Photographers are great for the economy, we are constantly upgrading, testing, trying, partaking in anything from the latest gadget, software, equipment or workshop that might help be and get better, faster or help us survive the physically demanding job that photography can be.

When it comes to camera bags… I have purchased at least 10 in the last 3 years. I recently purchased an INCASE, Ari Marcopoulos model camera bag. If you do not know who Ari Marcopoulos is, I suggest definitely to check em out..

Anyways, the bag is super slick looking and everything from the packaging to the ergonomics built of this bag make it really special.
I wanted to write a review for this bag  but not until I got to tested out through a couple of weddings to see if it stood up to my abuse inclinations and the physically demanding way in which I shot. I love abusing my equipment. I am not gentle on anything except my brides, wedding gowns and bouquets. I particularly want and need equipment that can take a beating. Bags are no exception. I have had my share of tears, rips and even a complete rapture a bag’s strap.

The compartmental space inside the Ari bag can comfortably fit two or more lenses on the side dividers and. You can easily cram a few more items  like a video light or flash. The middle larger division can comfortably fit just about any camera and lens, like my Nikon 800 with a 35mm 1.4 . Anything for except maybe of some of the larger tele-zoom lenses. If you are shooting with one camera that stays on you at all times then the middle compartment is large enough for some more lenses, flashes, triggers, and other semi large equipment.

There is an additional smaller inside compartment great for accessories like light-meters, pocket wizards, Radio Poppers and even a small bottle of water or sunscreen. its also deep enough to drop AA and camera batteries on the bottom of it. There is a small zippered and slip pocket great for really important items that you need to keep from falling out like memory cards and even large enough for a wallet. There are two single pockets on each side large enough for business cards or an expo disk. There is also a large zippered and slip pocket on the inside that its easy to miss ( like I did)  Although its a large pocket its probably best for flat items since its on the flat side of the bag that lays against your body. Great for things like an iPad or even a slim hard-drive or a notebook.

The bag its deep and large enough to fit your equipment comfortably but not too big that you will be knocking down everything in your path with it like a giant bolder strapped on to your back. The buckle strap system its modern, sturdy and functional. With one single pull one part of the buckle allows you to loosen the strap to lower and rotate the bag to access equipment and the other to tighten it to fit on once its on your back again. Making it really easy to adjust it back and forth. The ergonomic design of the bad makes it superior to just about any bag I ever owned or tried. Specially when compared to the very popular carrier style bags that although might look awesome on the male models using it, it just never feels as comfortable on me as it constantly slips off my shoulders. As I constantly have to do “shrugs” through out the day and end up with cramps on your neck after a 11 hour wedding days. The strap is very well padded and it sits very comfortable over the the chest. There is even an option to switch the strap on the opposite direction for anyone who is left handed and prefers it that way. The bag even has a cool handle on the side to carry it brief case style.

In summary…

The Pros are:
• Slick design
• Ergonomically comfortable
• Easy to access equipment
• Well padded inside and out
• Custom rain coat easily accessible
• Enough storage space for lenses and camera
• Items would not easily fall out even with the zipper open. (due to its slight cocoon shape)
• Side compartment accessible from the outside ( could be considered a con because its kind of hard to access, specially if you have large hands)

The only Cons I could think of are:
• The light color interior that although looks very slick, it gets dirty too easy
• The only other thing I could debate to be a possible con is whether or not it would be better to have a zippered and slip pocket on the outside front of the bag rather than the one on the inside back wall of the bag.

I rate the INCASE, Ari Marcopoulos model camera bag a solid 9.85 out of 10 rather than a perfect 10 only because I wish it had an option for a darker interior. A slick gray interior could be pretty freaking awesome too.

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Almost two years ago I took my newly started wedding photography business to a full time status. Quitting my full time job was more than a business decision, it was a very calculated move/risk we made together as a family. Our daughter was just over a year old and I was already a stay home dad half of the week days till my wife would come home from her job. Before I left my full time job my days were being divided into running my business, my full time job and my family. Although I was able to manage it all I found myself not pursuing my dream to its fullest which was photography and spending time with my beautiful family. It had became obvious that I had to take a leap of faith, so I did.

After going full time growing my photography business became the number one priority. Previously, shooting my weddings on the weekends and even editing them during the week was never an issue with the time I had. The term “weekend warrior” comes from this lifestyle; its refer to someone with a regular weekday job who shots weddings on the weekends to bring some extra money or pursue their passion on the side. The real challenge for me was everything else that needs to be done to run a successful business; Branding, marketing, public relations and networking which was the toughest one for me.

Although I had started to network a bit I had not really committed myself to build up relationships with others in the wedding industry. In the last couple of months I decided to really change that. For some time I had been wanting to create my own group composed of a few photographers that shared the same vision, passion for photography and encounter similar challenges as I did. A couple of months ago I finally found the courage to reach out to the community over social media to see if there were others interested in joining me in this venture. A couple of photographers and myself ended up hooking up over some coffee and found ourselves having a whole lot in common. So, we started a creative group that we simply refer to as “The Collective” for now. Our primary focus is to grow as creatives but it has turn into much more than that. We are encouraging each other as a group and also each other’s businesses. We are pushing each other to attend more social events and we constantly share ideas to grow our brands, connect with others in our industry and even SEO techniques. But most importantly we have created a sense of community for each other. We are still new friends and we are still learning and getting to know each other as well as a collective. But, in just over a month since we had that first meeting we have build a partnership that goes beyond the business.

The wedding industry its one of the most competitive in the world. Many who hate their current jobs are picking up their cameras or any other medium, skill or passions they have and are beginning to pursue their long dormant dream. Some become weekend warriors, others become full time but regardless we all dream the same dream. The dream of independence, the dream of freedom of time to spent with loved ones. The dream of being a creative and doing something we love.

I say dream, and dream BIG. Why not. After all, the American dream has changed from chasing that outdated Wall Street dream that  built an empire for retiring rich even at the risk of your integrity. The American dream  has now switched to pursuing A dream, your dream! The dream to do what you love and becoming an entrepreneur. Even if it comes at the cost of very long days, no weekends off, heartbreaks and disappointments, struggles and the fear of failing big time and having to go back to the work force. But I say dream and dream BIG. The American dream is here and its more alive and real than ever. So join some friends that share your passion, get out of your comfort zone and even though it may be awkward at first you will one day turn your head and find yourself amongst friends who will support you and encourage you as you do them.

Check out my good friends work below

 

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Hector and Christina are a husband a wife team and together they are 33andathird

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the two above are Rudy and Marta also a husband and wife team check em out at RudyandMarta

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and last but definitely not least my good friend for a couple of years now Claire Pacelli with ClairePacelli

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  1. ACME BRAND STUDIO NON-CORPORATE CORPORATE SHOOT | Orlando Wedding Photography | Fine Art Wedding Photographer   (May 29, 2014 )  :  

    […] ACME Brand Studio is a creative collaboration between Shannon Hallare , Sean Brunson and Tim Fisher who worked together for years and decided to venture out to start a company that shared their passion for branding and for life. Their goal is to connect with their clients and with each other. To pursue the work they love doing and to have the freedom to enjoy life and the work they create. Basically, The New American Dream! […]

  2. Rudy   (May 23, 2014 )  :  

    Definitely had a blast. Good things to come. Our photography businesses will bloom and grow.

Venue (chairs included): Paradise Cove – Follow them on Facebook too
Officiant: Ruan Humphreys
Floral & Decor: Atmospheres – Follow them on Facebook too
Hair and Make up: Brides Be Beautiful – Follow them on Facebook too

The last few times I posted wedding on my blog I have not been writing much about it except for maybe vendors lists. I guess lack of time and less than fair writing skills are a large part of why I don’t. But really the main reason is because I have a hard time expressing how I truly feel most of the time as I struggle with political correctness and pure honesty. The honesty part its pretty easy when it comes to the couples that hire me since they are the few out there that get it. They get what I do fully and totally trust and allow me to do it without micro managing. It is not an easy thing to find in this business and I totally understand the hesitation in anyone to be that way. Making my couples even more remarkable for doing just that alone. I recently tried to change some things about the way I show my work to the world. Primarily trying to show more of the traditional side of me in order to appeal to a larger audience. But the more I try to do that the more I realize that I am not really build that way. What I photograph is more like an innate feeling that I chase as I try to capture the human side of weddings, people and life during such a unique moment in a couple’s life. I don’t know what it is about weddings that brings out such a stubborn perseverance in me to tell a visual story of what I see and feel.

As I started to edit Desiree’s and Aaron’s wedding I felt that spark that makes me love photography so much and I was easily pushed once again to abandon the business motto of self preservation and need to appeal to all. Without much effort I started to edit and cull in a more instinctive way rather than thinking of whether or not people would get it. I had not realized how much freedom to create I was given that day by Desiree and Aaron till I begin to edit. They had approved of me, loved what I do and understood it, they got me. It felt as if my audience even if it was made of only 2 people was complete.

I meet Desiree last year as she planned her wedding. She is the cousin of some people and family very dear to my heart and whom I known for a long time. One of whom works for a very popular wedding magazine here in Orlando and the fact that she vouch for me meant so much to me specially since I know they mostly deal with photographers that appeal to wider more traditional audiences.
Right away I couldn’t help but simple adore Desiree, her smile, her sweetness, consideration and love for others comes across immediately. She booked me immediately after hanging out and talking for a few minutes and right away she told me that she trusted me and she knew I would cover her day just perfectly for them. Although I did not get to meet Aaron till the wedding day since they both live in California. I soon realized why this two were destined to find each other and be together. He too had the same smile equally warm and cared for all his friends and family the same as Desiree does. Their friends affectionately referred to them repeatedly on their day of the wedding as “the same person” based on their very similar personalities and even they smile the same. As I watched them through out their day, how they were with every one around them I realized they are not just the same person but they are each others better halves.

It was a very windy day that made it quite chilly but the sun shined making a perfect mixed, except for the bridesmaids who had short sleeves and were freezing for the entire portrait session but I have to hand it to them, they were real troopers about the whole thing. The emotions run high as the ceremony started, Aaron had tears running down his cheeks as Desiree approached him. Their lighting of the unity candle was a great display of irreverence and team work as the wind made it nearly impossible. Every laughed and cried as this two were united. Their wedding as intimate and beautifully human. It was everything a photographer like me could want and hope for to be invited to capture.

I know that weddings are a bit of a show at times and they are full of decor and fancy things to bling and show off which I love to capture just fine but in the end what I really love is a great couple. A couple who get me, a couple who loves what I do and how I do it but more that anything I love a couple who is crazy about each other. A couple that all throughout the day you can not help but to only capture but to simple take time to admire and care for as you see them be themselves with each other and everyone else. This is what makes it all worth while. The weather, the achy feet and even the lack of a large audience. I am happy Desiree choose me, and that Aaron welcomed me. I am thankful that they trusted in me. But most of all I am grateful because I think I am better person for having met them.

I hope this pictures do them justice and that all of the above mentioned shows clearly in them.

Congratulations Desiree! Congratulations Aaron! I hope our paths cross again. Till then I hope your wedding memories and pictures remind you of how much you touch people’s lives including my own, best wishes kids…..

Congratulations Desiree! Congratulations Aaron! I hope our paths cross again. Till then I hope your wedding memories and pictures remind you of how much you touch people’s lives including my own, best wishes kids…..

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