Love, AP Style

As today is Valentine’s Day, I thought today would be a great day finally about a shoot that happened way back in November!

Actually, it had it origins much earlier than that. In the early part of 2020, or maybe late 2019, my buddy, Bryan Sargent, wedding photog extraordinaire, asked if I would consider being a second shooter at a wedding he was hired to shoot in Asbury Park.

To be honest, I forget now when the original 2020 date was supposed to be. But then the pandemic hit, and all of Bryan’s wedding work either fell to the wayside or got shifted to some time in the future.

Heck, I was supposed to shoot the wedding of Nick and Greg last August, but that fell through. They eventually did a small justice wedding and are happy happy now. But I digress.

Anyway, Bryan asked me, I said sure and then it fell off the schedule. But around September, Bryan pinged me, said Gary and Staci are back on for November 9 in Asbury Park.

Ok let’s go!

The wedding was going to be held at Porta, and we’d meet the couple at the historic Berkley Hotel. Bryan would do the pre-wedding shoots with the bride, and I’d track the groom. Then, after the “first” look, we’d all do various shots on the the Asbury Park Boardwalk, before heading to Porta for the main event and the the reception.

Berkley Hotel Asbury Park

Bryan scoping out the “first look” spot

Bryan (I shot his portraits a couple of years ago) and I agreed to meet up an hour or so we were to meet up with the bride, and sketch out a game plan. Again, this was early November…the day Preside Biden was announced as winner of the election…and it was downright WARM in Asbury Park – 75!

So while Bryan did his thing with Staci, the bride, I went a couple of floors down to cover Gary, the bridegroom, getting ready.

Gary’s brother pins his flower on.

Ringer bearer in the time of COVID

The, after the “first look” of the Staci and Gary in front of the Berkley, we took a walk around the Asbury Park Boardwalk so that Bryan could do primary photography in certain spots, including a big surprise spot.

My job was to find those photos on the edges, the ones on the in between.

This may be my favorite shot of the whole day.

This was the big surprise to the bride and groom – the maid-of-honor got it set up to have their names up on the marquee of The Stone Pony. The kicker was, we had to get them there by 3 pm because their names would only up for so long.

We went back up to the boardwalk where Bryan continued to do his thing, while I did mine.

Which includes getting the photobomb outside the Casino

And, Bryan knows of my love of The Empress Hotel mosaic, and made it a point to get Staci and Gary in front of it for a portrait. I grabbed the shot that leads off this post, plus a few more.

From there, we headed over to Porta where the actual ceremony and reception would be held. Again, Bryan did all the heavy lifting there. He has such a good eye as to what to get and where to be when. It was so cool watching him work and learning from him.

Porta is really cool inside with interesting art work and paint jobs. I had to pull Gary and Staci aside, before the ceremony, for some quick natural-light portraits.

For the rest of the evening, I was the fly on the wall, just trying to grab some shots here and there when the opportunity arose.

Shooting Gary and Staci’s wedding with Bryan was a great experience. Bryan is SO good at this…such a pleasure to shoot next to him and watch him do this thing.

I think I did OK, but lots of room for improvement. Still not ready to be the primary shooter on the biggest day of two people’s lives, but it was a wonderful experience.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2021

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