Multi-Generational Family Photo Shoot

(c) eLLe PHOTOGRAPHY (c) eLLe PHOTOGRAPHY (c) eLLe PHOTOGRAPHY

I just absolutely adore it when people ask me to take pictures of their families, and even more so when I get to take multiple generations.  There’s something so cool about seeing everyone together in one place and how certain characteristics just show up in each generation.  I adore this family – I posted a teaser from their shoot a while back, and here’s a few more.

On a separate note, I just wanted to thank everyone who’s liked my posts, written to me and told me that you guys like reading my blog.  Your kind words really just make me feel so happy & it’s so appreciated.  So thank-you.  xoxo -L

Happy Weekend!

I feel like I should be posting sunny skies and swimming pools since it’s allegedly summertime.  Instead, I decided on a dose of realism — very foggy mornings that are typical here in San Francisco.  Hope you all find some sun this weekend.  Without further stalling, here are the things I’ve found amusing this week:

*Anyone out there liking NBC’s Olympic coverage?  I am not digging the spoilers myself, but I am *loving* watching anyway.  I tear up all the time — I am a sucker for a good human interest story.

*Love this!  Using people as pixels to make large scale art.  You gotta click here to see this.

*I am so in love with old pictures of San Francisco and its near past — check out this awesome collection of photos of grand swimming pools in the city via the SF Gate.

*This is cool – check out the world’s oldest known photograph.

*Check out these pretty paintings — flowers just make me happy all the time, no matter what.

It’s the weekend again! Yahoo!

I am so excited it’s time for the Olympics again!  I just love the summer games (can we all say gymnastics and synchronized swimming?!).  I’ll be watching the opening ceremonies tonight.  Hope you all have fun plans for the weekend!  (I love this image that I found floating around facebook, but couldn’t locate an artist credit — if anyone knows, please clue me in.)

Here’s this weeks links from around the interwebs:

*Can we hope for a return to the days of glamorous travel?!
*I was not familiar with “queer-electro-hop” but I like it! (& I really want to know where I am when all these fantastic videos are getting made in San Francisco).
* Sometimes I am jealous of someone else’s life.  This blog called “The forest feast” is one of those times — seriously beautiful food photography, illustrations and it’s all from a cabin in the woods in Northern California (i.e. right here!!).  I want to live in this part of the internet.
*If you have littles in the Bay Area, here are some things to do with them this weekend.
*Super awesome colorized version of the famous kiss in Times Square.
*Have you guys seen the site “Letters of Note” – great letters by famous and not so famous people posted daily.  This one from Ted Turner’s Dad on his plans to become a classics major sounds an awful lot like my own Dad’s reaction to my art major plans.

Bang for the Buck

I think that if I wasn’t a photographer, I might have instead become an event planner or party planner.  (Or maybe a makeup artist/hairstylist.  Not sure, I love so much about the things that go into parties and big days).  As a result, I tend to throw a lot of parties and maybe it’s my over-saturation of all things Pinterest and time spent on the wedding blogs that I’ve come to like to style things up and have a lot of “bang for the buck” from a visual perspective.  I thought I’d share a few of my budget tips in case they help you with your wedding planning days.  These aren’t really aimed for the “lets just skip decorations” crowd, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but since I love decor and “big impact” ideas (especially when it comes to things that look great on film), I share the following:

1. On invitations:  Some people are paper people.  If you are, just skip to the next tip as this may not be the place you want to cut corners.  Personally, I love paper too and swoon for heavy card stock and letterpress.  But at the end of the day, I’m a bigger fan of things that are visually pretty or creative and I think there’s a lot of room for creativity in the invitation space.  You all are probably familiar with the awesome new, budget-friendly paper companies out there like Minted and Hello! Lucky, which I think have great options for invites.  My personal tip, or at least what I would do for an event where I felt like a paper invite was necessary, would be to create a postcard invitation (maybe go for the oversize size so it doesn’t get lost in the mail).  I’d try to find a vintage postcard from the venue or the city where your event will take place, and personalize that.  I’d put the basic info on the back (time, date, location, etc.) and I’d direct my guests to one of those online sites where they could RSVP and get more information.

2. On food:  Depending on your venue, this is a place where you might be able to get creative.  If you have to use the site’s caterer, then not so much.  But if you are just getting a cool venue and have to come up with the food, I think you have a lot of room here.  One of the best weddings we did from a food perspective hired a food truck company to come and cater dinner.  It was a lot less formal than the typical buffet, but perfectly suited a backyard event.  I also think it would be cool to just get some great fast food (think In-N-Out or the old standby Miccie D’s).  I can hear some of you saying “seriously?!  she must be kidding” but I think that done well, this could be a great way to go.  I think you’d need the help of a day-of coordinator to get it delivered/ordered ahead of time/prepared, etc. and I also think that hiring some servers to help with the execution can make this really do-able.  For my own parties, I tend to order chinese food (heavy on the various dumplings), have it delivered and then have servers plate it/serve it.  It’s much cheaper than catering and I think you could pull it off for a wedding with a little finesse.  Other ideas – hire an ice cream truck to come and serve treats instead of having a cake (fancy versions of these seem to be all over SF these days), have a regional treat (like It’s-It’s) served instead of cake, or hire a cotton candy maker to come spin their stuff instead of cake.  You get the idea.  I think if you move beyond cake (don’t get me wrong, I love me some cake) you can save some money too.  If you can get the vendor to show up with their gear, it can add an awesome high-low quality.  How cool would it be to have an ice cream truck come on site and a bell ring instead of a traditional cake cutting?

3. On drinks:  My best money saving tip here is signature champagne cocktails (or Prosecco, Cava, any kind of sparkling wine).  If you make a fancy drink that’s pretty & has some stuff in it (think rosemary sprigs, a pretty stir stick, sugared rims, berry in the glass, etc.) with champagne instead of liquor, you save yourself a bunch o money.  Do this plus beer and wine, and you have a whole lot of pretty for a lot less money.  I am also a fan of pretty bottles — they can be used to dress up a table or dress up a bar.  Individual soda bottles at each place would be a cute/fun favor and adds a pop of color.  Bigger bottles for the table feel like “something extra” (I used to live in New Orleans where the concept of “lagniappe” (which means “a little something extra,” think a 13th cookie/baker’s dozen) was huge so I like the feeling of “extras” at parties) too.  With enough color from other sources, you could probably cut back on flowers.  As you can see, I am also a big fan of the ubiquitous stripey straw.  I hear Target has even gotten into the game and sells these now.  They just do add that little bit of lagniappe.

4.  On decorations:  Two words – crepe/tissue paper.  Okay, that’s 3.  But seriously, there is so much you can do with these materials and they are really inexpensive.  Seriously inexpensive.  And the things you can do with them are easy (pouf balls, paper flowers, streamer canopies, etc.) if a little bit time consuming.  It just takes some planning and time, but there is a lot of “wow” that can come from these items.  They aren’t going to work in every venue, but they look great in backyards and vineyard settings.  I’d recommend going for pops of color that are different from what’s already at your venue — the more color there is in the background of photos, the prettier the pictures come out.  My other favorite (and if you’ve spent 10 seconds on my website, this is no shock at all) is balloons.  I don’t like balloons in the traditional prom sense, but I think they can be very dramatic and cool done right.  I’d love to see the aisle lined with balloons, balloons tied to chairs at outdoor weddings, and inside, one of my favorite tricks is to order a ton of balloons, have them delivered, and have them just float up on the ceiling with long ribbons hanging from them (I just use the standard curling ribbon they come with in the right color to go with the overall idea).

5. On placecards:  these are an opportunity to do something cute that also “fills the table” and can help you save on flowers.  I am a big fan of a “statement” placecard, and my go-to design is to use fruit (I am partial to apples because you can buy them cheaply, and they are just pretty.  Have you ever seen an ugly apple?).  You can then personalize them with stamped cards (a pretty stamp from the paper source will run you about $6 and an ink pad is about the same & you can get a lot of mileage out of stamping things in a consistent way) & writing names in pretty script.

Anyway, these are just a few ideas I’ve seen work and if you do nothing other than have cake and champagne at your reception, that’s totally okay.  I really do mean this just as ideas to help you if you want to decorate and style up your event, but you’re worried it will cost a lot, and some other ideas for ways to save money and still have a great time with good food and drinks that don’t break the bank.  I guess I just believe that with a little creativity, you can have an awesomely styled event without spending a ton of cash.

The photos in this post are from events we’ve shot, events we’ve styled and shot, and one from my personal collection of parties I’ve had (it’s the balloons, but I’m guessing I didn’t need to tell you that).

Just so random, I had to share.

Over the weekend, I stumbled into a little thrift store (my love of thrifting is also quite well known in these parts) that had a mish mash of everything.  It was the kind of place where you could spend an hour in one place and not see everything.  I am just a sucker for old photos, and I saw a pile and starting looking through them, and came upon — get this — presidential trading cards!  They are black and white photos of JFK and Jackie, with little bits of info on the back.  Like baseball cards for the political set, I guess?  Anyway, they’re just so iconic and I loved this photo so I had to pick one up.  Cool, right?

Candid Moments at San Francisco City Hall

We have been so thrilled to see Amber & Aaron’s wedding featured on Grey Likes & Classic Bride, and I thought I’d just add to the fun by sharing a few more of our favorite images.  These are some of the more “candid” moments that I just love.  The cupcake truck that wished them well, the bride grabbing an Odwalla juice after the ceremony, the “behind the scenes” paperwork moment with another couple finishing up next to Amber & Aaron.  They just make me smile & hope you enjoy them too.

Russian Hill e-Shoot

So as promised, here’s a few more pics from the Russian Hill e-shoot.  I really love shooting where my clients live.  There’s just something so amazingly personal about having a little slice of their life popping up in the background like another character in the story.  It doesn’t hurt that San Francisco has so many amazing locations either.

Classic San Francisco Wedding

We also shot a gorgeous, classic San Francisco wedding at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in the financial district.  Here’s a little sneak preview from that event (love shots of the bride on her way to get married & I love shooting these too — everyone who sees brides gets excited & total strangers yell “congratulations” & cars honk their horns in a good way.  It’s pretty cool).