Category Archives: Photography

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


Molly Sims & Scott Stuber’s Wedding Featured on Style Me Pretty &

05 | 09 | 2013

We are beyond thrilled that Molly Sims is sharing her wedding photos today here, on her own site, and on StyleMePretty.  I’ll add links as they go live!

{Pursuing the} Picture Perfect Wedding: rehearsal | wedding day one | Polaroid 55 | wedding day two

StyleMePretty: rehearsal, wedding day one, wedding day two

photo: Gia Canali Photography


San Francisco City Hall Elopement

04 | 01 | 2013

When Lisa called me about her wedding—or rather, her elopement—she didn’t just ask me to make the photographs, she asked me to be their witness. I think the act of making wedding photographs is actually an act of witnessing, so her very literal proposal to do just that was thrilling. Plus: the civic nature of the elopement, or maybe the public civic nature of their getting married was really fascinating. I loved how the on-lookers became part of the celebration of their vows and day, and there were so many other folks at the San Francisco City Courthouse doing the exact same thing we all were. Even more than that, I couldn’t have anticipated how contagious Lisa and Jared’s joy was.  Lisa has contagious laughter. I think you’ll see and I hope you enjoy their wedding and meandering SF portraits (some on 4×5 film!) just as much as I did.

photos: Gia Canali

Venue: San Francisco City Hall | Dress: BHLDN | Shoes: Cole Haan | Veil: Ornent | Necklace: J. Crew | Groom’s Suit: J. Crew | Groom’s Shirt: H&M | Tie: Ben Sherman | Floral Designer: Studio Choo | Cupcakes: Miette | Hair, Makeup: Wow Pretty


S + J – Romantic Black Tie Garden Wedding in Bel Air

02 | 13 | 2013

We love everything about this sweet, thoughtful summer garden wedding at The Hotel Bel Air.  For a big wedding, it managed to feel intimate and quiet, which is quite a feat and a credit to this couple.  They also did a really good job of making time for each other on their wedding (not so easy as it might sound).  It’s a great take on a classically elegant wedding.  The soft palette and florals complement the colors and feel of the setting and adds a little (more!) romance to the black tie soiree.  We hope you enjoy!

~ ♥ ~

Wishing you guys so much happiness!

photos: Gia Canali

florals: Flowerwild; venue & catering: Hotel Bel Air; wedding planner: Maryam Forutan, Delicate Details; rentals: Town & Country; linens, La Tavola Linens; video: Gina Jones, Lola Video; makeup, Ronann; dj: Unite Entertainment ; click here for feature on Style Me Pretty.


On Stacking The Deck in Your Favor

01 | 21 | 2013

When I started writing this blog, what I really wanted was to help folks get the best wedding photographs they could possibly get.  And really great wedding photographs—even documentary ones—don’t generally just happen.  So this blog has become all about stacking the deck in your favor.  A certain amount of intention goes into that.  You set the environment, the lighting, the mood, the schedule. Mostly, though, we want you to be joyous on your wedding day, because, well, you should be joyous, and because, ultimately, the photographs can only ever be as good as the memories you make.  So let’s make them (both) really good.

photo: Gia Canali


S + A: A Sweet Summer Wedding At San Ysidro Ranch with Flowerwild and Twine Events

01 | 14 | 2013

Sharon and Adam are the kind of people that you pretty much fall in love with straight away. So their wedding was accordingly sweet and whimsical, almost impossibly so. I knew we would have lots of fun collaborating, since their engagement photo session was so tenderhearted, but I definitely underestimated how many times they, or one of their parents, would get me to tear up behind my cameras.

Gia Canali Photography

~ ♥ ~

~ ♥ ~

I loved everything about this intimate dinner reception, from the blooms Kate Holt arranged (I keep thinking the word sculpted as I look at them!) to the hand-drawn table herb table markers (with thanks to the groom’s father and his careful hand). The long summer night made perfect a meandering meal with happy, heartfelt meandering toasts and lots and lots of dancing. We come back to this point often around here, but good memories make for good photographs, and not the other way around. My work is a joy when folks are really relishing everything that’s happening around them, as they were on this night.

Someday, I hope my husband and I are as cute dancing at a wedding as this bride’s parents were (of course, the bride and groom are pretty adorable themselves):

~ ♥ ~

(That last one is my favorite …)

photos: Gia Canali

florals: Kate Holt, Flowerwild; venue: San Ysidro Ranch; planning: Erica Espana, Twine Events; invites & programs: Tiny Pine Press; dj: Josh Jones, Good Beat Productions


Getting Great Wedding Photos, Tip #21: Seek Out A Quiet Moment

12 | 06 | 2012

As the year draws to an end and I’m looking back on this year’s images, I keep finding myself drawn to the really quiet images.  Or images of really quiet moments.  These moments don’t usually just happen at a wedding.  You have to seek them out.  It’s true that these moments generally make for good photographs, but I bring them up because they are essential in totaling the hugeness of what’s happening in and all around you.

photo: Gia Canali