Wednesday, October 13, 2010

We are under construction!

After a long wait of almost 4 months of no help from BluDomain, my previous host, we are finally underway to get things done and build my new site!  I normally do not like to blast negatively on my blog and forgive me if I am coming across that way.  But in all honesty, BluDomain has made my life impossible for the past few months! 

I simply requested to transfer domain as I found a new host and a new site for YStudio.  While, I will not mention any names but she knows who she is at BluDomain, made this near impossible for me, for months!  I finally got tired of it and decided to get busy and I did everything in my power, including threatening to contact my attorney.

Finally after almost 4 months, she released my illegally harbored domain, but now we need to wait until she approves the final phase.  If there is anything I learned from this entire experience is, when purchasing a domain, make sure you are purchasing it through a company that will list YOU as the registrar and domain owner, otherwise YOU will have no access or authorization to do anything!  Your hands like mine, will be tied.

Yes BluDomain offers quick, easy and beautful flash solutions for your site, but they also offer the WORSE customer service on the face of this planet.  I will NEVER recommend them, as a matter of fact I will discourage anyone and everyone who asks me NOT to go with them.  I am sorry for BluDomain and their loss in business due to their inability to offer sites that are SEO friendly, but that is why they need to develop a medium to benefit their clients, if you sit and wait, nothing happens.  I refused to sit and wait and I am going forward.  No more Ms. Nice gal for me, not when it comes to offering the best to my business and my clients like YOU!.

In the meantime, I am celebrating the crossover to a SEO friendly site, with yummier eye candy and quick solutions for my business.  I want to take this time to thank Kim Townsend of Kimtown who has been NOTHING but elegant, professional, inspirational and encouraging.  I look forward with great anticipation to the NEW & much improved YStudio Photography site!

I would also like to thank an amazing friend, and now business associate, Mimi Renfro-Rodrgiuez of Creative Designs by Mimi who has supported encouraged me and created a beautiful enhancement to our logo. Mimi is a creative and super talented Wedding Invitation and event stationery artist!  She's truly amazing and I am so happy that she's also an integral part of YStudio!  Wait til you she what she's cooking for us! 

Another special thank you goes to Robert Valdes of Robert Valdes Photography who has also supported and educated me on this entire process....initially I had contacted Robert to work with me on my site, however, timing was not good for either of us.

Once again, thank you all for your patience while the development of the site moves along, please come back and see us again SOON!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Destination Wedding Photography Tips you can survive with!

Update:  See our wedding featured on Asian Inspired Weddings
Click here for the feature!

I am NOT one that likes to brag, but it would be insane if I did not "share" our experience and just one of the many happy outcomes from a recent Destination Wedding shot in Hawaii.

Being in business since 2007 I still consider ourselves "babies" in the industry.  However, Wayne has been shooting for many years as I have.   After our own wedding we decided to add Photography Services to our already existing business venture of Wedding Consultation & Planning.  I still remember the very first wedding Ceremony I officiated, in 1997 and my love for weddings has never fact I think it's an even larger love now and  just one of the many obsessions I have!

So, what can I share with you  to help you on your next destination wedding?  Well hang on to your seats as there are so many things that if one plans ahead, things can go relatively smoother.  These are just some of the things that I can get your notepads!

Here's just a few ways to make the entire process just a tad bit smoother.....

  1. If your clients live out of town or out of state, it is very difficult to meet up, so make sure you are on the ball with emails and phone calls.  There is nothing more exciting for me than to call a client who is right in the middle of planning her exciting BIG DAY!  If you are paralyzed with fear, get over it ...QUICK!
  2. Don't be shy, your client wants to hear your excitement, this will put her at ease, don't worry that she will not like you, she already LOVES your work, she wants to know who you are, so LET GO, so she can!
  3. Keep in touch with your clients on a regular basis, have them help you complete your info sheets
  4. Join them on Facebook!  I cannot stress the importance of social media, but in destination weddings it is CRUCIAL!  THIS is how I got to know the family, friends, and wedding party months before the wedding.  The excitement was contagious and FB and Twitter was just what we needed to find out about all of the little details etc.
  5. Contact the vendors.  In this case, Hawaii, I know everyone is really on HAWAIIAN time, so I made sure to contact the venue and vendors prior, and with ample time. I introduced myself about a month prior to the wedding day and got even more details and info from the Wedding Coordinators from the venue.  (This not only helps you as the photographer, but it also helps to start a great business relationship with vendors for possible future interactions).  Offer to give the vendors photographs on a CD after the event, and make sure you watermark each image.  Include all vendors, designers, etc., on your blogs and do not forget to link to them as well as label them.  SEO baby!
  6. Talk or email at least ONCE with the brides mother or father, trust me on this one, it really helps to have interaction and a connection.....
  7. I know we all LOVE LOVE LOVE getting those creative and imaginative shots but remember, the traditional shots are really what sells, and are the ones that usually end up on the mantle or on the office desks.  Think parents, grandparents and business associates.  Trust me, many times, the amazing creative shots you got down on the ground to capture, are not purchased by the elders, but they are great for the bride and groom and it will not hurt your portfolio either :O) But, parents and grandparents = sales
  8. When traveling for a Destination Wedding call the airlines and find out about carry on luggage as well as check in luggage, remember, camera equipment is heavy, and we overlooked the fact that they weigh carry on as well at Hawaiian Airlines....argh! Thank God we managed and did not have to pay extra!
  9. Travel as light as possible, and try to make a connection with a local photographer if you can, trust me there are still some good people out there who can help you with finding spots, or even lend you their studio or equipment.  We were blessed to have met an amazing man and photographer, Eddy Fong of Renai Photography.  We ran into him at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on the night of the Wedding Rehearsal, and he was more than helpful, plus, we LOVE LOVE LOVE his work, see for yourself!
  10. Make sure you have all dates and details of ALL events of the wedding (i.e., rehearsals, dinners, outings, etc.), make yourself available to make arrangements to come along, the more interaction you have with the families and your clients, the better!  Forget about whether you charged for it or not, you are there, in a different place, make it beautiful!
  11. PLAN and make arrangements to take the couple out for an hour or two to capture shots of them in this distant land, yes I know they are busy, but we stressed the importance to our clients, and in turn they needed the little getaway anyways, and POW we got an amazing Sunset Session in Makua Beach the eve of the wedding!  See the video slide herein.
  12. And finally take some time for YOU and your team, we took our assistants out to an island  beach tour where we traveled the entire island and swam, boogie boarded and dived at almost all of the beaches, they LOVED it !  Oh and of course we had some ONO KAU KAU (means delicious food).  And on the day of the wedding they worked hard!  Thanks Nunus and my son Angelo for being such GREAT assistants!
Ok so I can go on and on but you get the idea right!?  Think about capturing the essence of where this wedding is, take shots everywhere that the couple can incorporate into their wedding memories, imagine, believe and create!

Happy Travels & Happy Shooting!!!!!!!!

Images here taken during the actual wedding rehearsal, mahalo to Mr.and Mrs. Aaron Yen, you guys are simply A M A Z I N G !!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Sunny 16 Rule - A VALUABLE Wedding Day Photography Tip

If many of you "cringe" at the thought of having to shoot the formals at a wedding, trust me honey, you are NOT alone! I remember when I first started shooting weddings how paralyzing this was, and although it's still a pain in the neck, time and practice as well as constant practicing has helped me a lot. Although being a photographer, one has to realize, we will NEVER know it all, but having that "can do" attitude sure makes it look like we do, and THIS is essential for putting your clients and the wedding party at ease! I cannot express the importance of the following some very important steps to ensure that this process goes as smoothly and as briefly as possible.

  1. LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION! Scout out your location prior to the wedding day, Preferably, do this near the time of your actual shoot. For example if the ceremony ends at 3:00 p.m., you will most likely be shooting formals and portraits from 3:15 - 4:00 or so. Visit and scout out the location near the same "shooting time."
  2. LOOK for shadows, shade, dabbled light, etc.
  3. When meeting with your clients one of the crucial questions on your info sheet should be: SIZE of the entire wedding party including Bride & Groom
  4. PLAN on at lease ONE assistant, trust me, you can NOT do this alone unless you are seasoned
  5. Prepare of LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT! The SUNNY 16 RULE: Even in harsh sunny light, you will need to play a lighting war game with the sun. For example, look at this photo...See how many people? The posing, they are in the OPEN sunlight at or around 12:00 p.m. Now I could have easily placed them under the shade (as they begged), but I politely refused and tried to explain the shadows would be a nightmare. Specs on this shot 200 ss, 200 iso, and f14, with on camera Canon Speedlite 580 EXII. Keep in mind, Sunny 16 rule is usually 250 ss, 250 iso and f16, but on my Canon I feel that is a bit dark for my taste, adjust according to your taste but make sure you have the light as even as possible over each subject. My assistant is holding an off camera strobe Canon 430 XII just to the right of the camera angled diagonally at the group. I asked the group to close their eyes to avoid blinks and squints due to direct sun, and on the count of 1-2-3, they opened their eyes, I took the shot! We repeated this 3 times, and nailed this right out of the camera in LESS than 5 minutes! It did not help that they had the open bar going so they all wanted to go get a beer, and so we have to think quick folks!
  6. With this taken care of..let the party go have their fun and snatch the bride and groom for their mantle and portrait shots. It's so much can go with your clients and your assistant can stay close to the wedding party and capture other essentials such as reception room prior to having anyone enter, etc.

I am NOT trying to pretend I know it all, in this business, you simply cannot as there is so much to learn! But what I DO know, is I want to share my experience, so many pros like Scott Kelby, Dave Ziser and Joe McNally, Jerry Ghionis, Bambi Cantrell, and others have taught me so much, I want to be part of a community such as this!

Please feel free to comment and to ask away OR even better.....if YOU have a tip or two you would like to share with your fellow photographers, please send me a note, I would love to feature you and your tutorial!

Ok folks that's it for today! See some other examples here where the sunny 16 rule can help overpower sun and window glare!

The glare here with natural light was drowning out the gorgeous blue sky and palms in the background. This was the brides suite's actual window view of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, and I did NOT want to jeopardize it in the shot. Sunny 16 rule used here.....Again, my goal here was to make this look like a painting, truly the view from this room was amazing!!! These are the bridesmaids bouquets!

(Here is a sample of the same rule, using an off camera video light), my hubby's favorite shot!)

Cheers everybody!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Omedetō gozai masu (Congratulations), to Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Yen!

YStudio Photography is extending a great big congratulations to this amazing couple!  Aaron and Andrea are an amazing couples whose backgrounds include, Japanese, Mexican, and Chinese!  This fabulously handsome, young and spirited couple currently live in Las Vegas, Nevada and they chose YStudio to cover this milestone event.  We were humbled, excited, and enthusiastic to be fortunate enough to photograph the nuptials in none other than Oahu, Hawaii!

Family and friends came from as far as Taiwan, Nevada, California, as well as many other states across the mainland.  For months friends shared their enthusiasm on Facebook, they were anxious  to join the couple and their families on the islands of Hawaii for a destination wedding week that was filled with daily events such as Island tours, luau's, golf, beach days, and special family acquaintance and rehearsal dinners, and of course, the wedding!

The couple wanted the best, therefore choosing The Royal Hawaiian Hotel (2nd hotel built on Waikiki in the 1920's), as  their ceremony and celebration site.  The celebration began on Friday when all or most of the guests and family members as well as the bride and groom arrived on the island, the wedding day was slated for Monday, August 9, 2010.The couple was adamant about their choice of numerology and 8-9-10 are ALL great numbers  part of an Asian tradition of  fortune, prosperity,  and blessings among what is one of the most important milestones of their lives!

The happy couple shared their first glance on the patio of the hotel as family and the wedding party were anxiously awaiting to see Andrea waltz in with her fabulous figure adorned in a Maggie Sottero gown courtesy of Bowties & Bridal Boutique of Las Vegas.   Andrea is a stunning young lady and in all of her bridal beauty she sparkled and shined, her hair floral piece as well as her bouquet were inspired and created by Cindy's Lei Shoppe of Honolulu  The bridal jewelry courtesy of Jared Galleria of Jewelery  and Aaron Lelah Jewelers.  Now let's not forget the groom!  Aaron, a Las Vegas accomplished Attorney, styled a tuxedo by none other than Celebrity Tuxedo's also of Honolulu and he was looking pretty dapper, see for yourself!

With the help of the bride's mother, we managed to sort of kidnap the couple on the eve before the wedding and  drove to a secret "much needed" getaway.....a gorgeous "Sunset Portrait Session" at Makua Beach (aka Pray 4 Sex Beach).  It was a lengthy but gorgeous drive to the far side of the island  to Makaha!  See here why my husband Wayne , (who is from Waianae, near the Makaha area), had his heart set on this particular beach.  We have attached a slide show of this session for all to was yummy indeed!  We'll let the images speak for themselves and you too may see WHY this destination wedding, was super special!  Everyone at this wedding including YStudio agrees wholeheartedly! Click here to watch this on our YStudio Photography Facebook Page....!/video/video.php?v=1582007156813

Me ke aloha pumehana (with never ending love),
YStudio Photography

Vendor Courtesy:

Royal Hawaiian Hotel (venue, catering and cake)
On site Wedding Coordinators:  Ke' aloha and Cila Goda
Cindy's Lei Shoppe
Jared Galleria of Jewelery   
Aaron Lelah Jewelers
Bowties & Bridal Boutique 
Maggie Sottero
Celebrity Tuxedos
XPress Entertainment (DJ) Rick Peralta 
Hair Styling:  Katie Pryor 
Makeup:  Andrea Hernandez-Yen (YES! The bride herself!)
Photography:  YStudio Photography

Monday, August 23, 2010

Get ready for the Getting Ready Photos!

Planning a wedding is NO easy task, in fact after the wedding is over, many brides admit, if they hadn't hired a planner, they wish they had!  Unless you have done it yourself, it is hard to fathom exactly what all is involved.  There are so many emotions during what is supposed to be an amazing and beautiful memory, it still can be, consider "getting ready" photos for your wedding day!

You may be asking yourself, what on earth do I want with a bunch of photos of me looking   not so great, hair in curlers, no makeup, what am I going to do with these photos?  Think for one moment, during this time usually mom, dad and the rest of your loved ones are nearby.  You would be amazed on  how important these moments leading up to the very minute you see your fiance for the first time and walking down the aisle.  Plus it is a beautiful capture of you in your space, all giddy, and ready to go, at this point in the wedding planning, there is "nothing" more you can do.  The venue is set, as is your photographer, your cake, dress, everything is ready and all you have to do is "show up!"

As a wedding photographer myself, I know all too well the "value" of the getting ready photos, the emotions are priceless, but so is the opportunity to get to know my clients as well as their mothers, fathers, and family.  It allows for that extra special time we need to bond, laugh, cry and prepare for one of the most important days of their lives!  I could not dream of anything engagement shoot is also highly recommended as many of you know, I always include these sessions for my couple because again, it is about them!

Remember folks, your parents are here once in a  lifetime, when they are gone, only the memories remain.  Make them count, see the beauty everywhere and consider "Getting Ready" photos on your wedding day!

Seen here: Hair Style and Makeup Artist :  Teresa Reynolds  and the bride Giselle with  her lovely mother "Fortune" of Newark, CA.  Congrats to the happy couple!

Wedding Venue:  Mountain Terrace, Woodside, CA
Getting Ready Photos here:  YStudio Photography
Official Wedding Photographer:  I-Motion, Los Gatos, CA (Simon)

Friday, August 13, 2010

What on earth to do with wedding photos!?

Ok so here you are, your wedding photographer has done their job, and now you are wondering what to do with all of the photos?  Well, if you are dealing with a professional photographer, why not ask him or her? I am sure they will have a solution to your problem.  Nowadays, there are dozens of options and there are several price variations as well.

A photographer's job is NOT over after the shoot and if a  photographer hands over the photo CD not only is their job NOT DONE, but it also creates an overwhelming   situation for the you as a client!  Nowadays most professional wedding photographers will NOT hand over the full size negatives, and I see it as a blessing  because what on earth will you do with over 1,000 photos!? And one has to acknowledge that sales is a keyword in photography studios nowadays, everyone knows it.  I have no problem giving my clients the lo-res files (for email and Facebook, etc.), but I would not be doing my job if I leave it up to my clients to print albums, photos etc.  Besides, can you really compare Walgreens and Costco to Pictage, GraphiStudio, WHCC, and others?  Clients understand that integrity in this business is crucial and that a photographer's work should be represented properly.  If a photographer does not care about his or her work, why will you as a client?

It is important for you to have your photos and it is important that no one makes you feel as if your photos are being held for ransom, however, remember you not only hired a photographer, you hired an artist.  You hired a specialist in this field and that person will observe and capture your wedding in a artistic, and journalistic way.  You have hired them to "create" and that is what they will do.  If anyone knows what to do with your collection or the studio favorites, it's them!

So, whether you order ALL proofs, or whether you order an album, trust them to guide you in the right direction, they have many options for you as far as albums, I myself LOVE my publishers because they offer me a simplified work flow and provide me with amazing flush mount albums, regular albums, thank you cards, DVD slide shows, and more! There are many different ways to display, preserve, and enjoy your photographs, remember, they are your lifelong memories, make them count and ask your photographer!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Congratulations to Chelsea & Marc!

This past Saturday the daughter of former President Bill Clinton, Miss Chelsea Clinton married her long time boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky.  The ceremony and celebration was held in  Rhinebeck, N.Y., and if there is anything a wedding photographer can see a mile away, is a woman in love!  Look at the gaze in Chelsea's eyes as she looks into her grooms face.  At 7:23 p.m. came an announcement from the family via e-mail: Ms. Clinton was now married to Marc Mezvinsky.

YStudio would like to also send a heartfelt congratulations to the Clintons and to now Chelsea Clinton Mezvinsky.  Long live love and may you enjoy the rest of your lives together as husband and wife.

Photo courtesy of  Genevieve de Manio Photography

To read more on this story visit The Daily Mail 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It's a Fabulous Newborn Posing Guide Giveaway!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE newborn and baby photography! And although I have not ventured into this area of creativity...YET, I do celebrate it because after marriage, comes the carriage!  As  wedding photographers we know this so we better start thinking weddings, maternity, newborn, birthday parties and overall FAMILY Photographers!

This morning I came across a gorgeous baby web site and saw they have a contest!  If there is anything I go nuts for are contests!  So....check it out folks, and GOOD LUCK to everybody!  Hurry contest ends August 1st! Yes, I too am trying to WIN!!!!!!!!! It's a Fabulous Newborn Posing Guide giveaway on Inspire Me Baby

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Not just photographers...we document LIFE!

What is the FIRST thing you think of when someone calls or inquires about your photography services?  Do you immediately think about the budget, the amount of money you can make, or do you stop, and relish about the importance of this call?  If you have a photography business, and if you simply stay focused on the business elements, you can easily sway from what is really important, your clients.

I know you have heard this time and time again, and I know you have bills to pay and things to get done as far as your marketing, orders,etc, but if you stop for one second and focus on the "WHY" that client called you, you would redirect all of that energy right back towards the client.  Isn't this why you started a photography business?

Last year I received a call from Yolanda, a good friend of mine who bakes cakes from her home, she mainly works with brides on budgets and she called to see if I could help a couple in "need!"  She told me about Michele and Duke who had hired her to make their wedding cake.  She explained that although the budget was limited, they had a special story, and I immediately knew I wanted to help!  You see, Michele & Duke wanted to get married the following year, however they had to push up the date as Michele's dad was diagnosed with a terminal illness.

The wedding took place at San Pablo Ca's Rockefeller Lodge and it was great to meet Michele's dad, he was such a boastful and cheerful guy with a loud and wonderful laugh.  He wore a hat that was so cool and he was overjoyed when he saw his daughter in her wedding gown!  This was a beautiful ceremony and celebration with many friends and family, they shared the traditions of The Tonganese as well as  wonderful heartfelt toast speeches, cheers and dancing!  It was an amazing evening and although  it rained and we had to switch gears,  none of this put a damper on THIS celebration!  More than anything, I was touched at being able to contribute and  I have no doubt that working with Michele & Duke's budget was not an issue, but documenting this day WAS! Michele and Duke released butterflies after their ceremony and I just happened to be right next to them with a butterfly that would not leave their side.  See here....

Michele & Duke you guys were amazing to work with, I am so honored that you entrusted us with this very special day and to allow us to provide these memories for you and your family.  I look forward to hearing from you and seeing where life's road takes you and your family.  Thank you for touching my life as well!

I would like to share a letter that Michele sent me a few days ago, I was so touched, I just had to share and Michele said she would be honored!

(Letter from Michele)

Hi Barbara,

It's Michele Melton Pahulu, you photographed my wedding last year on May 1st. I don't know if you remember but my dad had cancer at the wedding and unfortunately we lost him last July only a couple months after the wedding.  The pictures you took at the wedding were the last family pictures that we have together. I just wanted to thank you so much for putting together such an affordable package for us. I feel very lucky having met you when I did. Because of you we have wonderful family pictures that I will cherish forever. Thank you.
Michele Melton Pahulu

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day After Bridal Portraits..and why you should consider them

Nowadays, brides are starting to do the "unconventional" when it comes to their own weddings.  Often she will tailor her big day with an array of personal details, places and people that will help mark this day as "hers!"  As should be!

Thank goodness for this type of thinking, as a photographer it really helps me and this is why  I love to  talk to my clients about booking an Engagement Session.  The engagement session is in no way shape or form for me, truthfully it is for her!  These type of sessions do benefit me however as it allows me to spend more time with the happy couple.  I love learning more about how they met, how they became engaged and it is a great way for us all to get to know each other before their wedding day.

Another thing to mention about these sessions, it allows for the bride and her fiance to see themselves from the photographer's perspective.  It can be as beautiful and creative as you'd like, but if it's not personal, those images no matter how gorgeous will say nothing to the couple and worse, will say nothing "about" the couple.

Other ideas for brides to consider are "Day After" or Trash the Dress Sessions.  This is something many contemporary brides are doing.  If you are asking why, why not? It's FUN!  And it's hassle-free, just think of it, no guests waiting at a reception, no worries whatsoever!  THIS alone allows for relaxed and natural portraits.  Remember, among your first heirlooms,  these portraits are designed to be framed and displayed in your home as  well as becoming part of  beautiful photo albums or coffee table books for all to see.

And finally, on the day of your wedding, you should be enjoying your day, your guests and the memories it will provide for future generations.  As a photographer, I know that my clients choose me because they love the way our images depict the day.  Don't get me wrong, portraits and formals should always be done on the wedding day, however depending on how organized your day is sometimes the schedule simply won't allow for those dreamy portraits, that's why you should consider a Day After Bridal Portrait session OR Trash that Dress with your new hubby.....these shoots are designed with one thing in mind....YOU!

Going Bridal Gone Green!

On June 26th and 27th, 2010, San Jose's Convention Center hosted a fabulous GREEN event.  With vendors ranging from natural candy makers, to natural fiber designers, this event came completely geared to introduce wonderful and eco-friendly products and services to the community!

In the house was no other than Ed Begley Jr. Activist/Actor, Zero- Net Energy Homes Bay Area’s future in green, Green Jobs/Careers, Straw-bale houses, Solar Power your life, Kids Activities & Music, Adult/kid fashion show!

Part of the Fashion show was my friend and talented designer Carole Wang.  Carole's line is amazing and made of 100% all natural and bamboo fibers.  Her segment was quite a show stopper and the crowds loved the presentation!  Here are a few fun photos from the event.  The end of Carole Wang designs came to a halt when the entire stage was graced with her entire wedding collection!  The collection included a bridal gown, bridesmaids and flower girl dresses....... truly it was quite emotional and beautiful to say the least!  See for yourselves!  We wish Carole and her team many congratulations!

For more information on the Generation Green organization, please visit

Fashions by:  Carole Wang
Hair & Makeup:  Teresa Reynolds

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Say what you have to say...

It's strange, I always felt that as a photographer with a blog I always had to blog about photography!  The reality is however, that I am so much more than a photographer.  I am a daughter, a mother, a wife and a friend.  My cameras aren't what makes me who I am, my life and the people in it do!  And although when I am behind the camera,  the lens is an extension of my eye, more importantly, it is an extension of my heart and soul. With that being said I still feel the need to say what I have to say.

This week I lost a very close friend of mine, Guillermo.  He was more than a friend, he was my brother.  We always referred to each other as "almost" siblings because we connected on so many levels!  I will never forget how I met Guille, I called him "Guille" (pronounced ghee-yay).

I was on my way to my hair appointment at Elisa's Hair Salon, whenever I walked into the salon it would no longer be quiet, yes I am loud and proud and the gals there loved it when this Cubana madness would walk in with all this hair and all this roar!  For some reason, this day I was quiet when I walked in, did not say a peep but hello....

Anyways, a man sitting by the window said to me "excuse me madam are you by any chance Cuban!?"  If you are a Cuban living in the San Francisco Bay Area, these words could be paralyzing....there aren't many Cubans if any out here!  So I immediately turned to him and said " did you know?" He then pointed to my car and said that he noticed the Cuban flag on my rear view mirror...yes, I have a dangling Cuban flag there, and I LOVE IT!  That was all it took, we talked and laughed and yes, we were HEKKA loud!  I met his beautiful mother Olga, who was getting her hair done and whom also became a very special part of my life.

Guille and Olga were visiting from Florida as they had done so very often, each time they'd return we would visit, I would cook for them and when my husband and I went to Orlando, they had us stay with them, I am telling you, we were FAMILIA!

This past Father's Day,  I received a call from his best friend Manny, I was first wondering why Manny was calling me on Father's Day?  I immediately thought something happened to Olga since she had been ill for years, and perhaps Guille was too distraught to call with the news, but Manny's words pierced me in a manner I could not explain....The news to me was horrifying, not only unexpected news but very shocking news.  I will not go into how sick I felt or how my head was spinning 100 mph, all I could think of was about everyone he loved, especially his mother.  Guille LIVED for his mother and anyone who knows a Cuban family knows this, MOM is everything!  I never met his sister Elizabeth from Holland, but have spoken to her on the phone a few times as well as shared many many stories about her with Guille and Olga.  I feel at ease that she is here for a few weeks and when I spoke with her a few days ago, I felt closer to Guille again.

If there is anything I learned in the last few days, make time for those you love, and when you think about someone or think to call them,  don't wait until tomorrow, call them today.  I would like to share the last photo I had taken of Guillermo in San Francisco's Twin Peaks Viewpoint.  We had fun on this last trip with him, we had gone to San Francisco, we had also spent another day in Napa and I am honored I cooked a meal for him and Manny which the movie The Godfather would epitomize!  Yes this Cubana can cook a mean Italian gravy and stuff!

Guille was remembered in a beautiful memorial service yesterday and although I was not there in person, my heart was. I feel sad that I did not get to say so long buddy, but Guille, I love you and I will NEVER forget all the laughs, fun and great travels we have shared. Que Dios te cuide (may God keep you in His care), and we will see each other again one day I am sure of it!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wedding & Fashion do they relate!?

I had a colleague of mine once say that he wanted to focus on JUST Weddings & Portraits and he could not understand WHY we had gone towards other things like High School Seniors, Fashion, as well as Sports Photography.  In all reality when he mentioned this, I too had to stop and think about WHY!

Funny how things happen this was around the time, I had crossed paths with Skip Cohen, a fabulous person to know and follow in this industry.  Skip with many years under his belt, and as the former President/CEO of Hasselblad, the  past President/Chief Operating Officer of Rangefinder Publishing Inc. , and now President/Founder  of  Marketing Essentials International, is the ONE person who helped put it all into perspective for me.  Not only did he confirm for me that "diversity" in this business is good, but it is essential!  He was so right!  I looked at today's economy and also figured that YStudio needed to be ready and diversity was a way to stay afloat in this business.  After all, we are photographers, as well as artists, and although we would like to specialize in one area, photography and art form  is everywhere!

Another valuable lesson I learned in my dealings while being asked to be a  Guest Blogger with Skip, was that being creative meant that I could not pick and choose, being creative is just that...being creative!  I love when I am able to create something from nothing, and at the end of the day, THIS is why clients hire us....they trust us, and how could I let them down, plus it is so much fun!

Take Fashion Photography for instance.....a lot of which I am  learning in the Fashion Photography industry is that I can easily apply this to my weddings.  Think of it this way.....when a bride is planning her wedding what is among the first thing she invests in?  MAGAZINES! Yes! Do you think her breath is taken away by everyday "real" wedding photography?  The chances are slim, what will take her breath away are the Bridal Couture images of gowns, and other fashion editorial spreads.  SHE WANTS TO LOOK AND FEEL LIKE THIS!  So I simply take images from my favorite fashion shots, and think hey I can have a bride do that pose at her wedding!  And of course I always ask tell my brides let's be adventurous, you would be surprised just what they will do if you simply ask!

So, I feel that being diverse, creative and doing the NON traditional is going to help me get those images for my client.   Don't turn down a shoot simply because you only do weddings, or only do portraits, think of it this way, you WILL learn something which you can apply to whatever it is that you specialize will keep shooting which is always important and you will HAVE FUN!

Photos by :  B. Yasuhara

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wedding Engagement Photographs with a TWIST!

When you think about  engagement photography sessions, most people think of a couple sitting in a park, kissing, gazing at each other and holding hands.  Don't get me wrong there is NOTHING wrong with these things, IF that is what identifies you as a couple.

Take for instance, if you are  a couple whom are avid book readers, met in school, and were engaged right after graduation!  Well....then perhaps you would like to consider the college campus where you met, and where the story actually began.  Now, take it another step further....what is it that you and your fiance really like.  Maybe you are both rock n' roll fans, or musicians, perhaps you are race car drivers or even photographers yourselves.  THAT is when you start to plan a setting for your shoot.  After all, capturing who you both are during these particular years is important and will be cherished for many generations to come.

So if you don't care much about keeping a journal, keep in mind, photographs are a journal they are a journal of your past, present, and yes future.  Why not record these moments and allow this heirloom into your families?  Wedding and engagement photography alike, does not need to be a "mold" for all of you, break that cookie cutter and be YOU, after all that is who you are and it is who your fiance fell in love with.

If you have no idea "where" to begin, speak to your wedding photographer and ask about styling, hair and make up artists, they can help style the shoot for you and although you may think it does not feel natural, trust me, it will be.  Just be you, live it up and watch what happens!

Congrats on your engagement and CHEERS!!!

All Photos for this shoot c. 2010 YStudio Photography (shot for Palo Dobrick of Chicago)
Hair/Makeup by:  ANGELA - AMS BooMBoX
Wardrobe/Stylist:  Nima Shiraz 
Model:  Natasha  
Model:  Kurtis Dam-Mikkelsen