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Kym Ventola | Blog

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

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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 

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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

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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. 

 

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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.

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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 session....it's one of my all-time favorite cities! I can't wait for their wedding next year!

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Wylie and Lauren

Wylie and Lauren might have met at trivia night, but they also worked together at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Trivia night was less about the trivia and more about getting to know each other!

Downtown Phoenix residents, these two planned a fantastic wedding that incorporated everything they love about their city. They prepped at Hotel Palomar, got married at Bentley Projects and partied at The Duce.

A huge thanks to Mackenzie Goodman for second shooting!

 

 

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Kieran and Sam

A couple of years ago, Sam was living in Phoenix, while Kieran was living in Los Angeles. They were utterly in love and Kieran was ready to propose. After traveling back and forth between cities, they realized that their homes were exactly 400 miles apart. EXACTLY 400 miles. So cool, right? It's the kind of thing that most of us briefly talk about and then forget about it. Not Kieran. He's pretty romantic. When he planned the proposal, he decided to pull over at the 200 mile point and propose to the girl of his dreams. It was beautiful and perfect. When Kieran, Sam and I talked about their engagement session, the idea of going back to that exact spot came up. We all high-fived each other and agreed that it was THE BEST IDEA EVER.

Here's our little road trip/engagement session to Palm Springs. Enjoy. ;)

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Oh! Check out these two talented people!

Kieran is a film maker and his new film "Broken Leg" is being featured at the Phoenix Film Festival next month! http://kieranthompson.com/

Samantha is a candlemaker. MY FAVORITE CANDLES EVER. http://standardwax.bigcartel.com/

Charlie + Jessica: married in Brooklyn

I love how I connected with this couple! Thank you Instagram! Two years ago, I discovered Instagram user, Veggieterrain, and immediately formed an online friendship. I had no idea what she looked like (her profile photo is a shot of her "vegan" tattoo) and all that I knew about her was that she was a vegan, she graciously replied to her followers and lived in Brooklyn, NY. Screenshot 2014-02-15 11.56.31

So, when she announced (on Instagram) that she was engaged, I naturally congratulated her! (And joked about coming out to Brooklyn to shoot the wedding). We did some more back-and-forth joking about it and then BAM! I get an email from Jessica (Veggieterrain) that she was serious about having me come to Brooklyn to capture her small and intimate wedding ON THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE. What? OMG. Yes. I'm there.

Needless to say, this was one of my all-time favorite weddings. I loved every minute that I spent with Charlie + Jessica. They are high school sweethearts from the midwest and are genuinely in love!charlie-jessica_0459charlie-jessica_0407 charlie-jessica_0414 charlie-jessica_0320charlie-jessica_0474 (1)charlie-jessica_0229 charlie-jessica_0238charlie-jessica_0296charlie-jessica_0033 charlie-jessica_0268charlie-jessica_0167 charlie-jessica_0162 charlie-jessica_0146charlie-jessica_0144charlie-jessica_0124charlie-jessica_0105charlie-jessica_0039charlie-jessica_0031 charlie-jessica_0022charlie-jessica_0196charlie-jessica_0178 charlie-jessica_0180charlie-jessica_0340