Instagram Project: Fern Organized Neatly

When Instagram was first introduced, I was completely and adamantly against it. In retrospect, it’s surprising I didn’t embrace the app with open arms. Why would I reject a new platform so quickly… especially one catered to my own field and profession?

This stubborn mindset came from two main trains of thought. First of all, back in 2011, I refused to take photos with my phone. Every time I took an iPhone pic, I would cringe and die a little inside, thinking about what my Canon 5D MarkII would have produced instead. Why settle for such low quality when my dslr could create an image 100x better? Since Instagram was an app geared towards sharing iPhone photos, I didn’t think twice about downloading it and went on my merry way with my (professionally photographed) life. I was the girl who brought her camera EVERYWHERE – brunch with my girlfriends, a day at the beach, birthday parties, shopping trips… even going out dancing at night. The inconvenience and added weight on my shoulders meant little in exchange for the photos my MarkII produced. My camera bag and I were inseparable.

Oh, how times have changed.

Another cause of my flat-out rejection of Instagram: my aversion to passing fads. The ones that cause addictions are the worst (I still feel the same way about Candy Crush and refuse to play). They come, they go, they consume people’s lives for a month or two before becoming obsolete. No point in jumping on the bandwagon when you already know everyone will be jumping off soon enough.*

But I was wrong about Instagram.

*Confession: I eventually succumbed to Words with Friends and Pinterest, both of which I now fully condone. But I swear, you will never, ever in this lifetime find me playing Candy Crush.

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Two years and 1000+ followers later, here I am. A certified IG addict and proud of it. :) Reaching 1000 followers was a small milestone for me, so I thought I might celebrate the occasion by sharing a recent project. Inspired by the hashtag #thingsorganizedneatly and heavily influenced by the art of knolling, I now present to you… #fernorganizedneatly.

Pretty little purchases from the Rare Device store in San Francisco. Perfect additions to my home office.
Disneyland essentials. I call these flats my princess shoes. I have an obsession with cute stationary. Japan is a great place to stock up.
My daily makeup routine. Contents of a loaded swag bag from the Unveiled bridal event at the Metreon in San Francisco.
A special gift! Things around my office. Girly gifts from my thoughtful friend MelanieDetails from my SoCal launch party.

 Birthday goodies from my sweet friends!

Swag bag gifts from oh hello friend‘s 5 year anniversary party.

My instagram documents both my personal and work life. Follow me [@fernadette] and expect to see lots of food and travel photos. :)

Device: iPhone 5
Apps used: Snapseed, VSCOcam, & Squaready

Introducing the PHOTO BOOTH!

Okay guys, this is the real deal. I’ve been to a lot of events and utilized a lot of photo booths (hey, wedding photographers can have fun too) and made the executive decision to get the best photo booth on the market for my clients. Designed by professional photographers Garrick Fujii and Henry Ly, this one-of-a-kind booth was built to give you the fastest and best quality photo booth prints you’ve ever seen.

Let’s go through all the awesome features of the photo booth one by one. Shall we?

Bring your whole entourage with you – there are no curtains to limit who can join in the fun.

Push the big red button and let the party begin.

And wigs. And sunglasses. And Star Wars masks (my favorite). You have access to three bins chock full of props to complete your party look.

Perks of having a booth designed by photographers: when it comes to image quality and lighting, they don’t skimp.

Prints are in your hands within 20 seconds.

Here’s what really sets this photo booth apart. Your prints? FULLY customizable. That means your photo booth pictures will coordinate with whatever color scheme, theme, or motif your special event may have.

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How much does it cost?
The photo booth service is available a la carte for $1000; it can also be added to wedding photography packages at a discounted rate.

What does that price include?

  • four hours of service
  • unlimited single prints
  • delivery and set up of the booth
  • an on site attendant
  • boxes and boxes of props
  • high-res photos on a flash drive
  • your own online gallery
Does it come with a backdrop?
Yes! We have a selection of solid and patterned backdrops for you to choose from; if we don’t have anything that suits your heart’s desire, we’re happy to print a custom design for an additional fee.
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Let us simplify your event planning so you have one less contract to sign. :) Click on the Contact tab above or send an email to to book your photo booth now!

SoCal Launch Party and Business Expansion!

BIG changes have been in the works for the past six months here at Fern Lee Photography, and I can’t wait to showcase all the exciting new things that are being added to the company!!! Each announcement deserves its own post, but it would be silly not to touch upon the changes you can already see taking place in these photos. :)

Firstly… in case you haven’t already noticed at the top of the page… my business has embarked on a major rebranding project, starting with a lovely new logo by the fabulous Christine Tafoya at Deluxemodern design. This design was the product of a long and arduous search for the perfect look that would accurately represent both my personality and work. I absolutely love it. I’m dying to use it on anything and everything (which I will… just you wait). In addition to the font choice, which is more playful and whimsical than my previous logo, it also incorporates a design element that was extremely important to me in creating a brand identity: a fern!

Another exciting addition to the company is a new service that will now be offered both a la carte and as part of select wedding photography packages. I am proud to introduce Fern Lee Photography’s PHOTO BOOTH! It’s a sleek, open-air, free standing unit with a big red button to push and top-of-the-line photo quality. Clients also have access to three bins full of props so you can look as ridiculous (or suave) as your heart desires. You’ll see samples of prints in a slideshow below – seriously, it’s the best photo booth that I’ve ever seen on the market.

As if all of the above wasn’t enough, this is perhaps the biggest change of all. From here on out, I will be serving BOTH the Bay Area and SoCal with no additional travel fees. I’m super excited to scout out photo shoot locations (suggestions are welcome!), spend more time at the beach, and make use of my Disneyland annual pass. If you or your friends live in LA/OC, check back for future events and come visit me at my storefront in Long Beach!* There you can check out samples of my work and meet me in person for a consultation. The storefront is by appointment only, so make sure to let me know before you show up. ;)

*Note: Fern Lee Photography is still an on-location photographer, meaning all shoots take place either outdoors, a venue, or your private residence.

All that planning and hard work couldn’t have come together more perfectly than it did with the company’s first official party, where my beautiful new logo and photo booth both made their debut!!

This gorgeous dessert table display was designed with the guidance of Sara Holland from At Your Door Events, who graciously provided hob nob milk glass vases and fresh flowers for the event.
I did not make these cake pops. Instead, I made the very wise decision to outsource the baking for this party and ordered an array of pretty little treats from Sweet and Saucy Shop just down the street! Yay for supporting local businesses!
All the cute paper goods were designed and printed by my dear friend Chanda at Paper Crew. She did such an amazing job choosing fonts and colors that matched my brand perfectly! The gallery wall with samples of my work. Like I said… I am going to put my logo on everything!! Including this thrifted white mirror from At Your Door Events. :)

Thank you to our super sweet bartender Katie from Night Owl Productions for not only pouring drinks, but also bringing this awesome decor FROM HER OWN HOME to fit the theme of the party! Have you had a prosciutto melon bite before? Try it sometime – our party guests were pleasantly surprised! I was so pleased with the catering service provided by The Roaming Restaurant, based in LA. Everything was tasty! A quick little mirror selfie at the end of the night. I thought I would be able to photograph the event and host it at the same time. Yeah right! Lesson learned – I will be hiring a photographer to document the company’s next event. Fortunately, my guests posted their perspectives on instagram and I have the photo booth to commemorate the friends and family who attended.

This party was a dream I had envisioned for years. I adore details, I’m a sucker for dessert, and I often strive to find creative ways to make a space more aesthetically pleasing. But planning a party was a daunting task that I never had the courage to take on… until I met the small business owners who helped plan the event and proceeded to support me without hesitation. HUGE thanks to my sponsors at PAPER CREWAt Your Door EventsBlank Booth, and The Luxury DJs for your kindness and generosity. I couldn’t have asked for a more fun and creative party planning team.

Last but not least. All of YOU, my readers, fans, and friends!!!! This small business wouldn’t exist without you. Thank you so much to each and every person who celebrated with me at this party. Your support means the world to me. <3

Niels & Maura: San Francisco Sutro Baths Wedding

The sun, wind, and waves of San Francisco gathered for Niels and Maura’s intimate wedding at the ruins of Sutro Baths. I’ve dealt with the elements on shoots before, but this was definitely one of the most challenging. Hair blowing in our faces, sun blinding our eyes, and sea spray dangerously close to my lenses… it was quite an adventure. The lovely bride and groom embraced it all.

Of course, in order to get to know a couple, you must first know the story of how they met. The official story, told by Niels and Maura themselves:

“After using the internet to find apartments, roommates, jobs, clothes, and most of our household appliances, it was perhaps inevitable that we would use it to find each other.

We met on in January of 2009. Both of our roommates were on vacation and we were bored.

Our first date was at Brouwer’s, a beer haus in Seattle. Maura swears she knew something was special about Niels on the first date, though Niels didn’t realize the same until date number two.

Soon we were spending all of our time together. Niels introduced Maura to spinach smoothies, and Maura stopped pretending that she kept her room clean.

Unfortunately, after nine months of spinach smoothies and messy rooms, Niels’ dream job opened up in San Francisco and the whirlwind romance turned into a long distance relationship.

But there was never any doubt that the relationship was worth the wait, and after a year of video chatting, frequent flyer miles, and job hunting, Maura also found a sweet gig in the bay area.

After a year of pleasant cohabitation, we decided to make things official.”

These two were such a joy to work with. Niels’ mother also declared me as part of the family after discovering that my parents are also from Malaysia. :D How wonderful it is to work with clients who are not only nice themselves, but have nice families as well! Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your special day!

A big thank you also to my second shooter Andrew, whose secondary angles and entertaining antics make him a valuable member of my team. :)

Niels surprised everyone by learning how to play the bagpipes – and proving it on his wedding day.

This was one of my favorite shots, taken moments after they were announced as husband and wife. Just married bliss.

How gorgeous is this color combination??! 
Wind: Not so great for hair. Awesome for dresses.

Congratulations Niels and Maura!! Wishing you two all the best!

Melly Lee: My Creative Genius Friend

There is nobody on earth quite like Melly Lee. And I love that about her. Self-described as a quirky character, she brings artistic talent and an unsurpassed work ethic to the table and BAM. You’re looking at a creative genius. But let’s get more specific, while we’re at it.

Reasons why I love Melly:

1. She works hard. Really, really hard.
In other words… long hours (hello late night editing), supreme attention to detail, and the ability to see projects from finish to end. 

2. She never stops exercising her creative juices.
Her creativity overflows into every aspect of her life: blogging, cooking, exercising, and of course, grammin’

3. She is extremely humble.
And down-to-earth. 

4.  She is comfortable being herself.
What does that entail, you ask? Longboarding with a pair of Converse sneakers, climbing anything and everything, exploring closed off areas, and coming up with creative solutions to technical photo shoot issues (No studio? No problem!). 

Melly needed a new headshot, so we headed to Cerritos Library and found lots and lots of pretty bokeh. :)

A few months back, Melly photographed me for a project. This time, I turned my camera on her. Our friendship is complete!
For someone who doesn’t have her photo taken often, Melly is totally easy to photograph.… and then she climbed a tree. She IS wearing shorts, fyi. I am obsessed with this late summer afternoon light!!!

Lastly, a headshot that might have Melly thinking twice about that career in acting. ;)

I’ve been really fortunate to develop a number of close friendships in the photography community. This field is growing, and it’s COMPETITIVE. Yet I find myself surrounded by other photographers who encourage me, critique my work, and engage in conversations with me – not just about photography, but the business behind it too. I’m constantly inspired and learning from my friends. Thank you Melly for being one of those friends. :)