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.

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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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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

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