Tag Archives: photo tips

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

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Supermodel Tips from Molly Sims for Your Wedding Photos, Part 1: The Makeup

05 | 09 | 2013

Molly Sims wedding photo by Gia Canali - Molly with her striking

Molly Sims has talked about both her wedding day (here and here) and about her wedding makeup over on her blog, and today she’s sharing her insights about getting great wedding photos with us!

Molly’s Tips on Wedding Makeup:

1. Put your makeup on an hour before photos.

Molly explains that this allows time for the makeup to mix with the natural oils of your skin, making it look, well, more natural.

2. Don’t overuse powder!

Molly has observed that brides tend to over-powder because they don’t want to be shiny (and I concur— I see both over-powdering and shininess all the time). Molly says the solution is to use less powder, but use it more often. You can have a bridesmaid or your photographer stash some in a bag for quick touch ups!

3. Get eyelash extensions.

Not only do they look nice in photos, but as Molly points out, they will save (precious!) time and hassle on your wedding day and the week of your wedding.

See more of Molly’s wedding:
Wedding Day Part One and Part Two; Polaroid 55; Rehearsal Dinner; and  Molly’s Photo Tips;

photo: Gia Canali

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Molly Sims & Scott Stuber’s Wedding: Wedding Day, Part 1

05 | 09 | 2013

Molly Sims wedding photo by Gia Canali - the bride and groom kis

We’re so excited to be able to share Molly Sims & Scott Stuber’s wedding photos with our readers. You may have seen a few photos in People Magazine a while back, but here are lots more from the whole weekend celebration. I just adore Molly and Scott (and baby Brooks and the doggies!), and am so happy for them. Molly was the best bride! Even though she’s a supermodel and has cameras on her all the time, she has the perfect sense of balance between camera un-awareness and a readiness to get the few posed photos she and I wanted. She was easy, happy, and “in the moment.” We’ve talked about how fast it all goes by, so that’s really important!

Although I think her intangibles (like her super happy, super easy-going attitude!) are the most achievable (and most affordable!) ideas to steal for your own wedding, I think you’ll love Molly’s style. Her dress by Marchesa was perfect for her, as were the bridesmaids’ custom-designed Elizabeth Kennedy gowns. We love the whimsical signs, florals and decor (note the Moroccan wedding rug!), and the sweet vintage touches that celebrity wedding planners Stefanie Cove & Yifat Oren helped design and produce for Molly and Scott’s wedding at a private estate in Calistoga.

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Molly Sims wedding photo by Gia Canali - Molly and her bridesmai

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~ ♥ ~

P.S. ELEW was the coolest! Molly met him at a DKNY show and knew right away that she wanted him to play at her wedding and told him as much (even though she didn’t even have the guy, yet!).

photos: Gia Canali Photography

event design & production: Stefanie Cove & Yifat Oren; florals, Kimm, The Velvet Garden; venue: private winery estate in Calistoga, California; vintage tabletop items: Vintage Table Co; ceremony & cocktail music: Elew; DJ, Michelle Pesce; video, Bliss Productions; lighting: Got Light; bridesmaid dresses: custom-designed Elizabeth Kennedy; Molly’s wedding gown: Marchesa; Scott’s attire, Tom Ford LA; bride’s hair, Davy Newkirk; bride’s makeup: Monika Prensena; invites, Mr. Boddington; day-of paper: Tiny Pine Press; bride’s jewelry: Lorraine Schwartz

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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

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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

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J+TJ Rehearsal Dinner Party

08 | 02 | 2011

After Jess and TJ’s guests thoroughly wore themselves out in the field day tournament, everyone dressed up for a tented rehearsal dinner party.  It was the weekend’s most formal event.  Guests dined in a tent that opened up on a little pond and it was embellished with dressy-up, woodsy decor and lots of sweet, handmade touches.  We especially loved all the wooden table numbers, the tree-bark wrapped “vases,” and the escort card heart made of stones with each guest’s name.

{click any image for a closer view}

We stole Jess and TJ away for a few minutes, just before sunset for photographs along the dirt road out to the horse pasture (and spa!) at C Lazy U.   Taking a few minutes here and there out of a busy wedding weekend schedule—particularly in moments with perfect light—to make some beautiful portraits always has a huge impact on the overall coverage of your wedding. We’ll hurry you back to your guests, promise …

I think getting great wedding photographs is one part trained eyeballs (by which I mean vision) and two parts time-management, both on the part of the photographers and on the part of the couple. One little great time-management helper with multi-day weddings is to space out the group photographs across the events.  Not every family photograph needs to be on the wedding day.  We photographed Jess and TJ’s extended families separately at the rehearsal and then TJ requested this lodge-style combined family photograph, which I just love.

Jess and TJ’s friends and families also made almost all their toasts at the rehearsal dinner.  Except for a quick welcome toast from the bride’s father at the wedding reception, this freed them up on the wedding day for an uninterrupted party (!) … a fantastic bonus since it always goes by too too quickly, even when you have four days of celebrating.   This was a sweet way for everyone to get to know each other, too.

~♥~

The event is also featured {here} on 100 Layer Cake!  Come back tomorrow for more from Jess and TJ’s wedding day!

photographs: Gia Canali

event design: Duet Events (the bride’s design company); planning, Stacy McCain Events; venue and catering, C Lazy U Ranch; florals: Lisa Anderson, Sweet Pea Flowers; dessert (aka tower of awesomeness), Shamane’s Bake Shoppe, Boulder CO.

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Decoding and Evaluating a Wedding Photographer’s Fee, Part 2: What’s in the Package That’s NOT Stated

03 | 09 | 2011

Nevermind talent (we’re assuming that you’re looking at hiring someone talented! With passion! And artistry!). And nevermind the staggering cost of gear (cameras, computers, etc), insurance, work space, self-employment taxes, education, and all the other things that go into running a legitimate business, here’s what is implied in a wedding photography fee (though you’ll never see it on the contract or invoice):

I. Your Wedding Photographer’s Time (and lots of it!)

Before the wedding, your photographer will probably have spent a considerable amount of time getting to know you and your fiance and learning the ins-and-outs of your wedding as it takes shape.  There will be phone calls and planning meetings (or phone dates if planning from afar).  Your photographer may drive to the locations to do some location scouting, in hopes of finding the best spots and the good light.  There will likely be a flurry of thoughtful emails composed, and more phone calls, and some sketching-out of your day, as far as it relates to photography.  If you have a wedding planner, some of this collaboration will be done with the planner instead of with you. Before the wedding, your photographer will do everything she can do to set herself up to give you the best photographs possible. And that includes getting to know you and what’s important to you.

Right before the wedding, your photographer will order film and supplies, check and prep gear and film for the wedding, charge batteries, clean lenses, dust sensors, and definitely double- and triple-checking packing lists!

On the day of the wedding, even if faraway travel is not involved, your photographer might have already put in twelve hours or so on your wedding before even picking up a camera.  She will arrive early to the event (we often double or triple driving time … just in case!).  There will be more scouting, setup, then the shooting that’s stated in the package (see Part I), tear down of all the gear, and travel home … in time to put on some really comfortable shoes and start post-production.

Post-production usually begins just after the wedding, with downloading and backing-up digital cards.  Then there are trips to the film lab, an organizing of images, editing and color-correcting digital images and film scans, posting images online, archiving the images to multiple locations and media, telling you and your spouse all about it, then printing the proofs, and—finally!— working on the album.  Most of our clients also have some custom handmade prints or vintage photographic processes as part of their package, so we’re usually busy working on those, too.  Many of those sorts of prints require studied work over a course of days or even weeks to complete.

The total amount of time your photographer invests in working on a wedding will vary from couple to couple, depending on the parameters and complexity of the shooting and what kind of album the client gets.  But it’s safe to say that a regular wedding, without any travel involved, is no less than a forty hour project.  Some weddings, and destination weddings for sure, often add up to much, much more than the forty-hour figure.  I think this is important to keep in mind when you’re looking at a wedding photography package or fee.  It’s anything but a day rate.

II. Your Wedding Photographer’s Experience (Which Equals Your Peace of Mind)

Your wedding photographer’s experience includes, but is not limited to, those weddings—and some of us have shot hundreds—where we’ve refined our eyes, our skills, our empathy; our performances, our shutter-fingers, our hearts, our blisters, and our minds so that you know and don’t just think you know that what we did for those other couples we can do for you.

Experience, and certainly not just what we learn “on the job,”¹ helps us as artists to make—to yearn to make—the images we know you’ll want to see in six weeks from now and in sixty years.  By our experience, we not only use really good product (like prints and albums!) that will last a lifetime,² we set ourselves about making images that are going to last a lifetime.

Just because someone is good with a camera, doesn’t make them good in the high-pressure, once-in-a-lifetime, action-packed, emotionally-wired, pressure-cooking, performance-driven, moment-after-moment-after-moment situation that a wedding is.  (Of course, we wedding photographers love that about our work! Weddings are an exhilarating challenge.).

You want to find a photographer with longevity—a long-standing, savvy business.  The longer someone’s been at this, the better they’ll be.  They’ll have learned from their experiences.  They’ll be smarter and better for you.  I wish I had known what I know now about making wedding photographs for people when I first stumbled into this, eleven years ago, snap-happy and indignant that nobody was planning to document my friend’s wedding, to show it for its hugeness.  For the momentous occasion that it was.  I wish I’d known these things at any of the zillion weddings between that one and the one I shot in December on the fair island of Anguilla.  And I wish I already knew what I’m going to learn this year and in five years so I could be that much better for my clients right now.

Longevity is also important because someone who’s been around—and done good business!— is likely going to be around and keep doing good business.  The ubiquitous starving artist is perhaps not quite what you want – rather, find someone who knows how to make a living making their art.   That kind of savvy and know-how speaks volumes without saying anything.

The consumer adage “you get what you pay for” is wholly applicable when it comes to wedding photography, but if your taste and budget don’t align, there are a few options at the expense of peace of mind.  There’s always a fresh crop of up-and-comers on the wedding photography scene (probably partially fueled by their misguided assessment of the lofty so-called “day rates”).  You can get someone with lots of talent but not a lot of experience for a relative bargain rate. But, as I said, you do get what you pay for.  So as you search for a wedding photographer and begin sizing up packages and photographer’s fees, try to look at the information holistically.  Remember that saying? “Cheap isn’t good. Good is good.”

*If you missed Part I yesterday, find it {here}.

____

¹ Truly, I think our wedding-day shooting experience is only the beginning of what shapes our artwork.  We photographers spend countless untold hours shooting on our own, roaming around with cameras, tinkering, learning to coax from them the sorts of images we want to make.  We bury ourselves in piles of photo books and prints, art books.  We wander museums.  We travel.  We take things in, sometimes with a camera.  We try things with the cameras, with the films, with printing, and editing.  We try them again.

² Really good photographers also invest time to cultivate a good working relationship with their album-makers, their labs—with all their collaborators.

photos: Gia Canali (the photographer and subject pictured are these guys!)

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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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