caroline + chad’s sweet laguna beach wedding

I just love this couple — Caroline and Chad. They are the sweetest. Their wedding was small, with only one attendant on each side… but let me say, Ann, Caroline’s MOH and BFF rocked the socks off her “duties.” When you have multiple bridesmaids, they can divvy up the various things that need to be attended to…. such as: having the details ready for us when we arrive at the hotel (shoes, jewelry, garter, rings, vows, and the like), helping put the gown on, carrying incidentals the bride may need throughout the day, wrangling the family for posed formals, etc. etc.) Ladies, take note: the bride should not have to worry about a THING. She’s got enough on her mind, so you are making a very important contribution to her day.

And if you noticed Caroline has an amazing figure, she does! She works as a middle school PE teacher.

See full credits at the end of the post.

Gorgeous Badgley Mishka sparkly shoes look even more beautiful with an ocean background.IMG_4961

Some images call for black and white. To me, it can take you deeper into the “story.”


I hadn’t seen the “Kiss the Miss” line before. Caroline’s BFFs  gave this to her pre-wedding. I think its adorable. As is her personalized bride wine glass.


The aforementioned MOH, Ann 🙂 Caroline’s gown had button loops in addition to a zipper. Takes a little more time to fasten. Note to self: put crochet hook in camera bag.IMG_5071

First look. Very satisfying 🙂 They both got ready at Laguna Riviera. Caroline had plenty of space in the bungalow below the hotel.IMG_9019IMG_9038No, you’re not seeing double. Chad’s got a twin, Brent.IMG_9189Other than the sand, favorite spot near Occasions at Laguna Village. IMG_5211Same place, other direction. Like the perspective.IMG_5251

Brick looks so textural in black & white.IMG_5284Going down the stairs to the ceremony. Last shot as a single guy.

IMG_9246Same for Caroline. One last look before going down the stairs.IMG_9254Love this angle. And the joy radiating from the spectacular Caroline.IMG_9269With her Dad after walking down the aisle.IMG_5390IMG_9327

Best view in town. And the “something blue.”IMG_5413Love the lighthearted, spontaneous moments during the ceremony.IMG_5420IMG_5439IMG_5462The chandelier adds some bling to the ceremony space, and eliminates the need for fancy florals.
IMG_9359IMG_5493As Chad and Caroline said, their wedding was small, but everyone in attendance was very important to them.IMG_9399Just before the sun crossed the horizon, we got this shot by the ceremony space.IMG_5683But then, we went to the sand and captured a few more amazing images. Only possible with off camera flash, as the light was going. Fast.IMG_5697Shot o’the day, IMHO. Some fancy editing on this one to balance the colors and minimize shadows created by using flash. Very happy with the results!IMG_5705


mike + sydney rock their engagement sesh in laguna

My goodness! These two were so much fun to spend time with. Sydney had done something I always think is a good idea…she had her make-up trial the day of our shoot. They’re not getting married until Aug., but are going to use one of the pix as their save-the-date. No doubt in my mind that she will make a spectacular bride!

We shot at two of my favorite spots: downtown Laguna Beach, and on the sand at The Montage. I literally could NOT decide which images to pull for a preview. What a great “problem” to have, right? These are almost in reverse order from how we shot them.



December isn’t typically a big month for weddings — for me anyway. Unpredictable weather is one reason. But…  this year, headshots, venue interiors, and pre-mitzvah shoots were what kept me busy.

Whether corporate or for acting, I love shooting headshots! The secret is in the eyes. The connection with the camera makes viewers feel like they know you… or WANT to know you and do business with you. Here are just a few.IMG_4911

This man is the founder of a start-up tech company and wanted to look approachable yet professional. The sport coat, plus  “lean in” helps convey that. I usually take my backdrop to the client’s location and we can set it up anywhere. Being in their own environment also makes my client more comfortable.


Going for a completely different feel here. This lovely lady is carrying on her family’s legacy of publishing a society “Blue Book.” She needed a sophisticated portrait in a luxe environment… in this case, her home.


Love this girl. Just graduating from acting school in NYC, she needs headshots for auditions and showcases. She has such a lively personality; people that she meets need to remember that and this photo conveys it.

This accomplished former City Attorney needed a headshot to join others on the wall at City Hall. Note: She’s the only woman. While many woman prefer the overly retouched look, Robin wanted to look like herself today. How refreshing. You go girl!

robin zur schmiede edituntitled-6112Adding this one from the archives. An unexpected crop is fun — especially if you’re in a creative business. And I’m also a huge fan of B&W.

an orange county engagement session

Engagement sessions are the best! It’s such a great way for the couple to get comfortable under the scrutiny of a camera lens, and experience actually working with the photographer they’ve chosen to be with them on their wedding day.

This adorable couple, Caroline and Chad, are getting married in Feb. at Occasions at Laguna Village, a wonderful venue overlooking the blue Pacific. We did their engagement session over two days at two locations: an open space preserve in San Juan Capistrano, and the beach below The Montage Hotel in Laguna Beach.

I always tell clients that “magic” doesn’t typically happen in the first images shot. It takes a bit for them to get “in the groove”, trust me, and relax. And, as you know, I’m directing the poses to look anything but directed. The interaction between the couple is what turns ho hum into WOW. Enjoy!


Sometimes I see a color image and know there will be more “story value” in black and white. This is one of them.


I did a different color treatment on this one. I like it a lot.


Okay, so it may have felt a little awkward, but Caroline and Chad trusted me to create this romantic shot.


Again, they trusted me, and I’m thrilled with the genuine emotion that resulted.


Typically, heads leaning in toward each other create more visual connection between the couple.


Nothing like a real laugh between a couple. Gotta get it…fast.


First Wedding EVER at La Ventura Event Center, San Clemente

So tardy in blogging this fantastic wedding day with Alec and Julian. I had a chance to shoot at two venues I’ve not been to before, which is always fun! The ceremony was held at a beautiful park in the gated community of Cypress Shores in San Clemente. Complete with palm trees, pond, and access to the beach! Who could ask for more? And the reception, the first ever, at the brand new La Ventura Event Center. Can hardly wait to go back. Be sure to see all credits at the end, and a special shout out to Mikii of Neon Carrot Events who made the day run smooth as silk.

Alec and her spectacularly beautiful bridesmaids got ready at her parent’s home in Cypress Shores. IMG_2378

She left it to the ladies to choose their own gown in a “muted shade of blue/grey”. It worked out perfectly! (And believe me, I’ve seen instances where that wasn’t the case.)



Alec’s gown was Sottero Midgley. And I love her “something blue” shoes.


I made her do it 🙂


Sentimental touches on a wedding day are so sweet. This little red heart sewn into the lining  of Alec’s  gown was from a coat ofAlec’s grandmother. Keeping her in her heart.

Unbeknownst to groom Julian, Alec had kept every ticket, program, and other ephemera from each and every thing they’d done together. She had them delivered in a zippered pouch with a note to him at La Ventura, where he was getting ready.IMG_2316

Meanwhile, boys will be boys. They were at LaVentura in the beautiful bridal suite.DSC_2540DSC_2586Let’s talk about squad goals! Alec and the ladies at Cypress Shores, pre-ceremony.IMG_2449Alec doesn’t think she’s photogenic. I beg to differ. She’s a rock star!IMG_2473Watching for Alec to come down the aisle. Such an emotional moment for the groom.IMG_2601But first… their adorable baby boy is wheeled down the aisle by Alec’s junior bridesmaid and greeted by her daddy.IMG_2579Alec’s dad “giving her away.”DSC_3292-2Sweet ceremony moments. BTW, Alec is Catholic and Julian Jewish. So they met in the middle with the officiant being the father of one of Julian’s childhood friends.IMG_2767DSC_3470-2

DSC_3533-2Julian getting ready to stomp on the glass. There are so many reasons this is traditionally done in Jewish weddings … all beautiful and joyous.


Mazel tov!


Yeah! You may kiss the bride.

A private moment following the ceremony. This shot taken from afar.DSC_3597


It seemed like a good idea!


You kidding me? Alec is spectacular!

Between the park and beach is a tunnel. Hard to resist calling it “The Tunnel of Love.” These are among my faves of the day.


Then to the sand. IMG_3198Short drive to LaVentura Event Center to christen it with their very first wedding reception. Gorgeous architecture as well as tile and wood elements to make it a beautiful backdrop for any weddings. Catering by the uber-delicious Iva Lee’s.


The ladies doing some last minute touch-ups in the bridal suite.


Such a cute display of escort cards. I love anything with clothespins 🙂


Sweet and simple. Not fans of cake, the couple had only a topper to cut, and cupcakes for their guests. By Plumeria Cake Studio. I can tell you, the cupcakes were delish 🙂

Had a chance to do a few shots at LaVentura before the grand entrance. Like I said… so many beautiful details at the property.



How cute is he???

Okay, so the first dance started traditionally. But then… Julian busted out some moves that left me with my jaw on the floor. It was truly incredible.IMG_3513IMG_3526DSC_3393What a great day!!!

Photography: Click Chicks Photography
Second shooter: Carrie Zeller
Planner: Neon Carrot Events
Florals: The Tangled Vine
Ceremony Venue: Cypress Shores Park
Rentals: Signature Party Rentals and Sundrop Vintage
Reception Venue: LaVentura Event Center
Catering and Venue Manaement: Iva Lee’s
Sweets: Plumeria Cake Studio
MUA: Flawness Faces
Bridal Gown: Sottero and Midgley



Thank you Mr. Google…

Thanks to the search engines, I’m often found by couples having what I’ve coined a “tiny wedding.” You know, like “tiny houses.” This L.A. couple met just 3 MONTHS ago at a fire ceremony gathering in Topanga Canyon. Sparks more than flew. They skyrocketed.

Tatiana came to this country just 1-1//2 years ago from Brazil. And Leif is an actor, producer. Tati’s cousin lives in OC and has a beautiful greenbelt in back of her home which is where the ceremony was held.

Small weddings are very special. The guests are very few that mean a lot to the couple. And Tatiana’s 92-year-old grandmother flew in from Brazil. Wait’ll you see her!

Here’s Leif waiting to see his bride come down the path.


When lens flares happen at times like this, I can’t help feeling it looks like God is shining down on the moment.


After their first look, walking across the lawn to the ceremony site.


The officiant is a friend of Leif’s, in “the business” also, and perfect in every way.IMG_7142-2Listening to Tati saying her vows.


Their personal vows were magical. And filled with emotion.IMG_7190-2IMG_7192-2IMG_7218-2IMG_7226-2

I think they’re happy 🙂IMG_7240-2IMG_7441-2IMG_7458-2IMG_7494-2

A fun take on the sometimes boring group photo. That little lady in the stripes next to the groom is the 92 year-old grandmother. I want what she’s having.


Anatomy of a “simple” family beach session

Me:  “Click Chicks Photography, this is Leslie.”

Them:  “Hi, I’d like to book a family photo session at the beach.”

Me:  “Sure. Great. Are you available on Weds. eve.?”

Them:  “Yes! Please book us.”

No brainer, right? Well, it’s typically a little more complicated than that. At least I’ve learned to ask how many family members there will be, because the answer often isn’t four, or even eight. It’s often 10 or more. Families like to come together from different states, or even parts of the world, in beautiful Southern CA. Which looks like this…

Numero uno. Find a place (depending upon tide) to arrange the family. No bueno just having in a line standing up. So, get the 14 family members posed on a rock. All is well and even the 3-year old is looking at the camera. But wait… there are now people climbing on the rocks in back of them. Well, I’ll take them out in post production. Can’t re-position my peeps now. Overcast day. Add highlights and some color to the sky in post also.IMG_8695

Next shot: grandma and grandpa with their grandchildren. Little Hampton is still cooperative, with some cajoling. Same issue with climbers and sky.IMG_8731

Then, mom and dad with their bio children.


Just noticed that Hampton is being cute. Have to be on the lookout for those photo ops because crying can happen any moment. Once that happens, it’s hard to get a toddler back. And they get red and splotchy 😦

IMG_8757Little Hamp and his parents. Note: He’s starting to lose interest. Another 😦


Another family unit.


Another another family unit. Can’t do much about the fake smile. Have to go with it.


Parents chance to have a romantic shot.IMG_8884

Just the grandkids.


Another candid moment of cuteness. Have to stay on your toes to catch these.


Everyone’s got their shades out. Snap.


The couple responsible for all this family goodness … 45 years together.IMG_8935

At least a couple different poses. Better add some blue to the sky.IMG_8961

There goes Hampton, running away with someone’s cell phone.IMG_8962

Just the menfolk in a manly pose on the lifeguard tower. But wait, the sky is blown out. Note to self: add blue in post. And that house in the background looks crummy. Better get rid of it, and also the pole on the hill.


Best Hampton cuteness so far. Crop out the other people in the shot in post.


More blue sky needed.


My favorite of the day. I’d suggested the ladies get their feet wet. Worked out really well for the shot… not so good for them.IMG_9047

One more exceedingly attractive couple to shoot.


Parting shot. Still had my camera out when I was walking to my car. Caught this little lady out the window of their SUV. IMG_9071

So… that was a “simple” family session. Only about 90 minutes shooting, but hours spent in post production. I take each session seriously and want to deliver as many good shots as I can to give my clients options. NOTE: they were very happy, which makes ME very happy.