Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gena's 50th B-Day Montage "Down Memory Lane" by Abella Studios

As many of you already know, Abella Studios does much more than Wedding photography & Videography. We do family portrait shoots, maternity & baby pictures, Love Stories, family history videos and Birthday Montages. Take a look at this 50th B-Day Montage. We hope you like it. Please feel free to let us know what you think of this piece. Thank you...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Choosing the Right NJ Wedding Photographer / NJ Wedding Videographer

One of the great perks of being a professional Wedding Photo & Video studio and knowing the industry as well as we do, is being able to differentiate between the good and the bad, the real and the faux, authentic quality and undeniable inferiority; real value and superficial junk! The only problem is how to relay all this to Brides without seeming insincere and self serving. After all, this is our business and we would obviously love for everyone to use us! But do we? Would that really be self serving? Many, many wonderful years of experience have shown us that vendors and clients form a "good fit" just like the couples themselves do. We all have different tastes, expectations and needs and the right thing to do is find a great company that is capable, willing and eager to fulfill them and to go above and beyond for YOU - regardless of who they are!

So, without further ado, here are the things you should strongly consider when deciding on a Wedding Photographer and/or Wedding Videographer for your wedding...


So, you've found those pictures you absolutely love online or in a magazine. Now, you want to ask some questions or set up your consultation with the studio. When you e-mail or call them, are they getting back to you in a timely manner? What is your first impression, really? If they can't return your e-mail and phone calls now, do you really think they'll get back to you once you've paid your deposit? Remember, for your wedding day to be as amazing as you plan on it to be, YOU have to feel great and not stressed or nervous (although, that's probably not totally possible, but at the very least your vendors should not be contributing to it!).


Maybe the person you're meeting with isn't as "jumping-out-of-his-seat" as excited as you are about your Wedding. But, are they excited to talk with you and forthcoming and knowledgeable with the answers to your questions? Are they eager to hear and incorporate your ideas or are they putting them down? Did they greet you with a smile? The fact is, there are many "professionals" in this industry, but as important as it is to hire someone with knowledge and experience, it is also important to hire someone who loves what they do; someone who will lie down on the floor or climb a tall ladder because they see an amazing shot! This is why excitement and enthusiasm are so important. Your wedding memories will undoubtedly reflect the positive attitude and excitement of the company you hire.

Familiarity With Your Venue

Weddings are generally very similar in respect to what photos are captured. That, however, doesn't mean that the photographer just sticks to one list of images to take. Obviously, they adjust to each individual bride and groom, the venue and the details. It is absolutely possible to take great shots never having been to the particular venue. Though, it is much easier and much less time-consuming if they have. You will be busy greeting your family and friends, dancing, etc. If your Wedding Photographer knows the best place to take you for some formal shots without searching and evaluating the lighting situation, you will have a lot more time for other things without compromising the quality of your pictures.

Full Service Studio vs. Individual

This is truly the million dollar question. Having just had a head-on collision with this exact thing at my daughter's Bat-Mitzvah, I can tell you to NEVER hire an individual for any of the important functions for your wedding day and ALWAYS hire a reputable company. Ever hear of good 'ole Mr. Murphy? Well, the man knew what he was talking about. Back to understanding that ultimately, the most important thing is how you and your groom are feeling ON your wedding day, your comfort and satisfaction... if you take one thing out of this article, take this - PLEASE HIRE A COMPANY! If anything goes wrong with any individual, no matter how much you are in love with him/her or their work, a reputable company will go to the edge of the universe to fix it and deliver a service/product that will meet or, in many cases, even exceed your expectations. Believe me, things happen; sometimes, the most unforeseeable things happen... (my wonderful DJ about whom I raved to everyone ended up in jail the day of my daughter's Bat Mitzvah and had all my giveaways, etc. in his car that had been impounded). What would I have done had he been it? Umm - that's right, absolutely nothing and would have had a miserable experience. Instead, the company I hired immediately remedied the situation by sending a wonderful replacement with their own giveaways (weren't exactly what I had wanted, but totally transparent to everyone else) and we had a party of a lifetime. People came up to me all night to rave about how right I was about the amazing DJ - little did they know it wasn't the same guy! I don't want to scare you, the chances of this are slim, but take the risk?

Another reason to hire a full service studio is speed of delivery and specialization. In a studio, graphic artists work full time on manipulating images and laying out albums instead of doing it in between shoots, or worse, on breaks from their full-time jobs, the difference is staggering! Do you really want your photos and video 2 years after the affair? Probably, but do they have nearly the same impact as when you get them a few months later? Absolutely not! Friends and family on Facebook are waiting for your images to upload immediately and family is looking for that movie because they're so eager to relive that day! Oh, and what happens if your "boy wonder" wants to take a vacation? Your wait becomes endless. PLEASE HIRE A COMPANY - it doesn't have to be this company - just hire a reputable professional photography / videography studio and feel confident that your memories are safe and will be delivered to you within a reasonable time frame!


So, you may have used some budgeting tools like the Knot's budget calculator and calculated your 'budget' for the Wedding. But when you seem to call potential vendors, the budget, well, it doesn't seem to be working... What should you do? First, you have to understand that most wedding website budget calculators are not based on local vendors - they are averages taken from almost the entire country and just as property values and salaries tremendously vary, so do prices. To accurately calculate a budget, first you should write down exactly what you want to include in your package. What type of an album? How many hours is your entire wedding day, including the preparations and formals? Would you like an engagement shoot with a photo sign-in board or book? Would you like your professionally shot images to be displayed on plasma screens throughout your reception? Would you like a Photo Booth? Would you like one or two photographers / videographers? Do you need parent albums and how many? Once you've determined exactly what you're looking for, it will be much easier to compare apples to apples when dealing with different companies. Always remember, however, most companies can order/get most albums, so don't make your decision based on the albums; make it based on the work in them. And if you need to reduce cost, why not wait to order your albums until after the wedding? Don't compromise the coverage that you cannot do over because you want an extra album or you're taken with the flush mount. Albums are beautiful, but they stand secondary to the artistry, creativity and coverage of your once in a life time Wedding Day!

Speak up!

Never walk away from a company if you are unsure of something that was discussed. If you have a question, ask it! This is YOUR Wedding day and YOUR Wedding memories. If you're not sure about something, make sure you acknowledge it to the person you are meeting with. They want to know everything you are looking for down to the very last detail to ensure they capture everything you want. They also want to make sure your package is exactly how you want it. If there's something you want, tell them!

Latest Creations

Film Style Bridal Prep Video
Images from the VenetianJamaica Destination Wedding    ImagesJamaica  Trash the Dress Video

I hope you found this article helpful. As you continue your search for the right NJ Wedding Photo & Video studio, I hope you take some of my suggestions to heart. If you have any questions whatsoever, please feel free to contact me at any time. I will always make myself available and will be more than happy to help.

Best Regards,

Heather Pfau
Abella Studios

Top 10 Locations for NJ Wedding Engagement Shoots

We, at Abella Studios, have shot thousands of engagement shoots throughout the NJ area and have noticed a pattern, as we continue to return to the same locations time and time again. I thought it may be helpful to provide the location information and some images captured at each to couples who are currently researching same for their Wedding.

Engagement shoot locations...

1. Lambert's Castle, West Paterson, NJ - Built by business tycoon Catholina Lambert in 1892, Lambert's castle is one of the area's most popular places for engagement and wedding day pictures. This small but versatile location offers unique architecture, surrounded by beautiful trees and an excellent view of New York City. This location is great for any time of the year, visit in the summer for lush green scenery, or come in the winter time and have a snowball fight!

Lambert's Castle

Lambert's Castle

2. Branch Brook Park, Newark/Belleville, NJ - Located in Newark and Belleville, Branch Brook Park has the largest collection of Japanese cherry trees in the United States. With over 360 acres, and 4,000 cherry blossom trees, this park offers endless opportunities for photography. The perfect time to visit Branch Brook Park is in mid April, when the trees are in bloom, the beautiful pink and white blossoms will make a perfect background for your engagement pictures.

Branch Brook   Park

3. New Jersey Botanical Garden, Ringwood, NJ - The Botanical Garden in Ringwood is one of the largest and varied landscapes in the area. Over a dozen formal gardens surround the Skylands Manor, which was built in the 1920s. No two photo shoots are the same here because of the enormous variety these gardens have to offer. Visit this state park spring through autumn for a gorgeous engagement shoot backdrop.

Ringwood    Botanical Gardens

Ringwood   Botanical Gardens

4. Hamilton Park, Boulevard East, Weehawken, NJ - If you are looking for a view of New York City, this is one of the best around! Hamilton Park lies just north of the Lincoln Tunnel on a cliff overlooking the NYC skyline. This small park has manicured landscaping and unique features, giving you a garden setting, with a city view. Schedule an engagement shoot here in the early morning and watch the sun rise over New York City.

5. Frank Sinatra Park, Hoboken, NJ - Hoboken is the birth place of Frank Sinatra, and this park is dedicated to his memory. It's located on Pier A, at 1st Ave and Sinatra Drive, stretching out into the Hudson River. The view of New York from here is great, and the surrounding park and Hoboken Streets offer many photo opportunities. A late day engagement shoot will provide perfect lighting and mood.

Frank Sinatra Park, Hoboken

Frank Sinatra Park, Hoboken

6. Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ - Come here any time of the year for the historic buildings, and a great view of lower Manhattan. Over 1200 acres of walkways and wide open fields are available for tons of picture taking possibilities. Visit the historic ferry terminal or take a stroll to the south end of the park and view the Statue of Liberty.

Liberty State Park

Liberty State Park

7. Central Park, Manhattan - There may not be a more diverse location in our area as Central Park in New York City. Lakes, gardens, fountains, castles, fields, wooded pathways, and city streets are all available here. This park remains a very popular choice for an engagement shoot because of it's unique and diverse features. Any time of year is great for pictures here!Central Park

Central Park

8. Belmar, NJ - Looking for something a little different? Try a beach setting for your engagement pictures! Belmar is a short drive away, and offers wide open beaches and a boardwalk. Take a stroll on the beach, write your names in the sand, and even walk into the water if you dare. Schedule an engagement shoot in the late afternoon for beautiful light during sunset.



9. Lewis Morris Park, Morristown - Take a walk off the beaten path and into the woods of Lewis Morris Park in Morristown. Summer time here offers a lush green canopy, which changes to a vibrant, colorful background in the fall. Trails run through the park's 1100 acres, and make for a fun and unique engagement shoot. Bring your hiking boots!

Louis Morris  Park

Louis Morris   Park

10. Verona Park, Verona - Last but not least is Verona Park! Located on the corner of Bloomfield Ave. and Lakeside Ave., it's close and easy to get to, which makes it one of the most popular parks for engagement and wedding photography in the area. Verona Lake is surrounded by fields, trees, beautiful bridges, and long winding pathways. Take a walk around the park, or rent a paddleboat and head out onto the lake!

Verona Park

Verona Park

We hope you found this information useful. Please be sure to let us know, should you have any questions related to the engagement shoot locations or photography in general. We are always very happy to help.

Best Regards,


Abella Studios