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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Jessica + Jason

Jessica and Jason are more than engaged. Their truly family. Sometimes a bond is so deep that the word boyfriend or fiancé lack the substance and character necessary to describe what your other half means to you. That’s what Jessica and Jason have. The reason I would leave my house at 3:30 am to catch an early flight for a very short trip southward across the country, is to hang out with and photograph people like this. I even had the pleasure of meeting most of Jessica’s family, who were kind enough to host a wandering photographer in their beautiful home. And I had such a great time that I never seemed to notice that I only got 2 hours of sleep the night before. I even got to wear a tank top for the first time in FIVE months, and got an awesome tour of the city from new friends. We drank Cuban coffee, ate seafood by the water, and had Mojitos at the Delano (to which I will definitely be returning!), and I spent a lot of time thinking about Burn Notice. We ended the night with good cheer and tapas in a part of the city that reminded me of Athens and had me wistful for Husbone (who is in Scotland for a while). It was an unforgettable trip.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the winner of the mentor session, and answering everything!!

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What a beautiful engagement session! These shots are just lovely, so simple and natural and elegant.

I am a buffalo photographer. I love the work. Check out my landing page to learn more about my work and check out my link to my website.

Ask Me Anything III!! also – win stuff!

Hello friends!

Most years, the winter is slow and droopy. As the cold begins to set in, and night creeps over the days, I sit in my house without much to do, and I usually embark upon some sort of project to better the non-photographer part of myself. I’ve used this time to tackle baking (bread, and then cookies), french cooking, sewing, novel writing, kitty rearing, and language learning. The year is a marathon, and my eyes can see in the distance a good chunk of down time. Well my dears, that down time is about to end – but then I realized! It hasn’t felt like down time at all!

And so, this time which is usually reserved for myself has been dispersed among all the same things I do for most of the year. Destination engagement sessions, mentor sessions, album design, processing orders, and meeting clients in the city almost every weekend. And though my Bengali lessons started to fall by the wayside, and Husbone has been relegated to Primary Baker of Bread, it’s nice to be home (more often than usual :)).

So. Here we are. I would like you to ask me anything. Anything at all! Whether it be personal, photographical and everything in between and beyond. And I will answer everything. If your question is repeated, I’ll answer the first person who asks it. Put it in the comments below! All questions asked before March 25th will be answered!

I also will be choosing someone who asks a question as a comment on this post before March 25th to receive one of the following:

  • a 1 hour mentor session over the phone (think ask me anything LIVE!)
  • a half day mentor session in NYC, the Berkshires, or based on availability and my travel schedule, Southern California or the Bay Area

The winner will be chosen on April 1st. No joke! :)

And also, since you’ll be picking my brain, here’s a picture of me and Huz looking our smartest! And yes. I am wearing a One-zie. And apparently, a medieval cap.

Smart!

YAY!

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susan

hi punam! you’r work is amazing! what kind of camera do you use? are you a nikon lover or a canon lover? and why?

susan

My Question for Punam…
When are you coming to New Zealand?
And for all of you participating in the competition, I have been lucky enough to actually do a day mentor course with Punam as well as assist her at a wedding. Both experiences were amazing and totally helped me grow as a photographer and gain more confidence in my work. And not only is Punam a super talented photographer who I know you will learn lots from she is also a hell of a lot of fun! So if you haven’t entered this comp I would totally recommend doing so! Greta xxx

Hi Punam,

I was introduced to your website by Emily of Emily Takes Photos and I love it! You are the first person I look at when I sign on to my reader.

I am in the process of launching my business and I love photography but am rather shy when it comes to directing people. My question to you is what can someone like me do to gain confdence in posing and directing?

Thanks for answering my question!

-Kristen

Jamie

Hey Punam!

You work is fabulous and so inspirational!

My question is, you said in a much earlier post that you learned all that you learned from Flickr, correct? Was there anyone–or rather any page–in specific that you seemed to look at more for your knowledge or was it all a hodgepodge of pages that you liked?

What a wonderful opportunity, i have to say that i enjoyed reading all the comments such wonderful questions, as you know your work has inspired me , the destination wedding are incredible no ignoring that but it is the way you capture the in between moments, the story telling that is told by your work draws one in instantly as if the viewer is feeling those moments themselves.

oh how i would love to ask you many questions but the one i am going to ask is this one

What do you do if you miss the shot (i never do formals) but what happens when after all is said and done, you realize important shots were not up to par- how do you address the client, do you address the client if they do not mention it. I think you extremely talented so i am not saying this happens to you but it must at times.
or are you okay at the wedding asking for a do- over, i try to be so invisible in away it is odd, i do not want to direct or be intrusive, but more so document the exact moment. I have worked with photographers who have ask the bride and groom to do over their first kiss, i always feel as if they will know when viewing the photograph that it was for the photographer and the not the very moment.

Hi Punam! Your photography rocks my world.
Question: do you get nervous the night before a shoot?
Eva
PS I actually met you during your short stint in Los Angeles
as an actress. :) You interviewed at a talent agency that I work at as an assistant. (O’Neill Talent Group) I thought you were an awesome actress as well!

Sara Haile

Hi Punam!

Thought I’d take the most amount of time I could to decide what I wanted to ask you since there are so many questions that could spill out of me!

It’s evident that you establish some sort of connection or interaction with your subjects and that you make maybe even some of the nervous ones feel at ease. Do you use a certain technique to interact with your subjects during a session to capture your images or is it mostly candid?

Thanks so much! Love that you’re so helpful and generous!

-Sara

Hi miss :)
Two questions…
a. How did you start attracting and most importantly ‘booking’ destination weddings?
b. Does shooting film give you more time in the end vs. shooting digital? (i.e. you’re not behind a computer editing all your shoots for hours on end)

Hi Punam,

1. Are you right eyed or left eyed?
2. Talkers or silent people?
3. What’s your favorite movie(s)?
5. If you had to be named after one of the 50 states, which would it be? (You said you’d answer everything 😉 )

Jelle

Hi Punam! Your One-zie is doing the smiling for you….I like that.
I completely relate to “slow and droopy”. I just made the jump to being a full time photographer in February and I have to admit, my business is not quite booming like I thought it would be now that I have all this free time. :) I guess all my future clients didn’t get the memo. I would love to know what your favorite marketing idea has been over the years?

K

Hi Punam,
I’m a big fan of your work! I’m currently photojournalism student at UT.

1. Who are your favorite photographers?

2. Where do you hope to be in five years?

Thanks!

Hi, Punam! I am a longtime reader but I think this *may* be my first comment. Thanks for the opportunity to ask questions and the possibility of meeting/speaking with you. I am Australian but am going to be in NYC soon so I may as well have a go, right?

I have a zillion questions to ask you because I think you’re rad, but today I am going to stick with something that’s been quite pertinent to me of late: finalising bookings via email. I am getting a reasonable number of inquiries via Google – I am not currently blogging but plan to rectift that ASAP. When I reply and send a pricing sheet, I never hear back. If I don’t send the sheet and suggest meeting for a coffee instead, I don’t hear back either. It is incredibly disheartening and something I am really struggling with. Would you mind sharing some of your approaches to ‘selling’ via email and do you feel that blogging does part of the ‘selling’ for you? I would be forever grateful for some insight!

Hi Punam,

First of all thank you for this tremendous opportunity! I absolutely love your work and am truly inspired by the intimacy and emotion you pour into your photography.

During my last year of college (which is just outside the Berkshires!) the only thing that helped stave of my senioritis was keeping up with the wedding photography blogs I loved – especially yours. A fresh dose of creativity, style and real life was way better than a shot of espresso to get me through the late nights at the library.

Your blog inspired me to fall in love with love, art, photography and documenting the moments that mean the most. So even though I now have a history degree that hangs on my wall, its photography that gets me out of bed in the morning (with a smile) and what I’ve been pursuing full time since graduating a little less than a year ago. I’ve since devoted myself to soaking up everything I can, setting up and running a business, honing my craft, living life to the absolute fullest.

I can’t tell you what a life changing gift it would be to spend a half day working and learning alongside of you. And instead of asking myself the frequent question of “what would Punam do?” it would be a dream to just ask “Punam, what would YOU do?”.

So for my questions:

Where do you look for inspiration, for life, you marriage, art and your business?

Also, what is the mistake you’ve learned the most from?

Thank you!

I LOVE your work & think you are amazing! I have lots of questions :)
~Do you ever need a second shooter? 😉
~What light do you use inside?
~That shoe shot on the “Judy and Michael” wedding is one of the must stunningly creative shots I’ve ever seen. (That wasn’t a question, just a how can I think of ideas like that?! :)
~your shots of “Amy and David” are some of my favorites (January 2009) and I wondered what location you took those in?

I promise I’m not a stalker, I just bookmarked those posts for inspiration.
Thanks for putting this post out there!

Ojus

One day, some fair amount of time ago, I wrote a long, rambling letter full of messy emotions to a lady in whom I saw my reflection. After back-and-forth emails and a fateful meeting one sweet spring manhattan evening, I finally felt at ease with an aspect of something that makes me awfully uneasy: my wedding. As Achebe says, however, things fall apart–and fall apart they did. Unnecessary family disagreements, mutual sacrifice and struggles for compromise was the script for the next few months, and somehow, my priorities were lost in a sea of workplace woes and fleeting hope. Spring brings changes and with its late arrival came promises of sunshine and oceans of comfort; we packed up our first home yesterday and its contents are currently on their way to our future in Miami. Excitement for the days to come are sometimes clouded with memories of yesterday and aches of wanting to be understood as a weird little brown girl who frequently finds herself a little lost, but just as frequently, gains strength from her surroundings–in those lapses, you come to mind. Being reckless with relationships, small or large, is something I desire never to do and though I have continued to follow you through and through, here is my question, undeniably laced with admiration, understanding, hope and heartfelt apologies:

Will you teach me how to use my camera, and in doing so, maybe show me a piece of myself I don’t yet know?

(sorry for the lengthy comment–being concise is not included on my resume’s brief list of skills.)

Hi Punam! Thank you for the opportunity to ask you anything! For me, the most difficult part in the business of photography was to set prices. I’ve been doing freebies for so long, it was hard to work up the courage to charge for my work. Specifically with weddings, what kind of packages do you offer and what do you include? Also, what do you bring with you when you go to meet your potential clients for the first time?

Very cool, Punam! I have so many Qs, so I do hope I get to meet you in person. My Qs are: what do you envision your photography business to be like in 10 years? Will you still be doing weddings til then or more commercial work?

This is an awesome opportunity and I have been a fan since I was a bride and discovered you on Weddingbee. Since I am relatively new to photography (been shooting little over a year) my question is about the developing your style. What was the process that you went through in developing your style? what things influenced or shaped the evolution of your look and aesthetic? Were their some specific conscious decisions on your part or was it more organic?

Samantha King

Hi Punam,
I am new to your (amazing) work… introduced to me by my wedding photographer to be (Greta @ Vela in NZ). Photography is a hobby of mine but I would love to one day turn it into more than that. I have SO much more to learn though and apart from practice practice practice is there anything you would recommend to further my skills? Do you think it would be beneficial to do some part time study?
Im also really interested in your response to Tanya King and Brian Davis’s questions!

Sarah

……I love you. That’s why I hired you. I wish we lived closer so that we could drink and eat soul food all the time.

My question is this: I love the fact that you shoot in non-typical places (the drainage ditch for our engagement session and the stairwell for our wedding (both stairwells). Do you find that you’re drawn to the non-typical/traditional places to use as a setting. If so, does it speak to you….or is it more of a hey—this might look cool? In a sense…how do you choose where you shoot?

A. I love your onesie.
B. The reason I love following your work is because your pictures have a very natural feel to them — as if you’ve captured who the couple truly is. How do you that? By that, I mean, how do you get them to FEEL so natural in front of the camera. Do you pose them, do you chat with them or do you shoot with a long lens and let them be?

Punam, I would love to meet you in real life one day! hmm, do you have specific poses in head for your couples? how do you make them at ease?

Hi Punam! I find the timing of your post a little eerie, but I do believe in God and so I believe our lives are planned and that we all have a purpose! Today, before coming online to scroll through my google reader I thought about all the things I wanted to ask you! Yes YOU! Ha-ha! You’re my favorite photographer, I’ve followed your blog for years, and I would do anything to learn from you and possibly work with you! So, I feel like this is my chance… I’m about to finish up my masters and I’d like to somewhat abandon my academic pursuits to shoot full time. This is a huge decision for me because I love photography, people, and travel; but I don’t know how I’m going to make it, or how I can DO IT and do it well, and be unique. Nike’s slogan doesn’t help either… Would you consider allowing me to be an assistant? I know you shoot with your Husbone, :) but could I be a second or even third shooter on your wedding commissions? That’s my question Punam. Thanks for being such an amazing photographer and an even more amazing person! xo, Sam

Punam, I love your vision and the creamy goodness of your photos. And your onesie. Question: If your cameras (past and present) could talk, what kinds of stories would they tell about you?

What a fun contest! Here is my question: since we’ve known you in your first year, your business has grown by leaps and bounds, which we’ve enjoyed watching. Amidst all of this success, surely you must have some things to say “no” to – whether they be professional or personal opportunities. How do you know when to say no, either because they require too much, or take your business in a different direction, or might just be something you don’t feel like working on?

Amin

I just want to tell you that i truly love your work and i love you and husbone for going to my home country of Nigeria. You are just ridiculously awesome. You have in inspired me in so many ways. You have no idea! The only question i have for you is why are you so freaking giving/sharing? I have yet to see a photographer so very open about everything. That fearless “i can help you because you can never duplicate my work” attitude is awesome. it makes you less intimidating and very intimidating all at once. okay i’m gone. Love, Amin! You are the best! PS. give us a bean baby this year! :-)

I want to win to hang out with you!! :) My question – how do you balance your growing and changing as a photographer with the image and face your clients know you for? As an example, how have you integrated your love of film photography in your business?

Hi Punam! Thanks for the opportunity to pick your brain! What kind of flash set up, if any, do you use for shooting indoor low-light situations? Always interesting to know a photographer’s preferences…

Nice photos. How you handle lighting in dark receptions? Do you bounce flash, use off-camera lighting, some form of magic that makes your photos look awesome?

Hey Punam

What do your mentor sessions consist of and what do you charge? Is that considered 2 questions? Would that last question be considered number 3? Should I keep going?lol

Punam, love this! How do you challenge yourself as a photographer when you shoot?

Great pjs.

conversation: poached

I LOVE EGGS. Hold on. Let me climb up to my roof and shout it to you. Ok. Back. Did you hear me?? Because I LOVE EGGS!
Please excuse me if I come off preachy. But I’m about to drop some conviction on this blog. And it has nothing to do with weddings.

I used to hate eggs. Way back before Omnivore’s Dilemma was written, before Super Size Me, when we were all younger and ate at McDonalds without much thought… well, I did anyway. I used to hate eggs. Pale, sickly yellow, a little slimey, bland. It seemed to me like eggs didn’t really have much going for them. And then a couple of years ago I read Omnivore’s Dilemma.

omnivore

I learned about the food that I eat. I came to be a person who is grossed out by the fact that chicken is sold for a dollar a pound at my grocery store. Call me a chicken hugger if you like, but 1 dollar for a pound of life?? I came to believe that meat SHOULD be expensive, and that I was eating too much of it (at every meal!). Now don’t get me wrong. I am not a vegetarian, and I don’t think I ever could part with the succulent flesh of a creature of the field (sorry veggies!). But I think a lot more about what I’m eating, where it’s coming from, and who has brought it to my table.

Now, New Yorkers. If you love EGGS, you NEED to go here:

http://www.uddermilk.com

It’s ok. You can splurge. Order the Omega 3’s. YOU WON’T BE DISAPPOINTED. These are THE BEST EGGS I HAVE EVER EATEN!!! Do you like your yolks soft and runny? These eggs are like butter, and you don’t need a grain of salt. They’ll even deliver them to your apartment – Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn. Heaven. Not to even mention their delectable selection of raw milks, cheeses and butter, and freshly slaughtered meats.

After reading the aforementioned book, I searched for good quality food. Food that, if I really wanted to, I could go to the farm and bring home. Fresher than the fresh we are peddled at the hormone addled chain supermarket. I want to eat like a human again. And so, I, as a personal choice, have (as much as I can) removed my contribution to a system of food production that feels to me like the world is ending. Epic. I know, I can be epic sometimes.

SO. Now, I live in the Berkshires (though I still have my business in NYC). I am surrounded by farms, rolling snowy, soon to be green hills. The forests here are lush like a jungle. The crops are small and varied. The food – the meat!!! Well. Living here, feels to me like what living and eating in France must be like. Almost. And I get my eggs from the guy who has chickens and works at the local bookstore. How much more back to basics can you get?? I remember years ago when I first stumbled upon the markets of Paris. The chickens hung by their feet in the windows, or on carts. They still had their heads, and feathers from the neck up. I had to look that chicken in the face before I cooked it up and put it in my mouth!

I started this post, because I wanted to again, shout from the rooftops, that I learned a couple of days ago, after much trial and tribulation, how to poach an egg. It’s been a long journey, but I finally did it. Though I’m learning right now, that I guess that’s not the point. The point is, this concoction below is my favorite breakfast. This meal has made me feel like I’m committing a sin if I order an egg white omelet. Some guys chicken put so much energy and effort to deliver this amazing jewel of nature, and I intend to honor it as best as I can.

egg

ps – above: Wheat Farm Bread from the Berkshire Bakery, Aged Cheddar from Hawthorne Valley Farm (purchased from the actual farm 30 minutes from where I sit), broiled together in the oven. 1 poached Omega 3 egg from the Feather Ridge Farm in the Hudson Valley. I like my eggs pretty runny. YUUUUUUMMM!!

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This just made me really happy. I too love eggs, but am now sad that uddermilk doesn’t deliver to DC…ho hum.

lorraine – I TOTALLY agree that Omivore’s Dilemma should be required reading!

I love good eggs!!! since i became pescatarian, I don’t really eat them, but once in a while a good egg from a local farm…yum.
Omnivore’s dilemma should be required reading in high school…such a great book.

Alexandra

I’m going 100% agree with your post and the love affair with runny, creamy eggs. If I could eat poached eggs on top of bread with cheese for every meal I would totally be ok with that :)

Love your work!!

OMG Cali produce is the best!!

that looks absolutely delicious. i should take advantage of california local meat + produce!

farm fresh eggs to manhattan!? sounds too good to be true! your picture has me drooling!