Category Archives: A DAY IN THE LIFE

Film vs. Digital

Hey, readers! It’s been a little while, hasn’t it? This summer has been filled with a lot of new experiences for the A. E. team, and today we’re bringing you a special feature on film and digital photography. We got together with photographer (and today’s guest blogger) Travis Kaenel in Old Town Pasadena to give you an insight on the two. As you scroll down, you’ll see film images on the left and their digital counterparts on the right. Can you see the difference…?



by Travis Kaenel

If you’re an engaged couple trying to figure out the best photographer to capture your wedding, you can eliminate 90% of the field by focusing on the best of the best: film shooters. People who opt for their wedding to be captured on film choose to do so for two reasons: 1) They’re a couple that wants someone who REALLY knows what the heck they’re doing, and/or 2) they’re a couple that’s artistic, and values the artistic elements that film has to offer versus. digital. First, let’s talk about the look of film. Film is very distinctive. One of the most common ways people distinguish between film and digital is that they say film looks almost 3D, because of the crazy depth of field it offers (‘Depth of field’ is when the background is out of focus, and the subject is in focus). Digital, on the other hand, looks flat compared to film. This is why there’s a multi-million dollar industry dedicated to making digital images look like film images. The perfect example is all those filters Instagram and VSCO (visit their website, and you’ll see that their whole mission statement is to make digital images look like film) have for those pics you snap on your phone. Film is simply more desirable than digital images. This is partially due to the fact that film is organic. The way film works is that there are little crystals on that strip of plastic, held together by gelatin, that react to light in a special way. Digital cameras have a sensor that records the way light comes through the camera. Film actually mutates inside the camera in response to the world outside of it. It’s super cool.


Now it’s time for a vocabulary lesson, and today’s word is bokeh. No, not like a bunch of flowers. Bokeh is how the stuff that’s out of focus in an image, looks. There’s no comparison for the way bokeh looks on film as opposed to how it looks on digital. You might’ve wondered at some point why the pics you take on your phone look weird, and not like how the scene in front of you looks. For me, the most obvious answer is that EVERYTHING in your phone pics is in focus! That’s not how we naturally see the world. There’s the thing we’re focused on, and then there’s everything else in our peripheral vision. Professional photography, both film and digital, offer a more natural way of capturing a scene, but the thing that sets film apart, again, is the bokeh. It’s super creamy, like cream cheese frosting. Kurt Boomer’s photos look like they were painted by Claude Monet. It’s crazy. You have to check him out. He’s a film shooter. 😉


The bokeh isn’t the only benefit of film. The colors and contrast that film offers straight out of the camera are unreal. I say that it’s unreal because I’ve been a digital photographer for most of my career, and I’m just used to having to edit every single photo I’ve ever taken. With film, I don’t have to. If you take the same picture with the same settings on film and then on digital, with no editing, the difference is crazy. Film doesn’t need any retouching. Digital on the other hand… Well, the colors on film are so rich you swear you could lick them off the page. This benefits couples in two ways: 1) You end up with photos worthy of being displayed Abercrombie & Fitch style, and 2) you get them back way faster than digital images. I know of digital photographers who don’t give their clients back their pics sometimes six months after the wedding. With film, it’s ready in a couple of days or weeks, depending on the lab.


Since there are no pixels involved with film, you can blow up an image huge without distorting it and making it all pixelated. There’s small format film (35mm), medium format (6 x 4.5 centimeters—which is why the camera I use is called a Contax 645, because of the size of the film) and large format film (which is the kind you see in 1920’s period movies where the guy is behind a huge tripod camera with a sheet over his head). Wedding and fashion photographers will use medium format film because it’s bigger, so you can blow up an image the size of a building without distorting it. Large format is even better, but large format film only comes as slides that you have to insert and eject for every exposure, so it’s not ideal for a fast-paced situation like a wedding, unlike medium format cameras that wind the film automatically.


Now that we’ve shifted from talking about the artistic benefits of film to the practical ones, it’s worth mentioning that film shooters are simply better photographers than digital ones. With digital, there’s no harm in just holding down your finger on the shutter button and taking thousands of pictures, because it’s free. With film however, every time you push the button, that’s money spent. What this means is that a film shooter cares about every single frame, whereas digital photographers might take a picture simply to see what the picture will look like so that they can make the necessary adjustments for the next one. A film shooter on the other hand, will already know what the picture is going to look like. That’s because he’s taken the time to study his equipment and how light interacts with it. You can’t delete a film photo. A film shooter will compose a scene, whereas a digital shooter will correct a scene. There’s a phrase: “Spray and Pray.” What this means is that digital shooters will take tons of photos and pick out the best ones from the batch, hoping that they got a couple good ones. A film shooter makes sure that every frame is a good one.


Another practical aspect of film, especially for weddings, is how forgiving film is with different kinds of light. When a bride is getting ready, there’s generally a combination of natural light from a window, and man-made light from the bathroom or something. These are completely different when it comes to photography, and digital has a hard time figuring out what to do with the different wavelengths. What this means is that the photographer will be sitting behind his computer color correcting for days, just so that the bride’s dress doesn’t come out purple, yellow, green, or blue. With film, what you see is what you get. No purple dresses, and pics in a couple weeks.


So film is both more beautiful, and more practical. You get more depth, creamy bokeh, rich colors, and you get them back faster. Not to mention the guy or girl behind the camera is a pro, who’s generally going to care more about each image, and is more artistic. After all, photography is an art. Film photography is a fine art.

Travis–you’re the MAN!

Get to know Lacey!



A few years ago, I had just finished a Wedding Planner online certification program and I wanted to get hands on experience. I researched top rated wedding planning companies in the Los Angeles area and Amber Events had 5 stars across the board. I reached out to Nira and we met at an adorable cafe in Studio City called Aroma. We talked all about the wedding industry and I became an intern for Amber Events. The rest is history.


One of my most memorable weddings has to be my very first wedding I worked. It was a smaller wedding at the Smog Shoppe venue in Culver City. The bride and groom, Kat and Aaron, both worked for a toy company and they incorporated many fun and sentimental elements into their special day. They had old family photos strung by clothespins all around, pom pom balls as confetti and old fashioned coke bottles as treats and favors. They were such a sweet couple and they seemed to have such a good time throughout the whole day. It was a beautiful wedding. 


The most important element of my future wedding will be having all my family and closest friends in attendance. My grandfather is a pastor so it would be so special if he could perform the ceremony. I would also love a live jazz band to play during the dinner hour and a great DJ to get the party started afterward.


My dream honeymoon would be to go on a two week trip starting off in London. We would take a ride on the London Eye ferris wheel, tour Buckingham Palace and of course have some bangers and mash. Then we would hop over to France via train. It’s a must to visit all of the historical landmarks such as The Eiffel Tower, The Notre Dame Cathedral and The Louvre. I would try as many cafes and bakeries as possible along the way. Then we would end our trip in Italy. We would eat as much pasta as we could handle and take gondola rides through the canals after seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Sistine Chapel.


Some of my other hobbies and interests are 5K Color Runs, reading, creating wedding decor for my Etsy site and my adorable 7 month nephew named Jax.


I would describe my style as very versatile and always changing. I don’t have one particular style that I wear all of the time simply because there are just too many cute clothes and shoes that come in so many different varieties. I do have a few staples that I always have in my closet such as a good pair of black high heels, an LBD, at least three good flannel shirts, a great printed mini skirt and dressy coat for date nights. I always accessorize with stud earrings, two or three bracelets, a simple necklace and a cross body bag to store my makeup goodies.


I have two absolute must haves. I cannot leave my house without a shiny lip gloss and my Outrageous Curl mascara from Sephora. It’s the best mascara ever.


If I could be any animal, I would definitely be a cheetah. Hands down. They are extremely fierce, incredibly fast and extraordinarily beautiful creatures. Plus, I absolutely love cheetah print.


Hmm, this is a hard one. Would I chose Superman, a supernaturally strong hero who gets his strength from the sun and saves the world from the bad guy trying to take over the world, or would I chose Captain America, a superhero who is the absolute best soldier in all capacities? He stands for traditional American values and is the courageous leader of the other Avengers. They both have serious pro’s and it’s just too hard to pick.

>>>Love ya, Lace!

Get to know us!

IMG_3387Yes, there’s more to us than wedding planning. Read on to learn more, from Disney (Did you notice our “Aladdin” pants, to stay within our theme of “Rooftop Sunset in Zanzibar”?) to travel plans.




Nira: 1. Lilo and Stitch 2. Lion King 3. Pocahontas

Jackie: Pocahontas, Up, Tangled

Karly: Little Mermaid, Frozen, Aladdin

Vanessa: Tangled takes the top spot in my heart–hands down! There are so many other great ones, but I’d say The Emperor’s New Groove and Ratatouille right now.




Nira: There is always a part to dress for. Make someone remember it.

Jackie: Classy and sassy.

Karly: Sexy yet sophisticated! Red lipstick, high heels, winged eyeliner, high buns, and some bling! You can’t go wrong with a pop of color!

Vanessa: I mainly dress for comfort, but I do enjoy dressing up at times. Most people say I look younger than my age, so I’ll throw on some wedges for height, just to feel older.




Nira: One that wasn’t planned but still managed to feel so perfect.

Jackie: Going anywhere I’ve never been before… in town, out of town, uptown, downtown… Cruising in the car, jamming out to good tunes, and butterflies fluttering in your stomach is half the fun. Date nights call for: Music. Food. Beer. Wine. My perfect company embraces conversation inspired by big dreams, gratitude for the little things, curiosity, and synergy of good vibes… over some red wine and live jazz of course!

Karly: Wake up with coffee… can’t have a perfect date without that java! Followed by an adventurous hike to a waterfall in Malibu. Somewhere we can spend some time sharing our hopes and dreams. Cliff jumping off of the waterfall! I love adding something exhilarating. I am the biggest scaredy-cat but always force myself to be a daredevil to feel like I’m alive. After that we would have a romantic picnic on the beach with some good vino and sushi watching the sunset. Our dates always include playing 20 questions in the car ride, being goofy and silly as ever, laughing the whole way home. Every date with my man is a perfect date (insert cheesy lovestruck googly-eyed smile here).

Vanessa: I’d prefer to do something active or outdoors, and I’m usually up for something new. Dinner and drinks would follow, but in a place where we can easily hear each other talking!




Nira: Last year was Africa. I’m keeping it a bit more mellow this year. Maybe NYC?

Jackie: Taiwan! It’ll be my first time to Asia and I’m most excited to see my mom’s excitement as she takes my sister and I to her hometown in the beautiful countryside of Taiwan and the bustling city, Taipei.

Karly: Can’t wait to go back to my hometown, Washington State, in October. My big sissy is getting married!

Vanessa: One of my best friends and I are taking a four-day vacation in Seattle and Portland at the end of this month! I’m looking forward to being in her company, since we’ve never traveled together before. And the food, obviously.

‘Til next time!

Nira, Jackie, Karly & Vanessa

Rooftop Sunset in Zanzibar

IMG_3683Hellooo, SUMMER!! Shall we kick off the month by reminiscing about this breezy, island tablescape we co-created at the Luxe II Launch? I think so.

In our little corner at the Bel-Air Bay Club, we hoped to transport visitors to Zanzibar, off the coast of East Africa. A garden of greenery filled the space. Every size and texture was encompassed in this unique selection by Fiore: big, small, short, long, curly, spiky, soft, airy… Can we even talk about those giant glass vases? They were my favorite! The rustic elements in the twig table runner, carved wooden box, and hanging wicker basket were elevated with the shine from hammered silverware and brass accessories. Smaller patterns were introduced in the china, menus, and wooden backdrop. The fuchsia napkins were a beautiful compliment to the shades of green; ottomans and Moroccan pillows brought additional color, as well as a sense of comfort and ease. Overall, we wanted to create a balanced, complete setting that felt earthy, but also luxurious. I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly how I would want my summer vacation to feel!

Thanks again to our hosts, sponsors, and fellow designers:

To find out more about the inspiration for this design, and to see even more photos, check out our feature on California Wedding Day!


Watercolor Inspiration


Hey, readers! It’s time for some spring/summer inspiration. Remember when we met Paulina Johnson for a DIY shoot? Well, the photos she shot for us turned out great! (Thanks, girl!)

Our resident signage expert, Jackie, came up with this watercolor idea after one of our current clients, Sara, had earlier sent out self-decorated wedding invitations. So we all met earlier this year to create a collection of watercolor decorations, including table numbers, canvas signs, and banners. This will make for a cohesive theme at Sara’s and her future husband’s celebration!

What’s great about watercolor projects is that they’re easy. Really! Because of its blurred lines and soft edges, watercolor art can be achieved even by amateur painters like myself. And the materials can be found at your local craft supply store. Here are some tips for creating your own art:

Table numbers: Use masking fluid to create a paint barrier; let dry. Paint over the barrier; let dry again. Gently rub away the masking fluid to reveal your design!

Canvas signs: If you make a mistake, simply add water to diffuse the color. You can even wipe off any paint entirely while it’s still wet.

Banners: Cut watercolor paper into any shapes you fancy. To mimic the ombre effect in our “CELEBRATE” banner, start with a greater paint-to-water ratio, and gradually add more water as you drag the brush downwards. Use a metallic marker to make your letters pop.

Most importantly, have fun!





G e t   s o c i a l