Its a color
If you have read any of my more recent posts than you already know I got overwhelmed with the amount of photos I had to deal with starting around the middle of 2013 and after turning the images around and sending them off to my clients I missed the ever important step up adding them here to my blog. How else is anyone, other than my clients of course, going to see these beautiful images (outside of if they choose to share them on their personal social media accounts, which I of course love to see and very much support)?
This session may be one of the top reasons for that. Photographing a wedding is an experience unlike anything I have ever taken on. I can’t tell you how many times I had friends and clients ask if I did any wedding photography. The answer was always no. To me, wedding photography is the pinnacle of confidence in yourself, your abilities, and the quality of your work as a professional photographer. I just didn’t feel like I was there in my photography career. With a family photo session, a newborn photo session, a maternity photo session, corporate head shots, etc, you always have the “bail out” of re-shooting the session if the images are not to your satisfaction. Of course that isn’t ideal, but the possibility exists. With a wedding you don’t have that. You get one chance to capture what many view as of of the most important days of their lives.
When an old friend contacted me to let me know she was engaged and to ask if I photographed weddings I gave her my standard answer. “I am flattered you thought of me (and I always am flattered when anyone considers using me for their photography needs) but I don’t have any wedding experience and I think I would do you justice.” And with that I referred her to my very good friend Shane of Shane Bliss Photography.
What happened next was very cool. Not only did Shane “book the gig,” he asked me to shoot the wedding with him as a co-shooter (one small, but generous step up from a “second shooter”). Of course he appreciated the referral but bringing me on to photograph with him was not necessary and certainly not expected. The confidence he showed in me and my photography abilities to join him on a job as big as a wedding meant more than I can even articulate. And more importantly, the client (and my old friend), Kera, seemed excited about the arrangement.
Per usual, when I am working with an old friend I love to pull out a “throwback” photo of the two of us together. Boy do I ever have one for Kera and I. It is the oldest “throwback” photo I have put up to date. Check us out in 1989 on our youth soccer team, the “Pumas”:
I’m the little blonde one in the back with the pigtails. But the real star of this photo is our bride, Kera. She is right below the “1989” with the fantastic mane of hair. And just for added human interest, our mother-of-the-bride, Dottie, is the woman holding the banner. What fun it was to dig that photo up. If shooting my first wedding wasn’t enough excitement, having good reason to share this photo with the world really put the cherry on top.
The wedding took place on September 7, 2013 (yes, we have already addressed in a few different entries how behind this blog is) at the Inn Der Bach, a rustic and charismatic location up in my hometown of Big Bear Lake. When Shane and I arrived we were excited at all the unique things we had to work with at this very cool outdoor venue. But we were a little concerned with one major thing. It was raining. Legit raining. Did I mention it was an outdoor venue? And to top it all off, did I mention it was rustic? Rustic in this case is code word for dirt, lots of dirt. Dirt + rain = mud. Oh dear. We went inside where Kera and her ladies were getting ready and, as usual, she had a giant smile on her face and, ever the optimist, was sure it would clear up and things would work out fine.
Shane and I went to work photographing Kera and her girls getting ready and when the rain let up for a short moment we went on to shoot some detail shots with her dress, shoes, rings, etc. We checked on her groom, Brian, who was in equally good spirits. We continued getting all the pre-ceremony shots, the rain getting lighter and lighter as we worked, and just as the guests got seated and it came time to bring the bride and her ladies outside, the clouds clear. I’m pretty sure it is an old saying that rain on your wedding day is good luck. I am pretty sure I saw the beginning of that marital luck for Brian + Kera in action.
What an incredible experience it was to work with Shane, who mentored and guided me along in this first and overwhelming experience of professionally shooting my first wedding. And what an extra bonus it was to do so in my hometown, amongst more old friends and familiar faces than I could count, for such a wonderful and beautiful bride as my old friend and former teammate Kera. And by the way, did I mention Kera has the most incredible and striking eyes? I am pretty sure she got voted “Best Eyes” in her senior yearbook and it is well earned. Photographers love that sort of thing. It makes our job easier.
Without further adieu, enjoy just a small sample of some the images from Mr. & Mrs. Peters’ big day.
Please also take a moment and visit Shane Bliss Photography’s blog entry for Brian + Kera’s wedding which has been up since October, 2013. He was much more on top of it.
Since tonight seems to be a night of confessions, I guess I should admit that these photos are even older than the last post. 8 months I want to say? And even more impactful than the last set, not only do these two now have a child, rather than the cute baby bump pictured below, they have a 7 month old….as in she is much closer to being a walking toddler than a newborn baby and I still haven’t blogged the maternity photos. Yikes. I really should stay more on top of this.
But again, in the spirit of honestly, I am just going to admit that sad fact and go with it. Here is how this blog post would have read, particularly if I posted it in a more timely manner.
At 30 yrs old it is no longer an odd thing for your friends to be having babies. In fact, at this point, it seems like the “in” thing to do. Kris and I seem to be the minority (just as we were when we were amongst the first of our friends to get married when I was just 24 yrs old) in holding off on having babies. What can I say? We’re just having to much fun with each other right now. But I digress. I will say, when it is your closest friends having a baby it is still huge news and a major adjustment (albeit an exciting one).
Jenn was my “big sis” in our sorority back at UCLA. As such, you can imagine we have had some fantastic times together. Much of those were centered around our love of snowboarding an our pact that we would never schedule ourselves with Friday classes during Winter quarter so we could take long weekends up to Mammoth. This is a perfect segue into one of my favorite pastimes, including an “oldie but goodie” photo. Here is a shot of the two of us on one of these trips to Mammoth. This particular one from the 2004 season (and I wish I could have found an older one, but that might have required the extra step of scanning an actual print, who does that anymore?).
Since I waited the greater part of a year to blog this session some of the details are fuzzy but I seem to recall I had to talk her in to doing a maternity shoot (as I have done with several friends). Having never been pregnant myself, I certainly don’t know what it feels like, particularly in the later stages. I know having a belly is not something we ladies are used to and the idea of taking photos in this state might seem uncomfortable. But I firmly believe that it is such a unique time in everyone’s life that it should be documented. I am pretty sure I always use the pitch, “worst case is you hate the photos and then you don’t ever have the share them, but at least you will have them.” I don’t think I have ever had a friend regret taking these maternity photos (unless they are lying to me, in which case, keep lying friends).
Jenn’s husband is a big-time fisherman (to put it lightly). I admit it has led to some friend jealously from me as her priorities shifted from our frequent snowboard trips to their frequent fishing trips. But I am never one to shy away from trying something new and he has successfully assisted me in catching fish (often times many fish, which I demand of course) every time we have joined them on a fishing trip, so I guess I’ll give him a pass. It is because of this longtime love of fishing and the ocean that I have to give him credit for selecting the location for our photo shoot. He suggested we take their photos at the Bolsa Chica Wetlands in Huntington Beach which I had never been to despite living so close. Let’s just say, it’s become one of my favorite local photo shoot locations. Well done Jonathan.
Enjoy the highlights below:
Thank you Jenn for trusting me enough to do a maternity photo shoot when you were unsure of the idea. Thank you Jonathan for helping me discover a new and fantastic photo shoot location right in my backyard. And Jonathan, I forgive you for taking my go-to snowboarding partner making her your lifetime fishing buddy.
What happens when your business picks up and you don’t know how to deal with it? First, you get incredibly excited and inspired at the amount of different photo sessions you have in front of you. Second, you take said photos and feel even more inspired by all the great material you have to work with. Third, you work tirelessly to turn around the edits of said photos to get them back to your clients in a reasonable time period. Fourth, you move on to the next shoot and repeat. As you can tell, I clearly have missed a very important step in this process, which is sharing with you all these wonderful photos. #Fail.
I could dwell on how far behind I am on this blog. I could backdate my entries to make it look like I was much more on top of my game than I actually am. Instead, I have decided to just be honest and let the cards “play how they lay” (a poker term I might add, have I mentioned I’m a big poker player/fan?).
This is a photo shoot from last July. Yes. I am that far behind. But let’s move on from that fact (and the fact that this child looks totally different and more grow up by now) and just enjoy the details of this shoot like it was yesterday. Here is how I would have wrote the entry:
It’s time for another session with the very handsome Mr. Liam Fyfe for his 1 year photos. Mama, Jenn, already had a vision for the photo shoot (which I love by the way, I am always open to new and fun ideas from my clients). We took the photos about a month in advance of his 1 year birthday because she wanted to use them for his birthday invitations. Jenn bakes for a living (true story) so it was only appropriate she would want to do a “cake smash” photo shoot for these 1 year photos.
Jenn made the beautiful and very color coordinated, cake herself (who doesn’t love the extra special nature of a personal touch like that). And then to top it all off, she knew she was doing a dinosaur theme for his birthday party so she styled him accordingly. If I remember correctly it was one of Dad, Bobby’s, family members who she enlisted to make the very creative (and freakin’ adorable) hat Liam wore for the shoot. No amount of description here will do it all justice so without further adieu, enjoy some of my favorite images from the shoot:
As always, thank you Jenn and Bobby for allowing me to help capture your memories. I think your child is spoiling me. He is just too handsome and comfortable in front of my camera. But I love it.
You never know what kind of doors your are going to open for yourself by being willing to just say yes to something you may be a little uncomfortable with.
When my friend and kickball teammate Meesh asked me I would be available to come photograph her work event I went ahead and said yes, but I would be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that I was a little nervous about the job. See, Meesh is a make-up artist who works for MAC Cosmetics. I find when I am photographing other artistically-inclined people I am always a little intimidated. I don’t know why I feel this way. Obviously if they asked me to photograph them they like my style but I just feel this extra pressure not to disappoint.
Here is my friend Meesh working her make-up magic at said event:
Meesh described the event to me a little bit before hand. She told me that the artists at her store were being divided into teams and were being asked to make-up a model according a theme they were each assigned. These themes involved a time period and an adjective. For example, her team was assigned the theme “Medieval Alien.” She said she just wanted to make sure that she had photographs of her work on her model but if I could walk around and photograph the whole event that would be great as well. Upon arriving I was asked by the event’s coordinator to walk around and capture the process of each model being made up as well as the artists working. I had no idea the level of documenting I was getting myself in to.
The event turned out to be what they call a “Gallery Night” which is an opportunity for that store’s artists to showcase their work to other make-up artists in the area. There were five models, each with a team of 3-4 artists working on them according to their individually assigned themes (“Medieval Alien,” “Future Opulence,” and “Victorian Asylum” to name a few), in addition to a slew of other artists who came to the event to view their work. It was packed!
The work was incredible. Between the phenomenal make-up work on the models, the flawless make-up on the artists, and the extremely friendly lighting that a cosmetics store offers, I was able to capture some of my favorite images I have ever taken. Time for a portfolio update!
Get ready for an explosion of sample images from the event because I just couldn’t narrow down my favorites any further. These few images don’t even begin to cover all of my favorites but here are a few ordered from earliest to latest so you can appreciate a little bit of the process the artists went through in making their models up. Enjoy!
And just to follow up on my first sentence from this blog entry, “You never know what kind of doors your are going to open for yourself by being willing to just say yes to something you may be a little uncomfortable with,” my work at this event did open a unique door for me! After sharing my images with the artists I received a call from the event coordinator who asked if I would be available to come do head shots for approximately 80 MAC artists at an upcoming training event in addition to a couple large group shots of said artists that they plan to print hang in their local executive office. What an amazing opportunity! Blog entry covering that gig to follow…
While I’m on a blogging roll I wanted to present my third installment of photographing good-looking men for charity. Meet James August (can you guess which month we’re going to give him in the calendar?):
James joined Anthony for his shoot at the CSULB campus in Long Beach. James showed up ready to work! Apparently James is no stranger to the whole firefighter bachelor auction scene (who knew such a “scene” existed) so we had a pro on our hands. However, this was James’ first foray into the world of firefighter calendars so as you can imagine he was anxious to get a good shot and wanted to see previews along the way. He kept telling me he wasn’t liking what he was seeing when I would give him sneak peeks at the camera’s LCD and I was convinced he and I were not looking at the same images. I told him to trust me and let me work my magic. I asked that he withhold judgement until I sent him the polished-up best of the best via email in a few days.
I think it is fair to say he changed his tune when he saw the final images in their full glory. He nailed it. In addition to getting some great-looking photos I think we also very much captured James’ cheeky personality. His smirk in the first image below says it all:
And another joint shot of James and Anthony for good measure. I had jokingly suggested before we got started with the shoot that I would get them in the fountain by the end of it. Upon wrapping things up James saw the fountain and asked if I had been serious about the whole fountain thing. I told him if he was game I was game. He was and talked Anthony into it as well. Great success!