This blog follows a bit of our personal and professional life, and features images from weddings and portrait sessions we've done, the places we traveled, and the adventures of our combined family-life. It's basically an ever-changing photo album combined with an information source for current and potential clients. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Traveling Back While Journeying Forward

There are many people who'd rather visit the dentist than attend a high school class reunion.  Are you one of those folks?

I suppose I used to be like this, to some degree.  The older I become though, the more I realize the value in opening up to the past to see what could transpire for the future.

I recently had the opportunity to attend an informal women's luncheon, a gathering of eight former classmates, which was advertised on Facebook for anyone still living in the area.  I jumped at the chance, not only because I enjoy continued friendship with a few of my classmates, but also because I know it's good for me to invest in myself; to get away from household obligations and dozens of other reasons that keep me from investing in relationships.

At some point in my adult life, I must have chosen to open my mind and more importantly, my heart, to a review of what I'd thought to be the reality of those years gone by.  I was never one of those kids with throngs of friends, one of those chosen eagerly for teams and group activities.  I know now that that was really of my own doing, for I was quite shy and often chose to take a back seat whenever possible.  I don't know if others saw me this way, but I'd always believed myself to be a shy, loner type.

Age and maturity afforded me the grace to overcome such shyness, and it was, and is, a truly freeing experience.  Shyness is a form of suffering, really (and we all suffer from something, in one form or fashion).

But I digress -- the point here is that once I'd made up my mind to stop thinking about myself, and to instead focus my attention and curiosity on what makes so-and-so tick, who they are, discovering their special joys or disappointments - then I came to see how joyful it is to know so many that I might have otherwise easily dismissed, never to mix with again.

Everyone is so beautifully different and yet so wonderfully the same!

Seeing through to the core of a person, to their heart really, is not so difficult.  And this is why I get such pleasure from meeting my classmates again - to be re-introduced to the true person outside of the former, narrower definitions of my own creation.

The best part of all this - that they too seem to have grown into maturity (go figure!)  That they too are willing to listen, to hear, to share a smile, an encouragement, and to celebrate our lives together with all their twists and turns.

Each of the ladies I've become reacquainted with is so wonderfully made.  Such beautiful souls.  I treasure knowing all of you and I look forward to moving into our latter years knowing that our shared experiences, past and present, are a bond we'll always have.  A springboard for further exploration of who we are as individuals, as the glorious women that we've become.

Much love,

[Wakeen Photography photographs reunions of all types.  If you or someone you know are planning such a gathering, contact us directly for details and to check available dates.]

Monday, December 23, 2013

Central MA Family Photo Session - Waters Farm, Sutton

Hey ya'll ...it's been a long while since we blogged about our photography adventures, so here's one we thought we'd share because it's truly one of our favorites ever

In early October we spent some time with Amy and Matt at Waters Farm in Sutton, and wow, did we capture some awesome fall color that day!  The weather was gorgeous, and the children were a joy.  Here are what we believe to be the best of the bunch from their session.

Now that Christmas is here, the family is enjoying their gorgeous wall collage above the family room sofa as they sit by a crackling fire and reminisce about the fun times they've shared together.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Central MA Charity Wedding 2013

We could have begun this post with a sentence like, "Once upon a time lived a young princess...", but that might lead you, our reader, to believe that this story wasn't true, or that our female protagonist has had fairytale challenges that she has so sweetly overcome.  A little too contrite.  Instead, we want to tell you the true story of Michele and Brandon of Worcester, MA - two true loves who found each other through adversity and serious medical challenges, and still triumphed in the end.  But triumph isn't always a complete and utter victory over what ails you, is it?  Triumph is living with life-threatening illness with dignity and courage and perseverance.  And that is the real truth of this story.

Six years ago, a colonoscopy procedure revealed that Michele had a Stage 3B carcinoma, requiring surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.  Living with her ongoing illness, Michele began dating her co-worker from another department, Brandon, already two years after her first diagnosis.  When Michele developed a nagging cough and loss of her voice, a visit to her doctor revealed the cancer had spread to her lungs.  Once again, chemotherapy sessions ensued, but they made her so ill, she had to discontinue them.  When 2011 rolled around, Michele endured more chemo, with Brandon always by her side.  Finally, on Christmas Day, 2011, Brandon proposed!

In 2012, Michele's severely high fevers and high white blood cell counts prompted more x-rays, which revealed she had a perforated bowel.  More surgery.  More chemo.  Unable to work, Michele is faced with the reality that she will continue chemotherapy, off and on, for the rest of her life.  Even as she prepared to be wed, there were weeks when she couldn't do very much at all.

Michele tells us, "I'm so thankful to have met the love of my life who is always by my side.  Brandon is always going above and beyond for me, researching dietary guidelines for colon cancer, and learning coping skills.  He takes care of me when I'm sick, and takes me out to enjoy life every moment that we can.  I am truly blessed."

Because the costs of a wedding were prohibitive for Michele, having endured so many health problems, along with financial challenges they've faced during the past 10 years, Michele's cousin, Carrianne Allen of BugaBoo Confections, and yours truly, decided to reach out to as many small, local wedding vendors as possible to see who would be interested in helping this couple achieve their wedding dream.

And step up to the plate they did --  in addition to a complimentary wedding cake and wedding photography, Michele and Brandon's story attracted Nancy and Judy Whalen of Creative Papers, Ltd. in Shrewsbury for invitations, DJ Kevin Whitney of West Boylston for entertainment, Virginia Orlando and Candace Atchue of Seed To Stem Botanicals in Worcester for florals, and Jeffrey Robert Salon in Worcester for the gals' hair and make-up.

All combined, the generosity of these 'boutique' style businesses in the central MA region meant a few thousand dollars in wedding details that the deserving couple didn't have to stress over!  The bride and groom chose local favorite, the Leicester Country Club as their wedding venue for both the ceremony and  reception.  Many thanks to Chuck Bois who assured the day ran smoothly, and who cheerfully drove the golf cart with us in tow so we could enjoy creating formal portraits at the covered bridge.

The opportunity exists for a 2014 Charity Wedding by this group of wedding service providers, who've named the group, "Worcester Weddings With Heart" ... if you know of anyone in central or eastern MA who has suffered severe hardship due to life-threatening illness, we encourage you to reach out to any of the vendors linked here.  Additionally, we do hope several more local businesses will join in our future endeavor, specifically in the areas of bridal couture and accessories, men's wear, wedding day transportation and videography services, to name just a few.

Leave your love comments here for Michele and Brandon as we wish them continued joy!


Chris & Vickie

Monday, September 16, 2013

Boston Post-Wedding Photo Session -- Jeff + Cesar

The summer wedding season is winding down for us wedding photographers, and although autumn is a super time to get married, when the cooler weather arrives we always seem to find a bit more time to sit down and assess how and what we've accomplished so far this year, and what we may not have shown you.

Looking back at our portfolio for the year thus far, we felt we just had  to show you one of the funnest "engagement sessions" we've experienced yet, only, this was more of a post-wedding, takin'-a-breather session for our fun couple.  You see, Cesar and Jeff were married in a warm, intimate and beautiful home ceremony (officiated by the renowned J.P. Geri Weinstein) at the start of the year.  Then in April, they hosted a catered event for friends, colleagues and neighbors to celebrate their union.  The morning before the grande fête, we accompanied them to their (our!) beloved Boston where Cesar and Jeff often enjoy the social scene.  (And in the late afternoon, we photographed their catered soirée.)

Here is a small collection of the images we captured for two of our favorite guys.   It was truly a bbbbbrisk morning in April, but ... do you think they look cold?!

We found ourselves at Boston Common first, and when the morning breeze became a bit too brisk, we made a bee-line for the Starbucks café on Beacon Street for a sweet warm-up.  Yum :-)

Strolling the streets of historic Beacon Hill was SO fun!

Best wishes always, Cesar and Jeff!  We know wherever you may travel, life will be so much sweeter for everyone you come in contact with.  Friends, feel free to comment here and leave your happy thoughts :-)

Chris and Vickie

Friday, July 26, 2013

Maja & Ari's Wedding -- Fruitlands Museum, Harvard, MA

We've heard it said by other professional wedding photographers that editing the hundreds of images they've captured at a wedding (the "post-production edits" as we call them) can be a drag.  A chore.  Nuh-uh! Nope! No way! For us it's a real joy because we get to re-live the fun and the love.  Again and again.  All the while smiling while we make a "nip" here and a "tuck" there to optimize what we've captured in camera.

Take the recent wedding of Maja + Ari, whose reception was held at the Fruitlands Museum in bucolic Harvard, Massachusetts.  Need we say more?  Who wouldn't smile at the sheer joy of expression in the following images?!

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts Maja, Ari, and family!  You were a true joy to work with, and we're so pleased everyone felt comfortable enough in front of our lenses to just be themselves.

Fondly ~  Chris and Vickie

p.s.  And if you were in attendance, do stay in touch with the couple as we'll soon be sending them the secure code for online image ordering from this fantastic day!

Ceremony:       St. Patrick Parish, Stoneham, MA
Reception:        Fruitlands Museum, Harvard, MA
Catering:          Fireside Catering, Burlington, MA
Music:              Get Down Tonight Entertainment, Salem, NH
Photographer:   Wakeen Photography, Grafton, MA
Cake:                Konditor Meister, Braintree, MA
Flowers:            AFloral.com
Beauty:             Juliana's Salon, Stoneham, MA
Bride's Gown:    James Clifford Collection
Bridesmaids:     Best Bridal Prices
Menswear:        Jason Anthony's Formalwear, Medford, MA

Sunday, July 21, 2013

8 Steps To Choosing Your Wedding Photographer - A Photographer's Perspective

Ready to help you talk photography

It is no surprise that brides (or grooms) don’t instinctively know what to look for when deciding who will photograph the most important day of their lives – their wedding!  But if you ask a photographer, especially one who photographs weddings for a living like we do, rest assured, you’ll get advice with real value.  And guess what?  Price is not THE most important factor.  Read on to see why.

Believe it or not, this IS the first item of importance to consider because it will determine how well you’ll connect with your photographer. Unless you’re a natural performer, it’s not unusual to feel timid or unsure during posed portraits as opposed to candids. Finding a photographer you can relate to in personality is THE best way to overcome this awkwardness.

The couple spends virtually the entire day with their photographer(s), so being with someone who irritates or makes you feel uncomfortable is going to take away from the wedding experience. If you don't like your photographer(s), you won’t feel as calm or as confident as you might otherwise. Having that fun relationship with your photographer means you’ll be more relaxed in the photographs you’ll look back on for years to come.

The style of a photographer is the second most important point to take into consideration. Have you seen some photos that many others seem to rave over but you’re just not that crazy about? The reason might not be because the photographer has done a poor job, but because his/her style is not yours.  If you swoon over soft, light-filled images with lots of sun flare or blown-out backgrounds, then a photographer who shoots everything using artificial lighting or mostly indoors is probably not the best fit for you. Always review the photographer's portfolio to be confident their style of imagery is a match for your wedding dreams.

Let’s face it – price is an important factor for most people. Talk it over with your future spouse and set a reasonable budget. “Reasonable,” however, is a very subjective term, so you’ll need to ask yourself what aspects of your day are the most important for you, and set your priorities accordingly.  Some couples agree to compromise on their venue choice, or their food/beverage options, in order to pay more for the photographer who really “does it” for them.  Of course, you should still do your homework to get an idea of price ranges for your geographical area. Prices might seem high but remember that your wedding photography (and/or videography) is what will endure long after the wedding cake is digested and the dress has yellowed - you don't want to skimp on it!  You DO get what you pay for.
Your photographer should be licensed, insured, and tax-paying; in other words, a true professional! Naturally, you want to deal with an honest business person who’ll make your day joyously memorable and free of complications. Look through the contract carefully before signing to ensure everything is as agreed. Will the photographer advertised be the one there on your wedding day or do they send out another photographer in their place? Will they bring an assistant? How many photos will you get? How many can be retouched? How long will it take for the photos to be ready?  Do they offer payment plans?  

After narrowing down your options, it is time to research a photographer’s reputation.  Do a search on Yelp, Google, and Wedding Wire, in addition to checking out the testimonials on his/her website.  What other brides are saying about your potential wedding photographer does matter.  A really good photographer often books the majority of his/her weddings through positive referrals.
Experience and Skill
Experience speaks to the length of time your photographer has been in business, but does not always guarantee the best results. Skill speaks to how talented the photographer is and you’ll have to trust your personal opinion in addition to any awards he/she may have earned.  In addition to experience and skill with the camera, your photographer should have the ability to relate well with the other professionals you’ve hired.  He/she must know well the natural progression of a wedding day, and be able to confidently direct your guests into combinations of groups for those all-important formal portraits.

Some photographers may refuse to even try something they normally wouldn't do. You should be careful about working with such people because it can end up being their vision only instead of yours. Don't be afraid to ask questions during the consultation.
Second Shooter/Assistant
Some photographers never work without an assistant. Some do.  It is worth inquiring about.  Weddings are notoriously busy with a multitude of happenings and expressions to capture, so having a second shooter can be a plus, providing you with optional angles and more depth to the photographic story being told.  Of course, if your wedding is extremely small, you might ask if you can economize on the photographer’s offerings by having only one shooter.