. For it’s that simple understanding that allows for a couple so in love early in life to continue to love and adore each other as the years pass. They were lucky no doubt, but they also had the common sense required to keep things in perspective. After a fight, Irene’s attitude was “that was that,” to never to revisit the same fight again, and she meant it! Bernie added saucily,”You can be angry all day, but you have to make it up in bed at night.” And that’s why, to this day, they still hold each other’s hands as they sit and as they walk, with as much tenderness as those first moonlit Brooklyn strolls.

You can listen to the full interview by pressing Play below:

Those interested in reading more about the Metricks can read Bernie’s newly published autobiography, The Dentist.

Q & A

I’m often asked by clients and other photographers about the technical side of what I do. I’ve decided to share some of the most common questions about the equipment and tools that are a part of my everyday life and work. It’s important not to forget that they are only tools- Photoshop and expensive equipment don’t equal great photography! In the right hands though, all this wonderful technology offers almost unlimited artistic freedom. With that, I hope you find this q&a useful. Enjoy!

How do you typically retouch your photos?

Digital photography changed the way that many photographers think about editing. It has made it possible to change images in unlimited and drastic ways, which gives a lot of extra creative control to a photographer. My style is simple, so I try to keep my images that way too – without going overboard with retouching. For me, retouching should be subtle and not overbearing. When it’s done right, it helps me make my photos more beautiful, simple and artistic.

Along with the convenience factor, there are a million programs and tools out there to help you change every little detail in your photos. Most photographers have Photoshop, but probably only use one or two tools in the whole program! Retouching can be overwhelming for people new to the field, with so many different ways to do the same thing. I like to think of the open ended approach to editing as an opportunity to get even more creative with my art. Usually the photos look great straight out of the camera, but it’s a challenge to turn great photos into something even better. With a little extra consideration to detail, color, shadow- great photos can become amazing photos that couples love to show off and will cherish for years. I hope! :-)

My workflow begins by importing all the photos of the day into Adobe Lightroom. After a busy day of shooting, especially a wedding, this can easily add up to a couple thousand photos! To make the editing process easier, I start by “flagging” all my favorites to mark all the best photos of the day. Now that I know which photos I’ll be using, I will review them one more time and color-code the ones that will be sent to photoshop for more intense retouching. It’s very important to develop a consistent system of organizing for your workflow. That way you’ll know where to find originals, retouched, blog versions, etc for all your photos.

I like to adjust every single image in Lightroom for the best brightness, contrast, color balance, saturation and sharpness. Working on these minor details really helps to transform each individual image into a unique work of art. There’s also a variety of handy tools to change photos to black and white, sepia, and many other amazing color filters. I enjoy working on images and trying to bring out the story and emotion of the day. Afterwards, I do another filtering to decide which images will be worked on even further in Photoshop.

For more advanced retouching, I use an incredible set of tools for called Totally Rad Actions. TRA makes it easy to improve photos without making them look retouched. With time and effort in post processing, bright colors pop, subjects stand out sharp against the background and skin looks super soft and natural. For the photo above, I used some of my favorite functions. Pro Retouch to make skin soft, Yin & Yang to paint brightness on the snow, and Slice Like a Ninja to selectively sharpen the photos and make the subject stand out in better focus.

After intense retouching in photoshop, I reimport them back to lightroom for the final edit. Finally, as I said before, it’s important to categorize your photos so you can find them later!

What equipment do you use on the job?

I shoot exclusively with high-end digital photography equipment. With the right lenses and equipment as tools, I can capture important moments spontaneously and control the important elements of each image. My primary camera bodies are two Canon EOS 5D Mark II, which captures some of the most stunning photos available on the digital market today. I like to be prepared and up-to-date with the best equipment available. My current carry-along list looks like this:

(2x) EOS 5D Mark II
Speedlite 580 EX II Flash
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L
EF 85mm f/1.2
EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS
100mm f/2.8 Macro
45mm f/2.8 Tilt Shift
Pocket Wizard
Litepanel Micro LED video light
Sunpak Readylite 20

Q: How do you get that dramatic point of view blur effect in some of your photos?

To create shots with an exaggerated depth-of-field, I use an adjustable lens called a ’tilt-shift.’ There are ways to achieve this blurred effect in Photoshop but I like to avoid using them because they tend to look very fake. The aperture effect created by an optical lens is always preferable to a filter added in post-processing.

The secret to tilt-shift is a confusing geometric rule called the Scheimpflug Principle, which has to do with optics and focus. Basically, the lens tilts diagonally with the sensor in the camera, leaving the subject of the photo in crisp, perfect focus. The other part of the photo then looks like a soft, distant blur. It creates a fun, dramatic effect that I love to get creative with.

The lenses were originally manufactured to photograph architecture, and then later discovered as a useful tool in making miniature models look life size. It’s so much fun to use the same principles to photograph couples, really make them stand out against the background, and make the emotion in a photo larger than life. For a comprehensive explanation of tilt-shift optics, I recommend this article: Using Tilt-Shift Lenses to Control Depth of Field.

Three Winning WPJA Photos

I’m SO EXCITED that three of my photos won in the Wedding Photo Journalists Association 2011 Q1 Contest. Thousands of wedding photographers from all over the world submit their photos to this contest, so it’s quite an honor to be selected in three categories! (Especially as second place for ceremony!) :)

Thanks to all my amazing couples for providing such beautiful moments to photograph. I was thrilled that the judges put so much thoughtful commentary and praise in their comments for each photo.

From the WPJA:
Since 2002 the WPJA has been the number one trusted source for the best wedding photojournalists in the world. Recognized for excellence by leading wedding publications including BRIDES magazine, the WPJA is an international network of vigorously vetted professional photographers whose work is regularly judged by award-winning photojournalists (including many Pulitzer Prize-winners) and news photo editors. With ongoing curatorial vision the association identifies emerging talent, keeping our talent pool fresh and cutting edge. The WPJA is dedicated to upholding the highest standards in creative wedding photojournalism while promoting best business practices.

This a lovely email that I received from Luda, the bride in the creative portrait category above:

Dear Shira!

I’m absolutely ecstatic about this award! I want to congratulate you from the bottom of my heart! It is a honor to have our wedding to be captured by the industry leader and award winner!
From myself I want to add that I found your work soul touching from the first moment I saw it online and the WPJA award is an elegant confirmation of that!

It’s really the feedback that gives meaning to all the hard work. It’s one of the biggest rewards for me personally.