Monthly Archives: May 2011

personal

where my heart is

05 24 11

Taylor graduated from college and we made the drive south with Aaron’s family to hear her name called.

We had a lot of fun. We stayed at the Hotel Del Coronado and this. is. the hotel of my dreams.

Sometimes I find myself wishing I had a wedding to photograph when I’m at the Del.

And then I have to smack myself to remind me that the opportunity to photograph these people, my family, is the greatest blessing I could ever ask for.

My family will be the first ones to tell you that sometimes it is a PAIN to have a photographer in the family.

We can’t just take a photo. I’m moving them into the good light, double checking the photo after some hapless passerby volunteers to take it and inevitably I’m asking them to do just one more.

Just ask Aaron. His eyes start to roll when I ask if he’ll take a photo of me because he knows that I’m going to make him take a million before I am fully satisfied with the outcome. And I’m always yelling if I spy him messing with the settings after I’ve handed him the camera.

But deep down they love it. I know they do.

On the other hand, I couldn’t stop myself even if I wanted to.

I don’t just take photos to make a living. I take photos because I am literally compelled.

Compelled by the love of the story, of capturing the things I want to remember, of needing proof that the love is there, that the moments were real.

I am so deeply thankful for my family. I want to take photos of them all the time just to remind myself that they are real. That I have their love.

They are the reason I love what I do.

And I won’t stop taking their pictures.

panda

emily scott gem photo

vintage white sundress and floppy hat

crazy me

I’m a Southern California girl and sometimes I miss it dearly.

But home is truly where my family is.

Xoxo
Em

engagement

kathy + andrea : downtown los angeles engagement

05 19 11

I always love the cities that other people hate. I don’t know what it is. Rome. Los Angeles. Other people might see them as crowded, dirty and touristy. I can’t help but be captivated by the history that hides in the cracks. Call me an optimist. It’s those bright and vibrant things that make me forget the rest.

Kathy + Andrea are bright and vibrant spots in this city. When they laugh with each other, it is so big. You might think from these photos that I am hilarious (hey, I do have my moments) but the truth is that they laugh this way with each other all the time. In between moments they are cracking each other up.

I love discovering that part of relationships, the things we do to light each other up.

I can’t help but love these images of my new friends because it’s evident how much they light up each other’s lives.

union station los angeles engagement photography

We started at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. The architecture makes me swoon.

union station los angeles engagement photography

union station los angeles engagement photography

union station los angeles engagement photography

union station los angeles engagement photography

union station los angeles engagement photography

union station los angeles engagement photography

union station los angeles engagement photography

union station los angeles engagement photography

Across the street from Union Station is Olvera Street.

Easily one of my favorite places in downtown Los Angeles, it’s home to a host of traditional Mexican shops and street vendors.  Here you can buy everything from miniature toy accordions (I have one) to cowboy hats, it’s such a fun place to visit.

olvera street engagement

downtown los angeles engagement photography

downtown los angeles engagement photography

olvera street los angeles engagement photos

olvera street los angeles engagement photos

olvera street los angeles engagement photos

olvera street los angeles engagement photos

PUPPIES. I die.

olvera street los angeles engagement photos

olvera street los angeles engagement photos

Kathy + Andrea, thanks for allowing me to tell your story.

Your love is bright and happy like a wonderfully good belly laugh and it was fun to be around.

xoxo,

Em

editorial - personal

boxcars + bugle boys : j+m walk through a wedding san francisco

05 16 11

I’m not sure where to begin.

Justin + Mary’s Walk Through A Wedding Workshop in San Francisco last week was a game-changer.

First of all, Justin + Mary Marantz are the real deal. The bomb diggity.

Not only are they dedicated to the craft of wedding photography, I truly see how they are making other photographers not just better at what they do, but better at serving their clients, and better people. I know, right. Whoa.

They really care about people and about the importance of this job. And that is why I think I connect so deeply with what they are teaching.

I can’t say enough good things about them and this workshop.

Here’s a little recap of our day together. It’s probably woefully inadequate to describe how good these guys are at what they do and how much I learned. But here I go…

.  .  .

Justin + Mary started our day together by getting into the WHY.

Why they do what they do – the vision behind all the little decisions that have to get made on a wedding day.

This was a good reminder to know my mission on the wedding day – to capture timeless and sacred moments authentically and beautifully. To show the joy and the love. If I am focused on this, the little things won’t stress me out, and I can focus on what matters the most.

Even knowing your mission can impact the smallest decisions – where to shoot the bride’s shoes or perfume bottle, or how you speak to your bride as she is taking her portraits – all these little things make a serious impact on the wedding.

I know I want my impact to be positive but it’s so easy to get flustered with everything that is going on.

I was reminded to take a deep breath and relax so that my clients can relax too.

justin and mary walk through a wedding san francisco

Justin took us through his technical tips on how to photograph perfume and finding good textures for the accessories… even if it means pulling the drawers out of the nightstand.

vintage headpiece justin and mary walk through a wedding san francisco

Since this workshop is all about walking through a wedding, step by step, the second part of our day was spent at St. Mark’s Cathedral in San Francisco, where Justin and Mary took us through how they photograph the ceremony – from lighting situations to where to stand and how to pose family portraits afterwards.

st. marks san francisco justin and mary walk through a wedding san francisco

While we waited outside for Justin + Mary to get things ready, we couldn’t help but snap a few photos of our amazing models, real life husband and wife photographers Elizabeth and Ryan.

justin and mary walk through a wedding san francisco

I had some fun photographing Gladys – it was so fun to get to experience this workshop together!

Love you Glady!!

justin and mary walk through a wedding san francisco

I met Elizabeth and Ryan at WPPI last year and it was sooo fun to get to see them and photograph them. Photographers always make fun models!

red wedding shoes justin and mary walk through a wedding san francisco

The inside of St. Mark’s is so beautiful and candy colored. I could shoot here all day.

st marks cathedral justin and mary walk through a wedding san francisco

Mary looking totes adorbs as she finishes setting up the light for Justin’s demo on shooting the processional.

justin and mary walk through a wedding san francisco

Dean graciously agreed to be our father of the bride… In these photos the light source is set on the balcony above and you can see the soft lighting from behind as they walk down the aisle.

justin and mary walk through a wedding san francisco

Confession : I’m easily distracted.

justin and mary walk through a wedding san francisco

justin and mary walk through a wedding san francisco

 

 

justin and mary walk through a wedding san francisco

Our reception location was Bourbon and Branch in San Francisco.

This is a speakeasy bar. You have to know the password to get in through the unmarked doors outside and once in there are a bunch of secret doors and stairways to different bars and rooms.

Coolest. Place. Ever.

bourbon and branch justin and mary walk through a wedding san francisco

 bourbon and branch san francisco

justin and mary walk through a wedding san francisco

Confession : When I first saw our reception site and realized we wouldn’t be taking any more natural light portraits, my heart sank a little. It was dark dark dark in there.

BUT, and this is a big BUT, it really forced me to try new things and embrace some of the things that Justin + Mary were showing us with their flash setup – without being distracted by taking a bunch of easy photographs.

And when I look at the portraits we took using the flash, I can’t believe I didn’t have faith. I LOVE THEM to the moon and back and also it makes me a believer in Justin and Mary. These guys are the real deal. I’m not just saying that.

Before we get to those, Mary took us through some of their go-to poses that they use on the wedding day.

I found this to be hugely helpful because on a wedding day you sometimes have 10 minutes for portraits and when it comes time to pose I get overwhelmed and my mind goes blank.

These poses are a helpful arsenal for that.

 

vintage wedding inspiration bourbon and branch san francisco

To give you an idea of how dark it was down there, these are shot at f/1.2 ISO 6400 at 1/50 of a second …

justin and mary walk through a wedding san francisco

These are shot using the off camera flash (to the right). I love the dimensional light it creates and the depth it gives to these details.

vintage 40s wedding justin and mary walk through a wedding san francisco

40s wedding theme justin and mary walk through a wedding san francisco

We’re getting into favorite portraits ever territory.

Justin + Mary, I can’t say enough how thankful I am for this workshop!

 

EEEEEEEEP.

vintage wedding inspiration bourbon and branch san francisco

Ryan, you are so working it.

30s wedding inspiration bourbon and branch san francisco

Oh, your love is beautiful to watch. I hope you know that.

vintage wedding inspiration bourbon and branch san francisco

 

Julia, you did such an amazing job with all the details for this workshop! And I have to say you are a pretty cute candy girl to boot.

boxcars and bugle boys wedding inspiration bourbon and branch

 

I loved our bridesmaids! Thanks girls for being so rad and for laughing at my jokes… I know they were bad.

vintage wedding inspiration bourbon and branch san francisco

You guys are too cute!

justin and mary walk through a wedding san francisco

Be sure to check out Justin + Mary’s sneak on their blog! So good.

Xoxo

Em

personal

the craft : color + light

05 13 11

A lot of professional photographers seem to be picking up film cameras again.

I think it’s because photographers like Jose Villa and Elizabeth Messina use film in such a beautiful way (I am a huge fan of both of them) and also because the idea of not spending all our work day behind the computer screen sounds infinitely appealing to a lot of us.

Both Jose + Elizabeth seem to have this way of capturing the light and the color in such a delicate and soft way. It’s easy to see from their work how beautiful film can be.

I do love film. I have stacks of 35mm prints that my mom took with her Pentax SP 1000 and they have this nostalgic and amazing feeling about them. They are imperfect and wonderful and alive – they were simply shot in that moment and that’s how they ended. Real.

I’ve been practicing lately – not with any film camera – but with my digital equipment, trying to get my photos to look exactly how I want them to look, right when I take them. Essentially, develop them right there. Not try to work them into something else later on the computer. We can all spot photoshop these days. I want my photography to reflect the moment as it happened.

I am practicing this by setting everything on my camera manually – choosing the exact white balance so that the colors look just like they do to my eye, choosing the right exposure, and cropping just how I want it. No do overs. Shot in JPEG so that the image is set like that and not making those RAW adjustments later to compensate.

It’s been something that is helping me improve the craft of color and light in my photographs.

Things that bring warm, joy and love out of an image. Things that make my heart sing.

The following are photos straight out of my camera – absolutely no editing of color or exposure.

All of the work done right in the moment.

It’s digital with a film heart.

lavender gem photo

ISO 200     f/2     1/1250 shutter speed     50mm     Canon 5D Mark II

white balance 6000 K for cloudy

lavender

ISO 200      f/1.4      1/3200 shutter speed     50mm     Canon 5D Mark II

white balance 5200 K for daylight through the window

ISO 200      f/1.2      1/5000 shutter speed      50mm     Canon 5D Mark II

white balance set to 6000 K for cloudy

ISO 200   .   f/2   .   1/2000 shutter speed   .   35mm   .  Canon 5D Mark II

white balance set to daylight 5200 K

pink rose gem photo

ISO 200   .   f/1.2   .   1/200 shutter speed   .   50mm   .  Canon 5D Mark II

white balance set to shade 7000K because the sun was setting

ISO 200   .   f/1.2   .   1/2000 shutter speed   .   50mm   .  Canon 5D Mark II

white balance set to daylight 5200 K

ISO 200      f/2      1/800 shutter speed      50mm     Canon 5D Mark II

white balance set to 5200 K for daylight

ISO 200      f/2      1/800 shutter speed      50mm     Canon 5D Mark II

white balance set to 5200 K for daylight

peach roses

 

I’d love to hear any questions you have, whether you are a professional or a point-and-shoot moment documenter.

I probably glossed over some photo terms to simplify things but if you need any clarification I’d love to work it out for you.

What do you love about film? Digital? What makes an image for you?

xoxo

Em

UPDATE 1/14/13 

I wanted to post an update to this since I still regularly get people finding this post online via google 2 years after I wrote it.

What I have found, since writing this post, was that nothing I could do in camera could really compare to the look of film.

You can get close, but nothing can really replace the look of Fuji 400H shot on medium format film. So now, I’m shooting film for real.

I still think you can use these tips I was doing 2 years ago, but I wanted to tell you about 2 things that you should also be thinking about:

Every camera + every lens captures COLOR differently. I still shoot digital from time to time and now I use the 5d mark 3 – and the color is a lot less magenta than the 5d mark 2. So I would suggest trying different cameras + different lenses to see how the color varies.

And maybe you should pick up a film camera. You might just like it even more than digital.

personal

mother’s day

05 09 11

my mom.

This is my mom.

Mary Margaret Frangie.

We lost her when I was just 2 years old. She was hit by a drunk driver on her way to work. She was studying to become a nurse.

Sometimes, Mother’s day is hard.

Mom, I wish you were here today.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop thinking of what it would have been like to really know you.

I think that we would have laughed a lot together.

I think we would have drove each other crazy.

I think you must have been as stubborn as I am.

And full of fight.

But in the pain of losing you, there was an opportunity for love. Love overwhelming.

Know that in losing you, God chose to show me how he could take care of me.

He provided abundantly. Know that.

On this Mother’s day, I am reminded that I owe so much to the other “mother’s” in my life who have shaped me into the woman I am now.

The women that God knew I needed at every step of the way, and graciously provided.

A gift I cherish today.

The women who taught me how to be strong.

The women who showed me when it’s okay to be weak.

The women who modeled their faith for me.

The women who loved me.

The women who have accepted me.

Beautiful women:

You know who you are.

This Mother’s day… I am grateful for you.

 

xoxo

Em

personal

Slice of Life : April

05 05 11

This month went by in a blur.

The thing that I have been enjoying about taking pictures of my food – is that I’m really recording little slices of life.

Great things happen over food, one of my favorite thing is sharing a meal with friends and catching up – I had a lovely lunch yesterday with some dear friends and was reminded of this.

One of the things I love about working from home is the freedom to slow down and enjoy whatever I like for lunch. It takes effort to physically stop myself from just working through meals and prepare something. But when I do I am so thankful for the slowness of it – the time to relax.

Here’s to food. And what it means.

And here’s what I made, and ate, this month:

kale and chard

I picked up a basket full of greens during EurJean + Bobby’s farmer’s market engagement session.

Aaron and I love to eat our kale with hot dogs + soy sauce.

This is quite possibly the strangest thing we make in an otherwise sane diet . I think we started making this back when we were getting a seasonal farm box delivered to our home and during the winter it was like, “Kale, again?” so we started to get inventive.

This mix is probably inspired by some hawaiian stir fry’s we have heard of – did you know they like to eat spam in everything?

So that doesn’t make the hot dogs sound so crazy, right?

kale and hot dog stir fry

The trick is to not overdo it on the soy sauce since the kale absorbs it so readily.

roasted beets

Roasted beets.

pamela's bread mix

On a free afternoon I love to bake a loaf of Pamela’s gluten free bread. Even my friends who don’t have to eat gluten free like it!

garlic basil mayo

Garlic Basil Mayonaise. This is another recipe that came out of our farm box. Aaron goes nuts over this stuff.

garlic basil mayo recipe

garlic basil mayo

homemade garlic basil mayo

I have a serious weakness for good coffee and breakfast foods…

coffee and bagel

Here is a bagel made from that same Pamela’s bread mix. They are hard to shape but worth the effort later…

jcrew catalog

What I’m usually browsing while eating… my design muse… the JCREW catalog.

pork stir fry

Pork and Chinese broccoli stir fry

simple roast chicken

The day I discovered how easy/money saving/delicious it was to roast a whole chicken… my life changed. For the better.

simple roast chicken

waffles and peanut butter

A midday snack. Waffles and peanut butter. And coffee, of course.

tomato zucchini pasta

This is a recipe I learned while in Italy a few years ago. My aunt had booked us a cooking class with the chef at the hotel we were staying at right outside Orvieto.

Our chef didn’t speak English. Luckily, the recipe was so easy she just had to cook and we learned.

Start with olive oil (lots, in a pan) and simmer tomatoes and zucchini in it for a long time.. the olive oil becomes really flavorful and just serve over fresh pasta.

I love it how simple and delicious it is. Aaron needs things to be a bit more complicated (and everything needs meat in his opinion) so usually I spruce it up with pesto and this time I added some shredded chicken leftover from the roast.

banana choco chip walnut waffles

If we’re home on a Saturday morning, you can bet we are cooking breakfast/brunch. It’s our favorite meal.

This time we made banana walnut chocolate chip pancakes with Pamela’s baking and pancake mix – which has almond meal in it so these pancakes are hearty and filling.

banana pancakes

Steel cut oats. Also good for any meal.

steel cut oats

I’d love to get some of your favorite go-to recipes!

What’s a recipe that you make so much you just know it off the top of your head?

 

Xoxo

Em