Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sota Dzine: It's Not Your Mother's Bridal Portrait

Nicole and Brad from Sota Dzine sent me the photos of the portrait session they did with Christine's couple from a few weeks ago, Mike and Colleen. I was blown away by the creativity and innovation and had to share the images and the process with our readers. For brides who think a "bridal portrait session" is old-fashioned, think again!

Nicole and Brad are commercial photographers and designers and when they started shooting weddings in 2000, they knew that in order to stay creative, passionate and excited about wedding photography, they had to produce imagery for clients that was not the norm. With portraiture, they knew they could specifically bring an approach every time that was inventive to the couple, their style and relationship.

They get to know the couple over the course of a year: hang out, go to dinner, spend time with them and location scout. This gives them an opportunity for couples to feel connected and comfortable with them, trust them and value where they want to take them with the work.

They conceptualize ideas, scout cool locations and storyboard a concept. They try to rarely shoot at the same location twice, and if they do, they take a completely new approach with concept and lighting.

With Mike and Colleen, it played out this way. A few months before Brad and Nicole met them, Nicole stumbled upon the Chanel 2009 Spring Runway show photos and was blown away. It was white garments on what looked like white origami, paper cut-out background. She thought how cool it would be to do something with a Bride, white on white and three-dimensional looking. Then Nicole and Brad met Colleen and Mike and found out that Colleen used to work for Chanel!

Nicole knew that she would be perfect for the shoot. So after months of organization, finding the perfect spots, tracking down tissue paper flower designers on Etsy, hours of unfolding tissue paper flowers and then figuring out how to get them to stay on the wall, they finally had their idea constructed.

Actually, they set the whole scene up in their Studio the night before the shoot so that the couple could just walk right into it the next day. When they arrived, ALL the flowers had fallen off the wall!!! So Brad and Nicole ordered two pizzas and Colleen and Mike ate and hung out as they frantically stuck everything back on the wall and did the shoot! As you can see, it turned out amazing!

The Mansion photos happened when Nicole discovered an amazing space after hearing a friends band play at the mansion. She was more interested in looking around that night than listening to her friend's music. She went back the next day, rang the doorbell, introduced herself and after two hours of lovely conversation with the owner, the house was hers.

Nicole knew that it would be another great fit for Colleen and Mike, as well. She wanted it to be this soft, beautiful love story, kind of old world, with all available light and a juxtaposition of the clean, stark, editorial shoot with the flowers. The images speak for themselves. Breathtaking!

Thanks so much to Nicole and Brad from Sota Dzine for sharing the images and the process. I hope this inspires everyone to do some really fabulous bridal portraits and check out Sota Dzine.