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 ūüôā 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 ūüôā 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


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 ūüė¶

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


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.

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!)



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.


Sarah is a beautiful bride. What a smile.


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.


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.



The “I’m a bride” moment.



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



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



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



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


Here she comes!



Going in for the first kiss.


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




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



Popping out for the last bit of light.



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?


Sami’s pretty maids…


Love these lighthearted moments in an otherwise serious ceremony.


The look of love.


Sealed with a kiss.


Love the colors here. And Sami looks so pretty.



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



Tiny Weddings


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.



Stunning family on both sides.


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

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!