Friday, February 27, 2009

"Click Tips": Aspiring to be a Wedding Photographer?

Oh yes. It is a quench that can't not be soothed by anything other than shooting people in love and wedding cake. I totally understand.

Everyone has to start somewhere. I receive emails from aspiring photographers wanting to know "Tips" on how to shoot a wedding. Of course I can't explain exactly how that nervous feeling starts in your tummy the night before to its' complete understanding , but I can try.

There is nothing more exciting than when you first knock on the door to where the bride is getting ready and you get to see all the wedding hustle and bustle. It is probably the single moment, I can officially say "I am excited about your wedding." Because I truly am so excited and elated to be there, seeing her gown come out of the garment bag, and making memories with photos.

So when talking to someone about shooting a wedding, I can only give them my experience and "Click Tips" to make a more successful wedding photographer. I can't teach them what I have learned in five years, but I can give them 7 key points to make it that much more exciting and wonderful.
1. Get inspired. Look at wedding photography sites that you like the style, and try to figure what
setting they were using, or how the light was. It is important not just to look but to really think
about how to create that same image through your lens. or also Joe Bussink is a personal favorite site of mine
to go to get inspired. There are lots of resources online, and they are ready and it should be easy
to be inspired.

2. Organized. Make sure you have lots and lots of batteries, charged and ready.
Check your gear all works. Format all your cards. Check your driving directions.
Make sure you have all the information of the wedding/location/names/family's names.
You know, don't come unprepared or your shots will suffer because you aren't thinking about the
wedding you are thinking about something else. Keep your head in the game, and cake.

3. Stay calm. Just shoot. They hired you cause you have a good eye. You are not the coordinator,
nor are you the reason why they are running 30 minutes behind schedule.
Pose your groups fast, make it good and move on. Try to give the bride and groom lots of
time to be romantic after the wedding before the reception. Just capture them being them.
Those are the images that they will appreciate. Just make sure they are romantic somewhere
with a pretty background and nice light.

4. Shoot. Make sure you shoot shoot shoot. Get a full length of both the bride and groom.
Get detail shots. Make sure that you don't crop out feet or hands in your group shots.
Never crop at a joint (ankle, knee, elbow). Try to get in close, and then back off and get
those establishing shots.

5. Give it your all. If you have to stay later then the time says to get that shot of grandma
doing line dancing, then just get the shot. If you decide that you really need that sunset photo,
make sure your assistant is confident to be alone in the reception.
And just shoot. Even if you think it might be blurry or not the right timing.. try to get the shot.
It is digital and you can only learn from your mistakes if you aren't afraid to make mistakes.
When shooting groups and you have someone who is pesty wanting shots with their cameras..
just ask them to wait until after you flash and put your camera away from your face and
then they can shoot away. Usually they respect that you are the professional, and they will

6. Change it up. Get low, stand up on chairs, make sure you don't block people or the videographers.
If you need more tips.. happy to help. Experience is the best way.

7. Enjoy yourself. You are going to have to be your best, for 8 hours or more.
Make sure you shine, but don't stand out.

Good Luck

I remember....

This is a love story. Not between two people necessarily but between me and my camera.

Jaz and Luke was my first wedding as "Cakes and Kisses Wedding Photography" my very first. It was on a Tuesday in Rancho Palos Verdes, Wayfarer Chapel.

It was absolutely stunning and a perfect place for the beautiful couple. They met before the ceremony to take photos, and then they had a candlight ceremony.

I can't believe what an awesome occassion this was for everyone.

The bride wore the dress of her bridesmaid. A bridesmaid made all the jewerly, and now sells it at Etsy as JewelryVixen.

They had a beautiful prayer over looking the ocean.

The entire ceremony had candles to light the isle and the alter.

They had a cake from Sweet Lady Jane cakes. And I can't believe how beautiful it really all was. So photos speak louder than words.. and this sunset image is still one of my all time favorites.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Elite- Santa Clarita Valley!!

Yay! Cakes and Kisses is in print.

Delia and Michael got married on January 11th 2007. They had a beautiful ceremony and reception at the Bridegport Lake Club in Santa Clarita. Delia's family made her dress and her brother and father played on guitar a beautiful song just to the couple. Michael and Delia, just bought the home and got ready there for their wedding. It was wonderful and each of them have memories that will last forever.

The image that was published in Elite Santa Clarita Valley, was just after the wedding ceremony. We were so lucky to have beautiful light and ducks to join us for the session.

Lots of kisses and ducks,

Sunday, February 22, 2009

maternity by holly

I am not really into babies, motherhood, pickles and ice cream (well maybe just ice cream) or any other idea of having a family. I do dig the clothes being all cute around the waist though...

It took me by surprise when I said yes to doing a maternity shoot for my friend Lisa. We have been friends since Jr. High, and she has always dreamed and hoped to be a mom. Really, she and my other friends even had baby names picked back then. (I didn't of course, but I had pet names picked out)

But it just goes to show that they were always thinking about being more than just themselves and what was happening in High School etc. They thought about the future and to having a family and children to love, while I was thinking of puppies and kittens...

We did the shoot in her home, Castaic. It was a cloudy day, and I think that was perfect for the overall light of the day.

It was soft and lovely for Lisa to get into full maternity photos mode. Granted Tori Spelling took maternity to a whole level of fashion, but I think that Lisa handled herself with a lot of grace and beauty.

Here are some images from the shoot.... I must say I am pretty proud of how I really captured how beautiful Lisa is as a prego.

Lots of Kisses,

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Photographer Friends Click

I am so proud to call these girls my friends... Just amazing... Four of us joined together for a true passion for photography and we truly realized that we will be more than that... we will be an undeniable support system for one another. And of course being photographers, we took photos of each other in the hotel room at the Flamingo in Vegas.

We did a little awesome photo session, and yay! So cute!

This is Vanessa Brooke. I love her... I blog her... and I shoot her. She is an amazing artist and one of my favorite people. OOO and she does amazing children photography... Check out her site.

Here is a photographer, shooting a photographer for a photographer...

The amazing Naomi Epstein Photography, StoryBoards, and Graphics. Not to mention she has a mean passion for eating vegetables.

She is a little hottie too, huh?

These girls rock my socks... And they let me shoot them! Yay!

WPPI 2009


In case you don't know Photographers like to nerd out with other photographers. It is talking shop, talking about the latest gadgets, gizmos, but the most important part of that is making friends and being INSPIRED. WPPI

Absolutely I can define myself as the luckiest and most motivated girl blogging at this moment. Each and every little word I heard, each visual statement and color enhancement was absorbed, and every little nudge or heart string that was pulled effected me. I can't imagine anything more incredible or motivating than meeting other positive people.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Wedding FAQ

Questions that you might have for a wedding photographer and the answers that will help you pick the right one (with a sense of humor.)
Here are some answers I put together for an eager bride getting married in November 2010. I wanted to help in any way I could to put her mind at ease that she was making the right choice. She has tons of time to plan, but kudos for picking photography to book before the venue!

How do you identify your primary photographic style?
Photo journalistic Photography and Non Wedding Wedding Photography (just ask me what that means, if you don't get it.) Most recently I have heard it described as Portrait Journalist.

Please describe any special techniques you offer:
I retouch any image that the couple requests, that includes puffy eyes, blemishes, and or in-laws.

Which lighting situations do you have experience with?
My experience covers all lighting situations. However my favorite lighting is anything that makes the couple look more in love.

Do you have a media preference?
I shoot entirely digital. It has come along way, and the prints are almost to par with film.

How many photographers do you work with?
My staff includes several talented photographers, each with their own talents and specialties, including fashion, sports, editorial and design. I choose the assistant according to the preference of the couple. Having an assistant ensures getting every moment, front to back. This moment my assistant shot, while I was standing outside next to her groom to get the photo of his jaw dropping.

Do you guarantee your presence at the actual event?
I do. :)

Do you sometimes book yourself for more than one wedding in a day?
My schedule verifies on demand. I have yet to shoot two weddings in one day. But I do shoot two in a weekend. I give each wedding 100% and I feel like I gain creativity with each and every wedding.

Do you have a replacement photographer in case you become unavailable on the wedding day?
It will never happen. I will show up, and there is no replacement for me.

What kind of equipment do you typically bring with you on the day-of?
I bring it all including the kitchen sink. I have three cameras, multiple lenses, and a lot of fun.

Do you bring back-up equipment to the event in case of malfunction?
Yes. I never want to worry about missing a moment because my camera wants to take a vacation.

Do you charge hourly or full day?
I charge custom, depending on the couple. On the most part it is 6 or 8 hours of coverage. All the images from the day are included and there is no charge of negatives.

If hourly, are you available for shooting overtime? If so, how much do you charge for overtime?
It is $350 for each hour.

Do you require a meal break? If yes, do you require that the wedding party provide your meal?
A girl needs to eat. So unless you want me running off during your wedding to go get some chicken nuggets, I prefer to eat a meal at the reception. I am not a picky eater so anything will do.

Do you charge for travel?
Not typically, but if it further than 50 miles, I usually ask for gas money.

How soon after the event are the proofs ready for viewing?
I like to get images ready after the couple comes back from the honeymoon. Give me about 10 days to receive the DVD.

In what format are the initial proofs offered?
I provide a preview on my website in the Gallery for the couple to share with the friends and family.

How long can the couple keep the proofs?
As long as they stayed married. So FOREVER.

Do you retain the copyright for the photos?
I retain artist rights, and I release copyrights to the couple. They can print and reproduce images as they wish. I use the images for promotional, website and advertising purposes only. If a couple requests not to participate, I respect their privacy.

Do you reserve the right to publish the photos?

Do you provide the digital files and/or negatives (or copies of the negatives) to the couple?
I provide the couple with all the images taken on their day. If they want an additional shoot, "Morning After" I am delighted to do that upon request.

Will images be available for viewing on an online gallery?
Highlights of the wedding images will be online at within the week of the wedding.

What kind of albums do you offer?
I offer reallllly nice albums, or crappy prints books. It depends on the budget of the couple.

When will I get the final book?
If a couple orders a book, it will depend on how quickly they return the proofs and let me know what images they would like to use. After that date it is a month.

If I haven't answered your question, please email me and I will answer it promptly. If you have any smart remarks to my FAQ section, you can keep those to yourself. (no you can email me those too.

La vita e bella; la vita e amore. -- Life is beautiful; life is love.

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