Destination Bridal Session

Photographed in the Palm Springs area, though I personally think this looks like it could be on a Southeast Asian island somewhere instead of the desert!  Special thanks to Jaclene for modeling and J'Adore Florist for the bouquet.

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Tuesday with the Pros: The Ladies of La Quinta Resort

Tuesday with the Pros is an ongoing blog series featuring experts in the wedding and event industry.  Today's authorities are Jessica, Christy, and Michelle, event and banquet managers at the La Quinta Resort in La Quinta, CA.

la quintaL-R: Jessica, Christy, and Michelle

LI: Describe your position at La Quinta Resort.Michelle: I am the assistant director of catering, so I oversee the banquets and events here at the resort as well as at our golf club, PGA West.Jessica: I am the on-site venue coordinator for weddings here at the resort.Christy: I manage non-wedding events at the resort, such as corporate events, private parties, memorials, quinceñeras, etc.ladies of la quintaLI: What makes La Quinta Resort unique from other Palm Springs getaways, or perhaps other resorts in general?Michelle: Despite being such a large resort, it is very quaint and very quiet here.  It's lush and peaceful and has a lot of history---La Quinta Resort has been in operation since 1926.  We have 41 pools, 53 hot spas, 23 tennis courts, and nine golf courses---once you're here, there's no need to go anywhere else for anything!  Based on many of these features this resort also happens to be an original hideaway for Hollywood stars.Jessica: Privacy and seclusion is valued here.  We have so many pools spread throughout the resort that often no matter where you stay it will be like you have your very own pool right outside your door!Christy: I think of this property as a true resort. This is THE place to come to relax.  It's why so many brides choose us as a wedding venue, but then also choose to return for anniversary getaways and family vacations as well.la quinta resort and spaLI: What inspired your career as a coordinator here?Michelle: You've got to really love the place you work in order to sell it to potential clientele for events, and one of the things I love about working here at the La Quinta Resort is that the property sells itself.  Once you're here and you see it, you'll fall in love!Jessica: I'm a local.  My husband and I took our engagement photographs here and I was also a bridesmaid in a couple weddings at this venue.  Eventually I just applied for a job!Christy: I began in culinary arts and at one point I held jobs in the kitchen, but worked my way up to a front position heading events.  Now I enjoy the client contact, as well as still being able to work with food.  It's also nice to watch an event blossom into whatever a client has envisioned.LI: What are some of your favorites aspects of your job?Michelle: I like to see peoples' faces when they first see this property for the first time, or when people return here for vacations. It's just so peaceful and luxurious and has been around for so long, many of our clientele feel like returning here is coming home.Jessica: I enjoy being a part of client's most memorable day of their lives.Christy: I like how every day, every client, and every phone call is different.lawnLI: What sort of profile do most of your event clientele fall under?Michelle: La Quinta Resort used to be known for its group corporate event business, however in the last couple of years we've really begun to attract families arriving for vacations and wedding clientele seeking to take advantage of our beautiful grounds and professional event services.  We also welcome quite a few concert-goers during Stagecoach Festival and Coachella, as we are the closest hotel to both.Jessica: My clientele are exclusively brides. Who wouldn't want to get married here?Christy: Usually private parties, and sometimes memorial receptions.  I know that a resort like this may not initially be the first place you think of for a memorial reception, but actually do do quite a few "Celebrations of Life" here from time to time.  It's nice because it's peaceful, which allows mourners to relax, mingle, and reflect on life amid bright, beautiful scenery.la quinta villaLI: Describe what you would consider a dream event to design here!Michelle: We'd love to put together a Platinum Wedding; we've recently been named one of WeTV's top 10 wedding venues, so hopefully it will happen soon!  Personally think any event that would incorporate a classic Hollywood style would be so much fun to see here at La Quinta.  Just because this property already has so much old Hollywood history--Greta Garbo, Errol Flynn, Joan Crawford, Ginger Rogers, Bette Davis, Frank Capra---this resort was a favorite among many classic movie stars, so it would be great to see an event that could revive that spirit here.Jessica: I've never had a "dream event" in mind, I'm always just looking forward to great clients who are fun to work with.  It's the people who make the event what it is.Christy: I tend to agree with Jessica; a truly fantastic event would be a phenomenal client with a phenomenal budget, so we can easily make their dream come true for them without cutting corners or scaling back on anything.  A lot of creativity on a big budget goes a LONG way.LI: As event managers, what do you recommend to interested parties out there looking to save some money on their wedding or other function?Michelle: Lose the favors.  Unless you come up with some really amazing idea for favors, don't do them.  Pictures last longer anyway, so lose the favors and put the money you save towards a professional and talented photographer.Jessica: Remain open to the idea of hosting your event on any day besides Saturday. Here at La Quinta Resort, we can actually offer a discount on the site fee for Friday, Sunday, or other-day-of-the-week events.Christy: I think it benefits clients to focus on what is most important to them and making sure they have the money for those areas, and if not, perhaps channeling funds from lesser aspects of their event towards the important things, like the venue, or food, or photography. It really helps in the long run to organize and repurpose your budget.  Any experienced coordinator can help you with this, as well.fountainLI: Do you have any exciting events coming up?Michelle: Our whole world is exciting here!Jessica: I have a really cool wedding that I'm excited about on May 1st.  This couple will be completely transforming La Casa villa, one of my favorite sites here at the resort, so I'm eager to see how it turns out.Christy: I'm excited to see that, too!LI: What vital piece of advice would you impart to wedding clientele everywhere for a fun, festive, and stress-free event? Michelle: Don't settle on someone else's dream. Do what you want to do, where and how you want to do it.  Also, hire a wedding coordinator.  Whether they are a full-service coordinator or just a day-of planner, they will lift a huge burden off your shoulders when it comes to putting everything together.Jessica: I second hiring a wedding planner.  I mean, if you really want to be able to enjoy your day and take it all in without popping your "bridal bubble," that blissful state of wedding day excitement and joy, then someone needs to be doing the legwork for you.Christy: I agree.  It's nice if a bridesmaid or relative steps up to the plate to coordinate some details for you, but unfortunately that means they won't be enjoying themselves to the fullest at your event, either.  It really is best to just hire a professional.cactus gardenFor more on La Quinta Resort, check out:La Quinta Resort's blog, Life At La QuintaLa Quinta Resort on TwitterLa Quinta Resort Weddings on TwitterLa Quinta Resort Weddings on FacebookLa Quinta Resort on Facebook

The Third and the Seventh

This is amazing.First, watch this video.Beautiful light, beautiful focus, beautiful settings, right?  Well, none of it is real.  Those places don't exist, the lighting is digitally generated, and so are the subjects and backgrounds.  Don't believe me?Then watch this:Just incredible.  A slow, painstaking process combining techniques in 3ds Max, Vray, After Effects, and Premiere.  And we photographers thought we were badass just because we have good Photoshopping skills.  Ha!

Indian Bridal

Many thanks to Jason Meyer for inviting me to help him photograph this brilliantly-colored wedding. Here are a few of my favorites from the bridal room prior to the ceremony:img_4275img_4289img_4344img_4323img_4351img_4460img_4451img_4366img_4454img_4382img_4462img_4468img_4489img_4491img_4758img_4510

img_4503Haha, the "modern bride."

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Linda & Toneka of BWell Fitness

This week I had the pleasure of photographing fitness and nutrition experts Toneka and Linda of BWell Fitness. These ladies have summer bods year-round, and are brimming with pro advice on how to slim down and shape up without drastically altering your diet or lifestyle.  While other personal trainers act as support for an hour or so while they work out with you, Linda and Toneka focus on how you can maintain a healthy body 24/7, regardless whether they are there or not, or whether you're working out or just doing your normal thing!1003

1027The ever-cheery Linda :)

1020And the stunning Toneka

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1059At Muscle Beach in Venice, CA

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1118Toneka = skillz

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1139What a couple of sweeties!  Be sure to check out their blog for current and future contests and giveaways, particularly for brides looking to get in shape before their wedding day!

FAQ Friday: How to Get Amazing Photos on Your Wedding Day

You already know the biggest key to having great photos—whether they are of you or of anything else—is to hire a skilled photographer whose work you admire. (I should note, if you hire a photographer whose work excites other people but not you, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. You have to like your photographers' style in order to like your photographer's photos of you!)  That said, if you want to ensure that your kids’ jaws and your kids’ kids’ jaws drop every time they look at your wedding photos, here are the top 10 tips a lá Luminaire Images for looking spectacular on your wedding day:Hire a professional hairstylist and professional makeup artist. Nobody wants to repeat, “What on earth was up with my HAIR??” every time they look at their wedding photos. Hairstylists and makeup artists are often the first to be removed from the wish-list when planning a wedding on a budget, but from a photographer’s point of view they are essential.  If you’re going to great lengths to look incredible on your wedding day---bought a gorgeous wedding dress, scheduled some time at the spa---why skip the pro stylist?  Don’t forget that your whole dress may not be in every single picture of you, however your face sure will!Take ‘er for a test driveA few weeks prior to your wedding, do a test run of your makeup and hair to ensure you like how it looks on you, and that you’re not allergic to any of the products.  A practice run may also allow your makeup artist to move more quickly on your wedding day since she already knows what works for you. If it looks good, you don’t have to wash it off right away, either!  Schedule your engagement session for after your test appointment, or a night out on the town!Don’t forget touch-upIf your makeup artist won’t be there the whole day with her Magic Bag O’ Beauty to constantly refresh your face, put someone else in charge.  Enlist a bridesmaid to keep a “touch-up clutch” handy with lip gloss, pressed powder, and waterproof mascara, and tell her that it’s her job to re-do your face (and maybe your bridesmaids’, too!) after each cry, or in between events, and before each shoot.Practice, practice, practice!Make sure you schedule an engagement session with your photographer. This will not only prepare you and your fiancé for the types of poses and directions your photographer may use at your wedding, but also gets you more relaxed in front of your photographer’s lens.  Your photographer can also note and manage your weaknesses---for example, if you have a bad habit of blinking when the picture is taken, it’s good for the photographer to notice ahead of time so he or she is prepared.Consider wearing a veil.Veils don’t have to be ten feet long to add some extra “wow” to a wedding ensemble.  A birdcage veil made of netting affixed to a hairpiece looks chic and glamorous.  Longer, more traditional veils can be used for romantic, breathtaking creative imagery, especially if it’s a breezy day!

Find a dress that flatters your figure!This seems like a no-brainer, but amazingly some brides rely solely on the advice of whoever comes dress-shopping with them, instead of boutique assistants who may be more qualified to make suggestions on the type of dress you should be looking for.  If you have a big waist, avoid full, fluffy skirts, and if you’re more top-heavy, avoid strapless dresses.  Don’t forget that quality plus-size dresses are all styled to make curvy girls wearing them look slimmer! Everyone is built differently, and it’s silly to think that one style fits all.Select a visually interesting locationIf you are getting married in a boring, small, or overly-busy location then your photographer may be forced to find something more picturesque nearby for certain shots in order to avoid power lines and passers-by in the background.  If possible, try to scope a ceremony or reception location with dramatic scenery, wide open spaces, or at least one that has a variety of places that are visually appealing.  Chances are, if a location impresses you before you've even seen it with flowers and decorations, then your photographer will like it, too!Take formal photos BEFORE the ceremonyYou’ll be your photographer’s best friend! Before the ceremony is when everyone’s makeup is the freshest, everyone’s hair is still perfectly in place, and no one has red eyes from crying or shiny faces from sweating.  It’s the perfect time.  If possible, it is highly recommended seeing your fiancé before the ceremony for some photos as well---your photographer can arrange a “First Look” meeting so there is still a moment of “revealing” yourselves in all your finery to each other, if you prefer.  Not only will you both look your best during these pictures, but you and your guests won’t have to take as much time for photos following the ceremony, which is when everyone really just wants to just get down and party!Take your photographer’s suggestions seriously!Your photographer will rarely ask you to do something---whether it’s leaving in the middle of dinner for some sunset pictures or riding piggyback on your fiancé---unless he or she thinks that it will make for an unbeatable photo.  Let them know if you’re uncomfortable or unable to do what they ask, but if you’re ready and willing, then go for it!And last but not least…RELAXAs talented as your photographer is, if you feel stiff and forced, then you’re going to look stiff and forced.  Have a couple drinks, shake it off, reflect on how happy you are to have made it to the big day, and try to enjoy yourself.  Not only will you look more relaxed in the photos, your attitude will have an amazing relaxing effect on everyone around you and ALL your vendors produce better work when they sense that you're not stressing too much.  You, your fianceé, and all your guests are there to enjoy yourselves...so why not enjoy?