"we solve the problem that most brides in a size 12 or larger in their street clothing have when they walk into a traditional bridal store."Read More
Ask any bride about her wedding dress and she has a story to tell.
Each and every bridal gown every worn down the aisle has a unique story that could conceivably turn into a best seller. From a little girl's dream of her fairytale wedding to the reality of the dress search. Oh! the search for that perfect wedding dress. And in that search, it is easy to overlook custom made dresses when it really does not have to be. Ask your bridal dream team and chances are we know someone that knows someone that knows a custom designer, you know what I mean? All you need to do is ask. Since you asked nicely, I just happen to know of such a designer, Natalie Harris, the beauty, brains and purple colored hair behind @damselwhitelabel, you can find her here and here to see her "extraordinary gowns to your dream gown"
On your wedding day, we create your unique bridal portrait in your "perfect" gown to tell the story of you! These are images that you get to enjoy today, the foundation of stories you'll share with your children and grand-children, but most importantly, these are the images that speak to future generations when we are no longer here to speak. The images that show how you lived, loved and glowed on your wedding day.
These are the images you show, for the millionth time, to everyone you meet on how absolutely fabulous you looked on your wedding day. So, let's review your wedding day timeline and I will make sure you're equipped with the evidence for your future storytelling (side career).
Congratulations bride to be.
Creative Dream Team
Bridal Gown | @damselwhitelabel Floral Design | @flowervibestx Crown | @bark_and_beam Concept Design | @kellykennedyevents Hair & Makeup | @styledbykelseyv Model | @authentically_B Filming | @thefilmstill
Undoubtedly, the engagement season of a bride's life is perhaps one of the best seasons when hopes are soaring and everything comes up roses. If you take the time to sow a handful of seeds during your engagement/planning season and you'll be reaping a bountiful harvest when you need it the most. Here are a few simple tips:
- Craft a love letter from the heart. This letter is from you to YOU, an anchor when your blue sky shows a patch of gray. You don't need to write it in one sitting but don't wait till the week of the wedding when the butterflies in your body are in full swing or your thoughts will be all jumbled together. Get a ‘strictly love letter’ journal if you love to write and you'll thank yourself later. To be clear, this is a safe haven letter and you're not compelled to give it to him but imagine the look on his face if he were to get a 'peek' into your thoughts. Your call!
- Pour out your heart on paper, no not on a gadget (nice try!), but put a pen to paper.
- How do you feel about him, and how does he make you feel. What made you say yes.
- Your wish for your future together. Your prayer for the man he is today (as in before 'I do') and the man you wish he will become.
- Set realistic expectations. No, he does not walk on water and neither do you. (you think you do, don't you? I think I so too :-))
- Nope! he truly does not always understand how fast the wheels in your head grinds. I'm not making excuses, I'm preparing you for a life of honeymoon together. Don't allow little things ruin your wonderful relationship.
- Make room for personal space like you hanging with your girls or him his boys as long as they understand you're committed to each other.
- Don't sweat the small stuff. So his sock doesn't land perfectly in the hamper or he presses the toothpaste from the center. Buy separate toothpaste if necessary, the point is these are what I call "ankle-biters", they keep you from focusing on what important: You + Him = US. Focus on your US!
- Dream about your future together. “dream about the world you’re gonna live in, one fine day … let imagination take you” Oakridge Boys. (The who? Google it already)
- EVERYTHING your eyes can see started in someone's imagination. It ALWAYS started with a dream, so dream BIG.
- List your personal goals and goals as a couple. Divide your goals 1, 5, 10, 15 years goal. You don't have to stop there, it's your life story.
- Document how you would like him to support yu and ask the same of him. How does he like to be supported? When you know what's important to your partner, you become each other's best advocate and nothing comes between you.
It's been said many times before, anything written is measurable. So plan for a great life together but most importantly, plan to flourish so you can regale your children and grandchildren with stories that can be passed down to generations.
I hope you find these tips useful. If so please pass it along, share with friends and families.
Until next week ... hugs and kisses
Your wedding day bridal portraits cannot be left to chance, it requires advanced planning.
Ask any bride and she'll tell you someone tampered with the clock on her wedding day. While we all get the same 24 hours in a day, time just seems to zoom by on your wedding day from the time you wake up till the last dance. But I assure you, and deep down you know it is the same 24 hours. So how do you enjoy your very special day to the fullest? And still manage to get those special images that you will share with your grandchildren? Glad you asked. We're going to make this simple by focusing on the pre-ceremony part of your day and why.
Before we go further, can we just agree that next to the groom, images from your spectacular day rank high on the list and should not be left to chance? Those images are the only memories that will outlast that perfect dress you searched high and low to find, so it stands to reason that we need to involve your photographer early on in the timeline planning. To ensure those images are created, follow these simple 3 steps and you'll go from nice to oh-my-gosh!
- Your planner.
- An experienced planner will develop a timeline and allocate time for your bridal portrait, but just in case bridal portrait is not a line item on the list, we're going to include it.
- This process should start as early as possible and your planner will tell you it is not etched in stone until possibly the week of your wedding.
- Hair and makeup.
- Ask your hair makeup artist how long it will take to transform you to the queen that you are. Adjust the timeline to reflect the appropriate makeup time.
- Be sure you have a dedicated makeup artist just for yourself and another for the girls. Most creatives have partners and will gladly work as a team. At approximately 45 minutes per makeup, imagine how long it will take to transform your 5 bff's.
- Your photographer would love, love, love you if you could allow 45 minutes for portraits but we're realistic, we know it doesn't always work that way.
- Work with your photographer to determine the ideal time for your bridal portraits depending on your wedding style.
- Armed with that info, connect your photographer to the planner. Most of us will take the initiative to contact the planner since we're both on your dream team, but just in case the two are not communicating, introduce one to the other and they'll work out the fine details and share the result with you. After all, it's your wedding.
You simply cannot go wrong with pre-wedding portraits whether that's with a first look (my recommendation) or a bride only vs groom only session (depending on your culture and beliefs). This increases the chance of getting spectacular portraits while your makeup is still fresh and the butterflies are still at bay.
- Allow time for additional bride and groom only portrait during the cocktail hour. You are now Mr. & Mrs., you'll want to commemorate that with your very first official photo. Can you just 'picture' the stories you will be able tell your grandchildren about the day you got married to grandpa? If you have an evening ceremony, the light should be awesome by the cocktail hour and that's even better.
This is just a template for the first part of the day, as in, before the ceremony. I have decided to leave the timeline for the remainder of the day from the ceremony through last dance out of this template since each wedding typically follows the couple's tradition and should be customized. Here's why. While a typical western ceremony may take one hour from beginning to the end, the 'thanksgiving' section of a typical African ceremony alone is close to 30 minutes of praise worship singing and dancing allowing the proud parents to give a prelude of what the reception dancing will look like.
If you need help with coming up with a workable timeline, I'd love to help. If you like what you're read please consider sharing it.
When the stars align, they do it perfectly.
When I suggested a date for Yewande and Colin's engagement session date, little did I know it was Loving Day wikipedia the anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that struck down all US laws against interracial marriage. How awesome is it that they get to celebrate on that very date? In turn, they couldn't have picked a better location for our session than Federal Hill neighborhood of Baltimore where Colin proposed, Yewande said 'yes' (of course!) and Colin's family had lived as far back as 1850.
We roamed around the neighborhood, from the little shops every kid runs to for candy and pop, to the house that lasted five generations itself. Now a café, it was both surreal and exhilarating at the same time. Of course, we ended the night at Federal Hill park itself to a great sunset and dancing to another perfect melody, ‘I Swear’ by John Michael Montgomery.
Enjoy their images.
When longtime and seasoned wedding events creative, Kensington Flowers and Events Inc come calling, you go!
And so began the May inaugural DMV Wedding and Events vendor Showcase at the Signature Blue event center in Beltsville, MD orchestrated by the very seasoned Paulina 'Nana' Kodua of Kensington Flowers and Events, and her dear friend, Tina Ajari Bello of Elite Party Rental and Events.
The goal as stated by Nana was both "a one-stop-shop for vendors that will make your event take off with class, attention to detail, and utmost satisfaction" and an excellent opportunity for collaboration amongst event creatives in the DC, Maryland and Virginia area. Although I had a previous engagement that day, my friend and sister Chuigo, call her Chu-Chu, stood in for me and didn't disappoint. I stopped long enough to capture a few images as vendors were setting up.
Oh this cake, this cake, this cake... I actually smelled the sugar as I stood next to it. Had to zoom in for the details. God bless women ... from our head to toe. Unquie pieces to complement any attire.
Party rentals ... what's your pleasure
Custom gifts, hand selected, just for you and your guests. Leave the planning to the experts.
Right there ... got it! She's always on POINT!
Another photographer in the house, my sister, and friend Halima Kamara getting ready for the show
Ever seen anyone dance and frown? Impossible... NK introduces African dance into the mix
I missed staying long enough to get one of those bling-bling shawls I love from this mother-daughter and aunt team.
You should have seen the original authentic saris on display.And your event is not completed until there's music in the house.
Oh, I saved the best for last ... check out her info below. She makes one of a kind!
Elegant Decor & Bouquets | Kensington Flowers and Events Wedding and Lifestyle photography | Ronnie Bliss Photography | www.ronniebliss.com Wedding and Lifestyle Photography | Halima Kamara Photography Makup | Makeup by Lilola Beauty and Fashions. Authentic Indian Fabric and Jewelry | Priti's Fashion & Jewelry Authentic African Delicacies | RDC Catering Event Rentals | Elite Party Rental and Events High end European Fashion Boutique | Connaisseur Paris Event Planning & Design and MC | Sisimesho The MC Guest List Services | Exquisite Guests | www.exquisiteguests.com Small Chops | Finger Affairs TF Caterers VPS Media Center My Ultimate Cake Design Tri State Linens Vava Looks by Serena Anthony Golden Touch Bliss
On or off, that is the trending question.
There is no shortage of opinion on how to respond to Instagram’s decision to display posts based on their new algorithm. A simple Google search will confirm that. This is further compounded for wedding photographers and every visual artist.
- Turn ‘off’ which is the same as leave it as it currently is, meaning the default position and allow the new algorithm to take effect. Similar to Facebook, it determines the post it serves up based on what it thinks you like or will like. - Or, the new rave, turn ‘on’ so that you will be notified each time the profile you follow uploads a post.
Here is the major opportunity or challenge depending on your position.
- ON and you’ll never miss a post. In fact, you receive a ding (notification) each time that profile uploads a post. - Since you receive a notification per upload, question is, how many notifications do you wish to receive in a day? An hour? During peak post time? Because notification is based on post upload, for each profile are you following and have enabled. So, how many times do you wish to be notified again?
Let’s make this relevant, say just one of the profiles you follow uploads 5 posts, that equals 5 notifications right? Not bad. Now let’s multiply that by say 10 or 20 or maybe 50 of the profiles you have enabled … you see where I’m going with this? Don't worry, I’ll help with the math, that’s 50, 100 or 250 notifications respectively. And that’s only 50 of the how many profiles do you follow again? I don’t know about you but I often find myself constantly turning notification OFF in several Facebook posts simply because it interrupts my day. Why? I get caught up in ‘being social’ if I take a peep when it is not my dedicated ‘social’ time. By the time I look up I find I’ve been on Facebook longer than intended.
I did say in my Monday post to turn notification on for not only me but also for the profiles you know and love. To be clear, I will turn notification on for a handful of profiles I love because I wish to be notified when they upload a post. Those accounts have a message or are on a journey I wish to follow. For profiles I follow and love, and may have missed their post, I purposefully go out of my way to search their profiles for new posts if it is not presented in my current feed for whatever reason on both Facebook and Instagram. They may have posted at a time that’s different from my social interaction time, but because they are important to me I go searching and show some love.
My goal is not to tell you what to do – ON or OFF, rather it is to cause you to PAUSE before you turn notification on, and then MAKE THE BEST DECISION FOR YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS because it ‘fits’ your business style.
On or off? What is your position? Please comment below. And share this post if you find this blog post useful.
This week in the small business app series, I share the three applications I use for my wedding and lifestyle photography business. When it comes to photography, there are literarily several hundreds of apps to enhance your images. From the mega apps such as Adobe to quick on the go apps designed just for held devices, there is no shortage of apps. Deciding which app is right for your business can come from various reviews and recommendation. I believe you will find the app that fits your particular editing style. For me, here are the three apps that have worked well.
- Photo Mechanic by Camera Bits is one of the best apps I adopted early on. It lives up to its reputation as an ‘image browser and workflow accelerator that lets you view your digital photos with convenience and speed.’ Imagine needing to cull through several thousand imagines after an 8 hour wedding day. For culling images, Photo Mechanic does a better job than Adobe Lightroom. I use two of its features - cull and export. I do not edit in this app.
- Cull images. My RAW image handling preference is set to open with Photo Mechanic so it automatically opens the app. The initial selection is supposed to be quickly decisive. The question I ask myself when I look at an image is this: does it have a story or not? That’s it in Photo Mechanic.
- So, with fingers poised on the keyboard, I use these three selection criteria: 1, 2, 3. 1 is a definite keeper while 2 is a definite no. I use 3s as maybe.
- The ‘maybe’ is my undoing, and this is where I waste time agonizing over well… maybe… major time waster. Make your selection. Move on.
- Sort and export. I sort and export images into a ‘selected’ folder. I will share my folder structure in the coming weeks. Any images I have not decisioned are moved into an ‘extra’ folder. The card is ejected and stored away. That’s it!.
Of all the features and functionalities this great app is capable of, I only use cull and export. Free to try, $150 to purchase
- Adobe Lightroom, now part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, is where my images are edited. It is a non-destructive app, meaning you can edit an image to your hearts content but the original file remains untouched.
- To be clear, I only edit small job, major jobs are sent out for post processing and I receive what is called a catalog in return. The catalog holds all the edits or changes made to the original file. The catalog is imported into Adobe Lightroom directly into the ‘selected’ folder I talked about earlier.
- Launch the catalog and you’re notified that the file is missing and needs to be located. Browse to the ‘selected’ folder, click the correct image number and Lightroom will automatically copy the metadata from the edited file onto the original file, and does the same for all files in the folder. From here, I apply my set of preferred ‘Presets’ to achieve my desired look.
Of all the features of Lightroom, I love, love, love the preview feature which incidentally is another time-wasting trap. I waste time wanting to ‘see’ what an image will look like using this or that preset. Multiply 2-3 minutes by oh, say 50 images? You get the point.
3. Adobe Photoshop is another part of the creative cloud suite. To say this app is a beast would not be an exaggeration. It’s easy to learn but a lifetime to master, and I doubt if that’s even possibly because they keep coming up with new and efficient features. This is my go to app for a handful of images I need to take to the next level.
- Images are exported from Lightroom or opened directly from a folder into Photoshop for further manipulation. Like Lightroom presets, Photoshop uses ‘Actions’ for image manipulations. And I’m sure you guessed it here, I thumb through several actions before I pinch myself.
- It is also used for album design, although InDesign, another member of the Adobe creative suite is better suited for album design.
The two features I love the most about Photoshop is its use of layers and workspace. Layers you probably know are efficient when neatly grouped into a folder but nearly impossible to ungroup once flattened. For this reason, I export my finished job in whatever file type I need but try never to flatten a layer. Once flattened, the original file is destroyed.
Now a subscription service, it is still free to try with multiple membership levels. Photography is $9.99 for Lightroom and Photoshop.
My goal was not to review any of these apps, extensive books have been written on each one, lectures and workshops have been and continue to be delivered daily. If you wish to learn more, I recommend Creative Live, a 24/7 online teaching site. My goal is to share the apps I use and the features used in my personal workflow.
What application have you found useful in our workflow? Its your turn to share. If you've enjoyed this series, please consider sharing with your friends, and remember to leave a comment. Next week, I'll share my folder structure.