Mid-Century Circus Party

Hello blog readers!  I have a special treat for you this morning: photos from a mid-century circus-themed birthday party.  Adm's sister-in-law, Jennye, and her friend Karen are creating a book on how to throw mid-century themed parties.  It's going to be filled with lots of ideas on how to entertain with a vintage flair, but with modern conveniences.  Each chapter will have a different themed party.  To pitch the book, we're creating a few chapters, and the first one out is the Circus Birthday Party.  About a month ago, they threw an amazing party that I photographed.  There were so many fun details - everything from the food to the attire and games to the decorations were completely in line with the theme.  The best part too was that all of the kids had a super time and everything about the party was easy to re-create and affordable.  Based on this party alone, I can guarantee this book is going to be AMAZING!

Introducing: The High Five Factory

Custom photo booth backdrops for weddings, parties and special events. My friend April lives across the street, and she is by far one of the most creative people I know.  I've solicited her help on quite a number of wedding related projects - most recently, she helped me make the backdrop and animal faces for Liz and Darren's photo booth (see below):

While we were crafting, we started thinking that we should make custom backdrops, props and themed photo booth kits and sell them as creative, one-of-a-kind options for couples.  There seems to be a lack of unique photo booth accessories out there so we decided to start with a few trial ideas.  We're currently selling items and accepting custom orders as The High Five Factory on our Etsy site.  We're still just getting started, and we have LOTS more fun ideas in the works so check back often for new items and ideas.
Here are our first set of backdrops, and we are happy to create backdrops with custom colors/fabric:  from upper left, going clockwise, I give you:  Into the Jungle, Rainbow Brite, The Nautical, and (our personal fave) The Carlton
Custom photo booth backdrops for weddings, parties and special events.

We recommend using a backdrop stand (this is the one I have), but you could always hang the backdrops on a sturdy clothesline.
So, check us out!  You know you want to.  : )

Including Pets in Your Wedding

Adam and Ashley include their dog, Hudson, in a wedding portrait outside their Russian Hill apartment in San Francisco.

One of my favorite parts about Katie and James' wedding was that they included both their dog, Ember, and James' parents' dog, Cabo, in all of their wedding festivities.  As a dog lover and all around animal person, I loved having those two at the wedding, and I completely understand how most pets quickly attain family member status.  Personally, we love our little Kiki so much that we try to take her with us wherever we go, but as dog owners, we also understand the importance of planning ahead when taking our pup on excursions.  It is no different when you want to include them in your wedding, and so I thought I'd write out some of the things you'll want to think about if you plan to include your dog(s) at your wedding.  I'm gearing this specifically for dogs, but most of the advice can apply to other animals.

First things first:  Cover the basics.

1.  Have you cleared your dog's presence with your venue?  Not all of the beautiful places that have weddings want to risk their furniture, floors and gardens.

Chihuahua enjoys the Keating Hotel in San Diego, California.

2.  Are all of your vendors on board with having your pets around?  Just think, what if your officiant had an allergy-attack in the middle of your vows?

3.  Who will clean up after your pet?  No guest wants to step in dog poop at a wedding.  Also, who will be in charge of feeding your pet and giving them water?

4.  Will chewing be a problem?  You know if your dog is likely to nibble on your beautiful wedding touches.

Next (and most importantly), think about the impact your wedding will have on your pup.  Is having your pet at the wedding something that your pet will enjoy or is it really just to make you and your fiance happy?

5.  Will the music be too loud for your dog?  Dogs' ears are far more sensitive than ours and a bass-heavy dance party could damage their ears.

6.  Will your summer wedding be too hot for your pet?  Some dogs cannot be out in the heat for long periods of time.

7.  Will your wedding overstimulate your dog?  Our Kiki is a high-strung dog who gets easily excited.  Too many new people might scare your pet and make them defensive and reactive.

Once you've made sure that having your pet at the wedding is both doable and the best decision for everyone involved, then you can start thinking about how to incorporate your dog into the wedding.  Here are some ideas:

1.  Portraits!  We love including dogs in the portraits.  Unless your pup is super well-trained, you may want to add a little more time for the portrait portion since photographing animals can be a little more finicky.

Golden Retriever Hogan poses for wedding portraits with Jaclyn and Andy in Ambassador Park in Santa Barbara, California.

2.  Well-trained dogs can make great ring bearers.

German Shepherd Ember serves as ringbearer in Katie and James' wedding ceremony at a private home in Solana Beach, California.

3.  Your dog might make a great addition to the receiving line.  Who doesn't love a good puppy handshake?

4.  If your dog is small enough, you might be able to carry them in lieu of a bouquet.

5.  Maybe your dog is extra friendly with children and so he'll/she'll be lots of fun for the wee ones to play with.

However you choose to include your pets in your wedding, remember to make it as easy for them as possible.  One last tip: we recommend that you give your dog a long walk or a run before the wedding so that they'll be calm and ready to be compliant during the ceremony.

Cute pug Momo gets a kiss from her mommy bride Thea during Thea and Marc's wedding at a private home in Altadena, California.

Random Inspiration

I spend a lot of time surfing the web. Wayyy too much time, but in my defense, there is just a lot of really great stuff out there. I've decided to start randomly doing some blog posts that share things that I currently find inspiring both photographically and in my day to day life.





Dressing for Engagement Sessions

what to wear for engagement sessions

I'm also a big fan of including props that are either fun and playful or meaningful for you as a couple.  One of the first engagement sessions that Adm and I did was with Judith and Tom, and it was an absolute blast because they asked us to photograph their session as the story of country mouse meeting city mouse, which is how they felt their relationship came about.  We brought all kinds of fun props including a loaf of bread and a big straw hat for Tom to wear as the country mouse.  Even if you don't want to go that far, including something simple like a bouquet of flowers or balloons can add a sweet element to your photos.

props for engagement sessions

We're also big animal lovers and so anytime our couples ask to include their pets in a few photos, we're always on board!

dogs at oakland engagement session in bay area

So, there you have it.  Remember, there's no such thing as getting too dressed up or in poor Tom's case, dressing down too much.