April 28, 2013   |   personal, tips, wedding


I’m starting a new blog series called “A Look Back,” and I’ll use this series to showcase specific moments or details from past weddings: bouquets, first dances, ring exchanges, etc. And, since it’s a moment that is becoming increasingly popular among couples, I thought I’d focus on first looks for the first installment in this series.

First looks are great–not just for the photographer, but also for the couple. They are great for me as the photog because, usually, having a first look means that we will get extra time for portraits, and the couple won’t have to miss their cocktail hour. In short, first looks provide lots of flexibility in terms of the timeline, and flexibility almost always means better pictures!

For my clients, though, first looks allow them time to really have a MOMENT. And that moment is, at the end of the day, why I think that first looks are such a good idea. As these photos will attest, first looks allow couples to really bask in seeing each other–to have an intimate moment without having to worry about immediately beginning their wedding ceremony.

In fact, I can now speak about first looks from personal experience. When I was married this past June, my (now) wife, Sona, and I decided to have our own. We did a very low-key first look in our hotel room, surrounded by our friends and family. At this risk of embarrassing myself, I’m sharing some photos from that moment. It was, for both of us, one of the most special moments of our lives, and I’m so, so happy we did it. And yes, I cried like a baby. Go ahead and laugh; I can’t blame you.

Bethany from Maypole Studios was our fab photog, and she took the next two images.



And now, here are some of my favorite moments from first looks at weddings I’ve shot over the past few years.










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March 14, 2012   |   engagement, tips, wedding

It’s no secret than I’m a huge fan on Pinterest. I totally drank the koolaid.

I’ve been using Pinterest both as a photographer wanting to get inspired for shoots and as a bride planning my wedding. It’s been invaluable for both. My most-used Pinterest board is the one I use to collect images for photo inspiration. A lot of the images here are from other photographers, and I have never been afraid to admit that I look to the work of other photographers for inspiration. Once, in a poetry workshop, a famous poet told me, “The best way to write good poems is to read a lot of good poems.” I think the same is true about photography.

Pinterest helps me catalogue lots of things: interesting poses, compositions that I find striking, color palettes that pack a punch, and locations that photograph really well. I’m hoping that, increasingly, brides and grooms will begin using Pinterest as a way to catalogue their ideas, too. I always try to encourage my clients to think through a shoot before we go; you’ve got to do more than just show up. What is the mood you’re going for? Is there a theme? What outfits will best suit your theme or mood? What colors work the best in contrast to the location? All of these things matter, and–inevitably–it is the clients that have taken the time to think through these answers that always help produce the most creative and most successful shoots. I would be absolutely thrilled to get an email before an engagement session that says, “Danielle: Here’s a link to our Pinterest board. It’ll clue you in to what we’re thinking for the shoot!”

Until then, I’ll continue to pass on my ideas, my inspiration, and my “oh-my-gosh-can-we-please-do-this?” wishlist. Here are a few shoots that are on that list.

1. An at-home engagement session that takes place in a well-lit bedroom.

This shoot from the fabulous Jill Thomas is beyond gorgeous. As I said, the success of this kind of shoot would depend largely on how much natural light you have in your home. But, if you’re lucky enough to have big windows, this could be so much fun! I like how romantic, intimate and casual these shoots are.

2. A swimming shoot.

Jose Villa has done quite a few shoots like this one, and I adore them all. Whether it is in a lake or a swimming pool, an ocean or a pond, I’d love to have a couple that’s willing to jump in feet first… literally!

3. A shoot inspired by a favorite film.

I mean, who doesn’t love the movie Up? This Up-themed shoot is one of the most creative styled shoots I’ve seen in a long while. And I love that it was inspired by a movie that the couple–not the photographer–loves. This Notebook-themed engagement shoot is another fun one. What a great way to inform the mood and the costuming of a photo session!

So, couples, here are my ideas. Let’s hear yours!

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January 30, 2012   |   Clients, engagement, tips, wedding

I’ve had a couple of exciting publications and features here lately, and I wanted to share. Check out the spring issue of The Knot magazine for a feature on Ashley and Sunil’s Wedding!

Then one of my favorite new wedding magazines–Smitten–featured Courtney and Erik’s wedding on their blog. LOVE the way they organized the photos–beautiful!

Always happy and thankful to have my work featured!

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