If you have never taken the time to drive Highway 33 or Highway 150 through the Ojai Valley in Southern California, you have yet to live. This is possibly one of the most scenic, beautiful spots on God’s Green Earth and definitely number ONE on my “Spots to Retire” list! So, needless to say, I couldn’t have asked for a better backdrop to spend time with Alex and Caroline last weekend for their engagement shoot. They are such a fun couple and I can’t wait until their Ojai Valley Inn Wedding later this year!


With the New Year upon us, I’m sure we all have “Wow” moments when we take a moment to reflect on how fast time passes.  I feel like just yesterday the stores were out of bottled water and batteries, and every news story started with the acronym “Y2K”.  We’ve survived yet another ‘apocalypse theory’ with the passing of 2012 and I am gearing up for the the 2013 wedding season!

It’s interesting to think that even though the turn of the millennium seems like just yesterday, in Y2K digital photography for weddings or any professional photography application was basically non-existent. You just couldn’t get the quality out of the camera to compete with film. And now, here we are with film companies going out of business because the market is all digital. Technology changes quickly, as we are all aware.

So what does the Digital and Photographic Technology of 2013 allow us to offer brides-to-be that wasn’t previously an option and what can you expect your photographer to be able to offer.

1: Same Day Edit Slideshows

Napa Wedding Photographer Slideshow
Same day edit slideshows have been possible and available for many years now. I bring an imac with me to all of my full-day weddings where a slideshow of wedding day images is put together and played on the iMac display during the reception. I’ve been doing this for many years, but it is much more popular in Southern California than in the Bay Area and NorCal. Almost every wedding I shoot, there are guests that are amazed at the reception slideshow and have NEVER seen one before. This ought to be a given. Maybe not every bride is interested in a Same Day Slideshow, but every photographer worth their salt should be offering this as an option. The ability to do so has been around for many years now.

2: Wireless Image Transfer and Real Time Social Sharing

This is hot for 2013! Did you know that your photographer has the ability now to wirelessly transfer their images from their camera to an iPad, Computer, or online Gallery AS THEY SHOOT? That means you cut the cake, and before you’re done wiping the frosting off your face, that image can be on an iPad or online gallery! From that point, you can share that image on Facebook, Twitter, or any number of other social media sites. Wireless transfer and social sharing capability is relatively new and it may be awhile before you see it having a standard application at weddings, but ask your photographer if they offer it, because they can. The way I see this playing into many weddings is during the cocktail party. Imagine while you are out taking bridal portraits, your guests are having their picture taken by the Assistant Photographer who, immediately after taking the image, holds up an iPad to your guests and offers that if they would like the photo they just took, they can post it on Facebook immediately. They share it on Facebook and it shows up with a custom branded wedding logo from your wedding. Your whole network gets to see images from your Wedding AS THEY ARE CREATED. This is a great option to ask about even if there is not “On-Site” functionality. For instance, if your photographer DOES offer a same-day-slideshow, with two clicks of the mouse, they can also have all of those Wedding Favorites added to an online gallery. Now as you leave your wedding, or the next morning when you wake up, you can enjoy those images when you actually have time to look at them. Share them on Facebook, tag your bridesmaids and people will be continue raving about your wedding for some time yet!

3: Printless Photo Booth

The same technology holds true for Wedding Reception Photo Booths, which is another great application for the wireless social sharing option. Photo booths have become almost a standardized reception icon at most weddings. And why not? They are a ton of fun. But they have risen in price significantly to meet the demand and securing this form of reception entertainment can be almost as much as hiring your photographer in some instances. By offering a Social Share photo booth, you offer your guests an entertaining alternative to photo booth prints. Now your guests can share their photo booth image instantly with their entire social network rather than just the friends seated at their table. And cutting out prints and the need for a printer really brings down the cost of the photo booth itself. More fun for less money is always a good option. We currently offer Open-Air, Social Share photo booth rentals branded as Vanity Fair Photo Booth with booth packages starting at just $300.

4: High Speed Turnaround

By now, a digital wedding photographer you are considering hiring likely has at least several years of experience shooting and editing weddings and events digitally. There is not much argument anymore about the best program to edit images, the best camera to capture them, the best way to process pictures. There are AMAZING image editing software out there and a variety of cameras that offer incredible images. And operating a ‘digital darkroom’ should no longer be a learning experience. Workflow should be nailed down and since your images don’t have to be shipped off to the lab for developing and printing just for you to see what images your photographer captured, fast turnaround times should be expected. I offer my brides a 1 week turnaround. If your wedding is on Saturday, by the following Friday your images are done: edited, online, in the mail, available for viewing, sharing and printing. And that includes giving myself some buffer time. Sometimes a Saturday wedding will be available by Tuesday or Wednesday. If your photographer is taking 1-2 months or more to get your images back to you. There’s a crack in their workflow. Expect more.

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I love photo booths! I had one at my own wedding, I have made and sold a couple, and I am very excited to be able to offer one of the most affordable photo booth solutions in Napa and Sonoma county. Introducing the Open-Air, Social-Share photo booth!

Flying under the flag of Vanity Fair Photo Booths, we are offering vintage styled photo booth options with rental packages starting at just $300. The booth is an ‘open-air’ photo booth, meaning that there isn’t actually a booth at all. It is more of a photo “station”. Your wedding and reception serve as the image background.

And ‘Social-Share’ refers to the way you experience images. In order to offer a great user experience and keep rental rates extremely affordable, we have cut out the on-site prints and gone viral! Now, when your guests take an image it is almost instantaneously available in a private online gallery. Your guests pose, laugh, pick up their drink, and can walk directly over to our on-site iPad to view their image. From the gallery they can share their image, branded with your custom event logo or banner, directly on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or even email themselves a copy.

If there’s a crowd around the iPad, no worries. Since the images are in an online gallery, your guests can access them through their Smart Phone and experience the same viewing and sharing capabilities. Now, your wedding booth pictures will be shared with entire networks instead of just the guests at their table!

Check out more Photo booth details online at Vanity Fair Photo Booths!


It’s not that often that I get asked the question by a bride-to-be as to what camera gear that I shoot with. But I always like it when they do ask, because photographers love talking about their gear. I guess it’s like a computer tech talking about RAM and BUS speeds or something.

Anyhow, I just updated my gear bag for 2013 with some new cameras and lenses and thought I would share. So here it is:

Two Canon 5D Mark3 bodies
Canon 70-200MM f/2.8 L-series IS USM lens
Canon 85mm f/1.2 L-series lens
Canon 35mm f/1.4 L-series lens
Canon 24mm f/1.4 L-series lens
Canon 580EXII speedlight
Canon 430EXII speedlight



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Over 6 years ago I photographed George and Julie’s big Greek wedding in Palm Springs, CA. Since then, George has flourished as an amazing wedding photographer, starting his own photography company: George Sillas Photography. And I have had the opportunity to have him be a second shooter at several of my Southern California weddings. The [...]

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Thumbnail image for Padilla Family Photos

I had the great pleasure of shooting Ricardo and Alexandra’s wedding at the University Club in Santa Barbara years back! And now, as they have started a family, it has been a treat the last two years in a row to have the pleasure of photographing their two beautiful children. I love getting to see [...]

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