Baby Chloe Photo-Session

I was fortunate to have photographed Nicole and Ryan’s wedding in April 2006, and now it was time to photograph their beautiful baby, Chloe.

Oh, Chloe! You were so delightful to photograph. You looked pensive, inquisitive, sweet—oh so sweet! You fit like a tea cup in your daddy’s hand. When I photographed you sleeping, I wondered if you were dreaming. So soft and perfect are you. How remarkable you are! Welcome to your family, welcome to the world.

Thank you, Chloe, and special thanks to your proud parents, Nicole and Ryan, for inviting me. What a wonderful way to spend a few precious hours!

Andrea and Brian | Celebrity Century Cruise Ship

It’s not as though this is my first year as a destination wedding photographer. I’ve shot so many weddings that I stopped counting years ago. I’ve never tired of it; I still love it.

But before every wedding, I get a little nervous—my stomach is a little jumpy, I indulge in a little worrying. After all this time I wonder, Will my photos look too similar to the wedding I shot the week before? I’ve got to get it right, I’ve got to nail it, I’ve got just one chance to hit one out of the park.

Not so surprisingly, certain changes in the arrangements for a wedding can calm my nervousness and worry. A destination wedding will do it every time. Because I know that it’s impossible for this wedding to look like any other I’ve ever photographed. I can relax—a little—but I still have to be at the top of my game. Great! I think to myself.

Then a curious little fellow enters my mind. He says, “Dude, how can you document a wedding without being overly obvious, practically shouting, ‘This is a fine example of a destination wedding!” I must remember, this is not about the trip or the place, it’s still and always about the bride and groom, it’s about their love for each other, and the celebration that marks it.’”

Wedding photographers juggle a number of elements: the location, the weather, the lighting, the bride and groom, the mood of the day.

What I can tell you for sure is that Andrea is a photographer’s dream of a bride. She has it all, just look at the photos! And Brian is a cool dude, nice smile, easy going.

From the moment I walked onto the ship I knew there would be tons of great photo ops, some natural and some created by me so it’s possible later to claim that those were real moments—a combination of a shot from a shot list, photojournalism, and me as a director of a shoot.

The first day of the cruise began with a small gathering in Andrea and Brian’s suite. When I shoot in a crowded room, the light is usually dim so I always use a prime lens. This, combined with my new Canon 5DMKII camera, really helps getting those really natural, photojournalistic shots of family and friends rubbing elbows and enjoying their time together. We took a few really nice shots in the cabin and on the cabin’s balcony as well.

I quickly thought, This is not enough, and I took them to the stern of the ship hoping to get a “Titanic type” picture of Andrea and Brian. I didn’t get the shot (obviously) but I did succeed in walking dozens of wedding guests through the narrow corridors of the ship, single file. I was the Pied Piper of Photographic Possibilities. When we finally arrived on the deck, the sun was down and I got some really nice photos of the family hanging out together, enjoying each other and the ocean breeze. After that (phew!), I took Andrea and Brian for some night shots before dinner.

The day of the wedding began in the beauty salon on-board the ship. Andrea seemed relaxed but was giving the mirror a critical eye every now and then. How is this looking? she wondered. She was pretty much glued to the chair while family and friends were popping in to say hi.

Next stop, check out Brian and his groomsmen. The day for them doesn’t usually start as early as it does for the bride. Was I surprised to find Brian standing in his shorts drinking a beer? Nope! I got a couple of shots of the guys and headed back to the salon.

Fast forward to leaving the ship for the ceremony on the beach. There was the usual instant “shopping mall” of stalls you see at ports. Everyone at the “mall” cheered as Andrea and her bridesmaids passed by. They were all singing (something I didn’t recognize but it sounded full of enthusiasm), there was the beat of drums, and cheers and sounds as we walked by.

When we got to the site for the ceremony, I got to work capturing the beauty of the ceremony set-up, how it looked before anyone arrived. I worked quickly and also shot the reception site. Wow! Crystal from Amazae Special Events did a sensational job putting this wedding together. Chatting with Crystal after the wedding, I found out that it took three days to prepare the wedding venue, and doing it in Mexico, there was no shortage of obstacles. That’s a whole other story!

So there I was, running like crazy to get all the amazing details before the wind and the sun changed them into something less photographically ideal. Man, it was great walking in the sand, the sun appearing then disappearing behind huge clouds, the fresh ocean breeze, a totally amazing view. And a really cute couple under that amazing sky gazing at each other, taking in and digging every single moment. I wasn’t feeling those exact feelings myself—because they’re Andrea and Brian’s—but the feeling is “catching,” and it feels somehow intoxicating.

From that point on, it was pure celebration. I was jammin’ trying to get as many candids as I could. Thought to self: Maybe too many?

The whole celebration wasn’t over until the last day of the cruise when we had a little TTD (Trash The Dress) session poolside. Andrea, again in her beautiful wedding gown, and Brian jumped into the pool with the entire family and other onlookers watching.

It seemed such a cool way to say, “It’s over! We’re married. Let the fun begin!”

Featured on ISPWP and in Today’s Bride. Recognized as one of “Best of Wedding Wire 2009,” and “Best of Project Wedding 2008.”

Just a quick update. It’s crazy! A whole bunch of good news lately! Back in February (2009) I photographed Kristine and Jim’s wedding. It’s been chosen to be featured on ISPWP’s site (International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers). Link
Not only that, but my latest awards from Winter 2008-2009 contests landed me in the top 20 U.S. photographers for the season. Not bad! link
And there’s more! It just keeps getting better. About a week ago I got a letter from Project Wedding, notifying me about including me in their “Best Of” category, and simultaneously, I discovered that I am a part of “Best of Wedding Wire,” too.
Isn’t this nice? And to top it off, two weeks ago I got a call from Today’s Bride notifying me that some of my work is featured in their 2009 Winter issue.
While my clients are still and always my most important critics, it is a good feeling to be recognized by my own industry. It just feels good.

Jeannie and James | Piedmont Community Center | Wedding Photos

Jeannie is seriously in love with my photography. (Did I mention that I’m terribly humble?) On the serious side, I am very lucky to have clients like her and James! Dare I say she had a wedding just so I could photograph it?! Ooops, James, she loves you, and she loves your tiles too. She even made my assistant photograph the rings with a group of your colorful, small tiles (a photo of this is not posted here quite yet—I haven’t gone through all of my assistant’s photos). It’s well-known secret that Jeannie would like to make me the first inductee into the Photographers’ Hall of Fame. Her great and wonderful energy certainly gave a boost to my artistic vision. It was fun and a super pleasure being involved in their wedding. How often do you see a bride performing? I hope you guys will be able to see your wedding photos on your honeymoon!

p3 flash gal placeholder Jeannie and James | Piedmont Community Center | Wedding Photos

Some engagement favorites from last two weeks

Just couple photos from the recent engagement sessions I’ve shot in San Francisco. Seriously, my clients are best and I don’t know how to explain it. If weather cooperates, more to come in first two weeks of April.