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By: Kristen Castillo

From thoughts of proclaiming your vows, dancing to your song and cutting the cake, wedding day memories will always be fresh in your mind. Thankfully, your wedding album preserves all these special images and helps the day and details come back to life.

Traditional albums are full of portraits and group photos. But the newest trend in wedding albums takes things up a notch. Whether hardbound or in a standard album, these photo books are like very sleek digital scrapbooks.
Equinox Photo
Tricia Estrada of Digital Magic Memories says these new albums are magazine style featuring precise attention to detail and lots of creativity.

“I allow the photos to create the pages for me,” says Estrada who works her magic on digital images and scanned photos. She can color the album pages, make changes to the photos and use special effects to overlay vows, journal entries, song lyrics and graphics. The look is one-of-a-kind.

“I haven’t seen anyone else doing it,” she says. And so this former Qualcomm marketing associate has cornered a market on these cutting edge albums. “I can really customize what becomes a complex book,” she says.

The more images a couple can provide, the more Estrada can do to make the album unique. She can craft the album on her own or work side by side with the bride and groom.

Couples call the shots, deciding what they want to include in their album. Why not document the bridal shower, bachelorette party, engagement parties and even the honeymoon? A digital album can showcase these fun memories in style.

A custom digital album isn’t just for newlyweds. Due to time constraints and budget concerns, many couples never get around to creating an album after they get married. Time passes and they’ve got a box of photos and no way to display them. With this new type of album, couples have a great way to package and preserve their wedding day images.

Estrada created her own wedding album a few years after she married. Her first albums were all about family, which is how she got the idea of the digital album concept. “My kids were my inspiration,” she says. “I’ve always loved photos and doing special effects on photos.”

Digital photo albums look amazing and detailed. Designing the albums is a time consuming process (it takes an hour to craft a two page layout) but Estrada loves it. The creativity keeps her motivated and focused on every album. “There are so many options,” she says. “It’s endless what we can do.”

Estrada can crop images, color them and add lots of details like favorite sayings, clip art and crafty touches like a scanned invitation as an album backdrop. One glance at each page begs for another look. There’s so much to absorb from the images and the album design. In each album, the images, graphics and wording come together to tell the story.

Pages are professionally printed and then sent to a bindery in San Pasqual to create the finished product. Brides and grooms have a completed book within four to six weeks which is relatively fast for such top notch results.

Albums prices start at bargain $800 while extra charges apply for scanning photos or purchasing a leather album.

These photo albums can even come to life. Estrada offers another option where couples can have their album timed to music for a professional slideshow of the wedding story.

There are so many ways to remember life’s special moments. Video and traditional albums showcase the wedding day so well and now digital photo books can take the images a step further with snazzy graphics, cool quotes and photo design that rival a high end glossy magazine.

By: Bob Brichmann

Magical photographic moments do appear during the course of a wedding.

These moments may be spontaneous, artistic, semi-posed with a stunning sunset backdrop or may even happen by accident. More often than not, though, the artistic and experienced eye of your photographer is what is truly needed to find the “best shot.” It’s generally not just one shot, either. It could be a sequence of pre-ceremony shots of the bride primping and getting ready. It might be the capturing of the groom’s nervousness before the ceremony with his groomsmen trying to lighten the mood. Perhaps it’s several shots of the parents or grandparents embraced on the dance floor – lost in the moment. Maybe it’s the toss of the bouquet?
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“You can’t capture a connection, unless you have a connection,” professes photographer Betsy McCue of La Vida Creations. Engagement sessions can be a crucial tool to ensuring photographic success for a wedding. Each party gets to know each other and a relationship is built. The groom starts to lower the typical “I hate pictures” guard. The bride warms to the moment. “Getting to know them as people enables us to relate with them more easily. Comfort equals better pictures. We can capture the essence of who people really are, especially once they start to drop their guard,” adds McCue.

There are many incredibly beautiful locations around San Diego to shoot engagement sessions and/or wedding day pictures: the Hotel Del and its beaches, Luscomb’s Point at Sunset Cliffs, The Marston Houses’ gardens near Balboa Park, anywhere in Balboa Park, Wind-N-Sea beach, the Mission Bay areas around The Dana and The Paradise Point Resorts. Photographer Jen Bosma is also a definite fan of engagement sessions. She’ll try and meld to what the couple is looking for and strives to relate to her clients. “I want couples to be comfortable in front of the camera. I’ll encourage a groom to whisper in his bride-to-be’s ear and get her giggling. This warms them up. Maybe a cute little piggyback ride down the beach lightens the mood,” shares Bosma.
Amore Wedding Photography
Most people are slightly uncomfortable in front of a camera. It’s the photographer’s job to ease that angst. Compliments go a long ways. Relating to them on their level often does the trick as does speaking their lingo. The photographer is often a liaison on the day, especially early on, between the bride and groom. The groom has not seen the bride so he’s nervously asking how she looks or is feeling. The bride may ask how he looks in his tux or suit and they reassure her he looks really handsome. This gets both parties excited with anticipation and drops some of that photo guardedness. “My philosophy is don’t make it happen, let it happen. Every bride is beautiful in my eyes. Don’t be aware of me. Be aware of each other. Get the two close, let them interact and capture them,” offers photographer Joseph Guidi from The Studios of Joseph Guidi.

One key aspect in getting the best shot is allowing the professional to use creative lighting techniques. Shadows, natural lighting, unique angles…these are not necessarily new ideas, but perhaps with a more modern thought process. Use the twilight creatively. Everyone is used to sunset photos, but there are other periods of daylight that lend themselves to some creative shading. A professional photographer can coach you through this. Another benefit to hiring a pro to get the best shot is the overall expectation difference between bride and mom (or bride & groom vs. family).

“Mom has a totally different expectation. She needs the classic, full length, back of the dress shot. Brides want ‘photojournalism’ with minimal posing. We have to connect with both and capture both,” explains photographer Jared Bauman from Bauman Photographers.

Clarifying the volume of family shots expected versus candids ahead of time saves everyone a whole world of hassle. The best is generally a mix of both. Every bride is beautiful. Some may have some less than photogenic qualities. Your professional photographer can overcome this with their expertise and various techniques.

“Shooting down generally offers a more flattering angle if the nose is an issue. It hides into the face. Analyze the bride’s features and plan from there. Thicker arms…consider veiling them a bit,” says Guidi.
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Body positioning can be very important. Without over-posing, some simple instructions can create some memorable shots. Turn your foot this way. Lift your chin this way.

Make-up and hair are always an important issue. You can be the most beautiful girl in the world, but make-up is almost always needed to enhance the day – for photography’s sake. Ask your photographer for recommendations or look through San Diego Style Weddings Magazine for make-up professionals.

“Water based is generally the safest choice. There’s less chance of a reaction. Make sure they are a licensed esthetician and know what they are doing,” states Melanie Littlewood from Hair and Makeup Artistry by Melanie.

One of the other more important and understated factors to getting the best shot falls back on the eye of the professional. When all is said and done, they know what to shoot and when. They have that creative eye. You’ve seen this when you’ve interviewed them and their work. They may shoot you smiling with mom through an open side window of the church prior to the ceremony and you don’t even know they are there.

They might semi-pose you to bend a certain way so the twilight bounces off of you just the right way.

They might coach your interaction to a degree, but be yourself. Capturing the two of you in your own comfort zone is what will provide the best shots.