Weddings Are Overrated

Two years ago today, I made the best promise I will ever make. I stood under the warm May sun in Pasadena, surrounded by witnesses, and pledged to love and care for this woman no matter what.

Our wedding was a fantastic time. We laughed with friends and family. We got down on the dance floor. We ate phenomenal braised short ribs and drank coffee and ate ice cream and cake. And then we zoomed off into the night. It was an absolute party.

It pales in comparison to marriage. A wedding is one day of ALL THE EMOTIONS (!). A marriage is every day, getting to wake up next to this person who’s pretty awesome. A marriage is celebrating the emotional highs and dealing with the emotional lows. A marriage is finding out you’re not so awesome and you have issues and needing to ask for each other’s forgiveness. A marriage is a day-to-day journey of growing and learning to love actively and selflessly.

Weddings are great, but they’re overrated compared to marriage.

Also, if nothing else, my wife has learned to be a willing and patient portrait subject. She’s solid gold, that one.

Aimee, I adore you. You fill my heart with joy, you encourage me, and I am humbled by how you love me. Happy anniversary, darling.

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
— Tim Keller

Hand in hand

One of my college roommates, Jon is just an all-around great guy. Super genuine, deeply creative, and adventurous. So it was a joy and an honor when he asked me to capture some images of him and his fiancee, Sarah. The two of them make a great couple, and I'm excited to see them start this chapter of their lives together.
With the late afternoon sunlight in its full golden glory, we had a great time walking around Huntington  Gardens and the Langham Hotel in Pasadena.

Winter Love

An Italian villa. Lots of flowers and vintage details. LOTS of Dr. Who-referencing details. A grey wedding dress. A bride with pink hair. You know, just some of the standout details of Ben and Beck's fantastic wedding yesterday. I've known these two since college, and it was a pleasure and honor to be able to document their day of exchanging vows, beginning a new chapter in their life together and celebrating with their family and friends. Not to mention, Via del Sol D'oro in Sierra Madre is one of the most gorgeous venues I've shot.

Settle in, this is gonna be a long post....

I love moments like this, when the bride's father sees her in her dress for the first time.

Seriously, how elegant and rockin' does she look?

That ridiculously long scarf? One of their purely awesome Dr. Who details.

Did I mention how awesome that dress was?

I loved seeing how in love with each other these two are.

This was such a sweet tender moment between Beck and Ruth, one of her bridesmaids.

There was no shortage of simply wonderful details at the reception, from the little favor bags, to the table settings and everything else. (And not a shabby chic mason jar anywhere in sight.)

Just try to tell me this is not the cutest wedding cake ever.

As first dances go, you really can't beat a room like this.

This one's a bit out of focus, but I can't help it. I love it.

These two know how to dance.

The danced. And then they danced more. And then dashed out in a shower of rose petals and cheers.

Mr. and Mrs. Ross, thank you, so much, for giving me the gift of documenting this beautiful day. 

Wedding bliss

That image right there pretty much sums up the feeling ALL DAY for Rachel and Mario's Malibu wedding. Their deep love for each other was so evident, no one was stressed out and everyone was having a good time.
I had the pleasure of capturing their engagement photos earlier this year, and had a blast shooting the wedding. I've many images to sort through, but here's a (big) handful of initial favorites from Saturday.

Rachel and Mario elected not to see each other before the ceremony. From a photographer's standpoint, that's sometimes a little bit of a logistical headache given the frequently detailed nature of wedding-day timelines. That was nowhere near the case with this wedding. It all worked out perfectly.
These next four images are also a study in looking for backgrounds in unlikely places. The first two were shot at the edge of a dusty parking lot, the third was down at the base of Pepperdine University's iconic Theme Tower, and the last was shot in an empty classroom lit by nasty fluorescent lights.

I don't think I've ever photographed a wedding where either the flower girl or the ring bearer didn't cry.

The Pepperdine chapel is just a little bit amazing.

Late afternoon light? Check. Veil? Check. Couple very much in love? CHECK.

There was a lot of this at the reception...

A sunset kind of love

After a few weeks of circling the runway, so to speak, I've landed. I moved into an apartment in Edmonds, just a little bit north of downtown Seattle. It's a great little shoreline town that reminds me in some ways of Ventura, California.
Yesterday, I capped off an afternoon of garage sales and furniture hunting by walking down to the waterfront, taking in the sunset and capturing a few images along the way.
This is probably one of my favorite images recently. It's candid, well-framed and (despite being just a little blurry) tells a story of a moment in time. This couple only stopped long enough for me to pull out my phone and quickly frame a shot before they moved on.

Wedding day

A few months back, I had a great time capturing Sheridan and Jade's engagement pictures at Descanso Gardens and downtown Pasadena. Last weekend, I had the pleasure of capturing their wedding in the garden setting of Le Chene French restaurant.
It was a perfectly sunny, breezy spring afternoon, as they exchanged vows under sprawling oak branches and then mingled with guests until the sun went down.
There's lots of great images to process, but for now these are a few favorites.

The Sigma 50-150mm vignettes like crazy on the 5D, but it does have gorgeous, creamy bokeh.

I loved the images I captured of Jade, waiting for her groom to arrive.

I love the shallow depth of field on the 50mm 1.4.


I had a great time Sunday with Mario and Rachel, who are getting married this summer. We spent some time at Malibu Creek State Park and Malibu Pier, making the most of the clear skies and golden, late afternoon sunlight. There's more to come, but these are a few initial favorites.

Fun fact: I shot engagement photos last fall for Rachel's sister, Jessica. Click here for one of my favorites from that session.

you and i.

Just one for the moment...I had a great time yesterday with Sheridan and Jade, shooting their engagement photos at Descanso Gardens and Pasadena City Hall. They're an awesome, relaxed couple, and I'm looking forward to documenting their wedding next spring.

all i want is you

On Tuesday, I drove down to The Sunset restaurant in Malibu to join about 45 other photographers for a charity engagement shootout.
It was basically like photographic speed dating, going from couple to couple. Except I've got no speed dating horror stories. I really had a great time with each of the seven couples I photographed. They were down to earth, and they were in love.
Here's one initial favorite image from each micro-session.

love that conquers

i can't think of a better time than thanksgiving to post some of my favorites from teague & jenni's engagement session. so much thankfulness is embodied in an engagement. she said yes. a man finds someone with whom he wants to spend the rest of his life, and she reciprocates. marry for love and nothing else. i am so happy for the two of you as you begin this new chapter in your lives, and i am thankful for the opportunity to capture the magic of your wedding day. a wedding is one day; a marriage is every day after. but the wedding day is a sweet point of demarcation.

sing tomorrow's praise.

July and August were great, busy months of capturing some fun images as part of my 30for30 promotion. Everyone brought a different personality to the table, and I had the pleasure of capturing some moments I feel really reflect who these people are. Thanks to everyone for braving the SoCal heat, dodging security guards, standing in the midst of fire ants, and generally letting me tell you what to do. Here are just a few of my personal favorites. And keep on the lookout for an upcoming holiday photo special, and if you are (or know) a graduating senior it's time for some relaxed and natural senior portraits. You only get one shot at life. Live it with Vision!