Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How to Hire the Right Photographer

Happy Wedding Wednesdays y’all! So excited for the very FIRST installment of our new series here on the blog.  I had every intent of starting when I was planning the wedding late last year but as every bride (or bride-to-be) knows, wedding planning sucks the life out of you, there’s no time for ANYTHING let alone blogging about it.  So now that I’m newly wed and still fresh on post wedding high I’ll be detailing EVERYTHING you’ve ever wanted to know about planning your own wedding!

Starting with what I feel is the MOST important aspect to consider: 
Choosing the right photographer for your wedding day
My top 5 tips will not only help you to find the right person for the job, but hopefully will help you capture your wedding as you see it in your wildest dreams!

Tip 1:  Refine your style 
This might be so obvious but I can’t tell you how many brides overlook this simple task.  Scour all your resources (Pinterest/ Instagram/ Facebook/ Bridal Magazines/ Wedding Blogs/ etc) for your favorite images of the bride and groom on their wedding day.  Make sure you keep a digital “inspiration” folder with all your faves and keep stockpiling these pictures until you get a basic feel and theme of the look you desire.  Love vintage style photography?  Don’t hire the guy who shoots and edits with high contrast, vivid colors, and blinding light!  Refine your style by looking at the lot of your saved images and hopefully a common theme will appear.

Tip 2:  Do your research
Now that you’ve locked down your wedding photography style it’s time to hit social media!  I have found countless of dozens of my vendors on Facebook and I know Instagram is a hotbed for new, trending talent!  Keep another folder for all your faves (this time the file is for specific photographer's work in your area/ or will travel to your area) and compare the style you prefer to the style these photographers shoot.  If the photos have a similar look and feel, then you’re on the right track. Keep playing the matching game until you have a handful of professionals to reach out to.

Tip 3:  Read reviews and ask around
With your handful of photographers to call and email, make sure you also check out their extended portfolio and read reviews, referrals, and any other information you can get beyond their website.  I like to hit up their social media profiles to see how they interact with followers and friends.  You may even reach out to past clients to get their take on personal experiences with these photographers, especially the ones who have used them recently.  You never know who has a bad reputation or unreliable track record until you can get first-hand accounts.

Tip 4:  Budget!
Have a budget range in mind and make sure your selected photographer can tailor a package according to your needs.  This all happens during your initial consultation.  You need to be very clear as to how much you’re willing to spend and what you will get for that amount.  Often times I find that the professional will work with couples to get them to the right figure.  Start with a basic package and keep adding on until you both agree.  Know that you have a small and intimate wedding?  You may not need that 3rd shooter for the incurred cost.  Instead of 300 edited images, maybe negotiate the package down to 200 edits and that will surely help bring down the price.

Tip 5:  Connection is KEY  
Every photographer (like any service-related professional) will always make time for a quickie phone chat, a simple meet-and-greet, or even a trial photo session to get a feel for their client.  You want to make sure you get along, enjoy one another’s personality and company, and feel comfortable enough working together so your photos bring out your best, true and honest selves.  The more compatible you are, the better the pictures will turn out!

I was super lucky to have found the perfect photographer early on wayyy before le hubs and I even got engaged.  Roy Iswanto, local Southern California photographer had been on my radar for years (having seen his work on Facebook HERE) and le hubs even surprised me by hiring him to shoot our proposal (previously seen HERE).  I knew Roy would be the one to photograph our wedding and after a full day’s worth of engagement shots that you see above, I was in lalalalalaLOVE!!!

Thank you to my fantastic friend, artist extraordinaire, Roy Iswanto and his amazing team for capturing all the fabulous fun at our proposal, our e-session, our wedding, and our (soon-to-be) maternity shoot! Lol *here’s hoping* 

Because sometimes it’s not just about one day, but a lifetime of events loves!

(FYI: His facebook is better than his website)

Next week on Wedding Wednesdays:  
With a million and one decisions to make- where do you even begin???  
I’ll tell you EXACTLY where I started and how to develop your checklist from there!

Thank you for reading guys!
Feels great to be back and blogging on the regular again ;D


Friday, January 29, 2016

Food Porn Friday- Gaggan | Bangkok

TGIF hunnies!  Since it’s the first Food Porn Friday of 2016, I really wanted to make it quite exceptional with a special Thailand Edition post! It’s back to Bangkok we go with Gaggan, chef Gaggan Anand’s namesake Michelin star-rated fine dining establishment featuring progressive Indian fare set in a former 19th century colonial townhouse.  

What you get is modern, molecular dishes served up on a blank white canvas, the perfect contrast to create vibrant cuisine heralded by Restaurant Magazine as the 10th BEST of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2015.

Indian cuisine is easily my top 3 faves (right behind Vietnamese and sushi)...
Are you just as anxious as I to dive right in??!!  

Here’s what’s on the menu today!

 Rose- Shikanji (Indian Lemonade)
Brought out as a shot in ice-chilled test tubes, love that the start of the meal signals a toast for our group! It's as if they knew we were coming...Cheers!

 Yogurt Explosion | Edible Plastic Spiced Nuts | Chocolate Chilly Bomb
A trio of starters meant to mimic bite-sized hors d'oeuvres to warm up one's appetite...
The yogurt explosion was my fave of the bunch, oozing creamy goodness in one special bite...totally out of this world!

Bengali Mustard and Noori Pakoda

Birds Nest
Tasted like pik nik french fries with hot sauce

Papadam and Tomato Chutney
Tastes like it looks, rice cake with pass!

Keema (Lamb) Samosa
Might not look like the most inventive dish on the menu but so tasty who cares?!! 
Word in the kitchen is that they vacuum-fry these crispies and it takes 6 hours to make just 45 of these guys!
One crunchy bite and you'll be jonesing for more...

Air-filled sponge cake with coriander chutney foam

Brain Damage
One of my absolute favorites, like an Indian foie gras macaron with the lightest, most delicate puff you'll ever sink your teeth into.  Dissolves immediately when it hits your tongue and leaves a creamy paste for the perfect aftertaste.

Fukuoka Surprise
A Japanese-inspired dish, so beautiful and delicate with a chewy gummy-like melon enveloping white asparagus topped with seaweed and sea grapes...
Just like heaven would taste...

Crab and Flowers

Magic Mushroom
Truffle, forest mushrooms in the shape of a log, edible soil and the garden.
A little strange, but hey, it's edible! The whole dang garden including the dirt! lol


Be surprised! They won't tell you what it is until the entire table has finished the course... Anyone care to guess??

Chennai Kings
Scallop in spicy roast pepper masala “Sukka Style”

Pig and Pickle
72 hours prepared Iberian pork loin, in sweet and sour Punjabi pickled mix

Daab Chingri

A recipe that’s a result of #CNN Food #Culinary Journeys where ‘Daab’ means coconut ‘Chingri’ means prawns

Who Killed the Goat? 
Free range lamb chops sous-vide, grilled and finished with almond saffron oil
Totally reminds me of a recent episode of Top Chef where they had to draw inspiration from a Stephen King horror novel 

I want my curry!!! 
Triple threat traditional servings of Chicken Tikka Masala, Mom’s home style mutton bhunna, and South Indian fish curry served with fresh made naan.

Finally, we've made it to the desserts!!!

Gajar Halwa
Black Carrot ice cream, crispy carrot flower, cardamom oil

In Season
Mahachanok mangoes, coconut LN2 semi-sphere
One swift crack of the spoon and behold! The most beautiful melt-in-yo-mouth bowl of frozen ambrosia everrrr.

Inspired by the famous frozen ice cream

Assorted Candies
Pan Chocolate, Rose Jelly, Mouth freshener, Yuzu, Tamarind

Total per person: Just under $80 USD before alcohol, tax, and gratuity…
A friggin steal! Something similar to this spread would easily triple that amount in the States. Trust, le hubs and I have experienced Michelin star dining for half the course load and 4x’s the cost.

We had a large group of over 20 guests and occupied the entire 2nd story private dining room. The perfect spot to amp up the party since my peeps have no clue what it means to keep quiet! Lol We definitely received the VIP treatment from beginning to end, personal beverage service from the head bartender himself and even the Chef made a cameo to introduce the dishes and explain some of the concepts along the way. 

I swear, the artist in me LOVES hearing these stories of research and development, all the better to understand the masterpiece you see before you.  But not everyone’s into the spiel, so before you go, make sure it’s with like-minded foodies who appreciate the creativity as much as you will.

68/1 Soi Langsuan
Ploenchit Road | Lumpini | Bangkok | 10330
(662) 652-1700

After dinner party tiiiiime!!!
Celebrating my pre-bachelorette bash at Levels Nightclub with BOL babes

 Happy Friday my loves! 
Hope everyone celebrates a splendid weekend!

Be sure to come back next week as we start Wedding Wednesdays and a sneak peek into how our home renovation’s holding up! 

Bon App├ętit mes amis!

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