We’ve got another feature on Moment Junkie!

I'm a Moment Junkie: The Best of Wedding Documentary Photography

CRU Staff Portraits in Boston

Boston in the fall is wonderful, and shooting photos of friends makes it even better. Jess, a friend from college, coaxed me (Jon) to drive up with the promise of seeing gorgeous trees and cuddling with her rescue dog, Bear. These three Bostonians grew up at the same church and share a love of travel, good coffee, and the skill of talking to absolute strangers. They also have the same job: they’re all on staff with the Epic Movement (epicmovement.com), a ministry of Cru, and love engaging with people in spiritual discussions.

Surprise Proposal in New Orleans || Audubon Zoo, New Orleans Louisiana

Here’s another super-secret-surprise-proposal that you don’t want to miss. I (Jon) have been fortunate enough to know this couple for quite a few years. When Vince contacted me about my early June availability, I knew something special was going down… and this time, it was taking place in New Orleans, LA.

Jen + a girlfriend had been on a 5-day cruise prior to our Wednesday arrival. In collaboration with her friend, we flew in Wednesday afternoon, checked into our hotel, and spent the day exploring this charming city. The last time us guys were in NOLA, we were doing Hurricane Katrina relief work, and it was a completely different city.

Come Thursday morning, we took the public trolley to the Audubon Zoo and camped out a few hours early. The ladies’ cruise ship docked earlier that morning, so we wanted to be there first to gather our bearings. We waited, and waited.. and waited some more. Through my telephoto lens, I eventually spotted them walking our way… with Jen unknowingly walking into a big surprise. When she set her eyes on Vince, she exclaimed, “What the…. what are you doing here?” They hugged, chatted, and eventually, she said, “Yes!” (special mention needs to go to Vince for using a Star Wars themed moleskine calendar book, with hand-punched spacing in the book for the engagement ring)

After taking a break from all the excitement, we grabbed lunch at a great little luncheonette called The Camellia Grill. Hearty food, entertaining staff, and a no-frills, “did-we-just-travel-back-in-time?” lunch experience were had by all. If you haven’t been there before, go. It’s what a diner should be, and we can say that because we’re all from New Jersey.

We returned to the Audubon Zoo, where Vince + Jen joined me for an impromptu engagement session. We climbed up trees, passed a swamp monster, spent a few minutes in the Hurricane Simulator (thank you Jen for obliging), all before the zoo closed its doors. We split up for our dinner plans, and reunited over a famous order of beignets at Cafe duMonde. We polished off our night at the phenomenal Pat O’Brien’s— my first ever experience with duelling pianos. The only downside to our day was when it ended.

Congratulations once again to our friends Vince + Jen! Thank you for allowing Dreamlite Photography to be a part of your surprise engagement.

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A Night in the Wild || Tinicum State Park, PA

(Stay tuned for images from Andrew’s upcoming wedding THIS weekend)

When you are informed that your good friend’s bachelor party is an overnight camping trip, there’s only one thing that you can think about (if you are a photographer, at least…): “Ridiculously awesome lighting possibilities.” Certainly, one could guess that this environment, “the wilderness”, would be on Andrew’s list of top choices for his bachelor party. He’s fond of everything outdoors- blazing campfires, roasted hot dogs, late night conversations, pale ale and good company. We spent the night stoking the campfire with a few good beers, a cuban-seed Don Simon, and planning pranks for whoever went to the nearby outhouse. Earlier, the guys had gone freshwater fishing to no avail. Our plan for the next morning was breakfast (pigs in a blanket, campfire style) and one more try at some fish. Below are some of our favorite images:


Sue + New York City

(All photographs taken November 2010)

As photographers, it’s always a blessing to catch a small break from the normal routine of weddings, engagements and portrait sessions. While we love what we do, every once in a while we need to take a breather and find an outlet to recharge ourselves both creatively and mentally. When Sue had contacted Jon a few weeks back, her email suggested shooting something along the lines of “fun.. fashion.. free spirited…crazy.” Those keywords were enough to get things rolling.

Below is the culmination of the few hours we spent adventuring Harlem & the surrounding neighborhoods.

(Special thanks to Sue for being way too cool to work with. Also, thanks to Lakeshore Learning Center for suggesting the touchable bubbles we used that evening. Although our frigid fingers prevented us from successfully collecting and stacking the bubbles, y’all should try it out and share with us your experiences.)


Peter + Grace’s Proposal

So… I almost missed the actual proposal.

Peter and I planned to meet at Christmas Eve noontime behind the Busch Student Center at Rutgers. Originally, Peter was planning to take Grace to the Quiet Lounge (a silent study room) and play for her a slideshow he had put together. This location was significant because it’s where they first studied together, thus very fitting for a starting point. Since all of the university facilities were closed for winter break, we were frantically (read: jon was frantic and peter stayed surprisingly calm, as always) trying to find an alternate location. As we walked by the supposedly non-operating automatic sliding doors behind the BSC, we heard a “bzzzrrrrttt” and the doors opened. After a little setup, Peter went back to the car to get Grace as I found my hiding spot (she thought they were at Rutgers so Peter could drop off “residency application papers” for med school).

As with most engagement proposals, Dreamlite’s preferred m.o. is what we call “photographing ninja style”. Meaning, we choose to photograph the entire proposal without obstructing or being noticed. For the first half of Peter’s time with Grace, this method of photography seemed like an excellent idea. When they exited the student center and headed to SERC, where the actual proposing would take place, the distance between myself and them grew farther and farther apart. Since following them from behind was too risky, which left many opportunities to be spotted, I decided to get to the other side of SERC. *cue the adrenaline-pumping music*

I sprinted for the next 5 minutes with my gear in hand (d700+80-200mmAFD and d700+35mmf2, for your photo geeks) from the Busch Student Center all the way to SERC, circumventing along the way two research buildings, the chemistry library, and the Center of Alcohol Studies building, all the while praying that Peter hadn’t yet gotten down on one knee. ((Btw, thank you Busch Campus for having wonderful buildings that are conveniently not spaced apart.))

Just as I arrived on the other side of SERC, I saw Peter reaching into his pocket for something and beginning to get down on one knee. I whipped out my camera, and clicked away as another beautiful moment unfolded. I made it after all, and it was all pretty sweet.

Lastly, I want to leave you all with the first two lines from the song, “Lemonade” by Chris Rice that accompanied Peter’s slideshow for Grace:

So go ahead and ask her,
For a happy ever after…

Congratulations to our friends Peter & Grace, and to everyone checking our blog, enjoy the latest photos!

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Jonathan + Lillian

Perhaps their “Thank You” card says it all:

Months earlier, my (Jon’s) aunt and uncle from Massachusetts had contacted me and asked if I would do a photo session with them in NYC. Admittedly a bit nervous, I gladly agreed and we setup a date on our calendars. This wasn’t just any photo session– Auntie Lillian had shared with me that they never had a photographer on their wedding day (rather a small & intimate wedding ceremony), and she always wanted professional photos done of her and my uncle. On top of that, her milestone birthday had just past (not sure if I’m allowed to say, but contrary to how young she looks, she didn’t just turn 30), all the more wanting photos to cherish. Lastly, being relatives of mine, I knew these photos had to be special– time honored, personal, memorable– yet far from tacky & cheesy.

During our afternoon together, we ventured mostly through Central Park. Below you will also see some random images, but none are posted without a purpose. (photo#3) My aunt’s an artist (“self-teaching” oil painter- see her blog for definition), and absolutely loves flowers. In fact, check out her work here: http://lilyoilpaints.blogspot.com/ ). Also, she loves cats. (photo#14) When we saw these cats and dogs offered up for adoption, I knew she would be tempted to bring them all home. Thankfully, she didn’t, or our photo session would get a whole lot complicated. Other places we visited included a thrift store and the classically beautiful brownstone buildings.

So this one’s for you guys. Happy belated Auntie Lillian, and to you both, thank you for allowing me to be a part of it all.

Steve + Tesh || The Surprise Proposal in Chicago, IL

Hi Everyone! This is Jon writing up a very special post for a very special couple.

the background: Steve is one of my closest and oldest friends. So when he called me a few weeks ago, I thought it was another random phone call to check up on me. Instead, he called to tell me he was planning on proposing to his girlfriend and I had to book a ticket to Chicago the next free weekend I had. Within a few days, Steve had purchased the ring and I had confirmed my ticket.

the cover: Just in case, we concocted a whole story as to why I was flying into Chicago. I was scheduled to meet clients there for an engagement session on Saturday, thus leaving the rest of my weekend free to hang out with Steve and his then-girlfriend Tesh.

the location: After much research, Steve decided he would propose to her at the Garfield Park Conservatory, right off of the Green Line. This conservatory exhibits an amazing array of plant life from all over the world– palm trees, ferns, cacti, banana trees, etc.. Steve had secretly scouted the conservatory the weekend before I arrived, all the while Tesh thought he was at a teaching workshop. He then chose the perfect location to propose (the ‘Fern Room’) and sent me the details via email.

the friday before: I arrived at O’Hare around 1pm on Friday and immediately headed to the conservatory. I scouted the place out and quickly found the spot Steve wanted me to stand. As you will see in the photos below, the magnificent view of the Fern Room hits you even before you step into the room itself. Then I met up with Steve and Tesh after they had gotten off work, and we all grabbed dinner at Joy Yee’s and spent the night hanging out.



We visited the city a few weeks back to attend a photography seminar. Along the way, we stopped by our buddy Weber’s place in Greenwich Village and had lunch. Snagged this shot of their bulldog Zoe in all her beauty. (not posed~ she hopped on the bed and looked our way.)