greenwich tent luxury wedding

FAQ

Booking a photographer shouldn't be hard! I love answering your questions and concerns. Here's a list of the ones I get all the time. If you don't see your question, give me a call at 203.247.6983, or shoot me an email, melanilust@gmail.com. I'd love to help!

FAQ VIEW MORE
Are you still open during the Covid 19 crisis? What will you do if we need to reschedule our wedding?
I am open and have been very, very busy keeping up with daily Covid 19 guideline changes in the tri-state area, photographing mini weddings and pr portraits. I am also working in my home office nearly every day designing wedding albums, printing, helping my current couples reschedule weddings and booking new weddings for 2021. I'm here to help with whatever you need! Because I only take 15 weddings per year, my schedule is very flexible and all monies retained will be transferred over to your new date should you have to reschedule. Let me know if you need assistance with a planner, I know several fantastic ones who can navigate this complex, continually changing situation. I look forward to helping you!
We have cancelled our wedding and want to elope, will you photograph a small ceremony?
Absolutely! I would love to document your small ceremony and have a "connection" session right after or the next day. At this time, I am legally permitted to photograph groups of 25 or fewer outdoors at a minimum of 6 feet distance. I will be hyper observant of social distancing and health regulations. It has always been my style to use my 200 mm for most of my photographs and I am typically more than 10 feet from my clients in normal situations. Whether your small ceremony is at the local beach, park, town hall, church or your back yard, I will create compelling imagery that will bring your future children, and grandchildren, right back into the moment and atmosphere. If you wish to have your reception in 2021 or 2022, I recommend you book it now as 2021 is booking up fast!
Do you photograph NYC elopements?
Oh yes, I love them! The best time of day to schedule your elopement at the Clerk's office is two hours before sunset. You need to be inside by 3:45 with a ticket number and they will conduct your ceremony that afternoon. You will wait anywhere from 15 minutes - 2 hours. Then we will have the opportunity to capture the most beautiful images in the golden light falling across NYC. The fee for the shoot which is up to 3 hours (it could be 1 - 2 hours depending upon the wait) is a flat $1600, this includes everything- the shoot, all the edited, printable high resolution images, parking fees, etc. Your first family heirloom images will be enjoyed from generation to generation.
What is your style?
Have a look at my approach and style on my about me page. https://www.melanilustphotography.com/meet-melani/ Generally, I shoot in a classic, fresh, yet glamorous style that will be as relevant today as it will be fifty years from now with the understanding that your wedding photography collection is not just about the bride and groom, but the entire family. I am acclaimed for creating a documentary style that captures those candid moments with gorgeous lighting. My goal for your wedding day is to document the family relationships, expected and unexpected moments, and to make you look better than you have ever looked. I find the honest, unnoticed moments and always step back to document the context of the moments in a wide view. In sum, I shoot for feeling, emotion and history, striving to be as unobtrusive as possible, yet I take a playful leadership role when necessary. I always bring an upbeat atmosphere and a calming presence. Your resulting heirloom images will be natural, full of authentic personality and joy, and will tell your story in both an intimate and grand way. Technically, my photos are vibrant and clean, with an emphasis on emotion and making sure that those skies you love are not "blown out" or white. I have a commitment to excellence, uncompromising quality and to giving you photos that you never could have imagined. My goal is that you view your photos decades from now and remember exactly how you felt each moment of your wedding. Your wedding images will make you feel exactly as if you were there. I create photographs that matter.
Where did you study photography?
I have my BA and MA from NYU in Art History, with a double specialization in 17th Century Dutch & Flemish Painting and Ancient Roman Sculpture Groupings of Mars & Venus. The rigorous Art History program required that all students be proficient in film photography and darkroom work, so that we could photograph the works of art we were writing about for our theses. I furthered my photographic studies at Parson's and at the International Center for Photography in Manhattan. Before that I was a professional dancer in New York, specializing in Jazz & Tap, MTV Videos and off Broadway productions. I strive to continually learn about my craft, and each wedding, editorial and commercial assignment puts me in touch with a completely different set of aesthetics, situational circumstances and lighting problems that I must solve.
Are you LGBT friendly?
Nothing makes me happier than having the opportunity to document love, whatever your pronoun, and whomever you love. I am grateful to live in this time period where gay marriage is legal.
What do you include in your basic collection?
All weddings are photographed with passion, honesty and attention to detail no matter the size or destination. Collections are customized to reflect each unique wedding celebration, needs and aesthetic cues and our starting package is created to give you the best possible experience with the highest quality photographs. This includes: The most popular type of wedding in our New England/Tri-State region, with 100-250 guests includes: - up to ten hours of wedding day coverage by Melani, with a lighting assistant through the formals - a second photographer through the last wedding event - an edited, categorized online image gallery for sharing images with friends and family, live for nine months - a download link of your collection of unlimited captures - extensive pre & post work, such as boutique and timeline assistance, location scouting, magazine submissions, continuous communication with your wedding team - printable resolution jpgs The collection varies for example, a NYC elopement, a brunch wedding with 10 guests, a 12 hour wedding day, a three day wedding with 600 guests will all have different pricing proposals. Most clients spend upwards of $14000 for their collections with rehearsal dinner coverage and heirloom wedding albums. Smaller weddings, elopements and weddings which take place the months of February and March have pricing which reflects a shorter day and workflow. We are happy to provide additional information on rates for our commissions. We understand that you need to invest in that which is most important to you. Just keep in mind that since your photographs and albums are the only things that remain after your wedding day, you will want them to have the power to bring you, and your grandchildren, right back to the moment. There are no do-overs in wedding photography. You want your photos to be moving and extraordinary, for your children and grandchildren as well.
Will you be unobtrusive?
I am constantly moving and hunting for the best moments, most guests won't know I'm there and I'm known for being invisible and completely unobtrusive. The only time I am not ninja like is when I have to work with a videographer that doesn't have years of wedding experience. These videographers often stand in front of the couple during the bride prep, vows, first kiss, first dance and more, and the only way to get a clean shot without the videographer blocking the view is to stand next to them. I had a bride brook me after she was at a wedding I photographed. She explained that she was worried that the photos would be terrible, because she never saw me. On the phone, she told me she was blown away when she saw the full set and couldn't be leave I captured all of the moments and atmosphere while being invisible.
We are awkward in photos, and don't especially like having our photos taken. The couples in your galleries look so natural, why is that?
So many of my couples tell me when we first meet that they’re awkward on camera or they never look good in photos. These are the same people that you now see filling the galleries on my website in my favorite images. Couples and their families often tell me after the wedding how I made them feel so at ease and relaxed during the portrait session. Part of this is through my flexible, no stress and sometimes silly approach to direction, and part of this is through working with couples that I connect with. Yes I always provide direction wherever needed, but most often, especially for the bride and groom, I'll give a prompt that will set off a very natural interaction where I can capture your real personalities. Giving great direction means having an understanding of when to prompt, and when to pull back, seeing where you are going and letting it evolve to capture a REAL moment of laughter that evolves between the two of you amidst the pre visualized composition I came up with. One of the most important and underrated aspects of wedding photography is choosing a photographer who you feel personally comfortable with and who has years of experience working with a variety of couples and scenarios. After 250 weddings, I am comfortable directing and prompting all types of brides and grooms and feel confident I can create a very comfortable environment.
Where are you located?
I reside in Westport, CT, one hour north of NYC and my family maintains an apartment for us to use on Madison and 96th St. in Manhattan. I photograph mostly in NYC, Fairfield County, CT, Westchester and Hudson Valley, NY. I have been commissioned to photograph weddings all over the world, from Gwalior, India, to San Diego, CA. I've been to over 40 countries and I love destination weddings. I am proficient in French and Spanish, with associates fluent in Spanish, Polish and Bulgarian.
When, and how, do we receive our wedding images?
We always provide a sneak peek of your photos that showcase the highlights of the day within one week of your wedding, this includes any special requests, especially if a photo is needed for thank you cards, birthdays or anniversaries. It takes an average of 6 - 9 weeks to have all of your wedding photos live on your private link which will also have your download link for immediate delivery of printable resolution jpgs. These are your printable proofs that are for you and no one else. Your albums will arrive within 6 - 8 weeks from the time that you approve the final, retouched draft.
Will a second photographer be working with you?
I will be with you to document your day for a minimum of 10 hours, and sometimes much longer. I will arrive to photograph the bride with my lighting assistant, who will stay with me through the formals. An associate photographer will arrive to document the groom's preparations and then leave after the parent's dances or cake cutting. I love working with my associate photographers, they offer a different perspective that will complete your collection.
Do you photograph outside of New York and New England?
At this time, I am not traveling outside of the Tri-State & New England area until government restrictions change. That being said, I love destination weddings! We have covered events in India, Cuba, Jamaica, California, Washington DC, and Florida, to name a few. We all have current passports and I am proficient in Spanish and French. We require that all travel, modest accommodations (for two nights) and per diem are paid for, and we offer 10% off our list price for destination weddings. For weddings in the region we offer up to one hour travel time each way and bill a flat rate after that. For weddings more than two hours from Westport, CT, we require overnight accommodation.
How many images will we receive?
For a 10 hour day, you will receive no less than 1000 images, but it is often in the 1200-1500 range. If there is a first look, we typically have about 50+ more images.
Do we have the rights to our images? Can we make prints?
You will receive a full set of printable jpgs. MLP will retain the copyright to every image. Your contract licenses you to print the high resolution files for personal use. "License" is different from "Copyright." What it means basically is that, while you have the right to make reproductions for personal use, you do not have the right to sell or transfer the images to a third party.
Do you retouch every image?
All of your images receive personal attention and editing, they are color corrected (converted to black and white in some cases), contrast & tone is perfected, and images are cropped if necessary. All test shots, closed eyes, unflattering shots, shots where someone walked in front of the camera, etc., are discarded. We only retouch the images that are going into your album, and this is included in the album fee. Retouching includes actual pixel manipulation: softening of skin, removal of stray hairs, removal of simple distracting background elements. Additional excessive retouching, such as contouring, adding/removing people, head swaps, adding hair, changing backgrounds, is billed at the rate of $100/hour. You will be notified & invoiced if additional retouching work is required, normally it is not.
Do you recommend photographing the rehearsal dinner and other wedding events?
I love photographing other wedding events and giving my clients a full image collection of their wedding story. I specialize in 3 day and week long weddings. The early wedding events get me acquainted with all of the family members before the main evenet and often have more beautiful, unguarded, intimate moments than on the wedding day. Any wedding event such as: rehearsal dinner, bridal portrait, bridal shower, day-after creative shoot, morning brunch, international engagement session, is available at a special hourly fee with your wedding package. The special fee with a wedding collection includes one photographer and your images via a download link (not included without a wedding collection). There is a minimum of 3 hours for a second day of shooting.
What type of equipment do you use?
I use Canon professional bodies and Canon "L" series and Zeiss lenses. I shoot with two camera bodies, currently the IDX and the 5 D Mark IV. I have two backup cameras: a Canon 5D Mark III and a Canon 1D Mark IV. I will arrive at your wedding with the following lenses (all Canon unless noted): 70-200 mm f/2.8, 85 mm f/1.4, 85 mm Petzval f/2.2, 35 mm f/1.4, 17 mm tilt shift f/4, 14 mm f/2.8, Zeiss 100 mm Macro f/2, 16-35 mm f/2.8, and two 24-70 mm f/2.8, 100 - 400 mm f/4. I also will bring a 1.4 extender, five Canon 600 EX Speedlights, four flash stands, three Stoffen diffusers, two MagMod diffusers. I also bring my Profoto B1 500 AirTTL lights, with a 3' Octabox and a small softbox for formals. An LED light panel, a Frezzolini light and an all purpose flashlight find their way into my second suitcase. As well, I bring two reflectors, one sun swatter, cto gels for each flash, a bridal umbrella and four Burberry umbrellas. To power the flashes during the reception I use a Quantum Turbo SC, a Quantum 3 and about 50 Powerex rechargeable AA batteries too! The most important thing I bring is vision, experience and a genuine excitement to photograph your day, regardless of weather, timeline changes and unexpected events, we have seen it all!
I'm not sure we want an engagement session, what do you think?
"Engagement session” is a misleading term, I prefer “lifestyle couples session." Engagement sessions were originally a way your parents obtained a nice photo of you together to announce your engagement in the local paper. While we still love a great photo to announce the engagement in social media, and your parents will often want this for their local paper, or the NY Times, now engagement sessions are much more than that. There is no better way for us to get to know each other and for you to feel confident and comfortable with your photographer than through an engagement session. I can’t count the number of couples who have told me they were so nervous about getting their wedding photos taken, but once they went through the experience of an engagement session and got their photos back, they were totally at ease for their wedding day. It gives you a chance to experience how I work and direct, it gives us a chance to talk and get to know each other, and it’s also a great opportunity to create whatever kind of images we want without the timing and location constraints of a wedding day. We don’t always have the time on a wedding day to create unguarded images at a beach at the perfect time of day. These images will reflect this time in your lives and have an authenticity to them that will make them worth far more than a thousand words when your grandkids are looking at them in 30 years, back when you were "a fun, hip couple." These sessions are for much more than a pretty background, we will work out a plan to have it reflect the places you love and the things you love to do. For some couples it means cooking together, going to their favorite cafe, walking their dog, or photographing at the place the groom proposed. It's certainly not a requirement to have this session, but I do feel you will be much more comfortable in front of the camera on the wedding day, you will be be happy that you have these memories of this time in your life.
Do you mind if guests take photos?
While MLP must be the exclusive photographer for your event, I am happy to have your guests take photos. I ask that they do not photograph at the same time I am photographing the formals, as the eyes of those being photographed will be looking at various cameras in different directions which will result in awkward looking and potentially unattractive portraits. After I photograph each group, I will step aside to allow the guests to capture their shots, if time allows. I also request that the guests not come along to the creative portrait coverage as this can be quite distracting to the couple. And, please, we request that guests be respectful by not pushing us out of the way or standing in front of us while we are trying to capture the important moments. We always love an unplugged ceremony, however, as many iPads, selfie sticks, iPhones, cameras, shoulders, extended arms and hips leaning into the aisle block our view of you coming up and down the aisle and can ruin many incredibly emotional moments.
Do you back up the images?
Once I get back to my home office after a wedding I am typically up until 5 am uploading and backing up your images. At this point, the images are uploaded and I am completely exhausted, so I finish backing them up the following day. Once your images are completely processed (4-6 weeks), they are also backed up in Georgia with Shootproof, so if Irene or Sandy ever comes to town and destroys my hard drives, please be assured your images will be safe. We do request that you also make backups once you download your images, as you will be responsible for your images once you receive the link is live.
Are you insured?
Yes, we have full liability insurance and are happy to provide your venues with certificates of insurance. If your venue needs insurance, we require that you notify us three months before your event date because Dominick at Allstate needs time to write your venue into our rider.
Do you do videography?
We are exclusively a photo studio and are happy to recommend videographers to you. When you do hire a videographer, make sure that they also take an unobtrusive approach to your day. If your videographer is right in front of you during the ceremony and first dance, etc., then we will have to adjust our shooting style, instead of shooting invisibly from the back of the church, or corner of the room with our 200 mm lens, we will have to stand next to the videographer, so that we are able to get a clean shot, without the videographer and his equipment in the way. This forces us to use shorter, more unflattering lenses, and to be visible to your guests during your important moments, possibly interrupting their view as well.
What else do you do besides photography?
Because of my art history background, you can find me in a museum, or an architecturally important church, on my days off for inspiration (when there are no government restrictions of course)! Other days, I'm on the court! I'm on two USTA 4.0 tennis teams and I love to play singles in between editing and I go to the US OPEN every year!
Our venue is super dark and we are marrying in February, are you comfortable photographing in dark venues and bad weather?
With over 250 weddings under my belt, you can bet I have worked in every challenging lighting situation: multi day Indian ceremonies outdoors in 110 degrees, Jewish ceremonies lit by one candle held by the Rabbi, rainstorm ceremonies in the middle of the pouring rain in Central Park, pre tornado winds that blew the tent over during cocktail hour and more. My equipment is weather sealed and my rain jackets are ready. Documenting your story in any weather brings me great joy!
How do we book you?
We require a signed agreement and a non refundable retainer of 30% in order to reserve your wedding date. We book on a first come first serve basis and once we reserve your date, we turn down all other inquiries for that date. We cannot hold a date without a signed contract and retainer. Prime dates (June & September Saturdays) can book two years in advance, so don't wait, we'd love to hear about your wedding and how we can document it for you!
What do we do after we book you?
Relax. We will work together on your timeline, confirmations and details in the months before your wedding to ensure proper coverage and the highest quality photography possible. Then, be present at your wedding, have fun and we will document it all.

"My style is clean and glamorous, with an emphasis on candid expression. I want the photographs to capture the energy of the moment.”

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