Tag Archives: Photography

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

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:


Thanks for reading,


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More songs for your first dance: Now with more ‘Bens’!

3 Jul

I quite liked writing my recent post on alternatives to traditional first dance songs for your wedding.  I was staying with my parents for the weekend, so aside from my mom being confused as to why I was tearing up at my computer early on a Saturday morning (damn you Conor Oberst), it was a fun and easy post to write.  Seconds after I posted, I started to think of loads of awesome wedding songs that I had left off, and I got annoyed with myself, and had to go back into the post and add “more to come” so that I could carry on with my day.   That said, here are my next 3 songs, in no particular order.

  • Such Great Heights, The Postal Service – I’m a little bit partial to this one as it is kind of our song, ever since I put it on the first mix tape I made for Bob when we started dating (look it up kids: cassette tape).  At the very last minute it didn’t end up being our first dance song when we were married.  Both Roberto and I are hands-down-amazing dancers, but it’s a high tempo song with a long intro and it’s a little bit difficult to dance to and unfortunately we didn’t have time to work it out.  However if you practice and pull it off, it’s an awesome, upbeat song that will definitely fill up the dance floor half way through!
Roberto Farren Photography

Lorrie and John steal a quiet moment during their recent Boston wedding.

  • Forever, Ben Harper – A really slow, quiet song – Just Ben and his guitar.  But the lyrics are lovely, and if you’re not award winning ballroom dancers, it’s definitely the kind of song you can just sort of sway to together.
Roberto Farren Photography

Colleen and Emmet’s recent Boston engagement photography session.

  • The Luckiest, Ben Folds – If you’ve got the kind of story where, like me, meeting your spouse was 98% down to happy chance, then this might be your song.  It’s super sweet, and it’s one of those songs where the lyrics manage to say exactly what you want to say.

Again, definitely more on this to come…

But for now, thanks for reading!


Roberto Farren Photography


“Whatever our souls are made of…”

27 Jun

“Whatever our souls are made of,
his and mine are the same.”

-Emily Brontë

Roberto Farren Photography

Ben and Julia’s lovely wedding at Castleton in New Hampshire.

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Engagement photos: Do I need them?

26 Jun


Thanks for reading,


Roberto Farren Photography

…Just kidding.  But the rest of this post is going to be a longer version of ‘yes’.  Getting engagement photos, in addition to giving you and your spouse-to-be the opportunity to have some really wonderful portraits of the two of you in normal clothes, is important for a number of reasons.

Roberto Farren Photography

A shot from Nicole and Shane’s relaxed engagement shoot in Boston’s Public Gardens.

  • It’s your wedding photography test drive.  There are plenty of posts and lists of things you should run through when deciding on your wedding photographer.  I won’t reinvent the wheel here, but once you DO decide on a photographer, take advantage of the opportunity to get out there and work together.  See how the shots come out… if they’re exactly what you dreamed they’d be, awesome.  If they’re close, but maybe a little different than what you were hoping for, give honest feedback.  If they’re way off the mark, cut and run.  You don’t want the added stress during your wedding that your big day might not be captured in the way you imagined.  Your wedding is a massive investment of time, money and effort on your part, make sure you’re getting what you want.
  • I can’t stress this enough, but use the opportunity to establish a rapport.  Your wedding is probably (definitely) going to be on a tight schedule, and you’ll be nervous, excited, (insert 100 other emotions here) and probably surrounded by about a hundred people who want your attention.  Get used to communicating with your photographer, and let them get used to working with you.  There’s a lot more to amazing wedding photography than an expensive camera and a pretty backdrop.  Banter, posing, and keeping the couple happy are hugely important to making you feel relaxed and beautiful in front of the camera (and if I do say so myself, these are some of Roberto Farren’s strengths).
  • Learn how to werk.  Unless you’re a model, you probably don’t know how to pose, and it’s totally not as easy as it looks.  Working as a photographer’s assistant, I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard Roberto tell his couples “feels weird, looks great” to reassure them while posing for their engagement or wedding photography.  For example, while the ladies out there might know some basics (weight on your back leg, etc), did you know that tipping your chin up and leaning forward towards the camera may make you feel like this llama, but it reduces any potential for double chins, elongates your neck, and makes you look a scientifically proven 62% hotter*?
Roberto Farren Photography

A sweet moment during Sara and Brian’s engagement session in the North End of Boston.

These are a few key reasons why you should definitely, definitely invest in those engagement photos.  Apart from being a great learning experience for you and your betrothed, it’s always awesome to have some wonderful photographs of the one that you love during one of the most exciting times in your relationship.

Thanks for reading,


Roberto Farren Photography

* = not actually backed up by data or science

Very Hungry Caterpillars and Old Lace: The personal touches that really make a wedding

21 Jun

Today will be the first of what will almost certainly be a number of blogs about some of my favorite personal touches that couples include in their weddings.  Weddings, for the most part, follow the same overall story arc: Ceremony, vows, party.  There are special clothes, food, drinks, flowers, family, friends, outpourings of love and affection and usually some very animated dancing.  However, it is usually the smallest of details that makes your wedding YOUR wedding.  Here are a few of my favorites from some of the recent weddings that I have helped to cover with Roberto Farren Photography in New England.

  • At Erin and Randy’s autumn wedding at The Stone House in Little Compton, RI,  Randy’s son and groomsman carried the wedding rings in his grandfather’s baseball mitt.  Not only was this a nod to a favorite pastime of the couple, but it was also a touching way to involve 3 generations of Randy’s family in their sweet, personal ceremony.
Roberto Farren Photography

Randy’s son presents the wedding rings in his grandfather’s baseball mitt at a recent New England wedding.

  • Mike and Denise’s recent wedding at Dante Restaurant in Cambridge, MA was full of small details with big meaning for the couple.  Denise, a children’s librarian, used some amazing origami skills to create all of the bouquets and boutineers from up-cycled book pages.  If that sounds impressive, you don’t know the half of it… she also created the table centerpieces and other decorations for their reception in the same way!
Roberto Farren Photography

Denise’s bridal bouquet, handmade from the up-cycled pages of children’s books

  • Another sweet touch from this same wedding: Denise’s mom and grandmother wore the same wedding dress.  Denise continued the tradition by having her wedding dress made, and asking the tailor to incorporate the gorgeous, hand-stitched lace from her mother and grandmother’s dress into her new dress.  The result was wonderful.  An absolutely beautiful dress that suited Denise perfectly, with which she carried on a lovely family tradition.
Roberto Farren Photography

Denise’s gorgeous wedding dress, made by hand and incorporating the lace from her grandmother’s dress.

One last thing: Like I said in my post about creating your shot list, give your wedding photographer a heads up about these special details.  Unless they’re part of the ceremony or speeches, it’s possible that they could go unnoticed by those that aren’t in the know.  These are the moments in your wedding that you’ve put the most thought into, make sure that you give the photographer the opportunity to capture them for you.

Thanks for reading,


Roberto Farren Photography


“Seize the moments of happiness…”

20 Jun

“Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved!
That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly.”

-Leo Tolstoy

Roberto Farren Photography

A happy snap from Chris and Brittany’s recent engagement session in New Hampshire.

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Shot lists and the Art of Squirrel Wrangling

19 Jun
Roberto Farren Photography

The complete bridal party at Cassandra and Sean’s recent wedding in Boston.

Oh, the shot list.  As a wedding photographer’s assistant, the shot list can be either my best friend or my worthy adversary.  This list of all the portraits and photos that the newly married couple want with specific groups and sub-groups of family and friends is often… how can I put this… logistically challenging.

Imagine trying to organize 45 excitable squirrels for their Squirrel family portrait.  Then add an open bar…or acorns, maybe acorns work better with this metaphor… and now you’re getting closer.

Before each wedding, I usually spend 30-45 minutes with the photographer carefully reorganizing the list of family portraits in order to move as seamlessly from one shot to the next.  A well-organized and well-executed shot list is my white whale, something I am always striving to reach, but rarely manage without tired feet and surprisingly ink-smudged hands.  We always get there in the end, but not without sacrificing a few sailors.

As it usually overlaps with cocktail hour, this is where I get my cardio workout in, as I’m shuttling continuously between the bar and the couple.  There is a lot of this: “Brother Squirrel, you are on deck, Brother Squirrel’s girlfriend, you are on double deck.  Then you are both stepping back out for a moment, but please don’t go too far, and we are going to add Parents of the Groom Squirrel… Does anyone know if Uncle Squirrel has headed back to the bar?”

And a lot of this: “Pardon me, Hi Uncle Squirrel… I’m assisting the photographer today.  The Bride and Groom have requested that you join them for a few family portraits… May I show you the way?  Yes, I’ll wait while you get a refill…”

It is always important to get the wedding shot list to your photographer in advance, and if possible, talk through the list together.  While your original list might be hundreds of photographs long, be realistic about time and about what shots are truly important to capture for you and your new spouse.

For example: A photograph with your aging grandmother, who helped to raise you and encouraged you throughout your education and career = KEEPER.  Photographs with each of your 27 third cousins (twice removed) who you met once in 1987 at a barbecue = Maybe worth considering as a group shot?

Some additional tips on creating the shot list for your wedding:
– Remember, YOU want to join the cocktail hour as well.  Plan accordingly, and think about shooting some of your family/friend photographs before the ceremony, after the meal, etc. Make sure you communicate this to your wedding photographer in advance.
– If you have the option, plan ahead and arrange for a waiter to bring a couple of beverages and a small selection of whatever yummy treats are being passed around for the newly-wedded couple.  Hungry people are not typically happy people.  Keep yourself happy, and it will shine through in your wedding photos.
– Give people a heads up if they’ll be involved in the group wedding photographs.  It allows them to reapply lipstick if needed, and also makes them easier to find for the photographer’s assistant.
– Ask a friend or relative to help point out relevant folks to the photographer’s assistant.  The assistant should always do the chasing, organizing, and arranging for portraits, but it expedites the process if they know who to chase, organize, arrange.
– Allot AT LEAST 5 minutes per shot.  That sounds like an abundance of minutes for a quick snap… but when you factor in rounding up everyone (including the cousin who has disappeared to the restroom, the father of the bride who has gone to the bar to entertain a work friend, and the aunt who has wandered away to take in the lovely view) you’d be surprised how quickly those 5 minutes will slip by.  Plus, let’s be honest… weddings are usually running a little bit late… Allotting a bit of extra time here will allow you to complete the required photographs, and might even let you catch up to your original schedule!
– Any uncomfortable family situations?  Hey, it happens.  If possible, give the photographer a subtle heads up in advance.  This day is about you, and you should surround yourself with people that you love.  Every so often, however, there might be a little bit of awkwardness to navigate.  Reduce your own stress by allowing the wedding photographer to subtly keep exes and tiffs away from each other and you whenever possible!

– The shot list should also include any must-have photos for your wedding day that are outside the obvious pictures that your photographer will be looking for.  Some of my favorite examples for the team at Roberto Farren Photography have covered some amazing moments, including a saber arch presented by the US Marine Corps brothers of the bride, a surprise serenade from the bride to her new husband, a wedding portrait at the historic bridge where the groom proposed, detail shots of the chuppah that was made from one of the groom’s grandmother’s only retained possessions when she fled Poland during World War II, and portraits of the newlyweds with their rascally (but much beloved) dogs.  (Sorry, it turns out I’ve got lots of favorites…)

Roberto Farren Photography

The bride’s US Marine Corps brothers & friends salute the newlyweds with a Saber Arch.

FINALLY: Don’t forget about the 2 most important people of the day!  Don’t overdo the group shots and lose out on shots of the newlyweds.  Be sure to arrange times for some portraits of the bride and groom, whether it is as a Sneak Peek, directly after the ceremony, or while your guests are enjoying the wedding meal.  In addition to these being some of the most important photographs of the day, it also gives you a few minutes of down time to connect in what is always a crazy, busy and wonderfully hectic day.

In the end, approach your shot list with the same mindset that you should approach anything in your wedding.  Ask for what you want, be honest and upfront about what is a “must-have”, but be realistic about what is doable given the time, the setting, and the squirrels involved.

Thanks for reading,



“For small creatures such as we…”

18 Jun

“For small creatures such as we
the vastness is bearable only through love.”
Carl Sagan

Roberto Farren Photography

Newlyweds at Colt State Park, RI

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