Published by AAC Perspective

Well as promised, my pictures of Swati's fashions got us both some exposure in the newsletter of the Academy of Art College. Which is nice, because art schools tend to be picky about the photography the use (with so many talented photographers at their disposal). Swati went to AAC and got her degree in graphic design. Hey, maybe I should see if California College of the Arts wants to do an article about their successful graduate...

Here's the article.

Paaaaarty!! Teresa and Justin, May 28 2006

Teresa and Justin's wedding was awesome! I was referred to Teresa by Joan Smith, owner of Celebrations For Hire, who coordinated Erica and Andy Zandona's wedding last year. All of Joan's referrals have always been great people, so when she called and told me Teresa was looking at my work, I knew I wanted to do this wedding.

And I was not disappointed. Teresa and Justin and their friends are party people to the max. The outdoor location was really pretty, and I loved that the dance floor was so big so I could do all kinds of neat angles on dancing shots. Justin dancing with his daughters was great! And Justin and Teresa were really sweet when we went off to take the couple shots, even though it was almost the end of the night. It took them a bit to stop hamming it up, but they finally realized they were alone (well, almost alone--I don't count) and started canoodling.

That's my new favorite word, by the way. Canoodling. Sounds like some kind of fattening Italian dessert.

Anyway, check out that car! There was no shortage of COLOR at this wedding. I had a great time...and apparently they liked me too, cuz I got invited to the after party! Teresa made me put my camera down and have a drink. I had a really great time getting to know everybody, especially Aaron, the officiant and Teresa's best friend. But after a few glasses the adrenaline wore off and I realized how tired I was, so I headed home.

To see Teresa and Justin's slideshow, click here.

To see the full wedding proofs when they are up (in about 2 weeks), click here.

Amberly and Josh, March 27 2006

Wow, a lot of things about this wedding were awesome, but the absolute best part for me was the father daughter dance. Amberly and her dad danced to a song that, well I don't know the name of it but it was basically about a new daddy tucking his precious baby girl into bed and thinking about her future. As they danced, Amberly's Dad sang the words to her. People do that a lot at weddings but there was something about this one, the combination of the lyrics, the music, and the expression on his face...everyone in the family was tearing up, and I had to hide behind the camera at one point because I started weeping too! It was beyond sweet.

Well I guess Mr. Simpson and I are even, because he told me that he had almost lost it himself earlier in the day when he saw me taking pictures of Amberly wearing his late mother's beautiful wedding ring. The ring was very meaningful to her, so we set up a specific time to shoot some pictures that drew attention to it.

For those who don't know, it is actually pretty common to incorporate some specific ritual to honor relatives who have recently passed away at a wedding. I think that tying the cycles of birth/beginning and death/ending together like that is very meaningful and cathartic for all involved.

Amberly and Josh are sweet, fun, and very romantic with each other. They seemed to be into big band music at the wedding so I picked Sinatra for their slideshow.

I wish them all the happiness in the world.

To see the slideshow, click here.

To see their engagement session now, and the full wedding proofs where they are up (in about 2 weeks), click here.

Diane and Kevin, and being in synch

This is Diane and Kevin. Their wedding is this weekend (June 17). They hired me about 2 months ago, site unseen. We shot their Engagement session last week. These are the prints they are buying to display at the wedding.

Diane and Kevin were my first referral from the WPJA, after I got in a few months ago (see this post for more). They are pretty cool clients, some of the coolest ever. They are really easy and fun to work with. Within minutes of meeting me, they were able to forget they were being photographed, and let me see who they really are. In looking over the proofs, they ignored the more conventional shots in favor of the ones with interesting color, unique compositions, meaning...the ones where my hand is very evident. The ones I like, in other words...the ones that go into my portfolio. The ones I shot for me.

I'll post more about them after their wedding. I just think it's cool that we're that in synch. I think it's great I've had a lot of clients like that this year, and I'm getting more all the time. I think it's the best when shooting for me, and shooting for them, is the same thing.

Star of the Sea Catholic Church, San Francisco CA May 20 2006

There were a number of unique things about this wedding. Nicole and I met in her salon in North Berkeley. While she was cutting my hair (I was looking a little bit Beatle-esque at the time), she mentioned she was getting married soon, so I gave her my card...and the rest is history.

The house was a little chaotic on the morning of the wedding, with the groom and his guys getting ready only a floor away from the bride and her girls. Thankfully my friend Joey Cobbs was there to shoot with me, and together we were able to get things that neither of us could have alone. He stayed downstairs with the guys while I was upstairs with the girls. I got there early enough to see Nicole's entire transformation--needless to say she looked gorgeous--and there were quite a few really interesting elements to bring into the pictures, like the blue walls, and the soft lighting in Nicole's room as she dressed.

They were married at Star of the Sea catholic church on 8th and Geary in San Francisco. This church is huge and opulent, and yet unlike most churches like it, they were pretty generous with allowing Joey and I to move around and have a good vantage point on the action. Tears flowed freely during the ceremony, from both the groom and bride. One of the high points of editing for me was when I saw that Joey had gotten a shot of the grooms' face as he watched Nicole walk down the aisle--I almost never get to see that perspective because I am always at the front of the aisle. The look on his face was priceless.

I'm usually lucky if I get 15 minutes alone with the bride and groom, but at this wedding there was a 2 hour break between the ceremony and reception--so Nicole, Junior, and I piled into the limo and went out to explore some of San Francisco's most beautiful photo sites. I love how relaxed and natural they were with each other. We went to the Palace of the Legion of Honor and Fort Point (with views of the Golden Gate Bridge, but you don't have to step on sand to get there--a must when your subject is in a wedding dress!).

And then the reception--what a party! We walked into the backyard to find three whole roast pigs lined up on a table--definitely a Kodak moment. After dinner there was some raucous dancing (grandma danced with the remains of one of the pigs). At the end of the night there was a romantic moonlit last dance, and then...what else? A cake fight.

Nicole and Junior never do anything halfway, and their wedding was no exeption. This day was filled with tokens of their love, their family's support, and the company of good friends.

To see the slideshow, click here.

To see the full set of proofs when they are ready (approx. 1 week), click here.

Photography by Lauren Cohn-Frankel and Joey Cobbs, for Cohn Frankel Photography.

Kaity and Val's Anniversary Shoot

Kaity and Val's portrait session was, hands down, the funnest portrait session I've ever done so far. When Kaity emailed me to ask about the shoot, she said she wanted something laid back, relaxed, not stiff and "portrait-y", to commemorate her and Val's first anniversary as a couple. She was basically asking for an Engagement shoot without the Engagement, although she didn't know it at the time. I gave her a few locations to choose from and she chose Baker Beach, although we ended up going to a nearby park and pier as well.

Kaity and Val have such dynamic energy together, I barely had to give them any instructions! Certainly I didn't have to tell them to kiss or cuddle, in fact I don't know if I could have stopped them. This very attractive couple were up for anything, and so we took some time to explore parts of the beach that I had never been to before, like the ruins of WWI bunkers. It was fun having a bunch of different kinds of compositions to play with--beach, forest, stone, pier--and using the starker elements they presented along with the natural lines of the couple's forms to make some beautiful pictures. In addition, there was no shortage of smiling, giggling, kissing, and romance. All in all it was the kind of shoot photographers dream about--I couldn't have asked for more.

This kind of portraiture it often referred to as "lifestyle portraiture." Like the kind of pictures you would see in a Rolling Stone article, where a photographer will follow a musician or movie star around all day, a lifestyle portrait is meant to capture the reality of a subject: to build up a relationship with the subject, and show them as they are, just being them. This is what we always do with engagement shoots, but it is applicable to other types of portrait photography such as senior, family, and child portraiture. The philosophy behind it is similar to that of wedding photojournalism--people are not models, they can't fake emotion, and so the best way to photograph them is to let them be themselves. One advantage of this is that people tend to look best when they are having fun, so we make sure that we take them to a fun place, have them do fun stuff, and sit back and capture what comes naturally.

The best part is that, unlike the old family portrait of days gone by, all the subjects are meant to enjoy the process. From the client's perspective, there is no more pushing crying children into their nice (itchy) clothes and dragging them down to the studio, to sit under hot lights for an hour and be yelled at to "SMILE!!". From my perspective, there is no more trying to tell bad jokes to sullen teenagers to try and elicit a 0.05 second grin, or playing with squeaky toys and making crazy noises in order to get a baby to look at the camera. This kind of portraiture is way more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Because this kind of shoot tells a story, it is often best presented in book form. The problem is that people are used to thinking about portraits only in terms of single prints. The engagement shoot is an extremely valuable tool to get to know the couple, and the resulting shots are beautiful and meaningful...and yet too often it is only the one print that is ever made, to be displayed at the reception. The other 199+ awesome shots languish on the proofing site, in photo limbo, and are quickly eclipsed by the wedding pictures, and forgotten...

I am hoping to change that with a new product I'm offering my wedding clients--a bound photo guestbook, printed by Asuka Book, presented on the wedding day, with pictures from the engagement shoot and lots of blank pages for wedding guests to sign. This will serve as both a photo story of the relationship and a guestbook for wedding guests to sign.

Imagine how cool it would be to have a book made from the engagement session that tells the story of WHY you are getting married, complete with written signatures and best wishes from friends and family, sitting on the coffee table right next to your wedding album that shows HOW you got married. The layout will be similar to the album, but more like a coffee table book, with thinner pages and a wraparound photo cover. Take a look at the samples on Asuka's site to get an idea. You can see the specific layout I will be using for my sample from Kaity and Val's pictures here. This book should be finished and in the studio for viewing in a few weeks.

For more information about my lifestyle portraiture rates, or the new photo guest books, please email me or call me at 510 882 1980.

To see the book layout from Kaity and Val's shoot, click here. To see the full set of images when they are up on Pictage (in about a week), click here.