I'm a fine art wedding, portrait, and birth photographer that has a love affair with film.
i love the process, i love the film grain, i love developing my own prints. i value physical prints over pixels, and want my own children to be able to riffle through boxes of prints instead of locating folders on hard drives when they want to reminisce about their childhood. we appreciate handmade albums for weddings and family heirlooms, and giclée prints and silver gelatin prints for the walls.
We love traveling all over the world to photograph amazing events and milestones... it fuels my soul to see people fall in love with each other, their babies, their lives. You can also read more about what i do and contact me at my main photography website at
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last month i quickly flew down to napa valley to do a little engagement shoot with this beautiful couple and capture their love on film. i LOVE napa and sonoma, and love shooting there even more. Definitely looking forward to my next trip to Cali this fall!
We get emails all the time asking for advice: “where should we get married? where do you love to shoot?” and so we’ve decided to make a list of the top wedding venues every year! get ready for some serious eye candy…. i’d love to shoot at all of these locations again!
in no particular order, here are our picks for our top wedding venues:
This year we’ll be working on reviewing other venues for our brides, so stay tuned to hear more about fabulous international and domestic locations for your wedding. to book us for any of these locations (or others!) just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started!
Dana and Timo- two transplant Germans living in New York- planned their beautiful destination wedding on the tiny island of Vieques, off the coast of Puerto Rico. The only resort on the island- The W Hotel- was a perfect location because it blended the soft pastel colors of the island with bright modern pops of color. The interior of the ultra modern hotel was designed by Patricia Urquiola, and was the perfect backdrop for the wedding. Dana and Timo wed on the cliff overlooking the turquoise waters, and had their intimate reception down on the private beach itself, with everyone barefoot and dipping their toes in the water while they ate. After dinner they celebrated with a live guitarist, a bonfire (with soft blankets and pillows to cuddle with), sparklers and a flying paper lanterns to end the night!
Hey guys! this wedding is also featured on Style Me Pretty’s Little Black Book blog- the blog of the best curated wedding vendors! we’re always so honored to be featured there, but especially for this wedding since it’s one of my favorites. and this image below is why- a day filled with pure joy and emotion. this is why i love what i do.
Julie and Jason are so very special to me, and have an incredible story of true love. Together since college, Julie and Jason spent many years long distance, while Julie pursued her career in dance in LA and Jason finished up Law School in Milwaukee. once they were finally united in Los Angeles, Jason took his California bar exam (and passed!) while suffering some pretty serious headaches and dizziness. Examinations proved the worst: a giant cancerous brain tumor. Thankfully, he survived- thrived really- after many rounds of chemo and radiation, and lots of physical therapy to help regain motor and speech skills. One day last year Jason proposed to Julie- she had stuck by his side and helped him through surgeries, physical therapy, and acclimating back to regular life.
Their wedding was done on a seriously extreme budget due to the extensive bills associated with such a situation, and proved to be a labor of love from all family members and friends. Many services, like photography and videography, and some of the decor were donated. I lent an artists hand in hand-lettering the chalkboard signs, and Julie, herself, made the bridal bouquets and boutonnieres from scraps of fabric and wire wisks. But those weren’t the only unique details about her wedding. They decided to forgo a traditional cake for a dessert bar of doughnuts from their favorite independent local doughnut shop in Madison- Greenbush Doughnuts (they have almost a cult following in Madison). Julie found her wedding dress at a local vintage store in LA, for just $180 and the bridal party was given free-reign to choose the dress of their choice, within a few guidelines. Finally, favors of classic Mix Tape CDs were given to guests – mixes of both Julie and Jason’s favorite tunes- in hand-made little envelopes.
From the bride … The day after Christmas his neurologist finally ordered an MRI. After reading the scan he called Jason and told him to go right to the hospital, that they knew we were coming. We found out at the ER that night that Jason’s “vertigo” was actually a cancerous tumor the size of a lemon growing in his brain. Two surgeries immediately followed, along with chemo and radiation. Because the tumor was on his cerebellum, our body’s coordination center, Jason’s speech, balance and vision were effected. It would be a long road of speech and physical therapy as well as monthly rounds of chemo for a year. I was never in a rush to get married. I didn’t need a ring to know what we had was real. Plus we were broke. But going through all of this together made me wonder, “What are we waiting for?”
On Sept 25th, 2011, about eight months since Jason’s surgery, he proposed. It was at the Hollywood Bowl, a beautiful concert venue tucked inside the hollywood hills. I thought this was just a sweet date night Jason had planned for us. He bought the tickets and packed an elaborate picnic. We were in our seats waiting for the show to start and Jason asked the man in front of us to take a picture of us. He snapped the shot, we looked at it and approved, but then Jason asked him to take another. I thought that was weird because the picture looked fine. Instead of smiling for the camera, Jason got down on his knee, pulled a little red ring box out of his pocket and asked me to marry him. And our camera man snapped pictures of the whole thing. It was perfect.
START EARLY!: Even the simplest DIY projects can get tricky or take forever, so begin them early enough to allow enough time to finish or to go a different direction if needed. And this is coming from a seasoned procrastinator, so if I say start early, I truly mean it. Because of all the preparation we had done we were able to go with the flow and have a great time. Of course not everything went according to plan, but since we had put so much work into everything we could easily solve the problem, brush it off and party on.
MAKE YOUR OWN RULES: It’s easy to get caught up in what you think you “should” be doing at your wedding that it becomes more like an equation than a reflection of you and your fiancé. At the end of the day, it’s a celebration of you two and your love. We did things the way we wanted to, not the way someone told us to.
CONSULT WITH AN EXPERT: Just because you consult with an expert doesn’t mean you have to do exactly what they say. But a wedding coordinator or a friend who works in the industry probably has a lot more experience at weddings than you do. It’s helpful to run ideas by them to see if, logistically, they make sense. For instance, we wanted our wedding to feel like a big party, so we didn’t want to tell guests where to sit. We figured then we didn’t need table numbers, place cards, etc. so we’d be saving money too. But after talking to our videographer (my good friend) she advised me not to. She said in theory it sounds like a great idea, but then you end up with an empty chair here and there and guests split up or standing for dinner. So we heeded her advice and made table numbers and just wrote out seating assignments on big chalkboards. That still eliminated the need for place cards, but gave each guest a place to park themselves for the night.
because i’m in the business of photographing mainly women, i see on a daily basis how beautiful they are. yet, i hear all the time ‘you have to say that. im sure you say that to all your clients’ which is so deflating. when i’m in the act of photographing, i’m taking shots that i feel are breathtaking- not just because of the light or the scene, but because i see for a few minutes that woman forget about everything else around her and actually FEEL beauty in herself, because someone else is genuinely excited to photograph her. it always takes a couple of minutes- the first few are a little awkward and she gets used to the camera, then you can see her get comfortable with herself and relax, and that is when the beautiful shots happen. yet, of course, on occasion every photographer will hear from their clients “i love the photos, i just hate the way my nose always looks. i love the photos i just hate that my hair is frizzy.” i get it- i dont like the fact that my chin is pointy. and i’m self conscious about my fingers because my pinkies are abnormally small (no really…. they’re stunted… i cant reach an octave on a piano or chords on a guitar.) i wish my eyebrows were shaped differently. i could really go on and on and on, like i’m sure we all could. It is so hard to hear those comments, on photographs I may have thought to myself “this is one of the most beautiful photographs i’ve ever taken” when i know it’s just the self-esteem talking. However, WAY more often than the not I get this response: “i cant believe that is me. i cant believe i look like that- it is so beautiful” and “surely you must have photoshopped me…. is that really me?” and “you saw me differently than i see myself. i’ve never had someone see me that way” and…. of course “i feel so beautiful in my photographs”
I’m not saying i’m changing the world. but if i can help someone see themselves differently, then i’m doing my job. it’s not about taking ‘pretty pictures’, and it’s not about just capturing the ‘moment’ (although hopefully both of those are happening as well)- It’s also about changing how we view ourselves, and for the better.
I absolutely loved this wedding. Have you ever seen a veil so incredible before? this was an heirloom item- Chanda’s late mother wore it for her wedding so long ago. It was such a beautiful way to honor her mother and cary on tradition. This couple i’ve established a long time connection with- photographing Chanda’s maternity session a year ago, and i love being able to be there with clients at huge milestones of their life. and of course, its always great to show up to a wedding already knowing the bride and groom so well, both from behind the camera and away from it as well.
my favorite things about this wedding were the jenga guest book, the adorable bridesmaid gifts, the venue who’s winding gardens and barebulb lights made for tiny private sanctuaries every where you turned. the charm was overwhelming, and at the end of the night i found myself sipping a little coke (my obsession when shooting weddings) through the soda shop straws under the barebulb lights of the courtyard, warm air circling around. the sparkler send off was a perfect end- love sparkler send-off’s and ilford 3200 film. the grain and tones are so deep!
And i also need to give a shout out to cross creek ranch as well… this venue had every detail so superbly thought-out and organized it was like a well-oiled machine. the staff does not only the day-of coordination, but the floral, the styling, the lighting, everything. and they were in constant communication with me during the day, to let me know the tinest of details: like how they were asking the bridal party to enter for the reception grand entrance so that i could be prepared photographically. that type of communication makes for great photography.
We’re so happy to be published on Style Me Pretty today! i love this beautiful wedding, see more shots from Amber and Chris’s wedding below!
Christopher and Amber’s wedding day was a perfect summer afternoon day in July – warm, sunny with little wind. It made the perfect backdrop for their guests to enjoy the outdoor event on a stunning Spanish-style villa terrace overlooking Lake Michigan. Because of their love of design and architecture (being both designers themselves) they fell in love with the Villa’s artistic tradition and stunning architectural beauty with grand rooms, open gardens and terrace.
Amber wore a Morilee dress by Madeline Gardner carrying a bouquet of Juliet Garden Roses paired with white Sweet Heart roses, white Freesia, and Dusty Miller. While her seven bridesmaids wore Blush colored dresses by Alfred Sung carrying bouquets of white Sweet Heart Roses, white Freesia, white Spider Mums, green Trachelium, Dusty Miller and Queen Anne’s Lace. Christopher wore a cream-colored pinstripe suit by Indochino, with the Groomsmen in light gray suits by Express.
Two of the items the couple decided to put special attention into were the design of the invitations and the rings. With their design background they had very specific ideas in mind, and put them to good use. The groom’s ring is a custom rose gold and brushed white gold double ring. A small piece is left blank, revealing the rose gold band, to signify the never complete aspect of a relationship. It mirrors the couple’s logo (they decided to forgo a traditional monogram for a more modern symbol they felt both embodied their relationship better) that was displayed on the front of the invitations as well as a chalkboard drawing at the reception. It features two imperfect shapes crossing over into one another, with a small piece left open in the middle- again, signifying the part of the relationship that will never be complete and always growing and changing. The groom, Christopher, designed the wedding invitations and branding for the event. Custom envelopes were fitted with wallpaper from the bride’s company’s (Farrow & Ball-Chelsea Papers) collection. The invitation unties to reveal a series of cards and RSVP. The color scheme for the invitations and the wedding was inspired by Farrow & Ball colors “Pink Ground and Pavilion Gray.”
The reception was at The Hinterland, a chic gastro pub and brewery. The centerpieces were composed of crisp green and white flowers to create a very soft and natural atmosphere in context to the restaurant’s collection of rustic wooden objects.
Custom designed cards met each guest upon entrance into the reception. On the front were their name and an illustration of the meal they would enjoy. On the back was their table seating indicated by a color name and swatch from the bride’s company’s line of paint.
The couple ended their night by dancing amongst friends and family to a Jazz Trio at the restaurant and enjoying a taco bar provided by the fine chefs. The couple then flew off to Curacao for their Honeymoon.
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