Linsey+Joe | Stonetree Golf Club

On Monday we are leaving for a week long vacation, but before we go, here is another amazing wedding I recently photographed at Stonetree Golf Club in Novato. Linsey and Joseph are super energetic couple and it was pleasure working with them. Details will come soon, for now just take a look.
Hope you guys having a fun honeymoon at Greece.

p3 flash gal placeholder Linsey+Joe | Stonetree Golf Club

Rakhi and Gabe | Palmdale Estates | Wedding Photos | Indian+Jewish

How often does a wedding photographer get to photograph two separate ceremonies in one day, and it’s the same couple getting married? How is this possible? Clue: It wasn’t a civil ceremony followed by the religious ceremony. That would be too easy! It was a spectacular, multicultural wedding-wedding.  Rakhi and Gabe were married at the beautiful Palmdale Estates. Thank goodness at least one thing was in the singular at this celebration.

Two old and rich wedding traditions, Indian and Jewish, were celebrated. The format of each of these traditions is really different, to say the least.  People form in different groups at different times, this thing happens here in one tradition, not at all in the other tradition, this kind of appropriate attire in one, that kind of attire in the other, standing,  sitting, white wedding gown, red wedding dress,  henna, chuppa. Are you keeping up?

All I had to do was figure out how to be in the right place at the right time. Of course, I’d done some multicultural weddings before, so I wasn’t worried at all. OK, not so many Indian Jewish weddings. And OK, I was a little nervous. I really was looking forward to it though; to the newness of the situation, to the adventure, to what I was going to see that I’d never seen before. Who wouldn’t want to be there? This was going to be something!

And it was. I came, I saw, I photographed, and I loved it. It was dynamic, emotional, upbeat, serious, light. A true celebration. And really beautiful.

Time passes so fast. It was only around last Christmas (speaking of not Indian and not Jewish) that I was shooting their engagement session,  and boom! here were are in July and now Rakhi and Gabe are already married.

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Other Indian weddings

My perspective on how to choose your wedding photographer

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. I’d have posted it sooner, but I’m always photographing weddings! I’d like more hours in the day. Here are my thoughts, for better or for worse, better late than never.

When I meet a new couple, I see in their faces a look that says, “What do we say, what do we ask?” It’s not as bad as a deer in the headlights, but they’ve never hired a wedding photographer before and are unsure of what to ask. Read on to get the lay of the land for a first consultation with a wedding photographer.

Five Easy Pieces

Your wedding photos are forever and, naturally, you want just the right photographer for you. How to you find him in the sea of “professional wedding photographers” in your area?

It’s really not that difficult.

Here’s how it usually goes. You’ve talked to friends. You’ve looked at the work of many photographers on their websites. You’ve gotten referrals from a kajillion people. Now it’s time to set appointments to meet the person who will turn your wedding day into images that dazzle, photographs that you’re delighted with, and a day spent with your photographer that just sailed with ease. You loved it and just know that you can’t wait to see your wedding photographs.

You love his work

A hugely important part of this meeting is seeing his work, obviously! If your heart starts to flutter and your tummy does flip-flops when you see his work, you know you love it. You should see not just a few, but many many of his photographs that make you say, Yes! that’s what I want! From the variety in his work, you should be absolutely certain that he will be able to tailor his photography to fit the unique look of your wedding into unique photographs that are you–not anyone else.

You are loving what you see and enjoy the way he presents it to you. Does he let you take your time and really look–really really look–at his work? Does he talk about your wedding, not other weddings? Do you see that he has a point of view but that he also doesn’t shoot each wedding in the same way? Stay away from cookie-cutter photography!

First and last is relationship

A feeling of instant comfort and rapport is important. You’re feeling at ease after a few pleasant exchanges. It’s like knowing you are comfortable with another professional that you’ve hired. Discomfort? Awkwardness? Nope! Cross those out! The mood is light! You’re talking about your wedding after all. A joyous day. An important day. An enjoyable day.

Getting a sense that he’s at ease with himself, and interested in you and your wedding is also key. If you find yourself really comfortable just chatting with him, you’re on the right track. The conversation ambles along easily. You’re smiling. He’s smiling. You sense you could have fun going out for a light meal and more conversation after the consultation is over. As you sit and talk, do you feel like you’d like him to just start taking some photos of you now? That’s how comfortable you should be with your photographer.

Does he have depth of experience?

It goes without saying that he needs to be experienced; lots of experience. Experience shooting in difficult lighting. Experience shooting when the wind picks up. Experience photographing around the limitations of your chosen venue (for example, your church or synagogue won’t allow something, like the distance the photographer must be from this or that).

He’s candid when answering your questions. How long has he been doing this? How did he learn photography? Why does he want to be a wedding photographer? What kind of equipment does he use? Why did he choose that kind instead of another? What kind of post-processing software is he using? Is he really experienced using it? Does he get along with it?

There are a lot of partnerships going on here. You and your photographer, your photographer and his equipment, your photographer and his ability to work with your wedding planner, your officiant, your photographer and his assistants, your photographer and his software, your photographer and your parents or your in-laws to be.

He’s able to answer all of your questions without any hemming and hawing. He’s experienced. He knows it. He’s confident. He’s calm and easy with the answers you need. And he’s not overbearing.

He gains your trust

Are you completely confident that he can do what you’ve seen in his portfolio? He didn’t just get lucky with one wedding, did he? No! He creates a beautiful wedding album–every time.

Are you absolutely sure that he’ll be there on the right day at the right time? What’s his track record? In the unlikely event that he is unable to be there–and this means really unlikely–like he was hit by lighting, heaven forbid!–can he assure you that he will have an experienced, suitable replacement? Do his assistants also have depth of experience? If he couldn’t be there because he’s in the hospital, would he refer you to the absolute best photographer he knows, even if that photographer is his competition? Does he care that much about your wedding?

Does he explain everything clearly? He should explain how the day will go. What he will ask you to do in order to get some of the shots that are more posed, like the family group photos. How much contact you’ll have with him during the day. How his assistant–if there is one–will work along with him and with you. He should explain how booking the date is done, the contract and its details, and his fee. All clearly. It’s all on the table and there are no unanswered questions, no hidden fees, no surprises. There should be no wiggly-weasly language at this point. Just clearness. Just clarity.

He has to love his work

He’s gotta love his work! He has to be passionate. He has to be a maniac about his love and interest in wedding photography. Does he convey that to you? He looks forward to each wedding with enthusiasm and fresh eyes.

He’s a wedding photographer–a full-time wedding photographer. Better than that, he’s a heavily-booked wedding photographer.

He’s also the sort of photographer who sees interesting photos everywhere he goes. He almost always carries a camera. He photographs almost everything he sees. He’s interested in new equipment and whether or not it will give added value, a new edge to his photographs. He’s practicing all the time. He goes to workshops. He’s won awards.

First and last is relationship

The last is the first–it all comes down to relationship. Do you click with him? You should be comfortable, assured, and have no worries about your wedding photography. One more thing off your mind. One more thing put into highly capable hands. And you’re looking forward to it!

If you found him, you’ll know. Trust your gut. You’ve chosen your husband to be. Choosing your wedding photographer is almost as easy and just as much fun.

P.S.

Special thanks to Diane for helping me putting my thoughts together in this article.

Ariel + Julia | Glen Ellen

Dazzling scenery, clear blue skies, a beautiful bride and handsome groom: this is the sort of setting that wakes up my inner photographer; the one who yells, “YES!” and pumps his fist.

Having the privilege of photographing Julia and Ariel’s wedding in the little village of Glen Ellen, north of San Francisco in Sonoma County, complete with a grand vista of lush green forests from atop a hill, was exquisite.

Taking photographs in this kind of setting overflows with artistic possibilities.

Julia and Ariel’s wedding was informal; she in an elegant but understated gown, he in an open-collared shirt. Their wedding was remarkable in its elegant simplicity and relaxed feeling.

A mini forest on the top of a hill, with sunlight filtering through the branches of the trees, was the site for the ceremony. Afterwards, guests relaxed around the swimming pool for the cocktail hour, soaking in the view. The late afternoon light and the pool reflections made for golden photo opportunities. A seemingly orchestrated sunset illuminated the twilight hours and served as a relaxing metaphor as day turned into evening.

The outdoor dinner reception provided the perfect encore, with a blazing fire in a huge firepit bowl creating a cascade of lighting effects. White Japanese hanging lanterns, twinkling lights hung from the surrounding trees, and lots of candles on the tables gave the scene a soft, golden glow. Oh what a feeling.

Thank you, Julia and Ariel, for letting me be there. Enjoy your honeymoon!

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Caroline + Gregg | Hans Fahden

The more that I am into the height of the wedding season, the more I find keeping up with the blog challenging. I have plenty to say but, oy!, there are so many photos and choosing just the right shots for the blog from an bounty and beautiful shots is so tough! Everyone say, “Oh, poor Josef! I am wildly lucky, though, because the weddings I cover are beautiful. There is always fresh inspiration from the great and gorgeous couples, and the beautiful venues and decorating.

Next week it will be six months since I launched my blog and I just discovered we have over 300 RSS subscribers. Wow! I wonder who are all of you people?! Please leave a comment—they’re most welcome!

I photographed Caroline and Gregg’s wedding in end of June; a couple with such a positive vibe, it was hard not to be excited being around them. They also hired my brother, Alex of IQ Videography, as their videographer, so the entire IQ team was there.
The wedding took place at Hans Fahden Vineyards in Calistoga, California. It takes some imagination to realize it’s actually a vineyard because there’s so much lush greenery, hills, and a beautiful pond brimming with lily pads cattails, and koi, that it’s hard to see the vineyards. It is, however, cradled between cabernet vineyards and mountainous ridges soaring 1,000 feet above the Napa Valley. Paths meander through patches of roses and sunflowers. I’ll have to visit it again to find out where they hide the actual grapevines.

The venue was beautiful but also challenging to me to get around. The ceremony was set around the pond from one side, and the hills on another, leaving not so much space for my brother and I to move around. The unique reception area—an actual cave—the only venue I know that offers a cave as a reception area—was a little on the narrow side and a bit tricky to maneuver for shots, but well worth it because it was a stunning space. As far as I could tell, the guests were blown away when the door to the cave was opened for the first time, revealing the beautifully decorated reception. I clearly heard a loud, “WOW!” from the guests.

Guys, thank you for having our team! It was great witnessing your celebration. Enjoy the preview!

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Sarah+Sean | Crystal Springs Golf Course | Wedding Photographs

It was a super privilege to photograph Sarah and Sean’s wedding last Saturday, June 13, 2009, at Crystal Springs Golf Course in Burlingame. This was such a fun wedding. I’ve photographed weddings here before but this particular day was a day of rediscovery for me. I saw it with fresh eyes, and what I saw was spectacular.

Situated on a hilltop, the views go on forever. There was a sense of lushness and calm: the trees, water, deer (got a shot of), birds, sun and clouds, and especially the light and the colors of the sky. And on top of it all, literally, a beautiful wedding was laid out. Sarah’s soft, flowing train was strikingly beautiful amidst the natural beauty of Crystal Springs.

Sarah and Sean were great, so fun and relaxed. In total, it was a beautiful and quite enjoyable wedding. I was glad to be a small part of it. Thank you, Sarah and Sean! Enjoy the photos everyone!

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