I love a good scary story. Whether it’s a spooky tale told around a crackling campfire, a creepy novel that makes you sleep with your lights on, or a good horror movie, I just love the thrill of being scared.

Yet there are certain things that are even more terrifying than fiction. Like erratic drivers, unidentifiable food in your refrigerator or your high school yearbook photo. And, of course, bad wedding video. Yes, perhaps you yourself know a loved one who has suffered from such an unfortunate experience. By now we’ve all heard the stories. You may have even seen it on your nightly news or on Good Morning America. Because you only get married once, there’s only one chance to get your video right.

Your wedding day is unlike any other day. No revelation there. Which is why I always try to tell my brides-to-be that this investment is one that you keep forever, so it’s important to get it right. You could try a new restaurant and you may not be happy with the meal. That’s fine, you can go always go back to your favorite place next weekend. Or maybe you buy a pair of shoes and after a few days decide that they don’t look good with any of your outfits or they pinch your toes. You can exchange them for new ones. However, there’s no returning a bad wedding video and getting a whole new one.

Just like restaurants and shoes, there are many options for wedding video. A new video company seems to be added to the already crowded field every week. I can understand how a bride can get a little overwhelmed while considering her options. So how do you make the right choice?

Start by going to their website and take a few minutes to look around. View the samples they have posted on their website or social media pages and bring your inner film critic out. Do the samples look like they were filmed in the 90’s? Do they have cheesy graphics edited in? Is their camera work dark and shaky?

If that’s the case, sure they may be an affordable option but it’s not likely the kind of timeless film you’ll treasure for decades.

Also, take some time to try and get to know about their personality a bit. After all, they (along with your photographer) will be with you all day long and you’ll want to be sure their personality is a good fit for you. Sift through their blog or interact with them over email or the phone and see if they have a personality you can gel with. Are their filming methods going to be suitable for the day? Some videographers will flood you with obtrusive lights and be very present while a good videographer will melt into the background while capturing your whole day.

You’re also going to want to confirm that they utilize the latest equipment so that the film you receive looks as good as it can. A good DSLR camera is the way to go. And don’t forget to ask for a full length sample before deciding on whom you’ll hire. Most wedding cinematographers will post sample trailers on their website and social media pages but you’ll want to know exactly what your final, full length film is going to look like.

A talented and experienced professional can create something that not only will you treasure for the rest of your life, but your friends and family will enjoy just as much.

So grab your popcorn and leave the scary stuff to Hollywood.

Let’s talk about audio. When you hire a professional cinematographer for the most important day of your life, you’re going to hope that they are thinking about it. A lot, in fact.

Unfortunately, audio is something that many wedding videographers too often undervalue. All it takes is a poor quality equipment or the lack of proper audio hookups and you can loose that precious anecdote from your mom or your best friend forever.

When I first started Harborview Studios, the first thing I focused on wasn’t what kind of camera was I going to use but how I would capture audio. When I watched sample videos from other companies, the one thing that routinely stood out to me was the poor audio quality. This was not a mistake that I was eager to make with my productions.

The cardinal rule for audio is: the closer the microphone is to your subject, the clearer the audio will be.

If you ever watch a behind the scenes video of any Hollywood movie or TV show, you may catch the boom operator holding a long boom pole with a shotgun mic attached to the end. Oftentimes, that mic is being held inches away from the actor’s face, just out of frame and if there’s a wide shot where the boom operator can’t get close enough, the actors may be wearing a hidden lapel microphone somewhere on their clothing.

Make sure the mic is close by. That’s what I do. Minus the boom mic operator. That would just be weird.

When I film I use a variety of wireless and lapel mics as well as separate audio recorders that connect directly to a DJ or band’s soundboard. In addition, my cameras have mini shotgun mics that pick up desired ambient audio.

Is all of this coordination a lot of hard work? It sure is, but it’s absolutely key to making a high-end video worth watching over and over. These audio moments are what brings the whole film to life.

When is a wedding not a wedding? When it’s a bridal show that looks like an actual wedding with brides-to-be as the guests of honor. Such is the concept of The Not Wedding. An innovative new approach to a typical bridal show. I’m proud to announce my participation in Cape Cod’s first Not Wedding event taking place November 24, 2013, at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in Falmouth, MA. The Not Wedding is a way for future brides to not only meet potential vendors but to see them in action at a real looking (but fake) wedding, including a full ceremony and reception. Details and ticket information can be found at thenotwedding.com. Tickets are going fast so get yours today!

Some of the Not Wedding vendors recently had a chance to work with the couple getting “married” for this event, Peyton and Chris, for a Save the Date photo shoot at The Knob in Falmouth. Enjoy this video highlight of that day!

The Not Wedding from Harborview Studios on Vimeo.

During the ceremony, the rabbi called them a “power couple.” But for this highly successful NYC couple, this day was all about romance and tradition. After a 33 year relationship, on May 27, Holly and Nancy made it official along the beautiful shores of Cape Cod in the town of Dennis. The setting and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Without a cloud in the sky, they exchanged vows at a private residence overlooking Cape Cod Bay. The ceremony had a little bit of everything. tears, laughter, poetry and emotion. Once they smashed their respective glasses (although it took Nancy a few tries) the couple kissed, embraced and was greeted by a warm applause by their closest friends, family and their proud daughter, Haley.

After an extended photo session on a beautiful Dennis beach, Holly and Nancy joined their guests at the Cape Cod Museum of Art. Surrounded not only by their family and friends but by amazing works of art, they continued to celebrate their union by dancing the night away.

Holly and Nancy from Harborview Studios on Vimeo.

This upcoming Sunday, February 12th the Cape and Islands Wedding Group will be hosting one of Cape Cod’s most distinguished wedding events of the year! Between 12pm and 4pm you can visit the lush grounds of the New Seabury Country Club in Mashpee, MA where there will be live bands, a candy island, loads of tasty treats to sample, gorgeous tablescapes to feast your eyes on, and seminars by experts that will give you a peek into the insiders’ guide to weddings.

Cape Cod Celebrations will take you through how the professionals plan a wedding, Flowers by Anna will show you how to sculpt the perfect flower arrangement, and The Bartending Service will be there to help you show off some moves while shaking up your favorite cocktails. All of this and two fashion shows featuring stunning designer dresses at 1pm and 3pm.

And of course there are going to be fantastic raffles featuring prizes worth over $7,000 in value.

Naturally, I’ll be there as well and I’d love for you to stop by and say “hi.”

Tickets are $15 and available at the registration table on the day of the show.

All proceeds from ticket sales are being donated to the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Cape Cod.

To turn 13 is a thing of wonder. It’s that first big milestone in a young person’s life where you feel like something transcendental is happening. Something that puts you on the path to being a bigger and better you. In this ceremony that is laden with thousands of years of beautiful tradition within the Jewish faith, Maya was given the right of passage to be more responsible for her own self and to handle herself with more grace and confidence.

Maya’s big day was on a glorious summer day this past June 18th. Following a lovely service at Temple Chayai Shalom, in South Easton, MA, her mother, father, sister, and the rest of her family and close friends traveled north on I93 to the town of Quincy. Maya, accompanied by all of her friends, arrived with much fanfare via a classic styled yellow school bus. They all piled out and into the big white tent at Granite Links Country Club, which was set up with a beach theme as if to highlight “School’s over, let the fun begin!”

With DJ’s Scott and Cubey, the afternoon did not disappoint those in attendance who came with their dancing shoes on and for those lacking dancing shoes, festive flip flops were provided. Guests were treated to hours of varied entertainment, dancing and games, and the folks at Granite Links served up a wide array of tasty foods and desserts.

And so it was on this brilliant sunny summer afternoon, Maya and everyone who is close to her, made a lasting memory of a very special day.

How does one of the most renowned Nantucket wedding photographers style her own wedding? Tradition and inhibitions went out the window for this Nantucket wedding. The incredible backdrop of the Westmoor Farm combined with Zofia’s signature flare made for a gorgeous event. Elegant yet simple, down-to-earth vintage style gilded in romance. Every table was filled to the brim with homemade pies, macaroons and English toffee, and every guest’s face was beaming with happiness for Zofia and Mark. Gone were the bouquet tosses, cake-cutting, and the planned dances. Instead there was plenty of spontaneous fun to be had in a custom photo booth that was jam-packed with amorous guests all night, whirlwind dancing to both a band and a dj.

One thing that makes great footage and photos is having a bride and groom that are willing to be adventurous, having the spirit to take a slightly different direction with their photographer. Being a professional herself, Zofia knew exactly the woman she wanted to take her in those directions. Angelica Glass did just that. The couple looked right at home in the photo session with the suped-up vintage car and I’ve never seen a pair look more red-hot in a field of beach grass than Zofia and Mark did on that day.

During the ceremony one of the best preachers I’ve ever bore witness to said, “if you’re going to marry a man, you have to have a sense of humor.” Mark and Zofia have more than just a sense of humor. They have a love that is soft and powerful, an uncompromising light that shines in them, and a genuine kindness that is the essence of every successful relationship. Their love is the kind of feeling that people feature in hollywood films. It’s real romance, it’s beautiful and it’s true.

Thank you, Zofia and Mark, for graciously allowing me to capture your day.