Kym Ventola | Blog

Spotlight: Florist Malori Maeva

Malori Maeva of Hoot & Holler really is a renegade florist. If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting her, I highly recommend you visit Hoot & Holler and check out her About page. She is extremely talented with an absolutely beautiful design aesthetic. Malori, like always, was incredibly kind to spend some time answering questions about the wedding and events industry as well as providing insight into what you should know when picking a florist and planning for the big day. Enjoy! xo kieran-sam_small2

Ventola Photography: What is it about the wedding and events industry that you love most?

Malori: I really love the excitement and optimism. It really is such a special day and it's full of so many hopes and dreams. It's so lovely seeing the bride and groom surrounded by all of their friends and family and I get really excited knowing that Hoot & Holler played a small role in making their dreams about their wedding day come true!

Ventola Photography: What do you recommend to a bride who is looking for a florist? Where to start with that sort of planning?

Malori: Finding a florist for your wedding day is all about your personal taste. Start by browsing Pinterest and collecting your favorite images of flowers. Most people don't know the exact names of flowers so it really helps your florist create an accurate quote when you can show them the types of flowers you love. It also helps if you know what types of arrangements you want on your big day (bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, flowers for your arch, centerpieces, flowers for your cake, etc.). Unlike your photographer, you really don't have to spend much (or any) time with your florist on the day of your wedding but I would still recommend hiring someone that you get along with! It's also good to keep in mind that flowers you see in big magazines, like Martha Stewart Weddings, are typically VERY expensive (like in the neighborhood of $900 for one centerpiece). If you're working within a budget, ask your florist what substitutions can be made to create the same effect at a lower price point. Finally, trust your florists judgement. Once you've set your details and told us what you like, what you hate, what you need, and what you want, we're going to deliver something awesome.


Ventola Photography: Are there trends or styles that you love this season?

Malori: I am REALLY loving all the wild bouquets with tons of greens and darker colored flowers. So many brides choose a classic, muted color scheme because it's really delicate and gorgeous so it's fun to see these darker, moodier colors get some love because they can be extraordinarily beautiful too!

Ventola Photography: What's one piece of advice that you would give to brides? Any advice is welcome.

Malori: Hire a day-of coordinator and don't commit to DIY's that require you to work on the day of your wedding. It's tempting to save some extra money by trying to do your flowers yourself, setting up your reception decor, or by acting as your own coordinator but your wedding day should be all about you getting married. Let someone else handle the stress of set-up and last minute DIY projects while you have some champagne with your bridal party, get pampered, and relax before saying "I do."

Ventola Photography: Favorite quote?

Malori: "I can't do this, but I'm doing it anyways."



Spotlight: Hair Stylist Paige Ashcroft

Paige Ashcroft is a true artist. She understands hair, beauty and the overall creative vision, which is why I have loved working with her for a long time. Not only is she amazing at styling beautiful hair but she is a doll to work with and we've become great friends through the years. She was so kind to answer a few questions about beauty trends, what really makes wedding hair look great all day long and other advice for those soon-to-be brides who might be undecided about their day-of look. You can see more of her work and get in touch, here. photo2small


Ventola Photography: What major trends, if any, have you seen for this season?
Paige: I have been seeing a lot of dramatic eyeliner in fashion across the board. I think it translates well into bridal as well. Also it seems as though the days of curly and coifed are dwindling, voluminous dutch braids with lots of surface texture are becoming popular.
Ventola Photography: What's the secret to making sure hair and makeup look good the entire day?
Paige: If you want your makeup to look good all day you need to hire a professional makeup artist. A good makeup artist will know exactly how how to get your makeup to stay put based on your skin. To get hair that stays all day your stylist needs to have a good understanding of product. Even more importantly, you should pick a stylist that is experienced with how to structure and support your style.
Ventola Photography: Do you have any tips or tricks you can share for amazing looking hair? Certain products that help to really hold for brides in humid weather or to make hair soft and shiny for those in dry climates?
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Paige: I absolutely do! (Although there would be far too much information for one post.) I do have one product that has always been an essential in my kit. I love the Dust It, Mattifying Powder by Shwarpfkopf from the Osis line. It's a fine dust that can be sprinkled on the root or the lengths of the hair to create texture and hold. It also works really well if added to the root before back-combing. Use this product sparingly as it really has a kick!
Ventola Photography: What advice would you give to a bride who doesn't know what to do with her hair?
Paige: I would find a stylist with a really good reputation and portfolio and schedule a consultation with them. When you get there just ask what they think and let them try it out on your hair. As hard as it may be just give the stylist full creative freedom.
Ventola Photography: Favorite quote?
Well, I'm a comedy nerd so I have to go with this one: "I hate it when people say girl crush. No one is going to think you are a lesbian if you just say crush." -Mindy Lahiri

Spotlight: Wedding Planner Katherine Thornhill

I think every bride can agree that planning a wedding takes a LOT of time and energy. Of course, it's all worth it because brides know what they want and want to make sure everything is as close to perfect as it can be. Katherine Thornhill, owner of Lucky & In Love, is a Phoenix-based wedding planner who is simply excellent at what she does and knows all of this better than anyone. I am so excited she agreed to share her insights and tips into the world of planning for that big day. Thank you, Katherine! Ventola Photography: How did you first come to start Lucky & In Love?

Katherine: I've wanted to be a wedding planner since I was a little girl. I was working in PR and events, and often had friends ask me to help them with their weddings, whether it was dreaming up ideas, or planning the many details to make the day run smoothly. I figured I might as well form a business, so all of my efforts were going toward building a portfolio of some kind! And the rest is history.



Photo Credit: Katherine Thornill

Ventola Photography: How did you decide on the name?

Katherine: Lucky & In Love came to be after weeks and weeks of writing down all kinds of names and word combinations, none of which felt like the “right” one. It honestly came to me one afternoon, all in one rush of an instinct. After searching high and low for any other business with the same name, I was shocked to find out nothing existed! I literally RAN to have the trade name officially mine within the hour.

Ventola Photography: What advice or insight do you typically give brides regarding photography and/or choosing a photographer?

Katherine: I think it is so important that the couples I work with mesh with their photographer on a personal one-on-one level, not solely on their creative work. Personality matching is incredibly important, especially in a high stress environment like their wedding day. Couples need to select a photographer who they trust so wholeheartedly to do a great job, who they connect with almost on a friend level, that they basically forget they are there working!

Ventola Photography: What advice would you give to a bride who has a short engagement? Would you offer different advice to a bride who has a really long engagement?

Katherine: If nothing else – hire a day of wedding coordinator! Call me biased, but nothing makes me more sad than hearing about a bride who couldn’t focus on their big day because they were stressing about table centerpiece set up, or that the caterers didn’t arrive on time. No matter how much work they take on leading up to the wedding, it’s incredibly important to pass the baton to a professional when the day comes.


Ventola Photography: Do you have a favorite wedding color scheme? One that you've been more partial to throughout the seasons?

Katherine: Surprisingly, not really! My weddings seem to take on a life of their own, incorporating colors, metallics, texture and pattern, or “layers of interest” as I like to refer to it. The look of the event is often so multifaceted it’s hard to break it down to a true color scheme.

Ventola Photography: What tips do you have for brides who don't know where to start when it comes to the planning process?

Katherine: First things first, set a realistic budget! It will be the roadmap as you make your way through the planning process. You’ll need to know this before starting anything else like the venue search, even the guest list.


Ventola Photography: What's one thing you wish brides knew before they got engaged or before they started planning their big day?

Katherine: I hope all couples know that there is no “right way” to do a wedding. Of course there are traditions and etiquette that in my opinion should be (loosely) followed, yet there is no wedding that is too big, too small or too personalized for a couple if it is a true representation of their relationship. Take a chance and follow what your heart wants! Don’t worry about what others say you should or shouldn’t have on your big day. It’s YOUR day after all.

Ventola Photography: Favorite quote?

Katherine: Work hard & be nice to people. Always.


Phoenix Family Portrait Session

Nikki + Conrad are family to one of my best friends in the entire world. When I found out that Nikki wanted a family portrait session to highlight her exciting maternity news, I was so happy to be a part of it. We shot in a few different locations in and around their Phoenix home. It was a lovely evening. conrad-nikki_0001small












Spotlight: Standard Wax

I've known Samantha and Andrew of Standard Wax for a little while now. I was so, so happy to get to shoot their beautiful, unique products. This week Samantha provided Ventola Photography with some really valuable details about what defines Standard Wax as a brand, why imagery is a major pillar within their business strategy as well as advice for those who might be looking to start their own business. In other words, they've got it going on and I'm super excited to share this with anyone who doesn't know them already! Ventola Photography: Where did the name Standard Wax come from?

Samantha: Honestly? I can’t even remember. Andrew and I went through a LOT of name ideas after we had (accidentally) started the business. I think there was a clothing company we liked that had “standard” in the name. It was so everyday, so simple, and yet it really spoke to us and our product. We also didn’t want to be super obvious with the name, so we brainstormed other words besides “candles” and wound up with "wax”! I’ve never regretted the name, even though it came about sort of haphazardly. Some people think we’re a waxing salon, and it never fails that a Google search will turn up some information on toilet parts, but I still think it’s just perfect.




Ventola Photography: What is your brand philosophy? Why?

Samantha: We’re all about bringing art into your everyday. We believe that everything you bring into your home should be not only functional, but beautiful. We make sure every candle we make embodies that philosophy of functional art. The second part of that philosophy is that the functional art should stay forever! Just because the candle burns down doesn’t mean the beauty is gone. Our candles are made to be reused in the home as planters, pencil holders, bathroom organizers - there are so many possibilities.




Ventola Photography: What value do you place on imagery for your brand?

Samantha: Imagery is everything! It’s the first thing someone who’s learning about your brand for the first time usually sees. We’re a small business, but I believe that good merchandising, styling and photography can elevate your brand in a huge way. The investments we’ve made in product photography has been always been repaid almost immediately. Not only does imagery play a huge part in sales, but it also allows us the opportunity to reach out to the media and give them amazing images to use (making our PR a breeze - magazines, blogs, etc love beautiful photos).

Ventola Photography: What have you seen rich imagery do for your business from a creative standpoint?

Samantha: Having solid, high quality, professional images makes life so much easier! One example that comes to mind is creating our wholesale line sheets. The differences in the layout and design with the professional images are INCREDIBLE. It brings our collateral to a whole new level. It also helps out in more day-to-day type situations - like posting on social media. It’s been proven that imagery is one of the biggest things that brings engagement to a post, and it’s so much easier to create engaging content when you have a library of beautiful images.




Ventola Photography: What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own business?

Samantha: Oh boy. It sounds cliche, but if you do something you truly love, you’ll be successful. Obviously it will take some leg work to get there. You won’t love every single part of what you do. I don’t love schlepping around boxes and packaging orders. But if you love the philosophy of your business, the enthusiasm will shine through for everyone to see. I once read something where someone said he was so successful because he had found something he would do for free, since he loved it so much. And then people started paying him to do it.

Ventola Photography: What is your favorite part about running a company out of Phoenix? Are there any advantages you see to being in Arizona?

Standard Wax: So many advantages. Aside from obvious things like how affordable it is here, I think the biggest advantage is the people. Phoenix is an up and coming city, creatively. There is so much excitement and collaboration. People are genuinely passionate about working together and collaborating. Instead of seeing others as competition, people in Phoenix know that if one of us succeeds, there’s more opportunity for the rest of us. Getting started in LA, New York, San Fran, etc, would be much harder.




Ventola Photography: Favorite city to visit?

Standard Wax: Florence, Italy. I studied abroad there in college and instantly fell in love. There’s something so magical about the city that started the Renaissance. You get this creative feeling when you’re there, it’s so inspiring. You can walk down the same streets and look at the same buildings as people did hundreds of years ago, as they were questioning the norms, creating incredible art and ushering in an artistic and political revolution. I’m not even a crazy art history person, but there is something ridiculously moving about that city.

Ventola Photography: Favorite quote?

Standard Wax: I love quotes. It’s hard to pick just one, so I’ll go with the one that inspired a recent tattoo. “Now is right on time” take from Asha Tyson: Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don't think you've lost time. There is no short-cutting to life. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.



Special Project: Beautifully Dark Shoot

I've teased a feature and shared images on Facebook from a shoot I recently did with a group who I consider to be one of my dream teams. Now, I'm sharing more of the dark, introverted bridal shots from the evening in the woods. I have always loved the dark- appreciated the serenity one finds in it and the calmness there. This particular shoot has been in the works for about a year and the action of actually planning, creating and then going up to Northern Arizona and shooting it was such a fantastic undertaking for all of us involved. In case you missed the June Bug Weddings feature of it, you can find that here. Thank you, thank you to such a wonderful group of people who made this happen! Makeup – Stephanie Nieheisel, SN Makeup Artist Gown, Veil & Robe, Ouma Model – Sarah Jihan Stylist – Misha West Crown – Xappaland Jewelry – Frances Boutique Undergarment – Free People 

















Spotlight: Stylist Alexandra Evjen

Alexandra Evjen of A.V.E. Styles is the REAL deal. She is a stylist worthy of endless reviews and I am so happy to have 1) been able to meet her and 2) work with her! I highly encourage you to check out what she's been up to, here. Not only is she amazing at putting together a killer outfit but she has almost 1 million followers on Pinterest so needless to say, she knows her stuff! Just this week she gave me the scoop on trends, why she loves what she does and even gives a tip for those of you (and I know you're out there!) who want to break into the styling, fashion or blogging worlds. Thank you, thank you for the interview, Alex! Your advice is wonderful! xo  

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 Photo credit: Gina Meola

Ventola Photography: In one sentence, how would you describe what it is that you do?

AE: I'm a fashion stylist and art director styling pin-worthy content for small businesses and brands.

Ventola Photography: What is it about styling that you love the very most?

AE: The best part is putting together the puzzle pieces of a vision and standing back and looking at a beautiful piece of art that points to something bigger than what's standing before you. That might be an artsy-fartsy answer, but there's a spiritual element to the arts that I cannot escape.



 Photo credit: Nick Cassee

Ventola Photography: How would you describe your approach to putting an outfit together?

AE: I start with hope or vision of what the client wants, and then I acknowledge the limitations and boundaries of the project. Without the limitations I find it's harder to be creative, which you would think would be counterintuitive, but it really helps me narrow down the ideas. From then on it's trial and error.

Ventola Photography: Is there a particular look that is your favorite day look? Night look?

AE: My go-to outfit is an awesome blazer or jacket, t-shirt, jeans and heels. Every woman looks great and feels comfortable in a classic outfit like this. Plus, they can put their own style spin on it by choosing bright or muted colors and patterns.

Ventola Photography: What trend is big for this upcoming fall season?

AE: Distressed denim is HUGE. I'm seeing ripped jeans paired with leather, knits and chiffon. You can either go with a juxtaposed approach of opposites or you can stay true to the rock and roll style of distressed denim.

Ventola Photography: Aside from Pinterest being a lovely platform that many of us can't quit, why do you love it? What advice do you give to clients about it?

AE: The reason why I first fell in love with Pinterest was it was an easy way to lay out the ideas in my head and play as if the images were puzzle pieces - taking out what wasn't working and finding the perfect match.

Ventola Photography: What advice would you give to other female fashion lovers who want to break out and start their own blog or style project?

AE: Go for it! Don't let anyone discourage you or let the competition discourage you. Start styling and creating as much as possible though. Don't rely solely on social media and networking. The proof is in the pudding, so make sure your craft is solid.

Ventola Photography: Favorite quote?

AE: Comparison kills joy. It's true, and I battle it every single day. Just never give up the fight.

Ventola Photography: Favorite city to visit? 

AE: Boston! There's so much history, the architecture is out of this world, it's right on the ocean, and my family lives there. I love everything about it.


Bethany + Jimmy - Berkeley Botanical Garden Wedding

The beauty I witnessed on Bethany + Jimmy's big day was stunning. Every detail was completely dreamy. I will forever look back at their photos with complete delight because the whole day was brimming with love and laughter. They picked UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley in California to host their intimate wedding (I don't know if I'll ever get over how lush it was there). The garden was a gorgeous selection for such a special day! xo jimmy-bethany_0102small






















Spotlight: Makeup Artist Stephanie Neiheisel

Being a photographer has allowed me to meet some of the most talented people I have ever worked with. Stephanie Neiheisel is one such artist. She is a beauty inside and out and I'm in sheer awe every single time I work with her. Anyone who has done a few shoots knows that getting a shoot just right (having it come out looking just like you imagined) takes multiple people and a makeup artist is certainly a strong part of that mix. I'm honored to know Stephanie (we've had some fantastic times shooting together) and I am so excited to be sharing a glimpse of her talent with all of you today! xo Ventola Photography: What is it about makeup that you love the very most?

SN: What I love about makeup the most is that it's a form of expression. Whether simple or dramatic, it is an art. You're telling a story. Your story. Or in my amazing experience, my client's story. Makeup should be about the person. It should enhance. Not hide.




Ventola Photography: How would you describe your approach to makeup and styling?

SN: My approach to makeup and styling is first and foremost, to listen. I open my eyes and my ears to what my client or my team wants. There is a place and a time for me to do something over the top and creative. In my day-to-day work I'm often with a bride or collaborating with other creatives. I truly believe I've been successful and have come up with makeup looks I've never even dreamed of because I'm willing to take advice and work with a team and give them their vision while adding in my own style.

Ventola Photography: Is there a particular look that most brides you work with request? A particular genre/mood for their look?

SN: Yes. Most brides want to feel like a beautifully enhanced version of themselves. They want to feel comfortable but glamorous at the same time. Understandably so. It's a big day! I am a huge fan of beauty makeup. I love enhancing natural features and adding drama right where its needed. Occasionally I get brides who want a smoky eye or themed look but not often.

Ventola Photography: What trend is big for this upcoming wedding season?

SN: Five years ago leading up into last year I would say that the whole Anthropology/Free People vibe was very popular but starting last fall and translating into this year, we are seeing a lot of drama and glamour makeup. Dark beauty, vintage, but with a bold classic touch. Bold brows, bold lashes, full lips, you name it! Brides are fearless and its allowing me to create some stunning looks.




Ventola Photography: What is your favorite part about being in the beauty industry?

SN: I love connecting with people and making them feel beautiful. When someone is in my chair I not only hope they feel beautiful when I'm done but I also hope it is a time where they can just close their eyes, relax, and feel loved and accepted. I have become friends with most if not all of my clients. Its about the connection and having fun! Makeup shouldn't be something you feel like you need, it should be something that you enjoy and use to have fun. I also feel extremely grateful for all of the creatives that have come into my life. I've worked with some incredibly talented people who have become good friends and family to me.

Ventola Photography: What style of shoot is on your 'to-do' list to be a part of?

SN: Oh man, my "to do" list for styled shoots seems endless. I am always up for new ideas and collaborating with others. In fact, when I think about that question my mind goes blank because all the ideas start spinning in my head. I have at least 10 notebooks at home with my ideas and a chalkboard wall where my roommate and I write down things that inspire us for projects. Its seriously never ending. 




Ventola Photography: Favorite quote?

SN: "Fortune favors the bold who gets shit done." Because at the end of the day, you get what you put into anything. I truly believe that.

Ventola Photography: Favorite city to visit?

SN:  I finally made it to New York for the first time this year and it was quite magical. Although I'm looking forward to visiting Portland, Seattle, and eventually getting out of the US. I'm dying to visit Canada and Europe.

Rachel + Tim - Foxboro Ranch Estates Wedding

When I look back at Rachel + Tim's Munds Park wedding I'll remember how beautiful it was. The natural beauty was in everyone that attended and the landscape around them. I have been shooting Rachel for a while now so I feel privileged to be both her friend and her wedding photographer. I will cherish her and Tim's day forever! They are an absolute darling couple and their wedding couldn't have been more perfect. Thank you both for letting me be a part of it! I wish you the very best. Also, a BIG thank you to Katrina Wallace for second shooting with me! You are THE BEST!

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Jess + Nate - Elysian Los Angeles Wedding

I've shared a few sneak peeks of Jess + Nate's wedding in Los Angeles. Now I get to share a few more of my favorites from their big day. I love, love, love this couple with all of my heart. Jess is a humble beauty. She is truly one of the kindest, most loving people I have ever met. And Nate is just the same. Their entire wedding was about gratitude and love. They thanked EVERYONE the entire time in the most genuine way. Their wedding and reception was held at Elysian, which is a delightful venue with amazing backdrops and splashes of color.



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Alex and Augustina - Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, AZ

A suite at the Hotel Valley Ho was the perfect place for these two to say "I do" with their closest friends and family. From the minute I arrived until the time I left, the energy was so good! No stress; just love, laughter and (happy) tears. It was one of the most genuine ceremonies I had ever seen. I love that Augustina wore the dress that SHE wanted; not the dress that everyone expects a bride to wear. It was perfect and she was stunning. Just look at the way that Alex holds his breath the moment he sees her come around the corner. Get the tissues! ;)

So much love for this wedding.


Michael and Megan in Brooklyn, New York

I flew out to New York last week to photograph one of the sweetest couples on the planet. Michael and Megan are originally from Phoenix, but are living in Long Island while Michael is in law school. I am so glad that they chose Brooklyn for their engagement's one of my all-time favorite cities! I can't wait for their wedding next year!

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