June 21, 2014

Shooting My Son’s Wedding In Jamaica – 2010

This article originally appeared on the International Press Assoc. website on January 20, 2010, and republished here.


his article was originally going to be about my son’s destination wedding in Jamaica.  I decided to change it up a bit and take you behind the scenes and have you experience my assignment and some of the challenges, first hand.

You can watch the video I produced here and then discover how I was able to produce the images and video and still be part of this important event.

The Assignment

We were all excited to arrive in Montego Bay, Jamaica.   The sun was shining, beautiful native music was playing at the airport and we were happy and a bit anxious on this trip because we were attending my son’s wedding.  Not only was I going to be shooting this event over the 4 days I was going to be there, but I was also going to do a review of the Iberostar Rose Hall Grand and their adjoining sister hotel the Iberostar Rose Hall Suites.  The Grand is an adults only resort and the Suites caters to all visitors from family to singles.


Leona Getting Ready


My Son Evan

Our wedding event was to be a relatively small affair with just over thirty guests attending, but that didn’t take any of the pressure off of my shoulders. After all, I was going to shoot the photos, the videos, be the father of the groom and because our beautiful daughter-in-law Leona’s parents live in the Czech Republic and couldn’t come to the wedding,

I was going to give away the bride as well.  Now I have been on many assignments, both for business and for pleasure, but I can tell you the pressure was so much greater on this one.  I just had to do it right.  I wanted Leona to have wonderful memories to share with her family and friends and knew if I messed up, my son’s marriage might not get off to a good start. I also had to take photos and write a review of the hotel, since

I was also on assignment for IPA and had planned on writing a review of Iberostar as I had done for their other resort the Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavara, Punta Cana only a couple of months before.


Beautiful Lobby

  “When we arrived at the hotel, we were impressed with the magnificent lobby of the hotel and I immediately put on my Tamron 10-24mm wide-angle zoom so I could capture it in all is grandeur.”

We were shown to our beautiful room, which they called a suite ( I would call it a junior suite) and was impressed by the lovely bathroom, bedroom area and a small area near the sliding glass doors to our balcony with a desk and a small seating area.

The Pool

The pool was simply magnificent and we all loved it. The suite my son had been in the right-hand corner of the hotel overlooking the pool and the beach, spectacular to say the least.


Pool From The Beach View


Beautiful Pool

Panoramic’s With Tamron & Photoshop CS4

I have recently begun to shoot hand-held panoramic’s using Photoshop’s CS4 Auto Merge feature.  It does a great job of stitching overlapping images together, seamlessly. Although I have found it does the best job by stitching from 3-6 images together, I decided to see how some of my ultra wide shots taken with the Tamron would do.

Here are two samples of panoramics. The two shots below were taken with the Tamron 10-24mm lenses. You can see Photoshop CS4 does a great job when stitching 5-6 images together. Using the 10mm focal length on the 10-24mm lens, I found, you can only stitch 3 images together but the distortion is more evident.

Tamron 10-24mm @ 10mm – Nikon D90 – 5 Photos Stitched For Each Panoramic Photo

These Two Sequence Panoramic Shots Completed The Full 360 Degrees



Nikkor 50mm f1.8 Lens

“I love using my inexpensive 50mm lens because I can capture low light shots like this one and still get needle sharp details and beautiful bokeh in my shots. I was using my flash in a bounce mode for fill and captured my daughter-in-law and her brides maids getting ready for the wedding”

Leona + Bridesmaids

Tamron XR Di 28-300mm f 3.5-6.3 VC Lens

“With the three lenses, I can shoot all sorts of assignments.  I was sitting on the beach when I noticed this great shot.  Pulled out my 28-300mm, zoomed all the way in and got fired away”

See The Video 

Was My Assignment A Success?

It was the kind of job that you just don’t want to shoot without some assistance. I had a couple of guests help me out a bit by shooting the few shots of me with Leona and my son and a few of the wedding while I was trying to shoot some video.  At the party, I was able to borrow a few photos from one of our guests to fill in for some I missed.

Lucy Maid of Honor

Lucy Maid of Honor

My Nikon D90 proved to be a great camera once again and I was very happy with my results from my trio of lenses.  The only problem I had when I reset my D90 to default settings because so many of my custom settings weren’t working they way I wanted.  When I did this, I forgot to reset my resolution to Raw+jpeg and unfortunately some of my best shots have enough resolution for an 8X10 or slightly larger and that is a bit disappointing  on the whole, I thought this assignment worked out very nicely.

As far as my review of the hotel goes, well, I am sad to say, they let us down. We found out after they made many mistakes in arranging the wedding ceremony that their wedding coordinator had never handled a wedding before my son’s. We also discovered that the hotel which had only been open ten months had two other weddings since their opening, certainly not enough to give them the expertise in planning and delivering a flawless affair.


Evan and Leona

My son did not want a religious ceremony and was officially married at City Hall in West Palm Beach, Florida before going to Jamaica. Our family is Jewish and Leona’s family is not, so a non-religious wedding was requested. Unfortunately, the Jamaican minister either didn’t get the proper instructions from our wedding planner or simply forgot and he married them as he would any good Christian couple.

Not that we don’t love and respect all religions, but it was a bit odd to be wed with the blessings of Jesus Christ and then end the ceremony with the “Breaking of the Glass” a custom at the end of all Jewish ceremonies. At least the minister did say Mazel Tov (Good Luck) after the glass was broken which was actually pretty funny.  There were a number of other errors, but thankfully, the guests were mostly family and good friends and we all survived their mistakes and in spite of the many mistakes had a good time.

A Bonus From The Hotel…Read Why

When you are spending many thousands of dollars for a destination wedding and the costs keep mounting with all the extras they kept adding on, you expect a 5 star hotel to deliver 5 star services, unfortunately, Iberostar Rose Hall Grand did not.  As a result, I requested a meeting with the general manager and ended up meeting with their assistant general manager.

He understood how we felt, admitted that they had let us down and offered some small compensation in the form of a free 5-night vacation for my son and his wife at the resort, which they took on their first wedding anniversary.

A Learning Experience For Me

We know it is not easy to attend a destination wedding, but considering some of the rough spots and the moaning from older family members, I think we had a great time and more importantly you will see the big smiles on both Evan and Leona’s faces, so to me this was a huge success.

Sara and Andrew's Wedding

Sara and Andrew’s Wedding

I don’t normally shoot weddings, but after my youngest son married in May in New York City (see my slide show of that wedding below) were I was lucky to call on two of my top IPA wedding photographers to help me, Lisa Dunham and her shooting partner Sophia Litchfield who flew in from Oklahoma to help me out.  I ended up learning the type of images that today’s top photographers shoot and working on the digital files of that wedding helped me understand what I needed to do for Evan and Leona.

This experience in May helped me get the right shots when Evan got married in Jamaica. I was covering the entire 4 days at the resort plus the ceremony and then the day after on the beach with just Leona and Evan.  I tend to shoot a lot of travel and since I cover many trade, consumer and other shows, I shoot more of a journalistic style, always looking for my photos to tell a story.

Forget The Formal Shots At A Wedding

This style of shooting has now replaced the more formal shots we all remember when we view our parents wedding albums. I also had an opportunity to shoot some of my wonderful panoramic shots, test out some new photo equipment and get enough images to make a nice DVD that Leona was able to send to her family in the Czech Republic.

I was happy to hear that her family has watched the video a number of times and it always brings tears to their eyes as it does for me.  When you are shooting, you are not part of what is going on, but when you begin to view the finished video, then the emotions tend to take hold.

I hope you can see from my video that this was indeed a wonderful love story about two people who fell in love and wanted to spend their lives together. I look forward now to meeting Leona’s family one day and sharing the joys of becoming grandparents with them as Leona and Evan begin to build their family.

2016 Update

Well this is an update on this article which originally appeared on our older IPA website in January 2010.

Evan and Leona bought a beautiful home in North Palm Beach, Florida and had a beautiful little girl who was born on Christmas Day 2010.  Then came Cole their little boy who will celebrate his third birthday in July.  So a their love story has a happy ending and me and my wife now boast about our 6 grandchildren, you see my youngest son now has twins a boy and girl that just turned three and a wonderful little 5-year-old boy. My oldest son now has a little girl 8 months old. We are happy grandparents now.

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About the Author

Len Rapoport
Len Rapoport
IPA Editor-In-Chief, ID: 1000 • I am an internationally published photographer and the founder of International Press Association. As president and editor-in-chief, my duties at IPA are extensive. For over 40 years I have written articles, had my photos published in millions of publications, record album covers, books, and in the digital media. I was senior marketing and sales executive for major corporations, including my own and as a corporate communications consultant. I have taught photography and formed IPA 20 years ago. I currently work from my home office and continue to actively cover media events in addition to all of my other IPA and IMPress responsibilities.


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