Tuan H. Bui, Photographer and his team are not only one of our favorite wedding photographers to work with, but we also have the pleasure of sharing an office with them! Tuan and his team have a very particular visual aesthetic that is equal parts romantic and artistic. They have the ability to translate a couple’s love into stunning art. Take a look at their gorgeous work, and learn a little more about them by reading the Q&A below.

NYE: Tell me about your business- what do you specialize in?

TBP: We specialize in emotive, beautiful, narrative wedding photography. I find that our clients tend to be very people and family-oriented, and place an emphasis on emotions and real moments.


NYE: How did you get started, what inspired you?

TBP: You know, ten years ago, I started doing fashion photography, and sort of fell into weddings as friend after friend would ask me to shoot their wedding. At first it was sort of a chore – like, “Okay, I’ll do this for you, as a favor” – but by my seventh wedding, my attitude had changed completely! I realized that making wedding photographs was truly meaningful work – that my photos were precious objects to my brides and grooms, and that their children and children’s children would look at these pictures decades from now. Of course, I am still heavily influenced by my fashion photography training when I shoot weddings, but the inspiration now comes from the sheer joy of the people I’m taking pictures of – I feel like I have to capture that as best I can.

_MG_5804NYE: How would you describe your business’ style?

TBP: There are two main things that define our style – the first is an emphasis on real emotion. We won’t ask anyone to repeat moments or pretend to do anything; we capture it as it happens. The same goes for posed portraits. We’ll never say something like “Turn your head a little… now both of you laugh on three. Ready? One two LAUGH.” Instead, we might say “Tony, imagine the first time you saw Kate. Did you think she was pretty?” At this point, -something- will happen – a laugh, a kiss, a sheepish grin, a deep look, and whatever happens there, that’s the picture we’ll take.

The second is a strong sense of aesthetics. I personally draw my inspiration from the fashion and portrait photography world. My heroes are Penn, Avedon, Roversi, Lachapelle, Bourdin, Newton – photographers on a complete other plane of awesomeness! I don’t work in the same field as them, but my visual library is informed by their work and others’. For Adam (my associate, and the reason I’ve been using “we” instead of “I”), he has four years of intensive photographic schooling behind him, and is extremely visually literate. Neither of us just picked up a camera one day – we have both bent our lives in this direction on purpose, so the images we make are reflections of every beautiful thing we’ve seen!


NYE: Where does your inspiration come from?

TBP: Every visual art. I go to the art institute often, and the way the old masters used shadow and light is incredible. I’m also a huge film buff, and I love both the storytelling aspect of movies as well as the visual drama that can come from moving pictures. Of course, I also look to fashion and portrait photographers as inspiration – I’ve got shelves and shelves of photo books at home that I look through (and get humbled by repeatedly). I try to cram as much visual input into me as possible, so that I have an… enormous library of images in my head that I can draw from when I am photographing.


NYE: What’s your favorite thing about working in the wedding industry?

TBP: All of the people in this industry are in it for the love! I have a lot of friends that left lucrative careers in other fields in order to sweat sixty, eighty hours a week making less than half of what they used to make, because this is what their passion is. It’s an incredibly good feeling when you work a wedding and you know that the florist, the caterer, the DJ, the musicians, are all following a thread in their hearts just like you are, and that all of you are pouring your souls into your work.


NYE: Do you have a favorite moment from a wedding that you can share?

TBP: There are so many! Okay – from the wedding I shot last weekend, when the father of the bride got up to give his speech, he instead sang a song that he had written for his daughter. It was so heartfelt and beautiful – half the room was crying, including me. Just… being there… for moments like this, being given access to something so personal, is such an incredible privilege!


NYE: Do you have any green initiatives you’d like to share?

TBP: Photography-wise, our impact is small – we use rechargeable batteries, so our waste is essentially zero when we work. When I use my large-format film camera at weddings, the film I use is often old-stock expired film (expired film gives wonderful colors), so I am giving it a new lease on life whereas ordinarily it would be thrown out.

NYE: How far in advance should clients book your services?

TBP: A year out is perfect. Most people book in the 9-12 month timeframe, so booking earlier than the masses is your best bet.

IMG_2765NYE: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

TBP: When I offer tea, coffee, beer or wine during a consultation, please say wine more often. We have a lot of wine.

NYE: How can clients connect with you?

TBP: Adam and I post a lot of stuff on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/tuanhbui.photographer. There’s also our website at www.tuanb.com.

We know that planning your wedding isn’t always just fun and games – at times it can be a long and intricate process. There may be parts that are more fun and exciting to plan, or ones that seem to have more weight than others (like finding the perfect venue, wedding dress, or caterer). We put together a list of three things that most commonly fall to the back burner- only to be left to the very end to resolve. However, many times these hasty solutions do not garner the best results; you might regret not having put more thought into these seemingly low-priority aspects later on. So, here are three things you should avoid procrastinating when planning your wedding:


Photo by Megan Saul Photography

1. The Music

What song are you going to process to? What song will be your first dance? And yes, you should have a song to cut the cake to. Many couples procrastinate choosing the music for their wedding day, and end up choosing random, personally meaningless songs.  Instead of seeing this as just another task, you and your significant other should take some time to talk about music together. Perhaps make it a date night – grab a glass of wine, go through each other’s Spotify, and reminisce about your favorite shared musical experiences. Brainstorm together and see what comes to mind. Your music selection can be a fun way to inject your personality- who you are as a couple- into you wedding day. You want to make sure you choose the right songs for the most important day of your lives.


Photo by Angela Renee Photo

2. The Ceremony

Whether it’s choosing the right reading, or coming up with your vows, people tend to put off the most important part of the day: the ceremony. Many times, couples will choose friends or family to act as officiants- which is cool and all, until it is blatantly obvious that they don’t know what they’re doing or what they should be saying. Don’t wait until the last minute to come up with a script! The longer you put it off, the more it begins to feel like a task. When people are stressed, it seems that their creativity is really dampened and strained. We recommend working with your officiant quite a few months in advance in order to make them feel comfortable with what they are saying. This way, the kinks will be worked out, and their voice can be creative in smooth. The same applies to your vows. This should go without saying, but make sure to put a good amount of time and thought into the words that will seal your love forever.

Sarah & Marc wed0513 (1)

Photo by Mark Federighi Photography

3. The Photo Shot List

We’re not talking about a two page list of different poses you want to stick yourself in (i.e. bride in grass looking up into camera with bouquet on the side). No, no: the photo shot list is more about the combinations of your family and friends you want in a single shot. For some couples, this list is very long and complicated, and for others it’s very easy to figure out. Family dynamics make it very important to have the photo shot list figured out in advance. In order to avoid mass confusion, or accidentally leaving grandma out of ALL of the shots, it’s important to have a list for the photographer to go off of.

Incorporating vintage aspects throughout wedding decor is definitely trendy, and we are totally onboard with it! This week we are featuring Vintage Place Settings, a Chicago rental company that specializes in- well you guessed it- vintage. Vintage items not only make a room look elegant and nostalgic, but they also reinforce the eco-friendly mindset. Instead of ending up in a landfill, these items can be used time and time again. Have a look at the Q&A below between Naturally Yours Events and Vintage Place Settings to learn a little more about their awesome company!


Photo by City Love Photography

NYE: Tell me about your business- what do you specialize in?

VPS: We rent vintage tableware for all sizes of dinner parties, receptions, wedding and baby showers, or any kind of celebration. Our rentals include over 200 different patterns which can be mixed and matched at each table or each table can feature one pattern combination.  These patterns span all decades of the 20th century, and include many Depression glass colors and patterns of cut or etched glass. Our place settings include china, flatware, glassware, linens, serving and decor pieces, and small props. We also specialize in dessert table styling.

NYE: How would you describe your business style?

VPS: Collaborative.  One of the things we love about this business is all of the wonderful people we get to work with — clients, of course, but we also enjoy getting to know and working with wedding planners, caterers, photographers, florists, and other vendors.  We enjoy taking clients through the range of choices and helping them pick what speaks to them.  Then, we coordinate with all other vendors to make sure that our addition to the event blends perfectly with other details.


NYE: Where does your inspiration come from?

VPS: We are inspired by historic periods we love, including turn-of-the century, Depression and art deco styles, Mid-century ’50s through ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. The seasons, holidays, life events, flowers in bloom, even trending colors, all provide inspiration that changes every day. Sometimes we find something beautiful at an estate sale that sparks an idea we will use at our next event. We like to talk with clients to find out what they like and create settings that will capture that look.


NYE: Do you have any green initiatives you’d like to share?

VPS: Our inventory is our biggest green initiative.  We save vintage items from going into landfills by repurposing them as tabletop rentals for special occasion.  We also save our chipped, broken or otherwise unusable items and give them to artists to reuse in their art, so that our rescued items will have another life beyond their use in vintage place settings.  We use packing materials that can be recycled or reused for storing and transporting rentals.  Finally, we refer clients to other green vendors, including vendors who are members of the Green Wedding Alliance, an organization that works to help couples lessen the environmental impact of their wedding celebration.


Photo by Creative M. Photography Inc.

NYE: How can clients connect with you?

VPS: Call us at (708) 436-4969; send us an email: stacy@vintageplacesettings.com or coreen@vintageplacesettings.com; or use the contact form on our website at vintageplacesettings.com.  We can also set up an appointment at our showroom, which is at  2023 W. Carroll Ave., #C211, Chicago, IL 60612.