chantal stone photography: the blog

March 18, 2008

Mid-Week Round-Up vol.5

Filed under: Books,For Photographers,Good Reading,internet,Photography,SoFoBoMo — chantal @ 9:15 am

1) Cool Websites… If you spend more than 5 minutes a day on the Internet, then chances are you’ve already heard of It’s a blog-phenomenon only a few months old. It’s funny, satirical, stereotypical, and irreverent… and if you don’t know it, come out from under your rock and check it out. But even more significant might be all of the stuff-people-like spin-offs that have grown from this popular website. It seems every demographic has felt the need to create their own lists of stuff they like. Sadly though, many seem to lack the dark humor that makes the original work. And yet, these blogs/lists seem to be popular among their own stereotypical group. A few you might want to take a peak at are StuffEducatedBlackPeopleLike, StuffCollegePeopleLike, StuffGhettoPeopleLike, and my personal favorite spin-off that’s relatively new but has lots of potential to be perfect: StuffGayGuysLike.

One note– if you scroll through the comments on these websites, you’ll notice how some people get angry and leave negative comments; some people are clearly offended. But it’s important to remember that these lists are supposed to be funny. If we can’t laugh at ourselves, than what?

2) Don’t Make This Mistake… I was browsing a photography message board (or something, I can’t even remember what site it was) the other day and someone made a post asking for lighting advice because he/she was asked to photograph a friend’s wedding but he/she had no clue how to handle the lighting. The first thing that popped in my mind was: why on earth would this person accept the job if he/she didn’t know what to do? I can understand a Bride looking to save a few bucks because Weddings are just so expensive. But really, there are so many areas to save money, the photography is one area where you don’t want to go thrifty. A Wedding is one of the most important days in new family’s life. And after the ceremony, after the food is eaten and the flowers are wilted… years later when you’re browsing your albums with your children, the only thing left are your pictures. Do you really want to leave these important memories to someone who’s photographic education is a one or two time post to a message board? This may not be true for every area of your Wedding planning, but when it comes to Wedding photography, you really do get what you pay for: Hire A Professional.

However… if you must let your cousin or uncle or friend —who just got a new DSLR for Christmas and now they want to be a professional photographer— actually shoot your wedding, then make sure they read this website: How To Shoot A Wedding. It’s a great article, written by wedding photographer Anthony Hands, that covers everything from making sure the wedding couple knows your experience level, to written agreements, to knowing the basic functions of your camera.

Wedding photography is fun, but it’s a skill and an art, and certainly not as easy as it looks.

3) Easter already? Is it me, or is March going by way too fast??

4) Photographer looking for a project? April is almost here, and that’s the month to start your SoFoBoMo project. What is it? It’s Solo Photo Book Month… a project where photographers will photograph and put together a solo book in a month. Paul Butzi started it all and discusses the project in length on his website, including a SoFoBoMo Q&A. And I think a SoFoBoMo-dedicated website is in the works. Colin Jago has a running list of participants on his blog.

The project is supposed to be made in a 30-day time period, during either April or May, depending on the photographer’s schedule. I’m bending the rules just a bit, and beginning my project on March 29th and ending on April 29th. (I’ll be discussing what my project is about in a later post.)

5) I can’t wait for Spring!! I’m tired of crappy weather…last week it was snow, this week it’s rain, and I even heard flurries in the forecast for tomorrow. UGH! I shot this sunrise in Chicago last Spring… I can’t wait for the warm Sun to make its appearance again…


**please note that in about 4 months, I’ll be complaining about the heat and saying how I can’t wait for Fall. I seriously need to live where it ranges from 6070° with an appropriate balance of sun and clouds.

6) What I’m Reading… There are a few books I’m reading right now. I try to limit my reading to one book at a time, but these are all great, and different from each other, and I can’t put them down:

Atonement, by Ian McEwan – It’s a crime that I haven’t seen the movie yet. But it comes out on DVD today and I’m going to Blockbuster this afternoon. However, I’m still going to read the book, since Ian McEwan is one of my favorite authors…his writing is like a total brain massage. So rich, so descriptive, I love all of his books.

The Assault on Reason, by Al Gore – I’ve said it before, I’m a political junkie…more specifically, I’m a presidential polotics junkie, and this a great book on the philosophy of Reason for the modern age. It helps to clarify how much of what goes on in Washington right now simply does NOT make sense.

A New Earth, by Eckhart Tole – You see people everywhere reading this book right now. It’s an Oprah book, and it’s great. I’m only at the beginning, but it’s all about reawakening and altering your thinking to change your life for the better.


February 1, 2008

Mid-Week Round-Up

Filed under: Good Reading,internet,Nonsensical/Randomness,Weddings — chantal @ 12:17 pm

I’m definitely an internet geek. I love the internet…LOVE it. I could easily live without television, phone, even my cell phone. But a day without internet access is like TORTURE. And what’s not to love? Anything you need, you can find online. And I’m always surfing around, browsing different websites, wedding-related, and not. So once a week I’m going to try to post a handful of things I find online that I think my readers will enjoy. I’m calling it the “Mid-Week Round-Up”, but don’t be surprised if you see it on a weekend….or a Friday 😉

So here we go…

1) Nervous about that speech you’re forced to give? Here’s a site that will help you to write a Wedding speech… whether you’re the Groom, the Best Man, Maid of Honor, whatever! Of course you have to pay for the service, but if you’re stuck for words, it just might help– who knows!

Wedding Speech 4 U

2) The Nest!! Do you not know what this is?? All I can say is: I LOVE IT!! SO many of my clients are from The Nest, it’s not even funny. And thanks to the message boards and member profiles, I get TONS of Nestie hits! To the un-informed… the Nest rocks, quite frankly. From the website: “The Nest […] started out as an online community of girls grappling with the emotional issues–and enormous to-do list–that couples face in the first few years of marriage. [It] is a 24-7 virtual married-best-friend who’s been there before.” Where, oh where was The Nest when I first got married?!? (Haha that was like 100 yrs ago 😉 )

3) Instyle Weddings. The current issue of Instyle Weddings is currently out. I’m a wedding magazine junky and read several different ones. They all are great and are loaded with tons of awesome ideas for brides. But this particular issue of Instyle Weddings has some really cute ideas for place cards that I think you might like (page 237). There are also some tips on hiring a Wedding photographer (pg 249). (ONne tip they left out: HIRE CHANTAL STONE 🙂 )A lot of you’ve seen before or probably already know, but most importantly, the final thing they list is “Consider Chemistry”. The article points out that you spend more time with your photographer than any other vendor (with the exception of your planner most of the time) so it’s really important to have great chemistry with your photographer. Fortunately I have fallen in LOVE with all of the couples I have photographed! It’s mush better to have a great photographer you “click” with (no pun intended) than someone who offers the cheapest package.

Another reason I live this magazine issue…. Elisabeth Röhm is on the cover, and I’m a closet Law & Order addict!

4) DOOCE! Have you not seen this website yet? Dooce is the title of the blog by Heather Armstrong. It’s funny, it’s crazy, it’s heart warming, and most importantly is FUNNY! Just go read it, you’ll see what I mean….read the last few posts. She talks about her daughter, her crazy dogs, her life. She even gets serious and talks about her issues with postpartum depression ….but it’s always in a well-written, humorous way. Go read it now. GO!

I have more to share, but my daughter is begging me to watch Sesame Street with her, so I gotta go. More to come next week 🙂

January 26, 2008

Pro Photo Resource

I’ve been doing really well with posting daily for the past few days, so I didn’t want to let today go by without a blog post…

If you’re a photographer, then you’ll really enjoy checking out Pro Photo Resource.   Like the subtitle of the site says, its a site “for photographers, by photographers”.  There all sorts of articles with shooting tips, techniques, product and book reviews, and awesome advice from the pros.

The highlight of the current issue for me is Jasmine Star’s article.  You’ll have to register to read the full article, but it’s free and totally worth it!


September 3, 2007

The Answer Is Simple

Filed under: Good Reading,Inspiration,Personal,Photography — chantal @ 11:48 am

I came across an article in the Washington Post yesterday that so eloquently and articulately describes why I decided to pursue Wedding photography. The article is titled Getting The Picture, by world-traveled-photojournalist- turned-amazing-wedding-photographer, Matt Mendelsohn. In the article, Matt describes how, at first, he resisted wedding photography as a legitimate and respectable form of photography but then carefully explains how he was converted and now realizes the importance of what we do. (Just take a moment to read the article, it had me in tears at the end.)

I, too, resisted wedding photography for a long time. As Matt puts it, wedding photographers have in the past often “reside[d] in a category usually reserved for car salesmen and stamp enthusiasts, a little bit of Willy Loman with a pinch of Charlie Brown.” I was determined to be the Fine Art Photographer. I exhibited in galleries, read all the art mags and kept up with the hot galleries and contests. I was mostly content with my role as ‘starving artist’ and figured that sooner or later I’d have to get a ‘real’ job but if I was lucky I could get a job teaching photography or even take on the occasional commercial gig or two.

But the role of Art Photographer quickly began to feel empty. The constant intellectualizing about style and meaning became exhausting. I needed for my work to mean something. I feel something each and every time I click the shutter, and I began to realize that I needed my work to mean something to someone else too. I craved purpose in my work, and the little projects I assigned for myself weren’t feeding the need enough. I became more and more attracted to relationships and emotion between people, but found few places where I could photograph people candidly, being themselves, without drawing too much attention to myself: ‘weird chick with big black camera’.

I don’t remember exactly when it happened, or even how. But I suddenly realized that the best way I can express myself as an artist is by photographing Weddings. Beyond just the bouquet toss and the standard wedding party portrait, weddings are the perfect place for me to capture emotion in its rawest form. There is so much struggle and strife in the world. And there are plenty of courageous and talented photographers who travel to some of the most dangerous spots on the planet to document the worst of humanity and suffering in its purest state; but quite frankly, I wince and cry at the two minute intro scene of Law & Order, I hardly have the stomach for war and famine. Weddings are at the opposite end of that spectrum. Sure some are over the top and examples of excess times ten, but here we have two people desperately in love, surrounded by family and friends who love them dearly. They are so incredibly happy at this final culmination of anticipation, and very often the love is so overwhelming that tears will cloud my viewfinder.

I’ve said this before, but nothing is more true: after the food is eaten, the gown put away, and the guests are gone, the only things left are the memories of this monumental day, this major turning point in the lives of two people, two families…and of course, the photographs. Being there to document one of the most important days in a couple’s life is such a gigantic honor, I am so humbled every time I am trusted to take on such a task. (And this time, ‘weird chick with big black camera’ is actually welcome!) Every shot, every moment is so important and will hold that memory for this family for generations to come.

We all can agree that one of the most important things in life is family. Documenting the very foundation, the birth of a family is profoundly important work. How could I not want to be a Wedding photographer? There really is nothing else I would rather do.

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