And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson: Wendy Gathers Top NJ Photographers at Her Studio

(from Left) Dan Epstein, Maurico Lemonk, Camila Otero, Javier Seclen, Ellen Quentzel, Kurby Brown, Eric Kazmirek, Karen Farber, Artie Pellarano, David Patiño, Kerry Pratzon, Eileen Noelle, Joshua Lipnick (front) Carolina Wahnish Rivera, Wendy Robinson and John Peters

I was invited to join Mallus Award winning photographer, Wendy Robinson, and notable colleagues last night at her West Orange studio.  For those who frequent our blog, you’ll recognize Wendy’s name and her business partner, David Patiño, from our recent collaboration at the Park Avenue Club. We are also the preferred vendor at several of the same New Jersey venues like the newly renovated Orange Lawn Tennis Club.

Mauricio Lemonk was also in attendance; he and I have teamed up on many occasions including this memorable event at the Grand Summit Hotel that was featured on the MMP blog last summer.

Whenever I mention photographers in our event recaps,  I always stress how having a great personality is just as important as their artistic ability.  The tri-state area is home to some of the best photographers in the industry so finding one who will capture your significant moments with deftness is the easy part; it’s finding a skillful professional that knows how to put the subjects at ease, be unobtrusive and make great conversation throughout a session that makes the search so challenging.

Wendy Robinson and Marcello Pedalino

Last night, Wendy assembled an eclectic group of seasoned aficionados that fit the bill.    In addition to the expected exchange of pleasantries, networking and business idea nuggets,  light-hearted conversation topics included: the World Cup, Costa Rica, quitting smoking, the BP fiasco, the under-appreciated pleasure of a short commute to work, what it is really like to be a teacher in NJ, giving up Burger King and McDonalds cold turkey (that was mine) and the awesomeness of Pandora Radio on your smart phone.

In my opinion, a great photographer, like any highly sought-after professional, needs to be able to simultaneously do their job and make their clients and guests feel comfortable. The vibes last night were definitely indicative of these qualifications.   As far as their individual talents go, check out some of their sample portfolios online and judge for yourself.

Dan Epstein, Maurico Lemonk, Camila Otero, Javier SeclenEric Kazmirek, Karen Farber, David Patiño, Kerry Pratzon, Eileen Noelle, Joshua Lipnick, Carolina Wahnish Rivera, Wendy Robinson and John Peters (Photo Lab).

Special thanks to Wendy for the invitation and her hospitality.   She’s opening a sister office in Morristown with David and Joshua Lipnick that promises to be as  prosperous as their West Orange location.

I wish you all continued health, happiness and success and look forward to our next collaboration.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words: Jake Celebrates at the Orange Lawn Tennis Club

group-shot-largeIf  you were to ask Jake and his family to reminisce about his Bar Mitzvah last Saturday night, it is safe to say that they wouldn’t be at a loss for words.  Not only did the Grubers hire professional photographers to capture the evening’s festivities, they upgraded to our  Coney Island Photo Booth and Paparazzi multi-media package. As you can see from the images  and customized visuals that we featured on this entry, Jake and his family and friends had a blast and enjoyed every minute of this once in a  lifetime experience.

ci-gruberFrom the initial design session at their home back in February, I knew this had the potential to be an awesome night.  Jake was a popular, well-mannered guest of honor who liked to dance.  His parents, Brenda and Craig, knew exactly what they liked, what they didn’t like, and liked to dance as well.  His brothers, Matty and Sammy, were very cool and supportive.  We all played the home version of our cocktail hour favorites- the Interactive Game Show and Picture This Game right there in their living room!

jakes-vip-crew1The week before Jake’s Bar Mitzvah was the second indication that his Bar Mitzvah was going to be fabulous.  I came back to the house for the VIP meet-and-greet dance party. Jake had some of best friends over so they could share their special requests, tell me about the other Bar Mitzvahs they’ve gone to and could review all the most popular dances that we’d be doing on Saturday.   I even taught them a brand new dance that just came out on the Bar Mitzvah circuit, we named it the Jake G. Slide. Special thanks to my good friend DJ Jeffrey B. from the Blend Brothers who produced the audio mashup remix of Jay Sean’s number 1 hit Down which I used as the soundtrack for the choreography.  The kids had a great time and were totally pumped up for the main event.

jake-hora-largeThe final ingredient in the perfect recipe was the location that the Gruber’s chose.  It was the Orange Lawn Tennis Club in South Orange, New Jersey.  The OLTC boasts an elegant ambiance and attentive hospitality thanks to the Catering Director, Lisa Haberman; delectable cuisine courtesy of their new executive “top chef,” Ariane Duarte; and a gorgeous new ballroom thanks to some major renovations by the club recently.

jake-ci-candid1After all the phone calls, e-mails, site surveys, design sessions and dance lessons, the only thing left to do was PARTY!   I was told Jake did an excellent job at Temple in the morning…  by the time he got to the club, he was ready to party all night long, and that’s just what he did.

One of the event highlights was Craig’s toast.   He prepared  a heart-warming collection of personalized anecdotes and reflections which he delivered with sincere grace. Jake was beaming from ear-to-ear with his trademark grin that lit up the room.

I asked Craig for permission to share this paragraph from his toast.  He graciously obliged.

craigs-toast-largecraigs-toast-2-large1“Jake – I’m sure you already know this but you are a very special person. …

You have a certain charisma that is electrifying.  Your smile is contagious and you can change the tone of an entire room – I see you do it all the time. You’ve seen hard work pay off (for you) and you have that thirst to achieve.  Above all you are a dedicated brother and loyal friend to your buddies. Those relationships are the kind that makes the world go ’round.  Just continue to smile, be nice, and fair and most importantly – be yourself – because the self we’re seeing is looking real good.”

As a new father, I can only hope to feel the same way about my child someday.

So if a picture is worth a thousand words: fun, exceptional, unique and memorable is where I’d start my list.  Take a look at some of the other shots we took and what our Coney Island photo booth captured and make your own list. 🙂

Encore Gallery:





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