Doubts + Fears + Goals

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It's scary jumping back into something you've been gone from for so long. Doubts and fears start to seep in and you begin to question whether or not this idea of restarting your business was a good idea at all. It's scary for sure. I'm good at what I do and I know that and my friends and family do a fantastic job at reminding me but sometimes it feels as though sometimes it's just not enough to hear that. Isn't that crazy? It's insane, for sure. So with the mid-year coming, I've decided to set myself some goals for the remainder of the year. Why? Well, I hope that with setting myself these goals and striving to achieve them, I would feel a sense of accomplishment and in the end feel better about not shooting since getting pregnant with twins. So here we go:
  1. Second shoot 3 weddings between July-December.
  2. Photograph 3 couples.
  3. Photograph 2 big styled shoots.
  4. Do 2 styled bridal shoots. 
  5. Blog at least 2 times a week.
  6. Re-do my website.
  7. Connect with other wedding professionals.
  8. Buy the 5D Mark III.
  9. Buy the Canon 50mm 1.2

San Juan Capistrano & Laguna Beach Love Shoot

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ana & Adi were the winning couple of my engagement/love shoot giveaway! I attend the same church as Ana & Adi do so I was really excited to photograph them! We headed down to the Los Rios District in San Juan Capistrano which makes a perfect location for an engagement session or anniversary session. The Los Rios District in San Juan Capistrano had the prettiest little nooks and crannies you could ever find and it was so fun photographing them there! After we wrapped up here, we headed to Laguna Beach to finish off the shoot with some lovely beach portraits. 

Now booking weddings for 2016!

Friday, June 12, 2015

I'm excited to officially announce that I am now accepting bookings for 2016 weddings! Due to being a mommy to twin toddlers and the editor of Southern California Bride, I am only accepting a limited number of weddings for 2016. I want to make sure that each couple receives the best from me and the only way to ensure that is to not spread myself too thin and only focus on a handful of wonderful couples a year! And I'm so excited to have recently booked my first wedding of 2016 which will be taking place in January. Yay!

If you'd like to receive more information, please contact us here. I'd love to chat with you!

4th of July-Inspired Anniversary Shoot

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I truly adore photographing couples in love. There is something special about documenting their love for one another. I had put out a casting call and the lovely Amber (also a wedding photographer) volunteered! I was excited and a bit nervous since I was so used to photographing couples I knew and it was my first time meeting them but it's something I have to get over! It was so much fun and I can't wait to do it again!

We did an Orange County 4th of July anniversary shoot at Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park -- one of my favorite places to photograph engagement sessions in Orange County! Can't wait to go back!

The 5 Best Tips for Planning A Styled Shoot

Monday, June 8, 2015

I planned my very first styled shoot back in 2009 -- when I picked up my very first dSLR camera. I did it in the backyard of my parents' home with things I found around the house. The dress the model wore was something that my sister and I picked up at a thrift store. It was great for practice, as I was just starting out, but it definitely wasn't anywhere close to "publish" material.

The following year, I teamed up with a friend of mine who was a budding event planner and together we put together a styled shoot that got featured on Wedding Chicks. Hip hip hooray!! Well, a few years later and a handful of styled shoots under my belt, I wanted to address a question a lot of photographers ask -- How do I plan a styled shoot? Where do I even begin?! Well, folks... I hope that my little bit of experience in this area will help you plan your styled shoot.

I LOVE. LOVE. LOVE planning styled shoots. It's almost like planning this elaborate event only with no guests other than those who helped put the shoot together. Usually a styled shoot for me takes months to plan but when you see it all come together, it makes all those months of hard work OH.SO.WORTH.IT.THE. WAIT! Without digressing any further, here is what I do to plan my styled shoots.

1. First thing first: develop a concept + goal.
You can't start planning a shoot without knowing what you want to do. So the first thing you need to do, before you start planning anything -- think about what kind of shoot you want to do and also think about what the goal of this shoot is. Are you wanting to get it published on a wedding blog or in a magazine? If so, consider they type of publication you are submitting to (and WHEN you're planning to submit). A lot of online publications schedule features months out so you will want to take that into consideration if you will be planning a themed shoot (ex: season or movie themed shoots) and every blog features a specific style of shoot. It's so important to have a clear vision of what you want your shoot to be.

2. Set a date.
You'll need to have a tentative date or at least a timeframe before reaching out to all the vendors. Most vendors will be busy on the weekends and if you plan on shooting at an actual venue, weekdays work the best since venues usually have events and weddings during the weekends. What I've done in the past is, after coming up with the idea for the shoot, I would reach out to an event planner I want to work with and together we'd figure out a date that works the best for both of us and we'd use that date when reaching out to vendors. If you reach out to all the vendors prior to setting a date, you run into the issue of finding a date that works for everyone involved.

3. Reach out to vendors.
Once you've got your idea set and an end goal in mind, start reaching out to vendors. I highly suggest working with an event planner since they're experts at planning events ;)! Plus, event planners have connections with other vendors in the industry and it's a great way to meet new people! Usually with my shoots, the event planner will work with me and my ideas and together we reach out to vendors we want to work with and who we feel is best for the shoot. Typically, if the shoot is my idea, I like to have the final say on all vendors and ideas -- that way the shoot stays in line with my vision and the quality of work that the vendor produces is something I would be happy and comfortable with promoting through my photographs.

Most vendors are willing to collaborate with other vendors on shoots but you will encounter some that just can't or aren't interested and that is okay! But when reaching out to vendors, you want to provide as much information as possible.

Example: "Hello! My name is ------- and I'm a wedding photographer based in ------- (city). I am putting together a styled wedding shoot on ------- (date) and I would love to see if you would be interested in collaborating with me on this shoot. I would be thrilled if you could provide ------- (whatever service/product they offer). I do plan on submitting this shoot to be featured on a wedding blog and you will receive the images from this shoot. The theme and idea of the shoot is ------- and we'll be shooting at -------. I would love to work with you so I hope this works out!"

That is just a rough example of an email you can send to vendors.

4. Plan. Plan. Plan.
This process takes the longest, obviously. You'll be emailing vendors back and forth for weeks or months to make sure they can provide what you need for the shoot and that they are on the same page as you are. You'll want to make sure everyone has a clear understanding about what they will be doing and bringing. It's important that during this time, you create a timeline so that everyone knows what time to arrive, how long the shoot is, etc... Also, stay organized with your vendor information. While you're reaching out to vendors and planning the shoot, you'll want to keep a list of who is doing what and what their contact information is. This way, once the shoot is ready to be submitted, you could easily provide all that information to the blog and all the vendors.

Tip: Make sure to list each of the vendors' websites, email address, and social media accounts for easy promoting! Be sure to also send this detailed list when submitting the shoot. Make it easy for the editor to have all the social media accounts and websites for all the vendors involved. And don't ever forget a vendor! 

5. Execute.
The big day has arrived and you're ready to put together your shoot! This is the fun part as it's always a blast seeing the months of planning finally come together. If you're shooting towards the end of the day, make sure to give yourself extra time for setting up. Chances are it will run longer than expected -- same goes for hair and make-up. Most importantly, remember to have fun. Somethings might not turn out as expected (like that one time I wanted candles on my tablescape and it ended up being the windiest day of the week -- yay!). Snacks and water are always great to have around since everyone will be working so hard.

"Communicate your budget (demographically speaking) so that everyone is working within the same monetary frame. It can be difficult for a reader when one person using Old Navy stuff while another imports florals from Chile." -Cris from Kiss My Tulle

"Know who is going to promote it and how. I have heard that this miscommunication has caused a lot of frustration between vendors. I always thing there needs to be a marketing leader of any style shoot who knows how to submit it and how to get it properly recognized:)" -Haley from The Bride Link

"Be clear on photo rights with everyone involved. What type of photo rights will participants receive and when will they get access to the images." -Jenn from Woodlands Bride

"I myself prefer shoots where a real couple is involved, not models- however, this also depends on the style/theme of the shoot that you're going for.  Spread your wings! A styled shoot is about showcasing what you can do and providing new ideas to brides. Don't be afraid to go outside of the box! If you want to submit to a particular publication and you have a relationship with them, reach out to them to see if they would be interested before the shoot! Everyone loves to know where something is going to be featured, and having more than just ideas is a win for all parties involved in the shoot." -Lauren from Every Last Detail

I hope you found this article helpful! If you did, please share with other vendors you feel might benefit from this! Meanwhile, let us know what you think of this article! Have you planned a styled shoot before? What's the hardest part? Sound off below!
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