Pub Tip: VSCO 00

Pub Tips is an ongoing series of blog posts specifically for other photographers. We photographers in New York City like to get together over drinks to swap information and chat. Sometimes one photographer mentions a problem they’re having and I immediately have just the right answer. What a great feeling! I am collecting these “pro tips” here, but calling them “pub tips” as I’m usually spouting them off while perched on a bar stool, sipping on a pint.

These are the things I would tell you if we were having a beer together.

brooklyn portrait photos

A question I’ve gotten is how I get my digital images to look the way they do. Most of what I do is done by correctly exposing my photos in camera and thinking about lighting, angles, and having a solid knowledge of my external flash and lights. “Look for the light.” as my friend Karen says. My main goal is always getting my photos right in camera. Good light and proper exposure make good images, period.

nyc engagement photos

However, I do edit my images in Adobe Lightroom, and for that, I use VSCO. It’s given me back a lot of what I miss about my older days in film: dreamy, creamy color, crispty whites and oh-so-slightly muted blacks. So far I’ve stuck with VSCO 01 which has lots of classic film looks. I have a few favorite presets from that pack that were made my own using a few tweaks (kind of like adding sautéed bell peppers to your already delicious box of Annie’s Shells & Cheddar. Yum!)

amber marlow photographer

If you have been debating adding VSCO to your workflow but haven’t quite worked up to spending the $119, they released two new film presets in what they’re calling VSCO 00 and they are ABSOLUTELY FREE. The films are Kodak 100 (color) and Kodak Tri-X (black and white). Each has a few variations on the theme, and all of the photos in this post have been processed using them so you can see them in action.

Happy editing!

p.s. because internet: I am not making a dime on this and Visual Supply Company has no idea who Amber Marlow is. I am just genuinely excited about this product and what it can do for your workflow.


Park Slope Engagement Photos

He smiles and gently brushes the curls from her eyes; she looks at him like he is the best thing on earth. Their love is so obvious.

These two live in Park Slope, Brooklyn like I do, so we started at a local favorite: Cafe Dada. After, we walked to Prospect Park to stand under “their” tree where they gather with friends after Saturday shabbat services on nice days.

They opted for dressed up engagement photos, and I love that her fire red dress makes her “pop” against the scenery. I can’t wait for their wedding in May!

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Brooklyn Elopement Photos | Richard & Simone

When you take your elopement photos in a record shop in Brooklyn and have a rockstar serve as bridesmaid, you are having a rock-n-roll elopement.

Richard and Simone were very specific: nothing too posey and overdone for their wedding photos, which is what I do best. I essentially hung out with them while they got married and took photos, and loved every second. Their wedding took place on April Fools day, and they told me that while they do celebrate in the UK, all pranks cease at noon. How civilized!

Erika Forster of Au Revoir Simone and Summer Moon served as witness and bridesmaid; she was incredibly lovely, and I’ve been listening to her music since. (Au Revoir Simone’s cover of Mazzy Star’s Fade Into You makes me so fucking happy.)

After their ceremony, we headed to Williamsburg’s Rough Trade in Brooklyn, where they let us wander the stacks and take photos. There were bonafide made-me-miss-the-90’s listening stations, and a giant photo booth. We finished up with some twirly wedding photos on the Williamsburg waterfront.

I got this note back from her:

Thank you, so much for these, they’re exactly what we wanted. Rick’s Dad just rang and said that he loved them too; he said they showed just how happy the two of us were on the day, and that it was awesome to see…So glad they’re not too posey posed and more a document of the day that we had. They’re basically perfect.

Well then. This photographer seems to be a bit weepy all of a sudden.

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Classic Grand Central Terminal Elopement + Central Park in a Snowstorm

Early on the morning of Eimear and Jon’s wedding they called me to confirm a change of plans: their elopement was NOT happening in Central Park. I grabbed my glasses off of the nightstand and peered out of my window to see what we were up against. Brooklyn was covered in several inches of snow, and it was coming down hard.

No way.

I mean, we could have made it work. Whatever you want for your elopement, as long as it is legal, moral, and at least somewhat reasonably safe, I’m in. Bundling up so you can say “I do” in the middle of a snowstorm is absolutely in my wheelhouse. Judie the officiant confirmed she would, too (last winter she shared some of her hand warmers with me and they are a total game changer; between them and my unsexy oversize puffer coat, I can run around anywhere in frigid temps). However, this duo opted for a Grand Central Terminal wedding instead, and it worked out beautifully.

Eimear’s anemone, lambs ear, rose and ranunculus bouquet was crafted by Michelle Edgemont. It coordinated nicely with her vintage-y bridal ensemble and the classic art deco details of Grand Central Terminal.

We made it to the park afterward. Jon and Eimear wanted some outdoor shots, and to be honest, I really wanted to run around in the snow for a little bit, too. We bought the last clear umbrella from an umbrella/shoe shine/flower salesman (only in New York!) and caught a cab to a pretty corner of Central Park. There we were able to take a few brave shots with the snow swirling around us.

It was epic.

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Grand Central Terminal

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Eloping in NYC: My Favorite Elopement Day Hair Trick (which I used for my birthday party)

On my 25th birthday I took a photo of myself in a mirror and I’ve been doing it every year since. I plan to do this for the rest of my life.

On Friday I turned 33.

nyc blowout

This year I got a blowout; a drastic difference from my natural spiral curls that freaked my friends out in the best way.

I can’t stop running my fingers through it! I am growing my hair long for the first time in my life, and it’s reached the point that I have NO IDEA what to do with it, so I’ve been piling it in a bun on top of my head and calling it good. For my party, though, I wanted to wear it down for the first time in months, but styling it was less “fabulous curly locks” and more “drowned rat”.

Luckily getting a blowout in New York City is pretty simple; virtually any salon will pop you into a chair with little-to-no notice and send you on your way half an hour later looking fabulous for about forty bucks. I’ve saved a LOT of out-of-town elopement brides with this trick. There’s always a salon nearby when you’re in Manhattan, and you can make online appointments at DryBar – a salon that does blowouts and updos exclusively – which has locations all over the City.