Tag Archives: bridal portraits

S + E: Secret Garden in Wine Country Wedding

03 | 13 | 2011

S & E’s wedding embodied all the most elegant and magical things about wine country and we were thrilled that it was featured in this year’s C Weddings. So we thought we should offer a closer look at the wedding in its intricate and well-designed detail. Below: the bride’s ceremony-ready updo; bouquet of peonies and garden roses by Sharla Flock (complete with mint and dusty miller Sharla plucked from her own garden!); ceremony set in the ruins of an old winery. During the recessional, the bride and groom were followed out by a New Orlean’s style jazz band (!).

A ceremony design note: wide aisles are wonderful, and afford excellent vantage points for photographers and guests alike.  If you have the space, make a wide aisle.

During cocktails, Stacy McCain and her crew oversaw the transformation of the ruins area into a dining area.  We love the centerpiece design by Sharla Flock.  (I also worked with her on this inventive wedding last spring).  Meanwhile, the bride was transforming her look, too.  The bride and groom had a busy schedule, but we were happy to catch them here and there, in between the various parts of the day.

Dessert, dancing, and self-portrait-taking in the barn followed dinner.  If you look closely above and below, you’ll see some of the many musical ensembles that contributed to the festive mood of the wedding from beginning to end. One thing we loved about the wedding was how very different each part of the day looked and felt.  Musical cues were as important as visual ones.  We also loved how personal the food felt.  The groom’s family contributed produce from their farm, including almonds for badam kheer, a traditional Indian dessert drink (that I am now mildly obsessed with … and have started making regularly on my own!).  The couple departed the reception in a vintage Packard. I love the grand exit as a photo op (even if I am, as I was here, the only one there to witness it).

photos: Gia Canali; planning & design: Stacy McCain Events; floral design: Sharla Flock; music (!!): Ed Ivey, Bay Area Booking; bride’s gown, Vera Wang; stationery, Hello!Lucky; lighting, Got Light; venue: Annadel Estate; catering: Paula LeDuc Fine Catering


Things I Like: Two Looks For The Bride

02 | 20 | 2011

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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


Collaborating With Your Wedding Photographer, 401: On Great Expectations

11 | 14 | 2010

Meeting your expectations is (relatively) quite easy.  Meeting our expectations is what you want to empower us to do.

(Don’t get me wrong: there are plenty of wedding photography expectations floating around from you and your parents and your grandparents, and while these expectations also are exceedingly important to us, we understand them easily and well.  We’re going to meet them and then some. We’re just saying: even so, do everything in your power to make sure we can also give you the photographs we’re imagining for you.  We’re not aiming merely to meet your expectations.  We’re going for extraordinary, one-of-a-kind, ethereal, take-off-the-top-of-your-head photographs. And that’s what you want to empower us to do.  If anyone has great expectations of us, it’s us. Learning to play that to your advantage is what I’m hoping to teach you to do.).

photo: Gia Canali


Tammy & Mickey’s Super Hot Wedding

08 | 01 | 2009

tammy and mickey

These are the dog days (and nights!) of summer and I find myself wanting to paint everything in the hottest colors I can imagine.  I want even my blues to be hot.  Tammy and Mickey’s wedding has been on my mind lots these past days and mostly because of their hot, hot colors.  The pairing of pinks, purples, oranges, yellows, and electric blues with their venues and the very sensuous mood of their wedding worked especially well for them.  And although we use lots of these images elsewhere in our blog and site, I thought it would be good to get an idea of how everything worked together to create what was really a breathtaking event.  As in any good color design, the color should work with the color scheme and season and general mood of your location, rather than against it.   Throughout the images, you might notice bits of blue and turquoise.  I think … little accents of cool color bring out the heat in all the other colors.  I also got the distinct impression that their wedding became warmer and hotter as day became night.

Genius florals by Michael Mantalos, {Louloudi Design}.

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Tammy’s accessories included a barrette she made by hand at work (she’s a fashion designer!) …

the lovely bride boutonniere the bride by turquoise door

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Mickey getting ready, and showing off his Canali suit.  Love it!

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the groom in his canali suit

A few photographs from their sweet ceremony.  When you wed at a church as ornate as this one, no adornment is necessary.

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And here’s where it goes from warm to hot—the warmth of candles, the heat of red dahlias and yellow orchids, and the opulence of a gilded cake combine perfectly.  Cake by Margaret Braun.

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A belly dancer entertained the guests during dinner.

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I am a fan of any excuse to get everybody very happily dancing.  It is one of the best opportunities to photograph bride and groom with their wedding guests.  After the first dances, Greek dancing began.

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The evening ended with some of our favorite nighttime portraits.  (Yep, I posted some of these earlier this week.  That’s what put Tammy and Mickey’s wedding fresh in my mind).

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Revisiting their wedding these many months later, I am wondering how so few of these images made it through to our portfolio.  Of course, I’m always a little discouraged by how little of our work we can really show—but that’s a major reason we started this blog.  I think Tammy and Mickey’s wedding is a fantastic example of a wedding that was opulent without being extravagant.  There were little handmade touches.  We love that.  Hope it inspires.

photos: Gia Canali


R & A’s Los Angeles Wedding

06 | 23 | 2009

4x5 wedding portrait

R & A did a wonderful job conceiving their wedding. It involved lots of peculiarly-LA logistical challenges—a ceremony at the church the groom’s family attends in Downey, a reception on a chilly early-spring evening at a private home in Agoura Hills, getting guests to drive the hour-and-ten-minutes between locations—to name a few. But it came together beautifully under the direction of Heidi Mayne from Red25 (whose new site will launch very soon, so be sure to check back).

This wedding initiated me to {Krislyn} whose delicious designs have me swooning … Krislyn made the bride’s balsa wood and Swarovski bouquet (below and previously featured), the wishing tree, and the A + R vase (also below) that sat beside the tree at the reception. Lucky for me, Krislyn did florals at another wedding I photographed recently so I get to indulge (and share!) my newfound obsession.

{as always, click any image to enlarge}

bride and groom terrace bride and groom kiss on terrace

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I have to confess, though, my aesthetic obsessions at Rosalinda and Aris’s wedding were varied. Many are indicative of current and coming trends:

  1. Krislyn (cannot be overemphasized). The design is extraordinary. And I am pro-keepsake. Aren’t we all? It’s not only “green” to double duty pieces from your wedding as home decor, it’s wonderful to have more to hang onto.
  2. The groom’s modern slim fit three piece suit from YSL. May all my grooms be so well-dressed. I love that a vest gives the groom not only a perfectly tailored look, but an “alternate” look. He won’t wear the jacket all night anyway.
  3. The bride’s all-over lace gown by Elizabeth Fillmore. It perfectly accented the bride’s lovely figure. The asymmetrical train was pretty fabulous, too.
  4. Bare wooden dining tables, dressed with manzanita or beechwood branches and orchids.
  5. Greek revival fashion, e.g., the bridesmaid dress.
  6. How the bridesmaid’s bouquet accented the color of her dress. This rarely happens so nicely, and was, apparently, an accident. Katie’s Flowers in Downey had set out to make a “neutral” bouquet because they didn’t know what color the bridesmaid would be wearing.
  7. All the nooks and crannies—and the Moroccan flavor—of their friend’s house, where the reception was held. I am always happy for architectural/environmental portrait opportunities. This house offered myriad.
  8. Little wooden wedding sign.
  9. Stone seating “cards” and table numbers.

A sweet little ceremony getaway in the groom’s brother-in-law’s Rolls Royce.

wedding getaway wedding getaway just hitched sign

Some of the sweet reception details … I loved the variety (as I always love variety) in the centerpieces.  Manzanita or beechwood branches strewn with orchids, or wooden boxes full of them decorated each table.  Presenting old family photographs as they did, in a frame, with strings and clothespins, was quite charming.

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The light changed quickly as day turned to night, so we snuck portraits here and there, as we could, amongst dancing and toasting.

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bride by wooden door

wedding couple bride on terrace kiss by the car

A little nighttime love … As I mentioned earlier, R & A spent most of the night close together. If you want wonderful photographs of you and your beloved late into the night, do this!

moroccan lantern nighttime decor nighttime portrait

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This couple did an amazing job of designing a gorgeous wedding without it feeling like they were over-producing it. (I think that’s a weird diagnosis of some weddings, but probably true, now that I think about it.) They prioritized having a great party … and it paid off. They danced with each other and their guests into the wee hours of the night. For my own part, I was very happy that they made time, even as the sun set, for me to get out the clunky old 4×5 camera (see top image). I’m looking forward to seeing how these images become themselves, later on …

photo credit: Gia Canali floral centerpieces: Malibu Market & Design lighting: Images By Lighting