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Planning a Gay Wedding in the United States

As more states today are making gay marriage legal, wedding planners, officiants and other wedding industry vendors are expecting an increase in business with couples who are planning a gay wedding.

What’s the difference between planning a lesbian or gay wedding and a non-gay wedding?

Actually, from what I’m reading, nothing really. Couples can plan the most beautiful and traditional wedding ceremony and reception as any other couple, as long as they find gay-friendly wedding vendors to help them.

The couple can go online and shop around for vendors for their wedding cakes, dresses, tuxes, suits, everything that any other couple needs for a traditional wedding. And the couple should still follow a good wedding planning checklist too when planning their event.

Lesbian and Gay Marriage Etiquette and Other Concerns

When it comes right down to it, the same wedding etiquette applies whether two women are getting married, two men or a man and a woman.

Why? Because the rules of etiquette keep changing anyway!

May I have your daughter’s hand in marriage?
Not all men ask their fiance’s father for their hand in marriage. Today, the father may not even be in the picture for one. So really, it’s not a must that one asks the other’s father for permission, even in a gay marriage.

Also, the couple may already be living together and simply announce they’ve set their wedding date. It’s pretty much already expected, once the daughter moves out and moves in with her boyfriend, that there may be a wedding some time in the future.

My parents don’t approve. They won’t support me.
There are a lot of heterosexual couples that run into this too, so there’s no difference there.

My ex mother-in-law couldn’t stand me and wanted nothing to do with her son marrying me because I wasn’t a pure Catholic virgin.

Can we still have a religious ceremony?
There are non-dominational ministers who support gay marriage and will happily officiate your wedding. You should check some of the sites below. Some couples may already be attending a gay-friendly church where they can have their ceremony.

Do we both wear a wedding gown (or tux)?
For lesbian brides, yes, you can both wear your dream wedding dress. Or one of you can wear a feminine suit that coordinates with the others dress.

For gay men, you can wear matching tuxedos or suits, or wear different but complementary colors.

If you’re having a bridal party, you can each have your own bridesmaids or you simply ask a handful of your best friends to stand for you.

Like I said, etiquette is a little more relaxed today than it used to be. In fact, there are some non-gay couples who have a female “best man” instead of a male, if it happens that the groom’s best friend all his life happens to be a female.

There’s really not a whole lot off limits today, regardless of the gender of the couple.

Is it hard to find gay-friendly wedding vendors?
Couples need to keep in mind that not every wedding professional or wedding vendor agrees with or feels comfortable working with a same-sex couple.

To help couples find wedding professionals, there are many sites available to help you find just the right vendors to work with, from finding a gay-friendly ceremony site, officiant, reception venue and everything else that goes into planning a beautiful wedding, to finding a friendly wedding planner or consultant that can handle all of the planning for you.

Remember, a reputable wedding planner will already have a whole list of vendors that he or she has worked with in the past. Then you just pay the professional to handle everything for you.

Gay Wedding Planning Sites:
Iowa’s Gay Wedding Planner
Is our gay marriage legal?
If you leave your home state to get married in one of the gay marriage states, will your marriage be legally binding in your home state if it is not a legal gay marriage state?

Couples that already live in states that allow gay marriage will have an easier time and a longer time to plan than a state that has recently made it legal but may overturn it at any moment. This happened in California between 2008 and 2013.

So many gay couples who live in states where gay marriage law has just been passed, are finding they want to take that window of opportunity as quickly as they can, just in case the state overturns the decision and makes it illegal again.

According to NOLO Law for All:

“These issues are becoming clearer as time goes on. Right now, we now know that some federal agencies, such as the Social Security Administration, will continue to look to the place of residence (where a couple lives) to determine whether married couples qualify for benefits. As a result, same-sex married spouses living in non-recognition states will not be eligible for Social Security benefits based on their spouse’s work record.

“But other federal agencies, such as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will look to the place of celebration (where the marriage was performed) to determine whether same-sex married couples are eligible for benefits.”

How to Become a Successful Wedding Planner With Inexpensive Weddings

Can you make a living planning weddings? Yes. As a self-employed professional, you can either charge a set fee for the wedding or a percentage of the total cost. Your income can be uncertain when you first start planning these extravaganzas, but as your reputation spreads and you gain more experience, your income can increase dramatically.

Of course, you will make more income on an elaborate, huge wedding, but several smaller and simple weddings will be less stressful when you are starting out and, when the separate income is added together, you will probably make the same amount of money.

Some agencies who track salaries report yearly incomes in the $50,000 range for wedding planners. One such agency, PayScale, currently reports these average hourly rates for the profession:

* California $28.00

* Georgia $27.50

* Massachusetts $20.64

* New York $15.00

* Louisiana $14.00

* Pennsylvania $10.23

* Texas $9.00

As with any self-employment, your success depends entirely on your creativity, reliability and marketing skills. There are online courses you can take to teach you the skills you need to plan the perfect wedding for your clients. Some of those courses will lead to certification as a Wedding Planner, which will give you more credibility with your clients and improve your professional standing with your colleagues.

Getting Started

What a professional Wedding Planner actually does is take on the details and responsibility of the event, relieving the bride and groom and their families, from the stresses involved. In turn, this allows them to enjoy the preliminary wedding events, like bridal showers and picking a honeymoon location.

There are lots of details you, as a Wedding Planner, need to know to keep things running smoothly and within the budget available. You will have to have a set of resources you can tap into to get the best service at the best prices, like reserving the church or chapel, catering the reception, ordering flowers, getting the wedding dress designed and ordered, selecting invitations and announcements, booking the music and hiring a professional photographer, among many other tasks.

It would probably be very good advice to start your career on small and somewhat inexpensive weddings. Giant extravaganzas can be very complex and time consuming to the most experienced Wedding Planner and you would be well-advised to start smaller and work up.

Some of the following tips should help you get started on planning a smaller wedding that will save money on several of the more expensive features of normal weddings. The bride’s father will love you for it.

The Wedding Gown

* The wedding gown can be expensive enough to break any budget. You can offer your client several options that are affordable and will still make the bride look like an angel as she floats down the aisle.

Renting a gown is becoming more popular every day. Think about it. The bride is going to wear it once and it was probably worn once before she rented it. It also avoids the storage problem for 20 years if the bride will not be saving it for her firstborn child to wear at her own wedding.

* If a member of the bride’s family is a good seamstress, suggest that she ask the family member to make the dress. Providing all the material and even paying the family member for the service will more than likely be less expensive than buying one from a bridal store.

* Another way would be for the bride to wear her mother’s wedding gown, if she saved it. You might want to check it carefully for any deterioration before the bride commits to wearing it. The mother is probably from a generation that thought saving her wedding gown was an obligation of the marriage and believed for several decades that her daughter would wear it at her own wedding.

The Reception

Another budget-buster is the reception, but some planning with a true reality check can reduce your client’s expenditures here.

* Think smaller. Talk to your clients about how they can downsize the guest list. When the excitement of the coming event takes over, your clients and their parents will many times have a very long list of people to invite to the wedding and the reception after.

Many of the parents’ visions of the reception can resemble an extravaganza with hundreds of guests, munching caviar and drinking champagne all night long in a huge ballroom. If their budget will not cover the considerable expenses involved in their dream reception, your skills as the Wedding Planner will be well served here.

To start with, keeping the guest list small and only inviting close family and friends will save money and still provide the dream celebration your clients want. If your client hasn’t had a close relationship with college friends or neighbors from four moves back, don’t put them on the list.

Instead of renting the largest hall or club banquet room in your town for the reception, you have a couple of inexpensive options that might appeal to your clients:

* Check out restaurants in the area. Some have banquet rooms that they will either rent out or provide free if you use their services for the sit-down meal or the buffet.

* Consider suggesting that your clients hold the reception at their home. The party does not have to include a full meal. Catered hors d’oeuvres and a champagne fountain will set the festive mood your clients want.

* Weddings held in gardens or other natural settings are very popular and beautiful. There’s minimal decoration needed and the only expense might be for the minister, rabbi or Justice of the Peace.

* Not having a full bar will save a lot of money, regardless of where the reception is held. The champagne fountain mentioned above can also be combined with beer or wine if the clients want to provide additional libations for their guests.

The Photography

The formal wedding service requires a professional photographer who will create a beautiful album to record the special day and preserve the memories to relive as they wish. If you create a relationship with several photographers as you build your career, you will know which one to hire for your client’s purposes.

The rest of the celebration can be recorded by all their friends and relatives with a digital camera in their pockets. Some clients put disposable cameras on tables for anyone to use. Have a decorated basket nearby and visible to give your guests a place to leave the cameras when they go home.

The Wedding Invitations

Newly engaged couples can go way overboard on their wedding invitations and your task, as their Wedding Planner, is to suggest ways for them to save money on this expensive item.

Those engraved invitations with the ribbon attached or the edges cut into curvy designs are expensive. The same effect can be achieved with a good card stock and one of those edge cutters used for scrapbooking. The necessary items can be found in any good craft store and some stationary stores. They come with matching envelopes, too. The actual text can easily be printed with a good inkjet or laser printer.

One way to make homemade invitations special and very personal is to order stamps from the US Post Office with the couple’s engagement picture on them.

Consider suggesting that your client include making her own thank you notes and, even the place cards, if you are including a sit-down reception for their wedding. Once again, a good laser or inkjet printer can do the fancy fonts and include a picture of the couple to make them personal. The thank you notes would stand out if they were sent with a wedding picture on the stamps.

The Flowers

It is not necessary to buy fancy floral arrangements and pay for the floral designer’s time and expertise. Simple flowers arranged beautifully in clusters or cascades can be created by either the bride’s family or a crafty friend. They can be delivered to the church by you or by friends.

If you are building your business, create some relationships with flower vendors and provide that service to your clients. They will be delighted at the savings and the vendors will love you for the business.

Depending on the time of the year, the flowers can be picked from the bride’s own backyard or from a friend’s yard. A few inexpensive vases, some ribbon and both the wedding and the reception will be beautifully decorated while not breaking the family’s budget.

A few flower arrangements can attractively set off a buffet table or on the tables at a sit-down dinner. Think about several weddings you have attended as a guest. How many flower arrangements do you really remember? During the entire wedding ritual, most of the guests were focused on the bride and groom; weren’t they?

A simple floral bouquet can be easily arranged from flowers out of a garden with the stems wrapped in a ribbon that complements or matches the bride’s gown. When you toss the bridal bouquet before you leave the reception, you will be tossing out a truly personal memento of your wedding and not one that was exorbitantly priced.

Any flowers left over can be scattered in the bride’s hair to make her even more beautiful as she walks down the aisle.

The Wedding Cake

There’s lots of tradition around the wedding cake, including saving a piece to be eaten on the first anniversary of the wedding. The top layer of the cake is normally put aside before the cake is cut and frozen to preserve it. Some bakers have been making a top layer that is a light fruitcake. It freezes well and thaws better a year later.

Wedding cake history can be traced as far back at the Roman Empire and the traditions have gone through so many changes between now and then that there is no comparison.

Today’s “traditional” wedding cake practices can be anything the couple wants them to be. Some have abandoned the white wedding cake and substituted frosting colors and decorations that reflect the bride’s choice of décor or the color of the bridesmaid dresses.

The multi-tiered cake is not an obligation and can be a heavy drain on a limited budget. Friends can make the cake for the reception or something else can replace the cake entirely, like a wedding cake made of frosted cupcakes stacked in layers. The cupcake wedding cake is becoming very popular, not only for economy, but for it’s novelty and the range of cupcake flavors that can be offered.

As the Wedding Planner, you will need to have a list of different and affordable wedding cakes to give the couple choices. If no one in the family or set of friends can make the wedding cake, you will also need a list of economical bakeries.

Lists – How To Plan A Small Wedding

When you first begin to work as a Wedding Planner, you will be buried in details that can only be managed if you know how to make ordered lists. Over time, you will probably create your own templates on your computer and be able to print out a complete set of templates whenever you book a new wedding.

Your templates will be your “spare brain” and will keep you informed of what needs to be done and when, along with favored vendors, the services they provide and what their fees are.

Your templates should include the following information:

* A reasonable timeline for all activities concerning the wedding from start to finish. That should include preliminary details, like scheduling the bride’s appointments for fittings, reserving the banquet room or restaurant for the reception, booking the chapel and anything else that needs advance scheduling.

Waiting too long may require rescheduling that might interfere with the travel arrangements made by the out-of-town guests or make finding a caterer difficult, to name only a couple of serious possible problems.

* After your templates are printed and initially filled out, you need to make a preliminary wedding budget and include the fees for your services. As the director of this event, you will be spending the money and have a responsibility to provide records when requested.

* The actual wedding ceremony should be painstakingly detailed to ensure that all aspects are taken care of in advance. Leave nothing to the last minute.

o Have the bride and groom choose their wedding date as soon as possible. Everything needed to be in place for that date has to be scheduled and confirmed before any other plan can be completed.

o Decide upon the wedding site, church, chapel, garden, park, etc. Make that decision specific. Get the details of the church or chapel, the address of the garden and the phone number of the relative or friend who owns it or permission of the agency controlling the park.

o Book and confirm the minister, rabbi or Justice of the Peace who will be performing the wedding ceremony.

o Start selecting the music with the couple for the actual ceremony. Include the music for the reception and book who will be providing it…disk jockey, small band, etc.

o Send the couple to get the marriage license. For their book of memories, see if a friend or family member will take a few photos of this necessity.

One thing you might consider is using your own digital camera and recording most of the less dramatic events of preparing for the wedding, like getting the marriage certificate, making or addressing the invitations, trying on wedding dresses.

A CD or DVD given to the couple after they return from their honeymoon will serve two important purposes.

1. They will have something to remember all that went into the ceremony that will not be included in the normal wedding album.

2. When they share the CD or DVD with their friends, some of whom might be contemplating their own wedding, your name and contact details will be prominent.

Referrals are what will build your business. Subliminal ads, like on the CD or DVD label and at the beginning and end of the photos might bring you some business. At the very least, your unexpected gift after the excitement that goes with any wedding, will be remembered by the bride and groom.

The wedding ceremony rehearsal needs to be scheduled as soon as possible. It normally takes place a night or two before the actual ceremony (after work) and can be easily forgotten in the rush of last minute details. Additionally, the church or chapel might be previously booked by another wedding party.

Some have a small dinner party in a restaurant after the rehearsal. If your couple is planning one with their bridesmaids and groomsmen, make the reservations as soon as possible and confirm a few days before the rehearsal.

Make sure that everyone knows who will be in the wedding processional and the recessional and what to do. Practice it with the actual music, if possible, so it looks graceful during the actual event. Never forget that you are creating life-long memories for the couple.

The wedding reception has its own set of details to schedule and set in motion.

1. You need to determine the time of day for the reception. Be sure to allow enough time for the photographer to take the album photos after the ceremony and for the newly married couple to travel from the church to the reception.

2. Make sure the place for the reception is set up, decorated and stocked. It would be a wise decision to check with the restaurant or hall about a week before the wedding to check details and to discuss any changes in the menu or times with the manager. A phone call the day before the event wouldn’t be a bad idea.

3. Normal wedding reception activities need to be scheduled and coordinated so they feel like a natural progression before the couple leaves the reception.

Those activities can include the receiving line, the first dance, cake cutting, tossing the bouquet, speeches and toasting from the best man, parents or friends.

How To Find A Job In The Wedding Industry

There’s over a dozen different industries that might be interested in hiring Wedding Planners or consultants, if you were interested in working with companies.

Resorts in popular vacation spots are becoming sites for destination weddings and would have the need for a Wedding Planner. This would be a way to work and enjoy all the amenities available in some of the world’s most beautiful spots.

Hotels almost anywhere, even in your current location, are always sites for weddings or receptions in their banquet rooms and many might need a Wedding Planner or Event Coordinator to keep their wedding parties from becoming a disaster.

Churches and synagogues might be on the lookout for someone to handle the weddings being scheduled at their churches and temples. Distributing a well-designed flyer at each facility might get you referrals, if not an actual job. Make sure to include some business cards with the flyers.

Finally, do not forget to leave your business cards with local bridal shops, caterers and florists. These businesses handle some aspect of the wedding preparations every day. They would be good reciprocal referrals for your services. If you, in return, used their services in the wedding planning, it would be a Win-Win situation for all involved.

You should have enough information to decide if being a Wedding Planner is the career for you. You can find eCourses to take online and several step-by-step eBooks or manuals that explain everything you need to know and even provide templates to help you organize the details.

Top Ten Tips For a Charmed Wedding

1. Where to start planning: Budget, Guest list, Wedding and Reception site. In that order. And when it comes to your budget, be realistic. How much do you have right now? How much can you reasonably save every month to put towards the wedding? It’s true that you’re going to need to pay deposits on a lot of items, but the full amount will be due as you get closer to the wedding. But eventually, you’re going to have pay it!

Once you’ve got your budget, reserve 50% of it for the reception, right away. No ifs, ands or buts. That includes food and beverage, rentals, and any other site fees. If you’re able to save money somewhere down the way, that’s great, but don’t count on it in the beginning.

What I usually tell my couples is that the other 50% gets divided equally between clothes, flowers, photography and music, invitations and favors, and your ceremony, if it’s in a separate location from your reception. Pay a little less for some of those things, and you can pay a little more for others. That second 50% is where you can find wiggle room.

Then on to the guest list. There’s your list, your fiancé’s list, and lists from both of your families. Don’t forget to add significant others. And don’t think – “eh, it’s probably going to be about 100 people.” Sit down and write it out. And, yes, include the people you think won’t be able to make it. In this case, an invitation does count.

And now that you know how much you have, and how many people you have to accommodate, you can safely start to figure out where you can have it.

2. It’s your wedding, you can do whatever you want. In other words, don’t instantly write off anything you really want to do because it’s non-traditional, or looks like it’s going to be impossible to pull off. Every other couple asks me if they can do such and such, and is that okay? Of course it’s okay. It’s your wedding. Traditions are traditions, not rules. Do what you want. It’s the personal touches that make every wedding special. Never shy away from the personal touches. A couple of years ago, I coordinated a wedding where the bride and groom served pie with ice cream, instead of cake. They knew it was what they wanted but thought it might be a little weird for their guests. I suggested that before the pie was served, that they offer a thank you toast to everyone and sort of introduce the pie as well. It worked – made them feel better, let their guests know what was going on, and everyone was happy.

If you can’t figure out how to do something, ask your vendors. Your wedding and reception site are always good resources, or your wedding planner, If you want it, you can have it. You just need to figure out what it’s going to take to get it.

3. Four most likely places where you can save money in Los Angeles: Invitations. Clothing. Cake. Ceremony and Reception sites. I know, that last one is a surprise. But there a lot of county and state owned places, such as parks, historic houses, beaches, that you can reserve for much less than a restaurant or traditional wedding venue.

You can get invites online relatively cheaply, but make sure to get samples before you buy. There are also kits you can get so you can make them yourself at home, which generally range from $25-40 per 50, and come with everything, including RSVP cards. As far as your wedding dress, there are a couple of places in the valley that I would recommend (email me), there’s David’s Bridals, you can rent your dress if you really don’t care about keeping it, or buy a pre-owned dresses from places like Encore Bridal. And, of course, there’s always ebay, or other wedding auction sites such as I know a lot of people shy away from online sites, but the first rule is to know what you’re buying. Find it in a store, try on your size, and then see if you can find it cheaper online. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller plenty of questions. As for tuxedos, you get discounts at any of the regular chains if you buy in bulk, and if you hit a bridal show, most likely you’ll be able to pick up a coupon or two for even more of a discount.

And, oh, I know a couple of places where you can get a wedding cake starting at 3 bucks a slice. Email me.

4. Think about the weather. Especially, of course, if you’re having an outdoor wedding. I grew up in Southern California so I know that it rains so little here, that we tend to forget that it rains at all – we get one hard rain a year, and houses collapse off hillsides, and everyone forgets how to drive, and we go searching for our umbrellas in the back of the closet. And once it stops, we head back to the beach. But, practically speaking, it rains when the seasons change. So, March/April, sometimes May, September/October, late November/early December there’s a good chance it’s going to pour. Have a contingency plan, whether it’s an indoor space you can move everything into, a tent to cover the wedding site, stuff like that.

Even without rain, there are other things you’re going to have to deal with. June is warm, but often overcast into midday. Summer afternoon weddings are going to be hot, so make sure that there’s plenty of shade. (Especially over your cake. Frosting melts. Badly.) One of my brides went downtown and bought a bunch of paper machie parasols for her guests, all in different colors and designs. So, she killed three birds with one stone – keep her guests comfortable, added a unique and colorful touch to the day, and provide very cool wedding favors. They were pretty and pretty cheap, too.

Also, remember that the temperature drops once the sun goes down. Two words: Mushroom Heaters.

5. What you have in your kitchen is what you will need at your outdoor reception. A lot of the time, when you’re renting a cheaper outdoor site, you have to bring everything in. And if want a list of what everything is, take a look around your kitchen. Silverware, plates, cups and glasses. You’ve probably got bowls, so think about whether you’re going to need any. Napkins. Also keep in mind for stuff like that, you want to order 10-15% more than your number of guests, but check with your caterer on what they feel comfortable with. Pitchers for water or lemonade (or sangria. Or margaritas). Salt and pepper shakers and something for sugar. Serving utensils. Are you going to need to bring in a oven or stove? Are you going to need refrigeration, or some way to keep things cool, like ice? Is there a sink? And trash cans, don’t forget the trash cans. Get big ones. And trash bags.

Once you figure out what you need, see what’s already available at your site for free, which will cut your rental costs. If you’re not sure where to find everything else, ask for a recommendation. Another good place for rental recommendations would be your caterer. They might have what you need, or be able to point you in the right direction. I have a rental company that I recommend to my couples because they give them a discount, so odds are your caterer will have something like that as well. And, most importantly, try and personally check out everything beforehand.

6. Listen to your vendors. If they tell you they need x amount of time to perform their work, or x amount of space, believe it and give it to them. If they tell you they need certain supplies, make sure they have them. In return, if something they request isn’t possible, for whatever reason, tell them, so you can figure out an alternative as soon as possible. Same goes if it’s something that you want, that they can’t or won’t do. There’s always a workable alternative. Oh, and don’t forget to feed all of them.

7. It is better to have and not need, than to need and not have. That 15% extra that I mentioned earlier? It may sound like a lot, but silverware gets dropped on the ground, plates break. Better to have a tent reserved and not need it. Etc. You get the picture.

8. Make sure there’s plenty of set-up time, and a plan. My recommendation is to have your wedding and reception site available at least 2-3 hours beforehand. It sounds like a lot, but think of it this way: You have place cards, which even if they’re alphabetized still need to be arranged. Tables and chairs may need to be set-up. You have place settings and centerpieces and favors and other decorations. You’ll need to set up your music, whatever that may be. Just a warning – some places will only give you an hour. In that case, make sure that all your vendors are aware, make sure you have plenty of help, either from friends or family, and ask if your site’s staff can pitch in.

9. Have a break-down plan, too. How much time have you got to get out? Who’s cleaning up? What needs to be cleaned up? When are the rentals being picked up? Who’s taking the gifts? What are you doing with the extra favors? The extra food? Much better to figure this all out beforehand, not as you’re about to get into your limo.

10. Don’t assume that something’s going to be available or possible if you haven’t been told so. Seriously, this is where a lot of people get tripped up. Don’t assume you can use the trash cans in the park. Ask. Don’t assume you can take pictures wherever you want. Ask. Don’t assume that your DJ is going to bring a microphone for announcements and toasts. Don’t assume your rental company is going to help set-up all your tables and chairs, or break them down afterwards. Don’t assume your photographer is going to stay an extra hour because everything is running late. Don’t assume. Check your contract and ask. It’ll avoid a lot of surprises and a lot of hard feelings.

And here’s an extra tip:

At the End of the Day, You’re Married. As you can see, weddings can be a lot of work! But remember, when you’re in a tizzy about getting the right envelopes for your invitations or some such thing – at the end of the day, you’re going to be married to the one person you want to spend the rest of your life with. AND, it’s a great opportunity to get all of your friends and family in one room, and whether or not that’s necessarily a good thing in all cases, it’s a pretty rare occurrence, which is also pretty cool.

I encourage all of my couples to take a deep breath during the reception, and look around at all the people laughing, talking, and enjoying the music and food. It’s all there for you. No matter what happens, you know that you’ve done the best you can to create a wonderful day. And it IS a wonderful day. Enjoy it!

Fashion Photography Tips For Success

We see them all over the place; in television advertisements, in magazines, and on the runway. They are the beautiful men and women who strut their stuff while showing off the latest styles from the hottest fashion designers. These are the fashion models of today and tomorrow, and the subject of high fashion photography. It is through photography that these models and fashionable clothing are brought to the public. Therefore, these photographs must be taken with a certain level of precision and a special attention to color, style, and lighting composition. Learning a few key fashion photography tips will help to make this possible.

High fashion photographers such as Mario Testino and Eva Mueller may not be as famous as the models they shoot, but they are actually sought out more than their model counterparts by fashion magazines and designers. While the dream of huge paychecks and hobnobbing with the rich and famous might appeal to the aspiring fashion photographer, it is not easy to become successful in fashion and model photography. For every one talented young photographer who makes it big, there are hundreds are left dreaming about the moment their photo will be chosen.

Here are a few fashion photography tips for anyone interested in getting started in the field of fashion photography. The first thing you must do is study your subject. As with any field, you can never learn enough. Read as many fashion magazines you can possibly get your hands on. There are a number of fantastic books on the subjects of fashion and model photography available. They can be purchased cheaply online at sites like or even cheaper if you get them used on eBay. You will also need a good camera, a tripod, and a lighting system. One of the more often overlooked fashion photography tips, is to ensure that you always have plenty of film and extra batteries available.

One of the most important fashion photography tips to focus on is having a portfolio. You need to start assembling a portfolio of your work and you need to keep this portfolio handy at all times. You never know when you will have the opportunity to show your work off to someone in the fashion world. Sharp, vibrant images on a 4 x 5″ transparency will best show off your work, so focus on them when putting your fashion photography portfolio together. If any of your work has already been published regardless of whether it was a local magazine, newspaper or contest, add a tear sheet (literally a sheet you torn out of the magazine) is a great addition to a portfolio. You should have a minimum of 20 photographs in your portfolio and showcasing different styles.

In this day of the internet, it is wise to display your fashion photography talent online as well. Setup a simple website displaying your work and submit your digital photos to online contests. Also, submit them to online fashion gallery websites. This will help tremendously with getting your work seen and showcasing your talent around the world. Probably the most important of all the fashion photography tips is to get your photographs seen by as many people as possible. There is no better way of doing this than by putting them online.

Remember that most fashion magazine editors are looking for your personality in the photographs that you take. Each fashion photographer will captures the essence of a fashion design and model differently. Most importantly, if this is your dream, do not give up, ever! Keep learning the latest high fashion photography tips and keep working to get your photographs on the cover of my next hot fashion magazine.

Top Fashion School – Do You Have What It Takes to Get Into One?

Part of the beauty of deciding to go into the fashion industry is dreaming about getting into a top fashion school. Every future fashion designer or aspiring student of fashion has dreamed of attending one of the top fashion schools in the nation at some point or another.

It just so happens that dreaming about something and making it happen are completely different things these days, and it takes a special person to push themselves to that limit in the first place.

How Are Your Grades?

All too many aspiring students make the mistake of thinking that grades not matter when it comes to getting into the top fashion school of their choice because they are not applying for interest on a traditional college or university. Things are actually quite to the contrary; getting into the top fashion school in the nation is going to require a great deal of smarts and dedication and intelligence, and good grades are a reflection that a potential student has all of those qualities and more.

If you are not used to having to work hard to get good grades, there will be no success for you at a top fashion school. A fashion school is an art school, and an art school is a type of postsecondary education where degrees are given out once studies have been completed. If you are trying to get a degree, it is important that you do as well as you possibly can to earn good marks and learn everything you can.

How Are Your Skills?

Let’s face it, just because you didn’t going to a top fashion designer school [] does not mean that you actually have talent. Just because you can style yourself in the morning to school does not mean that a career in fashion industries for you. Perhaps you should be a business owner or a celebrity ensemble artist. People with no artistic skills whatsoever are probably not going to do that well in a top fashion school atmosphere, so is important to keep that in mind.

If you can’t draw but you dream of going to a top fashion school, perhaps you should consider a business in fashion marketing or fashion business; design just may not be your forte. That’s perfectly okay.

Getting into a top school is about more than wanting to do so. It’s about having the drive and the skill and the grades necessary to make the cut. Even people who have all of those qualities and more may not be successful. Only a small fraction of students actually become successful designers, but more than likely attending a top fashion school can help you find your personal niche in the fashion industry.

Fashion Hair Styles For Men and Women

Fashion does not have any age, time or span; it cannot be limited to any specific kind. Fashion has spread across in every possible aspect of our life. Be it clothes, accessories, make-up, lifestyle commodities or hair it is an icon which reflects one’s choice and attitude. Fashion Hairstyles has recently emerged as an evolution to set up a new era or Oomph and wimps. It has stepped in as a very important step to make an individual complete and stand out.

A fashionable hairstyle can contribute to make a huge difference to your personality. An Expensive wardrobe with accessories and makeup turns waste if your Hairstyle is not as elegant as they are. Hairstyle speaks and adds to your personality; in fact it sometimes reflects the character of the person. Fashion and trendy hairstyles for men, women and kids are changing with pace and are in demand. People are spending time at saloons and with hair experts to catch up with hair care and fashion.

It is rightly believed that Fashion hair styles can help you stand out in the crowd as it gives you the confidence to carry yourself. Fashion has no landmark so there are different types of hairstyles that men and women can try on. You could opt for stylish short hairdo like pixie and bob which will always be in fashion or give volume to your long hair by cutting it in layers, streaks.

There are a number of fashion hairstyles for women that are always in trend like spikes, curls, fringes and bob. Little changes like the sideburns styling can make a remarkable change style in mens fashion hairstyle and catch attention. A regular update with the latest punk hairstyle whether it is at work or a party makes you look fashionable and chic. Even the celebrities are experimenting with coolest and wildest hairstyles now and then which make it more difficult to decide which hairstyle can be the best. A hairstyle which is in fashion but not necessarily suits you is of no use, as every individual has his own fashion quotient and should carry the one he is comfortable with.

Always select a hairstyle that will suit you. Following the fashion icons does not mean that you will get down getting yourself embarrassed in the crowd. Always check out few outlines before following it like always consider your height, body structure, the shape of your jaw line and head which will determine weather the type of hair style will suit you or not. There length of the hair should be a personal choice and suitable to your jaw and head.

So, go for any Fashionable chic style or punk look or that cool dude, but always remember to wear a Fashionable Hairstyles which you can carry not the one which carries you off the head.

Before They Were Brands – How Some Top Fashion Design Labels Got Their Start

They’re the must-have fashion design labels, the status brands that we just have to wear. But some labels and designers have become such a part of our fashion culture that it’s easy to forget that they weren’t always successful brands. At one point, the founders were fashion school students, stock boys or sales clerks. In fact, learning about how the designers got their start makes one admire them even more. Here, then, are some top fashion labels and the story of their humble beginnings.

Marc Jacobs. One of today’s top design celebrities, Marc Jacobs’ first job in fashion was as a stock boy at Charavari, an avant-garde clothing boutique in Manhattan. After graduating from high school, he went to fashion college, where he launched a line of hand-knit sweaters. His first job out of fashion school was at Perry Ellis, but he designed a grunge collection there that led to his dismissal. In 1986, with the help of financial backers, he designed his first collection bearing the Marc Jacobs label.

Kenneth Cole. Not many people realize that the full name of Kenneth Cole’s brand is “Kenneth Cole Productions.” Why is that? In 1982, the designer wanted to show his first line of shoes at Market Week at the New York Hilton, but couldn’t afford a hotel room or exhibit space. So instead, he parked a trailer two blocks from the hotel to sell his shoes. The only catch was that only production companies were granted permits to park trailers on the street. Not letting that stop him, he turned his shoe company into a film production company, shooting a documentary about his business and selling 40,000 pairs of shoes in the process.

Juicy Couture. The label that popularized the velour track suit was founded by fashion school grad Pamela Skaist-Levy and and Gela Nash-Taylor, wife of Duran Duran’s John Taylor. Believe it or not, their first product was maternity pants. After changing the brand’s focus to active wear, the brand continued to struggle until they sent a free track suit to Madonna with “Madge” emblazoned on it. The superstar was photographed wearing it in public, and Juicy Couture was on the map.

Vera Wang. She may be known for her elegant wedding gowns and costumes for figure skaters like Michelle Kwan, but Vera Wang actually started out as a figure skater as well. She competed at the 1968 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and was one of “Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd” that year. She failed to make the U.S. Olympic team and began a career in fashion journalism. She was a senior fashion editor for “Vogue” for 16 years, but left when she was turned down for the top job that Anna Wintour secured. She then became a design director at Ralph Lauren before striking out on her own.

Anna Sui. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Anna Sui loved fashion as a little girl, clipping out fashion magazine pages for her scrapbook. After attending fashion college, she worked for various junior sportswear companies by day, and designing her own clothing by night, eventually launching her own label out of her tiny New York apartment.

Ralph Lauren. Born Ralph Lifshitz, the designer’s first foray into fashion was selling neckties to his fellow classmates at his Talmudical academy. After serving in the U.S. Army, he worked for Brooks Brothers as a sales clerk. In 1967, he became an entrepreneur and opened a necktie store where he sold various labels, including his own, which he called “Polo.” He soon introduced men’s and women’s suits to his line, and eventually gained international recognition when he designed the clothes for the Robert Redford movie, “The Great Gatsby.”

These brands may have started out small, but they became fashion giants. And that’s inspiration indeed for anyone wanting to break into fashion design.

Fashion Week Begins! How to Start a Career in Fashion

For all you fashionistas out there, this is the week you’ve long been waiting for. New York Fashion week kicked off on September 9 at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park, with the entire fashion world holding its breath to see what clothes we’ll be wearing in Spring 2011.

The final products you’ll see over the next few days are the result of months of hard work and collaboration between a variety of players in the fashion industry. From the designers who make the clothes, to the models who wear them, to the stylists who use them for celebrity clients, everyone has a role in bringing the newest styles to the public eye.

If one of these jobs sounds like your dream career, now might be the time to consider a career in fashion. Whether you’re watching coverage of the shows online, or you’re lucky enough to be attending, there are a variety of careers you can consider as you watch the latest looks roll down the runway.

It all starts here…
Fashion Designer Careers
Days, weeks and months before Fashion Week begins, fashion designers begin sketching, planning, and designing clothes for upcoming seasons. With an extensive knowledge of fashion history, designers combine past trends, beautiful fabrics, and their vision of the future to create wearable works of art. The clothes they display on the runway eventually influence what we wear to work, to school, and even to the beach.

On the runway…
Modeling Careers
It’s not enough for clothes to look beautiful on the rack-NY Fashion Show attendees need to see how clothes move, hang and appear when they’re worn by real live human beings. That’s where fashion models come in. Although their jobs might appear easy on the outside, professional models have to cultivate their look, walk and attitude to help designers showcase their creations and make them appealing to stylists, editors, and merchandisers.

In the audience…
Fashion Stylist Careers
At Fashion Week, celebrities, style editors, and fashion stylists alike are in the audience to preview next season’s looks and trends. Attendance is extremely important for anyone in the styling world, as it gives them a chance to scout outfits for their clients, network with designers and other fashion insiders, and stay up-to-date on the hottest new designs.

From the runway to your closet…
Fashion Buyer & Merchandising Careers
As the hottest new looks are unveiled, fashion buyers and merchandisers get to work, deciding which designs and styles are right for their customers. Whether they work in large department stores or small, exclusive boutiques, fashion buyers and merchandisers are in charge of monitoring and predicting trends, deciding how much merchandise to order, and keeping an eye out for hot new items.

Ready to get started?
In addition to a passion for fashion, all of the careers listed above require an extensive knowledge of design principles, fabric and textiles, and fashion history. A fashion design degree can be a great place to start.