Tag Archives: toy camera

Quotable Brides: “No Matter How Many Times People Warn You About How Fast It Will Feel, It Feels Faster”

08 | 28 | 2011

To reiterate (because I say let’s hear it again):

“No matter how many times people warn you about how fast it will feel, it feels faster”

Victoria & Nick, June 18, 2011

photo: Gia Canali

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Jess’s Fine Art Bridal Portrait Session

08 | 03 | 2011

The great thing about bridal portrait sessions, as opposed to weddings, is that you have the real luxury of having time to make portraits, slowly.  I mean: I love the challenge and the rush of making portraits happen in the swirl of the events and obligations of a wedding day (what wedding photographer doesn’t?!).  And Jess’s session was slower than most because we intentionally sought to make images on our slowest, most deliberate cameras.

Bridal sessions are about the bride and certainly also about her exquisite refinery.  Jess’s dress was designed and lovingly crafted by Suzanne Hanley of Atelier des Modistes.  Sue is a genius designer and I feel lucky to count her among my friends.   I particularly love the lace chevrons (though, seriously, I can’t fathom how much time it took her and her team to make those) and the bustle, which reminds me so much of the wild, wild west.  Jess’s bridal session is also featured {here} on 100 Layer Cake today, with an interview from Jess about the custom dressmaking process.

Neither one of us could have known that Jess’s wedding day would bring rain (or rainbows) and mud or that the slow moments in the day could be counted on the fingers of two hands, so I am extra grateful we made time early in the summer before her wedding to make these portraits.

Jess found other value in making these images.  This is what she wrote:

“I thought it was really helpful to do the portrait session before, because it was an excellent introduction to you and Matt, and how you like to work. It was also great for me to hear some tips from you on posture, how to stand, how to act, etc., before the “main event,” so to speak. It was certainly a little more challenging to take photos alone, as opposed to how much more natural and easy it felt when I was with TJ.  But I think for people who haven’t been photographed much before [their weddings], it’s a great introduction. Plus seeing these initial proofs, I could then say to myself—well, I like it when I smile like this or that, and I love how my hair and makeup looks in these photos, and so onso it was a great dry run overall.”

photographs: Gia Canali

gown: Sue Hanley, Atelier des Modistes, whose little shop in San Francisco I featured awhile back; hair and makeup: Sharon Tabb.

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J + TJ’s Rustic Handmade Colorado Ranch Wedding (With Rainbows and a Rodeo Arena Reception)!

08 | 03 | 2011

Now, finally on to Jess and TJ’s actual wedding day!  By the morning of the wedding, it really did feel—as Jess and TJ had so hoped and schemed—like everyone there was one big family.   We woke before dawn to take in the “jingle” with some of TJ’s cousins.  Then, everybody else began readying themselves for the day.  I’m not sure what I could really say to do this wedding justice, so I’m keeping my notes uncharacteristically brief.

Jess and TJ saw each other for the first time in a wide open field, a couple of hours before the ceremony was scheduled to start.  We had planned to make a bunch of portraits during that time … but it started to rain just as they finished with that first quiet moment, so we retreated to stay dry.  Wedding party and immediate family portraits were made in the little sliver of shelter under the eaves of the barn.

Jess’s grandfather was quite the photographer in his day, and he even used to make carbro prints (the vintage photographic process on which I have the second biggest crush).  So when he asked me to make a portrait of him (with his bow tie!), I obliged using one of my favorite vintage cameras.

Jess and TJ’s wedding ceremony was perhaps my favorite part of the whole weekend.  It took place atop a cliff overlooking an incredible valley.  We loved how they made the ceremony so, so personal … and got everybody involved!  One friend officiated, others did readings, or sang songs.  Their dog, Midas, was the ring bearer (bearing the real rings). And Jess and TJ’s guests had sent them pieces of fabric with their reply cards to make a quilt that was incorporated into the ceremony.  Here’s what Jess says:

“I wrote the ceremony (which I would also recommend since it made it sooo personal for us) and as part of that, we did a “community blessing” where everyone in the audience held hands and connected all the way to us—as we were wrapped in the quilt with pieces of them all around us. It was one of my favorite moments of the ceremony, and maybe one of my favorite pics from the entire wedding (maybe also because this was when it started to pour rain!). We then used the quilt as a backdrop for our photo booth which was fun because people got to go up and pick out where their piece was on the quilt. TJ and I now have the quilt on our bed and it’s an awesome reminder of that amazing moment.”

I did my best to hide under an umbrella while the rain pour downed and keep my cameras (more or less) dryish while I was shooting (although I was more conspicuous than I would have wanted to be for sure).  But I love the photos from the recessional, with light reflecting through raindrops on my lens glass.  By then, I think I’d dashed out from under the umbrella!

Guests moved to the indoor rodeo arena for dinner, dancing, and bull-riding.  Despite the enormity of the space or the fact that it was really (really!) just a barn, Jess and TJ made it feel cozy, welcoming and even (kind of, but not too) fancy.  The warm happy color palette seemed especially appropriate after a day that had gone from clear and beautiful, to dark and stormy, to rainbows …

Below: Jess and TJ’s first dance and the beginnings of a long, happy night of dancing.

The photo booth was so fun!  You might recognize the quilt, re-purposed …

Maybe the best thing, though, was the mechanical bull!  I loved seeing everybody’s best wild west moves!  Jess made the operator buck her off (although she really, really didn’t want to buck the bride).  It was so funny!

The wedding is featured {here} today on 100 Layer Cake (hooray!).  Be sure to stop back tomorrow and Friday for photographs from Jess’s bridal session and Jess and TJ’s post-wedding love shoot, plus a peek at some of their paper goods …

photographs: Gia Canali

wedding planning: Stacy McCain; wedding design, Duet Events (the bride and her friend’s design company); florals, Sweet Pea Flowers, Denver; lighting & other magic tricks, Pink Monkey Solutions; dj: DJ Smiles Davis; dessert buffet, Tee and Cakes; venue and catering: C Lazy U Ranch

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On the Ranch: C Lazy U

08 | 01 | 2011

c lazy u ranchGia Canali Photography

On the morning of the wedding, my husband, brother, and I got up in the pre-dawn dark to drive to the ranch for the “jingle” when the horse wranglers bring the horses in from pasture. I can’t believe I saw it only once in the days we were there making photographs.  All that raw power is so exciting and so very, very beautiful.  We also went up to the clifftop vista where Jess and TJ were married later that day for some photographs of  the site, called “woodsie.”  I have to confess: I can’t wait to go back to C Lazy U.  I’m really hoping for a family horseback riding vacation with my whole family, with lots of chances to ride and to see and photograph that jingle again!

photographs: Gia Canali

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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

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Collaborating With Your Wedding Photographer, 111: On Being Adventurous

02 | 08 | 2011

Well, you don’t have to be adventurous.  But you will be rewarded richly for your efforts.  It might look like this couple naturally appeared on the boughs of an enchanted tree, but in reality, getting this photo was decidedly rigorous.  The bride climbed down a steep creek bank in four inch platform heels (her idea, not mine—but I’m thrilled she did). The recipe is below – and I’ll share more of their enchanted forest photos soon!

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