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Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel

Montage Laguna Beach || California

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Montage Laguna Beach || California

California has been romanticized for decades. The state itself has such a vast variety of landscapes including the gorgeous beaches, miles of dessert, looming mountain ranges, and bright cities.

People from all over come here to visit and see what it has to offer. Being a photographer in Laguna Beach, I see people doing “staycations” all the time! Even if they live in a nearby city, they still come to this small beach city to spend their time.

At Montage Laguna Beach, it is so easy to completely lose track of time and spend your day at the beach, spa, or going on a stroll through their beautiful pathways lined with stunning flowers and greenery.

There is no better place to take photos of our guests then right here on the property. We don’t have to go far to capture the essence that this resort has to offer.

Written by Savannah S. (Pacific Dream Photography at Montage Laguna Beach)

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A Laguna Beach Bridal Session || Having some fun before the wedding

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A Laguna Beach Bridal Session || Having some fun before the wedding

I had the pleasure of meeting Mimi and Emir back in April. They were in the middle of a pre-wedding travel trek through California before heading to Maui to officially become husband and wife. They contacted me and wanted to take some pictures of the two of them in their wedding-day attire here in Laguna Beach, California before the wedding.

It isn’t often that a bride is able to wear her wedding dress before the wedding, but I think I’m starting to see the magic in it. There’s a certain sense of satisfaction that comes with breaking all of the rules and it was a real treat to capture that.

More than anything, I could literally feel the excitement from both Mimi and Emir; looking deeply into each others’ eyes as they imagine their upcoming wedding in Hawaii: the same dress, same tux, but an entirely different location, surrounded by their loved ones. It was a truly beautiful moment.

Written by James H. (Pacific Dream Photography at Montage Laguna Beach)

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Tips for Photographers || Posing

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Tips for Photographers || Posing

I’ve been a wedding and engagement photographer now for over 8 years and the one question I get from many photographers is how do I pose my subjects? It’s simple, you don’t. Ok, well kind you kind of do. Let me explain.

I have a few “poses” I default to. Holding hands, getting comfortable in each others arms, looking back, walking, etc. I try not to get too hung up on the technical of posing. If your subjects are uncomfortable, it’s going show. So what’s the key to getting those natural candid/relaxed looking photos?

If you follow these 5 steps, you will be on your way to delivering comfortable natural poses and photographs for your clients.

Step 1. Exposure

Believe it or not, the first and most important step to getting couples and families comfortable in front of your camera is knowing how to operate a Dslr timely. Know it like the back of your hand. Exposures, ISO, Fstops, shutter speeds, shooting fully manual or shooting aperture priority. Know what you’re doing! Clients always feel confident when you’re confident behind a camera. You need to get to the point where it’s not a challenge to operate your camera. This gives your attention to the clients and makes them feel they are with a pro!

Step 2. Before you even shoot

Getting comfortable and acquainted with your client before you even pull the shutter. Be outgoing, genuine and interested in their lives. Ask where they are from, what brings them to wherever you’re shooting. Connect with them. I always try to connect with sports. You’d be surprised how many women love it when their husband/fiancé is involved in the shoot because to be honest, usually the wife has to drag the whole family to get their photos taken. When they see their husbands at easy (probably easier for me cause I’m a guy) it makes them think “cool, we’re all having a good time.”

If you’re not a guy, or can’t connect with the husband, try connecting with the kiddos or the wife/bride. Get personal without prying of course and let them get their minds off of the photo session for a bit. It’s always intimidating having a lens stare you down!

Step 3. Get them Comfortable

Have 3-5 poses you know down pat, but don’t let the pose rule over comfort.

For different scenes and settings I have a few different poses I default to, but my aim is getting couples comfortable in front of the camera. When couples or families are comfortable, it always provides better photos. I already know my cameras settings, so that doesn’t get in the way of anything. I’m having fun, cracking jokes, shooting and working fast! It’s a rush and I love it. I’m in the drivers seat and my client trusts me. They already feel good and know their images are turning out great. The laughs and smiles are real and genuine, not forced or unnatural.

Step 4. The experience

People will always forget what you said but will remember how you made them feel. This is probably more important than the photos themselves. I’ve never been one to get so technical I lose the subjects. Keeping the flow of the shoot is key. I hate downtime. If I have to figure out a shot, look for a location, guessing, or not sure. This always gets in the way of delivering a positive experience.

I have a few jokes on hand if I need folks to crack a smile. Most of all have fun and include the client. They love that!

Step 5. Find your groove

Posing like a lot of things is preference. Hands are something that can really bother me. If the hands look claw-like or stiff it throws the whole photo off (for me). That’s my pet peeve. For someone it might be posture or something else.

My rule of thumb (pun intended) is if the hands and fingers (and thumbs, kidding) look good, and we’re having fun we’re good to go!

Find your grove, practice, practice, practice then practice some more! The key is to avoid those awkward moments “what now” kind of feelings in a shoot!

 

- Written by Brent S. (Pacific Dream Photography at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel)

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Married Again || A Beautiful Vow Renewal in Laguna Niguel

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Married Again || A Beautiful Vow Renewal in Laguna Niguel

The vows pronounced during a wedding are a sacred promise and expression of love. However, over the course of many years, the weight of those initial words can often be lost in the hectic and busy days we call life.

After 10 years of marriage, and two adorable daughters, this happy couple wanted to show their continued devotion to each other by renewing their vows at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. They shared an elegant, yet simple celebration. The family dressed in breezy all-white attire with pink rose and baby’s breath hair wreaths, which were color to contrast the subtle white outfits. To us, it was the a picture-perfect palette to match the warm sunset colors present as they said “I do" for the second time. 

For events such as this, the use of props can be a fun and different way to capture the experience. This family brought a "Married Again" sign to use in their pictures, which was a great compliment to the beach setting photography session. The sunset on the evening of the vow renewal was absolutely beautiful. Our photographer was able to capture stunning family portraits and candid images with shades of orange and pink colors reflecting off the sand and water. 

Our Laguna Beach Photography Team had a wonderful time capturing this lovely vow renewal ceremony. We were honored to be a part of their celebration and give them beautiful images to add to their collection of memories.

-written by Donya (Pacific Dream Photography at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel)

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Sunrise Photo Session at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

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Sunrise Photo Session at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

In photography, lighting and colors are everything. This is one of the main reasons why sunset photo shoots are always taken in the schedules of a beach photographer. However, what many don’t realize is that sunrise can have just the same amazing effect.

Early birds Nicholas and Allegra were able to catch this amazing morning lighting on their couple's photo shoot at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. Nicholas had been planning to propose to his girlfriend of many years, and he reached out to our Laguna photographers to capture the moment and make it an extra special surprise. He let our Pacific Dream Photography photographers in California know that he was interested in proposing at sunrise, and we were more than happy to accommodate his request. After setting up a quaint breakfast picnic for the couple on a lawn overlooking the ocean, our photographer captured Nicholas proposing and Allegra’s eager delighted reaction.

Nicholas and Allegra- just seconds after he popped the question. (Laguna Beach)

Nicholas and Allegra- just seconds after he popped the question. (Laguna Beach)

The couple continued on to get some great early engagement photos in Laguna Beach, and the early morning sun was the perfect compliment. Our photographer was able to capture the orange glow of the rising sun against the cool morning colors in their images, which created a beautiful setting for all their photos. Also, since it was the beginning of the day, their photos were able to capture a great range of lighting in the 45 minutes they spent on their shoot.

Some fun sunlight effects and casual beach stroll make for great couple photos.

Some fun sunlight effects and casual beach stroll make for great couple photos.

The result was a beautiful variety of photographs that annotated Nicholas and Allegra’s lovely moment. We were so happy to provide this couple with precious memories for their future lives together!

-written by Donya (Pacific Dream Photography at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel)

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Photography Sessions: Wardrobe Color Suggestions

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Photography Sessions: Wardrobe Color Suggestions

Great family portraits by a professional photographer are a wonderful addition to every family’s home. There are so many components that work together to create beautiful photos, and some of the smallest details can make the biggest difference. One easy addition that can make a large impact is the outfit worn during your photo session.

Whether it’s a Hawaii beach photo session or a photo shoot in California, choosing a set color to coordinate between all family members can really help pull a photo together and give the entire family a cohesive appearance.  

This family chose to wear all white for their sunset photo session in Laguna Niguel. 

This family chose to wear all white for their sunset photo session in Laguna Niguel. 

Tips from our California Photographers

During times such as sunset where the colors in the background are a variety of vibrant warm palettes, choose brighter colors. An all-white wardrobe can work in a late afternoon beach photo session, as seen in these photo samples from a shoot at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel. These colors can help set apart the person from the scene and draw attention to not only the beautiful scenery, but also to those being photographed. 

For photo sessions during the day when the sunlight is a bit more intense, avoid white and choose colors such as coral, oranges and salmon (just an example of the many colors which would work.) These can help add to the overall coloring of the photo, and also not have the attention drawn to the brightness of the clothing.

Sisters in white vacationing on the West Coast captured by our California photographers.

Sisters in white vacationing on the West Coast captured by our California photographers.

When the entire family is wearing the same color, it ensures that no family member will be lost in the setting compared to the others. This would also ensure that the focal point of the photo goes to the whole group. Having everyone be synced also adds a level of professionalism to a photo over a relaxed look of each person wearing a different print.

No matter what, our great photographers will make every member of the family shine and provide absolutely amazing photos. However, extra touches, such as clothing choices, really take ordinary photos and make them extraordinary!

-written by Donya (Pacific Dream Photography at the Ritz Carton Laguna Niguel)

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