Inspiration to Photographic Interpretation: Jill Thomas

Today we have a very special treat full of eye candy thanks to the talented work of San Diego based photographer Jill Thomas. When I first came across Jill’s work it was one of those moment when you kind of fall in love… She paints a photographic picture that captures the feeling of sunshine and love with her soft romantic touch. Once I realized she lived just a hop, skip and a jump away from me I knew we just had to work together.  Look forward to seeing some beautiful collaborations from the both of us soon!

1.  What inspires me?

I am inspired mostly by 70s photography.  I love the timelessness and style of that era.  One summer I was up at my parents house visiting and my dad came in with boxes of photographs that he wanted us to help him organize.   I was just overwhelmed with the beautiful photographs they had of themselves and their families.  They were classic, stylish, and so timeless.  I loved them.  It amazed me because I look exactly like my mom and we look exactly like her mom, however my mom and grandmother had such beautiful images of themselves, that I only dreamed I would have of me.  what was the difference.  I investigated.  My answer … FILM!!

2. Has my photographic styled evolved since I first got into the biz?

Yes!  I started my business digitally and crazy about the latest photography trends and photoshop actions.  After I discovered film and film cameras for myself, I looked at my business in an entirely different way.  I wanted to shoot weddings, I knew that. I loved working with couples and love the excitement and fun of a wedding day. I loved having to think of things on a whim if a schedule change, I loved how it challenged my creativity.  So when I made the decision to gear my business more towards weddings, i changed photographic elements were important to me.  I was drawn to the raw elements of photography.  I want to provide images for my couples that they would love now, in 5 years, in 20 years and forever.  I wanted my brides to have those beautiful photographs of themselves, that they admired their grandmother having.  so i decided to shoot 100% film. Using old cameras, combined with new technology, allows me to provide my couples with those classic, beautiful, and artistic photographs.  through different films and different cameras  I am able to capture weddings with my own artistic style.

3. Does fashion, nature, trends, etc.. effect the style in which you shoot?

I am definitely inspired by fashion photography.  Even though i want my images to be beautiful and timeless, it is very important to me to have an element of style shine through. I do not look to other weddings photographer for this information.  If other wedding photographers are doing something - then it has already been done and i am at a back end of a trend.  However, if I use high fashion as inspiration and apply it to weddings, it keeps me the front end of fun trends.  My favorite magazine is W magazine.  LOVE IT!

4. Who/what/where has been your favorite shoot and why?

My favorite shoots and weddings are ones i have done for other artists.  I love working with artists because they appreciate artistic elements and truly appreciate my use of film.  I love when couples say things like “we love holgas” or “we love light leaks” or “we love instant photographs” or “we just want you to do what you do best”.  When someone hires me, they hire how I see their wedding and their story. I love when couples trust me to capture that, how I truly see it, in my own artistic way.

My favorite wedding was a wedding I did this summer at the smog shoppe.  The couple was a cute couple and the wedding was full of fun details.  but my favorite part was they fully trusted me.  I think because I took their trust seriously and was able to fully use my artistic vision, it was the best wedding I shot thus far.

5. What keeps me inspired?

I am constantly trying to stay inspired. Trying out different old cameras and different film types is probably the best way i can stay inspired.  Always learning something new and finding new photography elements I didn’t know about before, get me inspired and excited for whatever shoot I am doing next.

Photography by Jill Thomas

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Celebration to Publication: Los Angeles Times ‘All Things Vintage’

When designing a wedding I always have one goal in mind: make it unique. If everyone is pulling from the same pool of ideas and rental companies how different can you be? By infusing vintage pieces into your special day you can create a custom one-of-a-kind eclectic look that is all your own. Not to mention, add sentimental value from infusing heritage pieces such as grandma’s broach, grandpa’s pocket watch or especially vintage furnishings and decor.  Recently I was interviewed for a featured article in the Los Angeles Times about “All Things Vintage” that talks about just that.

All things Vintage

Some couples look to the past on their wedding day

Something old, something new…

Scratch that. Some couples are in love with just the old and want their wedding to reflect their appreciation of days gone by. From the engagement ring to the getaway car, many couples look to the past to create dream weddings that make for once-in-a-lifetime memories. And everything that is old is new again.

When Kimberli Partlow walks down the aisle on Saturday to marry Sheldon Samuel at Pasadena’s historic Cravens Estate, her gown will not be vintage, but nearly everything else will be. For months, she has been collecting vintage vases to hold flower arrangements and antique picture frames to display table numbers, and she will accessorize her Winnie Couture gown with period jewelry. “I love vintage,” she said. “It’s timeless and classic.”

Antique sparkle
All engagement rings are romantic, but an antique ring that has stood the test of time — and presumably the test of love — holds magic. “Those who love vintage jewelry want that energy of the past: the romance, the old-world charm — the glamour,” said Neil Lane, owner of Neil Lane Jewelry in Los Angeles, whose customers for antique and original designs include celebrities like Madonna, Reese Witherspoon, Courteney Cox-Arquette and Emily Blunt.

“When I started out in the ’80s, everyone wanted plain round diamonds,” he said. “The world has changed, and there’s a new appreciation for the handcrafted detail you see in antique jewelry.”

“Antique rings are timeless, and will last through all of the trends,” said Jennifer Ganda, who’s been managing Craig Evan Small Estate Jewelry, an L.A. antique and vintage jewelry store, for 14 years. She admitted some are more timeless than others, such as Edwardian and Art Deco pieces. A ring is considered “antique” in the United States if it is 50 years or older and “vintage” if it is 20 years or older.

You are invited …
While some couples infuse antique elements into their wedding, others want the entire event to be vintage.

When Vanessa Van Wieren and Cortnie Purdy of Lollipop Events & Designs in San Diego were asked to create a Great Gatsby-era wedding recently, they began with the invitations. “By sending Art Deco-style invitations,”Van Wieren said, “we were able to give guests a glimpse into what was in store for them at the wedding.”

A timeless gown
Not every bride is lucky enough to inherit a gown from her mother or grandmother. However, with the abundant selection of vintage wedding gowns in Southern Califor-nia, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Sue Lieberman, owner of Santa Monica’s Paris 1900 boutique, has been selling antique gowns since 1976. At the store she opened in 1981, she sells wedding gowns from the Edwardian period (1905) to the 1930s, as well as new gowns in vintage styles. “Antique gowns are incredibly fragile,”she said. “I’ve found that some brides want the look of a vintage gown, but aren’t committed to the care an antique gown requires.”

At Paper Bag Princess Vintage Couture and Contemporary Collectible Clothing in Beverly Hills, brides can choose from sleek 1940s gowns all the way up to 1970s bohemian-chic dresses. Catwalk in West Hollywood sells 1920s and ’30s slinky, slip-type gowns to brides.

Sites with history
For brides who want their wedding location to continue the vintage theme, the local choices include the Oviatt Penthouse, Greystone Mansion, Adamson House, the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, and Exchange LA, the newly renovated 1920s former stock exchange in downtown L.A.

Jeff Cooper, property agent for Hollywood Locations Inc., which represents historical properties such as the landmark Union Station, said that some couples take their vintage weddings even further, creating themes such as “A Night In Casablanca” or bringing in antique cars.

Classic cars
Speaking of wheels, any car will get you to and from the wedding, but many couples dream of making their entrance — and getaway — in style in an antique car. Partlow plans to have a vintage car pick her up from the Langham Pasadena, where she will be staying, to take her to the ceremony. “I’ve always dreamed of a vintage Silver Cloud Rolls-Royce for my wedding,” she said.

Down to the details
Van Wieren and Purdy like to incorporate vintage elements into the weddings they plan. “Vintage touches keep an event from feeling cookie-cutter,”Van Wieren said. A bouquet made from antique brooches or a cake stand crafted from a vintage plate and candlesticks are some of their suggestions.

Paradoxically, incorporating vintage elements into a wedding can be the perfect way to keep it from looking dated.

“When I look back at my wedding photos years from now, I want them to still be relevant,” Partlow said.

Best of all, infusing the past into the celebration of your future together is not just for looks. It’s also a reflection of your love: timeless.

— Jennifer Evans Gardner, 
Special Advertising Sections Writer

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Motivation to Celebration: Engage!10 at The Breakers

I recently just got my feet back on the ground after the wondrous event that is Engage! For those of you not in the industry or in the know, Engage! is a luxury wedding seminar featuring the biggest and brightest names in the industry where you have a chance to listen and learn, meet and mingle and get motivated and moved by the people whom you aspire to and appreciate. This years event was featured at the ultra posh hotel The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. As a first timer to the Breakers I must say I was floored, their website does not do it justice. Reminiscent of a bygone era featuring Italian frescoes, gilded ballrooms and elegant parlors, The Breakers would make any bride’s fairy tale wedding come true. Not only did it serve as the backdrop to this glamorous event but showed us just how drool worthy their culinary arts are as well.

The ever so charming Lara Casey of Southern Weddings Magazine helped to welcome the attendees.

Simon Bailey kicking your mind and spirit into shape with his motivational pep rally teaching you to ‘Shift’ your focus and life. I got a chance to speak to Simon one-on-one the night before and can honestly say what an amazing and inspiring person he really is. Consider him your own personal cheerleader who truly wants you to succeed.

The Palm Beach inspired cocktail lounge that served as a platform for the welcome reception. And of course… the gorgeous food that I was drawn to. Gorgeous chilled soup shots and prosciutto wrapped buffalo mozzarella served with sliced tart apricots.

Me and some of the Engage! attendees sipping frozen mojitos. What’s so great about Engage! is how friendly and helpful each person was, they truly wanted to help everyone to succeed with their own tips and advice. Competition was never present, only consideration. Here I am amidst some of the mid-westerners of the group including Amy Zaroff, Amy Rubins, Me, Lindsey Piram and more.

A gorgeous courtyard at The Breakers served as the location for the kick off breakfast after a long night of mingling. Mel Barlow and her team didn’t miss a single delicious detail such as these grilled banana parfait bites, piping hot sugared donuts, lox bagel bites and breakfast brulees.

The Breakers ballroom was transformed into our classroom where we awaited the words of talented industry leaders we came to see and hear.

Never shy on beauty or food, our first break welcomed us into a berry parfait and macaron filled parlor.

Southern charm was never short on hand, especially when we were treated to a discussion featuring the ultra talented trio of Todd Fiscus, Tara Guerard and David Beahm.

Listening and learning intently to our speakers. From right to left: Vanessa Van Wieren (me!), Harmony Walton of The Bridal Bar, Lara Casey and Emily Ayer of Southern Weddings Magazine.

The hilarious and witty Mindy Weiss who braved many a celebrity weddings and even shared her own wedding photos!! Hat’s were very en vogue in the 80′s don’t you know…

For our lunch we were brought into a gorgeous rotund ballroom featuring opulent chandeliers and more delicate Italian painted frescoes. Adorable boxes branded with my all time favorite food adjective, YUMMY!, held a Lobster Roll, Gazpacho, Deviled Eggs and Crudites. The refreshing watermelon juice was a beautiful way to add color to any table!

During lunch we were treated to a demonstration by the iconic cake designer Sylvia Weinstock.

Not only did we receive decorating tips but life and marriage advice as well. One of the most important to her longevity… VODKA! Randy Fenoli didn’t miss a beat and jumped to serve Sylvia her well deserved afternoon nip.

A panel of wonderful women including Darcy Miller of Martha Stewart Weddings, Abby Larsen of Style Me Pretty, Amy Atlas Dessert Bar Designer Extraordinaire and Donna Newman photographer.

The hilariously fashionable Randy Fenoli of Say Yes to the Dress and luxury stationer Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York.

An afternoon Citrus Break featuring a whole new look to the parlor including orange Crush sodas and orange mini cheesecakes.

Engage! veteran Marcy Blum was so refreshingly direct and honest about business tactics in the industry including her do’s and don’ts.

One of the most jaw dropping designers Bryan Rafanelli, known for his celebrity clientele such as Chelsea Clinton, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones, showing us how he transforms open spaces into gorgeous city sized tents with his team.

That evening we were treated to a ‘Dine Around’ where we broken into smaller groups and went to dinner with an industry leader. I was lucky enough to get Lara Casey! After the Dine Around were were treated to another fantastic cocktail party where I mingled with the beautiful Daniella Ferdico Faget of Bella Signature Design.  Also on hand were the adorable New Yorkers Michelle Spezia of Fims by Francscso, Chelsea Clinton’s photographer, and Jacqueline Elfe of Stellar Style Events.

The following evening after a day of smaller broken up classes we were treated to an elegant and luxurious farewell fete. When you walked into the room you were awe struck by the hundreds of glittering champagne glasses hung with ribbon and the stilted bride and groom who cut down a glass for each guest as they approached.

The neo-baroque style room was transformed into a pink fantasy for our delectable dinner of individual raw bars on plated ice sculptures, seared lamb and gallon sized make-your-own-sundae martini glasses with every possible topping. During dinner were were treated to talented jazz singers, dueling violinists and a hilarious show of bucket beating waiters. After dinner we were treated to even more fantastic entertainment including break dancers, musicians and beat pumping dj’s. All entertainment was provided by Elan Artists.

A lovely end to the evening as I say farewell to the super sweet (non pun intended) and charming Amy Atlas.

What more can I say except WOW! After forging some fantastic friendships and getting so much inspiration and a newly refreshed drive, I’m ready as ever to push myself and my designs even further for my wonderful clientele.

Photography by Mel Barlow

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Registration to Celebration: Michael C. Fina

When it comes to registering for your wedding a lot of factors come into consideration. Style, quantities, practicality, will it be everyday use or special occasion? Growing up with an Italian Grandmother who kept the ‘special’ living room furniture covered in plastic and the ‘special’ china in the cupboard for only the most special of occasions, I always had this sense of distance from the ‘special’ things she kept. Years later when I look back I wish nothing more than for her to have realized that every day is special. We could have made every moment together a special occasion with the right attitude and appreciation for celebrating.

Of course, not everyone can expect to receive an entire collection of luxury china such as the collections offered by Michael C. Fina, but when registering for what you want to celebrate your new life why not select at least a few special pieces that will contribute to the moments in your life to come that you could make more special. To me, having dinner with friends, gathering the family together or even a simple birthday or anniversary dinner could, and should, become a special event and with the help of such beautiful pieces as these below.

This top set of pieces would be be own special collection request if I were to register!

Michael C. Fina offers online registration for all of his fine collections including china, glassware, home accessories and even fine jewelery!

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