christina & jon are SO married

This wedding was so special, down to the last detail. Complete credits at the end of this post.

Let’s start with the gorgeous bride, Christina. She lives and works in L.A. (at Paramount Studios) but has family in coastal OC, so they chose Laguna Beach for their wedding. I hadn’t met her in person before her wedding day, so I had no idea what she would be like. What a happy surprise! She’s so beautiful, sweet, calm, and lots of other great things 🙂 Her gown was designed by Kelly Faetanini and Christina positively rocked it to the max! I wasn’t familiar with the designer so of course I checked out the website. In addition to spectacular gowns, I found some great bridal advice about them. Here’s just one point she made:

Don’t judge a gown by its hanger appeal. Every gown has a unique shape, and although you may not like a certain silhouette based on the way it’s hanging, I always tell my brides to try it anyway, because it might surprise them. Many gowns lack hanger appeal, but look amazing on the body. I have seen brides fall in love and say yes to a gown that they initially did not want to try on!

Then there was her hair. A stunning loose updo, with a beautiful embellishment.

She and her ‘maids and moms got ready at Casa Laguna. I was reminded how many beautiful backdrops there are at this historic b&b. The Spanish architecture, beautiful interiors, and tile work, make it the perfect choice, in my opinion.

IMG_2700I couldn’t resist asking Christina if she would be willing to get in the tub. She was a great sport! And finding the oranges in the kitchen to add a pop of color, was a stroke of luck.

IMG_5224Can’t go wrong with Badgeley Mischka!

IMG_5117Always fun to find a unique way to photograph rings. Typical would be in the bride’s bouquet. But personally I like something a little different. This is part of a light fixture.

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This corner is so special. I edited these two images differently and still can’t decide which one I like better! Left is more natural, right is moody.

Then we move on to the first look. The lighting at the spot I’ve used previously was so harsh at this time of day, it would’ve caused shadows and squinting. So, improvisation was required. We opted for the driveway into a parking structure for an urban vibe. Love the blue railing.

Cathedral length veil… swoon. Belongs to Christina’s maid of honor.

IMG_5457Note how well Jon’s suit fits 🙂 Not a rental; he owns it.

I must say, I am a fan of the “almost all white” bouquet. So elegant. Carly was the best MOH ever!

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I hope naked cakes never go out of style. I don’t know about you, but I think the frosting is unnecessary 🙂

The ceremony site at Occasions at Laguna Village has never looked prettier. We happened to have a breezy day, which brought the draping to a new and wonderful level. The white dance floor was down, the florals were gorgeous, added lanterns and arrangements at the end of the rows added one more pop of color, and the sky and ocean were “something blue.”

I love this angle as Christina goes down the stairs to her waiting groom.IMG_3149

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Down to the sand for a few, then what may have become my “signature shot” … the middle of Coast Highway. It’s not as dangerous as it may appear, for reasons I won’t go into :-). I love it!

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A choreographed dance is a nice surprise for your guests.IMG_6160There’s a reason it’s called “the golden hour.”

 

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A perfect day for a wonderful couple. Thank you, Christina and Jon for sharing it with me.

Photography: Click Chicks Photography
Second photographer: Jan Simonelli
Hair & Makeup: Genna Khein
Gown: Kelly Faetanini, “Inez”
Veil: maid of honor
Shoes: Badgeley Mischka
Bridesmaid dresses: Weddington Way
Groom/Groomsmen attire: Indochino
Wedding bands: Capri Jewelry
Getting ready: Casa Laguna Inn
Wedding/reception venue: Occasions at Laguna Village
Florals: Fantasy Floral Designs
Coordinator: Dayna Lewis, A Very Special Day
DJ: Lucas, AAV Entertainment

Thank you Mr. Google…

Thanks to the search engines, I’m often found by couples having what I’ve coined a “tiny wedding.” You know, like “tiny houses.” This L.A. couple met just 3 MONTHS ago at a fire ceremony gathering in Topanga Canyon. Sparks more than flew. They skyrocketed.

Tatiana came to this country just 1-1//2 years ago from Brazil. And Leif is an actor, producer. Tati’s cousin lives in OC and has a beautiful greenbelt in back of her home which is where the ceremony was held.

Small weddings are very special. The guests are very few that mean a lot to the couple. And Tatiana’s 92-year-old grandmother flew in from Brazil. Wait’ll you see her!

Here’s Leif waiting to see his bride come down the path.

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When lens flares happen at times like this, I can’t help feeling it looks like God is shining down on the moment.

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After their first look, walking across the lawn to the ceremony site.

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The officiant is a friend of Leif’s, in “the business” also, and perfect in every way.IMG_7142-2Listening to Tati saying her vows.

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Their personal vows were magical. And filled with emotion.IMG_7190-2IMG_7192-2IMG_7218-2IMG_7226-2

I think they’re happy 🙂IMG_7240-2IMG_7441-2IMG_7458-2IMG_7494-2

A fun take on the sometimes boring group photo. That little lady in the stripes next to the groom is the 92 year-old grandmother. I want what she’s having.

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Anatomy of a “simple” family beach session

Me:  “Click Chicks Photography, this is Leslie.”

Them:  “Hi, I’d like to book a family photo session at the beach.”

Me:  “Sure. Great. Are you available on Weds. eve.?”

Them:  “Yes! Please book us.”

No brainer, right? Well, it’s typically a little more complicated than that. At least I’ve learned to ask how many family members there will be, because the answer often isn’t four, or even eight. It’s often 10 or more. Families like to come together from different states, or even parts of the world, in beautiful Southern CA. Which looks like this…

Numero uno. Find a place (depending upon tide) to arrange the family. No bueno just having in a line standing up. So, get the 14 family members posed on a rock. All is well and even the 3-year old is looking at the camera. But wait… there are now people climbing on the rocks in back of them. Well, I’ll take them out in post production. Can’t re-position my peeps now. Overcast day. Add highlights and some color to the sky in post also.IMG_8695

Next shot: grandma and grandpa with their grandchildren. Little Hampton is still cooperative, with some cajoling. Same issue with climbers and sky.IMG_8731

Then, mom and dad with their bio children.

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Just noticed that Hampton is being cute. Have to be on the lookout for those photo ops because crying can happen any moment. Once that happens, it’s hard to get a toddler back. And they get red and splotchy 😦

IMG_8757Little Hamp and his parents. Note: He’s starting to lose interest. Another 😦

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Another family unit.

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Another another family unit. Can’t do much about the fake smile. Have to go with it.

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Parents chance to have a romantic shot.IMG_8884

Just the grandkids.

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Another candid moment of cuteness. Have to stay on your toes to catch these.

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Everyone’s got their shades out. Snap.

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The couple responsible for all this family goodness … 45 years together.IMG_8935

At least a couple different poses. Better add some blue to the sky.IMG_8961

There goes Hampton, running away with someone’s cell phone.IMG_8962

Just the menfolk in a manly pose on the lifeguard tower. But wait, the sky is blown out. Note to self: add blue in post. And that house in the background looks crummy. Better get rid of it, and also the pole on the hill.

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Best Hampton cuteness so far. Crop out the other people in the shot in post.

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More blue sky needed.

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My favorite of the day. I’d suggested the ladies get their feet wet. Worked out really well for the shot… not so good for them.IMG_9047

One more exceedingly attractive couple to shoot.

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Parting shot. Still had my camera out when I was walking to my car. Caught this little lady out the window of their SUV. IMG_9071

So… that was a “simple” family session. Only about 90 minutes shooting, but hours spent in post production. I take each session seriously and want to deliver as many good shots as I can to give my clients options. NOTE: they were very happy, which makes ME very happy.

Fun With Fireworks … well, sparklers actually

My couple yesterday, Valerie and Bryan, planned a sparkler exit from their wedding. Did you know you can get jumbo, 3 minute sparklers ? Speedily getting all the guest’s sparklers lit at the same time was another matter, entirely.  A little earlier in the evening, my co-pho, Jolie and I ducked outside for a few minutes to test some effects. Valerie and Bryan were more than game, so we played for a few minutes.  Personally, I love the heart.

This is how you do it: Have the lit sparklers in position at the top dip of the heart. As soon as you say ‘go’ and open the shutter of the camera (for 1.5 seconds) they each draw half of the heart, holding their position at the bottom. Timing is everything!! We got multiple takes out of the two sparklers and had plenty of laughs. The secrets are them holding their bodies and faces still and, having the camera on a tripod. When you’ve got a ‘just married’ couple, staying still isn’t as easy as it sounds 🙂

The other shot is achieved by having two people running around the couple, each with a sparkler. The exposure here is even longer: 2.3 seconds. They can go up, down, around, and zig zag with the sparklers, but they can’t cross over their faces. I still don’t entirely understand why or how, but in many images you can’t see the ‘runners’ at all, and in others they look like shadows or ghosts. If you look closely at the second image, you can see the arm and hand of one of our helpers on the left.

Valerie was a gorgeous bride. Look forward to sharing more, but had to do a sneak peek of these two images!_MG_0501 _MG_0536