Category Archives: Trends

Album Design Know-How: Get in The Folks You Love Without Posed Group Photos

05 | 01 | 2012

Most of us (brides, grooms, photographers) don’t exactly love posed group photos. I do think they are necessary, a few images in the larger body of wedding photographs, a part of family history, to be sure.  But as far as wanting to preserve the folks I love in a photo album, I like to take a different tack.

A couple of years ago, one of my clients asked if we could exclude group photos but include a photo that prominently featured each person who would’ve been in the immediate family and bridal party photos.  This design approach worked beautifully, giving the album such an authentic narrative perspective, and—best of all—each person was really flattered in the photos we chose.

If you have a really large family, as some of us do, then you’ll probably want to get a couple extended family photos in there, just to make sure you cover aunts, uncles, and cousins.  But I think the basic principle still applies to the rest of the album—just focus on the folks who are really in your inner circle (immediate family, best friends, etc.).

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all photos by: Gia Canali


Wedding Myths Debunked:: Myth #1: The Bride Should Get Ready Last So She’s Not Stressed Out

01 | 05 | 2011

I don’t know how this particular one is so pervasive.  I was just talking about this with one of my clients:  when I got married, all I wanted to do was get ready so I could get on with the day and see my love!  If I’d have had to sit around waiting while everyone else had gotten their hair and makeup done, and then mine had taken (as it turned out) a whole hour longer than I’d allotted, I think I would have lost my mind.  My experience aside, I also see this bridal scheduling snafu happen from time to time (always made by folks with the best intentions) and the bride is always so stressed out when it happens, that I think it’s worth mentioning here.

So: brides, get ready first.  Getting ready and, in the end, being ready for your wedding day is really grounding. What’s the worst that can happen? You have time for a toast with your girlfriends before the ceremony … ?

photo: Gia Canali


Notes Toward Slow (Wedding) Photography

08 | 02 | 2010

This year, perhaps even more than in years past, and despite practically daily notices of film-discontinuations, I am being commissioned to do my slowest work: photo sessions driven largely or entirely by my dear and clunky 4×5 cameras.  Behind the scenes, I am working on printing techniques that make the platinum printing I do feel like instant gratification.  And I have been thinking: the slower the wedding, the slower the photography I am able to do.  Slow photography requires breathing, reloading, time to think behind the lens, time to tinker, and, usually, a mess of polaroids—in other words, the freedom to be deliberate.  (I also love that first reaction to a moment, and also seek that out in my work, just as anxiously, but I am getting at something different here).

I was rummaging through photo books this morning (my second favorite method of procrastination*), and pulled out a copy of Paul Outerbridge’s Command Performance.  The prints reproduced in this book are platinum prints and carbro prints. Carbro prints, if you are unfamiliar, are made by a painstaking, triple-glass-negative technique.  Printing is ridiculously labor intensive and unequivocally rewarding.  Dazzling.  Unfortunately these prints are a see-it-to-believe-it kind of experience.

But I’ve seen them, and the book was a gift to my husband after we went to the exhibition.  The inscription I wrote, in part, says, “Cheers to doing things the hard way when it’s also the best way, an innovative or extraordinary way, and especially if it’s (at all) exquisite.”  This apparently has been on my mind for quite awhile and I’d like to extend the toast to all of us photographers and commissioners-of-photography.  So: as we all, myself included, race forward into photography’s future, clicking away at all manner of cameras, high-fi and low-tech, antique and newly-minted, let us not forget to breathe between shots.  Let us hold dearly as a value thinking behind the lens.  I think, my friends, that we are.  But let’s make a point of it.

photo: Gia Canali

*my first favorite method of procrastination, at the moment, is browsing etsy.

What Wedding Photography Has In Common With Taking Photographs on Your Cell Phone

05 | 22 | 2010

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What I have come to love most* about taking photographs on my various cell phones is its (my) almost unconscious reaction to a moment or a scene. Point and shoot (nearly without thinking)! These are not relatively technologically advanced—or even competent—camera-machines. Serendipity prevails. Instinct prevails. My ability to make great photographs on my phone is proportionate to my ability to make great photographs period. And so, come to think of it, is yours. (These levelings-of-the-playing-field are good for the art; only when anyone can do it—not just those of us who can afford cameras—will photography become about those who can see … and about how they see the world).

One’s readiness to take a photo (on a cell phone or at a wedding) is essential. And like the world at large, a wedding is a now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t kind of place. Wedding photographers are hired for their readiness, an eagerness to see the picture and take it before the moment has flown away.  Cell phones make recording that everyday magic accessible to all of us. Obviously we choose to use sophisticated cameras—for the most part anyway**—to record people’s officially magical moments. But that instinctive reaction to life, to the world—just as in taking photographs on your cell phone—is what sets a good photographer apart, whether or not the person is a “pro,” and whether or not they photograph weddings from time to time.

The other thing I love about taking photos on the phone is that they are inherently and undeniably personal. ***Look at your phone—look at mine—it is filled with the daily joys: my doggy, my husband, my garden, the nieces and nephews, and the lovely bits of the world I take in as I go about my life and work.  Sometimes, however, I get the impression from folks  that wedding photos are supposed to be somehow not-personal (like: not as though they could be from my cell phone). But how is that even possible, much less desirable?

Of course the wedding photos I take are particular and personal to me, almost like they came straight from my phone, if decidedly a little fancier. It is my perfectly subjective point of view, my various passions and excitements that are represented in the photographs I take wherever I take them, on the job or in my back yard.  And that’s what you want!  You hire us wedding photographers for our empathy, for our sensitivity to your beauty, happiness, and love!  (Otherwise, we’d all save the money and have surveillance cameras or robots take our wedding photos, right?)


* Of course, before you can love it, you have to make peace with the vast and charming/maddening limitations of the camera phones.

** Those of you who know me well know that I have a devoted love of sh—— toy cameras. I can’t help myself.  Memories sort of flicker.  A lot like toy cam pictures.

*** Strong inspiration for this post came a few months ago, when I saw photojournalist David Guttenfelder’s iPhone photographs from the war in Afghanistan.  News photos seem so much less personal than cell phone photos from the news photographer.   I’m not sure why that is, but I was taken aback to realize it …

photos: Gia Canali


Dreaming of a Trend: Ice Pops

03 | 17 | 2010


Today is the first really warm day we’ve had in a while.  And I’m celebrating (well, in just a minute here) with a Popshop ice pop break in my back yard.  Last summer’s weddings were hot! Hot, hot.  I kept thinking they could be much improved with a popsicle here or there, to keep us all from melting.  So I’m just putting it out there to the wedding-ready universe, that I want ice pops.  From the Popshop.  Any flavor will do, but avocado vanilla is really my favorite.  Or maybe Mexican chocolate. Or coconut vanilla (which is wedding white for all you melt-a-phobes).  You pick.

I think: sharing childlike pleasures with a bevy of wedding guests could be pretty grand.  No affair is too formal for that kind of happiness, right?

photo: Gia Canali


Things I Really Like: Encaustic Paint + Wedding Photographs

02 | 22 | 2010

encaustic wedding photos

Some of you might wonder where I’ve been, and the answer—at least in part—is that I’ve been locked up in my studio cooking up new things. (I’ve also been fixing my computer, hence the blog-neglect, but that is another story altogether).  Anyway,  I have been drunkenly in love with encaustic painting (and the idea of encaustic painting over photographs) since I first heard the word “encaustic” two years ago in an oil painting class, and even more so since I’ve seen them in real life.  Then I saw some pieces by the ever-innovative Starn twins, I knew I had to figure out how to incorporate encaustic into my commissioned work. Over the summer I finally got a chance to take a workshop in encaustic painting and planned to get working on a series of encaustic photographs right away.  But summer and wedding season are what they are, so refining the process and presentation has taken longer than I’d hoped.  Encaustic paint is made from beeswax and resin, and because it can be both clear and cloudy in places, it’s very dreamy.  I am not the only wedding photographer experimenting in this medium; both Elizabeth Messina and One Love Photo are also working in wax.  I think these luminous little paintings are going to be one of the next big trends in handmade photographic prints.  The tactile quality of the prints shows best in person, but I couldn’t resist sharing a few images anyway.  And I promise to share more soon, as I complete new pieces.

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photographs by Gia Canali