San Francisco Night Engagement Session

Karen and David
(a bartender at Fuse celebrates Karen and David's engagement by fixing up some complementary fire shots; a mixture of Malibu, pineapple, and 151, poured into shot glasses and lit on fire)

My session with Karen and David was awesome and HOT (in more ways than one); easily one of my favorite E sessions of all time.

From the beginning the couple had expressed a desire for something new and different, with perhaps a bit of an urban/edgy feel. After weeks of thinking about where to start shooting, they chose the Mint bar on Market St.; a location with sentimental value from early in their relationship. They also wanted to incorporate some of the city's famous neon signage in their pictures, such as the marquee of the Presidio theater and the strip clubs around North Beach. We planned to meet shortly before sunset, and continue beyond dusk to catch the different parts of the city as they were lit up for the night.

I was a bit worried when I saw it was going to rain; of course I've shot E sessions in the rain before with no problem, but usually in the park or other places that provide some partial cover. I knew that if the couple felt cold or uncomfortable it would be hard to get good expressions from them, and we might have to reschedule. But K & D really were up for anything, and didn't mind getting a little wet...of course it probably helped that we started in a bar, and then hit another bar about halfway through to warm up both inside and out. In the end the weather turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as the wet, foggy atmosphere gave the streetlights and neon signs a kind of mystical glow, and the water on the ground provided lots of cool reflections to play with in the pictures.

Karen and David were SO much fun to hang out with, and so easy to shoot--their chemistry is undeniable. They had lots of ideas and suggestions of their own, and we often found ourselves noticing the same place or having the same idea at the same moment. Furthermore they trusted me completely, and were not afraid to try new things or feel a little silly for the sake of good photography.

Here are a few teaser pics (more than usual because I am just so in love with them);

Inside the Mint
walking around the Presidio area
on to Broadway and Chestnut
(thanks to my friend Ed Pingol for the inspiration)
ending up in Chinatown at 11:30PM, (4 hours of shooting! time just flew by)

The rest of the images will be posted here by the middle of May.

Edit: someone asked about my lighting--most of the images were lit with an off camera Qflash (in the hands of my totally awesome and quite-a-trooper intern Gerald), gelled with 1/2CTO and with a 20 deg. grid. The sitting on the bar image also included on camera flash bounced off the ceiling for fill.

Couture Accessories for any bride


I have developed kind of a thing for designer shoes, especially heels. For all stylish bridal accessories, really. I just love a good shoe or dress or jewelry shot. These items are the first thing I look for when I enter the bridal room and the first thing I usually photograph, when nothing is really happening yet and I have the time to walk them around a bit and look for new and creative ways to shoot them.

And, while getting married can be a great excuse to buy some amazing accessories, not everyone can afford to devote thousands to their purchase. But now, thanks to a website called Bag Borrow or Steal, even brides on a budget can afford couture!

The website offers you the opportunity to "borrow" (aka lease) 100% authentic designer bags, purses, and other accessories on a weekly or monthly basis, for a fraction of what the items cost to own. They have things from famous designers like Chanel, Gucci, and Hermes, and even have a whole bridal section devoted to wedding-specific items.

Here is just a taste of what I found in my first few minutes on the site:

Vera Wang Double Diamond Earrings $128.00/week or $375.00/month

Rosiblu Pave cuff bracelt (13.97 carats!) $265.00/week or $795.00/month

Leiber 'Slender Curve" evening handbag $51.00/week or $150.00/month

Don't miss the vintage collection. Hermes midnight blue vintage Birkin bag; $816.00/week or $2,400.00/month

I happen to have picked some of the more costly items on there, but there are plenty of beautiful bags and jewelry pieces to be had for $50-$150 per week. So go there now, and borrow something fabulous for me to photograph on your wedding day! :)

Thanks to my friend Angela Anderson for tipping me off to this resource!
(all jewelry and bag pictures (c)