They will prevail, in rain or sleet or snow or hail. No, they are not the United States Postal Service—but they are dedicated. John and Lovina Arcara, of John Arcara Photography in Red Bank, New Jersey, are known for adapting to any situation. In fact, it’s become a competitive advantage.
“We are always prepared—whether it’s bringing an umbrella with us or using back-up equipment. We take enough equipment to shoot three or four full weddings in one day,” John says.
It’s a lesson he learned from his father, the first John Arcara Photography owner. “My dad taught us you can never have enough equipment. Always bring back-up for the back-up, and so on.”
The husband-and-wife team uses their flexibility to adapt to all location conditions, as well. “Lighting can sometimes be an issue, but we’re ready for it. Every camera, light, and film we carry captures a separate mood. We love the cool, even tones of Kodak Tri-X film for those candid shots and the grainy quality of high-speed film for the more poignant moments. The awesome sharpness and clarity of digital gets the quick, fun, and formal shots,” Lovina says.
Friends and Fun
The shooting stars are usually within the same age range as most of their couples, so they relate well to their prospective brides and grooms. “We generally keep constant communication via email,’ says John. “We don’t get to meet too often due to everyone’s busy schedule, but we’ve created a system so there’s no need unless the client prefers. How far in advance we do meet depends on the client and the time of year they are getting married, usually, it’s 12-18 months in advance.”
Everything about their image says fun and whimsy, from their business cards to their website to their personalities. Log on to their website and you’ll see a stick figure of John with his spiky hair. Click on one of the links and a rolling head of the stick figure will make you laugh. The “Contact Us” page has a curtain opening to John the stick figure singing with a martini on a nearby stool.
Consistency is something that their clients can count on and trust, knowing that on the big day, they’ll be there with smiles on. “We try to become friends and dig into their personalities to see what they have in common and make fun of ourselves, which makes people relax. That makes them feel like we’re kooky and they don’t take themselves so seriously,” John says.
Lovina adds, “Sometimes John will recite some lines from a movie like Old School or Star Wars to try to connect with a stiff groom. No matter what kind of photo shoot it is—wedding, engagement, fashion or otherwise—we just try to capture the clients’ personality.”
The Arcaras create a friendly competition to see who can get a better shot. They are always inspiring and motivating each other. “She’ll yell at me that my spiky head is in the way or I’ll tease her. It’s always about fun. And our clients like that we give them a male and a female perspective of the day, in an eclectic blend of black & white and color, with film and digital prints.”
The duo is client-oriented, and tends to say, “yes” to the client and figure out later how to work it out. “We’re all about service. By the time we explain our packages, they are usually ready to book and already know we do everything. There should be no questions left,” John says.
While their shooting style reflects what the client is looking for, the Arcaras are influenced by fashion backgrounds. Their images portray a vibrant, distinctive blend of cinematographic and documentary style.
“We try to capture dynamic images that depict all the emotions of the day, from the excited bride and the nervous groom to the proud parents and mischievous kids. We want our images to speak for themselves—to capture a moment that tells the whole story.”
The story is laid out in the album that contains 75 to 100 images, depending on the package. They either meet at the studio to do the layout together, or the client emails the picture list and the studio designs the layout.
“Clients pick the cover and approve the design before it gets bound into a Leather Craftsmen, Raika, Kambara, or ArtZ album. They have a say in every aspect of their album, the from sizes of the pictures to the color of the leather.