The Insider Scoop

“We Bring Out the Most Natural Side of the Bride and Groom:” Hearth and Oak Photography Company Focuses Their Lens on Authenticity

With over a decade of experience, the team at Hearth and Oak Photography Company captures every detail of your wedding day with stunning sincerity.

It’s a common observation from many newlyweds: your wedding day is an unbelievable whirlwind, zipping by so quickly that you may have trouble remembering all the beautiful moments.

That’s why your photographer is one of the most important vendors you’ll hire. Not only are they tasked with documenting all those major milestones – your walk down the aisle, your first kiss, your first dance – they’re also responsible for catching the more intimate details of your day that you might miss.

Veteran and first responder-owned Hearth and Oak Photography Company, a BOLI preferred vendor, takes these responsibilities seriously. With a singular goal in mind, they capture each bride and groom in the most authentic ways possible – without turning their clients’ wedding days into an hours-long photo shoot.

“We’re the follow-through gang.” – Hearth and Oak Photography Company

While Hearth and Oak is a newer venture for creative partners David Cerezo and Shaun Mood, photography certainly isn’t. “We’ve been in the industry for ten years,” says David. “I met Shaun about ten years ago in a photography forum online, and we figured out that we both lived on Long Island.”

The duo decided to pair up, shooting concerts and other live events at first. They eventually transitioned to weddings as their personal and professional relationship grew. As David accounts, “we became best friends, and later started shooting weddings together for my old company. Then we freelanced with that company for a while, and here we are now starting off on our own thing.”

And with a background that includes both military and civil service, David and Shaun recognize the importance of unyielding commitment. “Shaun is a special human,” David says. “He’s served in the Army, he’s served in the Navy, and he’s NYPD. So if you’re worried about guys that follow through, well, we’re the follow-through gang.”

“Everything has to be real for us.” – Hearth and Oak Photography Company

There are as many different photographers as there are photography styles, with each drawn to a certain look and feel for their pictures. For David and Shaun, authenticity is key. “I feel like we’re classic photojournalistic and documentary style,” David describes. “With our shots, nothing is over-posed. We don’t try to make anything look fake. Everything has to be real for us. We bring out the most natural side of the bride and groom, it’s what we’re the best at.”

In order to bring out the “real” in every couple, the Hearth and Oak duo follows a specific protocol. “We try to bring out the most authentic version of the client and that requires a lot of staying back, withdrawing, and then knowing when to step in,” David explains. “We don’t come in with big lights and big to-dos and all that stuff. It’s not to say we can’t do it, we just prefer not to. We don’t want our clients to remember their wedding day as a giant photo session.

We don’t want to make their day about taking photos, that’s not what their day’s about.”

On top of ensuring authenticity in their work, David and Shaun also value an extreme attention to detail. “I do not miss a thing, and I take pride in that,” David says. “I’ve never had a client say to me, in all my years of doing this, ‘Oh Dave, you forgot this photo.’ I don’t forget anything. If you say to me during your day, ‘Hey, I just need a photo with my Aunt Susie,’ and that opportunity hasn’t presented itself, I’m going to run up to you and get that shot before I leave for the night.”

“I’m the guy that’s in your corner all day.” – Hearth and Oak Photography Company

From the moment you slip on your “getting ready” robe until the last song of the night has played, one vendor will remain by your side. As David notes, “the photographer’s the only guy you’re with your entire day. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, and I want it to be a good thing.” When you hire Hearth and Oak Photography, you can expect a lot more than just great photos.

“When brides book an appointment with us, they can expect us to be able to answer questions on the fly and almost plan out their entire day immediately,” David explains. “I’ve been doing this for so long, I have so many weddings under my belt, that I can plan the bride’s entire day without her even realizing I’ve planned it for her.”

With vast experience at his disposal, David realizes the need to stay easy-going and organized. “I’m very laid back, I’m very calm and personable,” he describes. “I’m the guy that’s in your corner all day. I’m going to keep an eye on things and make sure things are running the way they’re supposed to. Time management is my biggest strength on the wedding day, because your wedding isn’t supposed to be about ‘what’s the photographer doing? Do we have enough time to do this?’”

And, of course, you’ll receive beautiful images that will help you remember your wedding for years to come. “I will say, we do damn good work, it’s icing on the cake,” David admits. “Clients will say ‘wow, you take care of everything and your photos are good?’ Yes, that’s what we do. And we do it every single time, whether it’s a wedding in your backyard or at Oheka Castle. It’s always the same.”

“I like to focus on service.” – Hearth and Oak Photography Company

David has some sage words of wisdom for Brides of Long Island. “I’ve seen it first hand – you get what you pay for. That’s one thing I can really stress to brides. Just because you get more photos doesn’t mean they’ll be better photos. And that’s not just with photography, that’s with everything. Everything on your wedding day, you will get what you pay for.”

It’s an important fact to remember, even beyond the quality of a vendor’s work. “What good are great photos if you don’t have them on time? Or at all? What good is a great photographer if the service and the experience is terrible? I like to focus on service and making sure that the overall experience is better, because the photography part just comes natural to me.”