Monthly Archives: February 2011

First Dance LOVE

02 | 25 | 2011

After I photo-edited {this} post earlier in the week about planning for a picture perfect first dance, I remembered a few more absolute favorite first dances, and among those was this one. It was a sweltering hot day in Healdsburg, and the sun was just beginning to set behind the hills, affording the first bit of (exhilarating!) relief we’d felt all day.  We wanted to fit the first dance in before we lost the light and the lanterns were just beginning to glow in the oak trees above a meandering serpentine dinner table.  It really felt like the set of a movie, with the glowing light and live music from a country band.  Plus, there’s nothing like seeing your own beloved friends go through these moments …

P.S. Don’t you just love Tom’s white suit?! I do … My Uncle Rocco almost always wears white suits to weddings.

photo: Gia Canali

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Things I Like: Two Looks For The Bride

02 | 20 | 2011

{click any image to enlarge}

Two looks are better than one!  This bride had her hair redone during the cocktail hour.  I love how something so simple as letting one’s hair down really makes for an entirely different look (and a relatively budget-friendly one, compared with buying two frocks, for instance).

photos: Gia Canali; hair, Dano Abriol

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Collaborating With Your Wedding Photographer, 113: Planning for a Picture Perfect First Dance

02 | 18 | 2011

The first dance is such a sweet moment in the wedding day.  It’s a challenge for shy brides and grooms (since all eyes are on you!), but I think it’s a particularly lovely tradition, one that can yield some fantastic photographs, and one that deserves some thoughtfulness in the planning of your wedding day.  Here are a few easy tips to get you started:

1. Choose that just-right song.

Emotion in real life = emotion in your real photographs.  The song can be magical or meaningful, sentimental or just plain fun, but definitely choose one that makes you two dance.


2. Consider the lighting and space you’ll use.

Lighting can add drama, but it also shows off your faces.  And I know I’m always reminding folks about their grannies, but your grannies will be glad they can see your faces, too.  This might mean planning your first dance just before or after sunset if you are planning an outdoor reception.  Or it could mean bringing in lighting to accent the dance floor if you’re planning an indoor or late night outdoor reception.

3. Practice!

I don’t necessarily mean you have to take dance lessons, though I have seen—and thoroughly admired!—some spectacular choreographed and rehearsed first dances.  Practice could simply mean slow dancing around your living room a few times before the wedding (which you’ll probably love anyway at that point in the planning!).

photos: Gia Canali

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Collaborating With Your Wedding Photographer, 112: For Savvy Couples – Why Two Photographer Coverage Is So Smart

02 | 12 | 2011

Two photographer coverage of your wedding day might sound like a nifty luxury, but in fact, it’s darn close to (or, frankly, is!) a total necessity.  Some photographers, myself included, work exclusively with a second photographer/assistant.*  And because it’s our job, as the professionals, to watch out for you guys, to set you up to succeed—and, truthfully, to set ourselves up to succeed on your behalf—I thought we should talk about why savvy couples book two photographer coverage of their weddings and why I require it for the weddings I photograph.

I. You Want Better Art

Two pairs of (trained) eyes are better than one.  Two photographers will see the same wedding entirely differently.  One of the reasons I love working with my husband is that he continually astounds me with how he sees what I see, but he sees it differently.  The coverage we offer together is more varied and more unique than what I could offer alone.

II. You Want a Better Wedding Day

Your day is better because we are efficient. When we’re working together, we can wrangle the zillion cameras and zillion people involved in a wedding day smoothly.  My shooting style requires two necks (at least!) to wear all the cameras I rotate through while I’m shooting.

And two pairs of hands mean I can keep shooting even when a roll of film needs changed or a new battery needs to go into a camera.

Plus, all the “organized” formal group photographs move along quickly and easily, which spells more time for you and your beloved with each other and with your guests.

III. Most Importantly: You Want To Protect Your Investment (And We Do, Too!)

The other reasons aside, the one that makes two photographer coverage of the wedding day a non-negotiable as far as I’m concerned, is that we all want to protect your investment in photography—in us. Sometimes a photograph of mine is better than my husband’s.  But sometimes his is better than mine.  Sometimes the shot or angle we thought would be the best, for some reason, isn’t (an overzealous aunt walked into the shot, say). But the other person got just the shot.  And that’s only thinking of normal shooting conditions.

What if a roll of film came out badly? What if one of the photographer’s shots were just slightly out of focus? What if something went wrong with a camera card? What if one of your photographers got sick at the wedding? Or hurt?  It would still be your wedding day. And, with two photographer coverage, you’d still have beautiful heirloom photographs of the entire day.**

Destination weddings, of course, up the ante on all these concerns because so much can happen when travel is involved.***

In the end, I’m talking about you making sure we all get it right (and get it best!) the first time because there’s only one go at your wedding day.

photo: Gia Canali

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* Some weddings are more logistically involved than others.  So with really big weddings, I’ll bring a third person, just to assist me and expedite what we do.
** Okay, that’s not to say that we don’t still miss something every once in a while.  We aren’t robots, after all.  And we can only be where we can be and do what we can do.
*** Not to mention that my cameras don’t all fit in one person’s carry-on luggage.  But that’s a story for another day.
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Collaborating With Your Wedding Photographer, 111: On Being Adventurous

02 | 08 | 2011

Well, you don’t have to be adventurous.  But you will be rewarded richly for your efforts.  It might look like this couple naturally appeared on the boughs of an enchanted tree, but in reality, getting this photo was decidedly rigorous.  The bride climbed down a steep creek bank in four inch platform heels (her idea, not mine—but I’m thrilled she did). The recipe is below – and I’ll share more of their enchanted forest photos soon!

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