Architecture and Interior Photography – Unique, sustainable homes

4 Jun

My husband, Roberto Farren, is an architecture and interior photographer that works with realtors, contractors, interior designers and architects to capture residential, business and landscape photography.  Motivated by his love and skill of landscape photography, Roberto is establishing himself as a professional architectural photographer in the Boston and New England area.

As such, our car-based travels have taken on a new feature. Gone are the days of the license plate game, Punch Buggy, or my favorite, dozing in the front passenger seat.  Instead, we are constantly on the lookout for unique homes, restaurants, or businesses that Roberto might photograph.  He recently photographed the excellent Carrie Nation Cocktail club and speakeasy in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, as well as a Brookline, MA home that had a secret wine cellar hidden behind a false bookshelf.

Recently, however, I’ve become obsessed with a type of home that I didn’t even know existed: the Shipping Container home.

Sleek and modern looking, with way more light than you’d think, these structures are made of multiple recycled shipping containers joined together and updated.

There are a number of things to think about if you’re considering using shipping containers in a build, including the availability and location of containers, heating/cooling/ventilation, and finding local vendors that are skilled and experienced in this type of construction, but if you can pull it off, you might just end up with an incredibly unique space that is secure, green and economical!

Some additional reading on this type of home/build can be found here:

If you’ve got a shipping container home or build that you’d like to have photographed, get in touch with Roberto to discuss options!

Opening a Restaurant? Here’s one mistake not to make…

19 Feb

It’s not an uncommon dream to want to start a restaurant… I admit, it’s definitely something I fantasize about from time to time, particularly when I’m resting happily after a successful dinner party.  And there have definitely been a number of beer-aided discussions of exactly what it would look like if I were to create my own menu for any of the London pubs that we frequent when we’re visiting our family and friends (Main takeaways from these brainstorms: fewer overcooked, gray hamburgers and more buffalo wings!)

Unfortunately, as easy as it is to dream about, actually opening and running a successful restaurant is incredibly difficult. Hundreds of articles, books and blog posts discuss how and why restaurants don’t succeed.  The commonly held myth that 9 out of 10 restaurants fail in the first year has since been replaced by the data-backed statistic that approximately 60% don’t make it, but that’s still an edgy number onto which you might pin your dream.

Articles related to starting a restaurant:

These days, the recipes can only get you so far.  Any new business, particularly a small business coming into an already crowded market, needs a good marketing plan.  One of the best ways I’ve been taught about marketing is also one of the simplest:  To market effectively, don’t think about how you would sell your product or service, rather think about the value of the product or service, and market that. For example, if you’re trying to market a house cleaning service, instead of trying to sell a clean bathroom and laundered clothes, think of yourself as selling potential clients free time with their families, lower stress when they have fewer things on their to do list, and a relaxing environment to come home to.

As part of a good marketing strategy, you’ll need a website, a social media presence (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, etc) and print materials, and part of creating a strong set of online and hard copy marketing materials is getting the photography right.  A surprising number of websites, pamphlets and menus have poor photos, which can make a business look tired, dated, and put them at a disadvantage right from the start.

There’s a pretty good amount of data that shows exactly how people look at websites – the research is fascinating and insightful:

Google results for any search string will return tens, hundreds, even thousands of items.  Potential customers and clients are not short of choices, and making the upfront investment in professional photography for your business helps you present a professional and polished image, which keeps people reading your site or materials, and increases the chance that they will inquire about your services or products.

Roberto Farren Photography has recently launched a new branch of his photography business, specializing in capturing the architectural and interior design of your space, as well as the details of your small business.  Get in touch to see how professional photography can be the first step in creating a successful marketing strategy, and give your small business the best possible chance of success!

RFP Architecture, Interior and Landscape Photography

Architecture and Interiors: Travel photography

18 Feb

One of our favorite thing to do, budget and time permitting, is to travel.  Roberto (of Roberto Farren Photography) and I have been together nearly 10 years, and our relationship is almost based on travel. I am from New England, and was living here when we first met.  Bob is a Londoner by birth, and we met while I was on vacation in England, looking at schools to apply to for my Masters program in Educational Psychology. Our first year together was spent over 3000 miles apart, but we still managed to see each other nearly 20 times, with Roberto visiting Boston a dozen times, me traveling to London 6 times, and meeting up in Portugal and Paris as well.

After that first year, we have always lived in the same country, but we’ve continued traveling together ever since!  We’ve added Germany, Spain, Scotland, Austria, Belgium, Slovakia and a number of new places in the US to our list.  We’ve also learned a lot about traveling from each other.  I come from a family where every last minute is planned, and not a site is left unseen, even if you’re seeing it from the car at 60 miles per hour.  Bob’s style of travel is to plan nothing, and experience cities by sitting in cafes and bars, trying out the language (he’s incredibly talented at picking up foreign languages), and speaking to locals. Together, we’ve found a happy medium that works great for us. I get to plan a few key sites/museums/neighborhoods that I want to visit, and in between, we relax, eat and drink in small bars and cafes.  It’s the best of both worlds!

As much fun as I have snapping away with my point and click, it’s never my photos that end up on our walls, and it’s definitely not mine that we look at when we’re feeling like taking a walk down memory lane. Architectural photography and landscape photography aren’t nearly as easy as finding a beautiful view, a stunning building or a gorgeous sunset.  I can stand behind Roberto and take the “same” photo, but the results will be entirely different.  It takes patience, timing, a knowledge of composition, an understanding of light and exposure, and a huge amount of technical expertise to capture the images he takes home from our travels.  His photographs have such warmth and vibrance that I am immediately back at that moment.  Whether I’m shivering on a lobsterman’s dock in Maine, or drinking beer in the sun in a small village in Portugal, I’m brought back to the sights, smells and laughter that we’ve had on our wonderful travels together.

I’m thrilled that Roberto has now launched a new branch to his photography business, and in addition to shooting weddings and events, he will now be shooting architecture, interiors and landscape over at RF Photography.  More on his new venture to come!

The Kiddo Quandary: Inviting children to your wedding and reception – Pros and Cons

14 Aug

As a wedding photographer’s assistant to (and one-time wedding planner with) Roberto of Roberto Farren Photography, I’ve seen a ton of different approaches to the wedding day. Some are more serious, faith-based ceremonies, some are itching to get the drinks poured and the music blasting, and some are relaxed, laughter-filled events focused on friends and family.

Kids are, at minimum, a part of most extended families (hey, we were all there at some point) but it’s not always clear if it’s appropriate to include them in your wedding celebrations. Here are some pros and cons to think of if you’re considering this question for your own wedding.

Pros of including kids:

  • Cuteness: Who doesn’t love watching a tiny flower girl and ring bearer toddle down the aisle? Stick a flower crown on a niece and a bow tie on the nephew, and you’ve got great wedding photos at the ready!
Cambridge Harvard wedding photography

These two cuties led the way to the party after Caitlin and Aaron’s Harvard wedding ceremony.

  • They’re usually hysterical: Whether they’re sprinting down the aisle or asking questions at full volume at the ceremony, kids keep it real. If your ceremony is relaxed and not overly formal, these funny interruptions just add to the laid back, family-focused feel.
  • They get the dancing going: If you’ve ever been to a wedding with kids, you know that they’re usually the first ones on the dance floor. Kids love dancing, and definitely break the ice for adults to join them.

Cons of including kids:

  • Unpredictability: Even the most well behaved munchkin is prone to freaking out when they’re in constricting clothes, with 100 people looking at them and they’re supposed to sit still for an hour.
  • Catering: You’ll probably have to accommodate for younger palates when planning your menu, and this might incur an extra cost. Talk to your caterer or event planner for options.
  • Early departures: Members of your family will most likely be drawn away from your reception early in order to get little ones washed up and into bed at a reasonable hour.
London wedding photographer

Claire’s two nieces wrote and read the sweetest note to Joe and Claire at their recent London wedding.

Tips:

  • The Kids’ table: Don’t separate super young (or anxious) kids from their parents, but designate a kids-centered area where more independent kids can hang out.
  • Plan activities: Keep them occupied! Depending on the various ages that may be attending, plan some activities for the kids. Things like games, coloring books and little toys, will keep them happy when they get bored with a three-course meal, and they always love a photobooth!
  • Hire a sitter: Make sure you include the parents when making this decision, but getting outside help to look after kids can be a great help. Ensure everyone is clear on the guidelines (what times the sitter is around, responsibilities, location, etc) but this takes some of the pressure off of parents and lets them relax a bit more while they celebrate your wedding with you.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Be realistic about what you want on your wedding day, plan accordingly, and communicate clearly. People would rather know ahead of time what’s expected of them and their families. They’ll appreciate knowing what the plan is, and the ability to prepare their little ones will help the day run smoothly for both of you.

Thanks for reading,

Erin

Don’t forget to ‘Like’ Roberto Farren Photography on Facebook.

Wedding Music – More First Dance Songs

13 Aug

I enjoy writing these music posts… as a photographer’s assistant for Roberto Farren Photography, I’m often involved in logistics, people, and details.  However it’s the speeches and the music that are often what really sets the tone for the celebration, makes people slow down, and more often than not, tear up. Here are a few more of my ever-growing list of top first dance songs:

  • For once in my life, Stevie Wonder – There are easily a dozen Stevie Wonder songs that could have made this list, but this one is my fave, partly because it was my sister’s first dance song, but also because it’s happy, it’s fun, and it’s easy to dance to. This song reminds me of someone that feels like they absolutely won first prize when they met their partner, and is totally unashamed of shouting it out.
  • She’s got a way, Billy Joel – Every once in a while, you get a couple that decides that one will choose the first dance song and surprise the other. If it’s a bride being surprised, this is a classic. From Billy Joel’s first album, ‘She’s got a way’ is a less peppy but very honest and loving song, and it’s a wonderful dedication to your partner as a first dance.
  • Make you feel my love, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Adele, Garth Brooks, Shawn Colvin, Neil Diamond, etc – A song that works for any couple, regardless of what type of music you like! Not everyone is a fan of Bob Dylan’s singing voice, but it is undeniable that he is one of the best songwriters ever, and gosh, does he nail it with this song. This song isn’t about standing on the roof shouting, it’s about sitting together, holding hands, and looking into each other’s eyes. The lyrics reflect traditional wedding vows, and detail all the ways you would be there for each other as you enter your marriage.  And if you aren’t a fan of the gravelly rasp in Dylan’s later tunes, you’ve got a whole host of alternatives to check out!

And now that those three are up, three more have popped into my head… more to come!

Thanks for reading,

Erin

Don’t forget to ‘Like’ Roberto Farren Photography on Facebook.

Pets and animals at weddings – tips

25 Jul

To many people, pets are an important part of the family.  In addition to being fun to play with and cute to look at, they have awesome side effects like lowering blood pressure, lowering risk for depression and even lowering cholesterol.

It’s no wonder that couples often incorporate family pets into their wedding day. Whether the family pooch is serving as the ring bearer or a member of the wedding party, getting your pet involved is a great way to personalize your wedding day, and you’ll get some great wedding photos as well!  Here are some tips and things to consider if you’re thinking about incorporating your pet in your wedding ceremony or celebration:

  1. Practice. Humans practice at weddings, and the same should go for any animals involved. Allow them to be familiar with the path they’ll be taking, and make sure they’re responsive to any commands that you’ll be using on the day.
  2. Don’t forget that pets, dogs especially, are little emotion barometers. Darwin knew it, you shouldn’t forget it. If you’re nervous, sad or scared, your pet may pick up on it, and react accordingly. Know your pet, and be mindful of how they’ll act and react in certain situations.
  3. Be realistic about your pet’s “bolt factor” before trusting them with anything that’s critical to the ceremony (like a reading) or expensive (like a ring).
  4. Get to the groomer. You’re looking your best, make sure Fido gets spiffed up as well! In addition to having them look dapper, this will hopefully also minimize a bunch of shedding on dark suits or muddy paws on white dresses.
  5. If you have an overly rambunctious pet, or a breed that some people might consider intimidating, don’t forget to consider your guests, especially little ones.

A number of cultures also incorporate animals that aren’t pets into their wedding ceremonies and celebrations.  Here are some of my favorites:

Elephant – The elephant is a large (har har) part of the groom’s procession, or baraat, in North Indian and Pakistani culture.  If you’ve got the budget and space for this, renting an elephant is a tremendous way to make an entrance!

White Horse – If you don’t have an elephant hanging around, a white horse is also a traditional conveyance for a groom. A female white horse is symbolic of pureness, practicality, and love.

Doves – Doves are a symbol of peace and eternal love, and you sometimes see them released during the wedding ceremony.

Thanks for reading,

Erin

Don’t forget to ‘Like’ Roberto Farren Photography on Facebook!

Forget Pinterest and Remember What Really Matters.

15 Jul

Your wedding is most likely going to be one of the biggest days of your life.  Other things might trump it (college graduations, your first child’s birth, finally standing in Julia Child’s perfectly replicated kitchen), but it’ll be up there as one of the flashbulb memories of your life.  It’s a celebration of you and your partner’s love for each other, and the commitment that you plan to share for the rest of your life.  Also, even if you’re only inviting a few people, it is still probably going to be an event that will take a fair amount of planning.  Special location, special clothes, rings, flowers, officiant – there are lots of parts of your wedding day that you’ll probably be arranging even if it’s just the two of you.  Add parents, friends, families, pets, children and other assorted guests, and I hate to break this to you, but you’ve got yourself an event.

Even if you revel in event planning and love getting all the details just right, planning a wedding can be overwhelming. Sorting out the logistics for two or tens or hundreds of people takes patience and no small amount of effort.  Add to that the increasing pressure to match the napkin rings to the shoelaces of your flower girls, and your “to-do” list just blew up.

As a wedding photographer’s assistant, let me tell you a little secret: The stuff doesn’t really matter.  Ask a friend about the best wedding they ever attended, and I can guarantee that they won’t mention the font on the invitations, the subtle hue of the chair sashes, or the style of the bridesmaids’ shoes.  They’re going to talk about the sweet vows that you shared with your spouse during the ceremony, the song that played while you danced with your father, the hilarious speech that the best man gave, and the great time they had dancing into the night.

Roberto Farren Photography

I don’t remember the meal or the name cards, but I do remember getting fairly weepy during the beautiful vows Emily and Carlos shared at their recent Boston wedding.

Weddings are about the people that make up your life, and those people you want around you while you pledge your love and commit your life to your partner.  Keep that in mind when you’re feeling overwhelmed about the wedding planning, and up to your neck in Pinterest, and don’t forget about your marriage while you’re planning your wedding.

One last thing: Here’s a wonderful article featured on Boston.com about a couple that completely changed their wedding plans in order to share their special day with someone who meant the world to them.  Kudos to the staff at Emerson Hospital for going above and beyond to make such a special memory for this family:

http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/concord/2013/07/couple_weds_at_emerson_hospital_so_dying_grandfather_can_att.html

Thanks for reading,

Erin

‘Like’ Roberto Farren Photography on Facebook.