Southern Charm

August 11, 2016

Written by Annie Weeden (MDE’s 2016 Summer Intern)

Walking through the revolving doors of the 2110 S Wabash Ave, I dove right into a luxurious style of “Southern Charm” coordinated by designer Erin McDonald. Beautiful striped curtains hung elegantly over translucent doors, candles in all sizes were placed along a feasting table which seemed endless, greens sat in towering vases stretching out their lengthy stems every-which-way, and golden pineapples rested amongst the arrangements leaving a sweet aroma. This was the 2016 Planner Dinner where top vendors of Chicago were invited to dine amongst their intelligent colleagues, friends, and community. I had the opportunity to interview some of these inspirational people and here are their stories.

Collin Pierson Photography

Behind the scenes, we had Collin Pierson capturing every bit of the event. Lucky for me he was kind enough to let me ask questions upon questions about their photography profession. Collin began his photography career in high school then started his own business 9 years ago called Collin Pierson Photography. He travels nearly 120,000 miles a year shooting destination weddings and giving back to the community by teaching. I asked what his favorite shot was to capture and he replied, “I love taking beautiful editorial images because editorial is something that I can have a lot of fun with and I try to bring that into the weddings. It’s something that I really enjoy doing because it is not necessarily the norm for what weddings are in Chicago. It has a wow factor, an impact, and leaves a mystery.” Collin expressed his love for photography and it was clear to me he is very passionate about his profession.

David Turner, who was second shooting for Collin, took a different path when he followed his calling. He first had a degree in English Literature and photography was just a hobby, but then after college he moved to Chicago and started to work with catalogue houses. He found his niche when he started to work weddings 15 years ago and he has never looked back. I, myself, have been interested in photography and it was really inspiring to be able to talk to these experts and gain insight into a profession that I have long dreamed about pursuing.

Aria Fine Arts Film

Next on my list were the videographers from Aria Fine Arts Film where I was able to see a different perspective of capturing a moment. Aria Matin along with his assistant manager, Jonathon helped walked me through the basics of what goes on behind the scenes. They were ardent about their career along with the cool drone that comes with it. Aria expressed his creativity by stating “The stylized portion of shooting is our favorite shot because you can get really creative with the bride and groom. You get to use different instruments that you wouldn’t use for a reception or ceremony (ex.drone and steady cam. shots).” He has had his company, Aria Fine Arts Film, for 9 years now. It was such a privilege to assimilate from these wonderful people and learn a bit about what it takes to be behind the lens shooting from the outside in. It is definitely a career that takes time and patience to create the final product and I admire their ingenuity.

Makeup By Aga and Robyn Tornabeni Productions

After learning a bit about drone flying I was able to interview the women who make everyone look fabulous and who even did my own hair and makeup. It was a pleasure to meet Aga Kaskiewicz from Makeup by Aga and Robyn Tornabeni from Robyn Tornabeni Productions. In between eye shadows and blushes I learned that Aga grew up in Poland and she always has had a creative mind. Aga has been in the makeup business for 18 years and she now works for herself with two different companies. One is called Makeup By Aga, where she concentrates on fashion and commercial makeup. The other is called Bridal By Aga, which focuses on luxury bridal makeup. That day I discovered a really cool thing about her; Aga is very versatile and wants the client to feel comfortable with their look. She also collaborates with the designer and hair stylist to make sure that you get the look you love. I admire this about her because I have always wanted my own makeup done by a professional, but was too nervous to go to one. Aga made me feel comfortable right away and she was able to figure out what would look good and what would make me feel amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a better makeup experience! Thank you Aga!

Like Aga, Robyn Tornabeni is very passionate about her career and her leap of faith really paid off. Robyn started off at a normal desk job until one day it hit her; she didn’t belong at a desk all day, she belonged in the beauty industry. That night she drove to beauty school where she mastered her talent and started Robyn Tornabeni Productions. Robyn has always had a natural proclivity for this talent has been in the business for 17 years. Now she works for herself and like Aga, her main focus is on making the client feel their best. Both of these wonderful women were a pleasure to meet and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Robyn did my hair up in a nice braid accompanied by Aga’s makeup in neutral tones of pink, brown, and nude. I certainly felt like my best and at the end of the evening I didn’t even want to take my hair down or my makeup off.

It is vendors like these that are an inspiration to people like me who are searching for their passion and calling. I felt so honored to meet all of them and I look forward to learning more from them and their work. I just want to say thank you for giving me insight into this industry and showing me that this is the career path that I want to explore in the future!

All photos courtesy of Collin Pierson Photography.

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