Get to Know… Edyta Szyszlo of Edyta Szyszlo Photography

In case you haven’t had the pleasure, this is your opportunity to get to know Edyta Szyszlo of Edyta Szyszlo Photography.  Edyta loves what she does and it’s so easy to tell because her work is just plain gorgeous. This year she was recognized as one of the Best West Coast Photographers of 2014 by Martha Stewart Weddings… does a higher honor even exist?  We think not.  But we do think you’ll love getting to know Edyta just as much as we have over the years.

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edyta headshot

Name: Edyta Szyszlo

Company: Edyta Szyszlo Photography, LLC and co-owns Tomfoolery SF photobooth with her husband, Jared.

Started My Business: Been in business for almost 10 years!

Located: San Francisco

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Q: Which industry related tool can you not live without?

 A: Haha, obviously my cameras, however, a close second would be a calendar!

Q: When you’re not on site at an event, what can we find you doing?

A: I’m usually at my computer or at lifestyle/commercial photoshoots during the weekdays. But that’s a lame answer 🙂   I love exploring the outdoors and new neighborhood spots, socializing over a yummy meals, exercising, cuddling with my cats, drinking red wine, watering my plants, day-dreaming, picnicking, gawking over magazines and fooling around in our photobooth.

Edytas Cats

Edyta and Hubby

Q: At which venue are you dying to work?

A: I’m not really partial to just one place. I love anything with incredible natural light, dreamy lights or polished interior design. There are a few places in the Southern California area that I wish SF had! One on my list is Lombardi House.

Lombardi House

Lombardi House

Q: My go to snack is ________.

A:  Seasonable fruit and alike finger foods.

Q: What is/are your guilty pleasure(s)?

A: Celebrity magazines, although I never buy them. The Kardashians tv show (don’t judge me!). Cream cheese and anything with coconut.

Q: TV wise, what are you watching right now?

A: Just finished season 4 of Downton Abbey.

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Q: I can’t stand ________.

A: When there are a million phones taking pictures at a wedding ceremony, especially in the aisle.  Or when you’re reading your credit card over the phone the person is ‘uh huh-ing’ between every digit.

Q: What’s the last thing you purchased online?

A: Shoes. Leather Vans to be exact 🙂

vans

Q: Music wise, I am currently listening to ______.

A: folksy country with a mix of old school decade jams.

Q: Favorite thing I currently have hanging in my closet is ______

A: my flowy white tops and dresses…all of them.

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant in the Bay Area?

A: There are too many good ones!! I love Suppenkuche, Bar Agricole, The Corner Store, Central Kitchen, Bar Tartine, Fat Angel

Bar Agricole
The Patio at Bar Agricole

Q: Why are you most excited to be working with the Stacy McCain Event Planning team?

A: I love their structured yet easy-going nature. It’s so important to have a streamlined and efficient approach for planning an event if you want it to feel carefree. Stacy and her team are the perfect blend of elegance, top-notch service and casual attitude.  Their design sense is modern with a a soft hint of playful, making it a win-win combo.

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In case you missed it, be sure you Get to Know… Aaron Novak of Artisan Production

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Wedding Photography 101

Hello, friends, we’re back with another photography-related post! When the talented Bay Area Photographer Meg Perotti shared with us her tips for posing for the perfect shot, we thought, why stop there? Obviously, you want to make sure you have the perfect shots on your big day, but who will take these pictures and where do you find this person? How much will this cost? And what are your options? Well, lucky for you, we’re here with some answers. Welcome to Wedding Photography 101.

To start, where does one even find a wedding photographer? Well, we think word-of-mouth is always the best. In fact, who better to ask than your wedding planner who has all the great connections? If you know someone that loved their photographer and loved their wedding photos, ask to look at theirs. If you like what you see, check out their other work. You can also check out guides like this one on the Wedding Channel or take a look through all the amazing wedding blogs out there that feature real weddings. Our favorites include Style Me Pretty, Green Wedding Shoes, and 100 Layer Cake. If you see something you like, check out who the photographer is. Hint: you can do a search by location, and weddings shot in your area will pop up along with the local vendors used.

When looking for your photographer, check out their portfolios and make sure you’re into their style. Our suggestion is to not go with anything too trendy- timeless and natural is the way to go.  Make sure the photographer has had experience shooting weddings, and preferably ones similar to yours. If all they’ve taken is pictures of their cat, it doesn’t matter how professional they looked, we can almost guarantee that they won’t be able to handle your shot list and you’ll be unhappy with the result.

Your wedding photographer is the one person you’ll be spending the most time with on your wedding day as they’ll want to capture every special moment. So you should really click with them before they click away! We really love a photo journalist approach. These are the photographers that will help tell the story of your big day, including details of all the beautiful things that you’ve worked so hard to create. Of course they will take a few posed portraits, but where they really shine is through all the candid photos. The look on your groom’s face as you walk down the aisle, the tear in your eye as your proud father talks about how special you are to him, the laugher when you and your best friends dance just like old times.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to your top two favorite photographers, we suggest doing a meet and greet, or at least chatting on the phone. You need to have that instant connection, just like when you found the dress! If you like them, then we highly recommend doing an engagement shoot, which is good for a number of reasons. One, you get a sort of test run to see how you and your photographer work together. Two, you’ll be able to get more comfortable in front of the camera, so taking pictures on your wedding day will feel more natural. And three, our favorite reason, is…you’ll have fun AND get some really special photos of you and your groom to be.

And now, let’s talk logistics. One of the most important things to keep in mind is timing- photographers book fast. Book your photographer as soon as you can, preferably right after you choose your wedding date and usually at least 9 months before the big day. Photographers’ fees can range greatly, especially here in the Bay Area, that said average services tend to be between $4,500 and $10,000. Fees will depend on the amount of hours needed, the size of your wedding, the location, and what type of package you’re looking for, etc. Check out some more wedding photography tips, from Martha Stewart Weddings, and enjoy the rest of your wedding planning!


posing for the perfect shot: expert tips

We’ve been talking a lot lately about various aspects of your wedding planning, from setting your budget, finding the dress, invitations, and more. We have no doubt that your big day will be one of the best days of your life, which is exactly why we think it’s so important for you to absolutely love your wedding photos. So we thought we’d do a few posts dedicated to wedding photography. We started by interviewing our friend and beyond-talented Bay Area photographer, Meg Perotti, who shared some great insight to help make sure your wedding photos are exactly what you hoped for. Meg’s style is soft and uber romantic, but even if you’re looking for a totally different look and feel, these tips will help you get the results you’re looking for.

How should we prepare for our wedding portraits?

Do an engagement session! It’s important to feel comfortable with your photographer and an engagement session helps you to experience how he/she works behind the camera and what they expect out of you as subjects.

What if we see something that our photographer had done with other couples and we want to have the same look?

In my humble opinion, trying to direct the photographer never ends well. Poses are almost always site specific and an approach to a couple is different every time I shoot. For example, I had a more-dapper-than-most groom casually place his hand in his pocket and look off to the left … as I clicked the shutter I knew he had gotten it right on. He looked like something out of GQ magazine … trying to recreate that look with another groom is almost impossible. Different couples fit together in different ways and every shoot yields new and unexpected beauty. Of course, if there is something specific you have been picturing for days, most photographers will definitely want to know these things because ultimately your happiness is the most important thing- but try to remember that you hired your photographer because you love their work and trust their talent.

What if we’re not very comfortable with our photo being taken?

9 out of 10 of my clients tell me they are terrible in front of the camera and 10 out of 10 of my clients love at LEAST a handful of their final images. Remember, your wedding day is not about taking photos, it is about celebrating your love, making you look good in your photos is the job of a great photographer …  if you focus on your love you are sure to look radiantly happy in your photos.

What if not everyone in our group shots is cooperating or comfortable with the pose?

I can’t say I’ve experienced this but my honest opinion would be to tell them to suck it up. I’ve definitely had complaining bridesmaids but for the most part the brides trusts me and just gives her bridal party a nudge and we get through the session quickly. Make sure to tell your bridal party and family ahead of time what is expected of them. If there is something off-color about the pose and you, as the bride, aren’t comfortable with it- all you need to do is say the word and we’ll move on. Your happiness is most important!

What are your thoughts on themed or styled shoots (with props)?

Styled/Themed shoots can be fun but they are also a lot of work and tend to create stress between the bride and groom if they are trying to arrange it themselves. I recommend working with a coordinator/designer to help you pull together a shoot so you can focus on enjoying the experience. I love it when my clients bring props like bikes or balloons, but it’s also completely fine and just as romantic to just bring yourself and your love for each other.

I’m not really into very traditional/pose-y photos. How do we make sure they look candid and interesting?

A few traditional, heads together, smile at the camera shots are always necessary whether you like them or not. A good photographer knows that these are the images that the mother of the bride is going to look for and gets them out of the way quickly.  The most important part of getting the images you want is hiring the right photographer for YOU. If you prefer candid playful images, in order to make sure you get these, you should hire a photographer whose work reflects that. My images tend to be quiet, romantic, soft… and that’s what I am hired to create. Find a photographer that fits your individual style and vision of your wedding photos and you are guaranteed to love the final product!

Do you recommend having a first look, and why?

Either way is fine by me and my recommendation is don’t decide until you have a timeline! Having a first look can sometimes be very beneficial for your timeline, especially if you are getting married during the time of year when the sun sets early in the day. If your ceremony is starting late and you don’t anticipate having much time for photos before the sun sets, a first look can allow you to get all of the necessary shots out of the way so you can enjoy cocktail hour. It can sometimes be a controversial decision if you are a more traditional couple and I always recommend that couples think about their wedding day as a whole before deciding. If you simply cannot imagine seeing each other before you walk down that long Cathedral aisle- then definitely do not do a first look. I encourage my clients to communicate their feelings about how they want their day to go so we can make a joint decision about what is best for the general outcome of the final product.

I’m worried I’ll be overwhelmed on my wedding day. How do I look relaxed even if all I can think about is all the wedding details and making sure I talk to all my guests?

My first word of advice is to hire a wedding coordinator. You really should not be worrying about any details by the time your wedding day comes around and if something goes wrong on the day of you want someone there to fix the problem without you even knowing there was one! Nerves on a wedding day can actually photograph beautifully- the moment before the bride walks down the aisle, the groom going over his vows, the bride wringing her hands together while her bridesmaids put her veil on … embrace your wedding day for the day that it is. It will be what it will be and no matter what happens it is still the day you married the love of your life. Let go and enjoy all your months of planning and hard work!

What are your favorite types of venues to shoot? What types of venues do you think work best?

I realize that people choose venues for all sorts of reasons and can understand and appreciate that, but personally, I think my photography style lends itself well to outdoor natural light ceremonies and receptions. Late summer nights in Napa or Carmel … vineyards, fields, courtyards… locations that incorporate nature photograph really well. If I had my choice, I would never photograph another hotel banquet hall wedding. 😉

How do you like to get to know the couple before they let you in on their big day?

If a client opts out of an engagement session then I usually insist that we at least go out for dinner to get to know each other. I take a limited amount of bookings a year so that I can focus my attention on my clients. There is nothing worse than showing up to a wedding having not met the bride/groom yet! Unlike your florist or cake artist, your photographer is by your side the entire wedding day- take the time and invest in that relationship and you’ll find the experience to be delightful!

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Thank you, Meg, for sharing your talent and expertise with us!

(Since we’re on the topic of beautiful portraits, here’s a snap of the lovely Meg herself)