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Reviews

 

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Portraits     Headshots     Seniors     Weddings

 

Portraits

In the fall, I decided I needed a new head shot to replace one that had been done years earlier. I looked at websites for several photographers in the area. Phil’s website stood out for several reasons. First, I felt the quality was uniformly excellent. The factor, however, that impressed me most was the diversity of his subjects…people of color were featured prominently throughout his website. I decided to check out his studio here in Montclair. When I saw the displays in his studio; the portraits of all types of families, headshots of people of all ages and colors; it dawned on me to change my plan about what I wanted. It had been years since my family had a professional portrait done, and my family now included a son-in-law and a precious little grandson. My mother was 96, and I wanted to have a portrait of her for future needs. The session could not have gone better. Phil engaged my 6 month old grandson – who was not in the best of moods- and handled my mother with the care and respect that she deserved. The results were wonderful. We had trouble deciding which ones to have made.

The next year, my mother died after a short illness. I called Phil again so that the portrait could be included in a program where she was being honored posthumously. People came to me and said how beautiful the portrait was and how it captured my mother’s essence.

I am forever grateful that I wandered into his studio that day in the fall.

Elaine Douglas, Montclair, NJ

We LOVE our photos, the whole process was great! We were surprised at how relaxed the session was. Phil came with a plan and had a concept that he executed to a T! He took the time to find ‘the moment’ with my mom and son. We would absolutely recommend Phil to others. He offers great service, professionalism, and kindness – he is a class act!

Jack Wright, New Jersey

Our teenaged kids had a ball during our recent family portrait session with Phil Cantor Photography. They loved taking direction and appreciated Phil’s willingness to let them be natural. What surprised me was his intuitive ability to understand the nuances of the family relationships and his commitment to capturing our family and our home at this point in time.

Heidi Friedlander, Berkeley Heights, NJ

I just want to tell you how happy I was to receive such an amazing portrait from my son and his family! You do such beautiful work, and I am so impressed. It was the BEST gift a Grandma could get!

Eileen Monahan, Clifton, NJ

I just wanted to say WOW! You’re truly an artist. The photographs are better than I could have imagined and I look forward to coming in again when Matthew is about a year old and doing a second series of portraits.

Laurie Hale, Staten Island, NY

We loved our photos, they were truly beautiful. I couldn’t have been more reluctant to get in front of the camera, but Phil was a pro and “pushed the right buttons”. We would recommend Phil Cantor Photography to anyone looking for a memorable and beautiful family photo.

Gail Connelly, Verona, NJ

Just a quick note to let you know how pleased we are with our family portraits. It was very difficult to get my husband and 30 year old son to agree to the sitting – both were very reluctant. However, my husband has told friends what a fascinating experience the entire session was for him. He described your large, beautiful, well-appointed studio, your state-of-the-art equipment, and most importantly, your professionalism and attention to detail. The pictures are beautiful and we will treasure them always.

Leslie Hatch, Montclair, NJ

The photos look fabulous. I cannot believe we look that good. My parents are totally impressed. They couldn’t believe how well you captured the colors of our Nigerian clothing. You managed to amaze us and we’ll be flying to New Jersey to come in again for every family milestone.

Moyo and Shola Balogun, Allen, TX

We wanted to say thank you for helping us capture beautiful memories of our first family vacation on the Jersey shore. The whole experience far exceeded our expectations and the pictures you took will forever hang in our home as a reminder of such an unforgettable time.

Melissa and Michael Bailey, Chatham, NJ

I was a bit apprehensive because I couldn’t imagine how Mr. Cantor would get my energetic 6 year old to cooperate and pose for pictures. Mr. Cantor made the session fun for him. First, he asked Robert to help him get the background ready, so right away, Robert was his helper. When it came time to start shooting the pictures, Robert was always curious as to where Mr. Cantor would ask him to go next. Mr. Cantor was able to engage him and he coached me how to relax and not be stiff.
I was amazed at how natural the pictures looked and how much expression Robert had. Every picture had a different feel/look and it was hard to choose which pictures I wanted because they were all so good. My only problem now is how long to wait until I decide I can do this with my son again!

Heidi Rosen, Montclair, NJ

The photos are stunning, captivating, and most of all, quintessential Charlotte. Never has she looked more beautiful. I adore them not only because I am her mother, and because they are gorgeous photos of a gorgeous little girl, but because they have perfectly recorded Charlie’s personality.
The look on her face captures in one instant how smart she is; how intuitive; how independent; how loving. It may be cliche, but in that one photo, I can see in her eyes the young woman she will become, even though at 17 months she is literally just starting out. I will forever treasure the photo and what it showcases, and it will have a prominent place in our home always.
We have had quite a run with you: our wedding, our first year as a couple and as new dog owners, our first weeks with our firstborn — all photographed beautifully and with that unique Phil Cantor eye that makes them so much more than photos. And now that Charlotte is starting to become her own person, she too is privileged to have her life chronicled by you.
Thank you again, Phil, for playing such a special part in recording English family history. We can’t wait to have you help capture what I’m sure will be many more wonderful chapters, for us and for Charlotte.

Ellen English, Wayne, NJ

We knew Phil was a great photographer, but we never imagined how wonderfully he could capture the magic of Christmas through the eyes of our children. Not only were we amazed, but so were the 200+ recipients of our holiday card. Family members, friends, clients, associates and others felt compelled to call us, text us and email us about how impressed they were with the beautiful picture of our children. We heard from people that we had not spoken with in years. Many commented that this card was the nicest holiday card they ever received. One person stated that it was “a beautiful classic portrait photograph, worthy of being in the New York Times along with other dignitaries!!” We are truly happy with our family keepsake and look forward to working with Phil again to capture the special moments of our family’s history.

Elisa Charters, Cedar Grove, NJ

Headshots

The pre-consultation was important and integral to the process. Phil understands the importance of wardrobe details, makeup and hair and how they contribute to the success of the portrait as much as his amazing camera work, lighting and posing direction.

Lia Ward, Verona, New Jersey

I was concerned I would look stressed and tired, but WOW! You took years, pounds, and worries away!! I like the fact that you managed to materialize everything I wanted my portrait to be and didn’t think I could achieve in front of the lens. Phil takes the stress and self consciousness out of the experience. If you want successful results, Phil Cantor is your photographer! From the moment you walk through the door, you know you are going to trust and be satisfied with the photo session, selection, and purchase!!

Vivian Addeo, New Jersey

I was worried about the costs and timing of the photography session, but everything turned out great! It was actually a lot of FUN and I LOVE the photos. Phil completely captured the look I was going for and really listened to what I wanted to achieve with my business. I would definitely recommend a photography session with Phil!

Amber Gilbert, New Jersey

It is said you only have one chance to make a first impression. Thank you so much for your assistance with business photographs, Phil, they were outstanding! As I pointed out, you captured not just my image but also my personality with your camera. This must be one main difference between a snapshot and an expertly executed photograph. Needless to say, the lighting was great, the background most complimentary, and I look relaxed.
Your time, assistance, and thoughtfulness on my attire were greatly appreciated; I did not want to look like just another “suit”. I am very pleased that our selection conveys my professionalism, self confidence and courage.

Phyllis L. Quirk, New Jersey

Phil did a phenomenal job with my photography session. I really see the value in what I invested into the photo shoot. Phil really took his time to explain my clothing, hair, jewelry, makeup, and even earrings. I would have never gotten that kind of advice from a department store studio. Even the shots I didn’t choose, I loved!

Faithann Brown, New Jersey

Even though some are still debating the origins of the saying “God is in the details,” I have kept this phrase as an inspiring mantra during my career as a writer and editor of arts education materials. Thus, when I chose to have a professional photo taken, I hoped to find a photographer with the sensibility of an artist. I found this in spades by going to Phil Cantor Photography.
Like all artists, Phil Cantor puts as much time into the process of conceptualization as he does into the creation of the end result. We discussed my hair, my choice of clothes and jewelry, my profession – and most importantly – what I wanted to convey about myself. At the shoot, those ideas went through yet further discussion and “revision”. What’s more, once the time of “wrapping up” seemed quite near, Phil still suggested another background that led to some stunning and very expressive photos.
As a publishing professional, I have had the privilege of working with extremely talented designers, illustrators, and photographers. Even among these artists, Phil Cantor could set a gold standard. I am both thrilled and honored by the skill with which he has captured me in my professional photos. Indeed, I have not been surprised to receive queries as to who took my shots. A real gentleman who is a pleasure to work with, Phil Cantor is a superb photographer.

Susan Greene, New Jersey

I was concerned my photos would not look authentic and that they would seem one dimensional, but I am SO happy with the results! Phil tried hard to make the session comfortable and enjoyable. Phil is very warm and approachable making the whole process a delight!

Beth Candela, New Jersey

The results were FABULOUS, I look better than I thought I would! I loved the collaborative interaction and coaching during the session. Phil is a MASTER at what he does, technically and interpersonally. From the preparation and photo session to the selection of photos, the whole process was a PLEASURE!

Sims Wyeth, New Jersey

Seniors

Like most people, I was worried about looking comfortable in front of the camera. But the shoot was a lot of fun! I loved being able to change outfits and locations. I’d definitely recommend a session with Phil, because this is such an important time, and the yearbook is forever, so you should do everything you can to make it perfect!

Katherine Wolfgang, Montclair, NJ

Natalie usually doesn’t like getting her picture taken, but these are fabulous. I see different moods come through in the photographs. You were able to capture her real smile – I can’t get that when I take her picture! The experience was better than we could have hoped for.

Denise Smyth, Montclair, NJ

It was wonderful to have a photographer who knows how to work with teenagers: you gave us lots of direction on what to wear and you have a way with teens who are so self-conscious. I am totally impressed with the portraits – I love them!

Anne Liedtka, Montclair, New Jersey

My photo shoot was so much fun! It is a totally different experience – I liked being the center of attention. I was really surprised by the variety of poses and settings we were able to do in an hour. And I didn’t expect how dramatic I would look! {Olivia}
I see the youth, the freshness, the beginning of her life – and this photograph allows me to hold on to that. She looks so happy in all the pictures. I’m so glad we did this.  {Connie}

Olivia and her mother, Connie Melendez, Montclair, New Jersey

Posing for pictures is normally pretty awkward, but Phil talked me through the whole thing – where to look and what to do. The session was easy and the photographs are a “10”! He was totally professional and I liked all the different backgrounds we used, inside and outside too. I was surprised how long we spent shooting – big difference from the photos at school.”

Bella LeBron, Tenafly, New Jersey

Between Phil Cantor and the school photographer? No comparison. Phil actually took the time to fix my hair. You could tell he cared about all the details. Normally I’m not a fan of photographs, but I’m very happy with the results of my session. It was really relaxed; I had fun and laughed a lot! I was surprised when we went outside for part of the shoot, but I really like how the environment played into the portraits. I would absolutely recommend Phil Cantor to this year’s seniors.”

Breteja Williams, Montclair, New Jersey

I am amazed how you were able to see Michael’s character. I love the dynamics, the composition, the creative backgrounds. They’re not just photographs, they’re art.

Irina Kuznetsov, Montclair, NJ

The photos turned out so well, and they had emotion too. I was worried I would look boring or not like myself, but they all came out great! The session was easy, fun, and it doesn’t make you nervous when you’re going through it. I was very comfortable putting my trust in Phil!

Maya Potter, Montclair, NJ

Weddings

Our wedding day went by so fast, some things we can distinctly remember and others passed by so quickly that we’ve nearly forgotten them. As we opened your wooden box with “The Art of Photography” engraved on top, and began to delve into the hundreds of photographs that make up our wedding story, all the memories came rushing back. You not only captured a moment in time, you captured its emotion, its style, its feeling. A day we will only experience once in our lifetimes, you have given to us over and over again as we look through our wedding pictures. You told such a beautiful story with your work, sometimes I feel like I am glimpsing at someone else’s fairy tale wedding, thinking, “Could my wedding really have been this amazing?” Some of the pictures captured such emotion that tears come to my eyes as I feel what I felt that day all over again. Your eye for seeing what other people don’t is astonishing. You are truly talented and we are so thankful to have had you as our photographer. You had such an ease about you as you snapped away, and you made not only Dave and I, but our bridal party, family, and friends feel so comfortable. You kept complimenting me when you liked a pose I did or spoke up about a location that I wanted to try. You made me feel like I knew what I was doing, which I definitely didn’t. We will never stop singing your praises and letting everyone know that Phil Cantor Photography is the best wedding photography studio around. Thank you again.

Jacklun & David

Thank you so much for the beautiful photographs! After looking at the proofs (over and over!) I just can’t imagine how you captured so many perfect moments. I can’t thank you enough for capturing our day – each moment as it was (not how it was recreated for a picture.) You were so wonderful to work with – you were professional, easygoing, unobtrusive and you listened – exactly what I was hoping for. When people ask me if I was nervous before the wedding, I always say absolutely not – I was certain of the person I was marrying and had 100% confidence in my photographer.
PS – I’m repeatedly hearing ‘best wedding pictures I’ve ever seen!’ Thank you, Thank you!

Cate Knight, New Jersey

On the occasion of my ninth anniversary, I wandered around the house looking at the pictures of our wedding that have made their way into the fabric of our home. In the TV room sits a tiny shot of my husband and me laughing as we contemplate cutting the cake – which makes me still laugh today. In the living room, next to the fireplace, our wedding invitation is displayed with an outdoor shot of the two of us snuggling up in the cold wearing the beautiful burgundy cape my sister-in-law made me for my winter wedding. Across the room is a gorgeous shot of my sister and me, our heads together as we share the emotion of the day. It’s one of my favorite pictures.
These pictures are touchstones of that wonderful day, allowing me to remember the joy that keeps us together. As I wander through our warm home I thank Phil, over and over, for these fabulous photos.

Sarah and Peter Braley, Summit, NJ

Things have been pretty crazy here as we prepare to leave for St. Lucia. As I sit here packing, I realized that I couldn’t leave for my honeymoon without sending you some thanks. Oscar and I were beyond thrilled with you and your staff. You were truly unbelievable and we both feel so lucky to have chosen you to capture every moment of our special day. From the minute you arrived, you had EVERYTHING under control. From your warm, caring personality to your handy emergency Shout-wipes. (Thanks again!!) You were just the best.

Brooke and Oscar Benavides, Montclair, NJ

One recommendation I would like to leave you with is for a photographer who I often work with, Phil Cantor Photography in Montclair, NJ. Phil is incredibly talented and professional and, as we have discussed, does not overwhelm brides or the bridal party with lengthy portrait sessions.
Joan Glenn, 6 Degrees of Celebration
from an email message sent by wedding consultant to her client
I just had to tell you that, as happy as I was when I picked up the proofs, the more time I spend with these photos, the more I love them — they are just exactly perfect!!!! You captured the day so well — Deron and I are both so thrilled with how these turned out.

Kiri and Deron Wolfe, New York

We felt so comfortable with you and you made everyone at the reception feel at ease. All of our guests LOVED you! Some of our friends got chills when they saw the shots you took. We cannot describe how happy we were to have you there, but we can say we have never heard of a couple hugging their photographer goodbye… until now. Aside from the marriage itself, you were definitely one of the best choices we made.

Sarah and Allen Barnett, West Caldwell, NJ

Albums

Last night on our seventh anniversary we pulled out the album to show our four year old son the wedding. The pictures are great – and really took us back to that day.
But what struck me was the album itself. I know in this day and age we tend to think of photography as a fairly disposable/immediate process, with our digital cameras and the ability to send photos instantly to Grandma 2 states away.
But actually being able to pull out the album is a truly special experience. I just wanted to let you know your work on the album – from the photo selection to the layout, etc – is much appreciated. It really captured the story and the feelings from that day. At the risk of sounding cliche, we will truly treasure it for years. Thank you from the bottom of our seven-year-married hearts.

Jeff Blackman

When we received our proofs from our wedding we were completely blown away. However, now we have our album and we cannot find words to describe how we feel looking through it. You designed it in such a way that it tells the complete story of our wedding day. When we look through the album we feel like we are flipping through a fairy tale storybook. Even people who did not attend our wedding get a complete sense that they were there that day…right down to the emotions!

Colleen and Patrick Dempsey, Maplewood, NJ

Our wedding was incredibly special, and the best day of our lives. The celebration continues each time we look at our beautiful album. We immediately knew upon meeting you that we wanted your studio to be a part of our wedding. You had a special way of making us feel as though we had just run into an old friend. We knew the photos would be of the highest quality, but we never imagined our wedding album would be such a work of art. The story told within the pages you created is one we will cherish forever.

Kendra and Jim Kinney, West Orange, NJ