Category Archives: Photography

Rustic Sonoma Winery Wedding

01 | 20 | 2015

Gia Canali Photography

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We loved everything about Brooke and David and their fall wedding at Scribe Winery.  When we talked about what they really hoped the wedding day would be like, they mentioned repeatedly how excited they were about hearing the band, The Defibulators, play and sharing that with everyone at the wedding. (David works at iTunes and Brooke has a jewelry design company, Mason Stanley Jewelry, along with her friend Jess—they’ve got great taste in spades).  So we did something pretty unusual: we planned for everyone to be 100% free and off-the-hook during their extended (90 minute long!) cocktail hour.  There were lawn games and blankets on the hillside and plenty of space and time for everyone to just hang out.  I have to think this would’ve been a great wedding to be a guest at!

All family photos and portraits were made before the ceremony, except for just a few portraits of the couple right as the sun set. The bride even made her bridal portraits a few weeks before the wedding.  The real pay off of planning the day the way they did was that they had both great photos and so much time to really enjoy the company of their friends and families.  We see so many weddings and I have to tell you having time with your guests is a real and rare luxury. It doesn’t happen by accident.

photographs: Gia Canali; event planning & production: Amy Kaneko; Flowers: Natalie Bowen; Band: The Defibulators; Venue: Scribe Winery; Makeup: Sarah E. Hyde


Behind the Scenes with The Everyday Supermodel

01 | 08 | 2015


We’ve been waiting with great anticipation for what feels like eons, and now the book I worked on (making photographs, of course!) with Molly Sims is out this week! Hooray!  It’s called The Everyday Supermodel and you can get your own copy here.   The book covers health and beauty, fitness and fashion, and, really, the best thing—all kinds of Molly’s super-honest girl talk throughout. We were planning shoots as she and Tracy O’Connor were writing the content and it was so much fun to get to be in on dreaming up the book from scratch.

I learned a ridiculous amount about hair and makeup and fashion on the shoot, like: your bag can wear its own scarf! I am still marveling over that one!; how to actually pronounce chignon and let it roll off your tongue; how supermodels tuck their shirts in on the side not right in the front; and that Molly Sims actually looks adorable wearing a garbage bag (which leads me to the conclude that being able to rock a garbage bag is the sign of a true supermodel), among other things in a dizzying list.  You should read the book!  Here are some of our favorite photographs from the book and behind the scenes, in no particular order:

molly sims the everyday supermodel chignon Gia Canali Photography

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(Also: how gorgeous is the light at Tracy Anderson’s studio?!)

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Izzy helped out with the shooting and morale. This photo didn’t make the book, of course, but it was the actual last shot from the fashion shoot, secretly entitled “how to look like a celebrity.”

Gia Canali Photography

Courtney snapped this photo of Molly and me “working.” It’s my favorite one anybody’s taken of the two of us.

già canali and molly sims

Congratulations, holy moly and hooray, Molly!  Tracy O’Connor (writing), Courtney Hale (Molly’s assistant who was the shoot producer), Joey Maalouf (makeup magic), Adriana Tesler (hair!), Rebecca Klein and Martina Gordon (stylists for our fashion and cover shoot),  Shawn Corrigan (first A/C and digitech), Angel Ramos (photo assistant), Clark Perry (our p.a.), Todd Parker (b.t.s. video), Matthew Manus (husband and helper), and Izzy (first assistant pup!): you guys are all amazing.  Thank you so much for all your hard work and expertise and for bringing the best kind of good energy to this project every single day, on set and off.

Gia Canali Photography



Supporting the Renaissance of Film

09 | 30 | 2014

Gia Canali PhotographyThose of you who know me well know that I’m pretty quiet about how I make my photographs lest the details distract (or detract!) from an emotional connection to my images. But, there’s good cause for me to break my silence and interrupt the regularly scheduled wedding-photo tips today.  CineStill Film has launched a Kickstarter campaign to start manufacturing a medium format version of one of my favorite films, 800T!  800T is converted from motion picture film and it’s a high speed tungsten balanced film.

Gia Canali Photography

first dance at the parker palm springs by gia canali

I love 800T because it lets me make photos with a gorgeous color film in low light where normally my only choices would be digital (for color) or black and white (for film).  I’ve been loving getting the best of both worlds—I can’t get enough of it in 35mm!—and would be over the moon to get to shoot this film in medium format.  I’m already dreaming of the kind of images I’ll be able to make with Cinestill and my Rollei, Contax, Mamiya, and my little army of toy cameras, too!

girl leaping by gia canali

This film is super versatile, so much so that I get great results shooting it in low light and everywhere I’m not really supposed to—in full daylight, in mixed light, window light, just after the sun goes down, et cetera.  The colors are rich and unique with a fairly stunning dynamic range.  It sounds kind of obvious, but this emulsion really does have a cinematic feel.

Gia Canali PhotographyIf the project gets funded, not only will we get to make images with this one very special film stock, it’ll open up the door to other stocks and different formats, which is pretty heartening news altogether.  These Cinestill guys are choosing to BE the difference they wanted to see in the analog film industry!

back of the bride's beautiful gown by gia canaliintimate dinner reception table top by gia canaliindoor ballroom reception by gia canali

Quite a lot of you readers and clients are photographers yourselves, and many of you love film as much as I do.  And we are all hoping beyond all hope that we get to keep making photographs with real analog film for our whole lives, so, let’s support this together.  Every roll we shoot really counts in ensuring a future of film.  And I believe whole-heartedly that we should put our money where our priorities are. So if you have a medium format camera that’s hungry for film, please go to the Kickstarter page and consider backing the project and share it around with all your filmy friends!

Gia Canali Photography

group portrait on beach at sunset by gia canali

All photographs by Gia Canali on cinestill 800T



Tiny Pine Press’s Downtown LA Wedding at Carondelet House

04 | 03 | 2014

Gia Canali Photography

This is the wedding of my studio-mate and one of my best friends, Jennifer Parsons, of Tiny Pine Press, to Ben Upham, now also of Tiny Pine Press.  Jennifer and I met many years ago when I fell in love with her stationery designs (those of you who know me well know that I have a pretty good stationery addiction) and I knew right away that we would be fast friends.  Now I’m lucky to get to share all my days with this woman, whose talents, creativity, and ingenuity are boundless. Plus, she’s pretty much the best person to get to talk with, on any subject.  We spend pretty much all day, every day, talking as we work in our Los Angeles studio.  We even have our desks set up facing each other so we can peek at each other through the computer monitors.  We are lucky girls!

When Jennifer got engaged, studio talk turned to wedding planning and it was pretty incredible to get to watch all of Jennifer’s ideas come together in what turned out to be a perfectly sweet homespun wedding.  Also, the paper goods were incredible! I still have her save the date and invite displayed on the shelf behind my desk.  And I just added her baby announcement (which I intend to keep on display until Baby Otis goes to college).  We will have to show you on the blog here one of these days.  You can definitely feel her husband, Ben’s, influence in the design.

I love the wording Ben came up with for the invitations.  Jennifer thinks no one really reads the wording, but I come from a literary background and I always find myself reading the wording.

The guest favors were a set of coasters, made by Jennifer’s family and friends in Virginia, fondly called “From the East Coast to the West Coasters.”  Her mom made cathedral window coasters; her brother, Oscar, whose leather goods I collect every chance I get, made the leather ones stamped with the couple’s monogram, an aunt and friend did the crocheted ones, and her Uncle Glen cut various tree branches for the wooden ones.

Jennifer looked so beautiful and she wouldn’t stop smiling all day! It was the best thing ever!

stitched letterpress book wedding programs by tiny pine press

Gia Canali Photography

The ceremony programs echoed the save the dates.  Both were little stitched books, shown above.  In the ceremony program, she included a tribute to her father who had passed away.

Gia Canali Photography

The music was one of my favorite parts of the whole day.  Ben’s friend Dale Henderson (founder of Bach in the Subways) joined Jennifer’s friend Sarah Newberry for ceremony music and then Jennifer and her mom (who everybody calls Mama) walked down the aisle to a recording of Jennifer’s father playing Greensleeves.  It was such a really special way of honoring him and feeling his presence in the ceremony.  Then, Eleni Mandell, got up and sang with Jennifer’s multi-talented brother, Oscar.  I love that the photo above shows Dale with his cello, Ben’s parents, his sister and her husband, and a bunch of all of our friends in the background.

The design for the dinner was so beautiful, featuring forest-inspired florals by Jennifer’s friend Sharon, Clementine Floral Works; screen-printed napkins and letterpress menus made by Tiny Pine (of course!), and crazy-quilt table runners made by Jennifer’s first grade teacher and her mom.

The menus were letterpressed, of course! I love how the little pressed flowers she used on the menu, save-the-date, and invites looked like the cathedral window quilt pattern.

Gia Canali Photography

The guest book was filled with postcards reproduced by Jennifer from her personal collection of postcards from her Aunt Verdie’s many lovers.

Oscar’s toast was one of the great toasts I’ve ever heard and had us all laughing and crying within a moment’s time.  It pretty much brought down the house, and ended with a bottle of moonshine, carefully brought in from Kentucky, and passed around—all night—amongst the one hundred guests.

Jennifer and Ben had decorate-your-own cupcakes for dessert, plus an entire table of other sweets, which featured fried apple pies (thanks, Mama!), and Jennifer’s legendary secret-recipe chocolate chip cookies.  Jennifer and Ben both have a crazy sweet tooth!  Sweet teeth?

Jennifer’s friend John, who is an fantastic musician in his own right, and who is the Tiny Pine pressman, spun vinyl for the reception.

The “cupcake cutting” was attended only by Jennifer’s nephew Alex and by me.  Everyone else was going crazy for the decorate-your-own-cupcakes!

My husband Matt and our friend Lily (who took over on photo duty after the first dance so I could join in the dancing).

Congrats to the happy couple!  I feel so lucky to get to witness—and continue to witness—your milestones, big and small, day in and day out, as your little family grows. 

See it here over on StyleMePretty.

photographs, Gia Canali

stationery, Tiny Pine Press; florals, Clementine Floral Works; venue, Carondelet House; bride’s gown, Jenny Yoo; bride’s necklace, Elephant Heart; bridal headpiece, Sonia Boyajian; groom’s suit, Barneys New York; ceremony cellist, Dale Henderson (New York); ceremony vocalist, Sarah Newberry; ceremony vocals, Eleni Mandell and vocals / guitar, Oscar Parsons; leather coaster wedding favor, Oscar Parsons, Foak Leatherworks; cupcakes, Frosted Cupcakery; day of coordination, Ashley Scharf and Samantha Sias.  Calligraphy: Anne Jones, save the dates; Aleksey Shirokov, invitations; Laura Mendoza, escort cards.


Supermodel Tips from Molly Sims for Your Wedding Photos, Part 2: Planning Ahead

05 | 09 | 2013

Molly Sims wedding photo by Gia Canali

Molly’s Wedding Photo Tips:

1. Get one nice photograph with each bridesmaid.

Molly points out that it’s a lot to ask from your friends to be a bridesmaid. So taking a moment out of your wedding day to individually thank your girlfriends and tell them how much it means to you is really thoughtful. Then you can give each bridesmaid a print as a thank you gift after the wedding. As Molly’s photographer, I would like to note that this was such a great photo op, particularly for happy, emotion-filled candid photos. See one of these photos here.

2. Even if you don’t love posed shots (and who does?!), be realistic about needing some posed shots, too.

And the posed photos will take some time. If you don’t want to see each other before the ceremony, Molly says to be sure to get down the aisle on time! You’re only going to have about 45 minutes for photos with your family and friends and your spouse, so you need to hurry. It’s a drag to miss the cocktail hour, but the photos will last forever.

3. You’re not just limited to black and white and color photographs.

Molly notes that black and white and color is only the beginning. There are toy camera photos; different film stocks, lenses, and processing; Polaroids; digital; 4×5 film; and more. Molly and Scott, who have an incredible collection of photographs and art in their home, made time for a few Polaroid 55 portraits.

4. You want to be as comfortable as possible with your photographer.

Wedding photography is a collaboration. To that end, Molly says speak up to your photographer if you know you have a “good side.” And have your photographer photograph your rehearsal dinner. Not only is it great to have those photographs later, but it helps you, your beloved, and your bridal party and family become comfortable around your photographer.

Molly has wedding tips over on her blog, too! See posts here and here. Thanks, Molly!

photo: Gia Canali Photography