Attending a wedding as a guest

I dont attend many weddings anymore as a guest, so it was nice this weekend to head out to Vernon Downs Casino to watch my wife's cousin get married. It was a bit rainy at the ceremony, but that never stopped anyone

 Caitlin and Freddy get married in the rain at Vernon Downs Casino on September 2, 2018 in New York

Caitlin and Freddy get married in the rain at Vernon Downs Casino on September 2, 2018 in New York

Maria Menounos Wedding to Keven Undergaro in Times Square on New Years Eve

I only do a little press work nowadays, but had to jump at the opportunity to spend New Years with Fox in Times Square. I knew it would be cold but the access would be amazing, I didn't expect to be the photographer for Maria Menounos surprise wedding to Kevin Undergaro. I was told the day before that there was a wedding that I needed to photograph, but didn't know that it was a celebrity wedding and would be publicized across the country. I was super happy to photograph their special day, and Maria was a champion in the below freezing temperatures. I dont think you could ask for a more perfect officiant than Steve Harvey!!

Secret Wedding Photography

I photographed a wedding this weekend in Bronxville. New York and the bride asked me not to share any of the photos of herself and the groom. While this is an especially unusual request for a wedding photographer to have to hide their work, I'm always willing to be flexible and accommodate the bride and groom requests. Here are a few images of the venue and some details and the cute kids of my friend who referred me to the couple.

Westchester Wedding Photographer

Catherine and Justin Wedding in Westchester, New York

Westchester New York Wedding Photographer

Wedding Photographer - Ben

 Wedding Photographer Ben Hider shooting the bride and grooms first dance in Westchester, New York

Wedding Photographer Ben Hider shooting the bride and grooms first dance in Westchester, New York

 Wedding Photographer Ben Hider shooting the bride walking down the aisle in Westchester, New York

Wedding Photographer Ben Hider shooting the bride walking down the aisle in Westchester, New York

Catskills Wedding Photography

Catskills Wedding

I always love getting the couple a few photos almost immediately after the wedding day. We drovee back from the wedding and arrived home around midnight, so I spent the next day organizing the images and sorting out both photographers files. This morning I sent the bride these seven images, wishing them a happy honeymoon and congratulating them on an amazing day.

All photos shot on the Canon 5D Mark IV with the Sigma 85mm F1.4 and Canon 16-35mm F2.8

Wedding Photographer Ben Hider

Westchester | Hudson Valley | New York City | Wedding Photographer

Sometimes you end up photographing the wedding photographer

This weekend we photographed a wedding up in a small town in the Hudson Valley just past Phoenicia and in the Catskills called Margaretville. Often when we shoot weddings we have to test the light and to keep the day light hearted we often try to have a laugh and take funny photo of ourselves. Here we are working hard and playing hard at this farm house wedding. Andrew is one of the best photographers I know and always brings a great attitude to every wedding reception.

Wedding Photographer Ben Hider

Westchester | Hudson Valley | New York City | Wedding Photographer

Wedding photos at the Taj Mahal in India

I stumbled upon this wedding or engagement shoot in Agra today with a young Sikh couple. I thought it was an absolutely unbeatable backdrop for some fun couple photos. You can't expect more than the Taj Mahal wth the sunsetting! I've been traveling through India for the past few weeks and have seen some of the most beautiful and incredible things ever. It's really a photographers paradise too, there are so many incredible backdrops and buildings. I saw quite a few traditional Indian weddings, one of the most memorable was in Dharavi slum in Bombay, where a young couple were dancing among a drug circle and all the local children and families were jumping around.

The Taj Mahal is the ultimate symbol of never ending love, built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial for his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is one of the wonders of the modern world and photographs do not really do its immense grandeur justice.

Ross and Sarah Wedding at the Beekman Hotel

For the second day, and actual ceremony Ross and Sarah chose an amazing hotel that is recently opened, the Beekman on Nassau St in New York City. The Hotel has the most incredible central rotunda and the ceremony was held on the third floor.

Ross and Sarah get married at the Beekman Hotel on December 31, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Hider)

Westchester | Hudson Valley | New York City | Wedding Photographer

Ross and Sarah Pre-Wedding Photoshoot

Ross and Sarah had planned an elopement in New York City for New Years Eve and really wanted some photos in Times Square as it's such an iconic New York site, especially around the New Year. Unfortunately access to Times Square is very limited and security is really high on New Years Eve, so without arriving at noon and waiting until sundown we wouldn't have any photos. Thankfully everyone was available so we went a day early. Unluckily it was too cold for the couple to be in their wedding clothes and thankfully they were dressed warm as the unexpected snow made a fantastic photo, but got everyone wet. Hopefully we get back to Grand Central in full wedding dress on the day.

Ross and Sarah wedding photos in Grand Central Station and Times Square on December 30, 2016 in New York City (Photo by Ben Hider)

Westchester | Hudson Valley | New York City | Wedding Photographer

Wedding album "Nigerian Style"

Earlier this year I photographed a wedding of some good friends at City Hall in New York City. Phillip is from Nigeria and commutes back and forth for business, so I knew he was going to get an album made over there. I also knew from the christening album they had produced that Nigeria has some cultural differences on the style choices made for photo albums, so I was very excited to see the final product. It's actually a lot less obscure looking than I had hoped. The Christening album had some very strange photos and textures used throughout. One of the strangest choices being the inclusion of a self portrait of the photographer in the very middle of the book.

As you can see it actually turned out pretty well, with some serious card stock and nice binding and boxing used. The sparkly texture across the front cover is pretty unusual and not a choice I may have made.

Jen and Dan Wedding at Soyuzivka Heritage Center

Jen and Dan found this amazing Ukranian resort, Soyuzivka Ukrainian Heritage Center, in the Catskills of New York. Neither of them were Ukranian or had any Ukranian family, they just loved the character of the place. I know Jen from our work with City Harvest, a fantastic food rescue organization in New York City that I provide a lot of photography for. 

Westchester | Hudson Valley | New York City | Wedding Photographer

Ali and Laszlo Wedding at Emmanu El Temple

Ali and Laszlo had an intimate wedding in a grand location, at the Emmanu El Temple on 65th and Fifth Ave in New York City. We did some family photos before the ceremony around the Ketubah signing. The highlight of the whole evening was the spectacular Chuppah that the couple got married under. It was really pretty amazing.

I normally encourage couples to book me for some prep photos, and more time for the family and wedding party images. Ali and Laszlo had a young son and wanted to be as quick as possible before he fell asleep, and then were going to a smaller dinner gathering to celebrate, so they only needed me for the ceremony. I was hugely impressed by the setup at Temple Emanu-El of New York. The synagogue was the first Reform Jewish congregation in New York City and, because of its size and prominence, has served as a flagship congregation in the Reform branch of Judaism since its founding in 1845. I am always available and happy to cover smaller weddings and I'm more than happy to only cover a ceremony.

Wedding Photographer Ben Hider

Westchester | Hudson Valley | New York City | Wedding Photographer

Alison and Saken Tappan Hill Mansion Westchester Wedding

Alison and Saken had a beautiful wedding at Tappan Hill Mansion in Tarrytown, Westchester, NY. We started at separate hotels capturing the bride and groom getting ready with their respective wedding parties and then moved to the location for the gorgeous sunset over the Hudson River. The house band were joined by the father of the bride for a few songs and the sparkler send off was the prettiest departure we've seen for a while.

Venue / Caterer - Tappan Hill

Ceremony officiant - http://www.weddingsbybettina.com/

Hair / makeup - http://beautifybyceleste.com/

Band - http://www.halprince.com/

Photo booth - http://www.bethestarphotobooth.com/

Florist - http://www.foreverinbloomonline.com/

Westchester | Hudson Valley | New York City | Wedding Photographer

New Wedding Cameras for 2016

As wedding season begins again, it's always perfectly timed with new releases from some of my favorite brands like Canon and Leica. This year we're excited to have on order the brand new Canon 5D Mark IV that arrives on September 9th. While I don't agree or disagree that I suffer from "Gear Acquisition Syndrome" (Gear Acquisition Syndrome (sometimes Guitar Acquisition Syndrome, is a term used to describe an urge to acquire and accumulate lots of gear.) it's always important to arrive at a job with the best possible equipment. The Canon 5D range has been a solid among wedding photographers for over a decade now. It's the lightest and most versatile full frame digital SLR available, and Canon have the best option for wide aperture prime lenses on the market. With dual card slots, they allow for duplicate writing that is a hugely important part of securely creating backed up content. The new cameras will surely have improved low light capabilities that will help capture cleaner and brighter natural light images in dark wedding venues. Along with low light improvement the new 5D Mark IV has improved focus and faster frame rate that will increase the number of tack sharp images that can be delivered to a bride and groom.

 Canon 5D Mark IV... the new full frame digital camera from Canon

Canon 5D Mark IV... the new full frame digital camera from Canon

My team work with whatever cameras are best suited for their shooting style, which is often Canon or Nikon full frame DSLR. I work with a couple of digital Leica's that add a certain look that I think fits well into the overall style of our wedding photography. I don't shoot film anymore for a few reasons. There isn't really any reason to go for that "look" or "quality", it is easily reproducible with digital negatives and it's rare for me to see an image shot with film that supersedes that of digital. I would argue that only some 4x5 film and polaroid films really create an effect that is better than digital. As we shoot most wedding like photojournalists that are documenting the fast pace action that's happening, we aren't able to slow down enough to use those formats. If you're looking for some 4x5 or 8x10 large format portraits, I have some fantastic photographers I can recommend. I have a Fuji polaroid camera that I can bring to a wedding, and I've seen it best used when paired with a guest book for people to add polaroid "selfies" into.

Westchester | Hudson Valley | New York City | Wedding Photographer

Simple flowers at the Guggenheim

I think it's a good lesson for us all, as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said best, "Less is more" and that holds particularly true with this simple but elegant Birds of Paradise flower arrangement at the Guggenheim Museum. When you have such a spectacular and iconic backdrop as the Frank Lloyd Wright building you don't really need much more. I was recently hired by the museum for the first time, and I'm hopeful and excited to work for them more as they're such an amazing museum and institution.

Less is more
— Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Westchester | Hudson Valley | New York City | Wedding Photographer

Erin and Todd West Point Military Academy Wedding

Erin and Todd had a full catholic service including communion at the West Point Military Academy Chapel as part of their ceremony and then a party in the 49'ers Lodge overlooking the base. They scheduled plenty of time for photos with the whole family and a few moments throughout the day for personal photos at different locations. My favorite spot was the aqueduct and bridge at golden hour. They certainly know how to throw a party with all his military friends and her Texas ladies..

Erin and Todd West Point Military Academy Wedding Photography in New York State. I had never photographed a wedding at West Point before. I like to be introduced to new places, that was what began my journey as a photographer, so working in a new location is exciting. There are so many wedding venues in the world, that its rare to ever work in a repeat location. The best way to get around a bride or grooms worry is to meet at the location for a walk through. It isn't always possible to navigate the schedules of everyone for this, and thankfully in this digital age its easy to get an online look at almost every wedding venue. I normally work with a big enough team that we can arrive a little early and spend some time scouting the best locations for each photo. It's always important for the bride and groom to give some input too and we always welcome any suggestions or requests prior to the big day.

Westchester | Hudson Valley | New York City | Wedding Photographer

Working at The United States Military Academy or West Point

It's never good to be in the way, and as the wedding photographer you're definitely better as a fly on the wall, but every now and again we end up in the photos. I think it's interesting to give you a look at how we work. 

 Photographing the bridal party at Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity (West Point), New York

Photographing the bridal party at Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity (West Point), New York

 This is the final image that you see me taking under the arches at Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity (West Point), New York

This is the final image that you see me taking under the arches at Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity (West Point), New York

 Photographing the first dance with the father of the bride at the Class of 1949 Lodge in West Point, New York

Photographing the first dance with the father of the bride at the Class of 1949 Lodge in West Point, New York

 And again here is the final image of the bride dancing with her father at the Class of 1949 Lodge in West Point, New York

And again here is the final image of the bride dancing with her father at the Class of 1949 Lodge in West Point, New York

Westchester | Hudson Valley | New York City | Wedding Photographer