Couture Dog Fashion Event

Matt and I were invited to participate in the Shorebreak Hotel's "Couture Dog" fashion event a couple weeks ago, to premiere the Shorebreak's dog-friendly services as well as benefit the Orange County Humane Society.  Humane Society pets were paraded up and down the catwalk while guests sipped cocktails and enjoyed the live DJ and fashionable pets in attendance!Image by MattFashionable DogcocktailsImage by Mattred carpetrunwayImages by Matt

Urban Portraits: Helena

When Helena contacted me for portraits, the reason she gave me was "I feel like it's a good time for me. 2010 is my year."Go Helena, it's your birthday!  Actually, the session date really was her birthday. Lookin' good, girl!

Sex and The City, whoo!I really love the look on the right. I'm going to have to find a tunic and necklace like that.

Professionalism

Flirty

City Model

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: Youngsong Martin

Tuesday with the Pros is an ongoing blog series featuring experts in the wedding and event industry.  Today's authority is Youngsong, designer and owner of Wildflower Linen.youngsong martinLI: Describe the role Wildflower Linen plays in the event industry!Young: We are an innovative couture linen company, offering both rentals and sales.  Wildflower is very trendy and designer-driven, so it's not your ordinary white table linens.LI: How did Wildflower Linen begin?Young: Well, I was a clothing designer and senior instructor at the Parson School of Design, but I got burned out on the fashion design business---I didn't want to deal with department stores anymore.  So I retired!  Shortly thereafter I got involved in a family wedding, and went looking for some inspiring linens for my niece, the bride.  But what I was looking for simply was not there in the marketplace at the time, I kept finding old-fashioned satins instead of the high-quality silks I was used to.  So I went out and made some chair covers for the wedding myself, out of dupioni silk.  It wasn't long before people were talking about me and I found myself being approached by planners and brides to design covers and other linens for their events.  There was a lot of doubt, a lot of questions at first; "How are brides going to justify spending all this money just for linens? How are you going to wash them?  How are you going to earn money from this kind of venture?" There was simply nothing else like Wildflower on the market when we began.  But I used to be a teacher, and I wanted to educate people.  I wanted them to know that they didn't have to settle for horrible polyester fabrics for their grand event!  After that there was no stopping me.wildflower linen warehouseLI: So Wildflower's couture fabric quality is what sets it apart from other linen brands?Young: Yes, and I think as a former fashion designer I have a strong sense for future trends that will eventually hit the market and impact our designs.  So we like to think that we are trendsetters here at Wildflower Linen!LI: What is your favorite aspect of being a linen designer?Young: I like everything about designing fabrics.  I also really love being part of something that is so special to my clients, like their wedding day.  It's like when I furnish a client with a beautiful linen I'm helping them sculpt their event's atmosphere, and shape a highly valuable memory for them.LI: What goes into the process of designing a fabric for a client?Young: We look for complimentary color combinations, thread counts, and which fibers we can combine to produce the tones, textures, and the kind of sheen that the client is seeking.  Right now we're working with some handpainted looks, samples of which you'll see in this year's spring issue of Your Wedding Day magazine, due out sometime in the next month.ruffle linenLI: Do you have a dream event that you'd love to design the linens for?Young: Oh, yes.  The annual Metropolitan Costume Institute Gala in New York!  I would like to collaborate with any of the designers involved to produce a truly amazing linen for that event.  Someday!LI: Have you worked on any exciting projects so far this year?Young: Yes, we designed the linens for the Hurt Locker after-party following the Academy Awards this year...that was fun!LI: What would be your professional advice to help guide clients in selecting or envisioning their linens?Young: When people come to Wildflower, we listen to them.  We want to know what their dream wedding is all about.  It helps us understand what they mean when they describe what they're looking for...for example, if they were to say they just want "simple" look, I may not be sure what that means until I listen to them fully describe the event, and then I may come to realize that when the bride says "simple," she really means "no patterns."  One-word descriptions can be very powerful, but also very inaccurate.  So we encourage the client to tell us everything, and we encourage other vendors to really listen to them.  That's the best way to truly produce the kind of event the client has in mind, and even go far beyond their expectations and imagination, as well!For more on Young and Wildflower Linen, visit:Wildflower Linen's websiteWildflower Linen's blogWildflower Linen on TwitterWildflower Linen on Facebook

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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Boudoir photography

This post contains tasteful images featuring a nude female body, and may not be work-safe. Viewers under the age of 18 should obtain their parents' permission.

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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?

Michelle Nguyen for 944 Magazine

Today 944 Magazine (OC version) sent me on assignment to photograph Michelle Nguyen, the owner and designer for Quail, a local clothing line.

What a fun girl she is! I'm terribly lucky that I always get the smiling, spirited artists on my 944 assignments!I'm starting to experiment with using a slave flash. Not a great example, but I'll get better...I promise!Wearing one of her creations. Look at all that beautiful hair! She says she's engaged, and I already envy her wedding photographer!

FAQ Friday: What A Photographer Should Wear to a Wedding

Q: "What should a photographer wear when photographing a wedding?"A: I never thought I'd be blogging about this, but this topic appeared in both a Flickr forum and a MySpace photography forum yesterday, so apparently it's something people want to know/are discussing.My first reaction was, "Anyone with any common sense would wear..." but then when I thought about it, I recalled that there was a time in not-too-recent yesteryears when I was going to weddings "dressed down" as far as my current standards are concerned: khaki slacks and a cute tank top! Not a tee and jeans, but not exactly something appropriate for the Ritz, either (thank heavens I never shot at the Ritz back then!).

Nowadays, I wear a short-sleeved dark top that isn't too revealing and is lightweight (polyester & spandex), or a dark button-down 3/4 sleeve bouse. I have other "backup" dressy attire in case I have to photograph another wedding before my preferred shirt is cleaned. That's the catch about having "working professional" clothes: you either have to have them dry cleaned after every wedding, or wash them separately by hand or on a special setting in your washer.I also own two pairs of black, polyester slacks. I used to wear a black belt as well, but I just recently started using a blue silk one because I think it looks more stylish and classy....I figure I can't be faulted for "something blue!" I never wear a skirt or dress since I am constantly bending over, squatting, standing on chairs and stools, or heaven forfend...running. I don't want to have to worry about a breeze flipping up my skirt or getting snagged on something.I wear black socks and a pair of black shoes which I purchased specifically for comfort.I also have a black professional-looking jacket that I bring with me in case I happen to get stuck outside at night, or it gets cold.In addition to all this, I make sure I do my hair up and semi-nicely, and bobby pin areas that most easily come loose because I know I will be getting sweaty and frazzled. Ultimately, it's far better to be overdressed and have people think you are a class act and professional, than be underdressed and wind up with someone complaining about your shoddy appearance later on. Think of it this way:Wedding guest: "Have you seen how overdressed the photographer is?"(This is merely a COMMENT)Wedding guest: "That photographer is kind of underdressed, don't you think?"(This is a CRITICISM! You don't want that!)Obviously there are exceptions, the most common of which are themed weddings. If a bride and groom are having a Western/cowboy themed wedding, for example, use your own good judgment; If they INSIST that you show up in overalls and a flannel shirt, then you definitely do it! This is because brides that insist on something specific from you will also insist that her guests adhere to the theme as well. If, however, the bride and groom merely SUGGEST that you show up in jeans and a cowboy hat, throw that idea straight out the window and show up in your normal, formal/semi-formal wedding attire (thought they might appreciate a Western-looking belt buckle or small detail like that). The reason behind this is if they tell you, "It's cowboy-themed, so wear jeans if you want to," then chances are they are telling the same thing to their guests, and not ENFORCING the theme. Their guests will either forget about it or decide not to wear anything casual. They will all show up in regular semi-formal wedding attire and then you'll be the only one underdressed!So when in doubt, DRESS UP!