The Gift Dilemma

Every year, there is that one person who throws a wrench into “making a list and checking it twice,” or as I like to say, “making a list and ordering online asap.”  Today I received an email from Simon Pearce debuting their Twelve Days of Christmas list, and I LOVE their new Woodbury Photo Blocks.  I am always a fan of clean lines, and these glass frames are the perfect complement to a beautiful photograph. Simon Pearce is a wonderful company based in Vermont, and their handcrafted glass and pottery seamlessly merge traditional and contemporary and is always a great gift.  I registered for nearly 10 vases from there for our wedding and everyone made fun of me, but  1) fresh flowers make me happy and 2) I love their glass…so what’s wrong with that?  My family used to spend a lot of time in Quechee, which is the home of their Mill, glassblowing workshop, and delicious restaurant.  The restaurant dramatically cantilevers over the Ottauquechee River, overlooks a picturesque covered bridge, and serves the most amazing food.  I have lots of memories of visiting the store and workshop when I was little.  And so began my love affair with Vermont!  Though the Mill suffered a devastating flood after Hurricane Irene, they have just re-opened.  If you ever find yourself in Vermont, it’s a must visit.  In the meantime, order some Woodbury Photo Blocks and check off that list!

A Farewell to Fall

It certainly seems like the last day of November.  Though we’ve been dodging the start of winter with record temps here in NYC- 70 degrees on Monday-most of the leaves are down, Christmas lights are up, and I actually needed to wear more than a vest today! I snapped this photo last weekend during an attempted Christmas card shoot in Riverside Park with my daughter.  She was more interested in eating leaves than smiling among them, but I spotted this beautiful tree with red berries.  I thought this photo was a perfect merging of seasons- signs of autumn life still hanging on before the official blast of winter.  I can’t wait (sort of) to see what December brings!

Bif’s 30th Birthday Party

I recently had the pleasure of photographing a wonderful 30th birthday party at the Plainfield Country Club.  The chilly fall evening kicked off with a lively cocktail hour beside a roaring fire, followed by dinner and dancing to a fabulous band in the candlelit ballroom.  The gorgeous cupcakes were created by Gigi’s Cupcakes and arranged with artistic whimsy.  I always love to photograph details and this party did not disappoint!  The birthday boy’s wife, Allie, created custom napkins, trivia cards, drink stirrers, and cupcake toppers, along with personalized water bottles and coozies as party favors.  Best of all was the life sized cardboard cut out of her husband (playing croquet) that greeted everyone at the front door.  I loved the details even more because they matched my favorite colors- navy and kelly green.  I’ve used that crisp color combination at my wedding, as well as in my business branding and my daughter’s nursery!  Allie and Bif, it was wonderful to meet all of your family and friends and capture a great evening.  Welcome to 30!

Holiday Cards…before Turkey Day?

Yes folks, it’s the most wonderful of the year for…choosing your holiday cards!  Already?  While procrastination is typically my middle name, a lot goes into a holiday card.  First, we shoot to get that perfect image, then we design, order, and ship.  And that’s before you update your excel sheet with Aunt Edna’s new contact info and then address and stamp all of your envelopes!  There is no time to waste!  Luckily I’ve found a few ways to simplify the process for my clients. In the order of simplicity…

1) I have a storefront on minted, where you can order beautiful cards with many options.  Very few places do an excellent job printing images onto cards, but I believe Minted does.  I designed and printed my daughter’s birth announcements there.  After sifting through hundreds of options, I chose my favorite designs and placed them on my storefront, hopefully making the process speedier for you!  I prefer simpler designs that let the photograph stand out.  Of course, if you enjoy looking through many designs, you can use any design from their website.  So…to make a short story long, you choose the card and personalize it however you like, I upload the photo, they ship, and boom!…cards are done.
2) If you prefer, I can design a card from scratch from you.  My family will tell you that I have a knack for this!
3) If you like to kick it old school, you can order a gorgeous print from me, and place it in a card, either purchased by you, or designed by my amazing graphic designer, Betsy Blazar. Mention Sarah Greig and receive 10% off your order!

To get your brain in holiday mode, here are a few trend alerts for cards this year (courtesy of

1) Your own handwriting- in this day and age of digital everything, find a way to write a personal note on your cards, even just a signature is nice!
2) Neon. Yes, you heard it here.  I hope this trend doesn’t stick around!  Even if hot pink is the new red, I’d stick to classic colors.
3) Celebrating early or late…Thanksgiving and New Year’s cards are gaining in popularity!
4) Lots of “Merry ____” and “Peace _____.”  Merry Everything, Be Merry, and Peace on Earth are all very popular this year.
5) Colorful Clothes in Photos.  White shirts are out.  Of course, don’t use any crazy patterns or t-shirts that date the photo, but some color is nice.
6) Custom stamps.  The ornament stamps from the USPS this winter are ok, but how great is it to have a stamp with your family photo on it?  Think about your design right down to the envelope, envelope liner, stamp and return address label.  Make those cards their own pretty package!
7) Two sided greetings.  Use all of the card, whether it means putting a little image on the back of the card, or p.s.  Nowadays, everyone who receives a card tends to flip it over and see if there is anything on the back!

And two trends that I have noticed:

-Different shapes are in.  Rectangles are classic, but circles/snowflakes/squares with holes punched in them can serve as cards AND tree ornaments.  Be creative!
-Different paper is very popular.  More and more companies are offering recycled, linen, watercolor, and super gloss paper.  Choose one that goes well with your design or personality.

My best advice: Keep it simple.  All you really need is a gorgeous photo, a simple greeting, and a little personal note for your card to be a winner.  Clean design will enhance and not detract from your photograph.  Most of all, have fun!  Holiday cards are a great way to reconnect with old friends and family.

NY Marathon Sunday

Despite a chilly start, it was a GORGEOUS day in the city today for the marathon.  When I lived in Monterey, I signed up for a half marathon and had to quit training a month before the race due to horrible shin splints- and that was only to run 13.1 miles!  To say that I am in awe of the runners each year is an understatement.  The displays of personality (running with their nation’s flag as a cape, 2 guys running in costume as Dr. Seuss’ Thing 1 and Thing 2) and perseverance (gritted teeth, head down but the legs still moving) always make me smile and tear up a little.  Over the past few years, I’ve found a spot that I love to cheer from- 91st Street and 5th Avenue.  It’s at about Mile 24, just before the runners enter Central Park.  At this point, the runners have already experienced the thunderous and encouraging canyon of 1st Avenue, turned west, and as they head down 5th Avenue, the crowd thins somewhat before the park and runners are in need of serious encouragement.

This is also a great spot to take photos.  Marathons are a fun time to play with shutter speed, aperture, focus, movement, and perspective.  Every year I love the aerial shot of the runners crossing a bridge, looking like a massive rainbow streak.  One of my own favorite marathon shots is below.  I used the curb as a tripod and got really low to see the marathon from pavement level.  I love the mix of fall leaves with marathon sneakers. Congrats to all of the 2011 runners- especially my sister-in-law, the speedy Lauren Greig, who ran the race in 3:11:19 and finished 176th among the women runners!