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No computers allowed – Kickstarter!!

Life is easier on film. I break out my film camera, and people look in wonder, like, wow, you must be a REAL photographer. But we film shooters have a dirty little secret. Shooting film is easier. I shoot, the lab does their magic, and all the work is done. No photoshop required. It’s more expensive, but my quality of life is improved. And then everything else in the world I have to do with my images becomes easier because I don’t have to edit anything. Rich hues, balanced contrast, soft palettes are the standard. Once the photograph is captured, my work is mostly done. I’m slowly making the transition here to shooting ALL film. It’s a little nerve wracking. My 5d Mark II serves as addicting training wheels. I mean, even the JPG’s coming out of my camera are pretty nice, and mostly untouched anyway. And it’s always nice to be able to hold onto something while the film goes on a field trip to the lab, though in my heart of hearts I know that holding on to the digital side of things is only as important as you make it. We all survived in the world a very long time before our fingers started doing the talking.

In the meantime, I’m super excited to honor my love of film and all things analog in this project I’m doing with my dear Husband Andy Bean of the Two Man Gentlemen Band! They’ll be recording, producing, designing and printing their next album the old fashioned way – no computers allowed, and I’ll be doing the film photography! We won’t even be scanning the film onto the computer! How will we do it?? I have NO IDEA! But we’ll make it happen! Except of course for fundraising. So please! Head on down to The Gent’s Kickstarter Page and make a donation and help us figure it out!

And if you happen to not know much about the other half of the Bean family, here’s what we’ve gotten ourselves into (by the way, they do weddings :)):

The Two Man Gentlemen Band – Gentle Stomp from Live & Breathing on Vimeo.

I know I know. I’m married to a smokin’ geeetar player.

And to watch one of the best kickstarter videos I’ve ever seen, look no further!

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[…] me allow Punam Bean, amazing wedding and event photographer, to put it much better than I’ve ever been able to vocalize it: “Life is easier on film…we […]

Thanks, wife! You da man!

Office Closed 8/27-9/5 – Moving to Cali!

Hello friends!

Please be patient with us while we move our office across the country! Monday, we will be packing up our computers, our hard drives, monitors, files, film and printers and shipping them across the country. An adventure! We are taking great care to make sure everything arrives in California safely, but that also means that I won’t have access to anything for a few days.

Here I sit, it’s raining outside, and the beginnings of a tropical storm have begun to move their way into Western Massachusetts. So silly. A tropical storm in Western Mass, I mean really? It’s the end of August and the LEAVES are turning! As in autumn!

In the past week we’ve had an earth quake, now a hurricane. We are officially moving on September 1st, nearly the 10th anniversary of when I came to New York. I was 19 years old. My first day of college was September 11th. I still consider myself a New Yorker, even though I’ve lived in Mass for the past year. I think that might be a common sentiment around here.

Great Barrington, (I’ll say it again!) is beautiful. I’ll miss all the little farms, the amazing eggs (have I mentioned that I LOVE THE EGGS HERE??), the natural beauty and the rich history of this place. But driving around, seeing that the leaves are changing their hues in preparation for the fall (umm, hello, August??) , and subsequently months and months of winter (snow + cold), I can’t help but feel thankful to have spent a chapter of my life here for all that it’s taught me. And thankful that we are moving on.

I’m looking forward to pushing our daughter in a stroller around the neighborhood, in February, with a light jacket on. And In-n-out. And making new friends. And having free time with my Huz during the slow season where we don’t have to buckle down and stay inside. I’ll miss my dearest friends. I’m trying to get them all to come with me.

And so, you might not hear from me for a few days, but I couldn’t think of a better portrait to leave you with than this one of the Gentlemen (They are available for weddings, by the way). That’s our street, and if you could pan to your right, you would see our house. I’ll miss living in such beautiful country! But the suburbs, here I come! (for now :))


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punam, i’m just starting out as a photographer myself, and i found your blog back when you were “answering everything”. it was completely invaluable to me, and your talent is so inspiring. i don’t think you can imagine how helpful you’ve been to me, a total stranger. :) thank you for being amazing, and best of luck in california!

A-List: Destination Weddings and Honeymoons Magazine

Ummm, WHAT?

Yeah. So a while back I got an email from the lovely Diane Rice, the editor of one of my favorite magazines, Destination Weddings and Honeymoons. They were considering me for their A List. Oh, that’s so nice of them to consider me, I thought. But for some reason I didn’t get into my head that I would ACTUALLY BE ON THEIR LIST!! What?? I can’t believe the names on this list! I feel SO greatful, mind blown, elated, excited!! Only 20 photographers in the country were chosen, and it’s so surreal to see my name appear beside so many other drool worthy candidates!! With great thanks to the editors of Destination Weddings and Honeymoons, there I am!! Woo hoo!

A-List: Destination Weddings and Honeymoons
A-List: Destination Weddings and Honeymoons
A-List: Destination Weddings and Honeymoons

A closer look: (won’t be based in ny much longer – but oh well!)


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Fantastic light!

congratulations!! xo

Woohoo!! I couldn’t agree with this inclusion more!!!

The beans are moving to California!


Are you ready for this??

We are moving to Southern California. IN SEPTEMBER OF THIS YEAR!!!!

Woo hoo! So before we get into the story of how we came to this sudden decision, I would like to mention that we will be booking our 2012 season in California, and we are offering really great rates for the first FIVE weddings we book in the state! So get on it!! We are also offering great deals on portrait sessions in the LA area, so if you are interested, fill out the contact form above!!

If you already have a wedding booked with us – no worries! Nothing has changed for you!


I know, I know. Crazy. So the story is, once upon a time, we lived in New York City. We wanted to start a family, and couldn’t afford to spend $3000 a month on decent health insurance. Seriously, that’s how much we had to pay in order to not have a 10,000 deductible. My feelings about insurance aside, its generally pretty expensive out here in the North East when you own your own business and your making an income above the poverty line. But I digress.

So, we moved to Western Massachusetts where healthcare is mandated, and a little more affordable (marginally). We thought it would be a fun adventure to try something totally different on for size. And so, we became commuters, making the 2-3 hour trip to the city about every weekend for shoots and meetings and such, and retreating back to our country abode for work and life, digging our cars out of snow, wearing lambskin boots and fur lined floppy-eared hats and all.

Great Barrington is an amazing town, with lovely open hearted people. The food here is AMAZING. The culinary opportunities are really limitless. The houses are beautiful and charming. And there are swimming holes every half mile. It’s like living in a fairy tale with fairies and hobbits hiding in the lush grass. There were moments when I was captured by its beauty, and really considered what life would be like if we stayed.

And now there is a little human growing inside me. And everything has changed, even though, nothing really has yet. It’s like a switch turned on inside of me, and the family that I’ve lived 3000 miles away from for the past 10 years is suddenly too far away. Babies bring families together. And so I’m going back home.

It’s always a hard decision when you have family on two different coasts. But I know that I want to take my kids to In-n-out, Disneyland, the San Diego Zoo. Camping in Yosemite, road trips to Big Sur, weekends in Palm Springs. Winter Heat Waves. It’s where I grew up, and even after 10 years out East, It’s what I understand best. And I’m so thankful I can still give them magical White Christmases in New England, summer weeks up at the pond in Northern New Hampshire, Thanksgivings in Plymouth Massachusetts. And so. We are moving so my mom can cook me dinner if I don’t feel like it. So my niece can babysit if I have to shoot a wedding. So my sister can give me sisterly advice about being pregnant. So this baby can be raised by my whole family from the very start. And I am so incredibly grateful that my dear and patient Husbone, who has lived 30 years on this Eastern Coast, is making the leap with me, with a heart full of optimism.

So, if you are around, we’d love to meet some new people, make new friends and foster old friendships. We are so excited, nervous and optimistic about this big new change. Let me know if you wanna hang out with the Bean family!!

California, I’m coming home.

Sitting in a park in Paris France
Reading the news and it sure looks bad
They won't give peace a chance
That was just a dream some of us had
Still a lot of lands to see
But I wouldn't want to stay here
It's too old and cold and settled in its ways here
Oh but California
California I'm coming home
I'm going to see the folks I dig
I'll even kiss a Sunset pig
California I'm coming home

-joni mitchell

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How absolutely exciting and what awesome reasons to move. Can completely relate as my entire family is ages away and it’s hard… especially when I always saw my child being raised by my whole family and not just the two of us. It’ll happen yet. Many blessings to you and yours!

Hi Lisa! They will be playing a lot more in the area. Be sure to contact me when you are ready for photos! fun!

Awesome! Major congrats on the little nugget in your tummy :) So excited for you guys! My hubs (also a music man) and I are in Hollywood if you guys end up close and want a good meal and photog/music chatting

Oh my goodness! I can’t believe you are moving out here. I am getting married in Orange County in January 2012 but already have a photographer booked. I would love to take some pictures with you after our wedding though. I think your photography is amazing. Also, I have been dying to see the Two Man Gentleman Band!! Does the move mean they will be playing shows out here? Good luck to you and your growing family. California is fantastic for families!

OmG!! I’m not sure what part of SoCal you’re moving to but if it’s anywhere near Oceanside, CA, give me a ring!! I’ve lived here for almost 2 yrs and always looking for friends..old and new! Plus we can talk about babies and how fabulous it is being a mom!

Yay! I’m excited for you and know that being with family will make having baby a lot more manageable. and thanks for the Joni lyrics! I’m now trying to hit the “will you take me as I am” high notes while one of the dogs watches in horror. xx


congrats on your new addition and your move…best of luck. so nice to grow up around family…can’t top that.

yay! hope to see you here soon!

congratulations on the baby! and on the upcoming move! (i have been reading for a long time but i am not sure if i have ever commented.) i love seeing your work!


YAHOO! congratulations on your little one to be and I am sooo excited for you to come to socal! I’ve also been a huge fan & I would also love to meet you! This is great news for a sad california!

Oh dear! I know how badly you have wanted this, and am so so happy for younguys and baboo to make this move! Can’t wait to visit you three in the sun! Xoxo

Glad to hear it! There’s such a great community of photographers out here. I’m in Downtown Fullerton and would love to make a new friend!


I have been a huge fan of yours for about 2 + years now and I’m from LA. I am like jumping up & down I’m SO excited, you’re gonna be in my city! Living there!
Will you let me know if you ever need an assistant of any kind? Or even a nanny? I’ve got experience nannying and with photography as well! I’m sososo excited and happy for you & your growing family!

Yay for california-bound beans!!!

Yay for you guys! California is the best state anyway…one I wish I could afford to live in. :) Best wishes in your move…excited to keep tabs on your new adventures. xo

califor-ni-ay is about to get 10x cooler. can’t wait for you guys to get here!

So exciting!! I’ve been following your blog for about a year now.. and I’m completely enamored with your photography. I live in Southern California.. and (shh don’t tell anyone) am pretty sure the boyfriend will propose in the coming months. You’re actually the first person I’ve admitted that to. My point is.. Please don’t fill up all your CA slots too quickly! You’re at the top of my list, and knowing you’ll be so close by has only gotten my hopes up! Also, do you have a baby bump yet? :)

CA is magic :) I’m so excited you’re going to be here!

Answering Everything, Part 4!

Phew! All questions, answered!

Julie: I was thinking about getting a wide angle lens (10-20 sigma). Do you think it would be useful at all in shooting portraits/weddings? Also, I’ve been wondering lately about photographer placement during a ceremony. Where do you stand, or do you move around? Do you use only one lens for the ceremony, and which would be better, a zoom to get close to the couple, or a wider lens to capture the entire scene?

For your first question, I can tell you that I’ve never shot portraits with such a wide angle, but that’s just me. You develop your style by choosing the lenses that your turn to for different functions. If the look of portraits from such a wide agle lens inspires you, then go for it! But if you aren’t sure, in the interest of saving money, ou could rent it first and see how you like it. When I first started out, I didn’t know much about what I was doing, and I turned to other wedding photographers to see what they were shooting with. If I really admired their work, I’d end up buying the lens that another photographer was suing for portraits, only to find that it just wasn’t quite right for me. Especially as I began to break away from trying to be like other photographers, and learning what lenses I just melded with. After buying the 85mm 1.8, the 45mm tilt shift, the 24mm 1.4, I settled on the 50mm 1.2, and I don’t really use my other lenses as much, except for the 24mm, and only rarely. Looking back, I wish I had rented those lenses, so I wouldn’t have all these dusty lenses sitting in my house!

For the second part of your question, check out this blog post:

Kelly:Why do you sometimes choose to shoot with film? Do you have any advice on how to direct subjects for the more formal portraits?

I shoot film for the parts of the day that inspire me most, where I have total control over the lighting and composition. There is something to me about capturing a moment on film that feels so much more precious. With a digital camera you can keep shooting until you get it right. With a film camera, you don’t know if you got it right until the film comes back from the lab. You can read a little bit more about why and the differences here:

I like to get the formals over with as quickly as possible, so I have more time to shoot what really inspires me – portraits of the bride and groom. I’m loud and/or pushy if I need to be, while also being relaxed enough to make my subjects laugh. I’m presonally not a fan of the stand-in-a-line-and-show-your-teeth kind of photography, so if I must stand people in a line, I’ll try to make them laugh with my wiles. This is when it’s really nice to be shooting with Husbone, since he is irresistably charming.

nely: Could you please share any tips on submitting to magazines?

I’ll be the first to admit – I’m really no expert. I’ve been published in a couple of magazines because my bride or another vendor at the wedding already had their ducks in a row and all I had to do was submit the photos when the spread was being put together. That being said I still do submissions on my own, but not as frequently as I would like to. Usually I’ll find the number for the photo editor of a magazine I want to get published in. I’ll give them a call, just to ask what the requirements are, as they are different for all magazines. Some magazines want a link to the blog post or gallery, and some want a disc of 100 images and a proof sheet or prints. The beautiful and talented Jasmine Star posted a great article about how to get a wedding published, which you can find here: Good luck!

Gemma: I’m a new photographer and was wondering if you could give some tips on developing your individual photography style. I’ve been trying to apply different composition techniques but my pictures just seem so-so.

Everyone is different, everyone embarks upon a different journey to find who they are as an artist. So the best way I think I can answer this question is just to share with you my journey. I’m not trained as a photographer, I went to school for acting. It’s funny because acting and I had a bad breakup, and when I started my relationship with photography, I wanted to start over from scratch. But as time went on, I realized that having been an actor my whole life presented certain advantages in the world of photography. I’m trained to connect with people, to see things cinematically, to direct a scene to make it emotionally powerful. In short, I have a sense of drama, that I shouldn’t have been so quick to shun. I guess what I’m trying to say is, use what you have. Take opportunities to shoot what inspires you. When you are shooting for yourself, through composition technique out the window. See what comes naturally to you, when you shoot what you love. And of course, nothing will help you more than practice. Grab some friends, your children if you have any, your kitties or your puppies, get in the car, drive to somewhere beautiful, listen to some inspiring music while you are shooting. See what happens. The best way to become a better photographer is to constantly be pushing and inspiring yourself. I’ve heard some people lament that not everyone can be a great photographer. I think that entirely depends on the effort you put in – though it certainly comes easier to some than others. But if you allow yourself to be constantly working on it, one day you’ll look back at your previous work and see how far you’ve come.

aK Sandhu: What is the best advice you would give a 1st-yr-wedding photographer in terms of being a good business-person? How to most efficiently booking weddings, marketing, spending on the right equipment, finding the right workshops, networking, business aspects, etc.??? I know this is a LOT but looking at your own path, what is the best and worst things you did for your career and what should you have done differently?

The best advice I could give you, is that your first year is a time to figure out how to be a good business person, if you don’t have any prior experience. The greatest thing about owning your own business, is that it’s comes naturally to be an advocate for your business. When I started, the first thing I did was find a community of support. I started attending my local PUG meetings (when I was a member of Pictage, they have Pictage User Group meetings in most major cities), finding out about events, shoots, parties, and networking my butt off. In my view, the best way to become a better business person, is to make friends with other busienss owners. The great thing about the modern wedding photography industry, I can say from observation, is that there really is no competition. You set your self apart, through our blog, your personality, your work, and there is no one else like you. That’s not the whole kit and kaboodle, but it’s a great place to start. From that point on it’s a matter of spending time on the marketing aspect as well as the photography aspect, to present yourself as an individual so unique, that the clients who want you to shoot their wedding can’t imagine hiring anyone else. And since there is no competition, (most)people are really open with their advice and experience that’s helpful to your business. That’s how it is in New York, anyway. I know that some markets are a little more old fashion than others, but I believe that this is where everything is headed. I also tend to think of the wedding photography industry as a little like high school, and WPPI is like Prom. The most popular (aka successful) kids are part of the most clubs, are the most involved in their community, and are part of strong social groups (which you can easily cultivate in your town if there isn’t one already). Anyway, that’s just an observation. I certainly feel like I’m always learning as I go along. In the first year, it was all about booking weddings, and now it’s about booking my kind of weddings and refining my presence in a community of photographers and wedding professionals, or getting published. Maybe one day, it’ll be about organizing workshops. I tend to embark upon the new stages of my career tentatively, only when I feel I’ve been around for a while. I’ve seen people enter the world of wedding photography and shoot right up to the top, and in the beginning, I would try to dissect what they were doing, but in the end I always find, that the the thing that ends up working best for me, takes time and patience to cultivate. Luckily, I’m in a position that I’ll be here for a long, long time, to see what becomes of my years of experience!

Kay: 1) I previously read back through your archives & see that at one point you used to shoot with Nikon before switching to Canon. I’m a Nikon shooter myself but am not heavily invested (yet). For the past few months I’ve been debating switching over to Canon – so my question is: are you still happy with your decision or have you at any time regretted the switch? 2) I just confirmed my first wedding & it is a destination wedding. Anything you wish you’d known when you shot your first destination wedding specifically? Special considerations, tips?

1. Haha. this is like a Mac/Windows debate. I would tell you swtich to Canon and don’t look back, because for me it was one of the best decisions I ever made. It depends on your priorities, though. Nikon Pro Cameras are focus faster, the flash system is efficient and reliable, the apertures on available lenses are smaller. I’ve heard though, that since I’ve switched, they’ve introduce some lenses comparable to those on the Canon line. But, in the end, for me it just came down to color. I would shoot Nikon, and the image would be noisy and muddy, and even shooting JPG there was always so much work to be done to the image. Mind, this was when I was shooting with the D200. Someone took a picture of me with their 5d, and I literally came home that day and put all my Nikon stuff for sale and switched. It was the color. The reds, oranges, and the skin tones. Yum yum. Now when I shoot with my 5D Mark II and my 50mm 1.2, I upload my JPG’s and they just look so beautiful, I don’t have to edit them at all. I love it.

2. Congrats on your first destination wedding! When I started shooting destination weddings, I kind of saw them as vacations. Not good. I ended up spending more money than it was worth to shoot the wedding in addition, being unable to to book another wedding that weekend, or anything in the days that I was gone is also part of the cost. As things are adding up, this year, 9 weddings that I’m shooting are destination weddings. For our wedding in France last year, it was difficult to be there and not want to drink a lot of wine and eat a lot of expensive cheese, which, I have to admit, we did do a little bit of. I’ve always thought of doing destination weddings the most perfect way of seeing the world, and I can still do that, but I restrict my vacation attitude for only the ones that occur in extraordinary places. Hence spending 6 weeks in Asia. So for all the destination weddings we book this year, I allow myself 2 that are vacation like, and the rest are business as usual. Also – be wary of elevators in under developed nations – I’ve been stuck in a couple!

Wes -Yesterday my first 120 film was developed by a local lab. I really like the raw but finished look. But now I’m wondering, did you noticed any differences between the developing done by Richards or your local lab. I’m thinking about sending my film overseas:) Crazy, I know ! thnx Wes

I would be careful about sending your film overseas – they xray in customs! I found this out when I was contemplating sending film home from India. You could try it with a roll you don’t really care about, and it might not matter if it’s less than 800 ISO. Richard’s is the best.

Kimberly – I just discovered your blog. Amazing work! I am just getting into photography and shoot with a Canon Rebel XS. I find that a lot of times my images are super sharp. Is it the lighting? Lens? Me? Any secrets to proper focusing?

To be honest. I have no idea. But I have found the Rebel to be pretty overly sharp. There should be somewhere in your settings where you can set the sharpening on your images. And proper focusing – it is what it is. It takes practice, and gets better as you upgrade your equipment. I shoot wide open almost all the time, and I would say about 40% of my images are in sharp focus. But sharpness does depend on equipment, lighting, focus. I have a callous developing on my thumb from pumping my focus button every weekend for 8-10 hours.

And, it’s always better with a photo. Here’s a preview of Glory and Avery’s Hong Kong wedding!!

Glory and Avery

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Thanks for answering my questions and all these others. It’s really fascinating to read the behind-the-scenes stuff; it’s interesting but also very useful.

U R da WOO*man!!! Thanks so much for taking the time :)

Is is strange of me to like reading your Q+A posts so much? Nah, didn’t think so either! 😉

Punam – What fantastic work you do!! Your feelings come to life so clearly through in the images. I recently was asked to assist in shơoting a wedding for the first time. These answers are like gold for me! :) Thank you for sharing with us!


thank you so much for answering my question. my main reason for considering the switch from nikon to canon is the colour sooc. i see such a huge difference in colour sooc between the two and much prefer the canon colour – especially in skin tones. sometimes when i try to explain this to canon or nikon users, some of them tell me i can just correct it to my preference in PP but my whole thing is i want to spend less time in PS not more :) glad to see that you understood what i meant in my question :) i’m also starting to teach myself film….so i can’t wait for you to have another open question session so i can ask some questions! your film images (all of your images really) are so inspiring.


What style setting do you use for shooting your .jpg ?