Jayna and Daniel planned their destination wedding in California from Washington, DC, flying out to Los Angeles on the regular to meet with vendors and make sure all of the details were perfect. After viewing Santa Margarita Ranch, they knew they had found the right place. “The greenery and florals in the garden coupled with the stone walls in the barn created such a romantic and unique ambiance - we knew we found a gem.” What they definitely didn’t know was how beautifully green their venue would be, after what some are calling the wettest winter in Southern California in decades. This fact didn’t fail to disappoint, when it started to sprinkle on their wedding day.
”When we saw each other for the first time it was truly "love at first sight". He introduced himself and handed me a bottle of wine he brought as a dinner party gift. We ended up opening the bottle of wine and sitting by the fireplace talking all night - and the rest is history.” - Jayna
So when the Stahl’s told me that they wanted to shoot near Menlo Park Fire Station to use a fire truck, I didn’t know that me meant he planned on borrowing one and driving it to Holbrook Palmer Park in Atherton, Ca. Michael is a firefighter, and if every shoot I ever photograph in the future has a fire truck, a dog, and two cute kids; I would be in heaven. Not to mention that it was such a pleasure getting to finally meet baby Kylan,who I photographed a year earlier when Marlee was pregnant with him!
The fire truck on the other hand, I have never had the pleasure of meeting. Old Tom was built in 1935, serving the town of Sausalito for over twenty years. In 1999, the Firefighters Association decided to give Old Tom a renovation, making him a gorgeous staple to the Menlo Park area.
Today is my birthday, and not just any birthday, that weird phenomenon of birthdays where I am 28 on February 28! So I thought it was only fitting to do a quick blog post about some of my favorite things. I know there’s a nice little professional synopsis on the actual about page, so I wanted to shamelessly slam this page with pictures of my favorite places, and some random facts. I try to share a little bit morereal life on my Instagram page, so if you follow along on there you probably already know some of this!
It was so awesome getting to see Luke in all his glory at the ripe old age of one! We returned to the Folsom Lake State Recreational Area, the same place we did Megan’s amazing sunset maternity photos, and had the chance to watch Luke not only smile once, but also try to eat some rocks. He is growing into such the cutest little boy, and I cannot wait to watch Luke continue to get older during our future family sessions.
”As soon as I had my sweet little boy, I was completely captivated and enamored with him. I've never known a truer love. Motherhood is exhausting and complicated but so worth it. I've learned so much because of Luke and I'm so grateful God chose me to be his mama. They say a mother is born too and let me tell you how true that was for me. April 19th, Luke was born but so was I.” - Megan
I love my job, because I love when my amazing wedding couples pop out adorable little munchkins! Aurora and Jeff had anabsolutely amazing wedding at Gerry Ranchin 2015, and a stunning maternity session at the very same location we brought their baby girl several months later. The Ventura Harbor Village in Ventura, Ca is littered with boats, and a very serendipitous Juniper tree that we were able to utilize for their baby that they named, you guessed it, Juniper. This little three month old bundle of joy was such a treat to photograph, and proved to be the little watcher of all the birds flying around. I cannot wait to see the cute little bundle of joy she grows up into!
Not only do I absolutely love the Santa Barbara County Courthouse in Santa Barbara, Ca for all of my weddings, but I love it even more when my couple designs their entire reception from scratch at a nearby historic home built in 1828. Andres and Rafael started their wedding day at the courthouse, getting married in the historic mural room. It has in the past been called “the unquestionable masterpiece of the courthouse interior,” and that could not be more accurate with the artwork. Designed for use in 1929, the room now serves as a ceremony venue for locals and tourists alike to get married. We wandered the courthouse doing some photos, and I can never get over how stunning the architecture is.
Afterwards, we all took a party bus to Casa de la Guerra in Santa Barbara, Ca to celebrate their wedding reception. The property is currently owned by the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, and is rented out for events. It is not only a Santa Barbara City Landmark, but also a California Historic Monument. The location made for a perfect historic venue for Andres and Rafael’s beautiful Hispanic themed wedding. Pulling from their family roots, the two of them drove down to Mexico several weekends and not only hand painted the maracas on their tables, but collected the decorations they adorned the entire venue with. I absolutely love DIY (do it yourself) weddings, and seeing all the work they did to create a stunning display that was just breathtaking. These two spent the entire day laughing and loving together, and their wedding could not have been any more them if they wanted!
I am a major fan of all holiday related events, including but not limited to pies, cheese, the joy of giving, and of course Christmas tree farms. I was so excited to get the chance to photograph at the Roberts Christmas Tree Farm, in Pollock Pines, not once but three times near the holidays. This beautiful piece of property stretches backwards into the forest, allowing visitors to cut their own trees after exploring and finding the right one. When open for the holidays, you can also shop at their gift stores, and get hot chocolate. The Turner family was so much fun to get to photograph in all this beautiful Christmas tree glory. Their baby girl Salem is due soon, and getting to play with River proved that he is going to be the sweetest older brother ever! I can’t wait to go back next year, and photograph the area in all it’s beauty again.
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.