Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Perfect Anniversary Gift

Just a quick post about something really cool I got to work on a couple weeks back. Two years ago today we shot Rick and Denise's wedding. It was filled with wonderful little details that everyone put a lot of time, effort, and love into. Just like us, they're big geeks and opted to go with Tardis blue for their wedding rings. As a big Doctor Who fan myself, I just HAD to get a good shot of the rings.

In the house Denise was getting ready at was this ancient dictionary with worn binding, and frayed edges. Flipped it open to 'love', set up my light, got the macro lens out and "click."

Later, when we did the showing of their wedding photos, Denise 'loved' this shot. "I want that on a canvas someday," I remember her saying. Apparently, Rick remembered also because a couple of months before their second anniversary he got in touch with me and asked if he could get it blown up that very same photo and put it on a canvas.

Now, if you know anything about our photography, you know I'm NEVER done with a photo. See if you can catch the changes that take this from a pretty good shot of wedding rings, to an even more personalized piece of art for the wall.

Wedding Rings Detail Shot

Wedding Rings

Sharpening, contrast, and all that usual jazz, but then I went in and painted by hand a little more clarity in our ring. Highlights and shadows were treated just like I treat them on a portrait and painted in individually. Then came the really fun part. I hated the prominence of "Louvre Boards" in the shot. Took a while to find a convincing font and even longer to get it to lay just right. But I wasn't done there. This needed one more Easter egg.

Wedding rings as wall art

Christmas is coming. Need a great idea for a present? THIS is it.

Happy anniversary Denise and Rick! May you have many more to come. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Kristi and Fred's wedding photos at Mettler Family Vineyard in Lodi CA

So let’s set the scene. It’s September 20th of 2014. California struggles through yet another year of drought and summer shows no signs of letting go. Wells in the south are going dry, the King fire near Pollock Pines rages out of control, and news of rain is generally scoffed at. Basically, it’s the perfect time for an outdoor wedding.

Throughout the day, the sun showed no signs of going away. For shots of the guys and girls on their own and on through the ceremony, it filled the sky just above the Mettler Family Vineyards. The clouds that did come our way seemed to part just above the ceremony site as they moved on by. It wasn’t until we started taking pictures of just Kristi and Fred that things started to change. Soon the clouds started telling us to wrap things up and get to the reception.

No sooner did we get Kristi and Fred inside and lined up for their announcement than the clouds converged and warm summer rain started to fall. Kristi, Fred, and their guests took it in stride, choosing to have fun with it rather than let it dampen their spirits.

Upon looking back over the pictures and reflecting on the day, I was struck by the timing of it all. It was as if someone was parting those clouds for Kristi and Fred. Someone somewhere knew how important the day was and held the clouds at bay just long enough to get through the dressy parts of the day and then, when the time was right, they shed a few tears, washing the couple in good luck.  Now, I’m not a particularly superstitious man, but I do believe that there is a certain kind of love that can do something like that.

detail shot of bride's flowers
I'd actually already shot the bouquet with the shoes earlier in the day so this shot wasn't really necessary; however, just before the ceremony was about to start, they got this brooch attached to the bouquet. It belonged to Kristi's grandmother, who could only be there with her granddaughter in spirit that day. That's one of those details you don't want to miss as a photographer. With my trusty softbox in hand, I found a decorative spot in a planter box and got to work, getting the flowers and rings back just in time for everyone to start making their way down the aisle.

Congratulations, Kristi and Fred. May you always remember to smile, even when the rains come.

Now let's look at some pictures.

cute ceremony sign for wedding
Loved all the little details at this wedding. So many of them were so easy to do - they just take a little time and effort.

lit wedding dress hanging from gate outside
The gown was lovely, especially when juxtaposed with the old gate leading into Mettler Family Vineyards.

wedding dress detail
A simple little embellishment can go a long way.

wedding table setting Mettler Family Vineyards
Table settings before the guests arrive.

Dining area at Mettler Family Vineyards
I like the idea of putting the signs in frames. You can use the frames later for pictures and they add a nice flair. In this
shot, the sun on the reception area was much brighter than on our head table, which was sitting in the shadows, and so I'm lighting the couple's table with a softbox to even things out a little.

winery placeholder idea for wedding
The only thing I might change about this cute table topper idea would be to not have them on a windy day. I set these
up about three times while trying to take shots because the wind kept knocking them over. They're frozen in place here,
so that's all that really matters.

Cute sign for sign in table
Again, loved all the little signs everywhere. The sign-in book was a part of their wedding package and designed by
Melody and David Photography.

gift table idea for wedding
Having something to hold cards in a decorative manner is always difficult to accomplish. This ornate birdcage works perfectly.

sign on easel for wedding entrance
As a former sign maker, what I like most about this sign is that you can see a bit of the wood grain when the light
hits it just right.

detail of wedding shoes shot outside on metal fence
Shoes. It's always so difficult to figure out how to shoot them. I was thankful for this little iron gate accent right outside
the bridal room.

emergency kit for wedding day
Now this is epic. A survival kit for the bride.

Emergency kit opened to reveal contents
Look at all that stuff! 

everything you need on your wedding day
Brides-to-be (and the bridesmaids who would put together such a kit!), take note!

Detail of penny in shoe
Using window light in this shot.

Putting veil on bride during getting ready
Here comes the veil.

moment between mother and bride during getting ready
Mom set this up and I was so glad for it.

bridal portrait next to piano
A quick bridal portrait before heading outside.

Portrait of groom during getting ready
Fred was tucked away in the wine tasting room over at Mettler Family Vineyards. 

Groom putting his lucky penny in his shoe
Can't forget the groom's lucky penny.

Detail shot of wedding rings.
I set this up next to the bouquet in a side area filled with shrubs. When you bring light and have the time, you can do
details just about anywhere. During group photos, one of the grandfathers said to me, "Hey, you're that guy that was
taking pictures of the bushes." 

flower petal design in the aisle
Loved what the florist did with the flowers. So much more visually appealing than simply sprinkling them.

father getting ready to walk daughter down the aisle
That big moment just before daddy's little girl becomes a Mrs.

Father walking daughter down the aisle
Loved the relationship between the sign and our passing bride.

Ceremony site by the water at Mettler Family Vineyards
Officiants are always in the way of great shots. What I really wanted was the reflection of the bride and groom here,
but these beautiful bridesmaids are a nice stand-in.

Wedding party group photo Mettler Family Vineyards
I told them I wanted class, sex appeal, and attitude. I think I got it.

Bride and groom on pier
Wind started to pick up as those ominous clouds rolled in.

Bride and groom on dock at Mettler Family Vineyards
I admit, I had to do a little wok in post to make this look the way it looked in my head when I shot it. 

candid bridal portrait moment
Sweet moment between these two during bridals. Whenever possible, we try to find a way to give our couples a few
moments of semi-alone time during pictures because it's the only chance they'll get until they leave the party.

bride and groom shot against the setting sun.
Fires raging up in the hills turned the sky orange with smoke that became most apparent during sundown.

Bride and groom walking out in the rain
We finished up and got them over to the reception just in time for the clouds to open up and commence with the rain.

Bride and groom walking down golden pathway Mettler Family Vineyards
So this is the sunset that I REALLY wanted to shoot against, but we had guests waiting, rain on the way, and our
bride and groom were pretty much done with pictures. Knowing that I likely wasn't going to get much out of them
by way of posing if I insisted we take off for a few more minutes, I simply asked them to walk down a pathway
so we could get shots of them in this light.

Dance area at Mettler Family Vineyards
Pretty difficult setup for shooting dance photos, but we made it work.

Couple embraces on the dancefloor
Love catching the sweet moments on the dancefloor. The wild and crazy moments go up on our facebook page.

bride has wild guests behind her for the bouquet toss
Those ladies look pretty pumped. This is what a crossfit bouquet toss looks like.

Leaving through the gates at Mettler Family Vineyards
I grabbed Fred's sister and her man to test my light for this shot so that when our bride and groom came through
I could tell them, "Stand there. Look at each other." Click, click, click'. "Okay, you're done." I think it turned out
pretty good.

Parents waving to the bride and groom.
Caught a couple of moms and a dad waving to the limo as it pulled away.

Venue: Mettler Family Vineyards in Lodi, California.
DJ: Elite Entertainment

Discounts: Everyone in the wedding party is entitled to a $200 discount for their wedding day.
You can see more from this wedding on our Facebook page here.
If you'd like to find out more about our photography, look us up at www.daveandmel.com
Want to see some editing videos that show a bit of how David works his magic? https://www.youtube.com/user/DefiningDave

And if you want to see cute pictures of our kids along with sneak peeks of what we're working on, follow us on Instagram at: http://instagram.com/dnoceti