Beauty is in the Simple Things

The wedding is a day; the marriage is every day. The temptation can be to make the wedding day the high point, the grand spectacle, the ultimate celebration. That is why there is something so very refreshing about documenting a wedding that is beautiful and precious in its simplicity.

Earlier this year... ok, much earlier this year, like day-before-Valentine's-Day earlier — I had the opportunity to document Nicole and Eric's gorgeous Santa Barbara wedding. It was one of the more simple weddings I've had the pleasure of photographing. It was a fairly relaxed morning of the two of them getting ready, sharing a first look and a few moments exchanging heartfelt words atop the clock tower of the beautiful Santa Barbara courthouse, then filling out paperwork and being married by a clerk, with just close family watching. Then, you know, we hung out for a while and took some portraits.

If there's one thing I've found true as a photographer, it's that you can't fake genuine emotions. I couldn't set up that shot of Eric's dad looking on with such happiness. This is why you need to learn as a photographer to be present in the moment and capture emotion as it unfolds.

I love me some handwritten vows.

I could have spent all day, literally all day, shooting at the courthouse. 

There's something really wonderful about being part of a small wedding ceremony. The grandeur of large venue and a crowd of well-dressed onlookers is removed (don't get me wrong, I love those weddings, too) and you're left with just the looks of love amid the writing of a new chapter in life.

Gorgeous locations all the live long day.

Nicole and Eric, thank you for letting me be part of this day and document the start of your story as a married couple.

Ready to have your wedding documented with zero stress and extra awesomesauce?

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

October Love

Frank and Heather's October wedding at the California Yacht Club was, how do I put this...awesome. So awesome I have way more images than the typical wedding. Which explains the length of the blogpost you're about to dive into...

(click any image for a pop-out image viewer)

DJ Matthew Rubino of Project Slate did an awesome job of pumping up the jamz.

Frank and Heather, it was an honor and an absolute pleasure to document this day in your life together!

Summer Gold

Heather and Frank were referred to me by a photographer I used to work with when I was a reporter. On Sunday, we met up in Venice Beach for an engagement shoot and had a fantastic time. Fun people, golden sunlight, crashing waves...what more do you need? I'm seriously stoked to shoot their Marina del Rey wedding next month. 

And yeah, I know...there's a bit of a gap between this post and the last. I've been a little busy this year getting married, and enjoying life and travels with my wife, and building up a backlog of images I never blogged.

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...

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.

Public Service Announcement

I don't usually (actually, ever, to this point) blog about non-photography related stuff, but I wanted to give a quick plug for Alan and Jennifer at Night Owl Paper Goods, who've introduced some great new wedding invitations. Based in Owlabama, they do some fantastic work. If you're a couple in search of eye-catching invites, or you're simply looking for some great cards or journals with fun, Americana designs, check them out!