All posts by mlingnau

Making the Most of Your Island Vacation

The sun has been out in full intensity, the days have been long and it’s all coming to an end soon. However, there is still time to plan and take that annual family summer vacation or plan an unforgettable fall or winter break.

You may have a traditional spot your family goes to every year or maybe you like to explore new places.

For many, a vacation is equated with tropical, white sand beaches and warm sunshine. Whether you live on a beach or far from one, there is nothing more relaxing than an easy day at the beach with no plans other than relaxing on the sand and reading a good book to the soothing sounds of the waves.

We have to admit that there is no better way to capture the essence of summer or to escape the cold than relaxing on a tropical island.

Right off the coast of Florida, there are many fun islands frequented by celebrities and the elites. These islands include: Jamaica, St. Lucia, Grenada, British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Aruba, Barbados and Turks and Caicos.

Sunset in Turks and Caicos

The Benefits of an Island Vacation

Visiting an island, especially a smaller, more exclusive island offers a unique, unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The pace of life is slower and the crowds are smaller. You’ll be able to catch some rays on your own strip of coastline, and explore local wildlife in virtually untouched natural surroundings. Add a stamp to your passport and experience the excitement of discovering a new culture and way of life.

Above all, there is the prestigious novelty of vacationing on such beautiful, exotic, exclusive islands. You can be sure that friends and family will be eager to hear about your travels.  

Things to do on an Island

Whether you’re using this unique, luxury family vacation for a special occasion or just for something new and different, there are so many things you can do no matter how large or small the island, and so many ways to keep memories alive.

  • Excursions are one of the more popular ways to experience various islands. From ATV tours, to horseback riding, to zip lining through the jungle, there are endless guided adventures awaiting you.
  • Of course on an Island, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking waters and each one holds its own variety of sea life. Snorkeling and scuba diving are the perfect way to see it all up close. You may even want to pay to experience and photograph swimming with dolphins or other sea animals to make things even more memorable.
  • If you’re up for some exercise, hikes can be unforgettable experiences where you can see wildlife, local plants, waterfalls and so much more.
  • Every Island has its own culture. There is local food to try, shops and markets to visit and even concerts and shows that showcase local culture. Diving in and trying it all is the perfect way to really get to know where you are.
  • You can’t forget about simply relaxing on the beach when you’re on an island. It’s great to take some down-time from all the adventures, and just unwind.

Documenting Your Vacation

Sure, you can take pictures with your phone or camera, but why not splurge and have your family portrait taken by a professional photographer?

A photographer, who is familiar with the area will know where the optimal photo locations are, as well as know how the local weather conditions will affect the photos.

A professionally done family photo taken on your dream island vacation can be displayed and cherished for years to come.  Create a photo album and hand a favorite photo or two on your wall. To make even greater use of your Island photos, what better Holiday card, than the one showcasing the best part of your year?

There are many other ways to document your trip and remember the fun that was had.

Don’t hesitate to pick up that handmade souvenir you’ve been eyeing , pick up a seashell on a beach, or even put some sand in a bottle. You can also dry a local flower in a book or purchase a local treat or snack to take home.

The options are endless, but be sure to follow local rules and guidelines when taking items from nature.

If you’re planning to take a dream island summer vacation on the Turks and Caicos Islands, contact us at Mermaid Pictures and Printing. We’d love to capture your family’s once-in-a-lifetime adventures so they can be displayed and treasured for years after.

 

11 Tips for Getting the Best Wedding Day Photos

The photos from your wedding will be the record of every beautiful moment you had that special day. They will be what you and your spouse will look at as you reminisce, display in your home and office, and will show to posterity years down the road. You’ll want photos that perfectly capture the happiness of your day and by taking the right steps, you can achieve it.

at the Amanyara Resort in Turks and Caicos

 

Here are 11 tips to getting those perfect wedding day pictures:

  1. Begin Researching Early: It is recommended that you begin your wedding photographer research a year before your wedding. Get recommendations from recently married couples you know and online. Carefully and thoroughly comb over each wedding photographer’s website and photo gallery. You need to get an idea of their style and determine whether it’s the style that you want your wedding day memories captured in.
  2. Think Critically: As you review photos, consider key moments you want to capture at your own wedding: Did this photographer capture great shots that you’d also like to have? Look for thoughtful compositions and intimate moments that only an experienced artist might look for. Make sure people look relaxed, natural, and in-the-moment, not surprised by the camera.
  3. Interview Photographers: Like a job interview, someone can look good on paper (or through photos), but have a personality that may clash against yours. You can’t truly tell if a wedding photographer will be a good fit until you meet and interact with him either in person or on the phone.
  4. Compare Packages and Options: Ask each photographer what is standard as far as time and coverage goes. Most packages cover an entire wedding from getting ready to the end of the reception, but some may not. Some cover prints and others charge additional. Some give you digital images to print on your own and others charge for digital images or over a certain number or edited image. Be sure to know exactly what you’re getting
  5. Confirm the Photographer: Depending on whether you hire a freelance photographer or decide on a photographer working for a studio with many other photographers, you’ll have to make sure that the same photographer you met with in person and felt comfortable around will be the one shooting at your wedding day.
  6. Sign a Contract/Agreement: Once you’ve settled on a wedding photographer, get and sign a written contract that has all the details including the wedding date, the hours that will be covered and when and how you’ll get the final photos.
  7. Schedule an Engagement Shoot: It is always a good idea to meet with the photographer and have him or her take pictures of you and your fiancé before the wedding. This pre-wedding shoot will give you the opportunity to get comfortable with the photographer, observe him or her in action and see the kinds of photos he or she takes.
  8. Limit Your Shot List: Don’t try to get pictures of every combination of guests or extended relatives at your wedding. This will waste precious time. Instead, limit your shot list to a few of the most important ones and the photographer will capture the rest of the unforgettable moments as they come.
  9. Have a Realistic Schedule: Things can, and often, don’t go as planned. Allot extra time into your wedding day schedule in preparation for mishaps that can happen.
  10. Keep Your Head Up: Walking down the aisle and saying your vows can provoke great emotions. Many couples miss out on the true essence of the moment because their heads are lowered in the attempt to deal with the anxiety, joy, or wide range of overwhelming emotions they are experiencing. You’ll want to see the joy in both of your face as you marry so remember to keep your head up, not just for the photos, but to fully experience each moment.
  11. Consider the Lighting: Lighting is often overlooked in weddings and many couples don’t consider what may be needed for great photos. The right lighting is needed for the perfect pictures. Be aware of how the lighting will change throughout the day such as when the sun sets and lighting inside the venue. Your photographer can give you lighting tips based on experience.

The professional wedding photographers at Mermaid Pictures and Printing are the local Turk and Caicos wedding photographer experts. Contact us today and let us capture the beauty of your wedding with stunning photos you’ll cherish for years to come.

 

What to Look for in a Destination Wedding Photographer

There are few things more important to a wedding than choosing who captures the memories of your big day that you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Your wedding photos will preserve every smile, tear and precious moment throughout the joyous occasion and you don’t want just any photographer to document it. Your wedding photos will be what you proudly show to friends, family, children and grandchildren. They’ll be focal points within your home, your office and even on social media so it’s important that your images are of the highest quality.

Destination Wedding photographer, Mermaid Pictures, captures a beautiful sea-side moment between bride and groom.

So what are the most important characteristics and how do you go about finding such a qualified photographer?

Cost. There are many aspects to consider when hiring a qualified wedding photographer. The first thing that may come to mind is the cost. Not all expensive wedding photographers have raving reviews and not all low-budget photographers produce poor work. You can’t base your wedding photographer decision on price alone. Consider the long-term. An investment in higher quality images and beautiful memories may or may not be worth a larger portion of your wedding budget to you, so here are some other things to consider when making that determination:

Location. Selecting a photographer who is local and has spent time exploring and photographing in the area is your best choice for someone who knows the most picturesque spots. You may have a favorite photographer you’re considering flying in for a destination wedding, but they won’t know the nooks and crannies holding incredible light and hidden gems that will make your photos truly unique.

Local reputation. Whether in-person or online, take the time to get an idea of how others feel about the photographer and what their experiences was like. If you have time to travel and scope out your destination site before-hand, talk to locals and also local wedding vendors like florists and venues for the best word-of-mouth recommendations.

Experience level. Like hiring anyone for and important “job,” you’ll want a wedding photographer with experience under his or her belt. If your budget it tight, you may be able to find up-and-coming, budding wedding photographers looking for experience offering services for a greatly discounted price, but keep in mind that this could be a gamble as these are moments that you’ll never get back. Talk to the photographer beforehand and ask to see a portfolio of their past work.

A simple capture of a Turks and Caicos bride's shoes before she walks down the isle.

Wedding specialization. Depending on what your specific needs are, someone who specializes in weddings will be your best choice when venturing off for an exciting destination wedding because they have a keen eye for how to capture the top moments of your big day. Most photographers who also do other types of photography, such as family portraits, often produce great wedding pictures that satisfy the needs of most couples.

The photographer’s style. Each wedding photographer has a unique style, and you can find everything from bright and fun to classy and vintage. The photographer’s style is a key factor as it will dictate how he or she covers your wedding and the kinds of images that you’ll have for a lifetime. Be sure to pick a photographer whose style compliments and highlights the vibe and theme of your wedding and décor taste if you’re planning to display your images. Browsing through the photographer’s portfolio will give you a great idea of their style and versatility.

Equipment used. Photographers have their own preferences on what type and how much equipment they use when documenting weddings. Some higher-end photographers may haul around more equipment. The more equipment the photographer uses, the more you have to consider the costs, space and set-up time. Natural light photographers typically carry less equipment, but it all comes back to style and what you want the end result to be. Talk to photographers you may be interested in about what they use and why to see how it will benefit the outcome of your images.

Island Bride trash the dress photo.

Packages and options offered. Many photographers offer a variety  of packages, most of which include a select number of prints in different sizes and photo CDs or DVDs. Your photographer selection may be based on what your photograph needs are. It’s always great when you can find a photographer who can customize their image and print options to your needs, as you may see your photos and want more or less than what a “standard” package offers.

Many couples head to Turks and Caicos for their destination wedding. The gorgeous, secluded beaches make for the perfect wedding backdrop.  At Mermaid Pictures, our qualified, expert photographers are well-known and well-regarded in the Turks and Caicos community. We have many years of experience doing weddings and family portraits. Contact us today so that we can meet your wedding needs and beautifully capture every magical moment of your day.

Keeping it simple.

Back lit by the setting sun on Little Water Cay in Turks and Caicos.
Back lit by the setting sun on Little Water Cay in Turks and Caicos.

How do I insure that my clients loose themselves in the moment? Keep it simple. Give them their space, and be ready for the real moments, because they can happen quickly. If you miss them, they are gone forever.

I like to get my clients talking to each other not me
I like to get my clients talking to each other not me

I find that if I keep my set up really simple, the easier it is for my subjects to forget that this is a photoshoot and loose themselves in each other.   I realize that I am blessed with where I live and work. The Turks and Caicos Islands are a photographers paradise. Soft light is a norm, the colors in the golden hour are gentle, and our beaches are truly made for falling in love.  However, I still find it vital to keep the extra noise out of their experience.  So I like to find places where we aren’t on display. Where the moments are quiet. No extra lights, no flashes….nothing that will make them remember that they are being watched.

Shooting with a longer lens allows you to give them some space
Shooting with a longer lens allows you to give them some space

I also love shooting couples with a longer lens, which allows me to give them physical space to forget me.  Out of sight, out of mind. I like to place them where I want them, give them a little encouragement and step way back and watch for that moment when they forget about me.  Most of the time, that moment only last about 5 minutes. So I better be ready for it.

 

I love what I do, and getting images like these from a couple that clearly was in the honeymoon spirit is magic.  This entire shoot took about 45 minutes from start to finish. But we came out of it with 40 images that they will carry with them forever.

 

Remember… one love. Forever….

xo

Martin

Love on the island is a sweet breeze

I have written about it before. The soft, gentle trade winds blowing through our island home.  It is constant and true. It is love enduring.

The wind chimes ring with an ever present note. The peaceful, dreamy vibes brought to us by our trade winds.

Bride and her maid of honor share a moment on the beach at the Amanyara Resort in Turks and Caicos
Bride and her maid of honor share a moment on the beach at the Amanyara Resort in Turks and Caicos

Those dreamy vibes make these islands an ideal spot for your destination wedding. All year round the temps are pleasant, the winds cooling us in the summer months.  The palm trees sway as if the steel drums are driving them to a soft beat.

Pelican Beach in Leeward in the Turks and Caicos Islands
Pelican Beach in Leeward in the Turks and Caicos Islands

The clouds are whispy by the evening, making sunsets glow with all their blissful goodbyes.

Come visit us here, get married here, and let us at Mermaid Pictures capture all that emotion into art you can treasure for a lifetime.

One love,

Martin

 

My first bride with her first baby

So Lysianne was the very first bride I ever shot a couple years ago.

Lysianne on her wedding day
Lysianne on her wedding day

She will always have a very special place in my heart, as she started me down this adventure here in Turks and Caicos. She really helped me define my style and we just had a blast. Its her and her husband’s, Mitch, energy that has catapulted me forward.

Mitch and Lysianne in Turks and Caicos on their wedding
Mitch and Lysianne in Turks and Caicos on their wedding

 

So they have just come back to visit us here in the Turks and Caicos, and they have a new edition. Ayden.  She is so sweet and cute. I couldn’t resit the chance to photograph them again.

Ayden makes her first trip to visit us here on island.
Ayden makes her first trip to visit us here on island.

I love the full circle of these events. The couples I have met when they where just starting, are taking that next step…creating families.

A little beach session with Ayden and Lsyianne
A little beach session with Ayden and Lsyianne

One Love,

Martin

Lets look at Turks and Caicos in pictures

Some days I can’t believe I live here… its just so beautiful…the warm air, the soft breeze, and my oh my those colors. They stop me in my tracks on a daily basis.

The aqua marine colors of the Turks and Caicos Islands
The aqua marine colors of the Turks and Caicos Islands

The day light hours are bright and vibrant. They make me want to live life out loud. There are not many places in the world where you are so drawn to being outdoors.

The end of the day in Turks and Caicos
The end of the day in Turks and Caicos

Our days end in gentle kisses against the sky. Some sunsets are more violent, aggressive.  Here in Providenciales, they are kind, soft and reflective.

Coming in for a landing in Providenciales
Coming in for a landing in Providenciales

TurksAir_chalkWinter

Sunset in Turks and Caicos
Sunset in Turks and Caicos

 

I love this place, and I love shooting here. I am inspired constantly by the transitions of light, by the emotions of the trade winds. Its just pure love

One Love,

Martin

Think family when you think vacation.

What are vacations for? Most of us need to have a little release from the grind of our regular lives. A time to get together with loved ones and celebrate the quiet and beautiful moments in life.

Just hanging out

Family portraits can be a great way to celebrate those moments. Turks and Caicos is a great place for families. The beaches are clean and the water is very kid friendly.  Grace Bay is a true wonder of the natural world with its combination of soft sand, soft sea, and open space.

Playing in the sand

Grace Bay and all the Turks and Caicos beaches also offer incredibly tender moments to remember forever.  Why not have a professional capture those moments for you? Take home a little reminder that these are the important times in life. Times surrounded by your family; surrounded by love.

The soft evening light in Turks and Caicos is perfect for portraits
The soft evening light in Turks and Caicos is perfect for portraits

Getting everyone together can be hard. We often live far apart from our parents, brothers, sisters, children and grandchildren. Remembering those moments can be very worth while.

Family along the fence

Casual poses can produce wonderful results
Casual poses can produce wonderful results

 

So next time you are down on island, think of what you want to remember from your trip. If its the time you get to spend with you loved ones, then give us a call.   We can take a short hour or so out of your day to give you something that will last a lifetime.

 

One Love,

Martin

More best of Mermaid Pictures and Printing

As I try to catch up on blogging I am going to continue sharing some of my favorite moments so far.

This is Mark and Jennifer’s Amanyara Wedding. I loved this day. It was calm, relaxed with so much tenderness and good vibes.

 

at the Amanyara Resort in Turks and Caicos
at the Amanyara Resort in Turks and Caicos

It is so much fun to shoot small weddings, and this one couldn’t be smaller…just the two of them. It really allows me to get intimate with them and concentrate solely on their connection.

at the Amanyara Resort in Turks and Caicos
at the Amanyara Resort in Turks and Caicos

I think we did a really good job setting the mood. It was elegant, soft, and tender.  The weather co-operated perfectly. Allowing for great moody shoots. Their portrait on the rocks over looking that beautiful Turks and Caicos water came together perfectly. The sun peaking through, enough clouds to tell a story. It was in short, a really beautiful moment.

A tender moment at the Amanyara Resort, Turks and Caicos
A tender moment at the Amanyara Resort, Turks and Caicos

 

at the Amanyara Resort in the Turks and Caicos Islands
at the Amanyara Resort in the Turks and Caicos Islands
at the Amanyara Resort in Turks and Caicos Islands
at the Amanyara Resort in Turks and Caicos Islands

 

These two were so much fun. I wish them nothing but all the love in the world.

One Love,

Martin

Catching up with some best of moments from Mermaid Pictures and Printing

Hello,

So as I try and make this a regular thing I will be posting some of my favorite shoots from the past. I will talk about why I like them, and how I shot them.

So lets get started.

JD_L_54

This is from Lauren and John’s Turks and Caicos Wedding held at the beautiful Coral House on the shores of Grace Bay. I love this picture with all my heart for so many reasons, mostly because I adore them as a couple.

It was shoot just prior to her walking down the aisle . It was a quiet moment as the guests where being seated. The golden light of sunset was just starting to bask everything in that soft Caribbean glow, and everything just fell into place.

Sometimes the best images come from the moments in between planned events. When everything quiets down.

I think this is a great example of what we do here at Mermaid Pictures. We try and steal those quiet moments of anticipation and make something truly beautiful out of it.  So for that, I thank you Lauren.

One Love,

Martin