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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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 ūüė¶

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

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Another family unit.

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

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Parents chance to have a romantic shot.IMG_8884

Just the grandkids.

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

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Everyone’s got their shades out. Snap.

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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.

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

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More blue sky needed.

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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.

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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.

Small wedding. Big love.

 

Danny and Sarah live in Colorado and Sarah dreamed of having a wedding on the beach. What better than Laguna Beach? And Divers Cove in particular. This was last Friday, 6/3. BTW, Danny’s the lead singer in a hot band called 888, who¬†were just at Bottlerock. (Wish I’d been there, too!)

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The tide was definitely iffy, but it cooperated long enough.  High tide was at the exact time the ceremony was to take place and we made it! Good thing there were only about 30 guests.

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Sarah is a beautiful bride. What a smile.

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There aren’t any traditional wedding venues within walking distance of Heisler Park, so I don’t typically get a chance to take this type of photo. Palm trees, grass, AND¬†ocean.

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And I also love the stone benches/sculptures at Heisler. They left the next day for their ‘moon at¬†Zihuatanejo. Hope they come back to visit So. CA. That’s the trouble with photographing destination weddings to Laguna. I often don’t get to see my couples again. Boo hoo.

A Bluebird Day For an Oak Creek Wedding

Penny and Justin’s love story started when they were both students at Chapman University. We did a fun engagement session there what seems like eons ago, and I was looking forward to their wedding. As it turned out, it was on a beautiful April day. The venue they chose, Oak Creek Golf Club, is so pretty, and¬†— being a golf course — always green. The ceremony pergola¬†has a beautiful backdrop with lots of pepper trees. And, there are also palm trees in abundance, so there are many options at the property.

IMG_1192Okay, so the hashtag for the wedding was #justinsluckypenny. Of course, we had to do this shot.

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The “I’m a bride” moment.

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I absolutely LOVE this bouquet, with gardenias and¬†my personal fave flower — the peony. And the touch of blue is beautiful.

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Dad’s will be Dads. Helping with the tie.

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An interesting angle can turn an otherwise ho hum shot into something terrific.

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This is what you DON’T get with a first look. Love this moment.

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Here she comes!

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Going in for the first kiss.

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Time for a little joyriding in the golf cart to some scenic spots.

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First dance as Mr. and Mrs. The look of love.

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Popping out for the last bit of light.

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Photography: Click Chicks Photography
Venue: Oak Greek Golf Club, Irvine, CA
Property Wedding Coordinator: Sarah Gamble
Outside Coordinator: Cindy Brown, Events by Melody Walker
Florals: Beautiful Savage Flowers
Bridal Gown:  Demetrios
Brides Hair:  Shadows Hair Salon (Tina)
Brides Makeup:  Ashley Gannon
Grooms Attire: Vera Wang from Men’sWarehouse
Bridesmaid/Groomsmaid dresses:  J Crew
Cake:  Creative Cakes
Officiant:  Dr. Brian Trott

All Laguna … All the Time

This lovely bride Rebecca, got ready with her ‘maids and moms at The Ranch at Laguna Beach. Do remember, even if you’re not having your wedding there, it’s a fantastic location for getting ready. The decor furniture in the rooms is really terrific for backdrops, and the exteriors are — as I’ve said many times — fantastic.

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How pretty is the tile and mirror moulding in the bathroom in their suite? The perfect details to add to this shot.

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Gown by Essence of Australia Couture. So many beautiful layers of blush.

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I’m always a fan of an all white bridal bouquet. The pop of color in the bridesmaids bouquets was a nice design touch. By Flour & Flower Designs in Laguna Beach.

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When it’s time to put the gown on, it’s nice to have a maid of honor that’s ON IT! And however much time is allowed for it,¬†it’s often never quite enough. Note to brides: allow a minimum of¬†20 minutes. It often seems that it won’t take that long but, trust me, it does.

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There was a chill in the air as we got ready to leave The Ranch. Fortunately, there was a lovely color-coordinated throw in the girls’ suite.

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I like to do at least two different looks for the bridal party. One a little more formal, and one more playful. This wedding day worked out great because we also had such different venues.

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Location change to seven-degrees for ceremony and reception.

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I think these two are gorgeous bridal portraits.

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Such a beautiful and emotional time when the groom is waiting for his love to appear. Stephen is feeling it here, for sure.

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The new Mr. & Mrs. Bray!!!

By the time the ceremony was over it was pitch dark outside. Not exactly the best situation for photos. Caught a shot inside, then went into the night. With extra lighting, of course ūüôā

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Grand entrance, then the first dances, which are always one of my favorite parts of a wedding.136A1252

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It’s sunk in. “We’re married!”

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Father + daughter.

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Mother + son. So many feelings come to the surface.

Then … the hora! Always fun. (And a little scary.)

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This was such a surprise! Rebecca’s mom and dad busted out some serious dance moves that delighted the guests.136A1438

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The look of love.

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The sparkler send off that was high on their list of “musts.” Congratulations to Mr.and Mrs. Stephen Bray! A great day indeed.

 

Another “Tiny Wedding”

I closed out 2016 with another “Tiny Wedding.” This one was the adorable Sami marrying her soldier just days before he was deployed overseas. Although the skies in Laguna Beach were dreary that day, the smiles couldn’t have been¬†sunnier. What a sweet couple.

The location was the gazebo in Heisler Park (Laguna Beach), which never looked prettier! And I love Sami’s vintage mink stole. It crossed my mind several times that she has an Adele vibe going on, don’t you think?

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Sami’s pretty maids…

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Love these lighthearted moments in an otherwise serious ceremony.

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The look of love.

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Sealed with a kiss.

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Love the colors here. And Sami looks so pretty.

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They love Heisler Park and beach, so I had to get a shot with the sign.

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Tiny Weddings

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I think I might’ve coined a new phrase: Tiny Weddings. You’ve no doubt heard of “tiny houses?” As little as 300 square feet (!), they’ve become quite the rage as people downsize their lives. All I can say is, the smaller my house is, the bigger my storage unit! So, that term can translate to weddings as well. I had the pleasure of photographing two #tinyweddings at the end of 2016. While small in size they were still B-I-G in love and emotion and I was honored to play a role.

First up: Sakeenah and Regis … now Mr. and Mrs. Ndabadugitse. They’re been together nearly a decade and decided it was time to tie the knot. Regis is from one of the smallest countries in Africa — Burundi. Due to its general instability, he and his¬†family came to the US. Their civil ceremony was at Laguna Hills City Hall and attended only by close family members, followed by photos there.

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Stunning family on both sides.

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Love this spot inside City Hall.

Then to the beach in Laguna, where Sakeenah’s dad talked about the African American tradition of Jumping the Broom, a custom practiced in antebellum slavery when a couple couldn’t wed legally. It’s come to mean sweeping away the old and welcoming new beginnings, joining two families, and a respectful nod to ancestors.¬†img_2260img_2265img_2288Some final shots on the beach and La Casa del Camino, before a rooftop lunch for the family at Mozambique.

What a stunning couple!img_2279img_2300img_2331img_2340img_2362img_2381img_2411