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Highlights of 2017!

January 8, 2018

I know I am a bit behind the ball getting this highlights of 2017 post out so late; truth is, I didn’t think to sum up our past year because we have been busy planning for 2018.  I so loved reading everybody else’s round-ups though, and I thought it might be fun to share some of our highlights and unseen footage from this past year, particularly as this year was our first on the blog and it’s great to see a bit of an evolution and review all the types of topics we covered !

We kicked off the year at Palmetto Bluff (just a few hours south of us) with our new friends who had just moved to town!  It was amazingly warm in January and such fun to cruise around on bicycles and explore.

I didn’t launch this blog until April but before then, I released a series of Fine Art Photographs.  We started with a series of flower studies in pinks and peaches and were blown away by the response. 

We enjoyed lots of warm weather earlier in the year, and were lucky to spend much of our winter outside in beautiful balmy air and sunshine.  Charleston in the spring is my absolute favorite, there’s always something in bloom!

We headed to Harbour Island to create our second Fine Art series in March.  We stayed at the Ocean View Club (which we loved and hope to head back to this spring).

We introduced lots of topics on the blog:  gardening, DIY, and photography tutorials to name a few…

In late May, we headed to France via NYC for the entire month, it was divine and most of my favorite photographs from the year were taken in this period…

Back to the States in July (and for my 30th!)  — we headed to Napa twice for wedding season….

Most of July was spent beating the heat at home.   We added this screened in porch last fall and were so grateful for it.  We spend the majority of our time out here, from breakfast to long cozy dinners.

And then we were off to Marth’s Vineyard and St. Barths in August.

Home just in time for a bit of fall weather and of course, lots of holiday decorating!

We headed to Portland, Oregon briefly for a family wedding — what a beautiful city!! We absolutely LOVED it there!

And back home to rev up for the holidays.   We were particularly proud of our trunk show at Hampden — some of our pieces are still up!

xoxo Hope you enjoyed seeing our highlights of 2017! Can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store!

Home Photography Style

Coffee Table Books to Collect

December 14, 2017

I have mentioned on here before how much I love collecting great coffee table books. I often default to my collection for creative inspiration. I so much prefer to turn pages over scrolling, and it’s a lovely way to spend a leisurely afternoon or to flip through for a five minute break. So many of my images are inspired by the classics — everything is derivative so I have no issue with mimicking a photo exactly as it will always have our own spin on it and look completely different. I actually think it’s an excellent way to learn photography — copying a master’s composition is never a bad idea!  I’d love to highlight my newest book, The Authentics.   Not only is it one of my favorite collections of photographs but it’s especially relevant because the book explores what it means to be a tatemaker today and to relentlessly pursue a vision rather than mass appeal.   In The Authentics renowned photographer Melanie Acevedo and founding editor of domino (and coauthor of its bestselling book) Dara Caponigro dive into the private worlds and gorgeous homes of 30 international trailblazers in art, design, and fashion. Each space offers a peek into how truly authentic people live their lives when they’re out of the public eye: from a traditional Venetian palazzo to a whimsical L.A. bungalow to a sophisticated and starkly minimalist Parisian retreat. With a surprising mix of color and black-and-white photography that includes portraits, interiors, gardens, and still-lifes of flowers, food, and more, The Authentics is an inspiring tribute to confidence, originality, and the power of finding one’s own voice.  There are so many amazing spaces and people to be discovered in the book, and Melanie Acevedo’s photography is spectacular.  Sadly, I can’t show you all of my favorite images in this post (you’d have to buy the book) so I selected one of my favorites.

A few great reminders from the book are, “it’s never easy to be authentic, and I think it requires a tremendous amount of courage” and “the greatest luxury is to know what you like and to have the opportunity to follow your own path no matter what.”  Definitely worth collecting!! xx

Photography

Wedding Season Roundup!

November 28, 2017

At long last, we are wrapping up our final edits from this season.  We ended in late October, and are turning around our last wedding this week.  It was such a phenomenal season; we were lucky to attract the MOST wonderful, joyful brides and work with amazing planners in the dreamiest destinations, from Tuscany to Napa.   This was also our first season where I was hired to photograph four of my childhood best friend’s weddings which added another degree of sentiment, what a privilege!  Some of our weddings are still pending publication so this preview is limited but still wanted to share some of my favorite moments with you as well as some of our favorite bridal pieces for next season!

I love love love these sandals for a wedding weekend.  Smythson is one of my favorite brands, a wedding planner by them is a must.  These earrings are to die and also come in (something) blue.  Fun to have some colored shoes and these pale pink are so pretty.  Last, this would make a great rehearsal dinner dress somewhere warm.

 

(1) Rehearsal dinner (Italy/Tropical) (2) Wedding weekend, perhaps brunch or rehearsal dinner  (3) Rehearsal dinner/wedding day (4) Urban rehearsal dinner (5) Rehearsal dinner or wedding weekend trousers (6) Wedding dress, morning ceremony or English countryside wedding (7) Sweet, chic rehearsal  (would look so pretty with hair back in a low bun and diamond hoops (8) beach brunch dress, similar here – both great for honeymoon, too! 

 

 

Photography Tutorial

5 Photographer’s Tricks to Take More Flattering Photos

October 16, 2017

We all want to take more flattering photos. As a photographer, I always try to make our clients feel happy and relaxed because I believe that is when beauty shines through. When I am in front of the camera, I am pretty nervous! I want that relaxed, natural vibe to come through but I often freeze up. Here are five tricks I use to take a more flattering photo.

1. Loosen up.  Movement and action are your friends.  My great friend taught me that throwing your arms above your head totally relaxes your shoulders. I love this trick, I use it all the time. This isn’t realistic for brides necessarily but we can get walking, and I find that’s often when the best photographs are taken. Any kind of movement you can employ is great, it gets you to stop fixating on putting your arm on your hip, etc.

2. Wear bolder makeup. The camera washes out our features. Filling in brows, a bolder, brighter lip, and a curling your eyelashes with lots of mascara all help your features look more like they do in real life. I’m not suggesting that you totally over do it, but it doesn’t read the same way in real life. I also love lots of blush/bronzer and am constantly surprised by how pale I look. I recommend testing it out a few times at home.  I have been known to get an organic, vegan one hour spray tan (made from walnuts).  I’m into it.

3. Find a great light source. If you’re taking a selfie or iPhoto, turn towards the light. If you’re inside, face the window and put the phone between you and it rather than having the window behind you. If you’re outside (preferably late or early), you can face the sunset for a nice glow. Often times the greatest background doesn’t match up with the most flattering light. For example, you might wish to have the ocean in the background but the sunset is behind you. As a photographer, I will always favor the flattering light over the background, it’s often cropped out anyway. And of course when it lines up well, fantastic!

4. Shoulders back, elongate your neck, chin slightly forward but not up. These are three instructions I give to people behind the camera. If it feels funny, it’s usually working. The other old trick is to rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth when you’re smiling to avoid a wide grin. It works!

5. Shoot from slightly above. I find that shooting people from slightly above (especially if they’re sitting) is more flattering that straight on. It slightly thins out the face. That’s why we hold our selfies slightly above when we’re taking them. Too much with a full body makes you look short, but for a tight shot it works wonders.

And a bonus trick for those of you shooting on a professional camera:  I tend to slightly over expose my images and to shoot on a shallow depth of field.   We don’t need to see every line and detail!  Hope this helps, as always xxxxxxx!

Photography

5 Ways to Maximize Your Photoshoot

October 10, 2017

Plan ahead!  I always try to gather visual inspiration before a shoot.  I remember when I shot my first wedding, I actually drew out all the photos I wanted to take and had such a plan organized that I never had a moment of wondering what was next.  You don’t have to be that extreme but it’s helpful to have some screenshots of images that inspire you ready on your phone for those moments when you need a creative push.  Just because you gather inspiration doesn’t mean you are copying, your photograph will always turn out differently.  No one else can be in that moment in those conditions and so by its very nature it will be original.   Another note on this is that it’s helpful to gather inspiration from people who are doing different things.  For example,  if you’re a fashion blogger, head to Vogue.com or to a beautiful classic coffee table book rather than other people’s blogs for additional inspiration!

Don’t take on too much.  This one is critical and so hard to remember, especially if you have hired a photographer to shoot you for the day.   It’s tempting to want to squeeze every outfit or idea for your new website into a short period of time, more bang for your buck, right?  The thing is, it’s much better to do a few things well than to spread out and only have a few shots of many ideas.  It’s probably really hard to follow, but I think that in this saturated market of small vendors, it’s particularly critical to keep quality high and to nail a few things.  I remember when we were starting in the wedding industry feeling like every wedding was our one shot to get published and to make a name for ourselves.  That pressure never helped.  There will always be another shot, and there will be lots of bumps in the road, so take a deep breath and focus on a few great things!

Scout.  You’re going to want to pick your locations ahead of time, or leave time to do it before your shooting starts.  Look for a pretty backdrop, preferably in the shade but not in totally flat light, which brings me to….

Time of day!  I know I always bang on about this one but it is SO important.  Shoot early or late.  Remember that in city settings, there will be an artificial sunset because of the buildings.  In Charleston, our downtown is pretty low, but I still head down a few hours before sunset to make sure that we can grab that beautiful backlight which is so eye catching.  If you’re going to be in an open setting, like on the beach or in a field, those last bits of light (15 minutes before sunset) and right after sunset are my absolute favorite, PURE magic!

Be prepared.   This one might sound obvious but like gathering inspiration, it’s really critical to have all the things that you need for your shoot organized.   For example, if we’re doing a shoot of a table setting, that means I have to organize everything from the table linens to the wine glasses, flowers to the candle sticks — there are a lot of moving pieces.  If I am going to be in the shoot, I have to make sure I have a dress or something which makes me feel good so that I can relax and look natural.  I recommend always having lipstick, mascara and blush on hand too.  The camera makes it look like you aren’t wearing any makeup so I always wear more on shoot days!!  It can be stressful to have all the shooting conditions just right and then realize you really needed to curl your hair, bring the forks or your memory card for your camera!!!!!!!!  I hope that this helps!! xxx

Photography Style

Editing Photos for Brand Consistency

October 6, 2017

I love color.  The first time that I developed and printed my own color film in the wet lab was a remarkable experience; it changed my life.  It might be the primary reason I fell so in love with photography.   One thing that I tell people when they ask about developing a consistent brand is to stick a color palate.  It’s one of the easiest ways to set a mood, develop a feed (on Instagram) which is easy to digest and to set the tone for how you’d like to be perceived: bright, happy, moody, pensive, minimal, etc.  Even though that’s my first advice, I find it the hardest to stick to.  I love all types of tones and colors and I find it impossible to stay within the boundaries of one palate.  This can make it a bit more challenging to tie our images together, and so I try to stick to a general set of rules keep the photographs feeling similar.

First, I try to stick to shooting at certain times of day.   The morning before 11 and then the late afternoon/early evening.  I also shoot quite often at dusk; I love the purple light of the last bit of day.  I also like throwing candles into my images as they add a pretty glow and atmosphere.  If you’re shooting late, sometimes the images can look a bit dull but if you pop up the vibrance in Lightroom, it will more accurately reflect what it looked like in real life.

I always try to use the same filters.  I use the VSCO color packs in Lightroom and on my iPhone and add warmth, pink, vibrance, more black and less shadows to nearly all my photographs.  That way, when I am placing them all together, they have a tonal consistency which allows them to sit well next to one another.  And that’s another thing: I always plan my image layout.  I try to mix up the types of images which sit side by side.  For example, I often find that a photograph with a person in it sits well next to a scenery shot, and that two horizons side by side look awful because the line travels across both images and confuses the viewer.  You need a mix of push and pull, and while it might be best to keep the hues the same from photograph to photograph, it’s ok to mix it up as long as the photographs are complimentary and the colors look nice together.

If you are shooting in cloudy conditions, I always try to have something overhead which is providing shade.  If you shoot in grey light out in the open, I often find that eyes have no light in them, and that there are heavy circles under the eyes.  Make cloudy conditions work for you by shooting underneath the shade of a tree, or a porch, and colors will really pop and allow you to maintain a cheerful feel, even in a gloomy setting.

Hope this helps! I will answer questions in the comments below 🙂 xx

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