Engagement Photo Prep

Kyle and I shot our engagement photos with our amazing photographer Fawn Christiansen this past weekend, over a year after getting engaged (oh well!). We shot them on the sailboat down in Long Beach, CA I have mentioned oh just one or two times before. Here we are laughing at the awkwardness of a professional camera pointed at us from one side, and an iPhone from the other.

Photo by friend and Captain Ron Remsburg

We won't see the actual engagement photos from our photographer  for another couple of weeks, but in the mean time I wanted to share some tips on preparing for your engagement photos. I'm the first to admit that I can be a little over-prepared (a.k.a. obsessive) when it comes to things like this, so go ahead and laugh if this just isn't for you. :) However, I was hard pressed to find information about preparing for your engagement photos, so here is what I learned:

- Pick out a couple of different outfits for both you and your better half. Maybe you have something you love already in the closet. If so, great! It'll really represent who you are. Or maybe you have a theme to your engagement photos and want an excuse to go shopping. Regardless, it will be helpful to offer your photographer a couple of different options for looks, since he or she may have a particular vision in mind. (side note: I would recommend keeping the tags on any clothes that you buy, just in case you don't end up wearing them for the shoot and they're not something you would normally wear.)

- Get a manicure and pedicure! Especially a manicure, since you'll have close up shots of your left hand taken. Maybe this is no thing for most people, but I haven't had a manicure or pedicure since high school. Definitely take the time to get your nails done within a couple of days of your shoot.

- Decide on how you want your hair and make up to look. Whether you're doing it yourself or hiring a professional, it's good to know what look you're going for. But most importantly, make sure you look like you! If you're doing it yourself, do a practice run of your hair, make up, and outfits one night to make sure you like the entire look. If you're hiring someone, send them some inspiration photos ahead of time so they have some time to think about their execution.

- This may go without saying, but be sure you both shave any unwanted hairs! Sometimes the to-do list can get a bit overwhelming and something as simple as this can be forgotten.

The William Brown Project, photo by Chris Shipman

Now here are some more obsessive tips for the crazy bride (like me):

- If you color or highlight your hair, get it done within 2 weeks of your photo shoot so your roots look even and your hair is nice and healthy. I had my hair highlighted a lighter shade 2 days before my photo shoot. I don't recommend doing that unless you really trust your hair stylist (thankfully, I do!), as there is no time to correct it if it turns out terribly. If you think you want a different look, I would plan ahead and try it at least once before your shoot.

- And expanding on that... don't experiment with new skin products or anything before your shoot. You never know how your skin will react.

- Try not to risk a sunburn within a week of your shoot. Avoid the beach and only do artificial tans if you've done it before and know how it all works on your skin.

- Have your eyebrows done, or do them yourself. If you get them waxed, make sure you give your skin plenty of time to heal.

- Starting 2 days before your shoot: avoid alcohol, greasy food, salty food, and spicy food. Drink lots of water and get some good sleep.

- Lastly, try to relax. I recommend not stressing out about it so much that your back spasms, like someone I know (that's me, in case you didn't get that).

Do you have any tips on preparing for your engagement shoot? Was there something invaluable that you did? Was there something you realized after-the-fact that might have been really useful? Let us know, because this applies to preparing for your wedding day too!

Engagement Pics!

I am finally revealing our amazing engagement pictures from the extremely talented Gladys Jem. I have to say that getting your picture taken can be a bit uncomfortable. During our entire session I kept thinking to myself, “We are so awkward – we are not giving Gladys anything to work with!” But then we received them and I was blown away. I will let the pictures speak for themselves, but if you are in the Bay Area, I highly suggest reaching out to Gladys. She has been a “Jem” to work with it (get it? I’m hilarious). On top of taking amazing pictures, she has a killer personality – I am excited to have her by my side the entire wedding day! Hope you like the pics as much as we do!

Picture Perfect

Picking our photographer was a stressful task. I actually put it off for a bit because I was afraid I wouldn’t find what I wanted – a photographer who is able to capture one of the most special moments of our lives with beautiful images and also has an amazing personality that you wouldn’t mind spending 8 hours of your wedding day with them! Oh and all within our budget of course. Not at all a tall order…

After meeting with several photographers, reviewing website after website and blog after blog, I concluded that every photographer fell in one of two categories:

1. They were in our budget, but we didn't love their images;

2. They took beautiful pictures, but at a cost that could be a substantial down payment on a house!

After weeks of feeling extremely frustrated, I decided to head to one of my favorite wedding photography sites and just start searching for photographers in San Francisco. If their images were on the website, then I knew I would love their photography. Why had I not thought of this before? Low and behold, I found her!

Gladys Jem manages to capture the exact sentiment that I want in my wedding photos: love, excitement and it doesn't hurt that she manages to make all of her subjects look like models!

But don't take my word for it, just check out some of her stunning images...

One of my favorites...


And when we finally met Gladys, that kind of sealed the deal. She’s got an awesomely, bubbly personality that I know will bring out the smiles in all of our guests.

I can’t wait to see the images of our special day! First up - engagement photos!

All photos courtesy of Gladys Jem: http://gladysjem.com/.

STDs – no not that kind

We are just about nine months out from our wedding and slowly but surely knocking things off of our to-do list. We booked our photographer last weekend (more on her later, but I am in love!) and the next thing I would like to tackle is our Save the Dates (aka STDs!). I know not everyone sends out STDs, but as my fiancé’s family lives in the Midwest and my family is on the East Coast, they are an absolute must for us. We want to give our guests plenty of time to plan for a trip out to San Francisco, especially since this will be the first trip out to CA for many of them. Now here’s the tough part – choosing an STD. Man, it is hard! There are just too many beautiful options out there. I do love STDs that feature the couple (and of course the engagement pictures that you likely paid a pretty penny for).

But, I would really like to get ours mailed out sooner rather than later and I am not sure how quickly we can turn a photo shoot around along with creating the actual STD.

So currently I am leaning toward STDs that highlight San Francisco. As I mentioned, we are inviting a LOT of out-of-towners to our wedding. And we want the city of San Francisco to shine right alongside us on our big day. We hope that all of our guests fall in love with this city as much as we have and utilize our wedding as an excuse to visit one of the best places in the world (can you tell I like this city?).

I especially love ones that have a more vintage feel.

And how cute is this STD that highlights the BART System (that's Bay Area Rapid Transit for you non-locals).

Oh and I am leaning toward postcards. I like that they emphasize the travel theme (and who’s kidding who, let’s save a dollar where we can!).

I would love to know your thoughts on the above. Did you send out a Save the Date?

Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Engagement Photos...*swoon*

Have you had a chance to meet our Monday bride? Her name is Taylor and she is planning a backyard wedding in Texas. Read more about her! I finally had my engagement pictures taken this past Sunday (we'd been waiting for the Texas weather to cool down because there's nothing I love more than a good "wrapped-in-a-quilt-snuggling" picture) and let me tell you, taking engagement photos is FUN. I love getting my picture taken regardless, but with a professional photographer and cuddling my lovey...there's nothing better!

We took our pictures in Prosper, Texas, (I told Braeden [our photog] I wanted a field and he delivered with some field-filled terrain) on an unseasonably warm November afternoon and I am thrilled (I made JB slowly scroll through the sneak peek photos for at least an hour) with the results.

These pictures were taken by Braeden Rogers at Ambient 11 Photography and I have got to say that he was absolutely stellar. From the moment we arrived to the second we left, the three of us were laughing and having a great time. As if just generally having fun isn't enough, his photo-journalistic images are to-die-for! They are so raw in the happiest, most joyful sense! I can't wait for Braeden to take the rest of our pictures in June!!

Quick advice! We had trouble deciding between a one-hour and a two-hour engagement session and after a friend's advice (thanks Mal!), we decided to go with two-hours. In my opinion, the two-hour session was the best decision we have made this far in the process. Two-hours allows you and your fiance to get comfortable being photographed, it allows the photographer to get to know you two as a couple and (especially if you're shooting outdoors) it gives you more time to find that perfect amount of sunlight that makes your photos oh-so dreamy!

So, if your budget can handle it, pick two hours, you won't regret it!

Without further adieu...

All photos by Braeden Rogers at Ambient 11 Photography

A Walk Through The Woods Engagement Shoot

Sometimes things as simple as a basket of fresh strawberries makes for a good photograph, and in the case of today's engagement shoot this little hideaway makes for the perfect location to fall in love all over again. Oh how I would love to create a cloth tent under a forest to hide away for a day of bliss. This shoot comes from Gemmer Photography, who executed the look of this vision perfectly with the vintage photographs and the simple details all about.

Photographer: gemmer photography Hair Stylist: Kellen Eason Reception Venue: Private Residence Other: Balloons on Broadway Makeup Artist: Nadia Artistry


Glamout and Class Engagement Shoot by Aaron Shintaku

Today we have a totally fun engagement shoot by one of my fave photographers, Aaron Shintaku! Aaron is a very talented photographer from Southern California that always delivers some extremely creative work. The glamour and the class of this shoot is so fun and creative. I definitely want several several of these outfits and that make-up is just to die for.

After the glamour, they took it outside for a fun shoot in the sun.

Carnival Style Engagement {and} Total Fashion Jealousy

Starting out the week with a total engagement shoot crush. First is this girl a model or what, totally gorgeous. Engagement shoots with props, personality and a little flirting makes for a totally gorgeous shoot in the end. I love the set the balloons, and how to even start on that dress. Fashion jealousy right here! This little number and those totally bold shoes look absolutely gorgeous on her. Overall, I'm dying with this one. And the wonderful Clifton Photography is the lucky one who was able to capture all this amazingness on camera.


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