Monthly Archives: March 2009

We’re Being Featured on Southern Weddings Magazine Blog Today!

03 | 25 | 2009

We are thrilled that Tammy and Mickey’s details were chosen for a feature on the very stylish Southern Weddings Magazine blog today!  We loved photographing Mickey and Tammy’s wedding—their taste was impeccable and the wedding was so sensuous … love the Moroccan lanterns, belly dancer, etc.

Here are just a couple of images, but be sure to check out the post for lots more images and an interview with Tammy.

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New, New, New …

03 | 23 | 2009

So, we’ve been very slowly updating my website.  If you’ve visited our site since the middle of January, you might have noticed new images in galleries i (color images), ii (monochrome images), and iv (a featured wedding).  We also added a gallery for self portrait station photos.  And last week, we were very excited to add phase one of new images in the vintage processes gallery.  There will be lots more vintage process prints to come, including new platinum prints and multi-media projects.

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Decoding Wedding Photography Lingo, Part ii: Sessions

03 | 12 | 2009

There are a number of different add-on session types that wedding photographers offer. Here are some of the most common ones:

Engagement photo session.  This used to be pretty straightforward.  You and your fiance would go take photographs in non-wedding attire.  Somewhere along the line, engagement photo sessions actually started becoming fun.  Somewhere just after engagement photo sessions started becoming fun, somebody somewhere started calling them e-sessions. I don’t know how that happened or why—because “e” doesn’t mean anything all by itself.  Unfortunately, the e-session naming has caught on. Ugh.  If you ask me, I will be calling engagement photos “engagement photos” forever.  They are, of course, a great way to get used to being photographed and to get used to working with your photographer before the wedding.

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My favorite locations are sentimental ones.  This couple, for instance, met on the 45 bus in San Francisco.  So when we did their engagement photos, we found the 45 bus … and took some photographs there.

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A couple of years ago, I had a groom ask if we could do the photographs underwater. I said, “sure,” even though I’d never taken any photographs underwater.  So, armed with disposable underwater cameras, we experimented… and it was (very athletic and) kind of magical.  Since then, I get an occasional request for underwater engagement photos and I’m always happy to comply.  To see more of these, visit the project i section of my website.

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We’ll have more on engagement photos, including tips on how to make them great … soonish.  So keep checking back!

Bridal portraits. I’ve heard the couple’s intimate portraits on the wedding day called bridal portraits, but as a separate session, a bridal session is generally portrait session for the bride in her wedding gown.  The bridal session is a good chance to get portraits you might not otherwise have time for on your wedding day.  Or portraits in another setting.  If you want to use these images in your finished wedding album, I suggest using locations that match your wedding’s flavor, e.g., if you are marrying in a woodsy, natural setting, take your bridal portraits in another natural setting rather than on the roof of a downtown loft. *As part of our blog-launch, we’ll be having a contest for a free bridal portrait session.  I have to figure out how that will work, but we will be posting details in the the next week.

Respect-the-Dress-Post-Nuptial Photographs.  Around town, I’ve heard post-nuptial photographs called “trash-the-dress” photographs.  Yikes!  One of my clever (and most eloquent) brides proposed the idea of calling these sessions “respect-the-dress-post-nuptial-photos.”  I like that—or at least, that phrasing is a little more my speed. I love how relaxed and fun these sessions can be.  And everybody loves getting to put their wedding garb to good use one more time.

Rehearsal dinner or welcome party coverage. In my experience, folks want rehearsal dinner coverage more often if the wedding is a destination wedding.  In fact, at destination weddings, there are usually a number of parties and events to be covered.  But even if you’re wedding is at home, if you are planning a lovely party with just your closest friends and family, having it professionally photographed is a nice way to commemorate it.   If you are planning a larger wedding, you may not have as much time to interact with your family and closest friends (and therefore make it into the wedding photos) on your wedding day.

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Engagement party coverage. This seems pretty self-explanatory … if you’re putting a lot of effort into planning a party to announce / celebrate your engagement, it would be nice to have photographs of your handiwork.

In the next “lingo” post, I’ll cover album options, etc.  Look later this week for a photography-related post on “traditions we love” … and a real “green” wedding.

photo credit: Gia Canali

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Interview with Annette Garcia-Kerslake of Simply Natural Events

03 | 10 | 2009

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Annette has found a niche planning lovely natural, organic, and green weddings. It makes sense that she has decided to call her company “Simply Natural Events.”  I love her happy style and good energy (Annette has lots of spirit and lots of patience).  I’ve asked her to chat with us a little bit about planning environmentally-conscious, beautiful weddings.

How did you get started in event planning?

“It kind of started more planning my own wedding. I was a wardrobe stylist, so it was a creative outlet… I had a couple of (film industry) friends who  asked me to help them plan their weddings and it took off from there. A design background is really helpful for weddings, aesthetically.”

Why plan green weddings?

“I’ve always been pretty organic as far as food and natural medicines.  For myself, I try not to do any chemicals, etc.  It’s the way I live—I’ve had that homeopathic lifestyle for maybe ten years. And now it’s huge and popular.  It’s nice to see that people are going that way.  I don’t want to impose it on anyone, but there are so many green, natural resources.  Why not add them into your wedding?”

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So, it seems like the age of irresponsible consumption / irresponsible weddings is over.  But we all want gorgeous weddings.  What are ways to go green and still be beautiful?

“I would say, I think the number one thing is to go for locally grown food. It’s not only healthy for your guests and you, it supports local farms.  I’m big on trying to support [other kinds of] local vendors, too.

“You can use organic silks … Now you have the option to buy a dress from a designer who’s using all organic fabric.

“Using vintage dresses is a great way to go green. There are tons of vintage dress shops now. And a lot of those shops have Vera Wang gowns that were $4000 a year ago, for $2000.

“Herbs and locally grown flowers are great for your centerpieces. Lavender, rosemary, and succulents, for instance, are plentiful, inexpensive, and have a low carbon footprint.

Annette says: “Renting is re-using. So you can rent.  Repurpose.  Use family heirlooms. You’ll start to become green in that way.”

“Instead of favors, try tree seedlings  … or you can donate to charity:  your guests will remember it more and it’s a cash write off.

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What are some other easy ways to go green?

There are tons of parks, vineyards, et cetera, that aren’t harsh on the earth. If you go to state parks or the LA mountain park system, at least you know the funds go to keep up the park.

Annette and I both love Temescal Gateway Park and Upper Las Virgenes Open Space Preserve.

What trends do you see or would you like to see in weddings?

I think for me, it’d probably have to be … Exotic or not exotic, small destination weddings – less people, but tons of—I don’t want to say decadence in a time of recession … Make it a whole weekend of several intimate parties, with 20-30 of your best friends.

I would love to see picnic weddings.  You could even get beautiful blankets, and each family could get a basket and a bottle of wine. That would be my dream trend.  For everybody to start doing picnic weddings.

For colors, I love teal and charcoal grays together.

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I love the thought of Frida inspired weddings, too: warm deep colors, with coppery or iron colored accents. Little vibes of Cuba and Mexico.  I would like people to use more colors and a variety of colors. I like colors that pop.  I think that’s [just] my personal preference.

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Annette ♥s:

  1. Chamomile Tea:  I drink at least 2-3 cups a day, keeps me calm and it’s good for the blood sugar.
  2. Vintage Fabrics: You can make scarfs, pillows, the list goes on.  I’ll hold on to fabrics for years and one day it’s just what I need.
  3. Greenstream Gourmet. The chocolate mint cookies …
  4. Fresh flowers or herbs in my house lifts my spirits and provide inspiration.
  5. Top Stick and a sewing kit are must have on wedding days and good to have for everyday emergency.
  6. Super Greens when I’m feeling low on energy.
  7. Del Bondio Wine (Bio dynamic, organic wine)
  8. Your Day Wedding and The Bride & Bloom magazines

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To enjoy more of Annette’s work, check out her website and her new blog which is full of news and wedding (and other fun) finds.

photo credits: top images, Sharaga Studios; images of the wicked Corpse Bride cake by Amelia Lyon; others by Gia Canali … and more images to follow.

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My Various Vintages: Printing Processes, Cameras, Aesthetic

03 | 03 | 2009

The other day, a bride asked me which images on my site were my vintage process images.  I said that there were some examples in the “vintage processes” gallery.  She said she thought that it looked like there were vintage ones in the other galleries, too.  Oh.

And then I realized it might be a good time to clarify what I mean by “vintage processes”—and what other kinds of “vintages” you might find on my website.  When I say “vintage processes,” I generally mean vintage printing processes. (In previous years, I called my vintage processes “alternative processes” because they are alternative processes to the traditional silver gelatin black-and-white printing process).  So, however an image is captured (digital, film, etc.), this vintage processing describes how I print it on paper.  For clearer illustration, I’m only going to use images from my site.  These few examples represent some of the most common vintage printing processes I use, but I do use and experiment with other processes quite often.

These are Polaroid Transfers, also sometimes called “image transfers”:

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Polaroid emulsion lifts:

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Here are a few Polaroid 55 images.  Technically, they aren’t a printing process. But, I often use the 4×5 negatives to print platinum/palladium hand prints. These negatives have an extraordinary quality.  I’m going to grieve when I run out of this film.  Actually, I’m going to grieve when I run out of all my Polaroids.  (Still quietly hoping somebody picks up production of all those films).

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But I have been experimenting with shooting some fun Fuji films in my antique 4×5 camera. I’m not quite sure what I’ll do with these negatives … just yet.

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You might also see images that I took using vintage film stock or vintage or toy cameras.  Here are just a few examples …

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In general, we are all so very nostalgic about weddings—even before they happen.  So, we may as well embrace what I like to call the modern vintage aesthetic.  Behind the camera, this means your photographer is looking to capture images that evoke a sense of nostalgia. I think all wedding photographers do this instinctively—it’s our job.  We capture images of you and your beloved that could be every-bride and every-groom, could be all of us.

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The image above I made with no special camera, no special film—actually, it’s digital!  The Rolls-Royce helps that vintagey feel, for sure, but the moment itself (Liz and Gary’s lovey nuzzle!) is what makes the image nostalgic.

So … those are my vintages.  I hope this helps a little!  I think other photographers may or may not use the words similarly, so be sure to ask for clarification if you need it.  And if anyone has further questions for me, please leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them.

photo credit: Gia Canali

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The Well-Dressed Guest: Dresses from Thread Social

03 | 02 | 2009

Clearly, I have fashion on my mind today!  Also, it’s raining which makes me happy (I live in southern California), but slow to do anything.  And because of a family emergency, I haven’t posted in over a week. I think I’m easing myself back into work slowly here.  So, I was thinking about guests. I always have a secret award—at every single wedding—for the best-dressed guest.  Sometimes, it’s a girl; sometimes a guy.  Depending on the wedding, any of these dresses from Thread Social would have my nomination!  Thread Social is an off-shoot of Thread, which always offers fashion-forward bridesmaid dress designs.  I actually think that some of the below dresses might even work as bridesmaid dresses at a more modern, colorful spring affair.

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