Hi and welcome to the Studio di Luce Photography Blog. I love shooting weddings, but my passion lies in fashion! This is probably why I love shooting weddings so much because the of gorgeous dresses.. the killer shoes.. the hair/makeup.. I just enjoy it all! Sure, documenting the love is my primary goal, but throw in all the other stuff and then top it with flowers, a slice of cake and a glass of champagne and I'm in heaven !!! So I want to share with you some ideas, thoughts, stories and maybe even some inspiration, all somehow related to the work that I do. Enjoy!
As most of you realize by now, I’m in love with THEIA. Don O’Neill is not only one of the most talented designers I have ever had the privilege of knowing and working with, he is also one of the most beautiful individuals I’ve ever met in my life. Don is one of those people who make you feel like you are the most important person in the room when he speaks to you. He’s one of those people who can send a message of love in a single hug, even to a stranger. He’s just the epitome of an incredible human being. It’s no wonder I’m in love with his fashions. When I look at his work, when I shoot his fabulous dresses, I not only see structure, design, texture, and craftsmanship, I see beauty, motion, reverence, I see love. His designs flatter a women’s body, any women’s body. The fabrics are exquisite and the detail is superb. However, what I see most of all is his love for life, his love for the craft, his love for what he does. And what he does, he does so very well. The THEIA 2015 White Collection is no exception.
I was thrilled to shoot this collection last month at the THEIA studio in NY. A well attended event, it was standing room only filled to the brim with editors and bloggers, publicists and buyers. I sat in the photographers pit, front and center, eager for the show to begin. We were told this collection had been inspired by the legends and stories of Don’s ancient Irish ancestors, the Tuatha De Danann or “People of the Goddess Danu.” According to lore, the People of the Goddess Danu left the shores of Ireland and sank deep down into the sea to live in a magical underworld in his native Ballyheigue Bay. Legend has it, that long ago a procession of mystical beings were seen walking across the bay in swirling veils of mist. Don explained, “Today, through this collection, these magical beings will come ashore. Dripping with water, they will emerge…ethereal, mystical, robed in silver and white.” I couldn’t wait!
What started as a fairy-tale, a legend of lore, transformed into visions of breathtaking creations floating over the runway. One by one they came to me, paused, and turned back down the runway. Every look was more enchanting than the next. I noticed at one point that the audience seemed as if in a trance. They were in awe. I was in awe. The gowns were majestic, the florals divine, the makeup superb, all conveying this enchanting goddess-like archetype that each model seemed to effortlessly channel.
I couldn’t get over the fact that there I was, shooting this show, sitting with the best of them in the pit - Women’s Wear Daily, The Daily Front Row, Wedding Wire and so many others, our shutters all clicking in unison. I wondered if I was the only one in the pit aware of this amazing energy, the only one having this magical experience? I didn’t care. I was mesmerized. I settled in as I watched through my lens the elegant fabrics of silvery lamé, floral jacquards and vintage lace dance effortlessly with hand-beaded silks, luxurious chiffons and sumptuous tulle.
As each design drifted in and out of my consciousness, I felt like I was in the fairy-tale myself, like I was floating right along with them. It felt so beautiful, it was completely surreal. As I was lost in this moment of bliss, I suddenly realized this collection was not just about Don's gorgeous dresses. It was about a feeling, a vision he had for whomever would wear one of his glorious creations. I thought to myself, how would a bride feel walking down the aisle in any of these stunning THEIA gowns on her wedding day? The answer was simple. She would feel magical, mystical, ethereal… but most of all, thanks to the amazing talent of Don O’Neill, she would feel love.
View the THEIA 2015 White Collection Show here: http://www.studiodiluce.com/p243865371
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I’m an overachiever when it comes to great ideas, but sometimes life just gets in the way and I underperform. My blog is a great example of that. I have so many blog ideas on a daily basis, but to actually sit down and compose, well, that’s another story. For example, I’ve photographed a crazy amount of fashion shows just recently that I really want to promote and discuss. Because of the fact that there are only 24 hours in each day, and also because I have been spending an un-godly amount of time at the farm lately shooting foalings for my non-profit, (www.foalproject.org).. there just isn’t time to write. So instead, I pop a few key pictures up on Facebook, send out a few tweets, then post the links to the full collections and let it roll on it’s own. Not such a great strategy when you are in the market to gain followers and a reputation as a blogger/writer.
After a lot of thought about this lack of performance, I decided today, to just write about that. Just that. That I have great ideas but I just can’t seem to find the time to get them posted. This is where it all changes. You see, yesterday, I decided that I wanted to get 500 views to the latest fashion show that I shot this past weekend. I did what I normally do, except this time I started to connect with everyone that made comments or shared my links. Big difference! You can’t just watch as hundreds of people like your FB posts or favorite your tweets. I decided yesterday to become proactive.. and I connected.
The views topped 600 just a little while ago and I’m shooting for 1000 now. Greedy? Not exactly. I’m trying to prove a point. We have great tools for marketing but we can’t expect them to just work for us without doing a little background work as well. Which is what brought me full circle to this blog. Why don’t I blog more often? It’s so simple. My website has the page all set up, all I have to do is type and send... get my thoughts into some kind of cohesive format and share it with the world. I guess I always thought that my blogs had to be long, detailed, interesting.. but what I’m realizing is that they can be short, concise and just focused on getting to the crux of it all in the shortest time possible. So there it is. I’m posting this basic, short, concise blog on marketing more traffic to your social media through interaction with your followers and a quick little blog about it. Now lets see what happens. Oh, and yes, it was the Electric City Couture show featuring the most amazing designers in upstate NY. Here’s the link. Feel free to share :) http://www.studiodiluce.com/p454738428
THEIA 2014 Spring Collection
It was my pleasure to photograph the THEIA Spring 2014 collection at the beautiful Palace Hotel in NY this fall. Inspired by a Sunday afternoon stroll through the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, designer Don O'Neill created a stunning array of Japanese inspired designs that simply took my breath away. Cherry blossoms and magnolia trees set against a dazzling blue sky influenced the floral silk prints, the luscious jacquards and metallic sharkskin with intricate embroideries. The clean sharp lines of black and white slashed with red, inspired by japanese calligraphy, was undoubtably one of my favorite surprises of the evening.. Simply stated, the collection is a work of art.
How to have a great Senior Portrait Session
by Lisa Miller, Studio di Luce
Summer time is Senior Portrait time for professional photographers. With the beautiful scenery as a backdrop, and a warm summertime glow, students entering their senior year of High School love to wait until late summer to schedule this important photo session. But even with a golden tan and a dreamy back drop, you still need to prepare to make it a successful shoot. Here are my suggestions on how to have a great Senior Portrait Session:
What do I wear?
Since I shoot in the studio as well as outside in my "outdoor studio," I tell my clients to bring a couple of different outfits for variety. I like to suggest a classic look for the in-studio head shot which is the close-up shot commonly used for the yearbook. For the girls I offer the time-honored formal black drape as an option. This black velvet v-neck fabric is draped around the shoulders, and is a traditional look that parents and grandparents love. In some High Schools, it is a required shot for the yearbook, so check with your schools instructions just to be sure. For guys, the typical yearbook shot is shirt and tie, with or without a jacket. If you are not a tie guy, then at least wear a collared shirt for this shot.
The outdoor or location shot is more casual, so all you need to remember is to keep it simple. Jeans and a solid t-shirt, polo or dress shirt for the guys is a great look. Avoid stripes or patterns and yes, a black or white t-shirt is fine, if that's your go-to look. For girls, you can't go wrong with a simple top and jeans, a pretty dress, or anything that reflects your sense of style. Remember girls, to give some thought to your undergarments to avoid the dreaded bra strap or panty lines showing. Shoes are also important and girls should always bring a few pairs of heels along with flats depending on your outfit choices. Guys should make sure dress shoes are scuff free and sneakers are fresh. Picking your outfits shouldn't be a big project, but if you are struggling just ask someone for suggestions. Try to avoid anything too trendy, and make sure everything is wrinkle free and brought in on hangers, not thrown into a duffle bag!
How do I look?
Hair, makeup and general hygiene is important. Guys should get a fresh haircut and should shave and wash their face about an hour before the shoot. Oily skin is always a problem this time of year so I always keep blotters on hand. Girls, if you are planning on a new cut, be sure to do it at least a week before. For your makeup, if you aren't sure of how to apply correctly, spend a few dollars to have it professionally done that day. Don't try any new looks or crazy makeup colors, and save the shimmer for prom night. Pressed powder is important for a matte finish and there is always a compact or two in the studio if you need to freshen up. If you plan to tan before your shoot, do so at least a week beforehand and don’t get burned. Be mindful of clothing tan lines, sunglass tan lines, etc. For both guys and girls, don't forget to have clean or freshly manicured nails because dirty nails or chipped nail polish will show!
Regarding eyeglasses in photos… If your friends wouldn’t recognize you without your glasses, you should wear them for your shoot. However, the glare from the glasses may detract from your eyes, so I suggest having your lenses removed from your frames or ask your eye doctor to loan you a pair of similar frames for the day. And remember, Visine is your friend so please use it if you have any redness!
Funny that I need to mention this here, but I can't tell you how hard it is to Photoshop food out from between teeth, and how many hours I actually spend doing just that! Yes, please brush and floss right before your session, and if your teeth are yellow, white strips a week before can really make a difference. Also, practice smiling in the mirror so you can see what looks real and what looks fake. The best way to achieve a natural smile is to simply think about something that makes you happy! Visualization of a joyful time in your life is the easiest way to evoke a smile so real that your eyes will twinkle in delight. It's also a good way to calm yourself if you are a little nervous in front of the camera. Props, like a guitar if you play, or your football or cheerleading uniform, not only showcase your individuality, but having them there will also help you relax during the shoot. Just take a deep breath, smile with your eyes, be yourself and let the photographer do the rest.
The Senior Portrait session shouldn't be stressful if you are prepared, well rested, and not rushed or stressed out. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the studio, have fun, and go with the flow. Some of the best shots come from an easygoing collaborative relationship between the High School Senior and the Photographer. Just be yourself, think of things that bring you joy, and I promise you'll be thrilled with the results!
Artistic vision and vintage style transforms an old farmhouse into a dream house
Located on an organic blueberry farm on Van Hyning Road in Deansboro, New York, Blueberry Brooke was only a frame when Virginia Palusky's dream began. With her father's guidance and direction, the 1860's farmhouse was reworked from the ground up into a spectacular world class Bed and Breakfast located right here in Central New York.
Virginia and her father, Brooke, designed Blueberry Brooke around a collection of antique doors and repurposed structural pieces which became the foundation for this artistic endeavor. "I had a dream of having a place where people could come and be restored, a place where people could come and work on their art, or just be. I imagined a safe and inspiring place to work and this idea just danced in my head for years," Virginia says.
The ambience of the home is reflected in Virginia's design choices. She achieves a vintage aesthetic by using a mixture of fabrics and fineries which she had collected over the years such as french silk and tapestries. Many of those one of a kind fabrics became upholstery and window dressings throughout the house. Her keen eye for the perfect fabrics can be found everywhere especially in the five sumptuous bedrooms. In one of the bedrooms, named Midsummer's Night Dream, she used a peach tapestry damask to create a headboard extending to the ceiling and a copper valance which she found at the Madison Bouckville Antiques show. Additional bedrooms are Under the Tuscan Sun, Once In A Blue Moon, Artist's Dream and Fleur de Provence, each with it's own unique setting. The magical quality of the home is obvious, even in the kitchen. Inspired by an old hutch, the kitchen gets additional charm from a rustic chandelier and a mantel surrounding the oven. With it's bright blue ceiling beams and distressed cabinetry, when you walk in you feel as though you have stepped into an enchanted cottage.
The entire home is filled with enchantment and delight, from the antiques and the artwork, to the fireplace made from a Victorian door hood with a tile facing created by Virginia and her husband Bob. "After the structure was built, the most important thing to my father was his collection of antique doors," Virginia says. "The doors were all in stacks and the ones my father seemed to love the most were the most worn and damaged". These doors give Blueberry Brooke it's old world charm as they appear as relics from a long lost era. One door that is most unusual is mounted with a collection of photographs, keys, mirrors and clocks. "My father loved this door so much," Virginia says. " He has the ability to see the beauty in the ordinary, and since this door was so important to him I decided to decorate with very special objects to honor him." Creating a feeling of love throughout this home was not difficult for Virginia. "You don't have to be an expert at design, all you need to do is collect beauty, layer beauty upon beauty and the beauty will create itself."
For more information on this central NY treasure, visit www.blueberrybrooke.com
Virginia's style tips for creating your own beautiful space:
*Select an inspirational starting point. For example, choose a great piece of antique furniture and then carry elements from it throughout the room.
*Find key elements to help you tell a story, like a rustic chandelier
*Use color and texture in bold strokes. More is better!
*Use architectural salvage in creative ways. Repurpose!
*Collect beauty everywhere you go. If you see something that touches your spirit, don't hesitate to acquire it!
*Allow whatever you are working on to tell you what to do next. Allow spontaneity in designing your decor. Everything can be done over so play, have fun with it!
*Go with what you love, what brings you joy, what makes you happy!