Tag Archives: boston wedding photographer

6 Tips for Engagement Photography

With engagement season soon to be in full swing, here is a blog post on important things you should know before your engagement session! These 6 tips for engagement photography should point you in the right direction.

1.  What time should we plan the engagement session?  Photography is all about having great light. Unflattering midday sun won’t allow me to deliver the engagement photos you’ve seen in my gallery. For outdoor locations, I encourage looking into what time the sun sets on your scheduled shoot date and starting a bit before the sun actually sets. For indoor locations, you won’t have glaring light coming through the windows either. Katie Spina and Brigham Hyde look stunning during time right after sunset as all the city buildings began to lit up. I especially love night photography, as long as its in an area with ample light.

Boston engagement guide from photographer Heather Parker2. What’s the best location? There are classic locations such as a park or landmark that first come to mind for many couples. Photographing in the park or on the water is a safe bet for “pretty” shots.  I find that the couples I work with have a closer connection to their engagement photos if they’ve chosen a location that is significant to both of you, whether it be where you met or where the proposal took place, or a favorite spot that you frequent together, that can be a great choice for your engagement session. Lorraine Ostanik & John Bellessa had their engagement session in the North End, a neighborhood that they enjoy spending time in that reads as iconic Boston. Prior to showing up to a location for a photo session, it’s always a good idea to check beforehand if you need permits or a manager’s permission to use the locations.

Engagement shoot Boston clothes3. What should we wear?  One of the most common questions I am asked is what to wear for an engagement session. I enlisted New York-based personal stylist Hilary Rushford of Dean Street Society for some pointers here. Its very important that both of you are dressed to the same level – whether it be casual or fancy. Another important tip is to make sure you’re comfortable. If not, this will certainly show in your expression and in photos. Ashley Leman and Nate Gravel arrived to their engagement session with a vintage Ford pickup truck and went with a rustic look polished up just a bit. It worked very well!

engagement boston props4. What about hair and make up? Although you can get away with doing your hair and make up yourself, I suggest getting it professionally done at a salon. Its not often that you get professionally photographed. Aeshna looked flawless for her winter engagement session with Beejal.

Boston engagement location ideas5. Should we bring props?  I encourage you to bring something that is personal or helps share your personalities with each others’ friends and family. You can always bring props and not use them, but it’s fun to play around with the idea. Be creative and have fun!

the boston props6. Trust Your Photographer.  I’ll see a scene completely different than what you’ll be seeing.  So if your photographer suggest something, embrace the idea and you will most likely be thrilled with the results.  For Tara and Sam’s Chicago engagement session, instead of going to Lincoln Park, Millennium Park or going for a jaunt through the Loop, I suggested to do an indoor engagement session at a gritty Chicago billiards hall established in the 1940s. They were on board immediately, and the contrast worked perfectly with their glammed up look.  Often times, the more alternative locations and hidden gems get a much more enthusiastic response once my couples have seen the photo results!

indoor engagement photos ChicagoConclusion: Have Fun!   Your engagement session should be fun! Unlike the wedding, you don’t need to keep track of everything going on.  So enjoy, have fun, and remember why the two of you are there.

fun colorful engagement photography in Boston with reviews

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BC Club wedding in Boston | A venue with great views

One of the coolest wedding venues in downtown Boston is the BC Club. Located on the 36th floor of 100 Federal St. in the Financial District, the Boston College Club offers great 360° views of Boston. When I was first contacted by Brian, we hit it off right away when I learned about the sense of adventure he and his soon to be wife had and their love of travel. I had an amazing time working with them for their engagement shoot and knew their wedding would be just as fun. One of my favorite things to do is travel and I was so happy when I saw that every part of the wedding day had a travel element to it. This awesome couple talked about travel in their personalized wedding vows and all of the decor details had a travel vibe.

Boston BC Club wedding 100 Federal St

A wedding photography review from Kerry and Brian:

“Heather Parker is a talented, fun, artistic photojournalist and we were lucky that she was available for hire on our wedding day. She was able to capture very meaningful and memorable shots but by blending into the crowd without adding ANY undue stress. It was incredible and I am not certain how she was able to accomplish the task.

Brian and I were married in Boston and really wanted a photographer that would fully engage in the most special day of our lives, we searched for the best and found her! Heather travels the world so we instantly had a connection. It felt like she really knew us and captured the love that binds us from this day forward.”

The day started out at the Langham Hotel, one of my favorite hotels to photograph in. Brian and his groomsmen got ready on one level, and nearby I was able to document the finishing touches for Kerry and her girls. Kerry’s dad was welcomed into the bridal suite to see his beautiful daughter all dressed up in her wedding gown. Once everyone was ready, I went with Kerry just across the street from the Langham Hotel to Leventhal Park in Post Office Square. There, she awaited the moment she’d first see Brian on their wedding day. When they locked eyes, there was so much joy. After sharing a few minutes together, they met up with their bridal party to do some creative portraits around Boston. With perfect weather and a carefully planned schedule, we were able to stop at the Harborwalk and Boston Public Library in Copley and we had so much fun! This was a fantastic way for their bridal party and families to get a quick tour of Boston. After touring the city, we headed back to their venue.

BC Club boston wedding photographyThe ceremony was timed perfectly so that they said their vows with the views of the city right at sunset and everything went perfectly thanks to the BC Club’s private events director, Sara. Following the ceremony, guests mingled and took in sights of Boston the 36th floor. In the reception ballroom, personalized details really made the wedding fun for the guests while sitting down eating. The theme throughout the wedding was travel since Brian and Kerry have had the opportunity to travel throughout the world extensively. The menus were on cards that resembled in-flight menus, and the day’s schedule was laid out in a passport style booklet. A globe welcomed guests to tables named after destinations the couple visited.

The reception couldn’t have been any more magical as all the city lights lit up and the famed Citgo sign flashed in the distance. The newlyweds celebrated with their guests who traveled long distances to be with them to celebrate such a special day.

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Every part of the wedding day had a travel element to it. Kerry + Brian talked about travel in their personal vows, they picked readings for the ceremony from different continents and even all of the decor elements had a travel vibe.

Crane Estate at Castle Hill Wedding Photography

Crane Estate at Castle Hill is one of my all time favorite wedding venues. The groom Andrew lives in Chicago with his bride Alexa. They had their summer wedding close to Alexa’s home near Boston at the Crane Estate in Ipswich. There is another wedding venue nearby in Newport, RI called Castle Hill as well, so just to be clear, this was on Boston’s North Shore. The Crane Estate on Castle Hill is a National Historic Landmark, and encompasses more than 2,100 preserved acres, including a wildlife refuge. The North Shore wedding venue is a 59 room, Stuart-style mansion was designed by Chicago architect David Adler. It’s no secret that this is one of the Boston area’s best historic wedding venues, but it is also one of the most sought-after wedding venues in the Northeast. The weather could not have been more perfect for the bride and groom. The warm breeze with clear blue skies was just right for an outdoor ceremony on the rolling hills of the Crane Estate, which offers dramatic views overlooking the ocean. The bridal suite which has large windows that let in the most magnificent natural light was where I met Alexa to photograph her getting ready with her bridesmaids and family. This wedding photography blog post is filled with loads of photos of some of the DIY details that the bride and groom selected and created to personalize their day.

UPDATE: This wedding was a real wedding feature on Style Me Pretty! Congrats Alexa and Andrew!

crante estate at castle hill wedding venue, a mansion near bostonAlexa had ordered a personalized and custom made hanger for her wedding gown. As of this posting, I believe there is an 8-10 week waiting list on the LilaFrances hangers.
creative wedding ideasbridal suite at the crane estate mansion where the bride was getting readybridal suite in boston wedding mansion crane estate on castle hillblack and white wedding photography bostonThe bride and bridesmaids wore Jack Rogers Navajo leather resort sandals, which worked great for the outdoor summer theme and complimented their navy blue Priscilla of Boston bridesmaid dresses.
pink and silver wedding shoes also can be sandalsThe groom and groomsmen wore custom made light green neckties from Etsy seller Tux and Tulle. green wedding flowers for the groom and groomsmenThe guys got ready in a room that had a set of antique vintage keys, probably to open the doors of all fifty nine rooms in the mansion.vintage keysPerfect for a seaside summer wedding, navy blue and white letterpress invitations were made locally in Massachusetts by Blush Design Studio. The rehearsal invite on the right with the lobster are from Kate Spade.navy nautical wedding invitation for a summer wedding with a lobsterAlexa and Andrew had such a modern color palette of navy, hot pink, and celery green. Bella Floral Design worked with their contemporary colors to create a casual luxury atmosphere. I know from talking to the bride before her wedding day, that she and Andrew were working hard together on many DIY wedding decorations to complete the look of their big day.table numbers DIY kitsch etsy blue greenThe mother of the groom made these fun table overlays!tablecloth overlays on each tablesummer wedding bouquet in pink and navy for a nautical seaside themeThe bride and groom were each in a sorority and fraternity and this was incorporated into the bridal bouquet. bridal bouquet charm sorority and fraternity hot pink wedding bouquet with green and navywedding bands and engagement ringOne of my favorite decorations from the wedding was the pinwheel theme. Guests found their name and table number on the colorful pinwheels which were arranged in a tray of white sand.wedding pinwheels for seatingplacecards escort cards diy pinwheel for summer weddingAlexa made a pink and white houndstooth card box complete with a navy blue bow.diy pink houndstooth and blue wedding card boxRather than use a traditional guestbook, the newlyweds invited their friends and family to add wishes, predictions, and words of advice on note cars which were pinned onto vibrant DIY frame cork boards.guestbook alternative board for guests to pin up notes and well wishesguestbook alternative boardBefore their multicultural Jewish and Christian wedding ceremony, the bride and groom had their ketubah signing amongst close loved ones.

ketubah signing boston jewish weddingGuests were seated for the wedding ceremony in anticipation of the beautiful bride.
wedding ceremony informationAlexa was walked down the aisle by her parents. She wore a Watters and Watters San Miguel wedding gown.outdoor ceremony on the lawn in the summerThe day could not have been more perfect. I anticipated hot and humid weather but I was proven wrong and so happy for the best weather of the year.

mansion estate with sprawling lawn overlooking the oceanThe Italian rose garden is really a secret garden, it is surrounded by walls and sunken into the ground a bit. Surrounded by trees, it is one of the many locations for photography at the Crane Estate. The bridal party at this wedding wore blue dresses and beige suits, similar summery colors that you will find in New England island weddings. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I am also a Nantucket wedding photographer.wedding party bridesmaids and groomsmen in navy and beige summer nauticalrose garden at the crane estate photo location for bride and groombride and groom north shore massachusetts weddingI am a big fan of knowing what time the sun sets ahead of time, so that on a wedding day, if time permits, we can get photography with dreamy lighting.the crane estate historic mansion in ipswich on the north shore of bostonAt the Crane Estate, there is a half-mile-long man-made Grand Allée grass lawn that provides sweeping views of the sea. You can’t really ask for a better wedding ceremony location in my opinion. The Grand Allée is framed by classical sculptures and Norway spruce and pine hedgerows. Grand in scale, it is modeled after the beautiful Italian and French gardens of Renaissance Europe, and is the only known landscape masterpiece of its kind still in existence in North America – and one of just a few remaining worldwide.real wedding castle hilleuropean style hills and landscape in the boston areacrane estate wedding photographerThe pinwheels were making appearances all day!escort card in the pinwheel styleAndrew and Alexa had menus artfully designed, with rounded corners, signature colors, and fonts to match the atmosphere of their wedding.seaside wedding menu new englandbridal clutch purseblack and white wedding photography in the photojournalism styleAfter an indoor dinner, the party continued on the patio overlooking the sea, where Alexa and Andrew cut their cake. swartz catering boston wedding cakefather of the bride toastThe first dance and parent dances as the sun was setting were about as magical as you can imagine.first dance on an outdoor patio at a mansionevening outdoor wedding location near the ocean in massachusettscrane estate historic wedding venue with outdoor patio for summer dancingFollowing the dances, there was a brief hora dance. Its one of the main reasons I love photographing Jewish weddings.jewish wedding multicultural near bostonjewish wedding hora outdoors near bostondancing outdoor patio summer weddingThe Boston area band at the wedding was called The Return. boston wedding band entertainment by The ReturnThis shot of the venue at night was hand-held. Every photo in this set was taken with available light. I enjoy the challenge of photographing in low-light venues. As the sun went down, this wedding reminded me of destination weddings held on the beach, because it had the same challenge of photographing outdoors under a night sky with little light available.a summer wedding outdoors at night

Ceremony Venue: Crane Estate at Castle Hill, Ipswich, MA
Reception Venue: Crane Estate at Castle Hill, Ipswich, MA (capacity 200 guests)
Caterer: Swartz Catering
Officiant: Rabbi Judy Epstein and Father Bill Nesbit
Wedding Photographer: Heather Parker Photography
Wedding Band/Entertainment- The Return
Ceremony music Siman Entertainment
Wedding Florist: Bella Floral Design
Wedding Gown: Watters and Watters San Miguel
Bridal Boutique: Aisle Style, Elmhurst, IL
Custom wedding gown hanger: LilaFrances
Brides/Bridesmaid Shoes: Jack Rogers
Bridesmaid Dresses: Priscilla of Boston
Suits: JoS. A. Bank
Ties: Tux and Tulle (Etsy)
Invitations: Blush Design Studio
Rehearsal Dinner Invitations: Kate Spade
Day of Coordinator (DOC)-Jennifer Potter, Dot your i’s
Table squares/overlays- Groom’s mother
Chuppah: BZ Sustainable Style, the Bride’s mother’s company
Brides Clutch: BZ Sustainable Style, the Bride’s mother’s company

If you are looking for a venue similar to the Crane Estate, the Bradley Estate is another gem which is also part of the Trustees of Reservations, and just like the Crane Estate, it is also a brick mansion.

From the folks at JoS. A. Bank Clothiers:

“This looks like a great event! Congratulations to Alexa and Andrew! And as always, Heather Parker your photographs are stunning. You capture the moment with visual poetry.”

Smith Barn at Brooksby Farm | Boston Wedding Photographer

Robbie and Karen were planning their jewish wedding and chose Smith Barn at Brooskby Farm as their Boston wedding venue (just north of the city). The location is a working farm complete with a red barn, apple orchards, antique tractor, and lots of antique and kitschy details. I was really excited to be selected as their Boston wedding photographer because I grew up just a few miles from the farm. When I did a New York City engagement shoot for them just a month prior, I got to hear about all the details they had planned and I could tell it was a well-planned event, full of coordinating accessories. I had a blast working with them shooting around Brooklyn that afternoon, and knew their big day was going to be so fun. An old, red New England barn was going to be such a treat for their friends and family coming from far destinations such as Portland, Oregon.

With my background in photojournalism, I really enjoy the idea of bringing a documentary feel starting at the very beginning of the wedding day. Their day began with Robbie arriving a bit early, securing a custom sign into the ground in front of the barn. Karen arrived shortly after and got ready in this wonderful, historic, red house on the farm. Her sister/matron of honor helped her get into her wedding gown, and Karen took a moment to check that everything was perfect in the mirror. Rather than nervous, she looked ecstatic! We arranged a first look for Robbie and Karen which took place on the near their ceremony site, on the edge of the forest. After a few moments, we spent some time doing creative wedding photos at the barn with the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Under a gazebo, the couple signed a purple, modern ketubah after listening to some wise words from their rabbi that came up from New Haven, Connecticut. Their wedding ceremony was under a chuppah handmade by a relative that depicted artful scenes of Jerusalem where the couple had met. The couple danced down the aisle with their friends and family before the wedding ritual of yichud. During their seclusion, I ran over to the barn to photograph their wedding day details. The scene inside their wedding reception venue was breathtaking. Elegance collided with country kitsch and colors of yellow, orange, and red echoed in so many details.

Smith Barn wedding facility has a similar layout to in two other barn wedding venues I have photographed in: the Red Lion inn & Barn in Cohasset, MA and the Barn at Gibbet Hill in Groton, MA because of the lofted balcony area. These elevated areas can be used for cocktail hour and additional dining space for larger weddings. Its also a great place to go to get a unique documentary perspective on horah dances and the newlyweds first dance.

The bride and groom  enlisted Ari from Beat Train Productions as he is familiar with jewish wedding traditions and always gets the party going. I have never seen a more packed dance floor than at this wedding. I was lucky to have New York City based editorial photographer Mike Howard assist in some horah photos while Ari played the Hava Nagila. It is always exciting watching such a thrilling event and anticipating how the guests will entertain the bride and groom. The floor was packed shoulder to shoulder and I think both Mike and I both emerged pretty sweaty.

When finalizing the day’s time line and sequence of events, I asked Karen and Robbie if they would be interested in letting me steal them for five minutes during sunset and taking some fun wedding photos in the rolling hills around the barn. The weather was as perfect as one could imagine, and the lush gardens under the golden afternoon sun provided a backdrop like a scenic lanscape straight out of Tuscany. I used my Canon 85mm f/1.2 to capture the naturally saturated tones that afternoon. While the lens is hugely slow and costs more than one of my vespa scooters, it gives me the best wedding photos time and time again.

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Their Boston wedding vendors are below:

Ceremony venue: Woodland Gardens at Brooksby Farm
Reception Venue: Smith Barn at Brooksby Farm
Wedding Photographer: Heather Parker Photography
Wedding DJ: Beat Train Productions
Cake: Lyndell’s Bakery
Florist: Celebrated Flower
Various Etsy sellers provided the following: wedding gown jeweled belt accent, hair accessory, wedding favor stickers, place cards, programs, wooden yellow & white custom wedding sign.

A word from my clients:

Hi Heather,

We checked your blog this afternoon and we are so excited to see your photos of our wedding posted. They are amazing. We love each and every one of them so much – we can’t wait to see the rest of them! We loved how you captured the mood/atmosphere/vibe we tried to create. It was just perfect. And your write-up of the wedding was so nice.
Just wanted to tell you that you totally made our day!
Love, Karen and Robbie

Photographer for Chinese weddings

I always love having opportunity of shooting cultural weddings. Finding a photographer for Chinese weddings is how a lot of couples begin their search. If you are looking for a photographer that has experience photographing traditions drawn from China, Singapore, or Taiwan, I’m your girl!

I met with the bride last year and was so excited to be hired to photograph the wedding as I know she had looked into several wedding photographers. She had originally found me from The Knot. Since Charlotte and Mike both travel frequently for work, we did a lot of communication via email regarding the details of the wedding day and her photography plans and ideas. Charlotte is from Singapore and her family spoke Mandarin, while Mike’s family spoke Cantonese, so we had three languages being spoken in the hotel suite! Everyone was having a blast, and this wedding in particular had some especially fun parts to photograph. Before tea, the groom was quizzed by bride’s friends and family and had to partake in humorous demands before the mother of the bride released her daughter to the groom. I witnessed some hilarious games that took place before their pretty tea ceremony.

I asked Charlotte about some of the details of her wedding day and she said:

The Chinese tea ceremony was requested by my mom. Basically it is a way for us to thank our families for raising us. The groom comes to the bride’s house to collect the bride. But the bride’s friends and family will try and block the groom and his men. The groom will have to go a series of games to prove his love for the bride. At the end, the girls will negotiate a price for the bride. Usually the number ends in 99. So $299, $399, etc.

When the groom claims the bride, they are supposed to go to the groom’s family to do the tea ceremony. Then they return to the bride’s family to do the tea ceremony. We did it all in the same room to save time!

Mike and I are so laid back, so we wanted fun pictures. Mike requested the lakefront shots and I like indoor shots and vintage looking locales, so Union Station was awesome! I love the look and feel of your photos! Very different from the others I have seen and very imaginative! That was ultimately the reason why we picked you!

after their wedding, the bride and groom headed to Curaçao for their honeymoon where they went to explore the island’s shores via scuba diving.


Chinese wedding by Boston photographer Heather Parker

The bride purchased adorable containers for the wedding rings which were inscribed with to have and to hold.The bride’s mother watched over over the groom during some lighthearted games.The groom answered questions regarding his new bride.This bride and groom were a very easy-going couple – they joked around a lot and had a blast all day!Two families came together during a tea ceremony overlooking famous Michigan Avenue. They had one of the best hotel suites I have ever photographed in.The bride follows tradition and takes tea to present to the families.I heard someone mutter that some of the tea had some wasabi in it!The groom leaves the room before the bride changes into a white wedding gown.A simple bouquet of flowers to matched quite an elegant gown.The groom waits in the hotel lobby for a scheduled “first look” as the bride descended down a grand glowing staircase.We took a limo to Museum Cmpus and played a little game of trust over Lake Michigan.The iconic Chicago skyline is in the distance as the groom holds on tight to his bride.It was a bit chilly for outdoor photos so we happily we went to Union Station after museum campus. she had prepared for inclement weather by buying a photo permit in advance for union station so that we would have no issues if we needed to use the location as a setting for her wedding photos.The groom looked dapper at Union Station, don’t you think?We wrapped up our 90 minute photo shoot by heading back to Michigan Ave and the bride and groom were cuffed by a Chicago cop (all in good fun of course!).The newlyweds had beautiful rings which I photographed on the stem of a tulip.Cocktail hour…What a cute nephew and a proud father!Here are some of the wedding reception details including favors, cupcake centerpieces, and an overall theme of red – the color of happiness.and a heartfelt toast…A cake cutting and a cake smoosh followed by a smooch.Guests were having a great time.Charlotte’s matron of honor was just as fun as she, and raised the bar on the dance floor getting everyone going!The bride and groom were a very fun laid-back couple to work with, and definitely know how to throw a party!

Wedding ceremony & reception: Marriott
Alterations on white gown: Ms. Couture
Alterations on qi pao/chengosam: Oriental Fine Tailor

If you would like to see more Asian weddings including Chinese weddings, Taiwanese weddings, Korean weddings and other similar weddings please check out:

Milly and Ross W Hotel wedding

Jo and Rich’s Ivy Room Chicago wedding

John and Panle Le Meridien weddin in Cambridge

Pei-Chi Claire and Andrew’s wedding at OceanCliff in Newport

Bob and Theresa’s travel and passport themed wedding

Vickie and Ted’s White Elephant wedding on Nantucket Island