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!
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.