Stylish Story Telling with Raw Emotion
It’s always best when you get to hear in their own words;
(After first meeting in a bar…the old fashioned way)
“And then he called. And left a voicemail. No one ever calls these days! Liz, suffice to say, was very impressed. She was also entranced by the deep, radio- quality voice speaking through her phone. She decided to call him back. They then engaged in a game of phone tag (which also no one plays anymore) and agreed to meet at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. After 4 hours of a much less hazy conversation, Ed and Liz both in their own minds decided that the other person was an a-okay person to see again…
And again, and again…and perhaps even live with so that they can see each other again and again every day.
Ed knew Liz was the person he wanted to marry about a year into their relationship, but he knew she did not have a similar desire at the time. You see, Ed had wanted a marriage and family ever since he was 16 years old when he helped raise his then newborn baby brother. Liz, on the other hand, went through a somewhat messy and drawn out divorce between her parents during her impressionable high school years. So, she never dreamed about getting married or – gasp – having children. But Ed loved Liz, and wanted to be with her. So he quietly waited, holding onto a bold hope that she would come around.
And come around she did. It took a measely 4.5 years and a lot of patience and gentle guidance on Ed’s part. But he finally cracked the shell Liz had carefully crafted around her. She came to the realization that though she had no need for any of it, she wanted everything Ed wanted. But only if that everything came with Ed”
Their wedding took place on a brilliant January afternoon, at the Palm Event Center in Pleasanton. We met the couple at their respective hotel rooms as they nervously got ready for the big day. Ed, ensuring his heartfelt vows were tucked neatly in his jacket, and Liz putting the final touches on the wedding dress she made herself. The anticipation was high as Ed was nervously waiting to see his bride for the first time… ok maybe he was a bit nervous about her dress, considering Liz’s eclectic style, anything could have happened. But as she strolled up in her feathered bodice and ombre chiffon skirt, all nerves fell away and a huge smile came across his face. We walked and talked through the dormant grapevines of the Ruby Hill Vineyard and said goodbye to the late afternoon sun pausing briefly before heading back in to get a sneak peek of the couples’ dance moves.
The ceremony was held in the barrel room where guests heard, in the couples own vows, to promise to be silly with each other, forever. And with that their good friend and officiant, Alex, made if official and pronounced them husband and wife. From there the evening was full of custom touches, and a few surprises that reflected the couples’ exuberance and spontaneity. The choreographed first dance was more B Boy / B Girl hip hop number than than your typical first dance, which scored big with the guests. As the dance floor filled up, Liz revealed a surprise even Ed didn’t know about… Stomper, the mascot for the Oakland A’s hit the dance floor!! Ed was pretty stoked at this point and the only thing that could’ve tipped it over was about to open up… a donut flambé station.
Yep, that’s how you do it. Enjoy the adventure you guys!
Translated as “ranch of the green sticks”, it’s hard to imagine nowadays that 150 years ago the land atop the Palos Verdes Peninsula was used to graze cattle through a Mexican land grant. Today, the hills are home to some of the most incredible views in all of California where you can view migrating Pacific whales in the springtime, see remarkable examples of the Californian architectural style (as in Lloyd Wright’s Wayfarer’s Chapel), and hit some world class golf courses…all in the same day.
C was raised just up the hill, so it seemed Trump National Golf Club would be a fitting choice of venue in maintaining a close-to-home feel for her family. J is from New York and that’s where the couple met and lives. After a brutal series of early winter storms and cold spells, neither regretted their choice of venue when the day dawned with near perfect weather. “Perfect” weather is a relative term, but I doubt anyone would argue that a still, 80 degree day without a cloud in the sky would classify as more perfect than not for a January wedding. As C and the girls arrived at the venue for final preparations and the boys wrapped up their bow-tying-bonding session, guests began to find their seats for the ceremony. The Korean ceremony held the evening prior honored the families cultural heritage but during the ceremony the couple bowed to, and were welcomed by each others respective parents, signifying that marriage is not only the joining of two people, but of two families as well.
Immediately following the ceremony (and our entire wedding group photo), guests were served cocktails and offered fresh selections from the raw bar as they watched the sun melt into the horizon over the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. We took advantage of this soft, evening light to venture around the property for a few photos, hoping to avoid running into Donald “The Don” Trump who certainly would’ve fired me for my exploration of “golfer-only” territory.
The black-tie event then moved inside and it wasn’t long before all the married couples hit the dance floor for the anniversary dance; where couples gradually pare off, leaving the longest married couples left until – in this case – the couple married for over 50 years was the only one remaining. This dance is really cute and also serves as a bit of inspiration for the brand new couple. J & C are sweet and just wanted to make sure everyone had a fun and memorable day with them, which was evident by how little time they actually spent in their own seats throughout the evening…and that’s always a good sign!
We’ve known Julia and Jordan for over 5 years now and it’s been a gift really, to be able to stay connected through social media. One morning a few weeks back, they invited us to their home to meet little Arthur, to catch up on things, and share anecdotes about the early days of being a new parent.
When clients find out they’re having their first child, it’s SO exciting for us to be able to see the pregnancy progress and eventually, the images of baby’s first days via their Instagram feed. We’ve seen countless incredible, sweet, adorable and intimate images of blossoming families amassed on trusty phone-cameras. I have a major love/hate relationship with Instagram. As a photographer, you’re given a finite window of access to create images. As a family, you have opportunities all the time to capture fleeting intimate moments that we just can’t be there for. How can we compete?
I can totally understand the tendency of a photographer to want to overcompensate by setting up an elaborately lit shoot or by creating an overly stylized concept to distinguish themselves from an “amateur”. But that is just not our style. So we have to go to these shoots with a clear mind, take and deep breath, and do what we do best, no matter the pressure!
Arthur has a set of incredibly talented parents with skills we admire in visual storytelling, so yes, the pressure was definitely on for this one. We really try to capture this family and who they are, through our eyes, in the limited time we had. As usual, we got down to Arthur’s level and started there which is always a comfortable place to start a shoot.
J&J – you’ve made one hell of a cute kid and we’re so happy you’ve kept a little place in your lives and your heart for us in spite of the wonderful way you capture your family! We are honored.
Rachel and Chris were waiting their whole life to find each other, and on a particularly chilly morning in a pre-dawn spin class, the wait was over. You often hear of people finding their partners when they really, TRULY, seriously, were not looking, and I think finding a partner before 6AM while engaging in intense cardio with sweat dripping from your nose, definitely ranks as a time you’re probably “not looking”. Well, looking or not, the moment happened, and… a little sweat was no match for fate.
It can feel a bit intrusive at times for us documenting and writing about a couple’s intimate real-life love story, but it’s also very refreshing and sincerely romantic that these beautiful collisions still do happen all the time, and it’s always an honor when we’re there to bear witness.
Anyone who looks at you funny when you tell them you’re planning a January wedding, hasn’t experienced a winter in wine country. While it is the rainy season, rain arrives in dramatic fashion and departs in much the same manner, leaving behind gorgeous skies and emerald green hillsides. Chris and Rachel scored a particularly gorgeous day with no rain, a perfect stillness to the air, and lovely light. The sun poked it’s way through the high overcast to illuminate Rachel as she stood at the far end of the aisle, doing her best to catch her breath before walking past a sea of friends and family to meet the man she came here to marry. At the opposite end of the aisle, Chris looked as giddy as a schoolboy that was just given the job of clapping the erasers all week and his expressive face couldn’t hold back the pure joy he was feeling.
We knew Chris and Rachel’s wedding was going to be good because the few, simple elements were all in place: we like them, they like us, they REALLY love each other, and they’re crazy about their family and friends. Simple and perfect!
Going through the 40(ish) week pregnancy journey seems like an eternity when you’re the ones going through it, but more and more lately, entire pregnancy’s for both friends and family are passing us by. These 9-month blocks seem to pass in the blink of an eye. It seemed we’d just gotten over the news they were expecting when we saw the photo of brand new baby Lars in his parents arms. Time really does seem to accelerate as you get older. That said, when we do get there to see our friends and family and meet the new arrival, we make every effort to stop time completely.
Meeting a child so new to the world is awfully special, and to see the new relationship between parents and child forming is likewise, quite beautiful to witness. A persons first days on the planet must be pretty intense with so much stimulation to all the senses. Some kids choose to cry about all the craziness, some find it easier to sleep a lot, and some seem to have a voracious appetite for it all and welcome the craziness. Looking into Lars’ eyes, there seems to be a calm, reassuring wisdom in there and it’s no surprise to anyone that knows his parents that he’s starting out life with a distinct advantage in the intelligence department. But let’s not put too much pressure on the little guy…he’s still got years of mischief ahead of him before rising to greatness and fulfilling his namesake.