Two weeks ago I had a the pleasure of photographing the wedding of Akila and Jeremy in Pasadena, Calif. This was my first time photographing a traditional Indian Hindu ceremony, and I had a great time documenting all the rituals and customs. Lasting nearly one-and-a-half hours, the ceremony had many similarities to a traditional Western wedding – such as walking down the aisle, the giving away of the bride and the exchange of rings. But it also has several other rituals that were new to me, including the Malasamarpana (exchanging of the garlands), the Kanyadaan (giving away of the bride), during which the mother of the bride pours a mixture of water and milk into the hands of the bride’s father, the bride and the groom, and the Saptapadi (the Seven Steps), where the couple make seven trips around the ceremony to mark the beginning of their lives together. Needless to say, there was plenty to shoot!
Although everyone was hoping for sunshine, there was more than enough color to make up for the relentless cloud cover to make this a splendid occasion. The bridesmaids were all in colorful saris, while the men wore kurta-pyjamas with colorful scarves. The bride and groom also had a change of wardrobe for the reception, with Akila changing into a gorgeous, custom-made dress and Jeremy going for a sharp tuxedo. Add to that several floral bouquets and a brightly-tiled wall and fountain at the Westin courtyard and you have a visual delight.
For the reception, the party relocated to the grand Atrium Ballroom at the nearby Sheraton Hotel. The evening was full of toasts, delicious food and plenty of mirth. Following the cake cutting, the night came to an end with a packed dance floor.
October started with a great week in Florida, beginning with the grand, French-themed wedding of my friends Cameron Thomas and KC Bosserman at the Orlando Country Club and followed by a few days of relaxing with the folks in Sarasota. There we celebrated my 32nd birthday and spent as much time as possible by the water, whether on sailboat or kayak, pool- or beachside, and of course, I took a lot of photos. Not much in the mood for writing at the moment, so I’ll let them speak for themselves. Enjoy!
On one of the more perfect days in recent memory, last Sunday I was fortunate to join my new friends Alan Pottasch and Veronika Vrbacka, and about a dozen of their closest friends, for an impromptu wedding on the San Onofre Bluffs followed by a reception party at nearby Surf Beach. The location is special to the couple, as they regularly spend several days a week surfing there, driving down and sleeping in their kick-ass VW van. The ceremony was held along trail 6 on a tabletop cliff overlooking the ocean. Just before the ceremony began, a group of dolphins was seen swimming among surfers far below. The site was marked by a rug covered in rose petals. As many days do along the coast, this one started out overcast. But just like clockwork, the cloud cover started to burn off around the 10 o’clock hour when the wedding was to begin. This created a picture perfect environment of mixed light, giving the scene a combination of warm skin tones and a seafoam blue background. For fifteen minutes, the group of friends gathered there as the couple said their vows and exchanged rings. During the ceremony several surfers stopped along the path to witness the event. Included in that group was actor Mad Men actor John Slattery, who was being followed by a lone photographer, likely paparazzi, who stopped for a moment to focus his lens on the wedding. Following the ceremony we did some quick group photos before piling into our cars and heading to Surf Beach. The couple had reserved a shelter known as the Dogpatch. We spent the rest of the day there eating great food, surfing and generally enjoying ourselves. This also marked Erinn’s first day of surfing, which is very exciting as she can now join me rather than watch from the beach. I wish I’d taken pictures, but we were out there at the same time. As the day wound down we joined another group that was there around a campfire and sat around talking and laughing until the park closed. The next day we reconvened for a late-morning surf session before heading back to the real world. A really great couple of days!
Last weekend I had the pleasure of photographing the wedding of Lance and Sarah in the Rose Garden at the Los Angeles County Arboretum. The couple, who live in San Francisco, were one of the first to book me after I moved to Los Angeles, well in advance of the big day. It was wonderful to finally witness their wedding after such a long time planning.
The couple started the day at the luxurious Langham Hotel in Pasadena where they each prepared for the day with their families. Then we all moved down the road to the equally beautiful grounds of the L.A. Arboretum for the ceremony and reception. Both were held in the Arboretum’s Rose Garden, which was the perfect setting for a small wedding such as theirs. The ceremony was held just at as the sun was setting, providing a beautiful warm glow to the scene. During the ceremony they had a unique ceremony called a ‘ring warming,’ in which the rings are passed from guest to guest before being exchanged by the couple. Following the reception I went off with the couple to take some portraits in the nearby herb garden while the guests enjoyed cocktails as the ceremonial space was converted to a reception space. A delicious dinner was then was prepared and presented by Contemporary Catering of Encino. After the reception wound down the couple then stayed behind to share a quiet and touching moment alone before exiting to a grand a sparkler send off. Following the affair everyone moved back to the Langham for a fun afterparty in the couple’s bungalow suite.
Overall it was a great day and I wish the couple much success in the future!
The primary reason for my trip to Michigan last month was to attend and photograph the wedding of Erinn’s sister Heidi and now-brother-in-law Seth. Seth’s family has deep roots in Hart, Mich., which is halfway up the state near the shores of Lake Michigan. In fact, the 80-acre property where the reception was held has been in the family for some 150 years. The wedding was in a very cute country church, made of stone and exceptionally dark wood. Both settings made for a very photogenic wedding. For the week prior, Erinn and family had been vacationing and preparing for the wedding in a lovely rental home on nearby Pentwater Lake, while Seth’s family prepared the property and readied enough food for 200 guests from his parents’ home, which sits on the above mentioned property. Meanwhile, I was traveling to Lake Orion and northern Ohio to visit my sisters and their families.
Michigan during the summer is pretty damn beautiful and is one of the most lush, green places you’ll ever see. However, to keep it that green requires plenty of rain, which the weather forecast had been predicting unwaveringly in the form of thunderstorms, from 10 days out all the way to the night before the wedding. The wedding itself would have gone off without a hitch, but bad weather would have been trouble for a reception protected only by three wall-free tents. Fingers crossed, everyone kept their heads up and proceeded as planned. What else can you do? I was actually pretty confident that there would be no rain, since it was AccuWeather making the prediction. They’re pretty consistently wrong in my experience ,and had they been predicting sunshine, I would have been worried.
On the morning of the wedding, we awoke relieved to the pleasant surprise of clear skies in all directions. The girls headed out early to have their hair done and, upon returning, everyone started hustling to get ready. At which point I started clicking. Long story short, it was a great wedding and went off without a hitch. The setting was beautiful, everyone was in good spirits. It was also great to see how much family participation went into making the day special. Seth’s mother and sister spent countless hours in the preceding week preparing enormous amounts of food for both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding. The main entree was fresh pork, which Seth and his brothers prepared themselves from a locally bought pig. And by prepared, I mean bought, killed and dressed before cooking on a giant barrel grill. The slideshow omits those photos, but I may post some later. His brother Cody also did the flower arrangements while his father, Heidi’s father and Seth spent an entire afternoon in the sweltering heat building the dance floor. They even put in extra effort by screwing the boards together so the floor could be recycled for later use in refurbishing a garage. Though Erinn says that, judging by the way Seth’s parents danced, she wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t just keep it as a dance floor. It was great to see that all of their hard work paid off.
Everyone danced into the night with things wrapping up around 2 a.m. Not a cloud formed all day. The next morning I awoke at 6:30 a.m. to thunder and the sound of rain on the window, causing me to smile before falling back into slumber. Whatever force that had held off the rain for the day had finally let go, and the clouds had rolled in. I don’t care what they say about rain being good luck on your wedding. The amount that fell that Sunday would surely have ruined the reception. That afternoon, as Erinn and I drove south to Muskegon, the rain fell so hard that we almost had to pull over for lack of sight. I’m sure it made the following day’s cleanup a pain, but in terms of the wedding I’d say we all lucked out.
Last weekend I had a great time photographing the wedding of Sandy Choi and Brad Beacom at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden in Arcadia. The couple looked fantastic and the setting couldn’t have been much more photogenic. The couple, their families and wedding parties started off the day preparing at the Sheraton hotel in Pasadena, before heading to the gardens for the ceremony and reception. The ceremony was held in an area known as Meadowbrook, an open field with a waterfall at one end and a view of the mountains at the other. Following the ceremony everyone moved over to the Sunset Garden for cocktails and a lovely reception, complete with several peacocks who call the grounds their home. Here are a few of my favorites from the day. I’ve included more images in an online gallery on my wedding photography site. Many more photos after the jump!
Last March I had the opportunity to produce a video for Mike and Camilla’s wedding in downtown Los Angeles. While I’m usually a photographer when it comes to weddings (and anything else!) I decided to take the multimedia and video skills I have (I was a film student and multimedia journalist after all) and put them to use.
Camilla is a successful wedding planner, so of course the wedding was extravagant, beautifully decorated and extremely well organized! The wedding day started with the bride, groom friends and family all preparing for the ceremony at the luxurious Millennium Biltmore downtown. Then everyone hopped in their limos and headed over to the First Congregational Church, an enormous old gothic revival cathedral built in 1932. Following a beautiful ceremony they all gathered for pictures outside before hopping in their limos once again to finish the night at the very stylish Pacific Electric Lofts. The penthouse loft, with its three story high ceilings and great views of downtown was a great place for the reception. Before the reception kicked off though, they held an additional wedding ceremony in the Korean tradition, which was both beautiful and educational, as I’d never been witness to that tradition. The night then wound down with dinner, some heartfelt toasts, an impressive round of a capella singing, and a whole lot of dancing.
The video they wanted was a simple highlight reel featuring the best moments of the night and set to the song of their choice. The original version we tried out was much longer, coming in at 9 minutes. At first the idea was to produce a piece that was set to music, but that would also fade out so you could hear the vows and later the toasts. But we agreed that the length was just too long and the fading in and out was more distracting than beneficial. So, with a heavy hand I knocked it down to just the length of the song and produced a much tighter highlight reel that really highlights the mood of the day nicely and is short enough to keep your attention. I’m happy with the piece and judging by the three word review from Camilla - “We love it!” – so are they!
I recently folded my old wedding photography site and blog in favor of my new wedding photography site , which better features my work and integrates more features for clients, such as private online proofing galleries and direct, online print ordering. At the same time I decided that rather than maintaining a blog for each site I would consolidate the wedding blog into this one. So, in order to preserve some of the content from my previous blog, I’m posting some of the favorites here before moving forward with new work.
Here’s a favorite from a recent wedding I shot for a great couple, Kellie and Jun. The reception was held at the Turnip Rose at Grand Newport Plaza, in Costa Mesa. It was a great venue with great lighting, especially on the dance floor, where I shot this as the couple enjoyed their last dance of the night. The ceremony was at the St. Bartholomew Church in Long Beach and was also very beautiful. I’ll be posting this and more from the ceremony on my wedding site in the near future.
I am a Los Angeles photographer specializing in portraits and documentary storytelling. I am available for assignment worldwide. For inquiries or bookings please contact me at email@example.com or 310-745-9854.