Tara and Gary’s San Francisco Wedding


I recently returned from the San Francisco Bay Area where I was shooting Tara and Gary’s wedding at City Hall! Tara and Gary had a 20’s style theme to their wedding weekend and reception, which was a lot of fun. They kept their dress/tux combo more toward the modern side as you see above, but the rest of the wedding party and guests were all dressed and encouraged to keep their styles closer to what you’d expect in the Great Gatsby or similar. My favorite part were all the youngest kids/cousins/etc running around in their outfits!

For those who don’t know, I met Tara about four years ago at Tom and Roxanne’s wedding in Monterey for Roxanne’s beach wedding. Tara and Roxanne are childhood friends and Tara was one of the many bridesmaids running around that weekend.

Roxanne and Tara during Roxanne & Tom’s wedding reception 4 years ago.

Tara and I have stayed in touch on Facebook over the last couple years and now mostly comment back and forth about triathlons and training – I’m bugging her to do the Tahoe Half Ironman next year when I go to do the full. Roxanne, sign up for the Half Iron and go too! haha!

Well, when Tara started planning her wedding a while back she reached out to me about shooting for her and Gary as I had done years ago for Roxanne. Dates were selected, details worked out, and after many more months the wedding date rolled around.
The rehearsal and wedding were both in Downtown San Francisco – an area I don’t usually get a chance to shoot. The rehearsal evening was pretty quick and was at the hotel everyone was staying at. The ceremony the next day though was at City Hall – which is gorgeous. I thought it was going to be a bigger hassle dealing with camera gear/etc, but it was surprisingly easy. After the ceremony we went down to the water for a few photos before heading to the Athletic Club for the reception where we were be all night with the rest of the guests.

As usual I’ll leave the rest for captions. So click past the break for just nearly 300 images from Tara and Gary’s wedding weekend!

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The Dwelle-Muñoz wedding

To say that Dwelle-Muñoz wedding was just an average wedding would be a bit of an understatement. An old Catholic church, a packed party bus, a beautiful reception venue, and a couple hundred of your closest friends and family… topped off with a mariachi band. You guys missed out!

I met Denay and Omar through Denay’s brother, Dale. I’ve known Dale for something like 13 years – and he’s quickly setting the record the the Most Weddings We’ve Been In Together. I actually am part of a couple weddings a year with Dale I think – clearly it means we both know everyone. hahaha!

Denay and Omar contacted me and asked about my availability to come up to the Bay and shoot for them in San Jose. It was incredibly sweet to be referred by an old friend to his younger, and only, sister. And I all I kept hearing about Denay from everyone I talked to was “she’s so nice!”.
I met up with Denay and Omar several months before their wedding – after booking and working out the details. This was my chance to sit and talk to them a bit and get to know them. Turns out they’re big Disney fans and had seen my Engagement shoot with the Nguyen’s at Disneyland a long time before planning their own wedding. We went over a number of ideas and talked about different stories. Cassandra, a close friend and photographer who would be assisting me, came along to meet them too. When we left we were both excited to be working with such a wonderful couple and looked forward to when their wedding weekend would finally arrive.

Denay and Omar were married on a Friday at St. Joseph’s in Downtown San Jose. It was the same church that I shot the Nguyen wedding in last year, so not only was I familiar with the venue and the lighting, but the Dwelle and Muñoz families would have a small idea what the images might turn out like. Win-Win.

My day started with the bride and her girls, as always. The difference with this wedding is that I wasn’t going to have to break away and try to meet up with the guys while they got ready. This worked out great for many reasons. One of them is that Denay and Omar each had eight people in their wedding party. The other reason is it turned out Omar was busy running around most of the morning with errands. As a surprise to Denay he went about bought roses to decorate their room with rose petals for later that night – and had to squeeze that into all the other things he had to do that morning.

It also turned out that the hair and makeup for so many girls went later than planned – so it was great that Cassandra was spending the morning with the guys. However, even as we were running behind and Denay was ready to bolt out the door I was still able to take a few minutes and create some gorgeous bridal portraits of her . But believe me, she hauled ass down the hallway when we were done, and when we got to the limo she turned around asked where all the girls were.

The ceremony was beautiful – as I said I’ve shot there before and it really is a pretty church. But, the majority of the cermony was in Spanish. Between my incredibly broken Spanish left over from what I learned in high school and having shot several full-mass weddings, I was able to follow along pretty well.
After the ceremony we had a TON of family portraits to get through before piling onto the buses and heading to Gilroy for the reception. But we stopped at 7-11 first to get drink for everyone. The singing alone was worth the trip on the bus though, hahaha!

The reception was great, and I think the only thing that Omar and Denay would have changed would have been if they could have somehow stopped and talked to everyone that was there. I have a ton of photos from everything and I will talk more about the reception through the captions – so click down below for those.

Overall I had a great time and am incredibly pleased with the images that we created. Denay was an absolutely stunning bride. Omar even joked with Cassandra “Yeah, I thought she was going to dump me after like a year!” when explaining how amazing his wife is to him. Omar was looking damn sharp that day, too. My only regret for the wedding is that I didn’t get to spend nearly the amount of time getting to know Omar and his boys as I did getting to know Denay and her girls.

Click the break below to read on about my weekend with the Dwelle and Muñoz families! I have over 225 images from the day. I hope you all enjoy and laugh as much as I did.

To Denay and Omar,
I had an amazing time and both your families are wonderful. You two brought so much energy and love to your images it’s hard to not look at them and smile. Even people that have never met you have already been sending me messages online about the previews I’ve shared so far. Thank you for letting us be part of such an important day.

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Chris & Christine become Chris(tine) Nguyen

Chris and Christine became Chris(tine) officially last week.
And part of me is still somewhat feeling like “Wait! They’re so young! No way…”

I met Chris and Christine nearly eight years ago. We all used to work together at the Disney store in the mall. I worked there during two Christmas seasons between my other job with Paramount Parks. But during those two busy, crazy, insane-christmas-shopper-filled seasons I made some amazing friends.

And I can say, to a small degree at least, that I’ve been able to watch this relationship grow from “I think there’s an interest there” to “Awe, how cute they’re dating!”, and all the way to this point now… Married, and sitting on the beaches of Mexico on honeymoon as I write this.

I remember all sorts of silly stories with Chris, while him and I worked the stock room dealing with a million boxes of product. Late night floor moves with Christine who was always soooo shy and quiet – and people at one point trying to figure out if she was being mean, or really just THAT shy.

Many of you may recognize these two from the Disneyland engagement shoot that I posted last Fall. Seriously, we had so much fun.
It really was touching when Chris contacted me and let me know that the two of them were interested in me shooting their wedding. And then of course went on to plan out the Disneyland engagement photos, etc, with me.

My weekend with the Nguyen and Pingel families was a blast.

I remember Christine getting ahold of me because she was concerned about the rain in San Jose that was blowing in for a very un-seasonable June.
I said I wasn’t worried and we’d make it work. That either way we would rock out with some awesome photos and have a great time. Then… It turns out that Christine ordered six bright white umbrellas to use – how amazing is that? A bride that brings her own props for the photos!

The rehearsal was at the church – St. Joseph’s in Downtown San Jose – and went pretty smooth. And despite everyone being really hungry and eager to leave and get to the dinner, everyone made sure to learn what to do and how things had to happen. The parents all seemed excited, but a little nervous at their roles in the ceremony.

And the wedding was beautiful. Rain was mixed in with some sunshine, lots of clouds, and both cool and warm weather. But when things finally started moving along, everyone was in great spirits. It was awesome. And just like I expected, everyone had fun and barely let the small amount of rain slow them down.

I don’t want to write a novel here about the day – even though I know I could go into all sorts of detail. I’ll leave a lot of what I want to add with the captions. But I will say that I had an amazing time. To be able to be included in Chris and Christine’s engagement, and now their wedding is a huge deal to me. I don’t think I would have ever expected to be such a major part of either of their lives years ago when we met.

So, Chris and Christine, Thank You.
I had so much fun sharing such a milestone in your life together. I hope you enjoy the photos below, hopefully we have a few that you’ll cherish as much as the shots we created for your engagement.

Click the break for nearly 200 images of the Nguyen wedding weekend.

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A foggy start…

I shot the image above tonight at about 1am in Downtown Los Angeles. A man walks home alone on the quiet streets.

The last few nights has seen some incredibly thick fog – as bad as 20 feet visibility. I would love to do some more fog photos, but, I’m not up at 5 am to get all the morning shots of the sun trying to break through…

And as for this is how we’re starting off the new year… “foggy”
Sounds interesting… Maybe we’ll have trouble seeing our way this year..

Also, I’ve been shuffling through people’s caller id’s for use as wallpapers on my phone. I decided to screenshot a few of them to share with you guys. I might share more as I edit photos and load them up… But, for those of my friends who rather send me a picture to use – especially if I haven’t photographed you myself – please feel free to do so.

Pretty cool, huh?
I just need a program to shuffle through everyone…

It’s soothing at 105mph…

There’s something relaxing about doing 105+ on a bike…
Night rides mean no traffic on the highways, less cops to try and catch you, and except for the occasional idiot driver – there’s really nothing to get in your way.

With mountains all around me, downtown LA and Hollywood right around the corner, and a heavy jacket, crisp evenings like tonight are perfect… just you and the road.

However, after coming over a hill right by Universal at about 80 I came upon a drunk driver swerving between my lane and the one next to me… good to see there are still plenty of idiots out there. Hopefully he got his ass pulled over.

Good night all, I’ll leave you with one new photo about where I’m going to be tomorrow:

Back In Action

I’m back!
After nearly two weeks of traveling and shooting I’m back in Los Angeles. I had an amazing time in Michigan, so much shooting, so many people to see… it really was awesome.
I returned home only to leave for, well, home, a day later. I returned to the Bay Area to photograph Ray and Elizabeth’s wedding in San Jose.

While in town I put together a fairly extensive photo shoot with one of my favorite girls, Jaime. She’s beautiful, great in front of a camera, and just a really fun person to be around. We had so much fun and created so many amazing photos. I really can’t wait to finish editing them.
For now, here’s one shot… done in downtown San Jose with available lighting… I had turned off all strobes for this…

To Casey, Jency, Talisha, Kelly, and Jaime… I’ll have your images soon… I plan to work on them all this week. To Ray and Elizabeth, I’m working on yours, too!