Wes and James – A San Francisco sunset elopement

I don’t want to sound cliché but I love weddings even after almost two decades of shooting practically every day. Thousands of couples, tens of thousands of guests, millions of photos… I often question myself, am I doing this on auto-pilot? Am I still creating art or just clicking the shutter button after making sure all technical aspects are covered. Perhaps I was a better photographer when I had to take multiple crappy photos and finding the few good ones made me feel proud. Few days ago I was invited to photograph and intimate Baker Beach wedding and run into difficulties of choosing the spot for the ceremony. My photo brain started to spill out multiple options with pros and cons not just for the couple but even for the officiant (his age played a role in this). The angle of the sun, the position of the bridge in the frame, the crowds on the shore (this was a big surprise for the couple), the walking distance to the perfect spot, the background that works well with the couple’s outfit, my own freedom of moving around the couple on uneven terrain during the ceremony and the time till the sun will disappear into the ocean.

Was all of this a part of my inner “auto-pilot” or is it my inner desire to get something less ordinary. I don’t know. What I do know that I felt great photographing Wes and James. Their deep feelings for each other were so evident I caught myself clicking less and listening more to their vows. Yes, guilty as charged, I slow down during vows as my annoying shutter prevents me to hear everything. I solely rely on my instincts instead as I want to hear their voices in my head even if look at their photos in 2030.

So we’ve picked an unusual spot and instead getting down to the beach itself (a typical proposal spot), climbed up a bit and found a quiet and private spot in the shade. Tim Mills, who officiated the wedding and who I highly recommend for many reasons, flawlessly performed a ceremony and I signed Wes and James marriage license.

Wes and james, I know you are not from San Francisco but I do hope to see you again! I can even recommend a really good photographer who almost made it to your wedding (my daughter). One day 🙂