the rain

i have seen brides cry, and event coordinators get all antsy because of it. i have seen how it can have devastating powers to towns and lives. i have seen how it’s rhythm can be calming to a inconsolable child. i have seen it’s ability to alter and completely cancel plans. the rain is powerful on so many levels; it’s true, but no matter how strong a force we were not going to allow it to ruin our second day of shooting in new york city. isn’t that right, kellie? am i right, katrina? come rain, hell, or high water (we saw all of it, but hell ;)) we were going to have an incredible shoot. no. matter. what.

our original plan was to shoot a bride and groom on the brooklyn bridge. can you see it now? the quientessential shot on the bridge? her in his warm arms? she smiling sultry-ly. him kissing her summery-ly. all the while a balmy breeze is giving motion to the scene!!! there was nothing warm, balmy, or summery about our day!! (kellie is laughing right now; i know it!!)

but alas, the show will go on. and we refused to allow the elements to ruin our shoot!! we had come to accomplish and accomplish we did. even if we did have to be a bit flexible with our choice of location! we took our shoot indoors and underground, because it had started pouring buckets by the time we were ready (thank you olivia for sharing your living room with us; we were so grateful, and it couldn’t have been more inspiring or perfect! thank you!!), but nevertheless we made it happen!!

from where i was standing, it was a very warm rain! ;) more from our rain storm and where we took these two in the next post!!

thank you to olivia for sharing her home with us; i am truly grateful!!

thank you to katrina for all of the hair, make up and styling!

to kellie for being so understanding and for sharing such a warm spirit and talent with the world!

and to anne and her man for being so willing to brave it all for us and our experience!!

the second installment will be next!!


the making of an album: maria and mike’s mock-up wedding album

when all’s said and done i usually turn over anywhere from 800-2000 wedding images to my bride and grooms. from those choices they select the 20-30 for their wedding album. sifting through thousands of wedding day memories to compile an album keepsake can be a daunting task. it’s challenging when there are so many to choose from and not even 10% of them can make it into an album.

in march ashley and i shot maria and mike’s incredible wedding in san diego. the day, the celebrations, the details, the love, everything was so incredible and moving. i was really touched to have been a part of all of it. it’s always a bit nostalgic for me to review a wedding day while editing. i hope the bride and groom feel that same nostalgia only on a more poignant and significant level when looking at their wedding portraits.

i recently had a brief conversation with maria about finding the images for her album. she shared she was having a tough time narrowing it down. i told her to allow me to relieve some stress; i pitched an idea to my friend and colleage, april from photostory albums: we’d sort through maria’s wedding day images, choose the ones we feel should be included in an album and then present a mock idea to her with all of our rational. april was totally on board and excited by the idea.

we got together and rolled through all of the proofs trying to find the ones we felt best communicated the feel, the look, and the love of their day.

this was such a good exercise for both of us. it’s really hard to do!!!!! we essentially put ourselves in the shoes of the newlyweds and acted as if we were them. we asked ourselves, “which pictures will best remind us years from now of one of our most important days. and which pictures will best share our day with all who look at the album.”

our first narrowing down got us to 200. we needed to get to 20-30 images. we knew this was going to be tough. we looked again. scrutinized, and continued eliminating (this is why it is so wise to include a disk of all of the images in your wedding package!! ;)) we needed a certain amount of group shots, details, portraits, moments, etc. the more we narrowed the more difficult it was. it was painful to cut certain images. we got to 100. then 75. 50. when we got to 50 we got really picky. if one hair was out of place we cut the image. if the sun was shining one certain way to the right it was put to the side. after hours of pulling images, replacing them, pulling them again and then finding ones that we decided we preferred we finally got to our final cut.

essentially an album is the culmination of the entire wedding experience. it’s the piece de resistanc. it’s what lasts long after the dress yellows, the flowers wilt, and the cake gets freezer burn. when investing in your wedding day, put your dollar on memories, because years from now you will be grateful you spent the money on the nostalgia you will feel. i know april and i are in this business, but we can’t stress to you enough how important it is to have good photographs and photographic memories.

we sat down to write this post together so you would have both our voices and thoughts on not only the pictures but also the design and layout of the album. basically this is how april and i work: i shoot, download, backup (several times), edit, blog, build the gallery, clients choose their 20-30 images, i enhance them, and fire off a disk to april. she designs the layouts, builds a photographic story, sends proofs for my approval and client approval, and then once we have it perfected sends it to press. it’s a process. something we take seriously.

when it arrives she and i always have a moment when we revel in the beauty of what was experienced and later created.

mike and maria ordered an 8×8 album. please keep in mind when looking at the photostory proof that you are looking at, essentially, a book. it’s a spread, left and right. the pages look smaller, consider it will be bigger in print. this is also a “mock up”, what we chose for them. we plan on doing a follow-up post of their actual album so you can see the pages, sizing, etc. and their choices.

an album is like any other book: it has to tell a story.

kamee: we wanted to start with the details of the day: shoes, dress, getting ready.

april: when i design an album i want it to start at the beginning of the day. i want people who look at it have to feel as if they were there.

kamee: something that i shared with april when i looking for a designer and an album company is that i see things in print very clean. i wanted the design of my albums to be modern, contemporary.

april: this is the first page of the album. i wanted it to stand out with details. when you open the album these images will be on the right side with the left being blank. when too many images are added to a spread then pictures begin loosing their zest. i want the images to stand out for what they are worth.

kamee: it’s compulsory to include dress pictures in an album. ;) her sister bought her this hanger and it was significant to the day. ashley and i used it to drap her veil.

april: i had never seen anything like the hanger. for the sheer reason that it was distinctive and interesting it had to be in the album, besides it was to-be her new last name. i am always impressed with kamee’s composition. i loved the dress picture and thought once again that the angle was different and that it added to our storying telling appeal.

kamee: this image made me stop and consider: a girl spends so much time thinking, dreaming, and shopping for the one dress that will speak to her and make her feel like the most beautiful creature that ever existed.

april: i LOVE the dress. the image is genius: i love the way kamee captured the image of the bodice and exquisite detail of the flowering. i don’t know maria, but i do know from looking at this that she is incredibly feminine. i love that that translated to me while looking at her images. 

april: there was absolutely no question: this images had to have its own spread! it’s so beautiful on so many levels: the light, the angle, the post processing, all of it!

kamee: i get emotional during several moments of a wedding day. it’s good there is a big apparatus in front of my face to cover that i am crying. maria is so loved, by so many. it was evident. i love being present when a bride’s most special people get her dressed. there is a tender delicateness that is ever-present and felt. every lace is woven and layer perfectly placed. we kept going back to these images. (april: we really did!!) they spoke so clearly to both of us.

april: straight out. these three had to be in the album. i had already envisioned these in the album. we felt the joy, the excitement. i was particularly intrigued by the image of maria in the mirror. there is a certain stillness that comes over a bride during moments of her day. it comes and goes with nerves and excitement, but the middle image really, for me, caught that quiet calm.

april: these three had to go together. maria looks like she will be in the middle of the spread but the gutter will actually run to the right of the image maintaing the integrity of the moment i was talking about above. once again, props to kam for the light, composition, and post processing. (kamee: awww, thanks so much!!! i am blushing!!)

kamee: i like the moment and the lines of this image. this was right after their first look. it was quiet, just them, special, and sweet.

april: this was different than any other for me in terms of portraits. this actually was one i fought to have in the album. i don’t know how to phrase this but for some reason this just really spoke to me. i loved the “lightness” of the moment. i thought the kiss was so soft like it was just happening or just ending. i don’t know. i loved it. it had to be in there.

april: loved it so much it got its own page. this is one reason i love working with kamee (kamee: awww! blushing!!); she gives me the images and allows me poetic liberties in terms of design. we do make a great team!!! i love what we create together!! (kamee: ME TOO!!)

kamee: wedding party portrait: compulsory.

april: props to kamee for shooting here. (kamee: props to michelle, maria’s sister for spotting it, ashley too.)  who would think taking pictures in front of a blue garage door would turn out so good? seriously. the combination of the blue with the pink maria chose for her wedding colors was stunning. nuf’ said. i also really liked how kamee coupled everyone. it wasn’t traditionally taken. i just thought it was so interesting. it belongs in a magazine. (kamee: thank you. so nice!!)

kamee: it was freezing!!! and windy. you would never know, (april: really it was?? no way!) but the wind added some great movement to so many shots.

april: there are a few images that always need to stand out on their own spread.  for the simple fact of highlighting the most important people to mike and maria, and reminding them later of their relationships, it deserved a full spread. I find at times I want to do this for the entire album because I love each and every picture selected for the album; each picture is perfect and tells its own story.

kamee: special people. special relationships.

april: once again i loved that blue door! we just felt we needed to include individuals of the bridal party.

april: these three images needed to be grouped together for obvious reasons. the one on the left is of her sister and daughter, i wanted it to take more precedence due to the simple fact of their relationships.

kamee: like i said earlier i have a lot of favorite moments that get me emotional. the portrait session is one of those times. it’s so nice to have them alone without anyone else present. i think it gives them time to remember the real reason the day is happening; it gives them time to reconnect with each other on their wedding day!

april: i liked the look of both of these. i liked how one was a full portrait, caught in a moment. and i like the other because it was the same moment only close up. it zoomed us in to the emotion of the moment. we chose to contrast the images by putting one in black and white which also contributed to the feeling of the second image.

april: equally important. full portrait and then a zoom of the portrait. same but totally different. loved it on the spread!

kamee: maria!! the flowers showed up!! ;) they were so perfect, so stunning, so incredible. this image was one of my favorites in terms of details. i loved the color pop the contrast agains the blue. the flowers are swiftly becoming one of my favorite details of the day.

april: ditto.

april: the bouquet has to be included.  loved the up closeness of it.  it needed to stand out on its own for sure.

kamee: the set up. the kiss. and one potentially my most favorite moment: when they are announced man and wife, their reactions are priceless.

april: i favored the first image. it was another favorite of mine!!  the angle. the softness. the quiet. i just loved it.

april: the flow and progression of events was great for this spread. (once again though, it was so hard to choose. there were so many incredible images from the ceremony. i agree with kamee: include the disk in your package. there were just so many to choose from. so many that were so good. i can’t imagine not having all of them!)

kamee: i love portraits! these i just had a particular affinity for. i thought the first had a cool composition and caught them at a sweet moment and the wind in the second picked her skirt up at just the right time!

april: PERFECT PORTRAITS! like no other. not traditional but still so good and transportive.

april: progression of events here. grouped them together because they were the same scenery.

kamee: when the party starts i have to remind myself i am working. ;) i do love the first dance, so much!! it makes me fall in love with my man and love and the couple i’m shooting all at the same time!

april: speechless.

april: look at them looking at each other. years from now, when their love has grown and deepened and they still look at each other with such significant love these images will be a testament to the beginnings of their relationship!

kamee: cake is equal to flowers. maria and mike’s was different than i had ever seen. it had a different texture to it. it looked like white glass.

april: loved the contrast of the color with the black and white image. i just really liked the post process here.

april: we know the cake is going to be cut. we know what happens after. these two images served as book ends for all of those traditional events.

kamee: there were so many choices for the final image: a portrait, dancing from the party, a final kiss, so many. we chose this because of maria’s truth: pure happiness to be a mrs.

april: i knew i wanted to end the album with this; they just looked. so. happy. so genuine.

april: it just concluded all the feelings of the day.

kamee: i loved this experience. i loved feeling what my clients feel and knowing how hard it is for them! i also loved working closely with april on this endeavor because she offered such a great opinion on what should be included. i have been so excited about seeing it all come together since we started the “project”. i hope it gives maria and mike a good idea of what to include in their album (or maybe they’ll just choose to go with the mock-up; i mean, it’s already designed. we just have to send it to press! ;))

april: for me again, first of all i love designing kamee’s albums. she captures such fantastic images, the story is so evident, the emotion, passion, love, sentiment of each day is so present that i really do feel i am there, that i have been a part of their day. i had so much fun working on this project with kamee.

we both, mutually hope, that whatever maria and mike do choose for their album will serve them with a lifetime of joyful memories of a day they made commitments to love each other forever!

from my heart and april’s too, congratulations, and much love!!

xoxo kamee and april

bringing it back for an encore: photoshop sidekick with kj

my friend jen gave me and article several years ago about how it wasn’t the equipment that made the photographer noteworthy, but rather the photographer’s understanding of the equipment and making it all work in correlation with light and exposure. the photographer also needs to know how to properly use what’s in his bag to get the desired look he is hoping to achieve. different lenses combined with different settings create different results.

i am asked frequently what’s in my bag. i shoot with a canon 5d (i have the mark ii but prefer the 5d; i just like the color better). my principle lens is my 50mm 1.2. when that baby isn’t attached my 35mm 1.4 is. i recently bought the 85mm 1.2, and am in love with it’s photographic prowess. i have a 24-70 2.8 and a 70-200 2.8 but rarely use them, just when i am at weddings for certain things. i also have a lensbaby, which is fun to have in my pocket for artsy things. i shoot with 2 580ex flashes too. that’s the bag. (still working on a post with which lenses i use for what and when; hang tight; it’s still coming.)

there is more to photography, however, than what fills the bag. there is the whole process of post: what you do after you do what you do with all of the fancy stuff in the bag. so what’s not in my bag that helps with my final product? there’s not too much to it, but it does require more time than a side kick and less time than a full blown workshop. so this month i will be hosting a mini workshop on how to work the tools used for post process, the very important tools that aren’t found in the bag. :)

so we all have something great to work with we are going to start with an incredible fully-stylized shoot, where everyone will get a turn shooting without anyone in their way; i promise!! remember: everything you photograph you will be able to use for your portfolio building. after, we’ll download, and while we are downloading we’ll have a bite to eat. then i’ll walk you through everything, EVERYTHING, i do post process. i won’t leave anything out, and if you have a question it will be answered!!! we’ll go through it all step by step; i’ll show you all of my post processing process from download to saving and posting on the web. i’ll explain the functions i use and am comfortable with and how i take my images from here:

or from here

to here:

i’ll show you my standard post processing, tips for skin tones, and how to bump color without over bumping.

join us!! i would love to meet you, shoot with you, and spend an evening talking shop!!

i’ll show you whatever you would like to see and answer all your photoshop questions (if i don’t know the answer then we’ll find it together!!)

the full details

the date: thursday, june 9th, 2011

the time: 4-9pm

the place: corona, ca

the tuition: $295.00

the inclusion: fully stylized shoot, dinner, a packet of kamee june photoshop flashcards with all my favorite recipes, tips and tricks, and as much photoshop knowledge that you can glean in one afternoon/evening!!

photoshop can be such an effective tool when used properly!! it can take our images from b to a; it gives them a special “wow” factor. it adds that special something we all want our art to have!

i hope you’ll join us!! contact me with any  questions you might have at i look forward to seeing you next month and helping you add the extra “sweet” with the creative suite!! ;) until then, happy shooting!

biggy d and little e: married!!

i LOVED this wedding day! i loved being with emma and dave! i loved how relaxed they were how joyful everything was and how happy they were to be married, to each other!! i loved spending the day with ashley. i loved that we were treated like family and not help. i loved the conversations we shared with other guests that were enlightening. i loved that the day was filled with love and celebration and a transcendent amount of beauty!!



i love it when a couples courtship and romance is evident at their party afterwards. all the little details are always such a reflection of them. this wedding and all its qualities was spot on for emma and dave. i loved seeing little pieces of them in every part of their day!!

the cake? so emma!! the feminine flowers and the pearl details? genius and totally her!

i did love all the softness and delicacies of everything!! another reflection of the way dave revers emma. he knows she is special and he treats her as such!

EVERYTHING about this little shoot in gorgeous light makes me feel so in love with the two of them:

not in focus, i know, but still perfect, to me:

these next two i want to set as the wallpaper on my phone and computer, i love them both that much!!!

a little bit more celebrating:

maybe one of my favorite dance shots, ever:

a big sparkly send off capped the perfect day and sent the newlyweds on their way:

these two were so fun, so mellow, and so in love i felt sad to see the day end, but happy to celebrate in their “happy”!

emma and dave, i love you both very much! congratulations and thank you so much for sharing your day with me!! i am enjoying following emma’s blog on on all their newlywed adventures. keep them coming emma; your blog is so refreshingly fun!! i feel like i am getting an emma hug every time i read it!! ;) (add emma’s blog to your favorites page! you will LOVE it!!)

congrats again!!! the day was so gorgeous! just like the two of you!!

so refreshing

i have been trying to do things lately that i feel are refreshing: take brisk walks, drink more water, get more rest, take my vitamins, take more deep breaths, show more compassion, believe in the benefit of the doubt, spend time with friends that are really uplifting, ya know, stuff like that. after my shoot with avery i felt like i had done all of those things in the course of 3 hours. i walked away from our shoot feeling so good. almost like a portion of her spirit and flooded my body! it was, well, refreshing.

may you, too, feel so refreshed by these images!!!!

drink her in like the fluid ounces we are supposed to drink each day!

bathe in her uv rays:

walk a few miles in her shoes until you feel so uplifted you could fly:


this one is a multi-vitamen with an extra energy boost!! take 2 of her!!!

here’s to avery and everything she is!! so happy we met! so happy our paths crossed! so happy to have been refreshed by you!!

here’s to finding what refreshes your heart and following it today!!

thank you avery for the opportunity to be a part of this time in your life! may the spring in your step NEVER fade!!! so happy for you and your energetic future!!

the unrequited

she blotted her lips, taking extra care, knowing he was watching her, admiring every movement of her fingers touching her lips through thin paper. he crept behind her and kissed her exposed shoulder, working his way to her ear he whispered, “meet me.”

she answered his request coyly, smiling at their reflections in a steamed mirror, “i’ll be there.”

he brushed his fingers along her neck, turned, dressed, grabbed his necessities, and before closing the door stopped to look at her. “it’s the five o’clock train.”

“i’ll be there.” she repeated softly.

he smiled with every part of his face, then closed the door.

she could barely move, paralyzed by a new charge.

what would she bring? what would they do? what would he ask? will he ask? she whirled with her thoughts. then packed her bags with things she felt she needed, but mostly with things that would never be used.

she glanced at the clock and knew if she was going to make the train she would need to be swift. she still needed to pawn the cat, answer her most recent correspondences, and direct incoming communications as she was going to be unreachable for an undetermined amount of time.

still reeling at the invitiation she smiled like a uniformed school girl while making all her final preparations.

me. he chose me.

the thought resonated.

the anticipation of a weekend’s romance mingled with the year’s spring birth added lithe to her gait.

the city had woken up; so had she.

there would be no rain clouds today; nothing could deflate her energy and spirit.

she arrived early. she’d buy her ticket and then see if there was any person in the masses passing who was as nearly as happy as she felt.

the clocked ticked. the travelers thickened; rush hour was approaching, but he still hadn’t arrived. something was keeping him. he’d be there. she knew it.

at one moment she thought she saw of glimpse of him: handsome. in a hurry. rolling case behind him.

the man walked right by her. her heart tightened, just a little.

the hour died. their tickets expired. the five o’clock came, and left. no sign of her appointment.

her date never came.

punctured and confused she wandered, hoping he was waiting for her somewhere too.

something in her head told her she didn’t need to file for a missing person. he wasn’t going to come. he wasn’t going to make any promises. he wasn’t going to be anything she had hoped. he wasn’t going to be.

the unrequited: she was officially a cliche.

she’d board a train. that’s what she had come to do.

where it was traveling, she’d find out in the morning.

thank you to rhonda, emily, carin (i hope a blog is coming soon :)), and kellie for sharing the day’s story with me.

to gentry for being our incredible model; i could photograph you all. day. long!!! welcome  home, btw!!!

to katrina for all of gentry’s beautiful styling.

to grand central station for inspiring a story.

and new york, for being so rich in texture and inspiration.

fourth in a series of four: contemporary bride

contemporary |kənˈtempəˌrerē|


1 living or occurring at the same time : the event was recorded by a contemporary historian.

• dating from the same time : this series of paintings is contemporary with other works in an early style.

2 belonging to or occurring in the present : the tension and complexities of our contemporary society.

• following modern ideas or fashion in style or design : contemporary art.

thank you to katrina for painting the canvas so beautifully; to rachel for sharing the passion, and to hillary for bringing the swank. ;)

i LOVED this project, so much!!

everything else is just a feeling…

this all relates. i promise.

usually at weddings the vendors sit at a designated table for them during the dinner portion of the day. it is found outside the ballroom, near the kitchen, at a random table away from the festivities, sometimes even in the broom or storage closet. it is what it is. we are just happy to be fed and off our feet for a bit, so it doesn’t matter at all! ;) at last saturday’s wedding we were seated with the guests; it was a treat. i sat across from a gentleman who was so fascinating i could have listened to him talk all day and been completely riveted by his thoughts. he said over dinner, “age doesn’t exist. you are either alive or dead. whatever else happens in between is just a feeling.” i was bewitched by the philosophy.

jump forward to my most recent shoot with avery. she is graduating from high school soon. the feeling these images create is the “age” i feel i have!!!

more from spring itself, miss avery, and my eternal “feeling” very soon.

american royalty: sneak peek

it happened the day after the royal wedding. this replaced every thought i was having about the wales. this wedding was everything royalty is made out of. just a peak for now…

kate and will, who? seriously. it’s all about princess emma and prince dave for me from now on…more from their royal wedding soon!!


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