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.

IMG_7479IMG_7620IMG_7573IMG_7635IMG_7236IMG_7285IMG_7406IMG_7143

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.

img_5108

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.

img_5097img_5092img_5099img_5103

 

 

monique + steven get married at occasions at laguna village

I’ll admit … I went a little crazy with this post. I just couldn’t narrow the field to fewer than these 25 images. What can I say? Monique was a stunning bride. I loved the piece she added to her gown around her shoulders, to make it extra special, rather than “just another beautiful strapless gown.” I think it absolutely made the dress.

And, as you know, I love shooting at Occasions at Laguna Village. The setting just can’t get any better. Their wedding was in the middle of a sunny day, so lighting was tricky, but we made it work. There’s no other option, right!

Kudos, as always to Dayna and her daughter, who coordinate Occasions weddings flawlessly; Annie of La Tulipe Florals who always wows; and Rev. Michael Ahern, who performed a heartfelt and touching ceremony.

Starting the processional. The moment when reality hits and the groom and guests see her for the first time.

Starting the processional. The moment when reality hits and the groom and guests see her for the first time.

6M6A6521

A gorgeous puffy cloud day.

6M6A6551

I think they’re married!

6M6A6581

Brown’s Park, the little walkway just north of the property.

6M6A6691

Even a parking lot can provide an interesting backdrop!

6M6A6814

6M6A6817

Just a white wall in the corner of the property. Gorgeous!!!

6M6A6865

First dance.

6M6A6891

Groom and Mom is always a shot that has so much emotion.

_MG_3670

Giving myself props for capturing the bouquet before it was caught 🙂

_MG_3559

Priceless view from Occasions.

LOVE this.

I love this shot AND the little pocket park where this metal fence resides. Isn’t it beautiful?

_MG_3343

One of those serendipitous moments that turns into a beautiful capture.

6M6A6588
6M6A6590
6M6A6595 6M6A6701 6M6A6738 6M6A6835 6M6A6975 6M6A7072 6M6A7079 6M6A7096

Tips on makeup and hair styling for your wedding day

You’re only going to be a bride once (at least we hope that’s the case) so you want to look picture perfect. Not just for your husband-to-be,  but for the photos you’ll have for the rest of your life. Although some things will surely look dated after a few decades pass, you don’t want to do a trendy look that will scream out “2014”. Think timeless.

Here’s some advice I can offer after years of photographing weddings.

1. Do a makeup trial. And if you don’t like the first one, do a second…or even third. You want to still look like YOU. Well, maybe a more made-up version of you, but if you’re a “less is more” kind of girl, you don’t want to end up with thick black eyeliner and red lipstick.

This is a look I LOVE. Natural eye, and a little more emphasis on the cheek and lip. Great for photography.

This is a look I LOVE. Natural eye, and a little more emphasis on the cheek and lip. Great for photography. And let’s talk about the pearl and rose gold hair ornament.

2. Bring photos of makeup and hair that are examples of what you’d like to look like on the big day. A picture says a thousand… Of course, your particular hair length, texture and thickness will mean you can or can’t do certain things, but you can still convey the vibe. Classic, sophisticated, hippie, boho, fresh, etc. And please don’t decide to change your hair color the week before the wedding!

3. Speak up if you aren’t happy during your trial. That’s why you’re doing it. It’s possible that he/she won’t get it completely right, so this is the time to let the artist make changes.

4. The personality of the makeup and/or hair stylist is also extremely important. You want someone calm, positive and happy. And, PLEASE make sure they can stick to a schedule. In my experience, if hair and makeup run behind, your whole day is messed up! It all starts with them. A call to a previous or client or two should help you learn that important bit of intell. I’ve had brides keep 150 guests sitting in an un-airconditioned church for an hour because the hair and makeup folks had NO sense of urgency.

5. Make sure your stylists bring enough staff for you, your relatives and your bridal party if you’re all getting “did.” Very important.

6. Let the makeup artist apply false eyelashes. They don’t have to be long and super thick, but your eyes will look much better in photos. And, again, the trial will help you get used to the feeling. Having them put on for the first time on your wedding day isn’t such a good idea. And, your makeup should be set with a loose translucent powder. Not only will it set your makeup and help it last longer, it gives a smoother, more flawless finish.

Simply beautiful. And beautifully simple.

Simply beautiful. And beautifully simple.

7. Same goes for hair extensions. While you may not need that extra volume every day, they’ll add that extra “oomph.” AND, extensions hold the curl. So while your own hair is wilting from the humidity, the extensions will look freshly curled. Trust me on that.

8. The fancier your gown, the fewer accessories you need. You want to look “done”, but not over done. Curate your look and think about every detail you’re tempted to add. Do you really need earrings, a necklace, bracelet, hair ornament, jeweled sash, etc.

Jen rocks a pretty distinctive style in her personal life, so the red lip was perfection. But do  note lack of accessories. Anything else would've been too much.

Jen rocks a pretty distinctive style in her personal life, so the red lip was perfection. But do note lack of accessories. Anything else would’ve been too much.

9. Don’t let your makeup artist apply too much shimmer on your face or body. It can actually bring out imperfections and make you look sweaty or shiny in your pictures. No bueno.

10. Don’t do a crazy manicure for the big day, e.g. nails the color of your bridesmaids’ robin egg blue dresses. It will surely look outdated in no time. Don’t forget you’ll likely have close-ups of your hands to show off your ring and/or bouquet, so a simple French manicure or a neutral pastel is much better.

I'm trusting you know which one is which :-)

I’m trusting you know which one is which 🙂

Truly, if you keep these simple guidelines in mind, you’ll have a flawless look that will look beautiful in person and in your photographs.

 

You Say You Want the Sand Between Your Toes?

This is for those of you who want to plan your own wedding on the sand in Laguna Beach, as opposed to using one of the beachfront properties that offer that option. It is doable, but there are some rules to follow, and reservations to make. Make sure you’re good with an “informal” wedding, because that’s what it’s going to be! In other words, if you’re thinking black tuxedos and a ball gown, this is probably not the right decision for you.

Three Arch Bay, Laguna Beach

Three Arch Bay, Laguna Beach

It’s also extremely important, in my opinion, that you choose a photographer familiar with the characteristics of our beaches. Just one critical factor to consider are the tides, as the sand on some beaches virtually disappears at high tide. Just like the fact that photographing a corporate event is very different from shooting a wedding, a beach ceremony has idiosyncrasies that a ballroom or country club doesn’t.

Here's a chance to use some cute beachy details.

Here’s a chance to use some cute beachy details.

There are many beautiful coves in Laguna! Make a day of it and check them all out. And when you have your short list, visit again at the specific time of day you’re thinking of having your ceremony. Look at the shadows. If the sun is still high you can get harsh shadows and/or squinting if you’re oriented in a particular direction. Neither makes for great photos. And, if you want shots of the sun hitting the horizon, you need to make sure it isn’t setting ‘around the bend’. Pay attention to all the details.

Three Arch Bay, Laguna Beach

Such a cute sign…and flower girl!

Most beach locations are restricted from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. If you are determined to have a summer ceremony, you can choose from those directly below Heisler Park. They are: North Main Beach, Rockpile, Picnic Beach, and Diver’s Cove. Be sure to have your guests stay at a hotel within walking distance, because parking will definitely be at a premium. Don’t worry — there are many to choose from.

At other times of year, you can get a permit for any of our Laguna beaches, other than those south of Victoria Beach, which don’t require one.

This NY couple chose to say their "I Do's" at Tablerock Beach, just south of Aliso Creek.

This NY couple chose to say their “I Do’s” at Tablerock Beach, just south of Aliso Creek.

The permit allows a two-hour use and costs $255 as of this writing. The rules may seem restrictive but it’s an ‘informal’ wedding after all! Here they are:

  • Maximum number of people, including the wedding party is 95. However, capacity at the Gazebo and Monument Point in Heisler is 50.
  • No tables, chairs, archways, or structures of any type. “Decorations” are allowed, but fixed with ribbon or string and removed afterward. No tape, nails, staples, etc.
  • No blocking of paths or walkways.
  • No amplified sound.
  • No rice, birdseed, confetti or flower petals may be thrown.
  • No alcohol or champagne toasts.
  • No open flame, including candles.

Contact the city Community Services Department located by City Hall at 515 Forest Avenue, (949) 497-0716. And, the permit application is available for download online at http://www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/community/permits/wedding.asp

laguna_beach_wedding

A happy, and gorgeous, couple right after their ceremony!

A fun and thoughtful idea to protect your female guests' high heels.

A fun and thoughtful idea to protect your female guests’ high heels.

Nicholetta + Edward at Aliso Creek Inn

These guys met in second period English in 1998! Isn’t that great? But, alas, their first date wasn’t until 2011. Nikki calculated they’ve been dating 529,920 minutes!! She must be a math whiz ! -)

Their wedding last weekend was at Ben Brown’s/Aliso Creek Inn. I’m always happy to return to this gorgeous, pristine, canyon setting. Krystal is a pleasure to work with! The deer apparently have developed a genetically improved skull, as they continually frolic on the greens without giving the flying golf balls a second thought.

Ed brought his great-looking matte black pick-up and that’s where the cake(s) … yes, that’s plural … were set up. And we couldn’t resist taking a photo with all the groomsmen in the truck bed.

As you’ll see, Nikki looked spectacular. But I knew she would from our engagement session.

Enjoy!!

Contender for best shot o'the day.

Contender for best shot o’the day.

When you're at a golf course venue, you .....

When you’re at a golf course venue, you …..

Gorgeous with a capital G!!

Gorgeous with a capital G!!

Beautiful Nikki.

Beautiful Nikki.

Oh yea! Guys love their trucks!

Oh yeah! Guys love their trucks!

Light-hearted moment  during the ceremony. Lots of laughs (and tears) throughout.

Light-hearted moment during the ceremony. Lots of laughs (and tears) throughout.

The recessional. Such an amazing view.

The recessional. Such an amazing view.

There are a number of bridges on the course. This one is the prettiest!!!

There are a number of bridges on the course. This one is the prettiest!!!

Such a cute idea to have the cakes in the truck bed. All different, too. Nikki's favorite is blue velvet. That's a new one on me.

Such a cute idea to have the cakes in the truck bed. All different, too. Nikki’s favorite is blue velvet. That’s a new one on me.

Cute detail.

Cute detail.

This is such a romantic shot. Love it!

This is such a romantic shot. Love it!

8 aliso_creek_inn_wedding

honored, thrilled, and other stuff

So proud to be featured (again!) in the beautiful new issue of California Wedding Day magazine’s Haute List  as one of Orange County’s 10 premier wedding vendors. Check out #3. And I thank the ever-so gorgeous Nicole and Andy Tremba for enabling me to take such a beautiful photo on their wedding day!

IMG_5984

IMG_5986