What I love about photography, is that you don’t need a special occasion to have some beautiful photos taken of you and a loved one! I feel like so many people wait until they’re engaged, pregnant, or celebrating a milestone; and big gaps of time are lost in their lives that aren’t always documented. I was so stoked to get to photograph fellow photographer Stefani and Kyle; just because. It wasn’t a special day, or a special reason, but just because they hadn’t had any professional photos taken together in a really long time. Stefani introduced me to this absolutely beautiful location in Palos Verdes Estates, a city in Los Angeles county. Situated next to the beach, the area offers some stunning views of the ocean, and in this case, a beautiful floral display in the middle of the road. Would you believe that the first few pictures were taken on a road divider?
It was such a blast getting to photograph Jeff and Terra’s wedding at Cass Winery in Pasa Robles, Ca. This awesome venue has a separate off-site getting ready house for the girls, allowing them to get ready nearby but also free from hassle of any early arriving guests. It also allows for the most gorgeous first look location, up a flight of stairs and under a tree for a private moment for bride and groom. Cass Winery also not only hosts 145 acres of vines, but you can get married under a 200 year old heritage oak tree- which Jeff and Terra did.
These two added in so many special elements to their day, wanting to represent themselves in all of the planning. Besides all of the rustic elements to compliment the venue, they also decided to include a doughnut bar instead of a cake! I have had so many couples tell me that they don’t even like cake, but were doing it because they felt they had to; so when I see one of my amazing couples go an alternative route, I am so so happy for them! The evening was complete with some off the wall dancing, teary eyed speeches, and a evening tunnel leading to their getaway car. Cass Winery actually provides a 1947 Chrysler limo throughout the day to use for pictures, entrance to the ceremony, and a quick get away!
I’m absolutely loving the age of four. I had the pleasure of getting to photograph the Bernatowicz family again at the Manhattan Beach Pier in Manhattan Beach, Ca. The age of four doesn’t mean that Jackson still doesn’t love his Transformer’s, but it does mean they are advanced enough that the sand at the beach would destroy them. Speaking of sand, 2018 was apparently the year of sand. From the moment the four of them (including the adorable and always loved dog Holly) stepped on the beach, Jackson could not get enough of it. From sand angels, to the spontaneous jaunt into the ocean to kick the sand; it was a good thing the family was headed to pizza for dinner. Which I can proudly say I was even invited to by Jackson himself. Go watch him grow up, because it couldn’t be cuter.
Taylor and Taylor (yes, you read that right! and I’m just as happy about it as you are) got married at the absolutely stunning Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa in California. On the coast of Lake Arrowhead, the location created a stunning backdrop for both the ceremony as well as the portraits. Taylor, the bride, is actually the sister of one of my past groom’s; and it was so great to get to see the two of them again in all their married bliss. Taylor, the bride, wanted a holiday themed Christmas wedding; complete with pine cones down the aisle and a festive color scheme of pine and reds. Small accents of gold complimented it all, and overall the affect by Magnolias Floral Design was very thematic.
To tie the vibe together, the lobby of the hotel had featured a giant Christmas tree, which guests as well as the bride and groom posed in front of. Overall, the day could not have been more beautiful with the sunset lit ceremony, and fun filled reception. Taylor and Taylor also included one of their dogs in the morning events, and I only wish they could have brought both of them to their picturesque holiday themed wedding.
I want to keep my words short, since Erika and Peter wrote the most beautiful write-up for them being published in Something Turquoise! These two had the most unique Do It Yourself (DIY) wedding at a families residence in Santa Cruz, Ca. Between ordering the flowers online from Hawaii to create their arch and bouquets, or staying up all night creating hand waxed place setting- everything about this wedding was straight out of Erika and Peter’s dreams. It was such an amazing experience to get to photograph their wedding day and see everything we had talked about to come to fruition. I took some of their quotes and added them to their photos below, and it’s so beautiful to read about their day.
I am so in love with the Chicago, IL skyline, and how many places around the city you can view it’s picturesque beauty for engagement pictures! Julie and Jon chose the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool and the Lincoln Park Zoo for our photo locations, and they definitely did not disappoint. Filled with so much greenery, they were a perfect compliment to our spring day walking around. I love getting to hear my couple’s stories, and especially when they meet online! These two met on Match.com, and had their first date back on 12/13/14. I’m so excited to get to photograph their wedding later this year at the Eagle Brook Country Club and it was definitely such a fun adventure to walk around the city exploring. Check out their proposal story below, and see just how cute they are.
I absolutely love Limoneira Ranch in Santa Paula, Ca, and it was made all the better by the beautiful presence of getting to photograph Lupita and Omar at their wedding. These two high school sweethearts wanted the day to be about family, and that was exactly how the day turned out. Surrounded by their 300 family members and friends, the day was filled with music and celebration. It was amazing to see Omar and Lupita again after their engagement session at Limoneira Ranch earlier this year. Omar used to work at Limoneira Ranch, so we were able to explore the orchard in all of its sunset glory.
Limoneira Ranch is 7,300-acres of the county’s largest producer of avocados, lemons, and oranges. When someone has a wedding here, the guests get to take home oranges as a wedding favor, which is such a cool feature at the end of the evening. Not to mention Lupita and Omar having a popcorn cart, taco bar, and other delicious reception snacks. These two are absolutely such a blast to get to spend the day with, and I can’t wait to see the adventures they go on next.
When I came upon Sly Park Falls after a hot, 5 mile hike, I knew that this place was straight out of a fairy tale. Nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains off of Jenkinson Lake, it is hard to believe this beauty is man-made. At roughly 33 feet high, you would think it would be a popular swimming hole, but the locals have kept it mostly a secret, and the place usually only has a few visitors. When I approached Wild Flowers Design Group to do a shoot here, we knew it had to be something special! In a stroke of brilliance, they realized the beautiful setting was straight out of Fern Gully, a private paradise hidden not in the rainforest, but the mountains. With this concept in mind, minus the fairy wings and 90's blue tank top, we ran with it.
The Wild Flowers Design Group not only featured wild ferns and local flowers in their design, but also moss covered branches they collected from a historic family cabin in Lake Tahoe. They aimed for beauty, as well as size to match the soon to be large waterfall behind the couple. The neutral palette chosen was meant to blend in with the moss covered location, and feel as if the florals were chosen from there. Meghan and Craig were the perfect couple to get to photograph here, willing to get in the water, and their love was absolutely radiant!
I can’t love a couple harder than when they want to do something amazing, including driving 8 hours round trip to the middle of nowhere to take their engagement photos at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, sometimes just known as the Glamis sand dunes. Known for being the largest sand dunes in the state, they were formed by windblown sands of ancient Lake Cahuilla. Extending for more than 45 miles, with dunes reaching heights of 300 feet above the desert floor. I have to say the whole experience was out of this world, especially based on the many movies that have graced the area. Including but definitely not limited to the original Stargate, Resident Evil : Extinction, and Star Wars : Return of the Jedi! It was so much fun getting to spend the day with Gaby and Josh, and the pictures tell a story of so much love between these two high school sweethearts. Check out their proposal below, and learn why these two are pretty much the best.
Hailey and Ryan are always such a fun couple to get to photograph, and now they have a beautiful 1 year old baby girl named Charlotte to throw into the mix. What I love about these two is just how real they always are. Ryan was racing the sunset to get off work; and it wasn’t until Charlotte cracked her first smile that we realized her shoes were on the wrong feet.
”It has been amazing to watch my beautiful little girl grow up each day. Her curiosity about the world is amazing to see. Her smile is contagious and she lights up the room with joy wherever she goes. Her little personality develops more and more each day.” - Hailey
I love Alex and Asa’s boat wedding so much. It was everything that represents these two, and that is unique! They decided to get married at sunset on the Grand Belle of Geneva, on Lake Geneva. While rushing to fight some potential rain on the horizon, we did some fun portraits on the pier than jumped aboard. After getting situated, the Grand Belle took off onto the lake, and then we started their ceremony. Alex and Asa wanted to have a string quartet play during the whole affair, and their goal was to also insert parts of themselves throughout the ceremony. They both said their own vows, basically filled with jokes that had the entire room giggling. I am such a sucker for boats, and the lake; and it was such an adventure to capture this beautiful day for these two! In their words, they wanted “a nautical theme with a classy ambiance (string quartet), but not too serious or stuffy. We'll probably inject some humor into the ceremony,” and I’d say that was the exact definition of the evening.
It was such a blast getting to watch these two roam around Ojai Olive Oil, and by these two I definitely mean Abbie and Tucker, Rebekah and Jason’s pups! I’ve gotten to hang with them two other times for their engagement session, and an anniversary session; and I pretty much love them.
"Abbie is a 9 year old Labrador retriever and was adopted from an individual in Paso Robles. She loves going on walks and chasing her ball, and will sometimes try to attempt to catch or hunt birds, although she hasn't been successful yet! She is always happy and smiling and is a sweet dog.
Tucker is a 5 year old Vizsla from Frazier Park. True to his breed, he is full of spunk and personality. He loves to go on runs, walks and any out door activities. Which lately involved looking for and chasing bunnies at the park! Even when he isn't sure if there is one there in the first place. He is the definition of Jason’s shadow.
We take them with us almost everywhere, and they love to go traveling with us especially when we go camping. It only makes sense to also include them in our family photos each year!"
I am absolutely in love with Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park in Agua Dulce, Ca. Not only did they film an episode of Star Trek here, but it was also used as the planet Vulcan in the Star Trek movie reboot. I don’t think it gets cooler than that. It was so much fun getting to photograph Emily and Matt here for their engagement shoot; we had debated a couple of different locations around Los Angeles, but Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park was nothing short of perfection. I cannot wait to photograph their wedding at Quail Ranch, but for now, check out how cute their proposal involving their cat is!
It was such a blast to be able to fly out to Chicago and photograph Krystle and Paul for their wedding at Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora, IL. I can’t express enough how these two were my kind of people! From Krystle’s love of tattoos; their adorable dog that sadly was not able to join us for the wedding, or the fact they got married at a brewery- the whole day was exactly what they dreamed of “upbeat retro vintage chillaxed fun!” The whole day was full of laughs, juxtaposed by that hotter than hot Illinois weather, but truly filled with joy. This is the definition of their relationship to the core. From the beautiful and bright red flowers by Heart and Flowers, to their beer drinking ceremony during the actual wedding ceremony, the day came together beautifully.
Melissa and Martin are the definition of one of the cutest love stories ever. Boy works close to girl, girl and boy don’t really know each, boy knows some of girls’s friends, boy tries to go on date with girl, girl rejects him- twice. Obviously it all worked out in the end, and these two are getting married at the Vizcaya in Sacramento, Ca. It was so much fun getting to meet up with them at the World Peace Rose Garden across the street from the California State Capitol. I have personally known Melissa since elementary school, and have pictures of us in third grade with beautifully constructed animal head bands out of construction paper. We were blessed with one of the most beautiful sunsets, peering through the roses, which almost matched all the beauty that was their winter wedding at Vizcaya. Go check it out, and you couldn’t tell me that these two aren’t just perfect.
I absolutely love small weddings, and Elizabeth and Tim had exactly that. Not only was it a family style dinner hosted by Manuela, serving the best locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients in Los Angeles, Ca, but they also had a very short and emotional ceremony in the Hauser & Wirth courtyard. Hauser & Wirth is a stunning art gallery installation and communal space in the heart of the Los Angeles Downtown Arts District. Complete with chickens, an underwear installation, and beautifully decorated walls; Hauser & Wirth rotate between local contributions. This made for the perfect setting for Elizabeth and Tim to have their impromptu ceremony- right before the biannual Los Angeles storm rolled in. Overall, surrounded by their closest friends and family these two had a sweet and romantic evening, paired with some good luck rain.
What I love about family photography, especially with the oh so precious age of 6 months; you are never sure what is going to happen. Megan and James met me at High Hill Ranch in Placerville, Ca, and it was such a blast to see baby Luke out of the womb and getting bigger. I had the chance to photograph Megan during her pregnancy down at the Folsom Lake State Recreational Area and this was such a fun reunion. Megan had a beautiful dream of Luke and some adorable pumpkins, and while we more or less got the shot, Luke was not pleased to have his little bum on display! I can’t wait to see how much cuter he gets in the future, tears and all.
Angie and Nick’s wedding at SkyPark at Santa's Village in Lake Arrowhead, Ca was everything they envisioned and so much more. When I talked to Angie about her vision for the big day, she said she wanted it to feel like a “romantic dark forest theme, with a little bit of vintage style as well”. Well I think they absolutely nailed it! SkyPark at Santa's Village is the most beautiful forest venue, paired with an amusement park? Which sounds crazy, but surprisingly works incredibly well. The backdrop for not only the ceremony, but the entire reception is surrounded by a portion of 230 acres of natural forest. The bride and groom even get to adventure into the middle of that forest for their first look, as well as portraits.
When I told everyone that I wanted to start shooting in Chicago, IL regularly, people thought I was insane. I was told that Chicago has no sunsets, it will never match what I’m used to photographing out in California. I was told it was cold, and at the end of the day, I was going to hate it. Well, they say the grass is always greener, but I have to say I still believe that the Chicago grass is pretty dang awesome.
I had the chance to meet with and photograph Alyssa and Andrew during their short stint in Chicago, before moving to Portland, Oregon. These two were absolutely the best to get to photograph and explore Milton Lee Olive Park, especially since it was the middle of winter and a bit cold outside. Besides walking down to the nearby beach, we also explored the entire boardwalk- while the beautiful Illinois sun was setting! Alyssa and Andrew could absolutely not be cuter, and are the epitome of a couple completely in love, and their wedding rings are just to die for. Not to mention the iconic view in front of the Chicago skyline made the whole evening just complete.
While half of the country is experiencing -50 degree temperatures in the middle of a polar vortex, I thought it was perfect timing to share this gorgeous Big Bear Lake, Ca winter engagement with Blyth and Danny! After seeing several other sessions in the snow, these two requested we take the two hour trip up to Big Bear Lake. Being the snow lover that I am (I relish all that Chicago snowy winter weather that most Chicagoans cry about), I happily agreed that it was the best idea I had every heard.
What makes this entire day so much fun, was we did not factor in that we had the exact same idea as everyone else! The two hour normal trip with minimal traffic through Los Angeles, turned into a six hour trip where I luckily had the chance to really get to know these two beauties. I can safely say that there is no better place to get to know people, than to be stuck in stop and go traffic going up a mountain side with no cell reception. With little time left before we lost the setting sun, we jumped out of the car on the side of a random road and Blyth and Danny pulled out all of the fun stops to create some unforgettable pictures. Complete with a snowball fight! It definitely was a blast, and shooting their wedding at Eden Gardens was even more so.
If I could hug a summer sky, it would have been the one at Heather and Justin’s wedding at the White Eagle Golf Club in Naperville, IL. A beautiful Illinois storm looked like it was rolling in, but luckily did not land and instead left us with the most shining golden sunset. It could have been a California sunset if I didn’t know any better. Their spring colors of lavender and nude paired the entire day together, including the beautiful floral design done by Chicago based Floral Events. Heather and Justin had one of the most beautiful and emotional weddings over looking the golf course. Complete with the family dog, there was a lot of teary eyes to be had by all of the guests involved. The evening ended with not only a balloon drop, but some crazy dance floor shenanigans. I absolutely can’t wait to see what these two get up to in the future.
Lupita and Omar are going to have a beautiful wedding at Limoneira Ranch in Santa Paula, Ca, so we decided to do their engagement session there too. What made this even more special, was the fact that Omar used to work there and knew all the secrets of the property! Limoneira Ranch is 7,300-acres of the county’s largest producer of oranges, avocados, and, lemons. It’s so cool for guests that have their wedding here, as they can take home the oranges as a wedding favor. A super cool fact about Limonerira Ranch is that is was a center of silent film production in the 1920s, and still attracts filmmakers to this day. With such a renowned history, I can’t even imagine how beautiful the venue will be on their actual wedding day in the fall for these two high school sweethearts.
Lalig and Jamil had such a fun wedding in Montebello, Ca with a beautiful wine, navy and gold color palette. But what made this day extra special, was all of the fun Armenian traditions throughout the day. While they did not make the day hundred percent traditional, Lalig and Jamil did add in some traditions to represent their beautiful culture. Before the ceremony, Lalig’s brother placed money in her shoe for good luck and with the help of mom, then placed her shoes on her feet. All of her family is also in attendance, and watches on during all of the events. After her shoes are on, Lalig’s veil was circled over her head three times by a happily married woman to bring her marriage luck.
Apparently turning three means it is the year of the Transformer’s. I can’t say I remember all of the favorite ones this year, but it definitely produced a lot of smiles. I absolutely love getting to photograph the Bernatowicz Family, and watch Jackson grow from brand new newborn, to this sweet curly headed baby boy. And as always, I get to see the adorable and protective family dog Holly. Go watch him grow up, because it couldn’t be cuter.