imagine your tomorrows | jennie + auggie

 
 

We were excited to hear that one of our wedding films was featured on the Style Me Pretty wedding blog! Jennie & Auggie were married at the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, an incredible church on the University of Chicago campus. While it's easy to let the breathtaking architecture of the church steal your focus, we made sure to keep the simple story of Jennie & Auggie's love and anticipation, the focus of the film. Keeping in the tradition with all of the films we create, story--be it grand, simple, or a combination of both--it remains the most important thing.

Wedding Photography: Nakai Photography | Ceremony Venue: Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, University of Chicago Campus in Chicago, Illinois | Reception Venue: Germania Place in Chicago, Illinois | Event Planning: Lauren Housley from Ryan Alexander Events | Floral Design: Janessa from Forget Me Knodt | DJ: Toast and Jam | Rings: Tiffany & Co. | Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Bridesmaids’ Attire: BHLDN | Mens’ Attire: Hugo Boss | Makeup: Sonia Roselli | Hair: Livia Caporale

those three words | kenny + meena

So how do you go about filming a wedding photographer's wedding? We must admit, filming this wedding was incredibly surreal. We've worked with Kenny Kim on numerous shoots before. We've stood side by side, capturing the anticipation and joy of other couples, but now here he was—no longer behind the lens but in front of it. While it was strange to see Kenny without his finger on a Canon trigger, that's actually not what made it surreal for me. We've known Kenny for a long time. We met at the University of Illinois, attended the same church, and eventually became friends. We knew him when he doubled as a Starbucks barista/aspiring wedding photographer. Years down the line, after he started making waves in the wedding industry, he began photoventuring around the world and set his eyes on Italy.

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Having been to Italy, we had a shared appreciation of the beauty and culture that Italy afforded to its visitors. The slow pace, rolling hills, medieval towns, ancient architecture, and let's not forget the food, the wine, and the people. If there were a place where a wedding photographer would choose to get married, Italy would be it.

So the question of where Kenny would get married was answered early on. But the question of whom he would marry is one that we all would continually wonder about. Who would be the one to stop Kenny "GO-GO-GO" Kim in his tracks?

Fast forward to the wedding week. We find ourselves in the company of a small group of friends and family, walking around the idyllic scenery of Cortona, strolling along the banks of the Arno River in Florence, enjoying private wine tastings in Spello—thinking, yes, this is exactly how we imagined it to be.

For all its breathtaking sights and experiences, it was witnessing the answer of whom he would enjoy the rest of his life with that would leave an indelible impression.

Meena is one of the most genuinely kind people we have ever met. You don't have to spend too much time with her before this truth sets in. Witnessing her effect on Kenny on their wedding day is very telling of the type of person she is. I don't know Kenny to be a very emotional kind of guy—fun and adventurous, yes, but not emotional. From what we saw on their day, it's clear that Meena is more than the perfect fit for Kenny.

So how do you go about filming a wedding photographer's wedding? Put the surroundings behind. Put the people in front. Sit back and experience it. Raise a glass, and say that olden time Italian phrase, "Evviva Gli Sposi!" "Hurray for the bride and groom!"

Location: Cortona, Italy | Wedding Photography: Mike Colon assisted by Kenny Nakai | Wedding Planning: Cristiana Chiacchierini & Max Brunelli of Very Italian Events | Accommodations: Villa Marsilli

where the sky and earth speak | a vignette

"The process of creating art renews my spirit, and I find myself attuned to the details of life rather than being stressed by being overwhelmed. I find myself listening rather than shouting into the void. Creating art opens my heart to see and listen to the world around me, opening a new vista of experience." - from "Refractions" by Makoto Fujimura  

We recently attended Masters in Motion, a filmmaking conference that took place in the weirdly-creative/creatively-weird Austin, TX. Aside from meeting some awesome, like-minded kinfolk, we walked away with a little extra pep in our step to create something entirely for ourselves.

The time needed to create a personal project is something of a rarity in our lives these days. Between shooting, editing, and running the business, it's something that we've had to curb for the time being. However, the golden opportunity reared it's glorious face while we were filming a wedding in Cortona, Italy.

This piece is a combination of live footage, timelapse, stop motion, and HDR photography.  With only one practice shoot day before leaving for Italy, I ran several timelapse tests around town to see if what we had in mind could be achieved.

On a whim, we decided to go for it! We carved out whatever free time we had in between shooting for the wedding, to try this out. At the end of each day, we downloaded the footage and pieced it together to see what worked and what didn't. Unsurprisingly, there were some shots that ended up not being usable.

We were mentally prepared for idea that timelapses take a long time, but these timelapses in particular were very tedious. As a frame of reference, it took about an hour of intense shooting per 5 seconds of footage. You also can't take a break in the middle--which can be especially challenging when curious locals want to chat and ask questions.

While this is one of the more technical pieces we've shot, we always wanted to keep the heart and soul of the film--the beauty of the land--at its center. We feel like we've achieved that with this piece we've created. A piece that we can at long last call our very own.

flamingos. iguanas. explosions in the sky. | gina + gary

We've come to really enjoy destination weddings. Not because we get to travel--it's actually not as glamorous as it sounds! After all, hauling our heavy gear through airport security and customs isn't the most comfortable experience.

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We enjoy them because people are gathered for a very specific purpose. Family, friends, and guests from all over come to celebrate, and the buzz in the air isn't just on the wedding day, but permeates through the duration of the festivities. Ultimately, the undercurrent of emotions provide for some really amazing interactions for us to capture.

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Gina and Gary celebrated their wedding on the beautiful island of Aruba. Their ceremony was held in a small, colorful Catholic church, followed by a private reception on Iguana and Flamingo Beach (yes, there really were iguanas and flamingos hanging around!).

While the island was certainly a character in itself, the interactions between people throughout the day are what took center stage. We actually got to know Gina and Gary with a little help from their friends--whether through speeches, witnessing the groomsmen trade Star Wars and Marvel references with the groom, or seeing the bridesmaids' reaction to their gifts, we were able to get a glimpse into why Gina and Gary are so well loved by the people that surrounded them.

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We loved being a part of their day and watching their celebration unfold. We laughed at the Han Solo jokes, gasped at the awesome gifts, and marveled at the sunset and surrounding nature. And to top things off, their film literally ends with a bang :)

more than | katie & kevin

Cubs fans-you'll love this. White Sox fans-please...take it easy :) Katie and Kevin are tried and true sports fans. Katie plays soccer, Kevin plays baseball, and they both love the Cubs {though for the record, Kevin is a San Francisco Giants fan by nature}. Before their wedding day, they took their guests, family, and friends on a tour of Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. They invited us to come along, and we're glad we did because we got to witness this love for the Cubbies firsthand.

It wasn't until their reception on their wedding day that we saw how deep that love truly ran. I'm pretty sure that playing and singing/dancing to "Go Cubs Go!" signifies that they do indeed, love the Cubs.

There's something awesome about being in the middle of the "friendly confines" of Wrigley Field. The history of the clubhouse, the thick green ivy growing on the outfield walls, the hand-operated, sheet steel scoreboard--this ballpark is quintessential blue-collar Chicago at its finest.

We're always pushing ourselves and racking our brains to see how we can creatively tell a couple's story. We're so glad we were able to work this historic backdrop into their wedding film, and that it provided that special, personal touch that we were looking for. Even you White Sox fans can't disagree with that :)

Location: Chicago, IL | Ceremony Venu: St. Alphonsus Catholic Church | Reception Venue: Gibsons Steakhouse | Wedding Photography: Olivia Leigh Photographie | Event Planning: Misse Daniel of  Honeybee Weddings

i love love love | allie & marc

This past weekend, we had the privilege of filming ESPN Chicago's very own Marc "Silvy" Silverman and his bride, Allie. Prior to their wedding day, Allie and Marc welcomed us into their home where we had a fun time chatting about an incident involving poor tipping, a Facebook message sent on a whim, sports, and Allie's "luuuuuuv" for "Rips" candy.  They even took us out to their rooftop deck to enjoy their amazing view of the Chicago skyline.

We knew that this film was going to be something special because we had a lot of great elements to work with. For starters, we put a lot of thought into the opening sequence. We used a sound bite from Marc's final broadcast as a single man from "The Waddle and Silvy Show." In it, you can hear his co-host and former Chicago Bears wide receiver, Tom Waddle, roast him {before congratulating him, of course}. Starting with a black screen with no visuals on top of the broadcast audio draws the viewer in and calls attention to how audio will be a big component to this film. It's also a creative nod to the fact that when you listen to ESPN Chicago on the radio, you're most likely driving through the city.

On top of this sound bite, we tied in footage of Chicago's architecture, including shots of an empty ESPN studio and Chicago's skyline from their rooftop deck. Meaningful imagery of the city they love, undercut with meaningful audio from Marc's final broadcast--we're off to a great start.

And then there were all the little stories that we were able to pick up on during the morning. Their cards to each other {note how the "smacks on the butt" reference ties into their first look}, threading together the stories of their personalized gifts and the tears they shed, Marc's excitement to hear them pronounced as "husband and wife", Allie's excitement to see Marc for the first time along Chicago's River Walk, and of course, Allie's use of the word "love" or "luuuuuuv" as she likes to say it--all of these small things made for a very compelling story.

In honor of Marc, we'll close this one out the way he closes things out: "That's a show!"

Location: Chicago, IL | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Gibsons Steakhouse | Wedding Photography: Kenny Kim Photography | Event Planning: The Little Details | Flowers: Flor Del Monte | Design: Art of Imagination | Music: Your Night Productions

a home for you | sajani & vishal

2 people, 2 cities, 800 miles, 2 charter buses, told over the course of 5 days, in a 2-act SDE (Same Day Edit). Let’s go. Act One is all about setting and explores the meaning and theme of “home.” For Vishal, Mississippi was not only a base for his business, but a place he had come to call home—a simple, quiet life, complete with friendly neighbors, and a lot of green space.  For Sajani, Chicago had been her home her whole life—family, friends, exploring the city—familiar comforts that she would soon be leaving behind to begin a new life in Mississippi.

The start of their weeklong wedding festivities also marked the start of this new beginning. Our team split up to cover both the merrymaking with Sajani's side in Chicago, and also Vishal's side in Jackson, which culminated in his family and friends filling up 2 full charter buses to make the 12-hour, 800-mile trip to Chicago.

The boarding of the bus and the arrival of Vishal in Chicago set us up for Act Two.  Sajani’s family prepared a warm welcome celebration for Vishal and his fellow sojourners, who in turn, prepared some surprise entertainment.

Their story culminated on their wedding day, with a breathtaking backdrop, ceremonies aplenty, and a poignant whisper from a groom to his bride.

Creating this SDE involved every fiber of physical and mental strength. With a rigorous travel and event schedule, we used whatever time we could to piece together the events that transpired over the course of the week, while remaining true to their story and the start of their new life together.


e heart m | elisa & michael

When we create a wedding film, much of our energy is spent doing a little bit of digging. For us it's important to go beyond understanding the schedule of the day, and instead, look for ways we can reflect meaningful messages through what we are capturing on film.

In Elisa and Michael's case, when we were going over their logistics, we saw that their photo session would be taking place in their backyard. On paper, it may not seem like anything of great value.  But for Elisa and Michael, it wasn't just another part of the wedding day. You see, this tree sits in the backyard of the first home that Elisa and Michael's purchased together. The plan was that Michael and his brother were going to decorate it by hand, providing a memorable and meaningful backdrop on their wedding photos. When we heard this, we realized that this wasn't just another photo session--ultimately this tree would be a symbol of their new beginning together.

On a wedding day, there are plenty of things like this that can easily be overlooked. But that's exactly what our films call attention to--the small things that often times mean so much.