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Monthly Archives: February 2009

The Zoo! (in film!)

A couple of weeks, Husbone and I made what has become a rare trip to the zoo. I’m passionate about a few things, and the zoo is one of them, and they need help right now. The state of New York is cutting 100% of their budget! If you are a New York State resident, you can fill out this very simple form and send a letter to our governor and your congressmen! I understand that times are tight, but it’s a shame to see an amazing zoo like the Bronx Zoo or the Central Park Zoo be victims of this unfortunate economy that some certain greedy, short sighted people have dug us in. It’s a shame. It’s my favorite place in which to frolic with Husbone and consort with species other than my own. And the Bronx Zoo, in particular, is well built for such interactions.

And so, on this rare trip, as Husbone and I have been quite overwhelmed with our schedule as of late, we brought with us the new Contax, and I was more selective with my shots. It’s so refreshing to be careful, to take time, to wait for shots. Yummy.

the bronx zoo (film!)the bronx zoo (film!)the bronx zoo (film!)the bronx zoo (film!)the bronx zoo (film!)the bronx zoo (film!)the bronx zoo (film!)the bronx zoo (film!)

And back home again!

the bronx zoo (film!)

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Hi Punam, I recently came across your work and I think it is gorgeous. I love that tiger photo and the peacock photo. You make me want to shoot film sometime before long. I have packages of film laying around, I just need to do it.
Have a lovely time in Africa.


Hi Punam, I know that you must be stupendously busy! Just wanted to say “hi” and I hope all’s well for you and that I miss seeing new posts! You have me hooked! :)

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the head’s up!

Punam, these are great. I’ve had a Contax on my wishlist TOO! Maybe my 35mm cameras will fill the void for the time being.

Wow you make Andy look like a Model, ha ha ha…

These are breathtaking! The one of the tiger is absolutely perfect. They all look like something out of some vintage animal encyclopedia – definitely so much more than something you’d get from just a visit to the zoo. Love them all!!

I LOVE these punam!! I love film though….so vintage. I was just saying the other day I needed to start using my cousins film camera and shoot some. I’m inspired now. :)

Is Andy flashing a gang sign while holding his camera? I just knew he was trouble!

The monkey shot in B&W…out of a movie…love the drama in the shot. The peacock feathers look amazing, I love the DOF with the angle from tail to head.

Way to support something from your heart. Like you said, when you are passionate about something you are PASSIONATE about it!


love the outcome of your selectiveness—some fantastic images there!

Hey Shannon – it IS Tmax!! I got it developed and scan by a lovely lab! Thank you everyone for all your wonderful words! Support the zoo! — Sarah – yay! I got the contax w/ the 80mm and film back on ebay for <1K! Yay for film!

Love the pictures. Beautiful. The film look is so distinct and artistic.

Love these pictures! They all turned out wonderful!

wow punam these pictures are amazing. I especially love the tiger one!

I seriously saw Peacocks walking around in a neighborhood near where I live on Monday. It was so strange to see these birds just wandering around all the 1920’s built homes.

I don’t think I’ve commented on your blog before but I’ve been reading ever since I found your link through weddingbee. That tiger image is beautiful! I love the expression, especially.

What a travesty about the Zoos. I’m hopeful some well-heeled NYer will step in with funds…because, how could you not?! On a brighter note, these prints look divine. Love the grain on the B&Ws especially, almost like T-Max. And the creamy Colors shots look yummy. What films were you shooting with? And (just curious) what scanner did you end up going with? Are you happy with it?

i love these! so inspiring!

thank you.


Oh no! That’s terrible about the Bronx Zoo! I’ll have to get my NYC friends involved in helping. As for the photographs, I love the third one from the bottom. You caught what seems like such a private peaceful moment.

Contax645AF?! It is on my wish list for this year… I’m asking hubby for it so we’ll see if it happens. My hassie is great but I am such a slouch when it comes to manual focusing. boo to me. These look excellent Punam!!

That tiger is perfect! The expression, light, everything.

Amy and David on Southern Weddings Blog!

With all the craziness of the Las Vegas experience, I didn’t realize until this morning that Amy and Davids lovely City Hall wedding is up on Southern Weddings Blog! Woo hoo! It’s was so great to meet and dance all night on tables with the SW ladies! I’m so glad we finally met! Be sure to check out Amy and David’s story here

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Hey girlie… it was so awesome to meet you in Vegas… I am completley impressed with your photos, your blog, and the business you’ve built!!

Way to go!!

We had so much fun too! You are fabulous!

Lesley + Jason – an engagement.

Hello friends!

Whew! I feel like ever since the Bones and I made our beauteous trip to Venezuela, it’s just been nonstop since then!! Since that time, we were in South America, then Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, Florida again, South Carolina again, back to New York, then off to Nevada! And next month, we’ll be in Nigeria, New Mexico, and Washington DC! AHH! I have to say though, I love to travel, and every minute of it has been awesome! 

And so, after a marathon of traveling, I’m staying behind this time while Husbone goes off for another 10 days, and we wait for our Nigeria Visas to come through. What have I planned? Not much. I haven’t been home alone for a while. Anyone want to get drinks in the city??

In the meantime, I’d really like to introduce you to Lesley and Jason. I am SO excited to be able to shoot their wedding. Saturday was the first time we met, over brunch and some nice conversation. We frolicked in my home town, and they were beautiful, simple and elegant. I can’t WAIT to see Lesley in her Jenny Packham dress! It’s gonna be off the hook!!

lesley and jasonlesley and jasonlesley and jasonlesley and jasonlesley and jasonlesley and jasonlesley and jasonlesley and jasonlesley and jason

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Claudia Capella-Gast

Jason and Lesley, I can’t wait to see you tomorrow!!! BIG DAY!! Claudia

LOVE these. Just stunning. I found your blog somehow and now I’m in heaven! You have beautiful work, truly inspirational.

Beautiful photographs of their love!


love your work girl! very interesting and artistic shots!

So beautiful my friend.

i really enjoy the muted color palette. the tones fit the environment very well :)

I’m always impressed by your shots. Truly beautiful!


oh I love the picture with the lines in sky. You are amazing!

Great pictures as usual – you’re traveling schedule sounds crazy but I’d trade with you any day :)

The lighting is superb!

I wish I was in NYC to get a drink with you. Next time I am there we will get together.

I love your first image :)

I love the use of the lines in the sky to draw the viewer into the image. Nice!

these are simply gorgeous!

punam, it was so nice to meet you & your husband in vegas!

love these photos ^Check!
Love your face ^Check!

what a great portrait session. I love the tone of your images and the emotions that you draw out of them is amazing.

kittybones, part II

well. Here I sit, with a strong desire to make something from scratch. I even processed this roll all by my lonesome in my basement, and then in my kitchen sink, but all in vain, for I am without a film scanner. So I kind of like, faxed them to myself. But this is Kitty. I made his picture with my brand new used Contax 645 – that’s right people – FILM! I’ll be shooting more of it. If only I could get my hands on a darn scanner… “Oh, medium format you ask? Millions of dollars, please!!” (said the gods of medium format!)

Anyway, yes. Kitty. He’s the best kitty I’ve ever met, except for the other one, who rarely can be photographed for his dark comlplextion and tendency to also be sitting on our black wooden floors.  With his eyes closed.

In the meantime let’s segway into, I’ll be out of the office next week (in Vegas – woohoo!)… so for those of you who will also be in Vegas, let me know! I want to meet every single person who comments on this post. Seriously!! We’ll hook it up!


Edited to Add************

I totally forgot! Follow me on twitter so we can communicate in Vegas! (Everyone has an iphone, right;)?) I’m at!


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Punam! I have NO idea if you rememeber me… but we went to high school together, we were in the theatre department at Upland High with Mrs Little. I have the white hair in front that makes me look like rogue?!

I was reading a post on wedding bee and saw you! Wow!! I’d love to catch up if you have the time for an email, I know your busy. Just thought I’d say hi!!

Ah, well, nix my suggestion then. Nightmares, you say?? Yikes. What should I be on the lookout for?

you lucky bastard-ess! contax, eh? my favorite.

Would love to meet you at WPPI! I’ll be on Twitter! :)

I actually just gave mine away because it was giving me nightmares. hence my predicament…

To Kittybones: *meow-meow meow’n* (He’ll get it…)

As for you, Poo, I use a CanoScan 8800F. SUPER affordable plus scans negatives & slides (included templates for 35mm., 120mm., and slides)…I’ve been happy with it. Google, woman! :)

And have fun in Vegas!

Mr. Kitty looks marvelous. I’d love to meet you in Vegas! :)

Beautiful kitty 😉 I would love to finally meet you Punam! I was hoping I would bump into you!

We’re definitely going to be there! We’d love to meet up with you at some point.

Adorable :) I would LOVE to meet you in Vegas! I’ve been coming here enough lately…. ha

Ada F.

Oh my god! Kitty is just too precious. And I’m a dog person :) I hope you get a chance to meet Ben’s uncle, Skip, in Vegas. Have fun!


Oh he’s sho cute!!! And totally knows how to model by the way!

I want to meet you! :)

Answering Everything!

I’m back! After a longer than planned absence due to a very unfortunate reaction to a tetanus shot – the things I do for trips to Africa!! – I’m back and ready to sit down and answer all of your questions! If any question is not listed below, it’s because the answer was addressed. And yes, that’s right – ALL of your questions!! 

Kim Kaylin asked:

I would love to know your preference of lenses during the ceremony, and any positioning tips you may have of where to locate yourself for certain parts of the ceremony. Also, any advice you have on difficult lighting situations, especially during the ceremony, would be greatly appreciated. any tips on how to direct more traffic to your site / blog, or just more business in general. 

At the moment, I’m trying to get my lenses down to a simpler science. Currently I employ the works of my 50mm 1.2 – MY MOST FAVORITE LENS!!, the 24mm 1.4, the 135mm 2.0, and the 45mm 2.8 t/s. I shoot with all of them during the ceremony, each for a different purpose. I use the 50 the absolute most, it’s the sharpest lens I’ve ever worked with and it’s just the right working distance for me. Images from this lens are so saturated and yummy and lovely, were it not for small rooms and crazy dance floors I would consider shooting only with the lens, and no other. I LOVE IT! I use the 24mm to shoot more photojournalistic shots throughout the whole day, and for the ceremony, too. Also use it for wide sweeping shots of everything that I can fit into the frame that moves me. I use the 135 for close ups of the groom watching his bride come down the aisle, the bride’s face as she makes her vows, etc. And yes, I stand right smack dab in the middle of the aisle – only for a moment long enough to grab those shots and quietly and quickly move out of the way so as not to disturb the moment. Here’s the thing – and it’s something I gleaned from my own experience as a person, walking down an aisle towards the man I love most in this world, that there really wasn’t much that could distract me from that purpose. My mother said our photographer was running all over the place, but I didn’t notice her for a second. Within that notion I work within what I feel is appropriate. I am getting paid the big bucks to get the shot – and it’s more important to me to get the shot, than it is to nurse my discomfort of being in the way at any point in time. Just be quick and nimble! Get in, get out, get it right! I’m everywhere – behind the officiant – unless otherwise directed not to be – in front of the groomsmen and bridesmaids, standing, squatting, sitting, lying down (all in a dress, folks!), in the aisle, in the balcony, on the stairs – and also respectful of my surroundings. I’m moving guests out of the way, especially the one’s with cameras who try to get in my way. Uh uh. No way. I’m the professional here, and I always get first dibs!


Difficult lighting… I have to say recently I’ve been very inspired to say there are only difficult lighting conditions if I try to work against the light, or the capabilities of my equipment. I just got a video light that I use for dark time portraits, and for the reception, I’m using one off camera sunpak flash with a pocket wizard, combined with the bounce flash from my camera, OR just a bounce flash. Depends on where I am. I bring everything with me, so I’m ready for anything, but sometimes the Sunpak just doesn’t make it out of my bag. But at the end of the day – if it’s yellow dark light – let it be yellow and dark. Thats what it looks like. If I just let light look like what it looks like, then it’s not difficult anymore.

Traffic… BLOGGING!!! Blogging is an amazing and powerful force. Network with other wedding blogs – get your work and your name out there! Read those wedding blogs, and decide where you want to be. Then submit your work (always send a link first)! The more you look at wedding blogs, the more you will understand what you are looking for. Here are the five most influential blogs/sites in my business:

With the help of these blogs and sites that featured my work last year, my blog stats jumped from 1600 a month to 5000 a month, and then in November jumped from 5,000 a month to almost 10,000, and I’m still on the way up! And I’ve never spend any money on advertising unless it was in support of a blog that I really loved, and I always forget to carry my business cards (not on purpose!). Blogging made my business happen. Blogging made me book 30 weddings in the first four months I was ever a photographer across the country and abroad. I am sometimes a little late but NEVER behind on blogging and reading other amazing blogs that I love.

Now that that’s covered, there were a few repeat questions, so I’m just going to assemble for my self a little interview from those other questions that were asked.

From Kerry:

how did you and husbone meet and fall in love?

Where is your favorite place that you’ve shot a wedding? 

Hard to say. Probably here: or here:

From Cynthia:

Who do you use to process prints? Do you design your own albums or outsource?

I use a combination of labs, but mostly WHCC, and a local lab, here in NY. And Raya of the wonderful, is a godsend. Her designs are always exactly what I want them to be – she’s amazing! I couldn’t recommend Pink Penny enough!!

What do you use to process prints?

Photoshop! And the wonderful magically amazing Totally Rad Actions 1 and 2! Actions really taught me how to use photoshop. I would toggle them, so each part of each action would run one at a time, and experiment with layers and settings. I highly recommend, if you are looking to hone your photoshop skillz, to buy an action pack and break it down. I am, however, a person who learns by taking things apart, and it really worked well for me. I’ve never taken a class, never read a book. Actions are where it’s at, and Totally Rad actions are the best, most useful sets I’ve ever used!

Could you possibly be any more adorable and enchanting – you and your husbone?! seriously!

Well, yes. I think we could be. We are currently working on it ;). 

From Ashley Star:

How did you get into photography? How did you improve?

PRACTICE. I’m reading this book right now, called Outliers, by Malcom Gladwell. I’m only part way through, but I read something in it that has been on my mind for a few days. It’s called the 10,000 hour rule. In annals of history, all of the greatest minds, richest people, and most brilliant geniuses had one thing in common. All of them were met with the extraordinary opportunity to focus on their work, from a very young age, for a total of approximately 10,000 hours of incessant study, obssesive poring, and utter immersion before they had they world shifting breakthroughs. Thinking about this, I realized I was afforded an amazing opportunity, as well. When I decided to be a photographer, Husbone and I were broke for a really long time. We had NO money, and I didn’t have a job, and I was just obsessed. So, everyday, for literlally – no joke – 12 hours or MORE a DAY, I was poring over amazing photography that I searched for far and wide, and found, among my favorite wedding, portrait, landscape, fashion, and commercial photographers. It was so much fun, I never even realized what I was learning, instinctively taking in the notions of composition and proper exposure. I was so lucky not to have been distracted by anything else – there really was absolutely nothing else going on in my life except that I wanted one thing more than anything else in the whole word. To be a photographer. To achieve some world shifting breakthrough with my own work, to make a powerful impact on people the way photographs have made an impact on me. I see something that moves me and I think – I want to do that, too! And so, the obsession begins, and I try to master on thing at a time. And to answer your next question, Ashley-

Does your husband always help you? Is he a photographer as well?

YES he helps me out a LOT. Sometimes as a photographer – he’s actually a musician – but mostly as my comfort, foundation, love and supporter. I told him I wanted to nix my Nikon gear and start over with Canon. Well, didn’t mister man at the expansion of his credit line take me on a dream trip to B and H, and buy me everything needed? He is an amazing man. I am blessed to have him.

What is your favorite tool in Photoshop?

Layers! Layers are the most powerful thing ever! If you don’t know what they are or how to use them, Google it! That’s how I learned!

From Erin:

have you found if specials (like Christmas Special Sessions) work? 

I don’t do any such thing. Just never got around to it!

From Jill:

 what do you do to give your images that distinct, sharp POP they have?

It’s different for every image, but I love Select-o-Pop in the TRA2 set. And I nail my images in camera, and especially when shooting with the 50mm 1.2, I really don’t have a lot of work cut out for me!

how best to use natural light… and what kind of flash/accessories do you use?

Natural light – let it be what it is! I like to take advantage of harsh shadows in hot sun, I love to shoot in the fog, with backlighting, without backlighting. I just shoot in all of it, and I’m usually exposing for the brightest spot in the frame – and if that means silhouettes, then so be it! I use the:

Sunpak 380 flash

Lowell iD light

Canon 580 EXII flash

From Andy Bean, Banjoist:

What are you doing later tonight?

Waiting at home for you, Mr. Bean.

And how do you feel about the television show Lost?

Now THIS is my kind of question. Umm… I hope I don’t offend anyone by saying… I feel about Lost, the way I feel about photography. NO JOKE. I read Lost blogs – it’s really the highlight of my week (barring any pictures took). If you are like me, there is a place you can go. It’s call DarkUFO. I avoid the spoilers and embrace gasping surprises. I revel in the literary analysis. I salivate when there are new posts about the last episode. If anyone ever wants to meet up and chat about Lost, I will sooo buy lunch!

Elizabeth asked:

I was wondering if you find yourself doing more artistic effects in the post process than just the beauty of the shot.

Kind of like how smt asked:

do you always have the final look in mind and go for that in post processing or do you sometimes try different techniques to see what is most flattering?

Most of the time, I know exactly what the image will look like when I bring it home. I do a little tweaking within that, because I am a rabid perfectionist, but I do artistic edits, and I have them in mind when I make the picture.

Darrell asked:

how do you have your camera set-up in the menu? Things like color temp and picture style?

I don’t know, really. But I do shoot JPG’s, low saturation and contrast – bumped down a notch for each. Most of the time I use Auto White Balance, but I shoot entirely manually. There might as well be no other shooting option!

Galaxie Andrews asked:

I love shooting in outdoor and in natural light but i’ve recently been trying out indoor and it’s not turning out to well. =[. I absolutely loved your photos from the event with all the light bulbs in the ceiling… what camera is best for this type of lighting? and with what settings?

by the way – amazing name! See above for a video light, and I shoot with a 5d (mark I). With the video light I’m at 200 – 400 iso. At the reception, I’m at LEAST bouncing at an angle with my flash, usually just behind and to the side, to get nice, directional light, like this:

This method has worked in most spaces I’ve shot in. If there’s no where to bounce, then I have my assistant either follow me around holding a white sheet of paper at and angle behind my head, or I pull up my little white card. Sometimes, I even bounce off the ground:

JBRIDE asked:

did you go to photography school or are you self taught?

Self Taught all the way!! I’m not really a school person. Never did well in it and don’t plan on going back full time ever. But I am interested in taking some photography classes to expand my knowledge about film and other alternative photo processing (tintypes!! I really want to learn how to make them!). Unfortunately I was out of town for the Ambrotype class at ICP. Next time!!

…You made it to the end! Thanks so much everyone for your interest in my work. It’s so amazing to know that my work is reaching a lot of people, and I hope you find this little ditty helpful in your journeys!


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[…] thank you to The Bride’s Guide and Punam Bean for the shout outs! 3 comments posted +add a comment +share […]

stephanie k

awesome thanks so much punam!

so i’ve been hearing about you for a while and finally discovered your blog.
thanks for answering all these questions! it’s always fascinating – and often surprising – to read how other photographers succeed with their images. your work is just beautiful… i’ll be back often for more! :)
meanwhile, i’m going to go sit in front of the TV and wait until wednesday night, fuming at how they made us wait TWO weeks for the new episode of LOST…

lost is my favorite tv show ever and i’m a long time lurker of DarkUFO! Oh… and we cant forget lostpedia :)

love.lost!! when the show first started we were in hawaii and stumbled onto where they filmed the crash! it was insane! we saw this gigantic fusilage and we slammed on the brakes and said, “oh my gosh a plane crash!!!” then furthur down saw the police tape and the security and realized it was the set! so awesome!

It was so great to meet you in Vegas!! I totally want to do a shoot with you & your hubby the next time I’m in NY!! How does April look for you?! 😉

Thank you soooooo much for taking the time to answer some photography questions. Every one does things a little different and I love learning new techniques. It’s also great when a photographer lets you inside their head :) I just discovered your blog and I love your work!

hey hannah! a lot of my images are actually not very photoshopped. they are saturated because I shoot wide open in good light. Sometimes I’ll pop a little blue tint to browns and greens cause I like how it looks, but for the most part, I’m actually very subtle with my edits!


just curious – why do you photoshop your images so much? it would nice to see some non-super-over-saturated pics one day!

As a photographer, I find it so helpful to see what equipment other professionals are using, especially when they are great photographers. It’s really cool of you opening up and letting everyone see how you work. Thanks!

Awesome! You’re very talented.

pu! OK, Seriously??? The comment you left on one of my recent posts was TOO MUCH!!! TOO MUCH, I say!! 😉 Thank you for the amazing love and even more for being maybe the coolest person that exists that I’ve never met. To answer your question, no, I won’t be at WPPI, but Jeremy will, so send me an email if you want to meet him, and I’m sure he can pull himself away from the mammoth men for a brief punam break. 😉
loved your answers to people’s questions, and I love that it’s LOST night.
we go to Africa at the end of the month, when will you be there?


Thanks for answering my question! :)

First of all I hope you are feeling better. That sounded like a horrible ordeal! I just wanted to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU !!! I was so excited to read your post :) I know I asked a lot of questions, and yet you answered them all and in such great detail. This was such a huge help for me and I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate your openness and honesty. You are an inspiration. Thank YOU !!!

Have I mentioned that I love lost also?


Artistry is not only found in your photography but also when you tell your stories. Your posts are well crafted and honest. We naturally find ourselves establishing a connection through your eyes and words. That’s what sets you apart – thanks for sharing with us and letting a peek inside your world. Looking forward to your next post. <3


THANK YOU PUNAM for answering ALL of our questions! That was awesome!!! I was really surprised that answered them all! You are THE BEST! I’m kinda hoping that *Ask Anything* could possibly become an occasional feature on your blog (in which case you can reference people who ask duplicate questions to refer to previous AA’s)!

Susan Bang

Hi Punam!
Yes I still read your blogs!!! This is some really great stuff. Thanks for sharing. You are my photog idol!!!! Can I just tell you that before I met you, I hated taking pictures. Once I saw the kind of art you created with my wedding photos, I was immediately smitten and now I too am obsessed with photography. I have to ask you a question, but I’ll just send you a separate email.

Love your blog, Punam! Great answers to some great questions…. You’re awesome and you’ve inspired me to experiment with video lights by the way!

OMG! I LOVE Lostpedia!! You are my new best friend!!

Thanks so much, everyone, for your questions, and your comments!

I LOOOOOOVE LOST. And DarkUFO. And Lostpedia. :)

PS- you’re amazing.


Since I have discovered you blog, during my wedding photographer search(I am sorry that it didn’t work out for us), I am hooked! Just like I am hooked to LOST…I wait for new posts on your blog as eagerly as I wait for LOST episodes:). Thanks for answering so many questions…after reading your blog posts, I feel like I know you personally.


Eeep! Your love of Lost just made me love you even more! Best. Show. Ever. I even listen to Lost Podcasts.

Awesome! Thanks for doing this! Many questions I had were answered!

I always find it amazing when great photographers let me into their world. We always want to know the secrets behind great photographs and it always feels liberating and disappointing at the same time when you realize there are none. It’s all about talent. Thanks Punam, you’re a true inspiration.