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The Foyt-Hornshaw Wedding, Lake Orion, Mich.

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I just returned from the Foyt-Hornshaw wedding and their gorgeous weekend in Michigan!

I’ve known Caitlin and Phil since college at Central Michigan University. We all worked for CM Life, the school’s newspaper. I have a ton of great memories from my time at CM Life even though there are only a handful of friends that I still keep in touch with.
Caitlin and Phil are two of those people.
During college I knew Caitlin a bit better than Phil, I think mostly because her and I always seemed to be in the office at crazy hours. We also both put in long nights between her writing and my managing the photo department. I remember her always sitting at one of the computers writing something or working on her classwork while waiting on stories to appear (via the police scanner or otherwise). This is also why we ended up joking around or talking to pass the time.
It led to moments of the utmost productivity, like this gem:

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Clearly we were working very very hard that night.

Quite similar to how hard me, Phil, and the other editors were working this afternoon….

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We got some serious distance with that launcher. Don’t worry, no one was around. But that fruit cup…um… didn’t survive.

After graduation I returned home to California, and then about a year later I moved to LA. An about a year after that was when Phil and Caitlin decided to move west and head to LA themselves.
It was still quite a while before our schedules and lives slowed down enough to a point that we finally crossed paths, but that’s LA for you. Everyone is busy a lot of the time and really you just need to schedule time to have time… plus it’s fair to argue that I’m not around that often, either.

Well, fast forward a bit and Phil and Caitlin are engaged! And I’ve been asked not only about their wedding photography, but also engagement photos, too!
Sweet! And we’re going to the Color Run in San Diego for them! Even more awesome.

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You guys might remember seeing these. It was a pretty fun morning but these were definitely the highlight for me. Something totally different for their engagement shoot!

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Well, since that day in November (wow! it was a while ago now, wasn’t it?!) the wedding has come and went.

Michigan turned out to be a bit chilly (for my Californian blood anyway) and I found myself turning on the heater in the morning when it was 58 degrees out and I left the house to go get my iced chai tea… Yep, I’m that guy at the coffee shop – the one that doesn’t drink coffee.
But the wonderful thing about Michigan in the Fall is the light. Hell, most of the year there is such incredible light to shoot with. I don’t know if the people there realize how great they have it. Blue skies and white puffy clouds are totally normal. We have to photoshop things like that back in Los Angeles.

I’ll get to the pictures here shortly and let them do the rest of the talking with some captions here and there. Save to say that my weekend with the Foyt and Hornshaw families was pretty awesome. I had such a wonderful time getting to know everyone. I had met a small handful of Caitlin and Phil’s friends back in LA, and a couple of them were there at the wedding, too. But to have more time to hang out, talk, and laugh with everyone was a blast.

So, with that… I’ll shut up. Click past the break for the remaining images in this 250 photo blog post about the Foyt-Hornshaw wedding out at Lake Orion, Mich.

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Sarah and Ernesto’s San Ramon Wedding Weekend

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Another pair of high school friends are now married, making me feel that much older. Haha!

Last weekend I spent with the Randle and Villarreal families for Sarah and Ernesto’s wedding in San Ramon, Calif. I’ve known Ernesto since elementary school – and we played sports together in Jr. High and High School. Sarah I don’t think I met until High School. However they’re part of the circle of friends my younger sister has known through school and college, so I grew up around all of them to some degree.

Last year Ernesto and Sarah contacted me about shooting their engagement photos during one of my trips the Bay Area. We had went out to Mountain View and spent a few hours together shooting and catching up a bit on life. Shortly after they discussed the possibility of me also shooting their wedding.
But when it came time for their big weekend last Saturday I finally had more time to catch up and hear about how they’ve been the last, well, many years.

I had a blast at the wedding – which I fully expected that I would. I knew several people that were guests, and a few of them I’ve shot for in the past. What made it even more fun was seeing and hearing the little things that Sarah and Ernesto did for their wedding to make it fun and meaningful to them. And even though Sarah joked with me many times that she hates being the center of attention, she definitely seemed to have fun and pretty easily ignored me pointing a camera at her all weekend! Plus it helps that Ernesto has no problem being the center of attention if needed. lol!

The weekend started out with the rehearsal in the afternoon at the San Ramon Golf Club where they would be having the ceremony at. It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend – which was a welcomed change from the cooler overcast weather the Bay Area had been getting. The pastor who would be performing the ceremony was a wonderful guy named Steve who I had met last year at the Rowe wedding. After a couple run-throughs of how the ceremony would go down on Saturday everyone headed back to the South Bay where we would all meet up that evening at the Randle house for dinner to celebrate with everyone. I was able to squeeze in a quick stop on my way home to see my brother-in-law and my niece, which was nice since I don’t see them as often as I’d like to.

The next day started in the afternoon for me. I met up with the ladies as they were starting their hair and makeup. All the girls were surprisingly chill and relaxed – usually it seems like wedding parties are a bitttt more anxious. But, all the girls were just hanging out talking about stories of their bachelorette weekend trip or catching up with those who hadn’t seen each other in a while.

The ceremony later that afternoon was beautiful. It was sunny, warm, and just breezy enough to not being annoying but also keep it cool enough that the everyone was comfortable in their dresses and suits. Ernesto and Sarah opted to do a first-look to be able have their own moment with one another as they saw each other for the first time; we were also able to take some photos of everyone before things started.

I’m going to just stop here and leave the rest for the captions about different parts of the weekend. Below the break you’ll find over 250 photos of my time with the Randle and Villarreal families. I had a great time and it was really cool to be part of another pair of friend’s wedding. I’ve had the pleasure of shooting for several old friends and it’s always sweet when they’re equally excited to have me as part of their wedding.

So, read on! And enjoy the rest of the photos from Sarah and Ernesto’s wedding..

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The Vaccaro-So Wedding, San Jose

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I just returned from San Jose where I shot Phil and Jacque’s gorgeous January wedding.

It was a cool weekend up in the Bay Area, but the weather stayed clear and sunny long enough for the So wedding ceremony to be comfortable despite such a chilly week leading up to the event.
I’ve known Jacque years now… since high school. Actually it was after high school that her and Julia and I started hanging out more often. Up until I moved to SoCal years ago we would get together occasionally for dinner or drinks or coffee at Santana Row. So it was very flattering with Jacque got ahold of me to tell me she was engaged and interested in me shooting her wedding weekend for her.

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The last time I had seen Jacque and Julia was at Satana Row, of course, when we met up briefly for dinner one night.

And now we’re just barely into January and I found myself returning back to the Bay Area after having just been in town for the holidays. The weather was freezing… literally freezing. Night time lows that week were in the mid-to-high 20’s! In the Bay Area! Friday afternoon I went out to Cinnabar Golf Course to meet up with Jacque and her family for the rehearsal. I had shot at this location about 18 months ago – so I was already familiar with the grounds and how they do their weddings. Mostly I was just there that afternoon to shoot around to get a few “practice” photos for the family to have. Rehearsal was fairly quite and most people seemed to understand it well enough. Though to be honest I think everyone was getting too cold out on the patio to admit anything if they were confused about the order of events anyway.

Afterward we all went out to dinner, courteous of Phil’s family.

The next morning started as every wedding does for me, with hanging out as the ladies all start their hair and makeup. The girls were all getting ready at the venue so that certainly made things much easier on my end. The men all arrived a few hours later and prepped in the men’s locker area themselves. For the most part the whole morning was very smooth. Although Jacque later told me, while laughing about it, that she did have her own small panicky moment that morning right before getting her dress on. But hey, she’s all married and things are fine so clearly it was all good. haha.

The ceremony was gorgeous and despite it being very chilly out later in the evening, the afternoon sun was warm enough for people throughout the vows and pictures afterwards.

I’ll save the rest of the various details for photos below.

However I do want to share something that Jacque said to me at the end of the night when things were winding down. While talking with Jacque she thanked me and said “There was no question that you were going to do my wedding photos. When I got engaged I knew it was going to be you, so, Thank You.”

Those kinds of things mean so much to hear, especially from old friends. I’ve been very lucky to shoot for several old friends over the years and to continually have others book me and be pleased with their decision is a wonderful feeling.

So, click past the break to check out just over 200 additional photos of Phil and Jacque’s wedding in San Jose. I know there are various friends and family that couldn’t make it, as well as Jacque’s brother who is currently deployed. For those that couldn’t celebrate with everyone here’s my view of the So wedding last 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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Back to Michigan for the Gilding Wedding

Another old classmate and journalism friend got married two weeks ago – and I was there in Michigan to be part of it!

As many of you know, I just spent about 10 days out in the Midwest… the first time I’ve been back out that way in nearly two years. I was there to shoot Katie and Ryan’s wedding in Michigan. Katie and I used to work at the paper together in college while attending Central Michigan University. Many times we were the ones that would run out to cover some small spot news assignment like car accidents or things like that. Honestly, it’s funny to look back on the thing that we would go out to photograph and write about for the paper. Small town life during college was pretty different for someone like me.

Since college I returned home to California and Katie, over time, switched from journalism and writing to become a teacher. She now lives outside of her home state of Michigan and laughed with me about old stories from college and how things never really go how you expect them to when you’re working on your degree. My first evening with Katie and Ryan’s families was spent at the wedding rehearsal and dinner. And while there we caught up on other old friends and who still keep in touch with and who has gone where since those long nights in the newsroom working on the next mornings edition.

When I first met Ryan earlier that afternoon one of the first things he said to me was “it’s nice to finally meet you.. I’ve recently become a big fan of your work!” Receiving compliments is always flattering, and I responded with “Oh! Great! You’ve looked at it!” Haha! You guys would be surprised how many people I shoot for that haven’t really taken a look at my photography. Typically I’m booked by one of the two who has either met me, seen my work, or was referred to me by a friend of theirs. And it’s great to get referrals that way, but it’s equally funny when I hear that the other person in the wedding may not have seen any of my work.

The rehearsal started off a bit bumpy… oddly enough the wedding coordinator at the country club didn’t come out to help us, show us around, or give any sort of direction like “here’s where things are and here’s a basic idea of how things will go tomorrow”. Luckily we found one guy that was able to tell us approximately how things would be set up and where everyone would be getting ready.
Then once that part was sorted out I ended up helping everyone organize and figure out timing and details of the entrance/exit.  Typically I only have to stand back and watch at rehearsals, but, if people are a little unsure of which order things should go then that’s where it helps that I’ve done this a bunch of times. Katie and Ryan were great about it too and laughed and thanked me for helping keep everyone moving through the rehearsal. Personally I think the funniest part was after we did a run through and I had to tell everyone to walk through it once more so I could actually take a photo or two instead of just directing!

The next morning started out a little slower since it was an afternoon wedding which meant the girls were going to be getting ready a bit later in the day. I made my way out of the hotel and out to the golf course. Katie and Ryan would both be getting ready at this location so there was only going to be one stop the whole day for all of us.

When I arrived at the venue Katie and her bridesmaids were already bouncing around getting things set up. Katie’s dad Mr. Maurer was also running around making sure things with the reception hall were looking good and organized, too.
And after the last part of the morning rush was done (which I fortunately missed) it was time to have a small lunch and then get ready to get ready. The next two hours or so was spent in the bridal room preparing with hair, makeup, and of course stories about college, work and other things in life. I was able to catch up with Katie a little more as well as get to know her bridesmaids a bit and hear about their lives – like Amy who works with sea turtles in the South.

Their ceremony was beautiful. Even though it was June in Michigan, it was breezy and perfect temperature in the shade under the trees where Ryan and Katie had their ceremony. Afterward we had just a bit of time to run out to the golf course for a few photos with everyone before the reception started.

The rest of the evening was a blast with plenty of dancing, drinks, and fun had by everyone that was there. I’ll save a lot more of the details for the captions as usual. I invite you to read on past the break for about 160 images of Katie and Ryan Gilding’s wedding.

 

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Ana and Daniel Godoy’s Socal Wedding

Ana and I have been talking about her wedding since last year – and now it’s already over and they’re returning from their honeymoon! And when I really stop and think about it, it doesn’t seem like that long ago that me, Ana, and several of our other friends were sitting around in college playing pool and ordering food late at night at Santa Clara University.

I’ve actually known Ana for nearly nine years – I met her through a couple friends of mine back in college when we both still were in living in the Bay Area. Since then I’ve traveled around the US while completing my degree – and now for my photography. Ana went on to move to Los Angeles, continue even more schooling and become a doctor. But we would keep in touch online over the years. And then, last year, when Daniel asked Ana to marry him, Ana asked me to be her photographer.

For those of you guys that follow my work on Facebook, you may remember seeing their engagement photos that we shot at the LA Zoo. Those were actually somewhat recent since all of our schedules are pretty hectic and it took a while to lock down a date that worked with everyone’s schedules.

Daniel and Ana were married last week in a gorgeous catholic ceremony in Southern California.  When I arrived that morning the men were just heading out to another house for the day. The ladies would actually be using Daniel’s families house to prepare for the morning. So I said my hellos and goodbyes to guys and waited and for Ana to arrive after getting the all-clear that Daniel wasn’t there any longer.

The plan was to eventually make it over to meet up with the men as they got ready… and that just didn’t end up happening since things with all the ladies ran a bit later than we expected. Oh well, they have to wait for the bride anyway, right?

The ceremony was beautiful, and the church was surprisingly well-lit. Typically for church weddings that I’ve shot they tend to be very dark with very few windows, so it was awesome that this location had tons of light pouring in and made it very easy to shoot plenty of images for Ana and Daniel.
At the end of the ceremony, after the pastor introduced Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Godoy to everyone in the audience, Daniel turned and said “So can I kiss her now?” to which the preacher started laughing and said “YOU BETTER KISS HER!”

From there we headed out to the golf course where the reception was being held. The first hour or so we spent outside taking photos and getting a few more group shots and fun shots in with everyone. And, of course, there HAD to that jerk-golfer-guy that clearly sees us taking photos yet seemingly tries to walk into each of our shots and stand on the practice putting green in the background. There were several times that we had to wait because he walked closer to us to “practice” or whatever. Haha, there is ALWAYS someone like that. You think people would be polite enough to wait 5 or 10 minutes til were were done taking a few photos at that spot and had moved on.

Ana and Daniel’s reception was a blast. They seriously had one of the best DJ’s I’ve heard at a wedding as far as his music selection for the night. And there were several family members that didn’t seem to leave the dance floor the entire night – they seriously danced for like 6 hours it seemed like. I stuck around and chatted with Ana as the night went on, and even though I wasn’t really shooting any more at that point it was nice to get to know everyone a bit more and talk.

As I do with every wedding blog, I’ll leave the rest of my comments for the captions. The biggest “problem” with this blog is that Ana is a very old friend of mine, which made it very hard for me to narrow down the image choices to share. So, click past the break for over 200 images from the Vargas-Godoy wedding in Los Angeles a week ago…

And to Ana and Daniel, Thank You for having me be part of your day!

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Calee and John Fernandez’s bright & sunny wedding

Last weekend I traveled up to San Jose to photograph the wedding of Calee and John Fernandez. It was a bright, sunny, and hot Sunday at Cinnabar Country Club. And everyone had a really amazing time – despite the higher temperatures.

Calee is someone I met a couple years ago, through friends of mine. She’s a close friend of my best friend’s wife. So I would occasionally bump into her on my trips to the Bay Area. And when it came time for her to plan her wedding, she asked me about coming back up to the Bay Area to photograph it. I knew Calee is the critical type – she works in the wedding field herself, she makes some really awesome custom cakes. So to be asked to be part of her wedding weekend would be some big shoes to fill. (I feel bad for whoever I one day hire as photographer when I get married)

Also in wedding party was Cassandra, a friend of the last 14 years at least, and wife to my best friend. She’s a photographer, too. On video, my best friend TJ, who I’ve known since sixth grade. And a few of the guests were other old friends of mine. So it was definitely one of those times that while I’m in great company, I also worry a bit about doing my absolute best. NOPRESSUREATALLLLL!!!

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The three-day Soni-Jiwajinda Indian/Thai wedding weekend…

Sunol Country Club – Sunol, Calif. This is just one of three wedding ceremonies that I had the extreme pleasure of celebrating with Ahn and Krishan last weekend.
The above image is also straight out of camera. No joke. I removed a few dust spots with the dust removal tool in Lightroom, but other then that, this is how I saw it… and how I shot it. It was a GORGEOUS day that Sunday.

This particular wedding spanned three days and three different ceremonies – Thai, Indian, and American. Every one of them was unique in it’s own way. But I’ll be honest and say that the cultural ceremonies, Thai and Indian, were the most colorful and ceremonial. They really make it bland an American wedding can be by comparison.
That’s not to say that they simply had a white-wedding for the “white” ceremony, haha. Just take a look at the picture above… it was still bright, colorful and happy.

First, I’m going to have to start with this amazingly hot photo of Arsie and me… I’ve known her since 7th grade, and by our senior year in high school she was one of my best friends. I was there to work, so I didn’t get as much time to catch up on life as I would have liked… but it’s ok, we stalk one another on facebook and twitter to keep up with each others world travels and crazy lives…

The first ceremony was at the Thai temple. This was a completely new experience for me. I’ve shot various cultural weddings, but not Thai… and certainly nothing with monks (who were all very sweet). I don’t recall exactly which water ceremony this is unfortunately… so I won’t try and label it out of concern I’ll say it’s the wrong thing.

I always keep and eye on the fathers during weddings. This was right as Mr. Soni started to tear up during the Indian sangeet ceremony Saturday evening. Watching him embrace Krishan for this series of shots was really heartwarming – you could see how proud he is of his son. Also, all the flowers they used for their ceremonies were flown around the world the day before just for these events, and their robes hand selected by Krishan’s aunts in the markets of New Delhi.

Another favorite shot of mine is this image of Ahn’s hands. She had traditional henna tattoos applied to her hands Saturday night at the sangeet. She opted to only do her palms since she wanted the outside of her hands clear in the wedding photos on Sunday. They did a really beautiful job though, I’m so glad I was able to capture it.

“Let’s go take shots somewhere nicer than the hall” is what was said after this image was shot. I actually disagree. The moment, the pose, and a beautiful bride having just put on her wedding dress make this photo everything that it is. Ahn’s dress was ordered and hand made in Thailand. All the beading was done by hand – incredible.

On the way out… Ahn started walking faster to see how well she could move in her dress. Turned out to be a great opportunity for another shot.

I loved this moment where Ahn was watching out the window as her guests seated themselves outside. Like I’ve said many times, I’m not a fan of posed images. This moment is real, and something that she’ll be able to look back on and possibly remember what she was thinking rather than it being a shot I asked her to stand there for.

It was a bright and sunny day that Sunday afternoon in Sunol. The country club provided a beautiful backdrop, as a photographer I couldn’t have had more perfect shooting conditions.

Say it with me everyone… “Aweeeeeeee!!!”

After the ceremony, photos, etc Krishan and Ahn changed into their traditional Thai attire for the Thai water blessing. This was where their marriage was now official in Thai culture – a process they started the day before at the temple. And they definitely received a whole lot of blessings too – I had time to go get a number of other shots from the reception during this time, haha.

Their cake was beautiful – and equally delicious when it was finally cut later that evening.

Still in their ceremonial Thai clothing, Krishan and Ahn thank everyone for being part of such an important day. Much of their family flew all the way around the world from Thailand, India, and even South Africa – oh and all those East Coast friends, their flight was drop in the bucket by comparison.

Ahn’s younger sister, Arsie, made a photo slide show for them to watch. Krishan busted up laughing and Ahn hid her face when an elementary school photo of Ahn popped onto the screen.

The Daddy-Daughter dance… always one of my favorite parts of any wedding.

I never know what’s going to happen during the cake cutting… will someone smash it in the others face? Or will they not? In this case Krishan ended up shoving the cake up Ahn’s nose, she sweetly fed him cake normally… bummer, she missed her chance.

Like I said, the cake was delicious. You can already see them putting out slices in the background for everyone.

It’s always fun watching other newlyweds at a wedding. So cute.

Brides ALWAYS break it down on the dance floor… and if they have a little sister there with them… you damn well better get a shot of it.

Better yet, get a few photos…

After three days, three ceremonies, and 2,460 shots on my camera… The weekend comes to an end. Here’s Krishan, me, and Ahn. I do have to say we all still look pretty good considering how busy the day was. Thank you guys, you were families were amazing.

And one last shot of me and Arsie before I headed out for the night, and ultimately back to Socal the next morning.

Wow, so, if you read all that… I hope you enjoyed the shots. I’ve been incredibly swamped recently and have actually done about six other shoots in the last week. I did two back to back shoots the day before driving up to the Bay Area for this wedding, too.
But, alas, those shoots are for that client I mentioned and the project I can’t talk much about prior to publication. But, I’m sure I’ll have something later this week to share with you all. I also have my trip to Korea coming up quickly. Wow.

Good night all!