The Do Wedding – San Jose, Calif.


Two week ago while most people were focused on Thanksgiving and which sales they were going to hit up the following day, I was with Maria and Tri as they were rehearsing their wedding here in San Jose. Then, two days later, on Black Friday while everyone was shopping or laying around sleeping after the Thanksgiving holiday we were all at their wedding.
So I wasn’t originally quite positive on how exactly Maria and Tri found me. At first I thought it was simply through Maryann, their wedding coordinator and an old friend from high school. Turns out that Maria is the sister of my friend Manny – also from high school, and someone who I’ve been to a couple weddings with over the years. Ha! That turned into a funny conversation the morning of the wedding when I finally put all that together.
Maria and Tri actually live in SoCal, and even though I had been living down there timing just never quite worked out to meet in person. Maria joked that in the weeks leading up to the wedding she became mildly concerned that no one had heard much from me. Whoops! I was actually caught up in the middle of an unexpected move from LA back to the SF Bay Area. But still was looking forward to their wedding and ready to rock it out.

Maria and Tri put on a lovely ceremony in San Jose, followed by an absolutely awesome reception – I’m pretty sure their families danced the entire night as soon as the music started.
Anyway, I have hundreds of photos below for all of you to check out. Whether you missed the event or just want to relive it, I hope you guys enjoy this recap of Maria and Tri’s wedding.

And, like usual, I’ve saved a lot more comments for the captions below..

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The Price Wedding, San Jose


Last week I returned from San Jose where I photographed Drew and Jana’s lovely afternoon wedding at Freedom Hall and Gardens.
Many of you probably already know that Drew and I went to high school together – quite a few years ago now, but we’ll not talk about that. haha! Like most of our generation we stayed in touch loosely online over the years between school, moving around (mostly me in that case), and other various things in life.
Last year when Drew decided he was going to propose to his girlfriend Jana, he reached out to me beforehand.

You guys might remember when I shared with everyone the engagement photos of Drew and Jana. Drew’s plan of a surprise proposal worked incredibly well. He talked to Jana and explained that he was going to have me come do some “couples photos” of the two of them so they had some nice photos of themselves. She liked the idea and no reason to suspect a thing.


But when Drew signaled to me that this photo was going to be the proposal, and stepped back and got down on one knee, Jana was so surprised she took a step or two back in shock when she realized what he was doing.
It was really sweet.

But anyway, you guys are supposed to already know all that… cuz now they’re married and I’m posting about their wedding day!

My weekend at the Smoot-Price wedding started with the rehearsal at Freedom Hall and Gardens. I have shot several other weddings here (one of only two places I’ve photographed more than once). So I know how they do everything and have an idea of how lighting/etc will work – which makes things quicker and easier for me.
Rehearsal was a breeze as everyone walked through the order of events for the wedding day and we all caught up on life between rehearsing and then later at dinner.

The wedding day started as normal for me – hanging out with all the girls as they started their hair and makeup. Drew later told me he was surprised when I texted him that morning for the girl’s contact info when he realized how early I was heading to the hotel.
The morning was hilarious as all the girls spent the majority of the time talking about stories and laughing. I’m going to save a lot of comments for the photos below, as usual, too.
That evening’s wedding ceremony was beautiful. The day started out a bit cold and windy compared to the hotter weather just two days before. At one point we were a little concerned that we’d all be out in the cold for the ceremony. Fortunately we were wrong.

Anyway, click past the break for just over 350 photos from Drew and Jana’s wedding rehearsal and wedding day!
I’ll talk a bit more about the day in the captions.

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The Starr-Hauck Wedding, San Jose – Calif.


Last Sunday was my last wedding of 2013. Michelle and Chris’ San Jose wedding up in the SF Bay Area.

I’ve went to high school Michelle years ago, but for some reason in my head I placed her behind me in graduation years rather than directly in front. It’s something that made sense to me, even though her circle of friends was the class ahead of me (so therefore I should have realized my mistake). Haha, but hey, plenty of people hung out with others outside their class. Right?
Though it was funny when Mrs. Starr, Michelle’s mom, found out I had the ages wrong for her daughters. One of Michelle’s younger sisters is Nicole, whose wedding I shot three years ago, was who I thought was the oldest for some reason. Mrs. Starr started laughing and pointed out my error to Nicole; Michelle laughed and said “Well, Nicole IS the mature one…”

It’s always a great feeling to be asked back by a family to come and shoot for another sibling. The Starr family is the third family I’ve done this for (after the DeLand’s and the Lordan’s). Plus it’s always nice to be able to catch up with everyone that I haven’t seen since the last wedding, too.
Michelle and Chris had been in touch with me throughout their planning and were on top of pretty much everything. They were having a pretty good sized reception with a lot of friends and family, but made sure to schedule plenty of time to greet everyone as well as get all the photos shot that they were hoping to do.

The rehearsal was a few days before the wedding due to the schedule of the venue, so I arrived in town early to attend and meet everyone. Since I’ve shot at this venue a couple times I wasn’t too concerned with “how things go” and was able to chat a bit more with some of the family and catch up on life. Plus I totally feel loved when parents like Mr. and Mrs. Starr walk up to give me a hug and ask how I’ve been right when they see me. And during dinner I ended up spending a ton of time chatting about photography with Chris’ father, Mr. Hauck, who also happens to be a photographer himself.

The wedding day was beautiful with great weather for a November afternoon. It was just warm enough without being too hot – or even too cold, and as far as light quality we could not have asked for a much better day. Winter and Fall days can always be hit or miss but this one was great. And with Chris and Michelle’s schedule planned out as well as it was, we had plenty of time and everything went really smoothly on my end.

I’m going to leave a lot more of the comments about the day for my captions. This being my second time shooting for the Starr family I had a hard time narrowing down the selection of images I wanted to share. I will say that I had a blast with everyone and spending the day with both families. The Starr and Hauck families are both wonderful. And it was cool to see a few old faces from high school again. Plus watching everyone party and break it down at the reception made me think I totally should have got to know all these people better in high school. They seemed like a pretty amazing group. Hahaha!

So click to read on past the break, and check out just over 300 images of the Starr-Hauck wedding weekend!
Like I said, there are a lot… but I got some great moments I want to share with everyone that was there, and of course those who couldn’t make it.


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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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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!!!

Read on after the break..
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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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World Poker Tour: Bay 101, San Jose

About three weeks ago I photographed the Bay 101 tournament for the World Poker Tour in San Jose, Calif.

I was contacted by the WPT about freelancing for them at one of their tournaments that they needed images from. This was an awesome opportunity and I was thrilled to be offered the chance to work with them. So, I made the trip up to the Bay Area and spent Friday evening – and many more hours into the morning – shooting the Final Table.

I’ve seen poker tournaments on TV, and know a couple people who have played professionally at various levels. So while it wasn’t a completely new experience being around television cameras, professional talent, etc., working with this major brand was a new setting for myself.
The staff of the WPT was wonderful though – everyone I came in contact with that evening was very helpful and everyone pretty much seemed to know I was there for the evening replacing their normal photographer and they all made sure I was able to do and shoot everything I needed that evening.

So, to the staff of the WPT, Thank you! I had an amazing time and you all were great!
Hopefully I get the chance to work with the WPT in the future; until then I hope you guys enjoy the images. I’m sharing a small collection of some of my favorite shots from the evening.

Final Table, before the start of the match.

The Royal Flush Girls

Getting started for the night

Vivek Rajkumar took 4th – winning $295,800

Casey McCarrel took 5th place, $221,800

Mike “The Mouth” Matusow took 3rd place, $369,800

Kimberly Lansing

Kimberly was extremely friendly made sure to give me enough time to get a nice shot of her in the booth.

Occasionally there were some moments where everyone was laughing and had some great expressions.

Moments like this were much more interesting though. Alan Sternberg ended up taking 1st place, winning $1,039,000 that night. But there were a few points that he lost some sizable hands.

Equally stressful were some major losses by Vivek. This was shortly after he lost a few hundred thousand dollar hands.

Getting ready for the final two.

The stare-downs were pretty intense.

Steven Kelly ended up taking 2nd place, $595,300.

Waiting on the flop.

Alan wins, and in congratulated by Vince Van Patten, Tony Dunst, and the Royal Flush Girls

The winning hand.

Group shot of everyone.


Really awesome experience working with the WPT that evening. I spent some time chatting with various people behind the scenes, got to meet a few members of the WPT talent, and also chatted with some of the Royal Flush Girls who were all surprisingly friendly (I say because a lot of models I’ve met are not, haha).

I look forward to the next time I get the chance to work with a great group of people like this.

Coming up for me is a trip out to Tennessee for the holiday weekend – so check back soon for new additions to my portrait series!

Preview of a busy week…

That’s me and best friend TJ, rollin in his ’08 Subaru WRX. My first car rig test shoot.

I’ve been in the Bay Area nearly a week, again. I came back into town here to photograph the Lordan wedding in San Jose (more on that shortly). But, I spent all of Friday with my oldest friend TJ, doing some shooting of his car while testing both my brand new 5DII, and his new camera mounts.
It took a little while to find settings that I liked, get the feel of the lense/mount/remote setups… And I’m sure even for TJ to find a speed at which his car was smooth and steady. We also tried a few garages and outdoor locations.

The main reason I was in town though, was the wedding of Amy and Michael Lordan!
Their ceremony was gorgeous. It was at the same location I shot at last time I was here in town, however, this wedding was outdoors since the weather cooperated for just one day this whole week!
Amy and Michael are both really amazing people with really incredible families. I’m looking forward to editing more photos to share with you all as I begin to sort them in the week ahead. Please check back in a few days for more on their wedding!

As I said above, TJ and I tried a number of different locations both indoor and out.
The rig we used was actually TJ’s new video rig, which, held my 5DII great. These shots were all done with the Canon 15mm Fisheye lens, too.
I’m currently working with a fabricator back home in Socal to develop a completely custom rig for myself and my work. Hopefully that will be done in the near future since I’m really excited to continue to experiment with various shots.

Speaking of experimenting with angles, gear, and rigs… check out this shot of Adam.
Also coming up this week I’ll post a few more images of Adam that I shot today – yep, we went out on Easter morning. I wanted to try some rig-mounted motorcycle images of him since he’s one of the most experienced riders I know. We tried a number of different things before the weather turned foul. Also, now we have some more ideas for next time of what worked and what didn’t.
So, next time around, they’ll be even better.

And lastly, I want to leave you all with this little gem…

This was the first image I shot with my new 5DII this week the day after it arrived.
Keepin’ it classy.

Meet the Machallisters…

If it rains on your wedding day… have some fun with it!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of shooting Will and Nicole’s wedding in San Jose, Calif. A completely different contrast to the week prior that I spent in Michigan with the Gerhardt-DeLand wedding.
Will and Nicole were actually in town from Colorado – leaving the snow for what turned out to be a rainy, El Nino, weekend in the Bay Area. The first thing I thought of doing with the bride and groom? Galoshes and an umbrella… and figured we’d throw the Maid of Honor and Best Man in there for good measure.

Nicole and Will were both open to any ideas when it came to dealing with the weather. The ceremony was indoors, so we didn’t have that to worry about. We were even able to do a first-look outdoors before the rain started really coming down. The photo above was actually shot during the rain… you can tell by the wet bricks and small puddles forming. Nicole got a bit of mud on her dress prior to the ceremony, but didn’t mind at all since she had fun with the photos – I love brides that are in such great spirits with everything.

The whole weekend that I spent with the families was great. I was welcomed in as one of the family, and ended up spending the entire rehearsal evening, and all day during the wedding festivities with them. I have many, many, photos below that I wish to share with all of you. So, I won’t say much more here but instead comment on a few of the shots ahead.

Check back middle of next week for another update on some other things I’ve been shooting, too!

The morning started out like so many wedding mornings… breakfast, mimosas, and cell phones.. haha!

Nicole… starting her primping.

Achilles was so GQ right then and didn’t even know it…

We did a first-look that way we could knock out the family and wedding party portraits before the wedding. It worked out really well since there ended up being no time to do photos after the ceremony.

Will, lookin good.

Nicole seemed worried about getting her photo taken. I think she looked quite beautiful.

If you look really close, my sister and her fiance are center on these place cards, haha.

Sometimes you gotta drag the guy down the aisle…Paige is gettin her practice in early.

This was incredibly touching. Will had to turn around to get through his vows because looking at his bride at the same time was too much to handle.

Achilles was hanging out with me… front and center, lol!

Paige was definitely one of my favorite subjects that night.

I love shooting the first dance. Always beautiful…

See! See!! Could she have made it any easier to take overly cutesy photos of her?

Honestly, this shot probably better represents Will and Nicole’s personalities and mood that night! They were so much fun!

The cake was awesome. They had two flavors… I had both.

Michelle dived… Seriously, that’s why she’s on the floor…

Well.Will was supposed to pull off the garter.. but..
And look at Michelle (left side) laughing in the background!

Cutest Father-Daughter moment. Ever.

One last slow dance of the evening…

Again, I had a great time with Will, Nicole and both their families over the weekend. I can’t wait to finish more of their photos and see what all I was able to capture for them.
Hopefully you guys made it through all of these. Check back soon for more updates. Or follow my fan page on Facebook, too!