Lesson: Anatomy of Today's Bride Shoot Part 1

15 February 2012

It all started with a phone call.

I was doing a walk through for a client at the Asian Art Museum when Cristine Traub-Thomas, uber awesome editor of Today's Bride SF, called me to ask if I would like to do a photoshoot.  It had been a while since I had worked on a photo shoot and a part of me was a bit panicked at the time frame yet incredibly excited as Cristine's inspiration theme, Sweet + Sassy.

Quickly I enlisted the aid of budding wedding planner, Frances Liu of Charmed Events(same last name but not related, though I swear she could be my cousin!!!)  who I had worked with recently.   I knew that Frances had a very flexible calendar and she had expressed interest in partnering up on a shoot.  This seemed like a good vehicle for us to work together as all good event designers need a partner in crime.  Together we put our heads together and came up with the inspiration + style + situation + props/motifs to equal an awesome story.


Here's what our list of words looked like....
Inspiration --- Sweet, Sassy, Gossip girl goes to Paris, Miss Dior perfume campaign
Style --  Modern classic, whimsy with prettiness
Situation ----  How to get indoor space looking fresh, sassy, Uptown.
Props & Motifs  --- pastries, croquemboche,  ombre pattern,  strong Nixon prints, kelly green, marigold, watermelon, grapefruit, raspberry, berries,  retro school girl fabrics, straws, large balloons, old perfume glass, white modern oval shapes, street snacks, bright colored shoes, cigar bands, oversized Louis chairs, dahlias, the word "LOVE".
Story - Christian loves Dior

Once that happened, I quickly started a mood board.  Luckily, I had an inspiration board that I was working on that was very similar in ideas.  Taking a bit from that, I came up with this board with Frances' help.

Using Pinterest was a great way for us to share our thoughts with Cristine of Today's Bride SF who ultimately gave us the thumbs up.


My job continued from there.  I sent the mood board to our invitation designer, Sabrina Moyle of Hello!Lucky.  If you ever get a chance to look at our portfolio, you will know that I'm completely loyal to Hello!Lucky because of their consistently awesome work.  They've been a great partner on many real weddings which we've done the event design.  Though I work with several awesome invitation designers and am always looking out for new talent, I felt really honored to work with Sabrina even though she was in the middle of relaunching their FB page and website.  You have no idea who awesome it was for her to step in and help us.

A few weeks prior to the shoot, Sabrina sent me this pdf with prototypes.  I couldn't be more happier.  With just 2 simple emails, she gave our words life.  It takes creativity, experience and talent to do this and I feel very fortunate to have worked with such a uberfabulous designer.



As I was working on the decor, Frances was busy securing our location which was a huge obstacle as our original venue was closing for the winter.  Our 2nd choice was in Winters which was just too far for the crew.  Luckily my bride Ginet had sent me images from her wedding at Terra Gallery. And from that Frances took off and went to secure Terra Gallery in San Francisco for us.


By than Frances and I were working on models for out shoot.  With Mimi + Taylor of Thi Cosmetics (makeup artists extraordinaire), we lucked out again. They not only sent their team of make up artists to our photo shoot but they found 2 beautiful models for us.  The makeup and hair gurus went to work on making our two Gossip Girls "models" come to life.  My intern, Nicole Roveto(seen in the middle) was also assigned the task of modeling.  Isn't she awesome - intern by day, model by night?  Together the three of them were the perfect trio.


For the sweets, we had to enlist the help of Sonya Hong of Butterfly Cakes.  I've written about Sonya many times on this blog so all of you know how much I admire Sonya.  She went to work on our cakes. We told her that one cake had to be ombre.  Look what she created.  It's sheer genuis.


The croquembouche styled donut towers were Frances brilliant idea.  We were quite lucky to get the help of Creative Cake Bites.  All the awesome cakes sat on furniture by Hartmann Studios.  I especially love the white cake stand.  Frances happened to have an all white candlestick in her car which we used at the last minute to prop up one of the 2 tiered cakes.  The other candlesticks were clearance finds at Kohl's.  It pays to shop the home decor stores.  I got the for $9.99!  A steal as they were heavy iron and originally $40.00.

All these wonderful images are the work of Kevin Chin.  Our photographer ( and my hubby), Kevin was our one and only choice for photographer.  Not only did we trust him to capture the details but we knew that he could make things look bright and airy.  When we thought of this photo shoot, we wanted things to jump brightly from the pages as our story was about Sweet and Sassy weddings.  Though we both have loved vintage in the past, Frances and I were looking for something uniquely crisp and clear.

One of the key things in a photo shoot that I have learned over the years is to feed all the vendors and helpers which will result in mischief and fun.

We took a group photo during lunch break.  As you can see it takes an army to pull off a photo shoot and 2 white dogs to entertain us.


Other key people who made our day go smoothly and easily including all the delivery and setup crew.  Not to mention, we had so many assistants to help with cleaning tables and polishing mirrors.  We owe them a huge applaud.


As many of you know there was this behind the scenes short film.  I want to thank Luke Goodman who documented our day.  His short film is brilliant.  If you've been reading the blog, we featured Luke's film earlier.  If you want to see his video again, go to our February 8th post on Nancy's Brown Bag.



Frances did such a great job with the wardrobe which is essential in a photo shoot.  Who goes to a party without people!   She worked with Bella Bridesmaid on the short bridal gown and accessories.  Bella Bridesmaid has always been so generous with loaning great gowns so we appreciate their generosity.  This sweet and short bridal gown is great for that bride who wants to keep her style sweet and modern.  I think it's super chic!


One thing I learned from this photo shoot is that you need shoes!  We got some of our shoes from Hey Lady. The rest, I had to pull from my closest at the last minute.  That's why our model above has no shoes!

For the bridesmaid dresses And Something Blue loaned us a great collection of fun and sassy dresses including this bright berry strapless gown.  I love how the flowers pop against it.  It's a wow......


Having Nicole our intern was great as she worked on many DIY crafts.  Here's a few of them.   A quick run to McDonald's transformed our simple white box into tres magnifique French Fries!


Paper source solid papers were cut up and made into a garland.  I didn't have the patience to make these so Nicole finished them.  Thank God for help!


Ordering extra paper from the invitation designer is so important. We used the left overs to make these straw flags.  The straws we found at Paper Source.



Here is Nicole with our hairstylist adding finishing touches to Hartmann's Chair.   This wasn't in our plan to decorate this chair but since I had buckets of left over flowers and needed a colorful backdrop for our model, it seemed the right thing to do.  Transforming a prop is unplanned which makes an editorial uniquely visual.  

It was such a hit that a few of us posed with it after the shoot.  Here's my partner, Frances looking ever so sweet.....I love working with fun and vivacious people.



Before I unveil the Today's Bride Sweet Love spread, let's just go back and see what the before was.


to be continued....


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1 comment:

Ginet Casido said...

Sweet and sassy! Thanks for the shout out and I heart Gossip Girl. That show is a constant inspiration!

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