Vendor Spotlight: Gabrella Manor

This restored Spanish Colonial Revival is a Birmingham landmark and is located at the edge of the Roebuck Springs Historic District. It is one of the most beautiful places in Birmingham to host your next event or exchange vows.

Fun fact: the first wedding that was held at the Gabrella Manor was the wedding of the current owners, Brenda Jones and Steve Johnson. They put their whole hearts into renovating the manor and are continually updating it for the guests experience.

gabrella manor

Gabrella Manor makes it extremely easy to plan an event on the grounds with in house catering, floral & décor, and photography. They also partner with some of Birmingham's best special event professionals to make sure your event is flawless.

floral staircase
outdoor lighting

The manor has several large rooms inside along with numerous patios and terraces. Giving you several choices for the perfect event. The manor is also home to a grand staircase,  balcony , and multiple stained glass windows perfect for photos.

No matter the size or style of your next evet, the stunning house and grounds of Gabrella Manor are sure to wow your guests.

Audio Tape Transfers to CD or MP3

Most of us have upgraded our music collections, yet some of us still have a few treasured cassette tapes, LP's or even 8 track tapes laying around..  But the truth is, they are fading away. 

So, whether your interest is in digitizing cassettes from childhood or a mix tape from an old high-school flame, or even an old LP that never went to CD, now is the time.  Let us help you preserve those special memories.

Don't Lose Your Memories, Digitize Today

We live in an age of high nostalgia where we are looking back more than we are looking forward. People search for “vintage” items and shop for antiques. They are re-creating old family photos, and sharing the most embarrassing ones on “Throwback Thursday” on Instagram. Quality time is spent looking from parents and grandparents photo books or boxes of photos. Sometimes, they even break out the slide projector for everyone.  Basically, memories are at an all time high, and it is easy to see why. They are precious. We live in an age of sharing everything as a way of preserving our memories. So why do we not prioritize preserving the memories in the photo books and slide boxes that we cherish?

Digitizing your memories sounds difficult and painful, but the good (no, the great!) news is that it’s not. It’s actually easier and cheaper than ever. In fact, right now is a great time to make the move and preserve all of those photos. After the holidays always seems to be a slow time for almost everyone’s schedule. You probably haven’t even put all of your photo albums and the projector up from having them out at Christmas for everyone to enjoy. Which means all you have to do is bring your photo albums and 35 mm slides to the store for us to transfer to a USB or CD for you.  If you have stored all of your photos in a shoe box then it might be a little bit tougher for you.  You want to have your photos grouped somehow. How you group them is totally up to you. It can be “Christmas ‘85”, “Washington DC trip”, or “Summer Camp”. This is just so we can make sure these photos stay together and are organized on your digital version. After the process is done, all of your memories will be given back to you just as you left them along with your digital copy.

Converting your photos over to a digital version doesn’t mean you have to stop sharing the photo books or breaking out the projector. In fact, we would recommend you do that more often! The joy and family time that comes from looking at your memories together is priceless. By choosing to save these photos and slides to a digital version, ensures that you won’t lose those memories to a flood, fire, or the biggest natural disaster, age. Of course, if you choose to upgrade your slideshow to a newer digital version, this process will make that possible.

So, the moral here is that no matter how you choose to share your memories, you don’t want to lose them.  

 

Top 3 reasons to attend bridal shows

It’s that time of year again, and we're not talking about resolutions. It’s bridal show season! Vendors have been preparing for months, wanting to show the brides their absolute best work and the latest trends in the bridal industry. Some of you may wonder why you should attend these shows. There are many reasons to attend a bridal show, but you have a wedding to plan so we narrowed it down to the top 3 reasons. 

 

Trends & Inspiration

 

Looking at Pinterest and in Magazines will get you a long way when it comes to trends and ideas, but what could be better than seeing it in person? We weren't kidding when we said that vendors plan and work for months on their booths for wedding shows. They research the latest trends and the best ways to showcase them in weddings. The booths all feature stunning elements and ideas to help you form a theme or fill in those annoying décor blanks spots in your wedding. Short of crashing a lot of weddings (which we do not recommend), it is the best way to see those trends brought to life.

 

Show Specials

 

Vendors at shows provide brides deep discounts, also called show specials. The specials could easily save you hundreds of dollars! We have seen vendors that rarely offer any discounts in services offer show specials that are the equivalent to 25-30% off their services. Weddings can be expensive, and the savings from show specials add up quickly. 

 

Prizes and Freebies

 

Speaking of show specials, several vendors offer prizes.  Some of these prizes are big. The Southern bridal show offers a chance for one couple to win a honeymoon. The Homewood Bridal show gives away a Diamonds Direct gift card! Smaller vendors may offer a chance to win designer purses, or even chances to win their services for your wedding.  If you aren’t one of the lucky winners, you won’t leave emptied handed. So many vendors will have free swag, and we're not talking just pens and business cards. You will also have a chance to sample some of the best food, drinks, and cake from vendors all over Central Alabama, so come hungry!

 

Bridal shows are a lot of fun, despite being a bit hectic. Once you arrive you will find you and your friends having a lot more fun than you expected and getting to leave with some awesome swag (maybe even a big prize!). So don’t miss out!

 

Please Join us Saturday, January 14th at the Gabrella Manor for their Annual Wedding Showcase. 

The show begins at 4pm and goes until 7. Find more information on Facebook

 

Green Screen for Your Wedding Photo Booth

Green screens aren't just for weather reports anymore. They have become the latest must have for any photo booth. Most photo booths rely on a variety of props to make them unique to each person while they back drop stays the same. But with a green screen back drop, the possibilities are endless. 

 

Adding a green screen back drop for your photo booth is painless, and you can still have props if that is what you want, but your backdrop can change. You can have several backgrounds for your guests to choose from. The backgrounds can be scenes from your favorite movies or some of your favorite tourist spots. Can you imagine your guests being able to have their picture taken with the cast of Star Wars or next to the Eiffel Tower? 

 

If photos aren't enough for you, you can let your guests act out mini videos with a green screen. Very similar to the Vogue's Manusx Machine at the Met Gala in 2016, your guests will have the opportunity to create a self choreographed video with the background of their choice. If they want to act out one an iconic movie scene, like running from the T-Rex in Jurassic Park or recreating a famous monologue. It is guaranteed to be a party favor they will show off for years to come. 

 

This next generation photo booth isn't out of your reach. In fact, it's easier to get than you might think. Just call us, we have everything you need for the perfect green screen party favor. 

The Unplugged Wedding

Many brides have a love/hate relationship with social media on their big day. You want every possible moment captured, even the silly shots of everyone getting ready and rushing around. You may not want those photos shared on social media before the ceremony, so you have to put a lock down on your wedding party and hope they respect your wishes. They just want to share photos of themselves and the person they love on one of the biggest days of their lives.  This is totally understandable, but you want to keep a little mystery so you can show off all your hard work. What about your guests taking photos during the ceremony? This might be a great option for shots your photographers miss, but what if they are being more of a distraction? Their arms may be blocking someone else’s view or worse.  What if they block one of your professional’s shots?

 Enter the unplugged wedding. So many brides have decided to ask their guests to please hold their photography during the wedding. Some of the signs they put up politely ask for their guest’s full attention on their big day. None of that is too much to ask, but people are still upset when asked to refrain. So let's discuss a few of the reasons behind why the couple may choose to make that decision.

It's their day

You know that it's their day and you are there to support them. You love them and would never do anything to detract from their day! These phone photography fiends are often very well meaning. You just want to share in the happiness for the couple and the way to do that is to snap a photo and share i. But if you are watching the wedding through the screen of your phone, you will miss the true beauty and love of the couple your celebrating. Your phone may also be blocking someone else’s view of the couple, which causes them to miss out. Well intentioned photography can be a big distraction, so just sit back and enjoy the overwhelming feeling of love around you.

Photographers and Videographers are an investment

No matter what your wedding budget, photography and videography will be a big part of that, and for good reason. These professionals work tirelessly all day to preserve the special day for the couple. And after spending several hours capturing all of the priceless wedding moments, we go back to the office and begin the grueling editing process. We want everything to be absolutely perfect for our couples. One thing that makes that very hard to do is hands holding cellphones that appear out of nowhere. You can’t prepare for it and its very hard to work around it, especially if you have 20-30 people snapping photos as the bride is walking down the aisle. A great example would be a wedding I shot a few months ago where the bride and groom asked their guests to not take pictures during the ceremony. As the bride was walking down the aisle one person, very discreetly, held their phone out in the aisle to take a photo. Even though they did their best to hide their actions, her arm went directly into my shot and there was no way to edit it out without losing part of the footage during one of the most anticipated moments of the wedding.

 

So the moral here is simple, you may mean well, you may want to share in the joy, and you may snap discreetly, but the chances of your floating arm or bright flash being caught by the photographer or videographer are high. So if the couple has asked you to put your phones away, love them enough to respect their wishes and enjoy their day exactly how they want you to. They spent a lot of time and money for you to enjoy this day with them.


 

Why Transfer My VHS Tapes to DVD

You’ve probably said to yourself “I know my VHS home videos are out-of-date, but my VCR still works just fine, so why should I bother with transferring them to DVDs”?

Actually, we're glad you asked! There are so many reasons to transfer your memories to DVD other than updating technology, although age is a factor. There is a little bit of science involved, but let's keep it brief! Video tapes use a magnetic strip to hold the images recorded, and our lives are full of magnetic sources: stereos, vacuums, anything with an electric motor, even the earth itself is a magnetic source. Over time, the magnetic sources around your video tapes slowly eat away at the images and memories captured on those tapes.

There are several other factors than can be dangerous to your memories. Heat can damage the magnetic strip of the video tape, moisture can cause mold and render the tape unplayable and un-transferable, and there is always the danger of a child or pet getting a hold of the video tape breaking it.
Even playing your videos can cause damage over time. The playing and rewinding of the VHS will cause wear and tear on the magnetic strip and it will eventually fall apart.

The good news is that transferring your VHS tapes to DVD is easier, and cheaper, than ever. And once they have been transferred, the deterioration will stop immediately.  

So now that you know why you should transfer your home videos on VHS to DVD, let us tell you how (here’s a hint, its super easy!)

  1. Pull out all of your tapes from wherever they are stored, and label them with the title you would like on the DVD.

  2. Count all of your tapes

  3. Mail or bring them into the store and let us do the rest!

It really is that easy. All of your DVDs will have chapter marks every 5 minutes or so, so you can view the memories you want with ease. And they will all come in a protective case with the titles printed directly on them. Your memories will be safe and easier than ever to watch and share. Not to mention the space you will save since DVDs are much more compact.

Of course, we always recommend having a back-up stored somewhere else just in case. We can provide a back up of all of your home videos on a jump drive to keep separately from your DVDs. You can never be too careful with your memories.

 

Top 3 Reasons to Have a Corporate Video

Videos are everywhere. It is impossible to scroll through social media without coming across some type of video. It could be of someone’s pet, a recipe how-to video, or a fails compilation video. It is hard for people to get away with anything, because almost everything is captured on video by someone. It is safe to say that video has become a very popular and effective medium for reaching the masses. Which is why so many companies have been using videos to their advantage by creating a corporate video. Corporate videos are not commercials. They are videos meant to showcase the company’s image, values, ethics, and a spread of services and products. Its intention is to give the viewer positive feelings about the company and encourage them to engage in a relationship. So besides the fact that several successful companies have provided a corporate video and received excellent response, why should your company consider a corporate video?

1 Easy to consume, easy to share

As we mentioned before, videos are everywhere. With the rise in social media and the array of choices in platforms, the popularity of videos has risen as well. People catch things on video everyday and share them with their friends. Videos are easy for people to consume. It catches their attention, and if done right will keep their attention. When a video makes a connection with the viewer they will share it with others. This gets your video to millions of viewers with little effort and much cheaper than advertising through other mediums.

2 Google loves videos

Cracking Google’s formula for search results is an ongoing battle for companies, but the good news is Google loves videos. If you have ever searched for something on Google the results at the top of the list are going to be pictures or videos if Google feels those are relevant to your search. This code is a bit easier to crack. Google acquired YouTube several years ago, so if you ensure that your video has the right keywords attached then the likelihood of it ranking higher increases. Plus, it is more visually appealing than a text result entry and therefore more likely to be clicked on.

3 Create a connection

Finally, videos give you the best opportunity to create a connection with your viewer. Print ads are limited because you have one opportunity, one image, to really reach out to the viewer. With a video, you can tell a story, present a solution, create a common ground, or appeal to their morals. Establishing this connection is crucial to consumers understanding your brand, which can lead to consumer loyalty. How many people will only buy Apple products, even when others have released phones with virtual reality capabilities? That is strong brand loyalty.

Having a corporate video created can seem daunting. You may even think that your budget is needed elsewhere more, but as you can hopefully see now, a corporate video can create a wave of residual marketing benefit with little to no extra cost after production.  If the age old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words”, just imagine what a video is worth.

Why & How To Hire A Videographer

Your wedding is a high point in your life, full of wonderful memories and moments to share. You will want to soak up the entire experience so you can hold on to it and remember it forever. It is easy to think that you will remember everything from your wedding day without a problem. You planned meticulously for months, and waited impatiently for it finally to arrive. But the saying that “your wedding day will be a whirlwind” could not be truer. It will be over before you know it and you will be struggling to remember those little details you worked so hard on. Your guests have time to mingle and notice the décor, ambience, and food.  However,  you will be shuffled from spot to spot following a timeline to make sure everything gets done. 

 

Your photographers will capture moments for you, including those little details you worked so hard on. They will help to immortalize the dress, flowers, families, smiles, tears, and laughter. But there are things that the photographers won’t catch. They won’t be able to capture the joy in your voice as you say “I do” or the sincerity in your partner’s as they recite their vows to you. The photographer can’t adequately capture the emotions on your guests faces as you walk down the aisle, or the first dance. These are precious memories you will want to keep. After all it’s those little moments that are so hard to capture on a still camera that can be so moving. Having a videographer at your wedding ensures that all of the moments will be captured. It will be like reliving that day, only this time you can stop and enjoy every aspect instead of worrying about what needs to be done next. 

 

How to choose a videographer

 

There are three things to consider when looking for a videographer: price point, examples, and reviews. 

 

Several couples will cut out the videographer to help save costs on the wedding thinking that a photographer will be enough. But as we talked about, a photographer can only capture so much, and your videographer doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Most offer several types of packages in varying price ranges to work with your budget. 

 

Once you have chosen a few videographers with packages in your price point, go and look at their previous work. Do they have videos on their website or social media you can watch? If not, request some samples of their work. You want to make sure their style matches what you are looking for, and the quality is there.  Don't  book any vendor without seeing some of their work, but especially not those in charge of memories like photographers and videographers. 

 

Finally, check the reviews for the videographers you like. In the internet age it is easy to find reviews of businesses and harder for businesses to get away with mistreating their customers. Go over the reviews and read more than one or two. Try to take an objective look at the review and look out for those customers that don’t seem to be pleased with anything. You don’t want a negative review from a chronically unhappy person to keep you from hiring your dream videographer. On the other hand, don’t ignore several negative complaints that all say the same thing. If more than one person experienced this issue. It’s likely a legitimate concern. 

 

Hiring a videographer doesn’t mean you have to stage your own Hollywood movie. The right videographer will capture the beauty of your wedding without the need for re-takes, stunt doubles, and special effects. You don’t have to make any special changes to your wedding to accommodate the videographer, they are there to film your wedding just as you planned it from all the right viewpoints so you can relive your special day for years to come. 

                               

Remember pictures are worth a thousand words, but a video is priceless.