Rachel & Robert – Married!

Rachel & Robert - Married

Rachel & Robert during their first dance.

Rachel Myers and Robert Darr finally tied the knot this past weekend at The Franklin Park Conservatory!  They had a lovely ceremony in The Palm House, followed by a great cocktail hour and reception. The food was fabulous, including The Suisss Shop Bakery’s tower of cupcakes that they made for the bride and groom. Actually, The Suisse Shop has done several of the weddings we’ve worked over the summer. It’s always a treat when they’re the bakers. They have an amazing variety of both unique and traditional cakes with icing that is as near perfect as anything can be.

The beautiful flowers were provided by Fireside Flowers in Reynoldsburg, and they were done brilliantly. The colors for the wedding were yellow and black, and the florist actually found tiny viking sunflowers for the bouquets and corsages. Chuck Batchley was the DJ and MC for the evening, a job done very well. Rachel and Robert even arranged for Brutus the Buckeye to introduce them to their reception!

To see all the images from their big day once the photos are ready, visit us at http://photolosophys.smugmug.com/Weddings/Rachel-Robert!

Jen & Mark – Married!

I love my brides. Especially the mellow ones, which Jen most definitely was. As a member of the Army Reserves and a student in Vet school, she had a lot on her plate during the three month planning process leading up to her wedding. So did her now husband, Mark as a mechanic. So Jen and Mark deferred to me and Marks mom Lori, on a lot of the wedding plans. For one of the most quickly planned weddings I’ve photographed, it was especially beautiful.

Lori Schaefer secured the church, Williams Street United Methodist Church in Delaware, Ohio. A beautiful modern Methodist church with a gorgeous pipe organ, the sanctuary was full of natural sunlight and was tastefully decorated to suit Jen and Mark’s modern theme with blue and silver as their colors.

The reception was at Bent Tree Golf Course in Sunbury. I had never photographed a wedding here before, but I really can not wait to do it again! The staff was so friendly, always offering us water and food. The grounds are gorgeous too, with lots of rolling green hills in the background. Jen and Mark had their reception in the clubhouse, which was simply beautiful with tons of natural light streaming through huge windows that overlooked the course.

The first thing that I noticed was the cake; more specifically the cake topper.  It was to be one of the most original toppers I’ve seen yet. It perfectly matched the couple, their hobbies, and their general sense of humor. But the cake was just as great as the topper, and the BBQ that they served for dinner was just as stellar! They even finished it up with a candy bar at the end! Really, this has to be in my top 2 weddings for the best food and definitely in the top 2 for the most fun couple!

Natalie and I had a wonderful time working with the Schaefers, and we wish them more blessings in their new lives together than they can count.

To see all the images from the day, please visit us at http://photolosophys.smugmug.com/Weddings/Jen-Mark/

Laura & Todd Get Married!

Laura & Todd Wedding

Todd & Laura moments before the ceremony.

I don’t usually write long blog posts, as my wordpress record can attest. But this wedding is a little different because it’s not everyday that you get to shoot two of your oldest and dearest friends wedding. So, today deserves a little more time.

Let’s start with a little background first. I’ve been friends with Todd and Laura since 2001, when they were living on campus and worked with my ex-husband. Todd was actually one of the groomsmen in my wedding. Todd and Laura have been engaged the entire time I’ve known them, and then some. 12 years to be exact. It was sort of understood that they were just going to stay engaged forever. So when they told me last winter that they were getting married, I couldn’t have been more shocked. I also jumped at the chance to be their photographer. Not only did I have to see this happen, I needed to document it.

Laura and Todd got married last Saturday at the Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. It was a beautiful location for the ceremony, and even had a fairly big lodge to house the reception. And even though the forecast called for rain all day, the weather held out until right after we took their formal photos. You can’t ask for much more at a Spring wedding during flood season.

The couple decided to have their very short ceremony on the balcony that hovers over a huge ravine in front of the lodge. Surrounded by beautiful woods filled with greens and browns, it was perfect for a Mid-May wedding. They designed the ceremony to be short and sweet, and in the process grabbed our record for the shortest ceremony yet. Including 2 readings, they clocked in at less than 4 minutes. Both the material and the brevity was beautiful.

After the ceremony, Todd and Laura went straight into their first dance, cut the cake, and did toasts. They finished off with the bouquet and garter tosses, and then everyone ate an early dinner! Brilliantly planned and executed , the couple were able to enjoy the rest of their day without having to run off to do anything.

The food, provided by a old friend, was amazing. I’m pretty sure that they’ve also won the record for best food at a wedding (That record used to belong to Esther & Gary in case you were wondering). A wide array of great foods were available, but my favorite were the bacon wrapped filet mignon with dijon sauce and the spicy potatoes. They did cupcakes for all the guests instead of a cake, which was brilliant. I am a long time fan of the cupcake option (you don’t have to pay cake-cutting fees), and had them at my own wedding as well.


Laura & Todd Wedding - Bouquet



DIY Beauty: Lights, camera, makeup?

adrienne raimo of one bite wellnessMost women know how to do their makeup to their liking. It’s an art that we learn early in life, and we spend most of our adulthood using cosmetics on a somewhat daily basis. But when in front of a camera, or heaven forbid some lights, makeup turns on us. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not your fault ladies! In fact, it’s not really any one thing’s fault. It’s more like a collection of small problems that pile up on one another, creating a not so great result. So, let’s get to fixing some of the smaller things and before you know it, you’re looking great on camera!

Light from the scene reflects from your face into the camera

fig. 1

The first thing to understand is that photography is all about light. This is how a camera works; it opens a shutter in the lens to expose the digital sensor to whatever light is being reflected off all the objects in the scene. So, to be more exact, all photography is about the reflection of light into the camera. Once you get that, and use it as the base of your understanding, you can start making better informed decisions about how you choose your makeup and how you use it for photos.

Figure No. 1 is a basic sketch of this concept in action. Notice that light from the bulb is being reflected off our subject’s face and into the camera. Sound too simple? It’s really not. The concept of what makes the camera work is basic, it’s controlling the tool that gets complicated. Luckily, that’s another blog post, so moving on…

Now that we know that it’s all about the light reflecting from your face, it’s easier to understand where most people’s trouble spots are and how to fix them. For the overwhelming majority of people, trouble spots are the darkest parts of the face; the eyes and corners of the mouth. Because we know that those spots are problemative because they are the darkest spots, the solution to the problem becomes more clear.  The places on your face that are darkest will always look older on the camera, so it’s as simple as lightening the parts of your face that you think age you.

I suggest using powdered makeup, because it is easy to blend, sits nicely atop the skin, diffuses light across the skin, and stays true to tone (meaning that the color stays the same) when photographed. But before you put on any makeup, you want to make sure that you’re starting with a clean canvas. The canvas, in this context, is a good solid layer of moisturizer, and primer. To help you understand the importance of this step, we’ve put together a little video clip for you.

After you’ve prepped your face, you’ll want to start with several thin layers of foundation. You use thin layers so that you get an even tone on the skin, diffuse any shine it may produce, and to keep you from looking cakey. To more easily show you how, we’ve put together a video clip on this one as well!

After you’ve got a good base to work with, you’re almost set to apply color. There’s just one critical step left. We call this step, “the instant facelift.” And trust me, it’s earned the title. The idea here is to use makeup that is one to three shades lighter than your foundation to lighten the areas that are problematic for you. For the eyes, you’ll use a combination of the two lighter shades to help bounce light. First, you’ll take the lightest shade, and put it on the inside corner of your eye. Again, work with thin layers, adding enough to take away the shine, but not so much that it looks caked on. Again, we’ve put together a short video clip showing you the best way to do this on yourself.

For the areas around the mouth, add a thin layer of powder foundation that’s one shade lighter than normal. Continue adding thin layers of powder until the areas are no longer reflective when looking at it from several angles in the mirror. Take care not to put on too much, so that it doesn’t start to look cakey. You can also apply a few layers of powder to the area surrounding the sides and top of your nose, if you have a tendency to shine there.

These techniques will give you a perfect base for adding any color you want. The best part is, it won’t show up on the camera as shiny or cakey. Instead, you look like yourself… beautiful.

Ohio’s 1st Annual South Asian Bridal Expo!

Ohio South Asian Bridal Expo 2011

We had such a great time at this year’s first annual Ohio South Asian Bridal Expo! We had a similar setup to the Columbus Bride: The Show that we did in January, but that was about the only similarity between the two shows. As someone who attends a lot of trade shows, I cannot express how much I loved the different environment of yesterday’s expo at the Hyatt Regency downtown.

It’s hard for me to pick out my favorite part about the day. I think that it would have to be taking photos at our booth. We used one of the walls as a background, and did free portraits for anyone at the show. We got to spend just a little more time with each person than we normally do at an expo, and it was really great to interact with our clients the way we do at a photo shoot, just after meeting them for the first time. The images that we got, mostly of the bride-to-be’s, were wonderful. We can’t wait to photograph a South Asian Wedding. In fact, we’re so excited, that we’re giving 50% off the entire wedding to the first couple to book their South Asian Wedding with us! That’s right, 50% off.

The fashion show was definitely a highlight! Multiple local and regional designers showed their collections. I must say, there wasn’t a collection that went down the runway that I wouldn’t be excited to wear or to photograph. The color palettes were exquisite, as was the craftsmanship on each piece. Natalie and I watched the show from our booth (which was right in front of the stage, so we got a great seat), with a heady mix of awe and excitement. Neither of us had ever seen that many different designs in one place, let alone on beautiful models that really showcased the clothing. The models even stopped to dance from time to time, some even to hip-hop Indian beats. If you’re looking for any of the designs that were showcased there, we also learned of central Ohio’s only South Asian Bridal Boutique, Maanya, in Powell, Ohio.

The food samples were another highlight from the show. With restaurants like Cumin, Taj Palace, Tadka, Dosa Corner Restaurant, and Banana Leaf Restaurants, the samples of food were unbelievable in their diversity and general deliciousness. Then for dessert, there were tons of cake places. The one that Natalie and I liked the most was Our Cupcakery, who were across the aisle from us. They have red velvet cake, which instantly made them a favorite. But they also had really great vanilla and chocolate cakes, which are the true test of almost any cake maker. The frosting was also great, and I’m not even a frosting lover.

Of course, we saw some of the usual faces, which is always great. Rod and his wife from Buckeye Sounds were there, as well as Posh Event Services. Posh, as always, did a great job setting up our booth. And it’s always nice to see Pat, Helen, and Wendy! All in all, it was a great day, and we can’t wait to do it again next year!

The (614) is keeping us busy!

Columbus is going through a bit of a thaw. With the weather  becoming far more pleasant, people were out and about today. It was nice to see Columbus return to it’s more natural state with High Street full of pedestrian traffic, and people wearing shorts.

I had an interesting day today. I started out with my weekly meeting with James of Periodisa Publishing. We met at Aab for lunch, discussed the progress of this year’s “the hot 17,” and did some more chatting about the Greater Columbus Arts Award that we’re trying to get going. We even ran into Branden Barnett of Ghost Shirt, fresh from his show at the Treehouse last night with The Woosley Band. We were able to chat a bit, and I found out about his new project, helping to provide mental health to people working in the creative arts. It sounds like a great idea, and hopefully we’ll have some links on the project to share soon.

Johnny Oaks Po' Boy & Shrimp Shack with his famous po'boy and bacon

Johnny Oaks Po' Boy & Shrimp Shack with his famous po'boy and bacon

After lunch, I went back to the office for a bit, and then moved onto the next photo shoot. I was out on assignment for (614) Magazine, taking photos of Johnny Oak’s Shrimp Shack for the March issue. As I entered the front door of the very small, very awesome establishment, I was warmly greeted by Johnny and his assistant. We jumped back in the kitchen and Johnny proceeded to show me how to make the best po’ boy sandwich I’ve ever had. While I took photos of him making his famous sandwich, his assistant filmed the photo shoot for an online video they’re doing about their restaurant. I even got to try some of his thick cut fried bacon, that he coats in barbecue sauce. Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of bacon, and I am allergic to barbecue sauce, but they looked so good that I tried them anyway. I have nothing but amazing things to say about them, and the po’ boy sandwich that Johnny artfully whipped up for me. Johnny himself is charming, funny, and warm. He’s got a great character that shines throughout the restaurant. And, he must be doing things right, since he’s working on opening his second location on High & Gail Streets, downtown.

Chad Kessler at Travonna Coffee House

Chad Kessler at Travonna Coffee House with his latest collection.

I then headed South to Travonna Coffee House to meet with one of their featured artists, Chad Kessler. He has a pretty amazing collection displayed there, mostly acrylic prints on wood. It’s a really interesting concept that I had been entertaining myself, but have never really figure out how to execute it. Chad’s pieces have a very interesting aesthetic, harkening a print style that was very popular in the 70’s, warm, noisy, and slightly faded. When combined with the wood that the images are transferred onto, it makes an interesting interpretation of vintage photography and then pushes it farther. We took a few photos of him in front of his work, trying to make use of the small space and limited visual depth a wall gives. We got some shots we were happy with, and called it a day.

The rest of the week isn’t looking any less busy, as I’ll be spending the next three days preparing for the First Annual South Asian Bridal Expo, being held at the Hyatt Regency downtown on Sunday from 1 until 4. Natalie will be working the booth with me, which will be a slightly more stream-lined version of what we had at this year’s Columbus Bride: The Show. I’m thrilled to have a booth there, because I’ve been wanting to photograph Asian weddings for as long as I can remember. Many of my undergraduate classes in Comparative Religious Studies were in Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism. After experiencing each tradition, I an excited to return to work with the colors and styles that they have to offer, and am really looking forward to the food.


bridalplasty promo photo

I don’t take regular lunch-breaks, mostly because my schedule changes on a day to day basis. So, when I get the rare chance to eat lunch in front of the television (and not at my desk or in my car), I take advantage of the opportunity. I kind of wish I hadn’t done that today. I happened upon a show called “Bridalplasty,” which may be one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen.

The premise of the show is that about a dozen or so bride-to-be’s participate in competitions against one another, and the winner of the competition earns plastic surgery, so that she can be “the perfect bride.” As a person, a woman, and even more-so as a wedding photographer, I am appalled… on a few levels.

Firstly, let’s address this ridiculous idea of “the perfect bride.” There is no such thing. Those girls in the bridal magazines you look at and compare yourself to aren’t real, they’re models. They are paid on a full time basis to look thin and beautiful, and to fit into whatever this season’s top design is. You should not be comparing yourself to these women, because they are complete illusions. Real brides have to deal with schedules, guests, vendors, and things always going wrong. Models only have to show up, put on a dress, and look into the camera.

Another facet of the show that I find troubling is the inferred statement that these women are somehow not suitable to marry unless they radically change their appearances. It’s as if being a bride isn’t stressful enough, the bride should also be flawless too? That’s just not realistic. And while we’re all for creating a dreamy surrealism in photos, we’re not at all for it in the everyday world. If you want to be happy with the results of your wedding, you have to be realistic about your expectations. Let me give you an example… myself.

When I got married in 2003, I wanted everything to be “perfect.” I wanted my hair to look great, the dress to be amazing, and everything to go off without a hitch. In fact, I think that all brides feel this way. I also was weighing in at one of my heaviest weights. I tried dieting, exercise, and all the other stuff most brides go through to look “perfect” on their big day. But in the end, I couldn’t lose much weight before the wedding. In hindsight, I realize that I was so stressed out about everything, it’s no wonder I couldn’t lose weight. If I had just calmed down a bit, breathed a little more, and enjoyed being the bride, I would have had a much better time planning and having my wedding.

But even though I wasn’t able to lose much weight before the wedding, I still looked amazing in my photos. And it wasn’t because I got extra sleep the night before, or a lot of stress was suddenly alleviated, it was because I had a good photographer. She put me at ease, and made me look good. I believe, and based my company around the idea that every bride deserves a trusted photographer to steer them through their wedding day with ease.

The idea that these brides need to change themselves is what bothers me the most. Why would they want to change themselves? If you’re marrying for love, your partner likes you the way you are, otherwise they would not be marrying you. And all the little flaws that drive you crazy about yourself most likely do not bother your partner at all.

No one is naturally photogenic, but everyone is beautiful. It takes someone to tell you how to hold yourself in front of a camera, and the ability to be at ease with yourself. When you can manage that, it is a magic sort of combination. It’s like when you are unwrapping a present, and you figure out what the gift is as you’re taking off the paper. It’s the moment when the anticipation meets experience. You get those kind of amazing photos when you work with a photographer that you know, and that you’re comfortable being yourself with… not when you have plastic surgery.

Columbus Bridal Expo 2011

columbus bridal expo 2010 photolosophys

Our booth at last year's Columbus Bride: The Show!

It hardly seems time for the yearly bridal expo down at Veteran’s Memorial, but it is! This weekend over 200 vendors will have booths open at the expo, and upwards of 2,500 brides come every year. If it’s your first year down there (or even if it’s not), here are some suggestions on how to best do this event, it all it’s grandness.

The first thing that you absolutely must do is stop eating sugar for a day or two before the event, which would be right about now. You’re abstaining simply because you will eat so much cake over the course of your trip to the expo, and if you don’t go in with a low blood sugar, we may have to help you get out. :) In fact, one of the best parts of the expo is that there are so many tasting samples available for you. This helps you choose vendors, but more importantly, it gives you an opportunity to get a taste of everything the city has to offer, allowing you to make the best choices about what to serve at your wedding… no just who will be serving it.

Come with your walking shoes on! The expo takes up the largest part of Veteran’s Memorial, pretty much wall to wall. There’s a lot of booths, which means a lot of walking. Make sure you come prepared, and your feet will thank you.

Bring labels with your name and email address on them. Most booths have guest books or contests, and it makes it much easier for you if you come prepared with a sheet or two of address labels with your information on them. It will save you time, and your hands will have a much easier time eating that cake when it’s not having to write as well.

Bring a bag to put all the stuff you get. All expos, but this one in particular, have a lot of product and sales material from each vendor. Things are so overwhelming, it’s sometimes best to take the literature the company has, and take a closer look at their websites later. So, just bring a bag big enough to fit a notebook, and that’s comfortable to carry.

Brides; the most important thing you’ll choose is a photographer you like.

aly hartung in the bride's garden at the franklin park conservatory

No, seriously! Do you see the beautiful bride posed in the above photo? When she got married, she did a lot of the wedding planning and execution on her own… and with an infant! If anyone has right to look tired on their wedding day, it’s DIY brides that are also moms! But did all that stop her from looking absolutely amazing on her big day (or in her pictures)? NO. And we haven’t worked any magic here. Aside from taking out the color from most of the photo, there has been very little work on the image.

“Oh, well, of course. She’s just a naturally beautiful and photogenic person!” you say? No one is a naturally beautiful and photogenic person, let me assure you. The camera can be both loving and cruel, it does not matter who you are.

It’s all about harnessing the love the camera has for you. And that is actually as easy as it sounds. There are two parts to this, or two halves of the formula. The first half is your photographer and the second half is you.

So many people that I run into hire a photographer without really getting to know them. I cannot overstate this;. The more you know and are comfortable around them, the more they will know you. As a photographer, that allows me to really know what way to pose my clients, as well as the general tone their photos should have. Basically, I can’t photograph you well if I don’t know you at least a little bit. It’s simply the nature of the beast.

The second half of the equation is you. If you want to look stellar on your wedding day, or in any pictures for that matter, you need to do the following before you go into your day. Look in the mirror. Take a deep breath… maybe take 3. Look at yourself and decide what your worst features are. Good, now that the nasty thoughts are out of the way, decide what your best features are. Tell those to your photographer! That way, we know what to enhance, or hide, depending on what you like.

Then, decide to be yourself. For better or for worse, you are you. We tend to think of it on the better side, and want you to look like yourself. Want to know how to look like yourself? That’s what all the deep breathing was for; just relax.