Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, and Cary Grant are in a class all their own—one that exudes style and elegance. Ron Capobianco, of An Elegant Day Photography on Long Island, New York, wants his photos to emulate the timeless grace of these legends.
"In every assignment, I try to bring taste and distinction to the job," says Ron Capobianco. "Everyone should be captured in the most wonderful light possible."
A modern-day storyteller, Capobianco says his early experiences in fashion and beauty photography still inspire his wedding images. "When shooting upscale weddings, it's very helpful to know a little about fashion. The bride usually spends a lot of time and money on her wardrobe and accessories, and it's important to take notice of these things. She doesn't want her Manolo Blahnik heels or Tiffany necklace unnoticed."
His passion for the arts and for life in general is what drives Capobianco. "I feel if you're not passionate about work or anything in life, why exist?" he says. "I started collecting photographs in 1988 and have been building my collection ever since. I have works by Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Philippe Halsman, Horst, George Hurrell, Ellen von Unwerth, and many others. Photography, and art, is not a business to me—it's a way of life."
The trend for blending styles is the biggest change Capobianco notices among brides today. "Portraits are still an important part of the wedding, and many photographers who are strictly journalists find it hard to capture a portrait properly.
Traditional photographers have a hard time interpreting a free-flowing journalist style. I think it's important to have a modern feel for portraits and a journalist's eye for the grab shot."
On average, Capobianco shoots between 30 and 40 weddings each year. "I don't want to burn out because of fatigue. I always give 100 percent to anything I shoot."
With many photographic awards to his credit, Capobianco admits that receiving recognition from peers is wonderful. But for him, client satisfaction is the bottom line.
With so many destination weddings taking place today, it's becoming more difficult to meet with the couple prior to the big day. Many bridal couples come to Long Island to say their vows, vacation on the East End or by the beach, and plan excursions to New York City.
"I do many weddings for out-of-state couples, as well as non-U.S. couples, and it's sometimes hard to arrange face-to-face meetings with them. You couldn't have done this kind of work a few years ago, but with the Web and online services, it really doesn't matter where your clients live today," says Capobianco.
"The Web is by far the most effective way of marketing your photography style and services," he adds. "My website has brought me clients from far and wide, many of whom have booked my studio on the strength of the site. Event planners and other industry professionals have also contacted me because of my website."
Capobianco considers Pictage another vital tool for dealing with out-of-town clients and their families. Brides and grooms enjoy Pictage because it means they don't have to become order takers.
He explains, "After the wedding, I send my images via DVD to Pictage. They upload them and send them back to me for review. I release the photos to the bride and groom, who select 300 of their favorite images for hard proofs. Then I design the album on Pictage and send it to the couple, without printing it, for their approval. If they want changes, it's very simple to make them. Once they approve, I push a button and the images are sent to Pictage, printed, and bound into a Leather Craftsmen album."
Keeping It Simple
When it comes to equipment, Capobianco is a big fan of the KISS method: Keep It Simple, Stupid.