S T Y L I Z E D . S H O O T || Tori & Brett || Grassini Family Vineyards

I've been editing like a mad woman since I came back from Santa Barbara, home of the gorgeous, aesthetically themed Spanish-Villa town on the ocean front, and home of the best photography conference in the world, United. It was such a treat to go down there, and be with a ton of photographers who believe in the same philosophy that I have, in regards to photography, in that we all believe that once we give you the pictures, you should be able to have them both digitally, and physically, as you desire--because they belong to YOU. While it's a controversial business method, I believe that with the rise of technology, and the rise of sharing more of our lives online, it seems silly to make you pay to have the images you already paid for -- and that's the philosophy shared by this conference. Further, our goal was to get down to the nuts and bolts of celebrating stories, organically. For me, something I wanted to get more in tune with was telling the love story of my brides and grooms without crazy posing and tons of props. I want to be able to share the way my couples look deep into each others eyes, I want her smile when he tells her he loves her to be captured for him to see. That is the real couple--not making them stand back to back, and hold hands, haha.

This shoot, done at the gorgeous Grassini Family Vineyards, was a gorgeous 50 minute drive away from the hotel. We first stopped at the ridge before the vineyard, to capture the sunrise--and even though large clouds snuffed out those lovely golden rays only seconds after that sun came up over the hills, we still had enough time to capture these gorgeous moments:


Gah, that sun, and this couple. Augh. So gorgeous.



After we lost our rays of sun, we focused on using the couples knowledge of each other to create real, organic moments that resulted in absolutely gorgeous portraits.

2014-03-03_0004Brett and Tori were such an amazing couple to work with. Seriously, they were so comfortable in front of the camera, which, believe it or not, isn't very easy to be with several dozen photographers staring at you.


2014-03-03_0006When I saw her hair fluttering in the breeze in that shot, I said "Shut. Up. NO." Apparently, it's becoming a habit of mine, because I also said it to a couple other models I worked with, haha.


2014-03-03_0008Special shout out to Rincon Floral for the absolutely stunning white bouquet. I love the texture and consistent creamy look, and the floral scents were heavenly!

After we finished shooting on a simple dirt road, (yes, those were all shot on a dirt road, which just goes to show, emotion trumps background any day!) we loaded back up and drove down to the vineyard--a stunning, well-loved vineyard. The trees were gorgeous, and HUGE, a testament to the attention they had received at the hands of the family that had worked and lived on those rolling vineyard hills for 4 generations. Even as we worked with our bride and groom, I could see the people carefully tending to the vines several hills away.

Speaking of their gorgeous, large trees, they immediately captured the attention of my lens, and the pictures that we captured under those weaving, thick branches were jaw-dropping. I actually had a incredibly hard time finding a way to share what I saw, and the emotion that was shared under that tree, because there were SO. MANY. GOOD ONES. But here are a few of my favorites, because there's still MORE.

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And then we watched them wander through a row of the vineyard, intertwined and focused only on holding one another, and my heart hurt from how sweet the entire shoot had been. This is what I want to capture in my clients! This sort of organic emotion and love! And, thanks to our amazing instructor, Montana Dennis (yes, that's his name, yes, he can grow a beard, and yes, he is awesome) we were able to learn exactly how to guide our couples into that sort of posing. It was so magical, out there in the vineyards, with huge, desert mountains around us, and large grey clouds hanging low over our heads.

2014-03-03_0018 2014-03-03_0019 2014-03-03_0020 2014-03-03_0021 2014-03-03_0022 It was such an awesome, deep experience, and it's transformed my way of capturing my brides, and I think it's actually better, wouldn't you agree? :) I'd love to know what you think!

Stay tuned for next week, when I'll share the shoot that *I* led, using simple paper cranes, some fishing line, two gorgeous models, and some gorgeous paper bouquets.

Instructor: Montana Dennis

Venue: Grassini Family Vineyards http://www.grassinifamilyvineyards.com

Production Coordinator: Kristin Renee https://www.facebook.com/santabarbaraweddingphotographer

Floral bouquet by Rincon Floral http://www.rinconfloral.com https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rincon-Floral/63226356664


Tori Benham Brett Benham