Hillside Studios presents: The luxurious Queensberry Duo album!

From my first year as a wedding photographer, I drooled over the Queensberry Duo album. At the time, it didn’t fit within my branding or with the product I was offering so it didn’t make sense for me to invest in a sample or to try and sell it to my clients. Since then, my business has grown and become more of a boutique experience, offering your beautiful images on equally beautiful products. That being said, I have done away with offering albums that are similar to the ones my clients might make themselves. It’s your wedding. It is a once in a lifetime experience and should be treated as such.

So, along with the Leather Craftsmen and Graphistudio albums that I offer, here is the Queensberry Duo out of New Zealand. It is the most unique and luxurious of all the albums that I have found in the industry. From the moment it arrived on my doorstep, I was giddy in anticipation! I was not disappointed. The presentation of this album is stellar.

The Queensberry velvet bag and care instructions.

The beautifully printed ribbon of the velvet bag.


The Queensberry Duo in Blueberry contemporary leather with name imprinting, 10×7 album with 40 pages.

The pages are matted in ivory and are thick and have the texture of watercolor paper. Very weighty and feels amazing in the hand. This book is heavy!

The vellum introduction page.

The Duo is Queensberry’s signature album and its uniqueness lies in the way it is made and its wonderful features. It is a fusion of the modern Flushmount style albums and the classic matted albums that have always been popular. Not only does it combine these two styles but it goes a step further and offers customizations to your pages that you can’t find anywhere else (that I am aware of). You can add “wing” and “flip-out” pages to add drama and interest, as well as to incorporate more images.

Here is a matted page in ivory.

The left side is a Flushmount page and the right is a matted page.

Here is an example of a fly out page. The far right page is hinged to fold out into a full spread.

Here is an example of a closed “flip out” page. The images on the right are on the outside of the flip pages.

Here is that same page with the flip pages opened.

The last page. It’s been printed as a Flushmount but has a matted edge.

I was telling my husband when I saw this album that if I didn’t already have a wedding album, this would be the one I would want! Truly, it is unique and beautiful and everything about it screams fine art to me and that appeals to my artist side. I know it’s probably not the album for everyone, nor does it fit every budget, but if you truly love the unique and hard to find, this album is it for you.

I am offering this album included within my Diamond package as it is above, with your own customizations of colors and printing. There are other customizations, such as different cover types, inset photos and page styles available as well and I’d be happy to show you what they are. Other sizes are also available for an additional cost.

For more information, contact kristi@hillside-studios.com.

Kristi Hill
Hillside Studios, LLC


To Receive Or Not to Receive?

Receiving lines are an old tradition. They are a great way for the bride and groom, as well as their parents, to personally thank each guest for coming and sharing in the big day. But they also take up a large amount of time out of your day and can throw your schedule off track. Now I know that it is your day and you don’t have to have the entire thing scheduled to a tee but there usually is a timeline in place after a ceremony for photos, cocktail hour, introductions and all of the reception activities. This means you have vendors, specifically the photographer, D.J. and caterers, who have a timeline they are working with in order to be sure your day moves as smoothly as possible. When a schedule gets off track, it means each of these vendors has to make up for that time somewhere and it often means everything being pushed later or, in the case of the photographer, less opportunity to complete their specific task they are scheduled for….and, lose the available light, in a lot of evening situations.

In my experience, less than half of my clients do a receiving line. I’m not sure if the tradition just isn’t as important anymore or just that the bride and groom is eager to start their party. I think often times, the bride and groom decide to make their rounds to each of the guest’s tables after they eat their dinner to say hello and thank their guests. It is a nice alternative to everyone standing in line waiting to congratulate the couple and say hello. Alternatively, couples that do a receiving line often find it takes almost twice as long as they expect, mostly because their well-wishers are eager to talk to them and congratulate them. In some cases, relatives haven’t seen each other in years and so having a conversation is completely natural. No one wants to rush people out because they have a schedule to keep.

If you must do a receiving line, be sure to pad your schedule enough to allow for it. I would say you need at least 30 minutes of time. Consider that if you do not see your bride/groom before the ceremony that you usually need about an hour to capture all the necessary photos after and try not to let the receiving line overlap it too much. Overlapping means your photographer has less time and light to work with and often has to make the other vendors wait on them. Caterers have meals to serve and D.J.’s have introductions and activities to M.C. It’s always best to allow too much time than too little. Things can always be moved up in the schedule if things are finished early. This allows for a more relaxed day for everyone, including yourselves.

Just some things to think about!

What’s in a bridal suite?

I was sitting here editing some getting ready photos from a recent wedding and some thoughts occurred to me about the room you’re getting ready in on your wedding day. Oft times, the bride is given one of the most lavish and airy rooms in the venue but this is not always the case. When touring your venue, be sure to ask about the room you’ll be spending several hours getting ready in. I have seen what really is a glorified closet with no windows and five bridesmaids, myself and a bride and her mother, all crammed in while the bride is getting into her dress, all the while I’m trying to get a good shot as mom and maid of honor lace up the beautiful gown. There was no way could I get a full length shot of that dress while standing in that room. And get this, the groom had this large, airy wall of windows room across the way! As a bride, you should be happy with your surroundings and what is available to you on your big day. Those little, windowless rooms can get really stuffy and hot, let me tell you. Not to mention, they become chaotic, loud and messy very quickly. Another thing to consider is; will it photograph well? Do you like the decor? (You can always bring in your own furnishings and stuff).  Are there windows to allow natural light? Is it really dark? Is the wallpaper super busy and loud? Or, in the case of a recent wedding, are there weird painted portraits of people who remind you of Colonel Sanders?

Check out that portrait! Creepy. And truly, that carpet and wallpaper are seriously busy.

I’m sure that most places might have second option available to you. Country clubs often have a bridal room but they also have really nice locker rooms with lovely wood and comfy furniture and huge mirrors. They’re also large. So if you have a large bridal party and need lots of room, this would probably serve you better. I’m not saying you can’t get ready in a smaller, darker room, sure you can. And I can still take photos in that room. It just might be more comfortable for everyone involved if you have more space and light.

This is a beautiful and well lit space. Blackstone Country Club women’s locker room.

The other thing to consider about your bridal suite is containing the chaos! Ha. I mean this in the best possible way but you get a large group of girls getting ready in the same room and BAM! Bras, shoes, purses, makeup, hair spray, underwear, plastic bags, the list goes on and on, get thrown all over the room. Try to contain the clutter and keep it possibly in one area so it’s not being photographed at every turn or I’m having to move your stuff around, which means something might get misplaced by mistake. And yes, I can Photoshop some things out but not an entire counter-top of clutter!

Look at all that stuff on the table!! There was no where else to put it all. I didn’t even try.

Considering windows and such….I know a lot of mothers of brides especially, are concerned about the bride being seen before the wedding if there are windows and such. You can always draw curtains or blinds and still allow light in. If you feel you have to block the view, please don’t use black opaque fabric to cover the windows and doors! They don’t let any light in and look weird in the background of the photos. If at all possible, use actual drapes or curtains. Most of the time, you don’t need to do this anyway. Windows to bridal suites don’t always face a main traffic area or are higher than street level and often times, french doors have frosted windows.

Here is a mashup of two photos from two different angles in the same room. A black screen on a tripod on one side at a door and hung black fabric over another set of doors on the other side. Not only does it eliminate any natural light but they don’t do anything to enhance photos.

Alright! There is my two cents on the topic. Ha ha. I’m sorry if I rambled on. I just want you to have the best possible images and the best wedding day experience you can have. It’s just something to think about that maybe you hadn’t realized made a difference!

Should I tip my wedding photographer?

I know this is an awkward question to pose to your photographer but I know it is on many a bride’s mind when it comes to tipping their vendors. I’m not sure if there is any specific custom for this, and according to an article I read on the Knot, unless it is specified in a contract, you are by no means obligated to tip.

I personally do not expect to be tipped but have been very flattered and ecstatic when a client thinks enough of the services I provided to want to give me one. Thank you notes or just simply telling me you appreciated the job I did for you is certainly thanks enough but I will graciously accept a gratuity if you would like to include me in your vendors that you do tip on your wedding day.

As for guidelines as to what to tip a photographer if you do decide you want to, the Knot states anywhere from $50-200 is the standard. I’ve also been tipped in gift cards, anything from a massage to a restaurant, which is also very thoughtful.

If you would like to read some further advice on tipping your vendors, check out the Knot’s article here.



Embracing writing things down

I am a well meaning person. I have the best of intentions but sometimes I just don’t follow through! Blogging is just one of those things that gets away from me. So as usual, I’m starting fresh with the intention of continuing a habit of regularly sharing here.

2013 was a year of growth for me, both business-wise and personally. I started learning the importance of writing down your dreams, goals and plans and have whole-heartedly embraced what this can do for me. It helps give me purpose and a goal to strive for. I have heard that it is proven that people who write down their dreams and goals and make them strong enough of an obsession, that those people are more likely to achieve their goals. This ph should make me a better person as well as a better business person. I’m looking forward to embracing this discipline and making it a part of my day to day life. I look forward to being more organized and successful in all aspects in the future.

I am usually a fiction reader but I had a book recommended to me that will help me make changes in my life that will allow me to achieve my goals. “Changing For Good” by James Prochaska (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/changing-for-good-james-o-prochaska/1100169011?ean=9780380725724). If you’ve ever struggled with your weight, your self esteem, achieving your goals, quitting smoking, procrastination, etc, this book is for you!

I know this isn’t the most riveting of blog posts but I wanted to share my own journey with overcoming my obstacles and taking control of changing myself for good.