photography: Krista Mason Photography // venue name: Catalina View Gardens, Rancho Palos Verdes, California, USA // event design: Nicole Alexandra Designs // planning: Nicole Alexandra Designs // florals: The Bloemist // wedding dress: Madeleine Fig // hair stylist: Face It Sugar // paper goods: Jasmin Michelle Designs // cake: The Sugar Philosophers // desserts: The Sugar Philosophers // Tabletop, Pillows: Anthropologie // furniture rentals: Classic Party Rentals // specialty rentals: Tabletop: Crate & Barrel // models: Stephanie Turek and Chaz Ahern
People always talk about how important it is to capture your children each year as they grow. And while I know it’s true, it’s also just plain obvious. You love seeing your kids grow each year and how much they change. We all know how important it is to look back and see their growth. From that first day of school photo at your front door to the last day of school. But what about just the two of you whether you have kids or not?
Recently, I personally experienced the importance reflecting back through the years in my photos. It was super fun, but I really wish I had a photo to represent each of our early years. I’ve learned it’s never too late to start. I have vowed to have a professional photo taken of Aldo and I every year, so that in 20 years or 50 years, I have images that we can look back on, laugh at and talk about what babies we were.
It occurred to me while celebrating our 14th Anniversary, how important capturing each year is. I don’t know if you saw it on my social media channels, but I posted a photo of each year Aldo and I have been together – all the way back to 2007 and even one from what I call the early years because I wasn’t sure of the date. We were such babies! But I couldn’t find very many photos of us earlier than 2007, and you know why? It’s because we didn’t start taking our Holiday Portraits until 2007. Yes, I’m sure that we have photos during that time, but where are they? Who knows and they sure as heck are not as cute as the ones we had professionally done.
I share this with you because I don’t want you looking back in 14 years wishing you had taken professional photos. There’s nothing better than proudly sharing your life with your friends and family, no matter the style or look that you were rocking at the time. When I was looking back at our photos, I was like, “Wow, I just dated myself, lol.” But I am still so very happy to have them so I can reflect back on the wonderful years I’ve shared with the love of my life. I’m even more excited that I have current ones that represent us as a couple, showing our relationship and style.
Every time I see your updates on Facebook or Instagram or you send me an email, I get super excited to see what adventures you have been up to lately. Was it a new job, a new house, are you expecting, your first, second, or maybe even your third child? Did you get a new puppy? Take any fun travel adventures? Did your kids start their first year of school? That’s been a fun one for me since it’s that time of year. Watching you all post your minis with their first day of school signs…just the cutest! This got me thinking … obviously, in addition to wanting professional photos you want to be able to take great photos on your day-to-day adventures. So, I wanted to share a few fun tips with you on how to best capture these precious daily moments with your mobile phone. Whether it’s travels, your kids first day of school, or a special moment between the two of you, you’ll want to capture them all!
The same composition rules apply even if you aren’t photographing people. Be sure that you have a focal point or main point of interest to grab the viewer’s attention. Remember the rule of thirds and put that focal point in one of those sweet spots.
One interesting subject is all you need to create a stunning photo, but we understand that sometimes you want multiple people in the image and that works just as perfect.
Don’t be afraid if your photo has a lot of empty space. This is what us photographers call “negative space” and it’s helpful in making your subject stand out.
Be sure to look at all details. Is there a trash can or water bottle in the shot? Move it. Can’t move it? Change the angle of your shot to avoid it.
A subtle muted background keeps the photo from becoming too distracting. Make sure the background complements the color of what the subject is wearing so they don’t blend in.
Lighting is the most important thing in any photo. The best kind of lighting is soft, natural, diffused light, such as window lighting. The same rules apply for outdoor photos … soft natural diffused light. The best time of day to shoot is what professional photographers call the golden hour. Either early morning just as the sun is coming out or just before sunset. In my line of work with weddings, we understand these situations aren’t always achievable on the go. So, look for soft evenly shaded areas. Again, be aware of your background. If it’s too light or too dark, your subject will get lost. Avoid harsh shadows and shooting the subject facing the sun. This will produce squinting eyes and unwanted shadows. Also beware of too dark of areas. All too often we see subjects being photographed in dark dingy corners where they tend to get lost.
Our eyes can determine both dark and light exposures at the same time, but the camera cannot. Ever have a subject with the beach as the background and either the beach is properly exposed but your subject is too dark or the subject is correct and the beach is blown out? This is because the camera can’t capture what we see with the naked eye. Most mobile phone cameras will capture everything overall and guess at what the best mix will be. This means if you aren’t paying attention, you’ll won’t get the photo you’re aiming for. Try tapping on the main subject to achieve the best exposure. Sometimes, though, even that won’t work. In that case, you’ll need to rethink your background and lighting situation. Look for that open soft shade or window lighting.
It’s been said that the eyes are the window to the soul. They are also a great part of your subject to focus on when you’re trying to capture them at their best. It’s because the eyes are the most expressive part of the face. Ready take it one step further? Focus on the eye closest to the camera.
Experiment with different perspectives and cropping. A common mistake is always putting the subject directly in the center of the frame.
You don’t have to always center your subject. Learn the rule of thirds. Try an angle from above or below. Set your subject off centered.
Photographing children is always a challenge, sometimes even more so when mom and dad are doing it. We recommend getting down on their level. Get low, talk to them, engage with them. Make them laugh and wait for that perfect expression that best expresses their personalities. This is where you have an advantage, because you know them best. You know that expression right before it happens, so be ready to click. If you try to force smiles or make them stand stiff and still that’s the look you’ll get. Put them in the right lighting with the right background and let them be them. You’ll know when to capture that perfect moment.
The #1 rule when photographing anyone is to stay positive and give lots of affirmation that the subject looks amazing. If your kids are making funny faces, make them back. I promise it will make them laugh and if you’re ready, you’ll capture the perfect smile. With couples, the same thing applies – OK, maybe not the funny faces, but you never know … that might work, lol. Just keep it upbeat and positive and you’ll get that emotion you desire. I have to make Aldo sincerely laugh anytime we take a photo, otherwise he looks like a grumpy old man! I do this by any means necessary – being a goof ball, tickles, stupid jokes, whatever – but it works, we manage to get some awesome smiles out of him. Also remember you don’t always have to smile for portraits!
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to get great photos…and remember, the best camera you can have is the camera you have with you! Don’t be afraid to experiment. You’re mobile camera is digital, so if you don’t like the image you can delete it and try again!
Congratulations … You’re engaged! The proposal was absolutely perfect! You suspected something was up, but when he dropped down on one knee and asked you the one question you’ve dreamed about all your life … “Will you marry me?” you were filled with excitement, tears, and an overwhelming feeling of love! You are on cloud nine! But now it’s time to start planning your wedding!
You’ve made the big announcement to the world and now you’ve got some big decisions to make, but where do you start? You’re still glowing in the excitement of your new engagement, but you know you’ve got to get started planning soon, so what is your next step? The venue? The planner? The date? The guest list? Colors?
Oh, there’s plenty of advice out there on the internet, but it can all be so overwhelming! Well, don’t worry, I’m here to give you some expert advice on where to get started.
First of all, don’t forget to take time to CELEBRATE. This is the beginning of the best of your days spent with the love of your life. Take time to reflect on why you’re doing this and what it is that really matters to you and your love! Open that bubbly and celebrate!
Even before you start making your guest list, you’ll want to decide on a time of year. First of all, decide which season you’d prefer. Do you want a spring wedding on the lawn of your favorite winery? Or are you looking to have a winter wedding at the hottest venue in town? Then you’ll need to think about holidays and special family events. You don’t want to conflict with other important family celebrations and risk forcing people to decide between important family events.
Once you’ve decided the season and a date, next comes the time of day. If you want the best, most fabulous pictures, I recommend having a late afternoon or early evening wedding. You’ll want to plan your ceremony time so you can take advantage of the beautiful sunset light. The best time for sunset photos is about half an hour before the sun sets. Typically, family group photographs are taken in the 30 minutes after a ceremony, that is if you’ve already taken your couple’s portraits before the ceremony. If you opt to wait to see your beloved until you walk down the aisle for the first time, then you’ll want to allow about at least an hour for photos post ceremony.
Sunset times vary with season and location around the US. Here in Southern California, springtime sunsets are around 7pm, with summertime sunsets an hour or so later, and fall and winter sunsets an hour or more earlier.
Another reason to choose your date first? Your style and colors will be reflected by the season you choose. Soft pastel colors are perfect for a springtime wedding, and bolder colors are perfect for fall. Obviously rules are meant to be broken, but it is something to consider.
You have your date selected, now let’s talk about the look and feel of your wedding. Close your eyes and think about the wedding of your dreams. Was it a beachside wedding with the sand between your toes? Or do you dream of candles and roses in a fairy tale castle? Perhaps you have something much simpler in mind and dream of walking among the flowers in your grandmother’s garden. Whatever you have in mind for your dream wedding, there are a few other things to keep in mind. Do you want a big wedding or something small and intimate? Indoors or outside? City or countryside? Home or Destination? Modern, classic, rustic, Hollywood glam? Again, all this can be overwhelming. Spend some time perusing your favorite wedding magazines and blogs, looking for inspiration in styled shoots and real weddings. But don’t stop there, while you’re out running errands, watch for patterns and colors that catch your eye. You can even find inspiration in your favorite movies or your grandmother’s favorite brooch. Just keep your eyes open, you never know when inspiration will strike.
Still don’t know where to start? Sit down and ask yourself and your partner the following questions (sourced from Martha Stewart). Perhaps they’ll inspire your big picture and settle on some of those lovely details.
You’ll hear so many differing opinions on when you need to hire your wedding planner. Many will tell you to wait, that it’s too soon. But in my opinion, the sooner you engage your professional planner, the sooner you’ll be on your way to stress-free wedding planning.
Hiring a full-time wedding professional is well worth the money, especially if you and your fiancé are super busy, have demanding jobs, or just have really big (translated complicated) dreams for your big day. The full-time planner will see to all the details for your entire wedding, from the engagement party to the honeymoon. They will even guide you to the perfect locations you have envisioned for your dream day, finding that secret gem!
Don’t have the cash to spend on a full-time planner? Hire a coordinator to help you come up with the blueprint for your wedding – your budget, a schedule, lists of vendors and venues to match your vision. Once you’ve got a plan, then you’ll be able to tackle the individual projects one by one.
Once you’ve figured out your style and hired the perfect wedding coordinator, then it’s time to choose your venue and finalize your date. This is where the fun begins. Think about the big picture, but don’t rule out something outside the box. If the wedding of your dreams is fairy tale gala set in a candle-lit ballroom, consider the possibility of having that princess wedding in a garden instead. A springtime wedding in the garden could just as easily transition into an intimate seaside affair complete with barefoot dancing in the sand. With your dreams of style options in mind, your professional event planner will guide you to choosing the perfect venue. Everything is falling into place…your dream wedding is well on its way to becoming a reality!
Now you have the final date, dream venue and a planner by your side guiding your through the journey, what’s next?
Head on over to Wedding Wire and get a personalized wedding checklist for all the nitty gritty details you will need to think about. The fun has just begun. But remember, when things start to overwhelm you, (I’m not gonna lie, you will get overwhelmed and that is ok), just take a deep breath and call your event planner! He or she will know what to say to talk you back from the edge! With the right team members and family and friends there to support you, it will all be ok and you will get through this. Just take a moment and ask for help from your fiancé, planner, mom or maid of honor. You want this to be a fun journey and you can build the perfect team by your side to walk you through every step. Don’t get carried away, enjoy the process and remember why you are pulling all this together. To celebrate the love you and your fiancé have with the people who matter most to you!
You’ve booked an engagement session, but now you’re just not sure where to start on figuring out all the details like what to wear or where to take your photos. Scrolling through Pinterest didn’t help…there’s just too much “advice” out there and now you’re just overwhelmed.
Don’t worry…the professionals are here to help! When you work with us here at Krista Mason Photography, we do our very best to make the whole experience as easy and relaxing as we possible can!
Your engagement session isn’t just another portrait shoot…it’s an important part of your wedding photography. (Read my blog post about the Top 5 Reasons to Have an Engagement session to see how important!)
As a wedding photographer, my most favorite thing to capture is you – the happy couple – on your wedding day. I just love first looks, couples’ portraits…any opportunity at all to capture precious moments between you and your love.
BUT…a very close second is the engagement session! I love working with my couples to help them feel as beautiful and special as they already are! I mean, who doesn’t want to feel amazing and glamorous when they’re having their portraits taken?
The engagement session is the perfect time for both the photographer and couple to get beautiful, creative photos without all the stress and pressure of keeping your guests waiting on your wedding day! We’re able to add a very personal element to these photos, capturing your love in a setting and style that truly reflects your personality as a couple.
Working closely with the couple to achieve their vision for their portraits is very important to me. I enjoy working with my couples on location selection and outfit styling. Through the whole experience, the couples and I get to know each other really well.
Let me tell you about Nicole and Ed’s engagement session. These two have the busiest schedules of anyone I know, but somehow, we made it happen! We started off with an outfit inspiration board with a color scheme that matched their home. Why match their home? Well, the goal is to capture images they will love and cherish AND that will look beautiful as art in their home.
All these little details matter and we’ve got you covered. As your professional photographer, we will guide you through choosing outfits, finding the perfect location, and especially how to pose so you look natural, and of course, beautiful!
After answering a few simple questions, sending me some snaps while out shopping, and a little help from Nicole’s mom, these two nailed their style and ended up loving their images!
Look how adorable, classic and stylish they look. Choosing the garden and city hall as their shoot locations, we were able to complement their outfits perfectly!
Even though Nicole and Ed ended up having to work right up to the last minute before the session, they were comfortable and confident even before we started the session. Were they a little nervous? Of course, but after the first few clicks and a few laughs, they fell right into the role of models for their session!
You know that having amazing images for today’s social media is a must for your personal and professional branding! Think about it, what’s the first page you go to on someones website? The about page right? So, you know how important it is to show your ideal clients the best side of you.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to know you have amazing professional photos bringing your branding alive, not only on your About page, but throughout all your social media platforms. People want to know you, like you, and most of all, trust you.
We can help you achieve that with our branding photography services. One of my unique qualities as a photographer is helping my clients feel comfortable and at ease, allowing me to capture your true essence and your personality, all while showing off your business and skills.
This is exactly what we accomplished with Jenni, of Little Hill Floral Designs. Isn’t she the cutest? I love these sessions; between capturing your profile image, and capturing the visual details of what you do, we happen to get some fun pictures that let your personality shine.
I worked closely with Jenni and her business coach to determine locations, outfits, props and set-ups to really let Jenni’s personality come through. I asked her personal questions and questions about her business so I could get to know here. Nothing speaks louder than great images. We captured some amazing images to show her ideal clients why she is the perfect match for them.
Jenni loves to hang out on the beach with her family. While she chose to keep her session focused on her business, shooting at the beach shows her fun loving and outdoorsy personality. Of course, shooting in her floral studio was a given. She had her studio styled beautifully; yes, it’s styled! This isn’t what it really looks like when she is working, haha! I made her cut the flowers in awkward ways to make it look good for photos, lol. But, we tried to stay as realistic as possible, while still obtaining beautiful images. Hopefully the images speak for themselves, showing Jenni as the free spirit she is on the beach and in her studio.
Let me help you show your ideal clients why they should get to know you. Call us about our branding session. We have all sorts of packages available.