Celebration Packages

Follow CelebrationPackages.com on Facebook
Follow CelebrationPackages.com on Twitter
the blog

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vendor Spotlight: M Bride, Designer Bridal Salon

I'm really excited to do a vendor spotlight on M Bride.  They have an awesome store in downtown La Jolla and the owner, Michele, is amazing!  PLUS, they are providing dresses for our upcoming Bridal Shoot!  Last Tuesday, I went in to do a dress fitting with one of our models, Cindy Whitmarsh of Cindy Whitmarsh Fitness,  for our shoot.  Of course I had to take photos of the dress so we can style the shoot but since I was there, I took some photos of her salon.

If you're looking for a great designer bridal salon then check M Bride out!


m bride designer bridal salon in la jolla, ca


m bride designer bridal salon in la jolla, ca


m bride designer bridal salon in la jolla, ca


m bride designer bridal salon in la jolla, ca


m bride designer bridal salon in la jolla, ca


m bride designer bridal salon in la jolla, ca


cindy whitmarsh modeling a bridal gown at m bride designer bridal salon in la jolla, ca

Monday, August 30, 2010

Katie and Ben Engagement Session

I'd like to introduce you to Katie and Ben.  A wonderful couple I was able to take engagement photos for this past weekend.  They are so cute together!!  They are both outdoorsy people who both like to read, so found a hiking trail to take these great photos of them together.


engaged couple on hiking trail


Ben picks flowers for Kati all the time.  Here he is giving her one.
engaged couple on hiking trail


engaged couple on hiking trail


engaged couple on hiking trail


engaged couple on hiking trail


engaged couple on hiking trail


engaged couple on hiking trail

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Baby Ben on the Blog

OK, so I had a chance to photograph such a cute baby earlier this week! Baby Ben here is the son of Melissa, the fabulous Wedding Coordinator of I Do...Weddings. Apparently Ben is a BIG BOY weighing in a 20lbs already!

I LOVE his smile here!!
baby



You can see where he gets his good looks from :) 
baby


Ooohhh, keys!!
baby


Ummm, who are you?
baby


OK, I HAD to include these because apparently Ben has some gangsta in him.
baby


But now back to being all cute and cuddly.
baby


Awww, such cute faces!
baby

Monday, August 23, 2010

Shauna & Cody Engagement Session Part II

Over the weekend I shared Part I of this incredible engagement session with Shauna and Cody.  Today, I'd like to share some more :)

Aren't they so cute!  Little back story for the photo on the right, one of my "rules" for couples during an engagement session is that they should always stay in contact with one another.  Shauna blurted out, "I don't know how to touch him!"  And thus, the priceless photo on the right.

Friends and Family: to be notified when the rest of the images are available online, please sign their guest book.

engagement photos in la jolla scripps park


engagement photos in la jolla scripps park


engagement photos in la jolla scripps park


engagement photos in la jolla scripps park


engagement photos in la jolla scripps park


engagement photos in la jolla scripps park


This was totally their idea to lay down on the grass and I loved it!!  
engagement photos in la jolla scripps park


engagement photos in la jolla scripps park


engagement photos in la jolla scripps park

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Shauna & Cody Engagement Session Part I

I'd like to introduce you all to Shauna and Cody.  They are an ADORABLE couple who love God and love each other.  If that weren't enough, they both LOVE watching Friends and were down for some goofy shenanigans throughout our shoot.

Friends and Family: to be notified when the rest of the images are available online, please sign their guest book.

You can also check out Part II of their session.


Engagement Photos in La Jolla Scripps Park


Engagement Photos in La Jolla Scripps Park


They have such a cool story about how they've been friends since Jr High School and finally got together in college. Plus, without knowing it, I setup their engagement photos at the same place Shauna's parents took their wedding photos!


One of my favorite parts about our session was being able to pray for both of them before we started shooting. That was awesome :)
Engagement Photos in La Jolla Scripps Park



Engagement Photos in La Jolla Scripps Park


Engagement Photos in La Jolla Scripps Park


Engagement Photos in La Jolla Scripps Park


Engagement Photos in La Jolla Scripps Park


Engagement Photos in La Jolla Scripps Park


And this part of their shoot seriously made me laugh forever!!  Earlier, I explained to them why I was walking around looking at my hand (it helps you "see" what the best light will be for that area).  So they both decided that they'd hold their hands up for me to help me "see the light".  They're AWESOME  :) 
Engagement Photos in La Jolla Scripps Park




Check out Part II of their session also.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Love Life.....A Confession

OK, I can't believe I'm sharing this with everyone in the Face-Twit-Verse but I'm going to confess something about my love life.

I've never been in a real relationship.

True story.  Maybe it's just me but I think it's kinda weird to be a wedding photographer never having been in a relationship before.  Thankfully I'm a romantic at heart.  I actually do love cuddling, short walks on the beach (hey, so what if I'm lazy...), candlelit dinners, etc.  But I've only been in three "relationships" and I don't think they really count...

My first relationship was a one-week stint with a girl in Junior High School.  We talked twice.  Once when I "asked her out" and the second time when she called to break up with me a week later.  My second relationship lasted about two months in High School.  One month while we studied together at Stanford for a summer school program and one month long-distance.  Finally, there was a several month period where I'd regularly see a girl but we were never officially together.  I guess it's because later on I found out I was the guy on the side :/

Actually, I'm kinda surprised I even had any girlfriends growing up.  To put it delicately, I was a huge dork.  Big glasses, straight A's, and very socially awkward.  OK OK, I've still got a few rough edges now but I'm MUCH better.  I didn't have many friends.  I wouldn't really say I had any friends in elementary school and junior high.  In high school, I was the kid who groups would let hang out with them.  But I always felt like I didn't belong.  Not until college did I find an awesome group of guys I bonded with and became great friends with who loved me just how I was.  One of my best friends later told me that when she first met me, "trying to get me to talk was like pulling teeth".  Yeouch!  She said it in love though when I had learned how to conversate. 

Fast forward to today.  I'm 32 years old and totally comfortable with who I am and can embrace the fact I'm that "crazy Asian cat lady" who has two kitties and would rather stay home on weekends than go party at the latest club or bar.  Will I ever meet that special someone?  I don't know.  But I trust that God has a plan for my life and is doing what's best for me.  And if He decides to put someone into my life than He'll do it His way and on His timing.

So that's my story.  A hopeless romantic living vicariously through the couples I photograph. 

What I'm REALLY curious about is what you all think?  Do you think you NEED to be married to be a great wedding photographer?  Or even have been in a relationship?


And before I leave you to ponder these ponderables.... here's my gratuitous kitty shot of the day and how I feel sometimes. 
selkirk rex kitty lying on carpet with brother kitty behind him

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Five Tips for Choosing a Wedding Photographer

I had a great meeting yesterday with Jennifer from Exquisite Weddings Magazine.  I was inspired by something she said about how sometimes we just want to learn and be informed.  So today, I'm going to share five tips for choosing a wedding photographer.

1. Rely on a referral.  I am definitely one of those people who trust my friends.  If I drive by a restaurant I might think about checking it out.  But when a friend I trust tells me that their food is to die for?  I'm definitely going.  Many of my clients were referred to me by their friends.  There's a certain level of inherited trust that comes from a referral.  For businesses that I like, I promote them as much as I can!!  In fact, if you are still looking for other vendors please check out my preferred vendor list!

2. Look for consistent quality.  If you do not like a photographer's work then move on!  That's the primary reason you're hiring them: to take photos!  And it's YOUR opinion that matters.  To get a better sense of the quality of someone's photos, ask to view more photos from one shoot.  The more consistently great photos you see over time and within a shoot, the more confident you can be that YOU will receive that same level of quality.  It is easy to take one or two AMAZING photos by random chance.  But it takes a true professional to consistently produce quality photos throughout an entire shoot--and that is one of the main reasons why it pays to hire a professional, and not rely on a friend or relative who is good with a camera.  Take a look through their blog.  What is their work like day in and day out?    

3. Figure out your photography investment.  Your wedding is a truly emotionally-driven event; however, you don't want make all your decisions based on your emotions.  That might lead you to spend too much or too little.  I'll be really honest here.  Most of my clients end up spending more than they originally thought they would.  That's because they love their photos so much that they purchase additional pages for their Memory Book or buy extra copies to give to family or get a Gallery Canvas.  I bring this up so you can expect and plan for it with your photographer.  The question you have to ask yourself is... 

How important are photos--your MEMORIES--to you?  Not just today or on your wedding.  But five years from now.  Or fifty years from now.  After everything fades away and your wedding day becomes a memory that makes you smile, your wedding photos are the ONLY thing that you'll be able to tangibly use long after the food has been eaten, the DJ played that song, your beautiful bouquet wilted, and your wedding dress got hung up in your closet to never be worn again.  How important are these lifelong memories?  I wrote a blog entry about why memories are so important to me if you'd like to read it.  Both my Father and my Grand-Father have passed away from cancer.  For my Mom's Dad died when she was one and we only have ONE photo of him.  But for my Dad, I was able to take some photos before he passed and create a Memory Book for myself, my Mom, and my brother.  I'm going to be able to show that book to my future children and great grand-children.

Once you figure out how important your memories are to you, you can think through how much of an investment you want to make into them.  Work with your photographer to create a wedding collection that reflects what is important to you and what you can afford.

4. Find creative ways to afford what you want.  You may realize just how important your memories are and want to invest more into them...more than you think you have to spend.  But just because you can't afford it doesn't mean you can't have it.  Ask your photographer if they can setup a gift registry for you.  Your family and wedding guests can pitch in to buy you that amazingly decadent leather Memory Book you want.  Or some canvases to hang up in your new place.  Maybe you can make payments or installments.  If you're like me, paying $200 a month for a year sounds much better than putting $2400 on your credit card.  And while we're on the subject, check that your photographer takes credit cards.  At least then you can earn some frequent flier miles to go toward your honeymoon :)

5. Make sure you like who the photographer as a person and are comfortable with them.  You will want to enjoy being around your photographer.  With the exception of your wedding coordinator, you will spend more time with your photographer than anyone else.  So if you enjoy hanging out with them then sweet!!!  I love it when I become good friends with my clients!  Plus, the more comfortable you are with your photographer the better your photos will turn out.  If at all possible, schedule an engagement session with your photographer.  That time is crucial to building comfort and trust with them.  The more you trust them, the better your photos will turn out.

When it really comes down to it, the first four tips are relatively straightforward.  There are TONS of amazing photographers out there who fit all the criteria.  It's that last one that is the most important.  In fact, what I've started to do is instead of your traditional "client consultation", I just meet with the couple and shoot some engagement photos for them.  It gives us a chance to get to know each other and figure out if we click.  Everything else is just details to be ironed out later.


If you're interested in getting to know me better during your own engagement session, please feel free to contact me.

And if we don't click, I would love for you to check out any one of my friends below: 
Jeff and Erin Youngren - www.theyoungrens.com
Jared Bauman - www.baumanphotographers.com
Sara France - www.sarafrancephotography.com
Evan Bishop - www.evanbishopphotography.com
Jeff and Betsy McCue - www.lavidacreations.com 
Betsy Blue - www.betsyblue.com
Kevin Mudd - www.coolcakephotography.com
Tim King - www.timkingweddings.com
Sean Walker - www.seanwalkerphotography.com
David Champagne - www.davidchampagnephotography.com


Ohhh, and I almost forgot the gratuitous photo of one of my kitties.  Here's Pancake reading Exquisite Weddings :)

selkirk rex kitty reading exquisite weddings magazine

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lightroom Tutorial: How to Batch Process Photos to Add A Watermark

Today I'm going to show you how to Batch Process Photos in Lightroom.  One of my main motivations for doing this is to easily watermark photos for my blog.  I also setup things to easily export iPad photos, print photos for upload to Pictage, etc.

If you followed along on last week's Photoshop tutorial, I showed how to create a Photoshop Action that will add a watermark to any photo no matter what size, orientation or ratio.  http://blog.celebrationpackages.com/2010/08/tutorial-how-to-create-watermark-action.html  We'll build on that action here and I'll show you how you can run it from Lightroom to batch process a bunch of photos.

First thing we need to do is create a new Action in Photoshop.  I'm going to call mine "Watermark Droplet".
Tutorial: How to Create a Watermark Action in Photoshop


Once you create that Action you'll want to record a few things.  While your action is recording, run the Watermarking Action we created last week.  This will do everything we setup to create the Watermark. 
Tutorial: How to Create a Watermark Action in Photoshop


After that, use the Save for Web command.
Tutorial: How to Create a Watermark Action in Photoshop


What I do here is I select a folder where I know my output files will be.  So every time I run the batch, I know where my output files will end up. 
Tutorial: How to Create a Watermark Action in Photoshop


Then you'll want to record closing the file. You should end up with an Action that looks like this.
Tutorial: How to Create a Watermark Action in Photoshop


Now that we're done recording our Action, we'll want to turn it into a Droplet.
Tutorial: How to Create a Watermark Action in Photoshop


Select the Action we just created and make sure you set Destination to "None". This is because our Action already saved the file. Save the droplet to somewhere you'll remember, like your desktop. 
Tutorial: How to Create a Watermark Action in Photoshop


OK, now we're going to switch over to Lightroom. Pick a photo and export it.
Tutorial: How to Create a Watermark Action in Photoshop



Select the SAME folder you used to save your Action files to in Photoshop.  This will reduce clutter because once Lightroom exports JPEGs, Photoshop will use them and re-save them right there.  You can either do your resizing here in Lightroom or in Photoshop.  Honestly, I haven't tried to see which is quicker but for now I do my resizing in Lightroom because that will give Photoshop a smaller file to work with and theoretically make things quicker. 
Tutorial: How to Create a Watermark Action in Photoshop


Under Post-Processing, click on the select bar right next to "After Export".  You'll see a selection menu pop up.  Click on "Go to Export Actions Folder Now". 
Tutorial: How to Create a Watermark Action in Photoshop


This will open up a new window with the location of where Lightroom stores its Post-Processing pieces. Once you have this window open, open another window and find where you saved your droplet.  Then copy that Droplet to the "Export Actions" folder. 
Tutorial: How to Create a Watermark Action in Photoshop


Once you've done that, you can close both windows. When you go back into Lightroom, you'll see your Droplet show up in the Export Options. Now all you have to do is select your Droplet Action and hit "Export!"

Tutorial: How to Create a Watermark Action in Photoshop


Once you have your Export Action setup in Lightroom, whenever you want to add a watermark to your images, select the images you want watermarked and export them with "Post-Processing" set to use your Droplet Action.

I create several Export Presets in Lightroom. One of them is to create Web-friendly images using my Watermark Action. Another preset I have setup is for resizing photos to load onto my iPad. Below, you can see my settings for that where I have the image optimized for iPad view and save them to a folder that automatically syncs down to my iPad. This makes it VERY quick and easy to load photos from a wedding onto my iPad to hand out while I display my slideshow.
Tutorial: How to Create a Watermark Action in Photoshop


You can also see some of the other Presets I have setup such as Pictage, ShowIt, files to burn to a DVD, etc. Hopefully you found this tutorial helpful!