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Fatima and Salim Engagement

Most of Tampa Wedding Photographers would agree with me that Spring is probably our busiest time of the year. And first half of this year was no exception, if, in fact, is not my busiest ever! I’ve been privileged to photograph many beautiful weddings as well as fun engagement sessions. Striving to deliver your pictures as fast as possible, sometimes I fall behind on blogging; however, now I am ready to catch up and share with you my most recent work!

Today, I’d like to open with a very unique and fun engagement session which I photographed just few weeks ago. Most of it took place on a beautiful luxury yacht – Leopard 39. Salim had few other ideas for this special occasion, including a hot air baloon ride, but I’m kind of glad he settled on a yacht instead:)

On a sunny weekend afternoon, Fatima, Salim, myself and Rich (a videographer from BluePoem Studios, Miami, FL) departed from St. Petersburg marina and set our sails into the Gulf of Mexico. Unlike most of the engagement sessions I photographed before, shooting on a yacht posed its own set of challenges. Major one was the fact that I could no longer control the light. When shooting in downtown Tampa or in a park of St. Pete, or even on a beach in Sarasota I can always choose where and how to pose my couple in relation to the sun. I love working with shades, around structures, trees, etc. In this case, the choice was pretty much limited to… none:)We were in the open seas under the hot summer Florida sun blasting pretty much at full power. During this period of the day I decided to mostly shoot wide angle, including lots of water and various elements of the yacht. This allowed me to minimize the impact of the rather harsh light we had to work with. Another challenge was limited number of angles I could take, and the very few that were available – Rich and I had to take turns and share! It did work out quite well in the end, because we both had tons of ideas and while one of us was shooting, the other one was preparing for the next setup.

As the sun made its way towards the horizon, the light became a lot softer which finally opened up a lot of opportunities for beautiful and romantic portraits. As we finally docked at the marina, the sun was completely gone. However, we still were not ready to call it a day. Instead, we headed to downtown St. Pete and photographed a couple of series around the museum of fine arts. I especially loved shooting wide angle again, including as much architecture as possible while silhouetting Fatima and Salim.

Rich ended up working with the couple next day as well. They shot incredibly funny clip at the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel (Mariott) which, mixed with the footage from the yacht, became the opening video at Fatima and Salim’s reception few days later. My slideshow from this session was playing on the two 10×8 feet screen of the reception room through the entire evening. I will blog Fatima and Salim’s Sangeet party and reception images soon. In the meantime, enjoy some of my favorite picks below and reception introduction clip by the BluePoem Studios at the bottom of this post!

St Petersburg Engagement Photography Fatima Salim 01

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Lindsey and Ronnie Engagement at the Don Cesar Hotel

Most Tampa wedding photographers would agree with me that Don Cesar Hotel is an incredible wedding venue – gorgeous architecture, stunning interior and of course the beautiful beach with perfect sunsets right behind it. All this makes the Don a true gem and an exciting spot for wedding photography. However, shooting engagement sessions at this resort is even more fun. Unlike weddings, engagements give us, wedding photographers, plenty of time to really explore the venue to its fullest. Add to that a couple who really enjoys picture taking and you have an evening of fun most wedding photographers live for!

Visiting Tampa Bay from Louisville, Ronnie and Lindsey were staying at the Don when one evening Ronnie revealed to his fiancee the real reason there came here – he asked her to marry him! Capturing the couple’s excitement was easy – emotions were strong and everybody around could tell how passionate they were about one another! Our session began inside because the sun was still a bit strong, yet the amount of light we were getting through the large windows of the hotel’s corridors was just perfect. There were not many tourists in the lobby that evening which allowed us get the most use of the Don’s awesome interior. Once the time got closer to the sunset, Lindsey and Ronnie changed and we went out on the beach.

When couples suggest the beach as an engagement spot I always try to incorporate at least one more place which would differ in feel and style from the beach. Beach is fun, don’t get me wrong, but there is only so much you can do with the sun, water and sand. And that’s one of the things I like about engagement locations such as Don Cesar – it offers such a variety of scenery without the need to travel to different places. In and around the Don you get to photograph with beautiful architecture in the background, while few steps away on the beach it’s a completely different feel.

Additionally, I often try to alternate the approach I’m using from one location to another. While inside the hotel I mostly directed and posted the couple, the moment we stepped on the beach I completely switched gears. It all became about interaction between Lindsey and Ronnie – they walked, talked, ran, goofed around and simply had lots of fun. By this time they felt a lot more comfortable in front of the camera and the shooting as well as their interaction was flowing very naturally. Half an hour later, as the sun touched the horizon we finished our session with a series of awesome sunset shots and wrapped it up with few pictures featuring Don Cesar in the background.

Here are few of my favorites from that day, hope you enjoy them!

Don Cesar Engagement Pictures Lindsey Ronnie 1

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Joe Sash - Cool shots – I need a vacation in Tampa… gonna have to work on that.

Ryan Sands - Absolutely adore your style Vadim. Crisp, clean images with shallow depth of field. All of your clients must be thrilled with your images. Great job!!

University of Tampa Engagement Session – Beemal and Sonal

Tampa wedding photography is an exciting field in itself, but what makes it even more fun are all the engagement sessions we, Tampa wedding photographers, get to shoot in between the weddings. These photo shoots give couples a chance to get more comfortable in front of the camera and learn the photographer’s style of shooting, directing and posing. At the same time we, wedding photographers, use this opportunity to learn more about the couple – what works and what doesn’t in terms of angles, posing, prompting and directions for each and every person we work with.

I love it when brides get creative about their photo sessions too. I always welcome ideas about possible locations, poses, looks, etc. Sometimes couples would email me pictures they find online and ask if we could try to shoot something similar. Almost always these are very cool ideas which I often end up incorporating in my future shoots. And of course I love it even more, when some of those pictures they dig up are actually shots from my previous engagement sessions!

In fact, one day I got a call from a couple who fell in love with Maria and Alex’s engagement session I had shot just few months before. They loved it so much that they wanted to shoot exact same session. Since downtown Tampa and University of Tampa are two of my favorite spots for wedding as well as engagement pictures, I was very happy to do the shoot. I was a bit nervous, of course, because what works for one couple may not necessarily be a good fit for another. But in fact, Beemal and Sonal ended up being just as easy going and fun as Maria and Alex and we had blast.

We began shooting at the Curtis Hixon park in downtown Tampa, a favorite location of mine and probably every other Tampa wedding photographer’s. Unfortunately, the main fountains were off that day, but we still managed to get few awesome pictures with the smaller ones in the back of the park. We took a few photos on the grass by the museum and we headed off to the University of Tampa campus. When we got there, Beemal and Sonal changed their outfits and we continued the shoot. As the sun was getting closer and closer to the horizon we made our way to the Hillsborough river where we concluded our photo shoot with few spectacular pictures by the water and downtown in the background.

Here are few of my favorites, hope you’ll enjoy them!

Tampa Engagement Photogreapher Beemal Sonal 4

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Joni Schrantz | Denver Wedding Photographer - What a great moment!! Nice work!

Tampa Sacred Heart Church Wedding – Maria and Alex

Last Fall I photographed Alex and Maria’s engagement session in downtown Tampa and today I would like to share with you few of my favorite pictures from their wedding, which took place just a couple of months ago. Downtown Tampa is an incredible place for wedding photography – contemporary architecture sprinkled with dozens of tiny parks and surrounded by such distinct places as Ybor City, Channelside and University of Tampa, makes it absolutely amazing playground for us, wedding photographers.

Maria and Alex have been living in downtown Tampa for the last few years and they adore everything about it. So it was no surprise that their entire wedding, even though involving five different locations, was planned entirely around downtown Tampa. All locations (home, hotel, ceremony, photoshoot, receptions) were just a few blocks away from one another.
It was an early morning wedding and as I showed up at Alex’s room in Hyatt Regency it was still dark outside. Everybody was quite awake nevertheless and preparations were in full swing. I armed myself with my trusted zoom lens and began to capture the magic of the day. As the groomsman started to arrive we headed downstairs for few shots of Alex with the guys after which I headed to Skypoint, where Maria and the girls were just getting started.

Shooting in a condo with floor to ceiling windows and the entire downtown skyline in the background  can be a lot of fun. That morning, however, the weather wasn’t cooperating and we couldn’t see much from the balcony due to the heavy mix or rain and fog. Luckily this also meant that I had amazing light to work with while inside the rooms. Every wedding photographer appreciates natural light source the size of the wall of the entire room, so we used it to our full advantage.

Fifteen minutes before the ceremony a very stylish,  antique-looking Rolls Royce pulled into Skypoint’s garage. The girls helped Maria in the back while I hopped on the front seat next to the driver. It was a short (two blocks) ride to the Sacred Heart Church, yet on our way I managed to steal a couple of awesome shots of Maria.

Any Tampa wedding photographer would probably agree with me that Sacred Heart Church wedding photos are always easily recognizable – the place is a true architectural gem. I love everything about it – amazing facade, magnificent interior and of course how nicely lit it is inside, mostly with beautiful natural light.

The ceremony was about an hour long which gave me plenty of opportunities to explore all possible angles. Once we were done with the formals, Maria and Alex decided to dedicate about half hour for pictures of just the two of them. For that we all headed to University of Tampa campus where we had a lot of fun with the Rolls. By two o’clock we finally made it to their reception site – Jackson’s bistro on Harbor island. The guests were waiting patiently, but as soon as the newlyweds showed up – the party has begun.

Below are few of my favorite picks from that awesome day, hope you enjoy them!

Tampa Wedding Photography Maria Alex 22

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John Harris - Some fantastic shots Vadim. Love the bride and groom by the car

Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club Wedding – Lindsey and Andrew

Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club is well known among Sarasota and Tampa wedding photographers as a premier wedding and event venue. From outdoor ceremonies to rehearsal dinners, it is indeed a perfect spot for a celebration of any kind. Today I’d like to blog about Lindsey and Andrew’s wedding which I’ve had the pleasure of photographing at the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club not so long ago.

It’s not unusual for Tampa wedding photographers to travel outside the city limits. I, personally, always enjoy road trips and this time was no exception. The drive from Tampa to Sarasota was smooth and I arrived at the clubhouse just as Lindsey and her bridesmaids were settling in the bridal suite. It was unseasonably hot outside, so as I walked into the lobby I was excited to see that it was very spacious and had lots of natural light, which meant we could shoot most of the bridal party and family portraits indoors.

I took few pictures of the girls helping Lindsey with the final touches and then stepped outside to find a place with more room for the group shot. Exploring the hallway next to the reception room I noticed the gorgeous bridal suite’s balcony overlooking the grand lobby. It was perfectly lit with natural window light and just happened to be exactly what I was looking for. I also decided to take pictures of Lindsey’s dress in the hallway instead of the bridal suite and I think those turned out quite nicely.

I caught up with Andrew and the guys at the church. We didn’t have much time for fun shots, so I used the 15 minutes we had left to take few portraits of Andrew before ceremony began. The church itself was very beautiful and I loved how much light I had to work with. I ended up shooting mostly without flash and enjoyed the fact that I could move around freely, which allowed me to take lots of shots from different angles.

On our way back to the Lakewood Ranch I managed to beat the limo by about 10mins. First thing I did was raced into the reception room – it was all set, beautifully decorated, waiting to welcome Lindsey’s guests. I took few pictures of the setup and hurried downstairs to meet Lindsey and Andrew just as they were walking into the lobby. We managed to get the formals out of the way relatively quickly and then all the family and friends proceeded to enjoy the cocktail hour. Lindsey, Andrew and I spent about 20 minutes shooting portraits of just the two of them on the magnificent stairwell, upper level hallway as well as in the grand lobby downstairs. They loved those pictures so much that we ended up dedicating three full album spreads to them.

Reception started with the introductions, followed by the first dance and then gradually transformed into a full blown party. As the heat started to subside, many guests walked out onto the outdoor veranda. At some point I grabbed one of my tele zooms and stepped outside as well for some cool candid pictures. Overall, the entire day was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed being there! Below are few of my favorite spreads from Lindsey and Andrew’s album. Enjoy!

Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club Wedding Album Lindsey Andrew 1

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Jim - New York City Wedding Photographers - Wonderful photos! I’m sure your clients were thrilled with these photographs.

Wedding photographers - Affleck Photography - What a gorgeous location! Love the emotion in the dance shots!

Dearly Loved Wedding Photography - Beautiful work! I especially love the bride posed on the steps.

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