Rose and Brad were married over the summer at St. Vartan Armenian Church in Oakland, Calif. One of my favorite things about photographing weddings is getting to know the couple and learning about their traditions, so it was great to be involved with an Armenian wedding ceremony and celebration. St. Vartan is Rose's family's church and it was a wonderful place to make pictures. For the reception at The Terrace Room on Lake Merritt, there were three different bands, which was amazing. Brad, a talented drummer, even sat in with the Armenian folk band, which played during some really great traditional dancing by the guests!
Melissa and Les had a great wedding at the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco that I was thrilled to photograph over the summer. Melissa and Les were a really fun couple and the wedding was a blend of his family from California and Melissa's family of native New Yorkers. This was my first wedding at the Conservatory of Flowers and it was a great location with the ceremony out front, cocktails among the amazing flowers and plants and a separate spot for the reception tucked away in the back. The flowers and plant life were wonderful, and went along with Melissa's choice of bouquet and the decorations at the reception. It was a very lush event!
Caitlin and Chris were married at one of my favorite wedding venues of all time, the UC Botanical Gardens in Berkeley, Calif. The first time I photographed a wedding at the botanical gardens I lived less than two miles away, which was probably the shortest distance I have ever traveled for a wedding. For Caitlin and Chris' wedding, I flew back to California from Missouri, which set the long distance record for a wedding! It was great to be back in the Bay Area and spend time in the Berkeley locations, from getting ready at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza to the reception at UC Berkeley. Caitlin and Chris were as fun and relaxed as a couple could be and it was a beautiful event.
I think this was a first for me, photographing the wedding of a family member. My younger cousin, Rachael, married Patrick in the huge wooded backyard of their house in suburban St. Louis earlier in the spring. I had recently moved back to Missouri and I was thrilled to do it! Rachael has grown up into a super smart and beautiful woman and I know she and Patrick are going to have a fantastic future together.
Erin and Sean had one of my favorite weddings of 2014 and I was really excited to have a selection of pictures featured on The Knot this year! It was my first wedding at the Palace of Fine Arts and the reception location at the St. Francis Yacht Club couldn't have been nicer. It was an amazing view of the bay that just got better as the sun set. Erin and Sean were relaxed, happy and emotional all day and it was a real pleasure to work and spend time with them!
Sarah and Corey were married last fall at the very charming Sand Rock Farm Bed and Breakfast in Aptos, Calif., just outside of Santa Cruz. The location was woodsy, which I love, and the ceremony, then the dancing, took place in the barrel room of an old winery that used to be on the property. I had a blast!
With Sarah and Nick's wedding, I did something for the first time since college: photographed the wedding of a good friend. I worked with Sarah, an ace reporter, at my last newspaper and was thrilled when she asked me to be a part of the wedding. Sarah and Nick are super nice and I knew it was going to be a fun and heartfelt event.
Being friends with the couple can add an extra layer of pressure, but that is more than offset by the connection you already have with them. My friend and frequent second-shooter, Robinson Kuntz, also worked with Sarah and me at the paper, making the situation that much more comfortable. It didn't hurt that the wedding was held at the fabulous home of Sarah's parents in Lafayette, Calif. Check out that view from the backyard and the amazing flower garden that Sarah's mom has grown (which also provided for the bouquet!)
I really loved Jia and Jerry's wedding at Preservation Park in Oakland. This was my second wedding at this venue, which is kind of a hidden gem next to downtown Oakland. Having two blocks of historic homes and a small park all to yourself is great for a wedding and a blast for a photographer! Jia was the second bride I photographed this year who was a serious dancer. Her hip hop dance troupes from San Francisco AND New York came to the wedding and performed insane dances during the reception (not to mention voguing and having a blast during the cocktail hour!) Definitely a first for me and super fun!
I helped my buddy Chris photograph the wedding of his Earthjustice co-workers Jess and Wes at Lake Temescal in Oakland. I had been to the lake before, but this was my first wedding there and it was a perfect spot. There is fantastic landscaping and a little creek running behind the beach house and the inside is just right for an intimate wedding. Jess and Wes' talented friends all helped out in the wedding, including the DJ, the cake, the coordinating and the photography, so it felt like being part of a super-fun group project and I had a blast!
When it comes to picking locations for engagement pictures, I will ask the couple if there is a type of place that best suits their personality. Some people like nature, sometimes there are parks or cafes that are meaningful, other times they ask me to suggest some locations. Deb and Alfred knew exactly what they wanted: they are drawn to the industrial landscapes of Oakland and wanted that captured. Warehouses in Jack London Square, shipping containers, cranes and the demolition of the Bay Bridge were all on Deb's wish list. I absolutely love huge industrial spaces and was 1000% on board. No joke, I'm wearing my Oakland crane T-shirt as I type this. Needless to say, we got along great and they were one of my favorite couples of the year.
Heather and Amir was an incredibly fun wedding to photograph. There was a wonderful traditional Persian ceremony -a first for me- and amazing dancing at the reception thanks to Heather, who is working towards her PhD in dance at UC Berkeley. Top that off with their warmth and a fantastic Piedmont location and this was a really fun day.
Otilia and Andrew were married in one of the most amazing venues I have ever worked in. Panoramic Hills is a private estate in the Berkeley hills that has only recently become available for weddings and events. I actually used to admire the estate's circular brick buildings while walking the fire trail above my home and never imagined I would be spending the day there shooting pictures. Andrew is a super detailed guy, which made planning for the wedding easy, but the one thing you can't predict is the weather (which for the Bay Area in June really means fog or no fog.) We lucked out with a warm, clear day and everything else fell into place!
Neta and Pasha got in touch with me for a San Francisco engagement shoot so we met up for a fun afternoon at the Sutro Baths and Baker Beach. We had a blast finding locations along the water and they were so natural being photographed I just had to point the camera and push the button.
Sheridan and Lynda had a wonderful elopement at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur, Calif. It was a very intimate ceremony with just two close friends in attendance (who also performed the ceremony!) We followed the ceremony in the redwoods with sunset photos and toasts at beautiful Pfeiffer Beach.
I had the opportunity to photograph Mai and Kai's engagement session in the always lovely Tiburon, Calif. We had great light and a cute seaside Marin town, what could be better?
Tasha and Rachel were married in the redwood grove at the UC Botanical Garden in Berkeley, which is easily one of my favorite places for weddings in the Bay Area. The day went off without a hitch, which must speak to Tasha's amazing skills as a project manager. This was a fun and emotional wedding that I will remember for a long time!