Wedding at Santana Row (part 2)
Commercial Photography Blog by Photographer of the Year Award Recipient, Michael Soo.
Product photography, fashion, food and wedding.
San Francisco Bay Area, California, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai, Singapore.
Each wedding is marvelous, with its own behind-the-scenes stories to tell. As major lifecycle events within individual cultures, the traditions and styles of every wedding vary, too. It’s the excitement, smiles, and tears of happiness that are universal. This wedding includes a story that was a real nail biter. Their wedding day gave me my first glimpses into the vibrancy and customs of the Assyrian community. And this community is large. The church and reception hall for this event are in the Central Valley. This meant a caravan of limousines and cars making the trek over the mountains out of Silicon Valley. Their guests numbered over 700! Awesome! Now, on to the tale that will become family legend for the Assyrian couple. With the long distance to the church, there was no chance to run home and back for anything forgotten. And the paperwork for the priest got left behind. This is where the charm, talent…and persistence of the groom snatched victory from the jaws of wedding ceremony defeat. Against the odds and while the guests and bride waited outside, he persuaded Father Auchana Kanoun of Saint Zaia Church, Assyrian Church of the East in Modesto. (The couple returned the next day and fixed the paperwork problem. Whew!) After the successful wedding ceremony, the 700 plus guests and I traveled on to Turlock to and enormous reception hall, The Babylonian Room, at the Assyrian American Civic Club [link to: http://www.aaccot.org/index.php][photo of the outside of the facility]. As you'll see from the photographs, this was a very happy ending! So, there is no chance this couple won’t succeed after a start like this, not to mention—as you can see—their start also includes a GREAT collection of pictures. - Michael Soo
Labels: Assyrian, Assyrian American Civic Club, Assyrian Church of the East, bride, Central Valley, Father Auchana Kanoun, limousine, Modesto, Saint Zaia Church, Silicon Valley, tradition, Turlock, wedding
(click to enlarge) We have recently added two absolutely amazing product lines to our studio that I am personally very happy with. If you know me, I'm extremely selective when it comes to the products we provide. Our employees have been known to roll their eyes when I rejected a beautifully crafted album just because it doesn't have rounded corners (I refuse to believe that people will want to order sharp metal cornered albums, place them next to children, or adults). Maybe it is because I live in the same town where Steve Jobs work. ;-) (click to enlarge) A great deal of kudos go to Queensberry, our supplier in New Zealand. They are the best handcrafted album maker in the world. All the albums are hand-cut, hand-matted and assembled with acid free mats. The attention to detail and classic approach ensures the albums retain their appeal and integrity, as you pass them down from generations to generations. The albums are guaranteed to be free from defects in material or workmanship. (click to enlarge) The beauty of Queensberry albums is the unlimited capacity for customizations. Poetic balance between beauty, craftsmanship and functionality can be achieved to create either a classic or contemporary look to the albums. Talk about beauty, the other product line that we are introducing is called the Luminae Crystal Panels (image above). Its a phenomenal compliment to our classic Museum Quality Canvas Wrap. Luminae Crystal Panels are the brightest, longest-lasting and most energy-efficient LED-light panels in the world! The lighting is made to be evenly light a photography with no color cast. It is about half an inch in thickness with aluminium studs to hang on the walls, creating a modern look that is captivating. We are installing at least 6-10 of these products along our studio corridor with high-fashion images that we captured. I could go on and on about these one-of-a-kind products that only we can offer but I would rather you come and see them all up close and personal in our studio. Get an appointment to swing by...NOW! ;) - Michael Soo
A beautiful day, 72 degrees Farenheit in San Francisco and we spent the whole day in Sintak photography studio. All is not lost! We have a team of fun and talented individuals to party with indoors! We're shooting bridal gowns today! Dresses are designed and tailored by none other than Jinza Bridal Couture. There are many bridal shops out there but if you are looking for custom-tailored dresses, using exceptional materials, look no further. Jinza uses only top quality fabrics, pure French silk, organza, crepe, chiffon for a smooth flowing look. Jinza is both down-to-earth and pleasant. Story has it that Kelly (the model and bride-to-be below, YES! She's a real bride to be married in a few months!) tried over 65+ wedding gowns at Jinza's with no pressure from Jinza. Now THAT is what I call "excellent customer service"! Why let me tell you about it rather than checking out the shots... (Click on images below to see them LARGE)
As a general rule, the wedding slide shows I produce include a few earlier engagement pictures with the bride and groom dressed in their street clothes. You’ll notice in this piece, however, that the engagement sequence actually tells a story. And this is where I get to have fun sharing the experience of a best-laid-plan proposal that nearly got "flushed down the toilet." Too many metaphors? Here’s the story. Ronald had a choice to make: a motorcycle or an engagement ring. Of course, he chose the ring. He purchased it, hid it in a drawer, and began drawing up his plans for the perfect proposal. The theme was going to be "Of all the fishes in the sea, I choose you." He would fill the room with fish, retrieve his ring from hiding, invite Stella over, drop to his knee in front of all his finned decorations, and ask her the BIG question. Well, Stella pushed up the timetable by accidentally discovering the ring. Not easily deterred, Ronald was determined to stick to his plan. He sent Stella away, and in about an hour, he bought up the fish, tossed them into bowls, scattered them around the room, and Ronald - as we now know - was a success. Poor timing seemed to follow Ronald’s planning. To those of us trying to get to the ceremony, it felt as if the entire Bay Area was there, too. And they were. The streets were crowded with revelers going to the Academy of Sciences' grand reopening at the same time! Luckily for Ronald, other than that, his plans went smoothly. The wedding, at Zion Lutheran Church on Anza and 9th Avenue in San Francisco, was beautiful. A photography technique I used for this couple with their large family was, rather than backing down the aisle and out the door with my camera trying to fit everyone into the frame, I went upwards instead, using the choir loft—which, as you see, worked out very well. The reception was at a wonderful Chinese restaurant, Zen Peninsula on El Camino Real in Millbrae. A fantastic part of Stella and Ronald’s reception was a traditional Chinese Lion Dance. The fantastic motion and colors provided an opportunity for me to use a unique camera technique to capture this. I set the flash to high, focused on the nearby subject, then literally tossed the camera while it took the picture. This is NOT a trick to try at home!! However, when done correctly, the foreground is in focus and the background has a blurred quality. Here’s the picture for you to enjoy. View Stella & Ronald's Wedding Album
View Lacee & Tejas' Wedding Album
Labels: california, Cupertino, Cypress Hotel, Czech, Czechoslovakia, double event, drumming, Eastern, gown, henna, India, jump, mehndi, motion, wedding, wedding coordinator, wedding gown, wedding party
So, yes, it finally happened. My best bachelor of a friend is getting married...and I'm the best man. It took me a while to juggle the fact of the matter, should I be helping to photograph his wedding, or should I be enjoying that beautiful day. Well, I figured I'll do a half-ass job at both, bringing me joy and contribution to this wonderful event at Chateau La Joye, located in San Gregorio, California; a few miles from Half Moon Bay. During the ceremony, I setup my camera from a high position and used a remote shutter transmittor to snap pictures. Who woulda thought, the best man could still shoot images DURING the ceremony. Yeah baby! I'm the BEST....man! Here is their album, my photojournalistic view, from the bachelor party to the rehearsal to the wedding itself. *sniff* *sniff* 'Lil John's all grown up. ;-) - Michael Soo
Willie works mere minutes away from me in the big Apple HQ in Cupertino. This will give you a preequisite knowledge of where I shot Willie & Pattry's rings... But that's not what I'm going to write about. Rather, it comes as a great pleasure to have Willie & Pattry be the first wedding clients to grace my new website, Wedding Impress. From now forth, all my clients will have their space for their friends and families to view their Engagement images, Wedding Album, provide Testimonials, etc. Ok, Ok, enough of my shameless plugs. I do have to say that Willie is a heckavu cool guy. I had a load of fun shooting their engagement shoot at the Palace of Fine Art in San Francisco. The fun part isn't just taking shots where every single one of the usual photographers has burrowed their tripods. Rather, the fun arises where we took numerous shots that no other photographers has ventured to take. That, in my opinion is the fun. BTW Willie, despite protests from beautiful Pattry, I do think you look hellavu cool in your shades. ;-) - Michael Soo
Everyone meets someone unique every once in a while... Meeting someone who perservere through life's trials of fire and rise again from the ashes, that's definitely inner strength unseen. Stacy and Harold are two such persons. Wife of two months to Army Sgt Adam W. Estep, Stacy went through the worst type of pain that I can only claim to fathom. But time heals and despite not seeing Stacy going through the pain she went through for the past years (and will probably continue to face), it is my greatest honor and privilege to see her rise from the ashes. Her new mate, almost a common man, but one that possesses healing energy of a water dragon of sorts. Definitely one of the biggest heart a creature could claim to own, a kind soul and a being of true love; he managed to coax and soothe her from her burning cinders. Wings torn, golden feathers in soot, she rise again, slowly but surely. I watched in tears, my heart trembled. I am sadden by their circumstance but I envy their bond. These two mythical beings join into a harmonious cry. Such roaring silence of rebirth. For this is truly, life's greatest trials. Stacy and Harold, you both have opened my heart. My warmest wishes to you both. May life open doors in every direction as you move into your new life together. Wedding Album shot at Hakone Garden in Saratoga and Maggiano's in Santana Row - Michael Soo
Making food photography look better than before using natural AND artificial lighting! I hope you didn't blink. This is the last shot of the day where the baker made an amazingly beautiful wedding cake in less than 2 hours!!! We were using the stone background when the setting sun started shining it's warm golden light onto the wall (top right), casting the shadow of the structure 50 feet above. It lasted mere minutes. I whipped out my 35mm lens to include more background in the shot, change the 5 lights setup in 2 minutes (if you've done wedding or engagement photography, that'll improve your reflexes and thinking speed. Anything "wedding" has to be done in lightning speed, both physically and mentally. The lighting on the cake itself was controlled to show the depth of a white cake that still has texture within itself. The light behind the cake was carefully metered to be subtle and to accent the background, lighting what was supposed to be dark. Its dual purpose is to light up the "La" in "La Baguette" as well. Now, it glows a halo around the cake. Nice! Just what I needed. Within 2 minutes, all the lights were setup to show the white cake on white tablecloth nicely while the composition is surrounded by darker shadows (except the La Baguette paint). Perfect. I took 4-5 shots and the light that hit the wall was there no more. Could I recreate it? Of course! How much would it cost me to recreate a cookied shot like that using the best equipment? $10,000. (A high end Fresnel light + powerpack + a nice tall lightstand + a cookie board) Uh, any cheaper way? $3000. (A fresnel light modifier, the light of course, a tall light stand and a cardboard) Still expensive? $300. (Two really tall light stand, a cardboard and a light source but you need to do it at night. How much would it cost to do it with nature's help? Priceless! - MS
The most fun in any photoshoot is when you get to collaborate with the best talents the industry has to offer. Here, in this shoot, we have:
This completely customized wedding album was actually completed on Tuesday 4/17/2007, a mere 3 days after the 4/14/2007 wedding!!! Not to brag but this is somewhat unheard of. Most photography studios require at least one full month to complete a wedding album design of a lesser quality. I only get to post this today since I don't want others to see the album before the bride and groom do. It's a courtesy thing. They check it out last night and loved it with a minor change to the last page. So, it's signed off and ready for printing. ;) Rie & Bryan's Wedding Album - Michael Soo
By now, you probably think I'm a nutty professional photographer, dipping my toes into such a wide variety of subjects, from product photography to food photography to fashion photography to glamour photography to landscape photography and fine art photography to gosh, portrait photography, wedding photography and what else, commercial photography. On top of all that, I'm also well versed with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Website Design!!. Still think I'm sane?! I think not. While 90% of professional photographers out there strive to specialize in one field of photography, I spread my wings and claim strength in all. Is my brain really that slow? Contrary to what you might think, I have good explanations on what I've done thus far.
However, in spite of the above, most clients tend to think of a photographer is best when he or she is specialized. Just think, a bride probably will be more apt to choose a photographer who is specialized in weddings versus one who does everything. How do you, as a photographer prove otherwise? Show them your portfolio. The images needs to speak and they will, if you are good.