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Beth Baynum

The Hidden Costs of A Bargain

March 30th, 2016 by | Share Blog

12_31_2015_DN_0131Professional event planners say: hiring a freelance photographer is like hiring an intern to handle your most important event.

When it comes to event photography, everyone knows there are tons of options available. Just do a Google search for Event Photographer and see how many hits you get. It’s overwhelming!  Start looking at their various sites and you’ll be even more confused. How do you know which photographer is going to best meet your needs?

The truth is: you don’t. Unless you personally know the photographer whose site you’re reviewing, or know someone else who’s worked with them, it’s nearly impossible to accurately assess the photographer’s real talent, much less what they’re like to work with and how reliable they are. Here’s a fact lots of people don’t know: the images you see on a photographers website have very likely been worked on extensively. You are seeing the best of thousands of shots they’ve taken. Shots that may well have been Photoshopped to look as good as they can, which hides the photographer’s real ability.

Hiring a freelance photographer to cover your important event, who isn’t known or hasn’t been vetted, is a huge gamble. Sure, they may cost less. But there are no do-overs, your event isn’t a dress rehearsal. You have one opportunity to catch that moment when the groom sees his bride for the first time. One single chance to capture your son blowing out his mitzvah candles. You take a big risk merely hoping the freelancer you’ve hired has the skill and experience required to get these shots.

That’s why professional event planners use 5th Avenue Digital. They have full confidence, knowing our photographers have been specifically chosen from the thousands of photographers out there for their artistry, technical skill, personality, reliability, experience and vision. We work with them to help hone their expertise and make them even better. We teach them the ins-and-outs of the religious ceremonies and cultural traditions. We coach them on working with all types of people, from the nervous groom to the overwhelmed mitzvah mom.

Next time you’re looking for a  professional photographer and reviewing the myriad freelancer websites, ask yourself, “Is the low rate worth the risk?”  Then talk to 5th Avenue Digital… and relax, knowing you’re getting photography talent and service you can trust.

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Certified: A Women Owned Business’s Journey

March 16th, 2016 by | Share Blog

— Part 1 in a Series

Vision for America Awards 2012 If your company is 51% owned or established by women (or a woman) your company is eligible to become certified as a Women Owned Business. Why does this matter? Why would you want to get certified? How does the process work?

5th Avenue Digital became certified last September as a Women Owned Business and we have just begun our journey. When meeting my counterparts at other companies we all have the same questions. I was hired to find the answers, and to also utilize our certification to its fullest extent. I am hoping by writing this blog it will help answer some of your questions and perhaps pave the way for your own certification.

Becoming certified as a woman-owned business gives your company a foot in the door with large Fortune 500 companies.  Although we had already worked with some of these large corporations, the certification allows us to expand and grow these relationships, and build new relationships with companies that we have wanted to work with but haven’t been able to break into. The larger companies have an initiative to fulfill a corporate culture of diversity, so they are incentivized to work with certified businesses. Becoming certified allows you to make it on their list of vendors and create partnerships. (more…)

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Beth Baynum

5 Tips on Dressing for an Engagement Shoot

February 19th, 2016 by | Share Blog

20121020-DL_KL-LaurenFabien_Eng-7717Many of our wedding clients are unsure about what to wear for their engagement shoot. It’s an understandable and true concern. Even with the best photographer, the wrong outfit can ruin the entire shoot. If you don’t like how your clothes look in the photos, or how you look in the clothes, none of the shots will be pleasing.  So getting your engagement shoot attire right is hugely important.

But you don’t need a stylist to nail the perfect outfit. Use the guidelines below to point you in the right direction, then bring in a trusted friend — one who’s not afraid to be honest and open with their opinions — and find a 3-way mirror to seriously evaluate your options.

  1. Dress fNew York wedding photographer Sofia Negron Hamptons Engagement Session Get to Know You Sessionor the season and location

This is the most important and over-arching rule, because you want to look natural and appropriate in your surroundings.  Be sure your look is consistent with the environment of your shoot. Don’t wear a sleeveless dress for a winter shoot in the park, or a heavy beaded sweater for a summertime shoot on the beach. This kind of incongruence will make the photos seem strange. If some of the shots will be done outside, wear layers — the colder the season, the more layers you can wear — so you can change the outfit a bit from indoors to outside and still look appropriate to the season.

  1. Wear what feels good on you, but don’t be afraid to stretch out of your comfort zone

We all have our standard go-to styles and colors that we believe look good on us. Enlist your trusted friend to see if they agree, and ask for suggestions on how you might change it up a bit. You may wear sleeveless tops or turtlenecks a lot because they’re comfortable, but are they truly flattering for you?  Ask your friend what he thinks. You want to feel comfortable and confident in your outfit, but you also want to look fantastic and ramp up your look from the usual norm. This leads to the next tip…

  1. D20120504_02_LV_0078ress as you would for a special date

No matter what your style, you probably have occasions when you up the ante, such as a special dinner or an informal party. For the guys, that might mean a sports jacket with no tie. For the women, a fun dress or stylish jeans with high-heeled boots and a faux-fur vest. Aim to look like yourself — with added zing.

  1. Make sure your outfit complements what your partner wears

Your engagement photos will look more harmonious and visually pleasing when your outfit complements your partner’s. Don’t wear a flowered dress if he’s wearing a casual plaid shirt. Nor a muted, quietly colored suit with her brightly colored skinny jeans.  Your overall styles (such as slightly dressy versus super-casual), colors and patterns should work together rather than compete with each other. Here’s another time when you should count on your friend and your mirror to give an objective opinion.20141107-KO-EngShootL_T-0112

  1. Do test photos on your own

Ask your trusted advisor to use their smart phone and take some full length test shots from different vantage points. Your photographer will be shooting from the side, from behind and everywhere in between, so be sure you like how you look at all angles. Don’t worry about how your face looks in these shots, and try different poses so you get an idea of which ones make your body look best. Your engagement photographer should help you with this during shoot, as well. One of the reasons for doing an engagement shoot is to try out which poses work best for you, like a dress rehearsal for the wedding.  But getting an idea of your best poses ahead of the engagement shoot will make your engagement photos even better.

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Elizabeth Beskin

How To Tell Your Wedding Guests to Unplug

February 15th, 2016 by | Share Blog

Estafania-y-Miguel0534-1024x658Finally, we’re getting to the point where some people understand that when you’re a guest at someone’s wedding, taking cell phone photos during the ceremony is NOT COOL. Beyond being an intrusion to those around them, these would-be auteurs are hindering the good work of the people who’ve been hired to provide wedding photography and videography for the wedding.

Likely this is sheer ignorance. These people don’t realize that camera flashes, leaning into the aisle to get the shot, or holding a phone over their head get in the way of the professionals and prevent them from getting the shots they’ve been paid to provide. Competing flashes result in overexposed photos. Phones suspended in the air block the professional’s camera angles. Multiple cameras going off can make a quiet ceremony feel like a red carpet event.

But how do you prevent your wedding guests from intruding on your professional wedding photography? What’s the right way to tell them to put their phones away during the ceremony — to UNPLUG?

Wedding couples must be direct and ask guests to refrain from using their devices. There are lots of ways to get the point across. You can have notices printed on cards to put on the chairs, or post a sign at the entrance, or include a note in the wedding program. We’ve gathered some examples below. These are all gracious examples that will convey the message. You’re sure to find one here that works for you.

20110409-01-DN-2110-1024x658Welcome to our unplugged wedding. We invite you to be fully present with us during our ceremony. Please turn off all cell phones and cameras. Thank you!

Oh Snap! Thank you for coming, but we have one plea. Please keep our ceremony camera-free. Though our “I-do’s” are unplugged, our reception is not. Once we finish our first dance, you’re free to take a shot!

Please…the bride and groom request the joyful sight of your smiles, without the distraction of any electronic devices or cameras.

Welcome, Guests! We invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ceremony. We kindly ask you to please turn off all cameras and cell phones during the ceremony. We will gladly share our professional wedding photos with you. Thank you!

Please Unplug. We invite you to relax and let our amazing wedding photographer capture the day, while you enjoy being here with us! Please turn off all cameras and phones. Thank you!

You are part of our wedding! We want to see you in our photos, not your camera or smartphone. We will provide you with the wedding gallery as soon as it’s available. Thank you for making today special.

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Elizabeth Beskin

Announcing A New Addition to the 5th Avenue Digital Team

January 26th, 2016 by | Share Blog

20121212-DL_KL-270I’m proud to say the 5th Avenue Digital crew is growing!  Evania Shukovsky is now our Sales Director, and we feel so lucky to have her on our team. Eva will be handling sales in New Jersey and will help us book more corporate and social work in New York City, drawing on her wide array of contacts in the events industry.

Many of you may know Eva, as she’s been a sales dynamo on the venue side of the industry for many years. She now lives in New Jersey with her husband Alan, also a superstar in the events industry, and their nine month-old boy, Grayson.

Eva started her career at Tavern On The Green right out of college, fulfilling a dream she’d had since going there one fateful New Year’s Eve. Then studying Hospitality Management in college, the restaurant seemed like a magical place to her, and that night she decided, “This is where I want to be.” Her enthusiasm and focus landed her a job in the Sales Department, and she’s been thriving in the industry ever since.

After four years at Tavern On The Green, she moved on to Bridgewater’s, where she worked until it closed after Superstorm Sandy in 2012. From there she went to Tribeca Rooftop, until deciding to switch from the venue side of the industry and join our team. And we’re so glad she did!

Eva has always wanted to work in the event industry.  As a teenager she would run home from class to watch “A Wedding Story” on TLC. Even all these years later, she’s still a huge fan of reality TV. Even more, she still loves seeing an event through from conception to completion, and helping brides fulfill their unique visions for their weddings.

This genuine passion, along with her knowledge, grace and charm, make her a perfect fit for us, and we know our clients will love her as much as we do!  Feel free to reach out at  20121212-DL_KL-168

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Elizabeth Beskin

Advice on Hiring a Wedding Photographer

January 20th, 2016 by | Share Blog

blog3So your significant other just popped the question and the process of wedding planning has commenced. Trying to hire vendors that meet your criteria can be a bit overwhelming. We are going to offer you a few bits of advice to help you choose the right wedding photographer for your celebration.

We are in the age of the internet and research could not be easier. Make sure you do your homework: research your wedding photographer. You want to be certain they are the right fit. Look at websites, social media channels and reviews. Photographers offer a lot of information on their websites and reviews are an excellent way to get an outsider’s perspective on their own wedding experience.

There are many different styles of  Wedding photography. Chat with your photographer about which style appeals to you the most. This is very important. Communicate your expectations of style so everyone is on the same page. Your photographer should be able to show you examples of their work in your desired style.

wedding photographer portraitsWhen meeting your photographer, you will want to see examples of their work. Request to see examples of wedding albums as well as complete wedding galleries. You want to see the full scope of the Wedding photographer’s work, not just the selected album shots.

Your wedding is one of the biggest days of your lives. Most likely there will be combinations of friends and family members together that will make great photos. You will want to ensure your photographer captures those memories. A shot list is an important document to create for your photographer, to help ensure you get the must-have photos you want.

wedding photographer protraitsIt’s important that you get along with all of your vendors, but especially your photographer. Your wedding photographer will be following you around all day and you will be spending more time with the photographer than with any other vendor. It’s very important to meet with them at least once during your planning process. If your wedding photographer is coming from a distant location, ask for a Facetime or Skype meeting. Personality is key here. Your wedding photographer should be someone you are happy to be around.

Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. Your vendors are there to make your experience a much more pleasant one.

wedding photographer candids

And….congrats on your engagement!

for more sure to check out our webpage

Photographers: Robert Evans, David Nicholas, Jen DelCastillo and Courtney Collins for 5th Avenue Digital

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Elizabeth Beskin

Universal Lessons from My Harvard Reunion

October 9th, 2015 by | Share Blog

harvard3I would have never imagined when I decided to go to Harvard for my Executive MBA, that it would have the impact it does on my life each and every day.

I am convinced I wouldn’t be in business today if I hadn’t taken the class on innovation that focused on seeing opportunity in turmoil.  Building a photography business at a time when people questioned the value on good photography and its costs has been quite a challenge. Harder this time around than it was the first time I helped build a photography company in the late 80’s early 90’s.  But the classes on innovation taught me how to look at turmoil and find the opportunity there.  As a result, we have found that opportunity by representing exceptionally talented photographers and offering impeccable service to planners, venues, associations and corporations.

What I didn’t expect was that every three years I would get invited back to this wonderful Cambridge campus for a jolt of inspiration, and for a reminder of all the valuable  things the program gave to everyone who went through it.

What’s better than being taught classes by the smartest people, who are researching the topics that should interest all of us: Healthcare in the U.S. and how to fix it … Can china lead? … If you were on Tesla’s board, what would you do? And naturally, courses on how to be a better leader and on service oriented businesses.

It allows us to flex our most important muscle: our brain! (more…)

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Elizabeth Beskin

Meet Suzan Salmon, the newest member of the 5th Avenue Digital Photography Team

June 29th, 2015 by | Share Blog

After 15 years working as an event planner in New Jersey, Suzan has returned to the photography world and is back on our team just like the old days when we worked together at Sarah Merians Photography! As our newest “matchmaker,” Suzan works with our clients to find the perfect photographer for their special occasions.

I recently sat down with Suzan to speak with her about joining our team.

Shall we tell people how you ended up in the event industry?

It was when I met you in Newport Rhode Island, and you had just started your previous business with Sarah Merians. You, Sarah and I hung out at the Newport jazz Festival and by the end of the weekend, you both said, “Quit your job, we’re hiring you!”  Shortly after that, my job changed locations and I decided I wanted to work in New York, so I called and said “Okay, I’m moving to the city, let’s get together!” (more…)

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Elizabeth Beskin

Anatomy of a Photo Album

April 9th, 2015 by | Share Blog

heatherEveryone has their own definition of what a photo album should look like. Some people see it as an ordinary book that holds pictures in one place. I see a photo album as a very special place to keep pictures from an important time or occasion that you will treasure for the rest of your life. A Photo album is not something that gets worn out or gets old to look at.


What is album design? I am a graphic designer with a passion for creating photo albums for people after their events. I love special events and I believe in not only creating a photo album, but making sure it is designed beautifully. The pictures in an album tell a story and it’s important to make sure they are in the right order to tell that story. I make sure there’s a good balance of image sizes and backgrounds to ensure that the photo album is visually appealing. The mix between the album itself, the story it tells and the visually appealing design is what makes a photo album so cherished.


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Beth Baynum

Flexing Your Social Media Muscle

August 20th, 2014 by | Share Blog

0429-20140625-JD 2014-6-13-7089467443141 photo 4No matter what your job is — marketing a product for a large company, running a small business, working at a not-for-profit organization or promoting a university — in just about all fields of endeavor today, social media outreach is a key component.  What used to be an adjunct is now a necessity.

Social media is an aggregate game, and you have to be in it to win it.  Volume counts: the more you’re out there, the more likely your product, service or cause will be seen, noticed and commented on.  The regular players know it takes lots of work and time to make a dent in the social media onslaught. One way to get over this hurdle is by ensuring that each opportunity is maximized.

To make an impact, you want to go all-in, sharing across all platforms.  Here at 5th Avenue Digital, we’ve developed new products that make this task easy and effective. For example, our Social Media Portal allows easy sharing of event images in real time, while at the event.  One of our photographers will shoot your guests arriving at the event. Then everyone can go to the Social Media Portal to see their photos, select the ones they like, maybe add a filter effect for fun, and instantly share the photo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

But why stop there?  Today’s event guests love taking their own photos as well with their smartphones. We make it easy to harness this power and give them another way to share even more photos.  With Printstagram, everyone can get a print of their smartphone photos almost instantly.  This allows sharing of all images, those taken by a professional photographer and those taken by your event guests, across all social media platforms. By incorporating both services you’re ensured of blanketing the social media outlets and giving event attendees a tangible image — with your logo on it! — they can take home to put up on the fridge.  From one event, you get maximum social media outreach and an enhanced experience for the guests.

That’s playing the game to win.

For more information about 5th Avenue Digital’s Social Media Portal or Printstagram, contact or 212-741-6427.

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