I Do… photograph weddings… especially if they include a pittbull in pearls.


It has been a fun summer because I have been super busy doing lots of different kinds of photography jobs. While I am very grateful to have been so busy, as a result of my crazy schedule, I haven’t had time to post all the amazing weddings that I have photographed… which now totals 10… which is a new record for me.

And I feel like if I post one wedding then I have to post all the weddings, because all of the weddings were so wonderfully different, and all of the couples are so wonderfully fun that they all deserve their own wonderfully different and fun blog posts. But I can’t post all of the weddings at once, so I am going to start right smack in the middle with Emily and Sam… and Mia, their ring bearer dog.

My friend Michelle recommended me to them, and we arranged to meet so that I could get to know them a little before their wedding. I knew it would be a wedding that I wanted to photograph, as we sat in a dog park in SF and Emily told me all the food for their wedding was coming from farmers who she met at the farmers’ market, like Jesse from Marin Roots Farm, and that their dog was going to be their ring bearer. Fresh, healthy, local food and dogs = the perfect wedding to me.

They got married in the cypress grove at Chrissy Field in the Presidio, one of my favorite places to go when I lived in the city with my dog. And although they were hoping for sun, I wasn’t disappointed when the fog rolled in just as the ceremony was about to start. That big beautiful soft box from the Pacific Ocean made the already photogenic event even more so by softening the light just enough and giving everything a magical glow… oh it was lots of fun. I love the fog.

And I love homemade weddings. Almost every detail of their wedding was made by someone they know and love… including Emily’s incredible dress and her veil, that I was obsessed with photographing, and including the most amazing flour-less chocolate cake. A cake that could be reason enough for me to get married again… to Arann of course.

So congratulations Emily, Sam and Mia… and stay tuned for more amazing weddings to come.












































Remembering the meaning of it all…

Remember Meghan and Tom from their engagement photo session a couple of months ago? Well, they are happily married now… but it was not an easy journey.

Rings not finished, groom stuck in a traffic jam missing the rehearsal, brother stranded in Chicago without a flight, hotel rooms not reserved, veil flying off right before entering the church… you name it… and it happened to poor Meghan and Tom. Stress was definitely very close to the surface during the final days and minutes leading up to the wedding.

But it was amazing how the minute Meghan walked through the doors of Old St Mary’s Church in Nicasio, the oldest country church in the United States, because all of the drama and nerves disappeared, and suddenly the purpose of all their hard work became clear again. The fact that Meghan and Tom finally made it up to the alter was proof that they were stronger than all of the hurdles thrown in their way.

And now they begin to live happily ever after.

Right? Come on, look at how story-book-perfect that setting is, you have to say stuff like that when the setting is so perfect.

The digital photos are still to come…. Yay, Meghan and Tom!!

So hard to choose…

Meet Kiea and Colin. They got married on 6-7-8 (june, the sixth month, on the 7th day, and in the year 2008)… and everything about their love story seems to work in that amazing organic way… proving they fit together perfectly. They said their wedding was absolutely wonderful, and their only regret was there weren’t many photographs of just the two of them. They had a different photographer, who did an excellent job, but who didn’t get enough photographs of the two of them.

So they called me and we made a date. Kiea scheduled a hair and make-up appointment with a friend and then we met in the middle… which happens to be in the middle of the most beautiful countryside and a perfect backdrop. And in a matter of 2 hours, we covered just about every beautiful setting possible. Now the only problem is, how do you choose which photo to pick as your favorite… because they all are so darn cute.

It was wonderful to have so much time to play, and to play without the stress of the wedding day. I loved it and only wish I could have a photo shoot after the wedding with all my wedding couples.

OK… I said it was hard to choose a favorite… but this one wins, for me.

The Ultimate New York Wedding… (coming soon)

Rehearsal Dinner Cruise on Friday, followed by a wedding at the United Nations building…. it was amazing. I was not the official photographer, as Gina is one of my close friends and she did not want me working, but I of course could not help myself.

This is just the tiniest sample, as it is only the day after the event, and I am still recovering from the festivities… but I wanted give them a glimpse before they depart to the Galapagos Islands (I tried to convince them to take me along with them to document their honeymoon but for some reason they weren’t so keen on the idea.)

Happy travels, Gina and Keith, and thanks for the amazing weekend.

Sarah and Zach… a quick peek…

This is just a glimpse of a few favorites from the wedding I photographed two weekends ago in Greenville, South Carolina, the town where I mostly grew up. The wedding was for my best friend from high school, Ann’s, little brother, Zach, also known as Baby Zach, which is how I remember him… so the idea that he was getting married was hard to get over.

The timing was perfect, I was coming home for my annual family reunion beach trip and Zach was getting married the Saturday after I arrived, so I just stayed in Greenville an extra night and joined my family the next day.

I met Zach’s soon to be bride, Sarah, the night of their rehearsal and was very excited to find that she was down to earth, fun and beautiful… the perfect kind of bride, and wife for my best friend’s little brother. And the two of them have a heart wrenching love story that started after high school and grew stronger through Sarah’s cancer that was discovered a few years after they started dating.

It was amazing how openly her cancer was discussed throughout the events, and without the fear that normally surrounds the C-word, but needless to say the tears were not far from everyone’s eyes during their vows to care for each other through sickness and health.

I felt honored to be there and to help document their day for them… and it is not often, as a California based photographer, that I get to photograph in a big fancy traditional church… which proved to be a challenge and a fun creative tool.

I loved the contrast between the two preparation rooms…

I didn’t intend this photo to show off Sarah’s left shoulder where she had her cancer, instead I noticed it during my editing. It is one of my favorites because I think it has a calm and beautifully strong feel to it and I hope she feels the same way.

I wish I could say I planned this photo to look this way, but I didn’t and it was quite a fun editing surprise… although it has a surreal dream feel to it that may not appeal to everyone, so luckily I have normal ones as well.

The Presbyterian Church had a rule about not photographing during the ceremony, which in some ways was nice because it meant I had to be more creative.

And there is so much more to come… but the editing is a lot slower since I am on the road…. so stay tuned for more of Sarah and Zach.

And here is Ann again… I love friends who love being photographed… it is so much fun… this was entirely her idea.

Raising the Bar….

I really was happy with the digital images I took at Jodi and Dan’s wedding…. and then I scanned my Rollei photos tonight… and I LOVE them. It is a combination of the way people look at the camera and the ridiculously amazing quality of film.

For Jodi and Dan’s wedding I took more Rollei photos than normal, for two reasons. First, I was inspired by an email I received from a potential wedding client who asked, “How much would it cost to have a whole wedding shot on a Rollei?” That email made me so excited about the possibility, but I confessed I would feel more comfortable if there was another photographer who was photographing on a more traditional camera at the same time, because the Rollei is so slow and it can be unpredictable. It only takes 12 photos on a roll before you have to change the film and add that with unexpected light leaks or a sticky film advancer and there could be a lot of heartache. But when the Rollei gets it right… it gets it really right. And I definitely want to use it more and more.

The other reason I photographed more than usual with the Rollei, is because a friend and I are trying to see how it would be to make a real documentary album for wedding couples and we used Jodi and Dan as our guinea pigs. We recorded interviews with Jodi and Dan and all their important people and we hope to combine the photos and transcripts from the interviews into a book, similar to my final project for school. And if the sound quality is good enough, we’d also love to combine the sound with the photos for a Jodi and Dan multimedia show. If nothing else, at least it will be a good project for the slower winter months.

A Documentary Photographer’s Perspective on Weddings…. candids, candids, candids

First of all, I need to define Documentary Photographer, so this is wikipedia’s definition: The photographer attempts to produce truthful, objective, and usually candid photography of a particular subject, most often pictures of people.

That definition basically says enough about why I like photographing weddings and the way I approach photographing them, but I am still going to say more.

It is odd because within the documentary photography world, there is some snobbery about photographers who photograph weddings. But if you are a documentary photographer (see definition above) then there is no reason not to love photographing weddings… there are usually 50-200 people to photograph and that means lots of moments, stories and emotions everywhere you look. And generally, most everyone is in a good mood and happy to be photographed (although I have definitely learned that is not true for everyone!)

As for my approach to photographing weddings, I love telling the story of weddings through photographs.

I would so so so much rather take candid and truthful photos than any posed photos. Posed photos make my stomach flip with nervousness. I am getting better at directing, but at the weddings I photograph, I can’t wait until all the formals are over and I can get back to taking candids. I feel like a wedding should be about enjoying the day and living in the moment… not stopping the moment, and leaving the moment, so you can go and freeze a false moment. (Although I know that formal portraits are important too… but I keep them to a minimum, and my philosophy is: the faster, the better.)

The one formal part I do look forward to, is stealing the bride and groom soon after the ceremony and photographing them alone and happy being brand newly married… but I try to make them forget I am there.

Here are some of my favorite parts of the wedding I photographed a couple of weekends ago. It is the story of Jodi and Dan. Their story is more emotional and complex than some; it involves Dan’s 8 year old son, a considerable difference in ages and Jodi’s mom who is living with cancer, all coming together on this one day to celebrate.

And then… the ones below are some of my favorite extras and outtakes.

Before and After….

I am in the middle of a massive photo-edit. Maybe my biggest yet, and I find that I am having trouble focusing, because I want to see it all right away, but life is interrupting and my attention span is scattered, so I keep jumping around. But so far, here are my two most favorite photos from Claudia and Leigh’s wedding in Surrey, England on June 21st.

And once again, the Rolleiflex wins again. I have hundreds of digital photos, but none inspire or evoke emotion like the soft glow of the Rollei photos. So stay tuned… there will be lots more to come, this is only the beginning and the end… I still have the whole middle to go.

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