July 2007

We’ve posted a lot of wedding and engagement photos lately. I think it’s nice to take a little break tonight and give you girls an update on our life.

June, July and August are the busiest months for us this year. The busy months varies year to year. Usually we pace ourselves pretty well with wedding schedules. However, summer months are also most popular time for engagement photos, for couples who are getting married later this year and couples who books us early for 2008 weddings.

Hy has been working hard on post-processing the photos. He’s been too busy that we haven’t had a chance to go watch his favorite “The Simpsons” movie. He’s a die heart fan. He told me he probably watched all episodes. The scary part is, he still laughs hard and watches attentively on the same re-runs that even I’ve spotted couple times.

He was super excited when I show him the “Simpsonize Me” web site over the weekend. During his editing break, he would try to load up our pictures. There were a lot of time outs as there are so many other die heart fans out there accessing the site.

Here is an image of Hy and I in the Simpson land. hystudio_simpsons.jpg

Haha .. I know I am not that skinny, sexy and hot in real life. But hey .. I am in the Simpsons’ world. I can be all that I can be.

Back to my real life, I’ve been reading a lot lately; business, novel, and online articles, blogs. One book stood out and really affected me this summer was “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini, the author of another best seller “The Kite Runners“. The story covers three decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban tyranny through the lives of two women. I finished the book in about a week’s time, mostly nights after work. I felt my week has been zone in and out of the lives of these two Afghani women. As a woman, I felt deeply sorrowed for the women who experienced war, abuse and unfair treatment in the society. It brought me tears and pains to think about women crossing the ocean who can be my age, yet experiencing totally different life as described in the book. Not decades back, but in this decade, right now. It gave me a bigger perspective of the world we live in, and my role and responsibility as a citizen of this world. I would highly recommend this book, probably months after your wedding. Don’t read them too close to your wedding, the book will make you cry and give you heartache.

BTW, from what I see on Hy’s screen, there will be some really nice wedding photos coming out these two weeks on this blog. Stay tune ~


Carol and David are high school sweet hearts! After all these years of dating, 4 years of long distant relationship during college years, they are finally tieing the knot next year! Carol told me that she wants to go on the romantic hot air balloon ride with David since high school. But the price tag was just way over the top for high school students. Now that they are both working, they wanted their first experience together photographed as part of their engagement photo session, after all these years of waiting.

Hy and I woke up early, yes, very early, 2:30am in the morning. We left home at 3:30am and arrived Napa valley at 5:30am. We met up with the love birds at their bed and breakfast. Even though it’s 5:30am in the morning, they were both so very excited. We took bus ride to the launching site. There were groups ahead of us, already got into the basket, ready to be launched.



A group of workers had to push the balloon up before the launch. The sun just started raising. With our lifestyle, Hy and I rarely get a chance to see sun-raise. The morning air was really fresh. We both were glad we woke up early.


Up and up it goes.


The love birds up in the air.




I tagged along for the ride. It was the first time for Hy and I as well. It was really fun. The view was just breath-taking and the surroundings were so peaceful in the morning. We can see birds fly in group below us. The valley was just beautiful. Our pilot, Jonathan, who flew the hot air balloon around the world, told us that the reason we all had to wake up so early is because just before sunrise is when the weather is the coolest and the winds are the calmest which is ideal for ballooning. The flight was very smooth and calm.


Mid-summer morning sunshine above the wine country as backdrop.


We had a very peaceful landing. Each of us got a balloon pin as a gift from the Balloon Above the Valley ballooning company. Do you know that they also host weddings on the balloon ride? Yes, you can get married on the ride as well. They have pilot who is also a minister. Wouldn’t that be a very unique way to tie the knot? With all your relatives either in the balloon or the balloons next to you?


David and Carol enjoy a moment while the workers were working hard deflating the balloon. engagement_hot_air_ballon_20070730_12.jpg

After the balloon ride, we enjoyed a very tasty champagne brunch at the Napa General Store. And since we are in the wine country already, we also went around and took more photos. There are many more amazing photos to come. BTW, Carol and David are booking Frank for their wedding next year. Act fast girls, Frank’s available dates with his value package are getting filled for 2008.

Congratulations Carol and David. Hy and I had lots of fun. Thank you for your thoughtful gifts, we will be enjoying the wines.  Cheers ~

If you live in the city, in our case, San Francisco, where can you go to find a peaceful retreat for your exhausted heart? Some people would say beach or state parks, cathedrals or churches, and maybe shopping center for some extreme gals.

For Jason and Sharlene, it’s the San Francisco Zoo!

Sharlene and Jason shared this treasure location with Hy during their engagement session this past weekend at the SF Zoo. It’s a place they are familiar with since child hood. They still visit the location a lot to escape the noises of the daily life.

The photos are so unique. I was all OMG when I look through them. Here are some teasers to share with y’all.


Sharlene and Jason looked perfect. I wish the goat was a bit more enthusiastic. 😛


I love love composition of this shot!


And I was all OMG on the color of this photo.


Did you know that you can actually have a wedding in the zoo? I stumbled across SF Zoo wedding page while studying the location. It would be a very unique experience!



Hope you girls enjoy the photos as much as I do. I can’t wait till we finish the full photo set so we can share more photos with you. Also, Minling and I are seeing lots of really exciting and cool photos out of Hy & Frank’s camera. I can’t wait to finish processing them so I can share with the world! Patience is a virtue, note to self.

Congratulations Sharlene and Jason. Hy and I are looking forward for the big day in Sept.!

Couple days ago, I showcased Linh & Kevin’s wedding teaser. Today, I am ready to show more photos from their glamorous wedding day.

To start off, look at these lovely open toe ankle strapped darlings from Kate Spade Wedding Shoes. Hee.. I guess I just revealed my shoe lady identity. 😛 While searching info on this, I found this pair is dyeable. I wonder what color they will be after the wedding.


Glamorous decoration by the glamorous Nicole Ha Designs. The flowers really upgraded the gazebo a notch. See a before photo Hy took during our site visit here. Now enjoy how it looks after Nicole’s magical wand.


The ceremony is at Wedgewood Wedding and Banquet Center located at Metropolitan Golf Links, Oakland, CA.



Now, introducing Mr. & Mrs.


The make up and hair is done by famous Maria Chang of Professional Makeup Artistry. Hy and I heard so many praises of Maria. We finally have the honor to work with Maria for the first time. She’s truly a professional. She was like the bride’s personal assistant on the wedding day. She stayed with Linh from the morning tea ceremony till the afternoon ceremony. She even helped out other vendors to pull things together. Maria’s truly an amazing team player. Thank you Maria for your assistance on the day! Frank and Hy told me so many great things about you! We are fortunate to work with you.

Bridesmaid bouquets from Nicole Ha Designs.


Golf car kiss! 8)


Heading to the reception at East Ocean Seafood Restaurant at Emeryville. This is a 880 North in motion shot!


New composition to showcase the bridal bouquet. Love the color combination in the bouquet! Nicole did an amazing job.



Beautiful sunset color.



At the reception, HyStudio family old friend, DJ Jeff Lee, rocks up the party. Jeff’s wife, Jane, an interior designer, helped us decorate our studio at home. She is also the one who led me to my first prayer when I was in the youth fellowship many many years ago. Always love to work with old friends.


Dance floor decor: looks familiar? Yup, flowers can be reused wisely from the ceremony, with Nicole’s magic wand.



Congratulations Linh + Kevin!

Last week, we just shipped our first order of the new memory book album. We’ve been offering magazine style flush mounted albums for almost 2 years now. This hand crafted memory book album offers an elegant and classic alternative for our brides and grooms. Going forward, we will offer both selections. Today, I want to showcase this new memory book album.

The album comes with an European style presentation box made specifically to fit the album.




You can choose from over 15 Japanese bookbinding fabric to cover any album. The exquisite ribbon is from Switzerland. There are different colors to mix and match. We have those fabric swatch in house for you to select from.


Now some close up shots of the album itself. The pages are made from acid-free fine art paper that is hand torn. Watch for those beautiful deckled edge.




I really love the elegance of the memory book album we are offering. I am going to bug Hy to make me one of those from our own wedding photos 😛 Maybe 3rd anniversary wedding gift **hint hint**



Congratulations to Vivien & Antonio on your 1 year wedding anniversary. We hope you enjoy the album!

This Sunday late afternoon, I tagged along with Hy for a day-after session in the city. One of the location was at the beach. The sun was at a perfect position. The beach was a bit windy as usual. There were 3 brides at the beach while we were there. I was watching Hy and the other 2 photographers from afar. It was tough work. I can see the photographers going up and down the rock; constantly moving to find the best angel to produce that perfect photos for their clients.

I can’t speak for other 2 photographers. But I certainly see it from Hy, this labor of love. Augie and Danny, two photographers I highly respect, was over at our place this past Wed. evening. It was real fun to be in connection with other photographers. While enjoy after dinner watermelon at our kitchen, Augie asked me (Annie) “So, you don’t shoot (professionally), why you sound so excited when talking about photography?” I lost my words at that moment, because I too, don’t know how to explain it. I know we have a bigger readership on this blog now, so I should clarify a bit. HyStudio photographers are Hy & Frank. I am not a professional photographer myself. But some how, maybe similar to many of our faithful blog readers, I just really enjoy looking at photographs.

So, Augie’s question lingers within me for a week. Sunday late evening, while waiting for Hy at the day-after session, I was finishing up the last chapter of a book named “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell in the car. And I think I found my answer from the famous Sigmund Freud, aka. “the father of psychoanalysis”. Gladwell quoted Freud in his book “Blink”:

“When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons. In vital matters, however, such as the choice of a mate or a profession, the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves. In the important decisions of personal life, we sould be governed, I think, by the deep inner needs of our nature”

Simply put, answers to Augie’s question: it’s just something within me, while working with Hy & Frank on wedding photos, I found a deep well of joy within me. When I see creativity and artistry in their photos, the happiness & joys overflows. Our passion & love drive us to do more.

I have a lot more to share about this past Sat.’s wedding and Sun.’s day-after session, but I promised the bride that I will hold her photos until she’s back from the honeymoon 🙂

For now, I do have a long delayed wedding teaser to share. Hy went with a more journalistic approach for this teaser. We will have more photos to share on Linh & Kevin wedding soon. In the mean time, also check out Linh & Kevin’s engagement photos if you haven’t seen them. Enjoy ~

Makeup & hair: Maria Chang of Professional Makeup Artistry
Floral Design: Nicole Ha Designs





Congratulations Linh & Kevin!

For those of you who have large extended families, having 2 receptions for your wedding is not a bad idea.

In our (Hy & I) case, I have a large extended church family. Those are the folks I see every week, folks I’ve known for 10+ years, folks I grew up with. When hosting a wedding I would love to share my special moments and joy with them. However, having a large wedding reception, on top of huge cost, it also means the venue location choices are very limited. In the end, we decided to have a small and intimate wedding reception at Mountain Winery. Then have a more casual ‘days after’ celebration couple weeks after our honeymoon. It worked out very well for Hy & I. Hy and I had a very casual 2nd reception. Other than a formal wedding cake, we basically just hosted a fun, casual summer dinner party lasting from late afternoon to midnight. There were no program; just A LOT of food and drinks, with a pool next to the facility for the kids to play. It was very relaxing for the guests. Hy and I also had tons of time chatting with our guests. My cake lady was Sonya of Butterfly Cakes. I had her design my 2nd cake inspired by my wedding gown. It provided an continuation flow from my church wedding ceremony, which I invited everyone to attend. I want to talk more about Sonya, maybe I can talk more about her some other day.

Lien and Binh hosted their 2nd reception at Dynasty in Cupertino. Make up & Hair are done by Christine Make-Up. Florist is Nicole Ha Design.




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