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

 

 

 

A San Miguel de Allende engagement

I know I’ve been extremely remiss in doing blog posts. I’ll try to catch up… promise! But this engagement shoot in San Miguel de Allende a week ago touched my heart in so many ways. San Miguel is a gorgeous Spanish colonial town in the middle of the central highlands of the country. Add a Gothic church or two, cobblestone streets, incredible restaurants, and you’ve got a dreamy getaway.

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I traveled to San Miguel de Allende over the holidays and wasn’t completely prepared for the amazing colors, culture, and more. A feast for the photographer’s eyes, to be sure. And to have the opportunity to shoot a beautiful couple like this was almost too much! The proposal  was outside a jewelry store. How appropriate, right?

Can hardly wait to return to this beautiful spot on our globe.

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Summer in the city (or village… Laguna Beach, CA)

Summer brings many tourists to my little town of Laguna Beach and, yes, I often complain about the crowds and traffic for these few months. But, it also brings me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful families who’ve traveled to share our piece of paradise. I’ve been fortunate over a number of years to be referred by some of our finest coastal properties to guests who want to remember their time together with a family photo session. Sometimes it’s a family vacation, and others a reunion of family members coming together from different parts of the country.

Last week I had the pleasure to spend time with the Mange family from New Jersey. I gotta say, the East coast breeds a different type of boys from our surfer lads. These three were quite remarkable indeed. Loved it!

My family session includes unlimited shooting, editing, and my clients’ ownership of the high resolution digital negatives. Although the beach is often my clients first choice, I have a number of other locations I love!

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Crystal + Kirk tie the knot in Dana Point

Well, I’m here to say that “bigger is not always better.” Crystal and Kirk had a very intimate wedding last weekend of about 30 guests. The ceremony was at a beautiful park in Dana Point overlooking the harbor. IMG_7118

After the ceremony, we went down to the harbor level below and shot around the Ocean Institute. I particularly like the roll-up warehouse doors for their texture, color and urban feeling.

IMG_7167The waves were actually huge, which these photos don’t show. And the tide was so high we couldn’t go down to the sand. To tell you the truth, I much prefer the jetty rocks.

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There are several arches on the hillside that I’ve shot at a few times. But I just learned their origin. They’re the remains of a hotel intended to be The Dana Point Inn. This was as far as they got with construction because the great depression hit, and the dreams for the hotel died in the 1930s.

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Elise + Craig’s Wedding at Laguna’s La Casa del Camino

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Laguna locals, as well as visitors, often refer to this location as simply “The Rooftop.” But The Rooftop is atop the historic boutique hotel, La Casa del Camino, that oozes charm. (And of course, also offers many little corners for photos.) The Spanish inspired guest rooms are beautiful, or you can choose from a number of “Surf Rooms” designed by So Cal surfwear companies.

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The headboard was the perfect backdrop for the gown. And, Craig gave Elise the single rose earlier in the day.

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Love the personalized shoes. See the soles on a separate photo.

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Girls, especially sisters, just want to have fun!

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The natural light coming from the window, combined with beautiful carved headboard and iron sconces, made this a beautiful setting for some portraits.

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Love the serious look here. The lad is groom Craig’s son, and ring bearer.

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How sweet was this message Craig wrote to his bride?

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Something blue…

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That would be a wrap. Married!

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Down to the beach. Literally just steps away.

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Love this little courtyard. And when a couple can “dip”, I take advantage of it! So romantic.

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Oh yeah!

Joyce + Mike’s First Look at The Center Club

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This couple’s love story culminated at their beautiful Center Club wedding. The property has so many fantastic spots for shooting. We staged their first look using these two ah-mazing chairs. They’re like beautifully padded cocoons, so once we got Mike in place with his eyes closed, Joyce tiptoed to the second chair. Little by little they scooted forward until they saw each other. Sigh. This is just one snippet from the day. More to come!

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corporate done right at terranea

I just finished editing several thousand images that I, and my two co-photographers, shot at the Molnlycke National Sales Meeting at Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes. I didn’t think it was possible, but this actually topped the NSM I shot for them in 2014.

What an incredible four days! This group of 300+ was wined, dined, entertained, inspired, and rewarded for stellar service. Although most of us have never heard of the company, they are making a huge impact with their breakthrough products for hospitals, and specifically the OR.

Terranea was a perfect location choice. It’s a beautiful resort located on Palos Verdes Peninsula. The rooms, meeting spaces and common areas are gorgeous and the service top notch. We were with the folks documenting every moment, from 6:00 a.m. fitness sessions to closing down after-parties at 1:00 a.m. Whew!

And I can’t say enough about the production company, The Defining Point, from Atlanta. You likely can’t imagine the amount of work it takes to put on a multi-day event like this. From lighting and sound to AV, staging, room and event coordination, decor, and on and on. Big kudos to TDP.

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Here’s the Palos Verdes Ballroom set up for the opening session.

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And the “Hollywood Sign” at the entry to the Awards Dinner. Great photo op!6M6A0526How pretty is this set-up?6M6A0820-26M6A0742-2

One of the other nights included a costume party. Come as a TV or movie character. Here are just a few of my favorites. Unbeliveably creative. So hard to choose!

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The highlight for me was definitely the closing session. The final keynote speaker was J.R. Martinez. Some of you may know him as a winner on “Dancing With the Stars”, but what’s more significant is his inspirational story.  He’ll be indelibly imprinted in my memory as someone who overcame bigger obstacles than most people will ever have to face. A great speaker. What a man! Sweet and funny, too.

IMG_1390IMG_1442IMG_1450Oh, yes, there was the helicopter ride, too 🙂 First time for me.