Happy Holidays from Chanterelle Photography: “Going UP”

It’s hard to believe it’s already time to reveal the annual Chanterelle Photography holiday card, it feels like we just revealed the 2015 Sherlock Holmes card!  For 2016, I wanted to do something completely different from anything we’ve done before, so we went ANIMATED (okay technically “illustrated”, but you get the idea), so here is “Going UP”!

holiday christmas card with dog based on disney pixar up movie

Choosing the Disney/Pixar movie “Up” as inspiration was a bit of a risk.  I try to choose themes that are easily recognizable by most people, but occasionally I have an idea that goes with a very specific theme.  When you get too specific and/or too contemporary, you run the risk that many people may not “get” the reference, simply because they haven’t seen the original – like with our 2013 “Hunger Games” card.   I knew that even though “Up” came out in 2009, it was contemporary enough that some folks (especially those without kids) might not have seen the movie.  But Watson naturally has eyebrows just like the character Carl Fredricksen, so who was I to go against what nature was telling me? 😉

The animated/illustrated front of the card required 2 days of Photoshop work, mostly because I’m a photographer, not an illustrator.  So I had no idea how to make this happen, and had to teach myself (you really can learn just about anything online now!).  It involved drawing over the original image (which was shot on my front porch), simplifying it into into areas of light and shadow, and making my house look more like Carl and Ellie’s house.  It just took A LOT of small steps to get there.  I probably should have just paid someone to do it, but alas, I am ridiculously stubborn and a glutton for punishment.

Our outfits and props came together relatively quickly.  Watson’s jacket and my shirt came from Target, and his glasses came from Dollar Tree.  Watson’s tiny white toupee and my hat came from Amazon.  The balloons came from Walmart, and were tied to Watson’s harness (fed through a hole I made in the back center seam of his jacket).  We had almost everything else at home already – I tapped into my crafty stash to make the Wilderness Explorer flag, the sash of patches, Watson’s bow tie, and the bottle cap “Ellie badge” to pin onto Watson’s jacket.  I scrounged around my house for props to go on what would be Russell’s backpack, and discovered when you don’t have a butterfly net, a Thai tea strainer looks basically the same, haha!  I had planned to wear the backpack in the pictures, but after taking a few test shots, I realized you couldn’t see enough of it for it to translate well, and it would be more effective set off to one side.

I’m sure the neighbors that saw us setting up the shoot thought we were nuts – imagine looking over at your neighbor’s house, seeing her dressed up like the Disney/Pixar version of a boy scout, and her dog in a suit jacket tied to a bunch of a balloons. 😮  Thankfully no one tried to commit me to a mental institution.  Let’s hope it stays that way in 2017.  🙂

Thanks for a great 2016, and Happy New Year!

Engagement: Elaine & Jordan – San Francisco, California

When Elaine and Jordan booked me for their Alabama wedding, they weren’t sure if they’d be able to do an engagement session because they were currently living in San Francisco.  I already had a wedding booked in Sacramento later that year, so I hoped that if the timing worked out for everyone, I could potentially make a side trip to shoot their engagement session in the Bay Area.  Lucky for us, the stars aligned and we were able to make it happen before I left California.

Since Jordan is a self-proclaimed “coffee snob”, we started at one of their favorite haunts, Philz Coffee.  They brought along their super adorable dog Carl, who somehow managed look cute and innocent one minute and make us all lunge to save him from certain doom the next, when he dove headfirst into a nearby planter to grab the remnants of an old sandwich that had been discarded there.  Did I mention he wore a bow tie for the occasion?  One does not planter dive in casual wear, people.

engagement session at philz coffeeengagement pictures with dog at philz coffeeman on a scooter in engagement picturesan francisco engagement pictures

What you don’t know about the next two pictures: Carl wasn’t supposed to be in these.  Apparently he saw mom and dad snuggling and didn’t want to be left out, so he decided to photobomb and then give me the side eye for laughing at his antics.   Elaine and Jordan are some of the most laid back people you’ll ever meet, so naturally, they weren’t bothered and decided to just go with it. 😀

engagement pictures with dog in bay area

engagement pictures in the middle of the citysan francisco california engagement session

After stopping at a few other local favorites, we headed to their building’s rooftop to grab a few pictures overlooking the city as the sun was going down (and the wind was kicking up).

san francisco rooftop engagement picturesengagement pictures in san franciscoEven though I was born and raised in Northern California, I hadn’t been to the city in a while and had almost forgotten what it was like to have to parallel park, feed meters, and pay bridge tolls.  When you move to Alabama, it doesn’t take long to get spoiled with being able to whip into a parking lot, get what you need, and be home again in no time!  Stay tuned for pictures from Elaine and Jordan’s Camp Hill farm wedding!

Commercial: The Cockentrice 1 Year Anniversary – Krog Street Market – Atlanta, Georgia

A couple of years ago, I start working on a project featuring artisanal food products around the South.  One of the first people who jumped on board was Kevin Ouzts, owner of The Spotted Trotter, an Atlanta shop specializing in house made charcuterie.   It was clear from the get-go that he was extremely passionate about his work, and judging by the dishes he made (and I photographed) for special events like the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, he was a stickler for detail, even if it meant each small bite had 10 different components that required assembly.  He and his wife/business partner Megan are also some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet – how many clients offer to let you crash at their place when you’re in town to shoot a late night event with them AND tell you to bring your dog?  That’s a rare thing in the world today.

So when they crossed off one more “bucket list” item with the opening of their restaurant The Cockentrice, plus a second Spotted Trotter location in Krog Street Market, I was beyond happy for them.  When the restaurant celebrated its first anniversary I was there to get a snapshot of the festivities, from the swing band to the constant flow of food coming out of the open kitchen.

chef kevin ouzts at the cockentrice in atlantaband at the cockentrice 1 year anniversary partyband playing at the cockentrice in atlanta georgiafood at restaurant in krog street marketthe bar inside the cockentrice restaurant in atlantathe cockentrice restaurant in krog street marketbar at the cockentrice atlantabartender at the cockentrice in krog street marketchef kevin ouzts toastingIf you’re a business owner, you know running a business can easily take over your life.  If you or someone you know is involved in the restaurant industry, you know the hours can be crazy and you rarely see your friends and family because you work opposing hours.  Kevin and Megan recently made the decision to close The Cockentrice after nearly two years in order to reclaim their lives (and maybe make a baby Ouzts!) –  and again, I couldn’t be happier for them.  The Spotted Trotter locations will remain open, and I can’t wait to see (and shoot, and eat!) whatever they come up with next!

Portrait: The Kirkland Family

The last time I took pictures of this family we were out at Hampstead, little Alex was just a toddler with fuzzy blonde hair, and Grace was still in braces.  Fast forward a few years and we were at their home, and everyone but Alex was taller than me (though that’s not saying much and she’s not far behind, haha). It’s crazy how time flies, especially when you work with super laid back, ridiculously photogenic families that make your job easy!siblings in montgomery alabamateenage boy in montgomery photo sessionteenage girl portrait with red hair in alabamafamily portraits in montgomery alfamily photo session in alabamabrothers and sisters in alabama portraitlittle blonde girl in montgomery photo shootmontgomery family photo shoot