Monthly Archives: January 2010

WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get (or Getting What You Expect) – Some Thoughts On Selecting a Wedding Photographer.

01 | 27 | 2010


WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) is something we photographers talk about all the time when we’re printing our photographs.  We want our prints to precisely match what we see on our computer screens.  Obviously.  We want to get what we expect.  And with wedding photography, so do you.

So how does that work exactly, when you hire a photographer—or, now that I think about it, when you hire any vendor or artist?  Well … we do what we do: what you see is what you get.  So when you’re thinking about hiring someone, see enough of her work that you have a really good feel for what she does—a representative sample.  This could include images on a website or blog, some albums, and perhaps a client gallery or run of proofs.  By that point, you should feel like you “get” the scope and style of her work.  If you like what you see in that photographer’s portfolio, chances are that you’ll like what she can do for you.  But if you don’t, or if you yearn for something altogether different, no amount of direction, coaching, or unrealistic expectation is going to change how that photographer works or sees.  You aren’t going to get something different.

Two stories to highlight this point:

Once I was at a meeting with a potential client.  She kept pulling photographs out of my portfolio, dropping them on the coffee table, and pounding her forefinger on the photos,¹ asking over and over again, “Can you do this? Can you take photos like this?”  I was boggled.  What a query!  I had, of course, taken all the photographs in question, and there were dozens of them.  She had a whole, ever-growing pile of photographs she wondered if I could take.  What she was really asking, of course, was whether I not I could take photos like that for her. But still.  It’s ridiculous.

In another meeting, a potential client asked me, no less than twice, if I could take photographs like the ones taken by another well-known local photography studio.  Um … why not just hire them? (I hope they did!  Otherwise, they were surely and sorely disappointed.)

Neither one of these potential clients understood the principle of WYSIWYG. And I’m sure it’ll be no surprise to know that neither one of them hired me.  Nor will it be much of a revelation to know that I’m relieved they didn’t.

So … hire a photographer whose work makes your heart go pitter-pat.  Someone whose eye you trust.  And then let her do her thing.  (Why in the world would you want to interfere with what you trust is going to be marvelous?)

photo: Gia Canali


¹ Yes, yes, she was smudging them to death.


Pretty Peachy Floral Detail

01 | 23 | 2010


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{click to enlarge}

As promised, here are some more images from the editorial floral shoot featured in the 2010 edition of Ceremony Magazine.  Designed by Michael Mantalos, Louloudi Design. Linens by LaTavola Linen. Thought you might like some cheery color yourself.

photos: Gia Canali


Floral Feature with Louloudi Design: Ceremony Magazine

01 | 23 | 2010

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{click any image to enlarge}

As a photographer who enjoys photographing weddings, I’m all for real real weddings. But it’s so much fun to make editorial photographs of all those hypothetical (and totally attainable) picture perfect details.  On newsstands now is the 2010 issue of Ceremony Magazine with a few of my photographs from a shoot I did over the summer with Michael Mantalos, the floral designer behind Louloudi Designs.  The color palette was so lovely that I left the shoot wanting to do a painting in those colors.  I promise to share a few more images soon.

photos, except magazine cover: Gia Canali; florals and design, Michael Mantalos; linens, LaTavola


Winter White Wedding Inspiration :: The Table In The Window at LaTavola Linens

01 | 15 | 2010

This tablescape by Michael Mantalos of {Louloudi Design} makes me hope somebody hires me to photograph a sparkling winter white wedding … and soon!  The sequined linen from {LaTavola Linen} is just right with the glimmering decor.

{Click any image to take a closer look!}

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photos: Gia Canali


Decoding Wedding Photography Lingo, Part V: Post-Processing :: Editing, Retouching, and Color-Correction

01 | 14 | 2010

bride-color bride-bw bride-toned

Nowadays, there’s so much being said about photography and digital photography and digital wedding photography, that it sometimes makes my head spin.  And I’m on the inside!  So I imagine it’s quite intimidating to feel like you have a handle on what you are actually getting when you invest in professional wedding photography.  The advent of digital photography has changed not only how we photograph weddings, but also how we talk about photographing weddings—and especially how we talk about “post-processing” them.  In the olden days, I’d photograph a wedding, then wait with breath held and fingers crossed for the film and proofs to come back, toss out the few proofs I didn’t really like, and give them to the client.  Now, it’s much, much more involved.  There’s a workflow.  And although I don’t want to get into the whole long-drawn-out process right now, I do want to highlight some of the lingo that goes along with it.

**Other photographers may use these same words differently, so if you’re unsure about what any one photographer means, just ask!!

I. Editing

Editing is probably the most-used and least-reliably-defined word to describe post-processing.  For one thing, “editing” can encompass the entire process of getting images ready for a client.  When photographers say they’re “editing” a wedding, they could mean that they’re cutting out all the crummy images, or they could mean that they are color-correcting individual images or they could mean they are retouching individual images.  Or they could mean some combination of all of the above.

Personally, I like to stick to using these words how we used them when we wrote essays in grade school.  Editing meant organizing the whole piece, keeping the good stuff and cutting what didn’t work.  (Retouching is more like revising, but we’ll get to that in a minute).   So when I say editing, I mean organizing the images into categories that make sense, keeping the good images, and ditching the ones that don’t work (like accidental shots or ones where your eyes are closed).

II. Retouching

Retouching is kind of like revising an image.  The photographer alters the image in the interest of improving it.  Usually, we think of cosmetic retouching, like removing blemishes or whitening teeth (no, I’m not kidding!), but clients sometimes request other sorts of retouching, like removing extraneous people or shadows … or “exit” signs from the background of photos.¹  We do not retouch images as a matter of course, only by client request.  We’re all for beauty, but we’re also all for reality, however “imperfect,” being the beautiful thing.

III. Color-correcting

The great thing about digital photography is its flexibility and creative freedom.  I love it just as much as the next girl.  However, I do wish all the livelong day that I could have the creative control I get from my digital cameras with the picture perfect color I get straight-from-the-camera with film.  It’s just not possible, at least not yet.  I find images that come straight from a digital camera to be a bit dull.  They need a little color-correcting, a little pizazz, some finessing.  Some photographers really style their images a lot, others hardly at all, according to their own personal aesthetics.  There are no strict rules about color-correcting.  But images that are called color-corrected should look good and be print-ready.   We color-correct every image we show and give our clients.  As much as you want to look good, we want you to look good!

photos: Gia Canali


¹ Better yet, don’t plan the events of your reception in front of an “exit” sign.  Toasts are usually the culprit and it’s so easy to avoid it’s almost laughable.  But lots and lots of folks have their toasts in front of an exit sign anyway.  It baffles me.


Dress Shop Visit: Atelier Des Modistes

01 | 07 | 2010


Yesterday, I visited Atelier Des Modistes in San Francisco.   I wanted to meet Suzanne Hanley, the designer behind two of my favorite brides’s dresses and to see the beautiful shop where she and her crew design and make the gowns.  We had fun talking shop and while I sat there, chatting, I wondered yet again why, even though I had my dress made for me, I never went dress shopping when I was engaged.  Sigh.  Anyway.  Suzanne’s shop is certainly the best of both worlds (lots to try on and lots to dream up out of your own imagination).  I dearly hope there’s a big return to handmade in 2010.  What better than a one-of-a-kind dress designed and sewn just for you?

A girl can’t carry all her gear all the time, so I’m sharing photos from my iPhone.*  Below: store front sign, capelet (yes, please!), cards, behind the scenes with the best inspiration wall ever, super sewing machine, lace and ruffles galore, wedding gowns and polaroids (two of my favorite things, you know), and more images of the lovely dress-in-the-window (may some lucky bride swoon over it!).

sign capelet cutest business card holder. ever. inspiration wall inspiration wall THE sewing machine wedding gown lace lovely lavender dress wedding gowns and polaroids the dress in the window dress in the window

photos: Gia Canali, via her iPhone.

*Yes, indeed, we photographers have just as much fun as everybody else with our cell phone cameras.

Hello, 2010!

01 | 06 | 2010

hello2010b sparkling2010

Well, I kicked off 2010 (for weddings, anyway) yesterday morning … with a glorious although now not-so-super-secret Kara’s Cupcake in my car.  It was really such a happy moment, one indicative of—I hope!—a sweet year to come.  Now that I think of it, perhaps I should say sweet years to come— a wedding planner I adore emailed me a few days ago asking if I was ready for a magical decade.  I hadn’t thought that far ahead, frankly, but the answer is an emphatic yes! Aren’t we all ready for a magical decade?!

Sparkling tablescape by Michael Mantalos.  Linens by La Tavola. I’ll share more soon!