Tag Archives: Photography

Wedding Wednesdays – Engagement Shoot Adventure

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Part I: The Photographer

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, it’s so important to figure out you and your fiance’s priorities from the beginning of the wedding planning roller coaster. If your fiance’s priority is beer and yours is music then those are the two things you should focus your time, energy, and money on. Photography has always been top of our priority list for our wedding so finding the perfect photographer was crucial. First and foremost we knew posed portrait style photos were not our thing. Eric and I have never taken professional photos together and are pretty silly people generally so imagining ourselves standing together like we’re going back to high school prom doesn’t suit us. Based on our preference, documentary style photography is what we were looking for. It was also important for us to take into account our venue, Yosemite National Park. We wanted to choose someone who is no stranger to photographing the outdoors and not just any outdoors, basically the most magical and dreamy outdoor space imaginable. Having these qualifications we set out, with our amazing wedding planner, to find the perfect match.

Greg Balkin of Brightwood Photography is a genius. He is one of the most talented photographers I’ve ever seen and that’s just taking into account his outdoor photography. The emotions and love he is able to capture between the couples he shoots is even more extraordinary. It took us all of ten minutes to decide we had to have him photograph our special day. Finding out Greg recently relocated from Southern California to Seattle was just the icing on the cake. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, my fiance and I met in Seattle therefore making this a match made in photography heaven.

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Part II: Adventure Love Story

Instead of the usual engagement shoot, our photographer specializes in what he coined as “Adventure Love Stories”. Adventure Love Stories reframe engagement pictures as an excuse to get outside and explore together as a couple while getting to know Greg and documenting the entire weekend or “adventure”. The best part about our weekend was that Eric and I have already spent our last 7 years together exploring the outdoors, going on incredible camping/backpacking trips, and adventuring so this was a huge selling point in choosing Greg to be our photographer. I do have to be honest though, as much as I absolutely love camping and backpacking and as much fun as an adventure sounded I was somewhat anxious about how I was supposed to pull myself together for a weekend photo shoot after camping?! How’s a girl, who’s not that photogenic to begin with, supposed to be photographed with bedhead and after sleeping on the ground all night with day old makeup? It sounds ridiculous and vain, but if you had 200+ photos taken of you, you’d consider this a legitimate fear as well. I obviously decided to suck it up and trust Greg and also figured worst case, no one has to know these photos exist.

Eric and I chose to have our adventure with Greg in one of our favorite places in Washington State, the state that brought us together. And so, two weekends ago we hopped on a plane from San Francisco, drove several hours in the car, and took a ride on a ferry boat to Olympic National Park, and if you haven’t been, consider this your plug that you should immediately plan your trip. Olympic National Park has some seriously wonderful memories for Eric and I so choosing it for our engagement shoot was a no brainer. We have summited its mountains, hiked along its rivers, explored its rugged beaches, and watched the infamous Elwha Dam removal over the years all the while knowing it to be one of the best kept secrets in the country. Naturally, the camping trip turned into a spontaneous backpacking adventure leading us to one of the Olympic Coast’s most beautiful beaches near La Push. This spur of the moment decision also led to hilarious pictures of myself and Eric in formal clothes (including heels mind you) carrying our hiking boots, tent, sleeping bags, and REI backpacks. Note: should you choose to do your own outdoorsy photoshoot, keep in mind that heels, no matter how chunky, are a poor decision.

Lucky for you, I’m here to share a handful of my favorite photos from the weekend. While looking through them just remember we hadn’t showered, we slept on the beach overnight, and my naturally curly hair doesn’t tend to agree with that damn misty coastal climate. Also, huge thanks to Julia for the last minute Tyra Banks modeling tips, without them I would have looked like a limp noodle neck monster.

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Gigi and Zayn’s Vogue Spread

I have to admit that for a long time, I thought this relationship was a total publicity stunt, but there’s no denying how cute Gigi and Zayn actually are in their new spread for Vogue. The whole internet is saying it. They are absolutely #relationshipgoals. And this spread is too much for us to handle.

To view the rest of the spread, click here to visit Vogue!

 

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Knitted Electronics

I have a certain knack for being attracted to really cute things that I find on the internet and this one stopped me dead in my tracks. Artist Jessica Dance is bringing to us some serious nostalgia with these knitted electronics and other things from our past and we just couldn’t not share them with you all. Can we just have one of these pieces to display them in our homes?! These pieces were photographed by food photographer David Sykes.

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A Collection Part 44

I think I’ve always loved putting these posts together because these are the types of photos I’ve always wanted to take. They’re so simple and minimalistic, but yet they say so much and they say something different to everyone. I’ve asked Veronica a couple of times now why she enjoys these posts and now that I think about it – I’m not sure if I’ve ever gotten a real answer. Veronica, can you let us know so I can include it in the next post? All I know is that in college she would hound me to get these done and out. And then after she had spent some time scanning over the photos (a few minutes) she’d ask for another one. (DJ Khaled) I think I would always just laugh and say, “Veronica, these take time.” And they do! This one post took about three months to put together.

I’ve done 44 of these now. That’s an incredible number to me. And it’s interesting to me that each one of these tells a different story though I’m not sure what that story is. I look through some of the older “A Collection” posts and sometimes I wonder why I chose a certain photo. I’ll look at it and scrunch up my face and be like, “Why? What did this mean to me?” But I guess what it just means is that it was all about timing. In that exact moment that I saw that photo as I was scanning over lots of photos, that one spoke out enough to me that I had to include it. Maybe I was feeling sassy, meek, contemplative, curious…I’m not able to put my finger on it for every photo and I like that I don’t have to.

Sometimes I write posts on Yow Yow! that are very personal and I look at the words and I question if that’s what I actually wanted to convey or if people will interpret it in a different way than I attended. With these posts, I don’t have to worry as much, but these are just as personal because I’m really saying how I feel, but in the most visual way.

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The Cobrasnake and His Influence on Hipster Culture

Does this photo jog any memories for anyone? No, I’m not talking about that Myspace swag that girl has got. Way back when, we used to be a little obsessed with a photographer named Mark Hunter AKA The Cobrasnake. He was the ultimate hipster and he had a very distinct way of shooting his photos. In fact, we loved them so much that in Yow Yow’s original layout, we would swap out our header every month for about 2-3 years for one of Mark’s photos. I remembered that I both loved and hated doing this. I loved it because it made the blog feel a little more fresh every month, but I hated it because it was so much pressure! Mark gained popularity fast and it was tough for me to be able to keep up with his photo postings, but I didn’t want to miss any published album for fear of missing the perfect header shot. Sometimes, I’d be backlogged for months catching up. While I loved these photographs for the way he shot them, I also was a little mesmerized with his lifestyle – constant parties, music festivals, tagging along with his bff Steve Aoki and then-girlfriend Cory Kennedy who was really just an IT girl in her own right. There were celebrities everywhere. There were also photos that you didn’t want to see – the ones that featured nudity, intimate moments, and my least favorite… vomit – especially when in action. Such is life though, right? And Mark captured it all. It’s been a few years since we’ve visited the site, but it’s still up and running! Mark is still taking photos and these days featuring a new wave of celebrities probably – gone are the days in which Paris and Nicky Hilton reigned. Bring on the Bella Hadid’s! In this Vice article, Mark Hunter looks back to describe the last 10 years of shooting.

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Selena Gomez x InStyle UK

We’re not as excited about her album as we are about Justin Bieber’s, but this spread ain’t bad! It’s okay, they’re both bouncing back from their breakups in very different ways and it works!

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Vanessa Hudgens x Harper’s Bazaar

As a follower of Vanessa Hudgen’s Instagram account, I took notice of her recent editorial spread with Harper’s Bazaar the other day. I’ve actually been a long time fan of her editorials and this one was no different. In it, we see Vanessa rocking her usual boho look with a California vibe and in West Coast settings.

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Let’s Talk About “Unplugged” Weddings

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This photo was floating around the internet earlier this week and I thought that it would make a pretty good post as I have a few thoughts that I can weigh in on… Two of my dearest friends are getting married next year and I really have no doubts at all that their weddings won’t be amazing. However, a lot can change in the next year and trends are always coming and going so there are some things we should discuss.

Lately, I’ve seen a few weddings disclose to their guests that they want the ceremony to be an electronics-free zone. Despite how much time I spend on social media through this blog and my job, you may think that I would oppose this idea. I am, however, in support of it and here’s why:

  • No matter what you think, there is no way that the photo you capture on your phone will ever be as good as the photographer(s) that the couple has hired. Think about where you’re sitting, how unsteady your hand might be because you might be emotional and the not-so-perfect view you have.
  • You are not a professional. Let the pros do their job. After all, they’re getting paid for it! You should just enjoy yourself.
  • Let yourself be in the moment. If you’re too busy trying to get your photo, you’re going to miss that moment where you get to really soak in the bride walking down the aisle right in front of you.
  • It’s tacky – like the way people still bring their iPads to take photos at concerts. That’s what this looks like.
  • Lastly, for the photo above. Don’t obstruct the groom. This is his big moment too.

I know it’s hard, but you can put your phone away during the ceremony. You’ve got the whole rest of your night to whip that thing out and hashtag the crap out of the couple’s big day.

[Source]

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RIP Seattle’s Gum Wall

photo cred | Flickr

In the saddest piece of news that I’ve read all week, the Seattle gum wall in Post Alley next to Pike Place is coming down! First off, two decades worth of chewed up spit up gum is up on this wall and while some people find it to be completely disgusting, guess what – I don’t hate it. Not one bit. I still take every person that has ever visited me in Seattle to this place because I think it’s fantastic. Why the city would want to clean this thing up is beyond me. They should probably worry about the random poo poo on the streets instead of this.

The sticky spread currently spans 54 feet and climbs eight feet high up the alley wall—there’s an estimated 150 pieces of gum per brick, and over one million wads total. It’s a collection 20 years in the making, started by audience members waiting in line for improv shows at the Market Theater.

The cleaning will start sometime this week and is expected to last a couple of days. Yeah, there’s THAT much gum on it. I wonder if people will start throwing up their gum after the cleaning. It’s what I would do. This thing is an icon.

[Source]

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A Collection Part 43

Sometimes these photographs and things are little reminders to myself, but basically more of a collection of my own thoughts from the last couple of months.

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Viral Instagram Photos Re-Made

I found this video by Cosmo editor Amy Odell to be pretty cheeky. In it, she recreates some of the most viral Instagrams herself and explains how much work it really can be from tying laces for an hour and posing in a way in which her breasts inch towards her navel. What does that even mean? I’m now on this path to watching lots of Instagram how-to videos. This is going to be on a long night.

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Emma Roberts x Aerie

Emma Roberts got in front of the cameras for Aerie recently and the pictures that came out of this campaign look stunning. Not only are they gorgeous (and she is too!) but they are also untouched which is something we can always appreciate. The young actress who has been promoting her new television series “Scream Queens” also held an intimate dinner last week to celebrate the campaign in Los Angeles.

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30 Days in the Life of a Baby Rabbit

Oh my goodness, happy Monday everyone! I’ve been really excited about the things that we’ve been posting this weekend and I don’t know anyone that hates starting off their week with adorable things. So that’s what we’re doing! This photo series of a baby rabbit’s first 30 days is all that you need and gosh – the captions that follow each photo? Enough to melt all hearts.

Click here for the ultimate cuteness.

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The Instagram Project

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If you’ve been following my Instagram page for the last four months, then you may have noticed a signifcant change in the way that I’ve been posting my photos as opposed to when I first started my account. My co-worker Emily is someone that I find pretty knowledgeable in Instagram given that she runs an account for her cats that does reasonably well. When I picked her brain awhile back about how I could gain followers for my account so that I could build upon Yow Yow, she gave me a very simple answer: Hashtags.

But wait, doesn’t that look kind of spammy?

Not if you put all of the hashtags in the comment section instead of the caption.” 

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Interesting. So I followed her advice. We happened to be together on “Caturday” at Dolores Park and after editing my photo and posting it, she helped me line up a variety of hashtags. (#cutecats #Saturday #DoloresPark #SF #adorable #cute #cats #catz etc.) Shortly after, the likes poured in. We ended at 54 and I was hooked. I convinced myself that I could do this experiment for another week, but naturally that ended up being four months. I was really put off by the hashtags at first so after I had received the desired number of likes that I was hoping for, I would go back and delete my hashtags comment. However, I learned that if I kept it there without deleting that users would continue to like my photos even weeks after.

That was just one of the things that I learned from this project, but I actually learned a lot more and have some pretty interesting stats to include in this post as well. Let’s start with the stats:

In my four months of doing this I had:

  • 8 regular photographers (people that have taken at least two photos for me. Most of them were my co-workers)
  • 17 photos of my food
  • 38 photos of my outfit
  • been to 3 different cities
  • staged 15 of my photos (had to rearrange things on a table/the way they would be taken)
  • spilled Jamba Juice on my bed. (This actually happened today so I’m still clearly a n00b)

Takeaways:

  • I still haven’t figured out how to gain a significant amount of followers like I had hoped. I gained more than 48, but if I count all of the followers that have been added since this project and stayed “following” that’s the number I have.
  • I was never going to really take off as an “Instagram” star. Unfortunately when Instagram came out, I think I was still using an old school Blackberry so all other bloggers had a huge advantage over me.
  • If I wanted to continue a following, I needed to post everyday at least once a day. I felt a weird sense of pressure from this and as a result felt like I didn’t have enough clothes to rotate into my shots (had to buy more!) and had to continuously look for inspiration.
  • Doing this project made me a better photographer. When I look back on all of the photos I took prior to doing this, I realized I was just taking photos “in the moment” and of my friends and random things that no one really cared about. Those photos just don’t get likes.
  • I still despise the #nofilter hashtag and refuse to use it ever.
  • I started asking myself the question, “Why would people care about this photo?” Why do people care about a group photo or a single shot of my friend from across the table? They don’t. But random strangers care about it if you hashtag it correctly and they’re the ones who will like your photo.
  • It’s very hard to like your first shot. Sometimes, I would come out of a session with 30 photos that I had to continuously delete in a row in order to get to the $$$ shot. There’s lot of photos in between that just don’t “look right” because a strand of hair is in my face or my eyes are blinking or my mouth is open.
  • I still have yet to post a “selfie!” and I probably won’t just because I don’t think I can get it right and they make me feel uncomfortable.
  • Even though I had a set of hashtags that I always used and knew would do well, I still had some doubts that I was missing out on other hashtags that could do better that I wasn’t using.

Tips:

  • If you’re going to capitalize on the fashion thing and the OOTD, then you’ve got to do it in moderation. I learned this lesson the hard way. I once had 3 outfits posts in a row. It didn’t hurt my likes very much, but when looking at the “whole” page of my Instagram, it looked off and didn’t display a “lifestyle” which is what people would rather see. Imagine a whole feed of outfits. No one really wants that.
  • I’ve heard that taking photos in the “Square” function of your camera gives you the best shots. I’ve tried it a few times now, but since I have so many photos with more of the white space around it, sometimes it looks out of place. What I like about the square though is that it kind of centers everything and makes it a lot easier for cropping. I’ll use this feature more when I’m trying to capture more of my outfit.
  • I definitely prefer having photos with more of the whitespace in the background. When looking at all of my photos as a whole, I just like that they give my Instagram page more of a uniform look, but I’ve read that it also provides people with more “visual relief” when scrolling through their feed. Because of this, it garners more likes.
  • Find a buddy! My friend Alex was also trying to step up his Instagram game around the same time as me so we would go on shoots together, give each other advice and basically lean on each other. When no one else understood what I was doing, it was great to have him around.
  • When possible, always include a location for where you’re at. That gives you a couple more hashtags to use.
  • If you’re trying to break into the fashion market, tag the brands you’re wearing. During the Nordstrom anniversary sale, I Instagrammed a Rebecca Minkoff bag that I fell in love with that I couldn’t afford and Nordstrom sent me a $50 gift card! Uniqlo has commented several times on my photos that they’d like to re-use my photo (they haven’t yet) but I have hope someday that they could so I keep trying.
  • High volume Instagram days don’t mean that you’re going to get likes. ie) Father’s Day. Because everyone is doing it and you’re not special. Your dads are – you just aren’t. On Instagram.
  • Just because your meal tastes delicious doesn’t mean it looks good.
  • Be courteous on Instagram. If someone random likes your photo, try and go to their page and give them a couple likes as well. If they leave a comment on your page, do the same.

This is still my favorite photo from this time period.

This is still the most liked photo at 73 likes and the first photo in the series of “outfit” posts.

Tools that I use: 

  • VSCO Cam for editing
  • Squaregram for the whitespace background
  • Twitter for sharing – most of the time I won’t share to Facebook though

Related articles:

So we’ve done 4 months of this. What now? Well, to be honest, Instagram has been way more fun since I started wanting to take better photos that I don’t really want to go back to what I was doing before. We’re going to continue on with the photos, the outfits, and the hashtags, and we’re looking forward to more learning and what happens next!

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Smilebooth

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A few years ago, I learned about Smilebooth through DesignLoveFest and promised myself that the next time I had the budget for it, I would rent a Smilebooth for an event that I was planning. Really though – my love for photobooths started at the ripe age of 18 when I was introduced to USnaps back in December at my high school graduation all-nighter party. From then on, I brought it to Seattle University and now in California we use Smilebooth. What I love about Smilebooth is how easy it is to use, how you can fit an enormous amount of people into one photo, and how easy it is to share online via email and social media. They’ve really won over my heart – especially that Bay Area team. ;) I wanted to take some time to share some love because I’ve booked them for two of our company’s events now (and a 3rd one next month!) and they’ve been my favorite to work with. Here are some snaps from our party just a couple of weeks ago!

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