Monday Meeting: Ramone Photography Studio

This week we wanted to take a look at another great photographer, Ramone! At Ramone Photography Studio, the relationship between the subject and photographer is key to capturing more than just a moment in time. He strives to show more depth through his photographs. Take a look at this great question and answer session we had with Ramone!

AC: How did you get your start in photography?
RPS: I immersed myself in photography when I was 16 & 17 years old. While in my high school photography and art program I also attended professional workshops, photography programs at museums and enrolled in college photography classes. I photographed my first wedding at age 17, as I apprenticed with the areas top wedding photographer of the day. Ramone Photography Studio opened at The Wayside Village Shops in 1994.

AC: What is your favorite moment to capture at a wedding?
RPS: There is always a time in the early part of every wedding that I fall into a zone. It's when everything seems to come together, the magic and romance comes to life. These many special moments occur throughout the day, some similar to other weddings and some unique to the wedding at hand. It's these variety of events & moments that I capture for my clients and they usually become their favorites.

AC: How would you classify your style of photography?
RPS: My career as a professional wedding photographer started just as the "formal" era transitioned to "journalistic". I was fortunate to learn early the value of both styles. I enjoy blending the casually posed formal style, the story-telling candid style with my own creativity, it's what make Ramone Photography Studio unique.

AC: What words of advice do you have for couples seeking the right wedding photographer?
RPS: Once you've done the basics and know you're dealing with a qualified professional, it is extremely important to click with the photographer's personality. There are many great photographers with hard to get along with personalities. You do not want to be annoyed or trouble your guests or your family & friends with a photographer who's hard to handle. Meet your photographer, but if it's too difficult call or have your mother or a bridesmaid pay them a visit. 

Now take a look at some of Ramone's gorgeous photos and let us know what you think!  

Let's make it Yours: Planning for a stylized custom wedding

I often talk about creating weddings and events that are "Unique To You" I thought I'd give you a few pointers on how to fulfill the vision of your dream day. First, lets talk about "insert bride and groom weddings"...these are events where any bride or groom fit into the equation, while they might be beautiful they usually are not memorable to your loved ones. The ACE Team has clients with both types of events, some that are beautiful and classic with out many unique details and some that are super custom with great details. Neither style of event is wrong, it's all a matter of preference. The trend in today's weddings and events include tons of details and fun themes. 

Our Tips for a Stylized Custom Wedding:
1. Plan for yourself (and your groom): Yes, you want your guests to enjoy your day, have enough to eat/drink and dance the night away...But this is also a day to celebrate your love. Whatever you envision is what you should have. Don't worry if you are making everyone happy, or if your wedding is "Traditional enough" for your grandparents. Do what makes you happy, that will make your family and friends happy in return. 

2. Go Big or Go Home!: No, I don't mean spend your lives savings on your wedding, but I do mean if you come up with an idea or theme follow through completely. No one will understand your "Sweet as Honey" theme if you randomly place honey combs around the reception room and call it a day. Let your guests get a glimpse into your big day with your Save the Dates and Invitations and follow through until the last guest has left your reception. It will be memorable for you and your guests. 

3. Communicate: Of course you need to communicate with all parties involved on your big day...but you really need to communicate with your vendors above all else! This doesn't mean to email, call or text multiple times a day but it does mean to be open and honest with your vision. If you love white flowers but hate roses, tell your florist. If you have always envisioned a letter press invitation, tell your stationer. If you have dreamed of amazing event lighting but don't want spinning lights above your dance floor, tell your lighting designer. You should hire all of your vendors because you trust them and love their style, so you should feel completely comfortable with them and trust that what you envision for your big day is what they are going to provide for you. There are literally hundreds of event vendors in Hampton Roads (some of the best in the nation!) but none of them are mind readers...paint a clear picture so they can create your day for you.   

Below are 3 different events with 3 different themes...

The below inspiration board is from an engagement session that the ACE Team created with the help of Trivium Studio. Together with our clients we had a great idea to design their engagement session around "time"... and the quote "You are Every Minute of My Everyday". Yes, I know this isn't a wedding, but I thought it was a great example of how you can take an idea and run with it...the use of props, fun details and amazing photography really pulled this shoot together. Here is the key, if you have an idea for your event or even engagement session, go big or go home. This session would not have been a cohesive idea if we stopped at just the sign, or just a pocket watch. For more images from this shoot and for more design inspiration you can see it featured on Wedding Chicks

Images courtesy of Trivium Studio

Ashley and John, were married in Mexico the month before their "Stateside Nuptials" so when designing their event they wanted to make sure that they included details from their tropical wedding for the guests that weren't able to travel with them. Ashley had a clear vision of what she wanted, the colors she wanted to use (Turquoise and Fuchsia) and some very distinct details. I loved a lot of the details that we ended up using! The escort cards were placed inside adorable bottles that looked like something that would have washed up on the beach. Their table linens and flowers was reminiscent of the colors and style of their bride and grooms reception in Mexico. The Organza overlays and fabric used in the lounge was airy and beautiful. We displayed pictures from their destination wedding throughout the event, in the acrylic coffee tables that Daevid provided, in vintage green glass canisters and even on a large wall of family wedding photos as well. I think my favorite peice of "Mexico" was Ashley's original wedding gown which we displayed near the ice art and bar for all to see. 
Images courtesy of Kat Whitworth

The images below were shot for a well known bridal magazine "Bride and Bloom"...they gave us the color palette and we had to come up with the inspiration and the concept. It's a bit harder to come up with inspiration this way as we didn't have a client to tell us that we were going in the right direction or that they hated our ideas. I invited Daevid Reed of Daevid's Flowers to help me come up with this "secret garden" theme and I absolutely loved the final product! As you can see, everything from the antique china to the shoes matched or coordinated with our Turquoise and Emerald color scheme. A lot of what made this event work was the backdrop venue, the Hermitage Foundation Museum. (This is something that all clients should think about, does your vision match your venue?) You can see more pictures and the actual article here.
Images courtesy of Eleise Theuer

Wedding Ettiquette: Being in the Bridal Party

Image courtesy of David Schwartz Photography

At least a few times a month we are asked about what responsibilities are expected when a bride or groom asks you to be in their wedding party so today we thought we'd share our knowledge. Being asked to be in the bridal party is an absolute honor but, you must remember that this duty includes so much more than standing along side the bride and groom on their big day. In reality, being an attendant in a friends wedding means much more. In general, attendants are supposed to assist the bride and groom whenever possible in addition to paying for their attire (with the exception of flowers) as well as attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, and other pre-wedding events if possible. They should also give the bride and groom an individual gift or contribute to the gift given from the entire bridal party. These great tips come from Emily Post's wedding etiquette!

From our experience we've seen other, more specific duties that the Maid/Matron of Honor and Best Man are entrusted with. The Best Man and Maid/Matron of Honor are to hold the rings during the ceremony of the Bride and Groom, respectively. The Maid/Matron of Honor has the honor of assisting the Bride in choosing the Bridesmaid's attire, and in cases where there is no wedding coordinator/planner hired the Best Man is responsible for remitting the couple's payments to their vendors.  Although the Best Man and the Maid/Matron of Honor are two key participants in the bridal party, the rest of the bridal party have the equally important role of ensuring that all runs smoothly on the big day. The Maid/Matron of Honor is responsible along with the bridal party to plan both the bridal shower and bachelorette parties. The Best Man and rest of the groomsmen/ushers are responsible for planning the bachelor party.

The question was raised to the ACE Team this week about weddings with only 1 attendant...and we'd say that the rules stay the same. The Bride will still be expecting a shower and most likely a bachelorette party as well....but I think the key to remember is that it is ok to ask your guests to bring a covered dish or to host an afternoon tea and desserts style shower rather than a formal luncheon or dinner shower. Most brides that we come in contact with would not want their bridal party going broke trying to plan an over the top shower, so by all means, ask friends and family for help if you know there is no other bridal party member except for the Maid/Matron of Honor and Best man.

We wanted to share our number one gripe from our clients and from friends when it comes to their bridal party...We hear at almost every wedding complaints from our clients about the unwillingness of their bridal party (men or women) to partake in activities that the bride wants for her wedding day or throughout the planning process. Remember, a wedding day should be joyous and should mark the joining of two people, their families and their friends. I often tell my clients that if they wanted me to wear a monkey suit and a tutu and dance around, I absolutely would, because it is their day, and what they envision...Just as you deserve your day and what you envision. Remember that nugget, and you will do an amazing job as a member of the bridal party.

Melanie and Austin: Virginia Engagement Session

I always joke with my staff that it's not October if I don't have an employee getting it was definitely par for the course when our very own Melanie told us that her big day will be Mid-October! I love the crispness of the air in October, the beautiful foliage and of course the celebration of LOVE! I don't want to share too many details about Melanie's wedding day yet, as I'm sure we'll blog about it throughout the coming months...but for now I wanted to leave with you with a sneak peak of their beautiful engagement pictures taken from a dear friend of the ACE Team, David Schwartz.


Monday Meeting: The Boardwalk Photo Booth Company

 We had the great opportunity to talk with our good friend Shawn Cox, owner of The Boardwalk Photo Booth Company, who's been involved in the wedding industry for over twenty years! Take a look at this great question and answer session we had with him and let us know what you think about the amazing pictures as well!

AC: How did you first become involved in the wedding industry?

SC: I started as a local disc jockey back in 1989.  I worked in radio for Z104 & 2WD for about 12 years and was also a full-time wedding DJ and managing partner for one of the local entertainment companies.  Radio was fun and a great experience, but in the end I just really enjoyed weddings.  I loved meeting new people every weekend and it was extremely fulfilling to walk away from a wedding reception knowing how big a difference you made to the bride & groom on such an important day.  The wedding industry has been a part of my life for over 22 years now!  I actually met Carolyn at a wedding and we had our pictures taken in the photo booth on the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier on one of our first dates.  Life hasn't been the same since.  In December 2009, Carolyn and I were talking about the industry and realized that there wasn't a local photo booth presence, and we knew that the trend had been building in Hollywood and in cities like Chicago and New York.  We shopped around for readily available "photo booths" and even looked into the franchises, but weren't impressed with anything.  We wanted to create a much more authentic photo booth experience for our clients, so in the end, we decided to have our vintage-inspired photo booths fabricated to our specifications.  We intended to have the photo booth as a fun side business, but things escalated quickly, forcing me into an early retirement from the DJ business to focus soley on all things "photo booth".  Now we have four photo booths in our collection.  Three of them are the digital photo booths that have made us so popular.  The fourth is actually an antique chemical photo booth from 1959 that spent much of it's life at Sylvan Beach Amusement Park in upstate New York.  As a company, Carolyn and I felt it was important to pay homage to the history of the photo booth, which dates back to 1925, so the old booth has been a welcome addition to our office at Wayside Village. 

AC: What can be some of the benefits of having a photo booth, along with a photographer at your event? 

SC: First and foremost, the photo booth is not a replacement for a professional photographer.  A photographer is SO important as he or she captures the magic of the event from beginning to end.  The photo booth should be considered a replacement to the traditional "party favor".  People often choose to exclude putting disposable cameras each table in lieu of the booth.  Guests are welcome to take photos over and over again - there is no limit, so in the end they get to take home tons of photos imprinted with the bride & groom's logo and wedding date.  We also create a scrapbook on site the clients often use as their only guest book.  Imagine how awesome it will be in twenty years when a couple pulls out the scrapbook and sees all of their guests exactly the way they looked on their wedding day.  The scrapbook is so much more valuable than a book of signatures and ends up being quite the prized possession.  

AC: Would you say there has been an increase in demand for photo booths for recently?

SC: Absolutely.  We certainly feel that they are becoming a staple item at weddings.  It's still such a "new" thing.  The photo booths receive constant praise from guests as "the best idea EVER".  We hear it at every single event.  We have to admit that it wasn't our idea, but we are doing our best to perfect it.

AC: What advice do you have for a bride and groom when they're looking for a way to make their event unique?

SC: Well, a photo booth is definitely a unique addition, but there are so many great design elements available for weddings now.  Hampton Roads has some of the very best vendors you'll find anywhere.  From uplighting the walls and pin spotting the tables to elaborate ice bars and swanky lounge furniture.  The sky really is the limit these days.  If a client can dream it, the vendors in our area can pull together and make it happen.  We see it every weekend.  "Don't be afraid to be different".  That's our advice.  It's 2011, and it's cool to throw tradition to the wind and have FUN! 

    Both of these great outdoor shots were taken by Shawn!

Monday Meeting: Trivium Studio

Monday Meeting with James Christianson and Trey Tesoro of Trivium Studio. 

Trivium Studio gets it's name, Trivium, from the point where three paths cross. At Trivium Studio it is the intersection of the visions of James, Trey, and their clients. Trivium Studio is relatively new, although its photographers are not novices. James Christianson and Trey Tesoro both had their own photography "brands" before deciding about 18 months ago to merge and create Trivium Studio. James and Trey's style complement each other so well and they truly are a breath of fresh air in the wedding market.

AC: How did you get your start in photography? 
TS: I (James) took photography in high school, and really enjoyed it. I continued photography throughout the years sporadically and when I meant Trey we both loved photography and our passion grew into our business. We had our own independent brands but we always shot together; however, about 18 months ago Trey and I decided to merge our brands together as one.

AC: What's your favorite moment to capture at a wedding?
TS: There are too many to list. Trey really loves to capture when the groom first sees the bride, while I love capturing the first dance in addition to any one on one moments between the bride and groom. Especially the moment before the bride walks down the aisle- her anticipation! There really are too many to list!

AC: How would you classify your style?
TS: I'd have to say a fusion of all styles. We pride ourselves on capturing real moments as they are happening. Of course we'll take the traditional style pictures, but what we love and are known for is our ability to capture emotion in the moment in a timeless manner. 

AC: What advice do you have for a bride and groom looking for the right photographer?
TS: Choose someone that you truly have a connection with. You want to love their style but you want to feel comfortable with them through the process and on the big day. You have to remember to choose what you like, not what others around you like because they are your wedding pictures. Take engagement pictures with your photographer--that way if you don't like them or if you don't fit their style you aren't stuck with them on your wedding day. All you have after the wedding are the images, so make sure you are going to love them without settling.

Make sure you check out Trivium Studio featured on these well known wedding blogs and in the next issue of the Knot, DC/Maryland/Virginia Edition in stores this month! : Wedding ChicksInspired By This


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