The Linen Book

In this day and age where cell phones never leave our hands, where images pass our eyes at an almost dizzying rate, where there is at least one screen exploding with imagery in just about every room of the house, it can be easy to forget that photographs are not meant to solely inhabit the virtual world. Just as they always have since the camera was first invented, photographs have the greatest impression when they surround us in the tangible world.

My linen book. Slightly smaller than a full  leather wedding album , parent books are a beautiful way to say thank-you to your parents, whether just for raising you right or for all they did to make your wedding day a beautiful success. 

My linen book. Slightly smaller than a full leather wedding album, parent books are a beautiful way to say thank-you to your parents, whether just for raising you right or for all they did to make your wedding day a beautiful success. 

Linen wedding parent album by New Jersey wedding photographer Nan Doud Photography
Clean wedding album design by Princeton New Jersey wedding photographer Nan Doud Photography

After all, photographs are meant to adhere to our memory receptors, forever binding long term memories of relatively brief moments in our lives, thus anchoring and grounding us. This is why you may hear me repeat the mantra: prints matter.

I design your photo album with both the flow of the day and aesthetics in mind. Simple. Clean. Elegant. I select from the best of your wedding day images, saving you time and allowing you to get your album in your hands quickly for you to enjoy. When doing album design themselves, many couples end up delaying the process for years... even decades.

I design your photo album with both the flow of the day and aesthetics in mind. Simple. Clean. Elegant. I select from the best of your wedding day images, saving you time and allowing you to get your album in your hands quickly for you to enjoy. When doing album design themselves, many couples end up delaying the process for years... even decades.

Understanding the emotional and even psychological impact that the tangible print has on us as we grow up and grow old hopefully gives you a glimpse into why what photographers do is such important work. Yes, it's art. But it's more than art. These are the tangible visual hooks upon which some of our strongest memories, and the memories of those who have gone before us, are hung. You might look at a portrait of your grandma and suddenly you can hear her voice, smell her kitchen and feel the softness of her skin. Or an image may contain within it an entire story that your mom told you over and over whenever you looked at the picture or asked her about it.

Images are phenomenal memory cues! And without us even knowing it, these memories become more deeply imprinted on us when we simply live in the presence of these images that adorn our walls and mantles. They are that powerful.

Luxury wedding albums New Jersey wedding photographer
Good wedding album design doesn't just consist of cramming as many pictures as possible into a finite space. Storyline and design sense, as well as technical understanding of image quality and color play important roles.

Good wedding album design doesn't just consist of cramming as many pictures as possible into a finite space. Storyline and design sense, as well as technical understanding of image quality and color play important roles.

Handmade linen photo album by Nan Doud Photography

So when you get married, it's important to not only have a digital record of the day on a disc or a hard drive somewhere. Your portraits, your album, and even the printed proofs that you can look through with your kids one day... they are important. It makes sense to invest in them. With proper care, they will outlast you and likely even your children so that generations to come will be able to treasure them as much or even more than you do.

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Princeton, New Jersey Wedding - Elise & Michael

Every wedding I capture is a unique blend of personalities -- a story that has never been told before. Michael and Elise's wedding was a beautiful day that I was so blessed to be a part of. 

Princeton New Jersey Wedding Photographer bride and groom in woods

I love the story that these two have to share for a couple of reasons. One being that Michael's family were among the first to welcome us to New Jersey when we moved here from the San Francisco Bay Area. Not only did they welcome us, they gave us a home. And Michael, being the gentleman that his mama raised him to be, even gave up his room for my husband and I to use for a while. When we arrived in New Jersey the housing we had lined up fell through. Without Michael's family taking us in, we would have had a pretty miserable start to our life in Jersey. Instead, it is a time in our life that we look back on with nothing but joy for how it all played out. Even when things don't go exactly as planned, they sometimes are just as they are really supposed to be. (Which ought to remind you something of a wedding day!)

Beautiful lace cap sleeves give this wedding gown an almost victorian era feel. Couldn't she be right out of the pages of Pride & Prejudice? 

Beautiful lace cap sleeves give this wedding gown an almost victorian era feel. Couldn't she be right out of the pages of Pride & Prejudice? 

But this wedding day went off without a hitch... with these two lovely people ending up hitched!

I love the classic cut of this wedding gown, paired with the deep V back. So stunning.

I love the classic cut of this wedding gown, paired with the deep V back. So stunning.

New Jersey wedding photographer bridal prep
Natural elegant wedding day make-up

Natural elegant wedding day make-up

Can we talk about Elise's choice for florals? Peonies and Hydrangeas for miles. There can never be enough peonies. Can I get an amen?!

I HEART peonies. 

I HEART peonies. 

I love how Elise's special loved-ones were commemorated in her bouquet design. Such a meaningful little detail.

The vintage styling of the picture pendants attached to this bridal bouquet lent to the understated elegance of the whole day.

The vintage styling of the picture pendants attached to this bridal bouquet lent to the understated elegance of the whole day.

Such a stunningly simple engagement ring design. 

Such a stunningly simple engagement ring design. 

These Michael Kors pink heels were a perfect pop of color when they peeked out from beneath Elise's gorgeous gown. 

These Michael Kors pink heels were a perfect pop of color when they peeked out from beneath Elise's gorgeous gown. 

Michael is a little bit tall and Elise is not. 

Michael is a little bit tall and Elise is not. 

Clearly she needed more than just a pair of pretty heels for a boost though! Hee hee!

Sometimes you just need a little more height than heels can afford!

Sometimes you just need a little more height than heels can afford!

New Jersey Wedding Photography father and bride in Stonehill Church in Princeton New Jersey

The rest of the day was packed full of all of the special, unplanned emotional moments that weddings are bound to bring about. 

New Jersey wedding photographer Nan Doud Photography Mother of bride and bride

Capturing these moments is one of my favorite parts of wedding photography. 

Princeton New Jersey wedding photographer Groom Prep
Groom and groomsmen image Nan Doud Photography New Jersey wedding photographer
We couldn't have had more beautiful weather for this Princeton, New Jersey wedding.

We couldn't have had more beautiful weather for this Princeton, New Jersey wedding.

Bridal Party Portraits Princeton wedding photographer in New Jersey
Bridal portraits New Jersey Wedding photographer
Princeton New Jersey Wedding photographer Bridal Party
New Jersey wedding photographer bridal party
The blind "first look". The bride and groom don't actually see each other but they have a quiet moment to exchange a note or pray together or just hold hands for a moment before it all begins.

The blind "first look". The bride and groom don't actually see each other but they have a quiet moment to exchange a note or pray together or just hold hands for a moment before it all begins.

New Jersey Wedding Photographer wedding ceremony
New Jersey Wedding Photographer Church ceremony
Princeton New Jersey wedding photographer just married
New Jersey Wedding Photographer Summer Wedding

I seriously could not get enough of these two....

New Jersey wedding photographer Veteran's Park Hamilton New Jersey Bride and Groom

And they obviously couldn't get enough of each other!

Princeton New Jersey wedding photographer in Hamilton Square New Jersey Bride and groom portraits

That moment when you just got married and you are struck with, "How did this all happen? We are married?! Holy cow... we are married!!"

New Jersey classic wedding photography Nan Doud Photography
New Jersey Wedding photographer photojournalistic black and white bride and groom
I think the wedding cake topper sums it up nicely. 

I think the wedding cake topper sums it up nicely. 

Princeton wedding photographer | New Jersey wedding photographer | New Jersey weddings | Elegant weddings | Simply elegant | Hamilton New Jersey wedding | Princeton New Jersey wedding | wedding simplicity | New Jersey Bride | Bridal Style 

Married Life

I love weddings, yes. But marriage is what it's really all about. You know... I cry a little at every wedding I shoot. I do! Because marriage is something that requires all of you. It's not just the fulfillment of dreams. It's the promise that must be renewed daily in every day action. The wedding day is a thrill and a blur of emotions. But daily married life is where the rubber meets the road, where two people who are different in every way come together and make a whole new thing. It's a beautiful picture of an even greater reality, but it's a hard kind of beauty on many occasions.

“In any relationship, there will be frightening spells in which your feelings of love dry up. And when that happens you must remember that the essence of marriage is that it is a covenant, a commitment, a promise of future love. So what do you do? You do the acts of love, despite your lack of feeling. You may not feel tender, sympathetic, and eager to please, but in your actions you must BE tender, understanding, forgiving and helpful. And, if you do that, as time goes on you will not only get through the dry spells, but they will become less frequent and deep, and you will become more constant in your feelings. This is what can happen if you decide to love.” 
― Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God

I'm thankful that even through the hard stuff, I have a partner in life that I am going to not only grow old with, but grow up with into the person I am meant to be. Marriage is not the be all and end all of a life. It's not a goal, but a gift, but it's not even the ultimate gift. It's just one of many tools God uses in our lives to illuminate for us the places where we need realignment. The changes it forces, the challenges it presents, the sometimes painful mirrors we have to look into in order to see ourselves as we really are... totally dependent creatures, dependent on God and dependent on one another in community. 

Weddings are a beautiful picture of two totally differents, differents in practically every way, coming together to make a new single new different thing. It's cataclysmic when you really think about it. The two become one flesh. 

(Picture is of the new thing that came into being when my hubby and I said I do almost 19 years ago.)

Cell phone shot taken by my mom from one of our NYC outings. 

Cell phone shot taken by my mom from one of our NYC outings. 

The Holdfast Moneymaker

If you cross an artist with a pack mule, what do you get? A wedding photographer. The artist part is obvious. The pack mule? Because, like it or not, we wedding photographers have to lug a hefty amount of gear around with us when we are out there capturing all of that beautiful. (We often even hire our own personal Frodos to help bear our burdens.) All this to say, it can sometimes feel a little ungainly. We have multiple cameras, an array of lenses, often lighting equipment, not to mention the little secret stashes of things that make you go, "Wow... you thought of everything." (We LOVE impressing you with having already thought of everything, by the way. It makes us feel like superheroes, and everyone likes to feel like a superhero, right?)

Like many other photographers I'm always looking for ways to ease the load on my back. I've had a number of different systems in the past but I finally decided it was time to really invest in something that was going to make doing my job make sense for my life (because saving my back makes sense for my life!)

Holdfast Moneymaker camera strap system images
Holdfast Moneymaker camera strap system

Enter The Holdfast Moneymaker. With a name like that, it's certainly bound to attract the professional photographer. Nicely done, Holdfast marketing department. Nicely done. I also must add that I love the packaging. I am a total sucker for packaging. (I honestly don't know a single creative type that isn't a sucker for packaging that's on point.)

Holdfast Sightseer hang tag image
Holdfast Moneymaker in the packaging

Nothing beats packaging that can be reused. It seems so much more human than a plastic sleeve. So, bonus points for that aspect as well.

The Holdfast Moneymaker is designed so that you can shoot with up to three cameras attached, making it easy to switch back and forth without having to become a professional circus juggler, much as most wedding photographers are stellar multi-taskers.

I'm not normally a two camera shooter. I'm a single camera shooter with a lens selection that I keep on my person in a Shootsac so I can make changes quickly and have more than two options at the ready. But carrying this gear, which adds up to about 25 pounds altogether, all day and generally all to one side of the body, puts a tremendous strain on my back so that when I get home at night I spend about an hour stretching and asking my husband to "crack me." (Plug your ears, chiropractors!)

Holdfast Sightseer Large Lens Pouch image
Holdfast Sighseer Lens Large Lens Pouch image

I love the proudly American styling of these products too. Look at the bold, beautiful interior?

The design is such that instead of a second camera, since I don't use one often, I can instead attach the Holdfast Sightseer large lens pouch and store a second lens in there so that it's easily accessible at my side. I also love that I can comfortably shoot with the Moneymaker while wearing my jacket over it OR under it. I used to have to do a lot of gymnastics to get in and out of jackets with my bags and straps all criss-crossing each other. This system simplifies things beautifully in that regard. I may eventually invest in a second smaller lens pouch but for now I'm going to see how I like it with just the one.

Holdfast Moneymaker camera strap system and lens pouch image
Holdfast Moneymaker and Sightseer together

The pouch comfortably holds a 70-200 with the lens hood attached, which is really important when you are needing to change lenses quickly. You don't want to be wrestling with your bag. 

I'll be using it all day at a wedding this weekend for the first time so I look forward to sharing with you how I feel it stacks up to my old system. I'll let you know!

Choppin' in a Winter Wonderland

Yesterday the Northeast was treated to a beautiful snowfall that covered our streets and our trees with a fluffy blanket of snow. As a regular human, snow makes me want to stay in my jammies, curl up, drink hot beverages and read some soul-filling literature while listening to music.

Natural wetlands in the snow
birch trees in the snow

But the photographer shouts, "HELLO! Snow portraits!" I'm gonna be honest and tell you that the photographer doesn't always win because... seriously? PJ's and hot beverages are pretty serious contenders who don't just roll over and take no for an answer. However, yesterday, the PJ's lost to the beauty that beckoned. 

snow covered trees

But the thing is, I don't always want to just take pictures of nature. I love nature, don't get me wrong. But my hearbeat? It's portrait photography and for portrait photography, you need willing subjects. Once upon a time when I would get the hankering to shoot portraits just because, I had my adorable children as automatic subjects. Now they are in school (and school was not cancelled yesterday, only delayed) and even when they are home, they are not always thrilled with being in front of my camera.

This leaves only one alternative. And I have to say... he's a pretty dang attractive alternative. In fact... kids shmids. Husbands are where it's AT! HELLO!

Lumbersexual bearded man wielding an axe in the woods on a snowy day

I decided that the snow and the woods called for a Lumberjack styled theme. For transparency's sake, my husband is not a lumberjack. He is a pastor. He has cut down a tree or two in his time. But then so have I (TAWANDA!) and I'm no lumberjack. But he sports a fine beard, wears plaid well and doesn't look too shabby in a nice pair of jeans.

bearded man holding an axe in a snowy woodland photo near princeton new jersey

I knew I wanted him to wear red because snow demands that a man wears red plaid. End of story. The axe was a must and he grabbed the Coach lambswool gloves on the way out of the house which was a stroke of genius, I think. I made him tuck in his shirt and wear a belt because this is a gentlemanly lumberjack we are channeling here, folks. The kind that gently helps tiny old ladies across the street and then kills a bear with his bare hands two seconds later, right after chugging a Guinness in one gulp and chopping down some non-endangered variety of tree. (No actual trees were harmed in the making of these portraits.)

portrait of a man in the woods with an axe

My husband, brave, strong and strapping as he is, has about a 10 minute attention span for portrait sessions. You may or may not know a few guys like this. It's common enough. They like to be themselves and at ease, and being in front of the camera makes them feel a little nervous and like they don't know how to follow direction. A good photographer knows how to make them relax and appear as if they know exactly what they are doing and could do it all day with their beards tied behind their backs.

bearded man wearing plaid holding an axe in the snowy woods

Of course this guy is sort of used to me telling him to do things... I mean... asking him nicely to do things, like pick up his socks. Don't let the axe fool you. He's a bit of a softy.

bearded man carrying an axe in the woods on a snowy day photo

He's a great sport and I think these are his favorite portraits I've ever taken of him. Thanks for getting out there in the snow with me, hunkahunka. I love you!

bearded man carrying an axe in a snowy wooded area photo


Portrait design for your home deserves as much attention to detail as any design element in your home. Actually more!

I want you to look at this image of a sofa. (I didn't take this photo. It's a stock image.)

You most likely put a lot of thought into how you design and decorate your home. You read design magazines. You might get inspiration from your favorite TV designers. Maybe you have a certain era that you are basing your home around. (I love the hollywood regency and mid-century modern styles myself.) Maybe you even hire a designer to come into your home and help you come up with a cohesive plan that speaks YOU.

Princeton New Jersey Family Portrait photographer

You do this because you want your home and how it's appointed to reflect both to yourself as well as your friends and loved ones just what and whom you care about. You may have original art pieces showcased throughout your home. Maybe you have old family portraits adorning your walls. If you're like us you even have some of your passions like musical instruments hanging on walls, expressing to all who enter, "this is what we value here." 

Personal styles run a formidably sizable gamut, so when I ask you to look at this sofa, I don't want you to get caught up in this particular sofa and how attractive or practical (the moms are cringing at the whiteness!) it is or is not. This sofa could represent any piece of furniture or decor in your home in whose purchase you have invested your creativity, your time, consideration and money into.

Now look at the blank wall above this sofa. When you are hiring a photographer, do you think about the finished portraits as not only a family heirloom but also an important piece of home decor that expresses your personality and values in a meaningful way? Does the media in which it is presented say what you want it to say? Your family portraits are an investment not only in the next generations because the portraits will endure that long if the materials used are curated with attention to detail, but they are also to be seen as an important piece of home decor as they are often a focal point of a room. As such it's an investment that demands more than cursory consideration.

Hiring a professional photographer who specializes in portrait design ensures that your decisions regarding substrates, finishes and custom framing are more than afterthoughts by helping you give at least as much attention to the portrait that hangs above the sofa or fireplace mantle as you do to the other important design elements in your home. The investment you make in your portraits will secure even longer lasting returns than even some of your most favorite home furnishing investments, which are often quite substantial, because the greatest value in them, which most often is primarily sentimental, virtually never depreciates. 

Are your portrait decisions merely afterthoughts or carefully made design decisions imbued with lasting value?

Print Your Snapshots! Check out this amazing photo app!

Soooo, you know how I'm always harping on how important it is to get your pictures printed? While I definitely mean that you need to invest in beautiful fine art wall art from your portrait session with Nan Doud Photography,  I also mean that you need to have your snapshots printed!

Remember photo kiosks? Brag books? Doubles anyone?! It's funny because we have more cameras per capita than ever now thanks to smart phones but we have fewer books of family snaphsots than ever too! Why is that?

It's the same reason a high percentage of "digital only" brides and grooms have yet to do anything with that disc of images in the closet? Desk? Oh shoot... Where is it now?! You see my point. The reason is that we have great intentions but life crowds in and before we know it it's been years! If you're blushing because this describes you, fear not... You are in good company! This is why I do my best to ensure that all my clients walk away with something tangible that is made to stand the test of time. But I digress!

image.jpg

Friends, this printing your snapshots stuff is important for our kiddos! These things help anchor the memories like grappling hooks to their synapses and heartstrings in a way that digital images on your hard drive never could. There is nothing like getting your hands on your photos in print, whether we are talking about your wedding album or your snapshots from summer vacation. 

I spent many many hours as a child poring over my photo albums. It was my way of reaffirming my own history. It helped me remember who and where I came from. Memories that would have lived only in my parents' minds were being etched into mine. It made me wonder things about people and places and led me to ask questions of my mom and dad that I'd have never asked without the visual tangible prompts.

With that in mind, I followed my own advice this Christmas and bought each of my kids and some of my nieces these photo books from chatbooks.com.

And let me tell you, they were a huge hit! Are they archival? No. Are they super high in quality? No. These are simple one image per page books that you can create using your Instagram feed or your Facebook photos (make sure you have a print release before using any photos not taken by you, especially professional photos) in a matter of a few taps of the finger! They are perfect for the kids to thumb through. Starting at just $8 for smaller page counts, you can fill them with up to 365 pages each! Since its app based the process really couldn't be any easier.

Don't put it off any longer. You know if you do you'll never get around to it! And I must say, the creation process is rather addictive! 

Comfort Zones are for Wimps!

Comfort Zones are bubbles that are meant to be popped! I mean, my bed is probably my ultimate comfort zone. (Right? Raise your hand if you're with me? Three cheers for BEDS!) Some days, especially when the rain and drear threaten to chill me to the bone, I just want to stay in the warm comforting embrace of my bed and watch a whole entire BBC series without even getting up to pee, if that were possible. But, alas, that kind of inactivity must be reserved for sick days and hospital stays or maybe a nice cozy mountain retreat. And really, I like to live my life at a rather steady clip and such a life demands that I daily get up and in some way, shape or form break out of my comfort zones.

Nothing kills creativity and growth like firmly ensconcing yourself in a comfort zone of any kind. So I am always pushing myself to try new things, learn from others, grow from my mistakes (or as Bob Ross tenderly refers to them, happy accidents) and press outward against the walls of the seemingly impenetrable bubble of the beloved and simultaneously bemoaned comfort zone. A lot of times we are frightened of what is outside of that bubble simply because we are paralyzed by the potential of failure. That paralysis sometimes disguises itself as safety. 

In photography this could mean something as simple as shooting at a different time of day than you normally do if you are a golden hour addict, for example. Maybe your an introvert running a small business and know you need to do more person to person networking. Pushing against the walls of your comfort zone could mean as small a thing as going to the teller at the bank rather than the ATM! Perhaps you have been in the building phase of your small business for what seems like an eternity and the only thing holding you back from breaking into the next phase is fear of charging what you know you are worth because fear of rejection is the most terrifying idea of them all! Sometimes comfort zones can be our undoing.

Sometimes getting out of your comfort zone could mean setting up studio lighting in your tiny living room and using your family as photographic guinea pigs. Little forays into the different can open up new worlds. You may find a new comfort zone (that you will one day maybe need to break out of!)

Black and White Portraits in Princeton New Jersey Nan Doud Photography
Black and White portraiture by Nan Doud Photography near Princeton, New Jersey
Black and White High Contrast Photography

They are rather attractive guinea pigs, I must say...

Portrait design and wedding photography Nan Doud Photography, Hamilton Square, New Jersey
Black and White Photography by Nan Doud Photography near Princeton New Jersey

As I began editing these, in a style rather more dramatic than my norm, I felt they had a certain timeless quality to them. A friend said that they reminded her of Yousef Karsh. Quite the compliment, I must admit. Not there yet, I think, but certainly something to aspire to!

Another friend said they had a Norman Rockwell feel to them. This one above actually really struck me that way. Something about his facial expression and the depth of detail.

Black and White portrait photography New Jersey

So much darker and moodier than my comfort zone would normally dictate. But I like it! What about you?

What have you done lately to get out of your comfort zone, whatever it is?

Caring for your Fine Art Photographic Prints

The other day I was talking to my teenage son about the portrait photography industry and how it has evolved throughout the years. We were discussing the business of doing business and how people assign value to emotional objects such as photographs. As we talked about creating pricing structures for the products that a photographer may carry, he said, "Well, of course they are not paying you for the paper! They are paying you for what you put on it!" I must say that, as his mother and a photographer, my heart sort of skipped a beat when I heard him "get it" without even a hint from me. As I mentioned last week, there are real reasons that we ought to remember the importance of printed portraits. But the value of professionally designed portraits is not contained in paper and ink. It is in the image itself. Your photographer is going to most certainly charge more than what a blank piece of fancy paper costs because they are not selling you a blank piece of fancy paper. The photographer brings the only element that truly imbues that piece of paper with any kind of meaningful value. The image.

Princeton, New Jersey Portrait & Wedding Photography | caring for fine art prints

Think about it. Reams of paper and drums of even the finest pigments will never ever on their own be referred to by a mother as "priceless" the way that a family portrait will. Why? Because we do not pay photographers for ink and paper. We pay them for the images they capture. Some call it art. And for the photographer who has spent years studying photography, yes it is her business but it is also her art. It's a piece of herself because she has invested so much of her life into her ability to capture the light and shadows, the movement, the emotion.

While the value of printed portraits is not in the raw materials alone, my clients understand that I pour myself into my work and that I won't rest until I have placed a beautiful finished product in their hands. They know that I will not deliver a piece that isn't made excellently and designed to last a lifetime (and longer because portraits are not just for us!) This is why I only sell archival quality fine art prints. 

100% cotton fine art prints from Nan Doud Photography

Why archival prints?

There are numerous types of tree based papers on which your portrait designer can opt to print your images. Wood based papers though are often laced with substantial concentrations of acid, which causes deterioration and yellowing over time. Cotton based papers, on the other hand, are highly resistant to fading, discoloration and deterioration. My fine art prints are made on 100% cotton fiber or (depending on the finish you select) sometimes non-cotton Alpha Cellulose based papers sourced from a company that has been the premier provider of museum quality papers for more than 400 years. Printed on highly calibrated wide gamut precision printers, the inks used can combine to create millions of color variations, many more than your standard large format printers, which accounts for the depth, richness and clarity of colors in fine art prints.

While renowned for holding their color and clarity for many decades, Fine Art Prints are not impervious to environmental stressors. One still must be careful to treat them well in order to keep them looking their best. The fact is, for all photographic prints, archival included, the safest environment is a dark, climate controlled one. Not many of us invest in family and wedding portraits in order to hide them away. That you will display them is largely unquestioned. Here are some quick tips for caring for your portraits in a way that will best preserve their integrity while being enjoyed.

Two different types of archival print paper

Fine Art Portrait Care Tips

  • Avoid touching the ink. Whether you use cotton gloves when handling them or not, is up to you. At the very least, wash your hands with soap and dry them well before handling your prints. I have begun to include a pair of cotton gloves when I deliver your prints so that you can handle them appropriately.
  • Avoid tapes. If tapes must be used to secure the portrait to a mat, be sure that the tape is an acid-free archival tape. These can be found at local arts & crafts stores.
  • If possible hang them out of direct sunlight.
  • No direct contact with glass. Archival acid-free mats should always be used. Portraits that are pressed straight up against glass will bond with the glass over time, making it impossible to ever remove the portrait from the frame without significant damage. As for the type of glass used, it is largely up to personal preference. Acrylic glazing with a UV protectant can be purchased at almost any custom framer's shop. It is unbreakable, lightweight, easy to clean with normal household cleaners, reduces condensation and comes in an anti-glare variety as well. This is what many museums use to protect their works of art. 

(The images above were shot for Jacqueline Patton Photography at two different weddings in Liberty State Park. One took place at the beautiful Maritime Parc and the other at Liberty House.) 

A Simply Perfect New Jersey Wedding at a Private Residence in Far Hills, New Jersey

Mike and Cam were the essence of calm, cool and collected on their wedding day. And do you want to know why? Perspective. They had it all in perspective. The rains came, the laughter roared. The torrents came, the wine was poured. The love overflowed like the fountains that filled with the fresh rain. 

The day just simply sparkled. And it didn't sparkle so much with excesses of crystal or excesses of pretty much anything. What there was plenty of? The light behind the sparkle? Love and family. 

So excited to have helped my friend Jackie of Jacqueline Patton Photography capture this spectacular day for Mike and Cam. And many thanks to The Knot for featuring it and listing Nan Doud Photography among the vendors!

Far Hills Wedding | Far Hills, New Jersey | Private Estate weddings in New Jersey | New Jersey wedding photographer | Elegant weddings in New Jersey | Bernardsville weddings | The Bernards Inn 

West Windsor, New Jersey Bar Mitzvah Photography

A Bar Mitzvah is two things: poignant and fun! 

I was blessed to be able to capture this special occasion for such a special young man, a kid absolutely brimming with the joy of life and so much potential!

It's a rite of passage so steeped in thousands of years of tradition. The richness of the history represented, both for each individual family and throughout the ages, made an impact on me and had me wishing that every child had a similar type of passage of their own.

The happiness at an event like a Bar Mitzvah is contagious. My face was sore from smiling so much by the end of the day!

New Jersey Wedding Photographer Nan Doud Photography  | New York | Pennsylvania Fine Art Wedding and Portrait Photographer | Princeton, New Jersey | New Jersey Bar Mitzvah Photographer | New Jersey Bat Mitzvah Photographer

Fine Art Portrait Photography

What is The Real Value of Photography?

The other day I went to an antique store with my husband and was admiring some old daguerreotype prints for sale. $75 for a little tiny wallet-sized photo of someone that no one really knows or remembers anymore. But yet there is clearly value in this tiny portrait. Who could imagine just throwing it away? Why? Because it's clear that by virtue of having been set, in this case, in metal, a certain kind of reverence for that person, that moment, that life represented, this person and hence their visage was a treasure. That captures the true essence of why I am a photographer.

I will tell you that in my early years as a mom I valued photography. I bought a quality SLR film camera after I had my first baby and I had a lot of film developed. I paid for beautiful portraits of him. But then digital photography came around, the harried pace of life with a lot of little ones took over and my other children have far fewer photos of themselves in print. A serious failing on my part! But life gets busy and overwhelming and before you know it, printing photos that old seems kind of strange (not to mention a lot of work!).... but we still feel the lack of them. The photos that I did trouble myself to order prints of are treasures because every day as I see them, my connection with that moment and that person in that time in life deepens. It accentuates our history together. It reminds me of how long I have loved these people, how dear they are to me. It's no surprise to me that studies have shown how psychologically beneficial it is to be surrounded in your home by tangible photographs of family

As an artist though, there are other reasons that I believe in delivering heirloom prints and albums. Design matters, not only with respect to my creative eye, which cannot be found anywhere else... it's unique to me, but in the caliber of people that I partner with to bring you the heirloom prints and products you are looking for. You are not paying me for the raw materials used to make a picture print, though quality most definitely matters. Just as when you go to a gourmet meal, you are not paying for the raw ingredients, but rather for the genius chef at the stove whose work it is to create something that you could not replicate on your own, a creative process and understanding of his craft that is unique to him. 

The creation process of each piece holds as much importance to the end result as the moment I frame a photo and hit that shutter release. For me to take myself out of the equation of the creative process once I have pressed the button would be a huge disservice to my clients. So seeing the whole photography process through from planning to creation to the selection process to hand delivery, is how I am able to ensure that you are getting the best that I can offer. All of those steps are not only a real service to my clients but they are integral parts of the creative process itself. I am, after all, presenting art to you. I am not providing you with a commodity or something you can recreate in a photo booth or at the mall. I am listening to you. The process, unlike a big box experience, is fluid and unique to you because we work together to create something truly beautiful to be treasured. 

Fine art photography is really all about the final product. It's about your end goal. It's not about sheer volume. After all, what is the point of hiring a skilled professional photographer if you are going to get your photos printed at Walmart or Walgreens? I believe the work I do demands better than what you can get from a big box store in terms of print quality and color accuracy, not to mention over all client experience. As the products that I deliver to you are going to express my work in greater detail and more permanently than any other medium, it is important to me that my artistic integrity is maintained by not leaving the results up to non-professionals and imprecise printing solutions with no way for me to ensure a quality result for my clients. I invest a great deal into my business and client relationships so to leave the results, for their sakes and for mine, to so many variables would be unwise. 

Just as when you reach a certain level of accomplishment in your performing arts, you invest more and more into those things and ways of showcasing it which are worthy of the level of skill achieved, so I have developed my own creativity, knowledge of photography, the printing process and client experience to a degree that demands I invest in the best representation of that skill possible.

That is what I offer to my clients. My best. It's not cheap, because my time and my work are valuable to me. Nor is it accessible to anyone who wants a photographer. But I gladly serve those who value the authenticity and bespoke nature of the creative process that is owned each step of the way by the creator as well as the provenance, uniqueness and exceptional quality of the end results which will be treasured for a lifetime. 

A Winter Wedding at Maritime Parc in Jersey City, New Jersey

As always, I had such a great time helping my friend, Jacqueline Patton Photography, capture this New Jersey Wedding at Maritime Parc in Jersey City.

No question about it, this day was chilly! But it was a gorgeous NYC winter wedding day. Crystal blue skies, a sparkling skyline and a semi-frozen Hudson River all combined to make for a great day for a (you guessed it) white wedding! (Thank you, Billy Idol. May your upper lip remain forever curled. Rock on.)

Despite the chill in the air, Lady Liberty set the example and toughed out the weather so Jacqueline and I followed her lead and rocked this Maritime Parc winter wedding at Liberty State Park. 

And honestly, there was enough love and gorgeous details at this event to warm the cockles of any photographer's heart.

And of course there was the gorgeous bride. 

I've gotta say, one of the things I love about the Maritime Parc wedding venue in Jersey City is the copious amount of white walls. It's like being surrounded by 100 soft white light reflectors. 

I would also be remiss if I didn't mention how gorgeous the spiral staircase at Maritime Parc is. 

New Jersey Wedding Photographer Nan Doud Photography | Maritime Parc Wedding Photography | shot for Jacqueline Patton Photography

So, I may have mentioned that it was a little cold out. In fact, I think it may have been one of the coldest days all winter. But this bride was not going to let the cold put a chill on her beautiful day! She braved it like no California bride I've ever photographed! Typically 50° is the point at which they declare that they have had enough and it's time to go in (I relate, girls! I'm a California girl myself!) Not this bride. At somewhere in the neighborhood of -25° she was out there smiling and just enjoying her day! She may have had no feeling left in her extremities but that didn't stop her from looking spectacular, did it? 

Speaking of spectacular... not a bad backdrop for a NYC wedding first look, right? 

I. Love. Her. Shoes. The End.

Did you ever see Father of the Bride? Remember Hank's assistant, Howard Weinstein (who ironically is the cousin of a childhood friend of mine in real life)? His line, "All I can say is, thank God snow is white! It works. You know what I mean?" Having shot most of my weddings up until this past year in the San Francisco Bay Area, I had never put that line to the test until now, but Howard was right!

This one right down here? Favorite photo from the whole day.