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Archive for the ‘Destination Weddings’ Category

Alexia and James got married in Mendocino last month in one of the great celebrations the town has seen. We were so happy to work with them on their invitations, which they wanted to be very luxurious and traditional, but with a modern flair. We kept a very muted palette of cream, cappuccino and chocolate brown, and of course printed everything by letterpress on our thickest, yummiest paper, 600 gram Lettra Pearl White. The motif of a graceful olive branch held it all together beautifully.

Everything about the wedding was so romantic, happy, fun and gorgeous. The whole wedding party went out on the headlands then paraded through the village back to the big white tent at the MacCallum House for dinner and dancing to a totally get-down funk band. Very much fun working with this beautiful couple on their amazing day.

Their folding thank you notes finished the wedding suite and they got lots of extras so they could use them long into their marriage for many purposes…invitations to dinner, thank you notes, quick messages to loved ones, announcements of important events, condolences, congratulations and happy birthday missives. There are still times when a nothing but a hand written note on real paper, with a stamp, in the mailbox, will do. Yes, really. And it’s great to have some beautiful paper to grab when the moment strikes. No more going to the store to look for that perfect message: you make up your own and put it on your own personalized informal, which is what this smaller folding note is called.

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I love love love Annette Thurmon’s wedding dress designs. They are sooo dreamy and gorgeous, and I am lucky to say that Annette is also a dreamy and gorgeous client of mine.

I got to work with Annette when I did her business cards a while back, and today she posted an interview with me on her beautiful website: Chaviano Couture.

I hope you will go see her beautiful designs and read my interview!

xo Zida

 

 

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Danny and Loreta Kash are the principles and great talents behind Danny Kash Photography, which operates out of Connecticut and is available for worldwide destination shoots. It was an incredible experience working with them to develop their new brand because they were so specific about the tone they were looking for, and at the same time so ready to listen to my ideas and inspirations. It was an ideal collaborative experience. Loreta was amazing…she sent me a kind of vision board to work from…showing colors and passions and attractions, moods, and just things that made her heart beat faster. She is so organized and creative at the same time. Look how fab:

It was always fun to confer with them on the phone, always excitement, curiosity into the mysterious process of creation. When I sent them this design, we all just KNEW: this was IT. They definitely wanted this gorgeous pale Caribbean blue-green color, and there were other accent colors we considered, like a sunny orange-ish shade, but in the end we opted for a charcoal gray as the second color.

We deeply impressed the type into 600 gram Cranes Lettra, with the contact information on the back to keep the brand really pure and important. This is my favorite way to make a card really sing. The edges were painted in the same watery-green-blue color, a little accent that pulls the WoW factor up several thousand notches, as we all know.

O, EDGE PAINTING!!!

And yummy shots of the business cards by Danny.

The flowing lines and swooshes of the “dk” monogram set an elegant, celebratory mood behind the classic-yet-slightly-quirky Roman typeface. It’s a fresh, distinctive look for two very special people. And it is always a big treat for me to participate in redefining a company’s graphic look from the ground up. An honor, and a super-fun and exciting adventure. I love the creative trance that brings me to a finished product like this. Do you like it?

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Mihai Serban is a fabulous photographer from Romania who, through the miracle of the Internet, came across this blog and had Studio Z Mendocino, on the wild northern California coast, make his fantastic business cards: 600 gram, super-luxe Cranes Lettra, black ink, silver foil, deep impression, very good impression.

It was a thrill to ship them off to their new home 6447 miles away. That is SO FAR…

Serban has this tag line: Photographic Influence.

What more can I say?

Here are Serban’s words:

Hi Zida
How are you?
I have started showing my business cards to other people and everyone was impressed.
I hope they are going to bring me alot of business.
Meanwhile, I have pictured one of them for your blog.
Thank you once again.
All the best.
Serban Mihai Popescu.

Here is how the front and back look:


Don’t you love the modern world?

Thank you, Serban, for finding us and for being such a fun client to work with. We all LOVE how they came out and the beautiful, mysterious photo you shot of them. You have to come to California one day and we will have a big party for you, our most far-flung customer ever!

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Oh, sorry about the length of the title on this post. I couldn’t stop.

Louis Bohannan and Alan Ahtow are my dear friends who recently took a media class through Fort Bragg’s local television station, MCTV, to add yet another layer to their already incredible skill sets, and gear up for additional services they offer through their marketing-hospitality consulting-graphic design firm, ImageMendocino.

Louis produced the video and Alan was the host. I am really impressed with the results of this first project. Not just because it’s about me me me, either. These guys are great at whatever they take on and I am very grateful they chose me as the topic of their first go-round with this new art form they have chosen.

Click the button below to see the video interview, which has a link on my home page.

Or you can also see it here on YouTube.

 

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Meg and Mark have a love story of locomotive proportions that spans decades, miles, and defies probability. To celebrate it in appropriate style, they are having not one, but two events. The first will take place in New York City, small and private, followed by a romantic cross-country train ride to Astoria, Oregon. There, they will board a little trolley, with friends and family, that will take them all to a gala brunch at Gunderson’s Cannery Cafe. Epic!

We loosely based their 4 x 9 invitation on a train ticket. Meg even had me run a line of (seemingly) random numbers and letters, upside down, across the top. Actually, every single figure there has a meaning to the couple. After she received the invitations, she took out her special Conductor’s Hole Punch and put it to work making it look even more ticket-like.

We used Somerset English watercolor paper for its beautiful texture and almost-white color, printed it in black ink, and a red ink that exactly matches the trolley’s paint. Then Meg used her famous creativity for the envelopes, some of which were RED and a few special ones she’d been saving for 24 years. She had custom stamps made with a picture of them walking down the train tracks with Tasha, her most beautiful dog, for the perfect finishing touch.

Everyone is so happy for this amazing union.

Meg sent me an email the other day:

Everyone is starting to get them now, and they love them!  My friend wrote; “THAT IS THE GREATEST WEDDING INVITATION I’VE EVER GOTTEN!!!!! It’s beautiful!! Yay!!!! Oh my GOSH. It’s exquisite!!!”

Happy Trails to Meg and Mark!

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Last month, I had the great pleasure of meeting and working with the amazing photographer, Kenny Kim. Kenny is a consummate professional, constantly  traveling to weddings all over the world (last month in Italy, lucky guy), giving workshops, and he has even written a book, The Wedding Photographer’s Planner. Avidly followed on Twitter by over 3200 fans, his work speaks for itself, even here in the photos he shot of the letterpress printed business cards we made for him here at Studio Z Mendocino.

I found his blog post on this subject so pertinent that i asked him if it would be OK to re-post his words here. I agree with his assessment of the importance and power inherent in having a card that artfully represents your work. Kenny’s clean cut KK logo, which he designed himself, speaks strongly, even with the understated white-on-white color pallette. The spark of deep red in the centered lens/yin-yang symbol is reiterated in the flash of red edge painting, and in the information printed on the back. Six hundred gram Cranes Lettra paper gives even more weight to these gorgeous and graceful pieces of art that, according to Kenny, never fail to elicit an interested, astonished response.

Here are Kenny’s own words on the subject:

Importance of having a good business card

Business cards these days seem irrelevant due to the electronic information era. However, as photographers, we ought to be constantly networking with new people every day, in person. And when networking, it is important to have a business card to pass along your information to potential clients and/or people that might refer you work in the future.

In my home, I have a big glass jar that is about to spill out with hundreds, if not thousands, of business cards I’ve collected over the past few years (mainly from photographers). I kept all of them because one day I wanted to talk about how important it is to have a good business card. I have seen some well-designed cards and I have seen some that made me ask myself: “What were they thinking when they made these cards?!” Having been a graphic designer in my previous occupation I have learned a thing or two about organizing information and have created some corporate identity materials for various clients. Having said that, I wanted to take this time to share some tips for having a good business card.

1) “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Have you bought a book because you liked a way the cover looked? How often do we make perceived judgements on people we meet based on how they dress? This is exactly the same for photographers and your business cards. Your business card is the first impression people have of you as a photographer. A well-designed card makes people think you are professional, increases your perceived value, and make them think that you are a darn good photographer.

2) Include necessary contact information such as name, email address, website and a phone number. I have seen so many cards that did not have either email or phone number. I asked several photographers what their reasoning behind this was and their reply was: “they can come to my website to get the other information.” This is true, but why add another step/obstacle to their contacting you? By the same token, do not oversaturate your card with information.

3) Being a specialist does not mean you are good at portraits, weddings, commercial & sports. Stick to one thing and mention that on your card if you wish to. You cannot be a specialist in everything. Just because you can do it does not mean you have to mention it. If possible, have separate cards for different things you specialize in.

4) Avoid “do-it-yourself, home-printed business cards”. Again invest some money and get some quality cards. Your perceived value will depend on how nice your cards are. Why ruin it by trying to save money by either doing it yourself and/or use those inexpensive services that are out in the market? People may not tell you this in person, but when they get a poorly designed or inexpensive cards, they already have a preconceived value about your photography and your business.

5) Make them unique. You are, after all, one of a kind. Rather than using a predesigned template card, have one professionally designed that represents your photography. There are many ways to make them unique (die cut, sewn, letterpress, foil stamping, etc.) Work with a professional designer to get this done.

6) Never apologize for the card that you have. Your cards represent who you are and you should be proud of it. I have received numerous cards, and as people are handing them to me, they are automatically apologizing to me because of the quality, not up-to-date information, etc. Be confident and proud of your cards when you hand them out.

7) As important as it is to exchange cards, more importantly, it is essential to follow up with the people you exchanged cards with. Rather than letting it go to waste, enter their contact information in an address book. Then shortly after, send them an email thanking them for the opportunity to meet. It will go long way.

Finally, I am proud to share my new business cards with everyone. These were beautifully designed by Studio Z Mendocino out of California. My photographer friend Patty Hildebrand gave me a card that really stood out. I then had to ask her for the contact information for who designed her cards. So big thanks to Patty for introducing me to Studio-Z!



One of the first things people ask when they send an inquiry to me is, “How much do letterpress business cards cost?” It’s a worthy question, but actually probably not as important as, “What will they do for my business?” While it is true that cards like Kenny Kim’s are not inexpensive, the impact they can have on one’s business is worth the investment, in spades. If you spend $1 or even $2 a piece on business cards ($1000 to $2000 for 1000 cards is the commonest ballpark figure), which, honestly, you can do, keep in mind that you are probably not paying for renting a studio, and probably not spending much on advertising, per se. The $1 or $2 you might have spent to get a $2500 or $5000 (or more) wedding shoot might be the least expensive advertising you will ever see. And I have been told by many of my clients that their business cards DO get them work.

Great business cards make the difference that sets you apart from others who are bidding on a job.

I should just say, to answer that question, you should plan on budgeting $1200 or so for 1000 cards letterpress printed on Cranes Lettra 600 gram, without edge painting. You should plan on budgeting $1500 to $1800 for edge painted cards. If you need branding and design work, you should plan on another $2000+ fee, depending on the house that works up your design. (That said, I should also say that pricing depends on many variables, and we can certainly do cards that are not in this price range. We can play with materials, paper, number of colors, and cards we do can come in at a much lower price, as well. But for the premium, thickest, most over the top cards, this is the true ballpark.)

The main question is, Are they worth the cost? The main answer to that is: How do you want your card to represent you? I always have to say, yes, it is worth it, for sure.

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The Westport Hotel, Westport, California
All photos by Pablo Abuliak

A few years ago, Dorine Real and Lee Tupper bought the old Cobweb Palace, a hard-used, decrepit hotel and bar that had presided over the pristine seaside village of Westport, California, about twenty miles north of Fort Bragg, since the 1800s. They undertook the intimidating mission of transforming it into its twenty-first century incarnation as The Westport Hotel and Old Abalone Pub. Only people who knew it “back in the day” (I am one who visited the Cobweb Palace in the 1970s), and inhabitants of the population-200 town who watched the remodel as it happened, have a grasp of what Dorine and Lee had to do to get it to its newly splendid state. It’s almost beyond comprehension to find the place whole again, serenely overlooking sunset over a rumpled Pacific, as it has since Westport’s glory days as a major logging town. The Hotel has re-birthed to a level of comfort and loveliness that, I am sure, it never possessed, even when brand new. Because of the vision, dedication and, I can only surmise, stamina of its new owners, Westport has become a destination for people seeking a retreat from modern culture and busy-ness, an imaginative and delicious meal, a place to gather in a community that is exactly what it is: homey, substantial, unaffected and really fun.

You enter from The Hotel’s beautifully finished, west-facing front porch to find the Old Abalone Pub gleaming in light that streams from every window: the deep blue room with endless views westward, pressed copper ceiling, red chandeliers, warm woods and even warmer greetings from its staff.

The Old Abalone Pub

The best part of all this is that The Westport Hotel has somehow retained its warm, welcoming, unpretentious soul through its rebirth. It’s a place I want to visit again and again, to drive that gorgeous road to a gathering place for friends and family, locals and visitors, where we all can get something fabulous to eat, something wonderful to listen to, unparalleled natural beauty, something soulful to inspire our lives. There is no place like it. Their tag line is “cozy, casual and a little bit elegant.” Yes, I’m a fan. It succeeds on all counts, exceeds every expectation.

Chef  Shana’s inspired, imaginative, locavoracious potstickers

Get sconed at the Westport Hotel — Dorine’s famous scones
The Arches Room with a View — yummy lodging by the sea

Imagine how exciting it was for me to get to design The Westport Hotel‘s new business cards, ads, rack cards, and just-launched web site. Maybe you can’t imagine it, but I was excited, may I just say. Working closely with Dorine and Lee throughout these various projects is one of many creative delights of this work because their vision didn’t stop at the building, but informs all of it. Yet they are open and welcoming to my ideas, which, if you have worked with me, are kind of never-ending and don’t want to be squished. They never squish. Everything is part of this big, amazing idea that almost takes on a life of its own. Here are the business cards:

The Hotel’s wide front porch is decorated with a huge metal sculpture, forged by a local artist, of seaweed spiraling over a giant replica of an abalone shell. This I took as the motif for the front of the letterpress business cards. To reiterate the pressed copper ceiling, we chose a gleaming copper foil. The the finishing surprise was finding a holographic foil that looks a lot like the inside of an abalone shell. I used Lee’s sumi-e brush drawing of an abalone and filled it with the blue-green-silvery patterned foil, making every card one-of-a-kind. The paper is deep blue on one side & white on the other (this is called “duplex” paper); on the white back side,  contact and schedule information is printed in deep blue ink.

Eco-artist, Erica Fielder, helped me figure out how to redraw the seaweed one night while enjoying a little impromptu dinner party and Photoshop session at my house. A big, collaborative beauty, don’t you think? It continues to be a pleasure to work on the printed materials and web site for this place; to be able to use Pablo Abuliak’s unerringly spectacular photographs, with brilliant styling by my daughter Alicia Borcich Abuliak; and to work with my brother, Joe Neves, on the web coding (see our handiwork at www.WestportHotel.us). Yep, I am so lucky to have such a talented family.

We did not stop at business cards. Below is an ad I made for the Hotel, for the magazine 101 Things to Do in Mendocino County.

Worth the Drive, indeed

If you want to make reservations for rooms or meals, call them up: 877.964.3688 (locally 964.3688). You can discover more, plus see our web design work, on the web site we just designed for them: www.WestportHotel.us

If you want to have a consistent branding context, it makes sense to have a designer who can provide creative design, letterpress printing, a sensitive ear and eye, a million ideas, extensive experience, and one-stop shopping for all print collateral, as well as advertisements and web design capabilities. That would be Studio Z Mendocino. Did you know we did more than letterpress printing? Yes, even digital rack cards like these:

The Westport Hotel offers breakfast when you rent a room, gorgeous Sunday Brunches, afternoon tea on weekends, and absolutely worth-the-drive dinners by Chef Shana Everhart, four nights a week, plus beer-wine-espresso and a brilliant pub menu in the bar. Let’s meet there sometime and talk about YOUR branding over a beautiful glass of wine and something delicious at sundown.

We welcome your inquiries: 707.964.2522

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love this Pizzuti Studios image from the SnapKnot site

I wanted to let my photography clients, and potential clients, know about a new website that I think is fantastic. I’ve never recommended a site in my blog before, but I found the idea and its execution so exciting and full of promise, that I have actually arranged with the SnapKnot team to give you a coupon for 1/2 off on your first month. So, you can try it out for the first month for only $24.95, and if you love what it does for your business, you can continue to be enrolled at the regular rate. All you have to do is put in the coupon code ZIDA1 when you sign up.  (Say” Thank you, Zida”!)

I met Mike and Reid of SnapKnot at WPPI, in Las Vegas, in March. They had just launched the site and were meeting scads of photographers who saw the potential and wanted to be included. As we all know, building business is a numbers game: the more people who know your name, the more likely it will be that you will be contacted and have the chance to convert them into clients. SnapKnot shows your work to the world in a sophisticated showcase. Sorted by region, by price, the website tells prospective brides about you and your vision, and lets you be seen by so many more people than your blog or website, all by itself, will be able to gather. I hope you will go see what they are doing for photographers, and see what happens when your business is highlighted there. Please let me know your findings too.

love this Studio EMP image from the site

Here are the main points about what SnapKnot can do to amplify your business visibility and profitability:

SnapKnot allows engaged couples to find the best wedding photographer to suit their needs by answering three basic questions about potential photographers:

What does your work look like?

SnapKnot is a photocentric site, and effectively showcases wedding photographers’ work. Brides can compare and contrast photographers side-by-side.

Where are you located?

There is an easy search and filter function based on a bride’s city or destination, so a bride can choose to look at wedding photographers only in her desired area.

What is your typical budget range?

Brides are able to filter wedding photographers based on their budget/price range. SnapKnot will only display wedding photographers who fall within the selected budget.

Wedding photographers can choose either a Free or Premium listing.A Premium listing is $49.95/mo. (only $24.95 for the 1st month if you use the coupon code “ZIDA1” when signing up).Premium members receive all Free features, PLUS:

  • Front four exposure

  • Priority placement

  • Larger display

  • 5x exposure in multiple cities

  • A dozen images

  • Connect with your leads in real-time

  • User dashboard stats

  • Logo upload

  • Paid advertising

  • Upgraded social media marketing

  • If you are curious to see what will happen should you join them, you can find out right now. Be sure to let them know the coupon code, which is ZIDA1 (zida and the numeral one), when you sign up, to receive your 1/2 off offer for the first month. I’m so happy to share this with you today.
  • love this Lucero Photography Inc. image from the site

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    The beautiful table setting by Dee Merz,  with menus by Studio Z Mendocino. Photos by Greg Gibson.

    Some time ago I posted a story about the wedding invitations we did for Vanessa Gomez and Mike LaGatta’s destination Napa wedding. Vanessa just sent me these photos from the Big Day and i just had to share them with you. They and the following words, are from the blog of floral designer, Jessica Switala’s Fleurs de France, who created the incredible bouquets you see below. We were very pleased to have made Vanessa’s invitations and all the wedding pieces, table numbers, menus, programs, seating cards, thank you notes.

    Vanessa & Mike, their family and friends all traveled to the Napa Valley for this Destination Wedding. The couple hosted their out of town guests to a full weekend of delicious food and wine. It began with an intimate luncheon at Brix in Yountville, proceeding to Groezinger’s for a lively, fun filled evening Welcome Party for all of their guests. The main event was held at Auberge du Soleil after their church ceremony the following day.
    Feathers and fiddlehead accented the brides bouquet and the rich textural florals in deep purples, eggplant, apricots and oranges. The shades and textures of their arrangements created a luxurious atmosphere fused with deep purple Peau de Soie linens and Topaz Terracotta napkins and chair cushions from La Tavola. I absolutely loved working with Dee Merz, their Napa wedding planner. We worked easily together, planning, discussing colors, linens, and other endless details. Vanessa provided style and color inspirations and then gave me complete latitude to create from my heart. The tears of joy I saw when she first saw her bouquet were a true indication that everything was perfection and just as she had envisioned. Greg Gibson just sent me these wonderful images! Enjoy!


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