The Tu Family: San Francisco Baker Beach Family Portrait Photography

This year is just flying by and I still have so many shoots to share! This sweet, well-dressed family found me via Google. :) Our early morning shoot was timed perfectly – the weather was just right and the beach wasn’t crowded at all. We let the kids run and play in the waves, and they had such a blast!
It’s so fun to capture moments when my subjects are genuinely enjoying themselves – you can see FUN written all over their faces. :) 

Favorite shot! Everyone got wet!I couldn’t resist throwing in this outtake. So cheeky!

Thanks Tu family for the fun shoot!

Marilyn & Jason: University of Alberta Wedding Photography

Greetings from Calgary! It’s a cool and rainy morning here in Alberta, Canada – a refreshing change of pace from the highs of 100 degrees back in Los Angeles. On the agenda for today is a visit to Banff, a national park in the Rocky Mountains. I’ve got my hat, scarf, and gloves ready for a chilly but scenic day trip. :)

Since I’m back in Canada, I figured it’s about time to share some highlights from one of my favorite weddings to date. Marilyn and Jason are high school sweethearts from Edmonton, just three hours north of where I’m currently staying. Their love for cats rivals my own – they have two beautiful long-haired cats, Snowy and Lucy, whom I hope to meet someday. :) Aside from being fellow cat lovers, their wedding color scheme also featured my favorite color. I loved the modern look of the violet bridesmaid dresses and gray suits!

I have yet to see another purple bouquet like this beauty. The combination of bright colors and subtle shades of purple made for a unique and gorgeously balanced palette. 

The bridal party was a big group of friends, which made for a fun day. Everyone was in good spirits and at ease with each other, making my job that much easier. 

Fun fact: Marilyn and Jason journeyed to San Francisco for their honeymoon. Guess where they stayed during their visit? ;) #photographerorhostess #maybeimboth
I have been thinking of starting up a series of weekly travel posts here on the blog to document and share my adventures from around the world. Stay tuned for photos of Banff National Park!

Laylee & Reza: Four Seasons Palo Alto Wedding Photography

It has been an absolute joy throughout the years to witness wedding traditions from around the world. :) I’m blessed to have a diverse clientele that continually introduces me to different cultural traditions. Even though the language barrier adds an extra obstacle to my job, it helps challenge me in new ways – and I love it! If only I could speak Farsi… (and Japanese… and Russian… the list goes on.)

Laylee and Reza started their day with an intimate first look before arriving at the bride’s parents’ residence for a traditional Persian wedding ceremony. Their tranquil stroll through the park was a great way to save their energy for a full day of celebration!

Laylee looked beautiful in her mother’s wedding dress!
Mother and daughter exchanging kisses. :) The Persian wedding spread, also known as the Sofreh Aghd, is an elaborate floor spread featuring several foods and decorations. Decorated eggs and walnuts are symbols of fertility; the mirror and candelabras represent light and fire, respectively (symbolizing a bright future for the married couple).
According to tradition, a married female relative (or maid of honor) grinds two cones made of hardened sugar over the bride and groom’s heads to shower them in sweetness! (The shawl prevents the sugar from actually falling on their heads.) Signing the marriage contract and sealing it with a kiss! We headed to Elizabeth Gamble Garden in Palo Alto for some gorgeous portraits of the newlyweds. Another wedding party nearby started playing music – so of course there had to be some dancing! Before their grand entrance at the Four Seasons Palo Alto, we stopped by the fountain out front for a few final shots. The light was just perfect.
Lush orchid centerpieces stole the show at this luxurious gold and white reception. The night ended with lots and lots of dancing. :) Congratulations Laylee & Reza!!!

Woods Family: San Francisco Family Portrait Photography

At the beginning of my photography career, I had the pleasure of shooting Andrew and Rochelle’s wedding in Pebble Beach with Tony Yang, who flew in from the East Coast and was looking for some local help. :) Through Tony, I’ve met so many amazing and kindhearted people – clients who truly appreciate our work as photographers and more often than not, transition from clients to friends. The Woods are one of those couples. I was truly happy to reconnect with this sweet couple and meet the newest addition to their family! 

Christine & Andrew: Villa Amor Sayulita Wedding Photography

After MUCH anticipation (on my end… haha), I am absolutely thrilled to share with you one of my favorite weddings of the year!! Whenever friends ask me about the best weddings I’ve ever shot, I mention this one – and they’ll reply that of course, shooting a destination wedding by the beach would be anyone’s dream. But it wasn’t just the setting. Or the details (which were so fun and colorful). Or the vacation that accompanied the trip to Mexico. Honestly, this couple could have gotten married in my backyard and it still would’ve been one of my favorite weddings of 2013. In the end, the highlight of shooting a wedding has everything to do with the people. The friendships you form, the memories you share, and the relationships that continue long after the wedding is over. :) I made so many new friends at this wedding and had the time of my life exploring Sayulita with them!

I met Christine and Andrew on a cold winter night in Oakland. They were one of the very first couples who found me on Google, of all places – oh, the wonders of the Internet! Thank you Google, for connecting me to these wonderful people. We hit it off right away when they told me they were cat lovers, and by the end of the meeting we were no longer discussing wedding logistics but had quickly moved on to sharing photos of our pets on our phones.
Fast forward seven months and I found myself watching the sunset from the patio of a beach house in Sayulita, surrounded by Christine and Andrew’s friends and family. I had just met them moments ago and they were already treating me like family (the welcome dinner was to die for. I still crave it!). It was a surreal moment… to think that a simple online search had somehow flown me out to Mexico and brought me to this intimate celebration where my second shooter and I were welcome as guests. To this day I am incredibly touched by their warmth and generosity.

If you haven’t heard of the little town of Sayulita… you can say you heard it here first! :) Christine and Andrew stayed here while vacationing in Mexico and fell in love with its small town charm. As told by Christine herself: “Andrew and I wanted a rustic, easy-going, down-to-earth place to have our wedding. Andrew loves the ocean, so we also wanted to have our reception near the water!  Everyone there is so friendly and the location is gorgeous! We wanted to introduce this cute, picturesque town to our family and friends.”

They had every reason to bring their loved ones to this beautiful place. Located about 45 minutes from Puerto Vallarta on the western coast of Mexico, the quaint little town by the sea is a tranquil retreat from the city. Allow me to take you on a vacation as well…

A friend of the bride wasn’t able to attend the wedding, but made these awesome (and VERY handy) screen printed tote bags for the newlyweds. They filled the totes with snacks and goodies and handed them out as welcome bags. I carried my tote everywhere. :)The wedding took place at La Gran Villa, a premiere 3 bedroom suite sitting atop a hill overlooking the ocean. I hiked up that hill with my camera bag in tow not knowing that we had access to a golf cart! The second level of the villa had an infinity pool overlooking the beach. The views were stunning!  Each place setting at the table had a raffia fan and authentic Puerto Vallarta maraca! These custom made papel picados (Mexican paper flags) were one of my favorite details of the wedding. So pretty and delicate. As the sun set, we were serenaded by local musicians! The setting was so picturesque, it was like being in a dream… Fresh handmade churros for dessert. 
It makes me happy to relive this day through photos. :) Christine and Andrew, I can’t thank you enough for this experience of a lifetime. I’m so grateful that you found me!!! Congratulations again!

Location:  Villa Amor
Wedding Planner: Karen Ruezga
Catering: Don Pedro’s
Flowers: Flor Mimo
Musical guests: Los Frixoleros
Rehearsal Dinner: El Paellero