Thursday, December 3, 2015

Rooftop Wedding at The Westin Bonaventure

The Westin Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles, I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of it. It’s been in countless movies, there’s a documentary out about it. Apparently it’s a really big deal.

Shadows on walls at the Westin
This was supposed to be a concept shot for something after the ceremony. We didn't have time to get that shot, but I still like the concept. 

Architecturally, it is quite the site to be seen. Four columns of independent hotel suits rise up around a fifth larger column in the middle of downtown L.A. The glass throws reflections of the sun all over the surrounding blocks making it so that one minute you could be standing in shade and the next in shaft of sunlight. It’s so striking that there are bridges from other buildings on either side of it to the terrace. 

Shadow of a tree on wall in downtown LA
A view from the terrace while waiting on groomsmen. Loved the idea of the shadow of nature hidden away inside a towering city. 

For as confusing as the light is outside, the interior is just as perplexing. If you’re in one of the suites, say, getting into your dress for the bid day or something, you have to go down to the lobby and cross over to another elevator located a hundred or so feet away to go up to another floor so that you can then circle all the way around to access the La Prime Steak House. You can’t simply drop straight down to the terrace because while all four towers are connected, they are all independent and require their own elevators.

I may or may not have gotten lost once or twice.

Not actually shot at the Westin. Check out Facebook to see what I had to stand on in order to hang this.

The Westin Bonaventure overlooks the ceremony site.

Jack loves the building. When I mentioned how confusing it was he beamed, “That’s exactly what the architect wanted. It’s what all architects want, for the people visiting the things we design to have to engage with them.”

Jack and Jamie are exactly that kind of couple. They’re people you have to engage with. They’re not passing faces, not folks you think you might have met at a party once, but people you don’t forget because they treat interactions with others the way Mr. Portman treated the design of that building.

They are also connected while still being completely separate.  You can’t cross over from one of Jamie’s thoughts and arrive at Jack’s. They have their own unique ways of getting from here to there, but they do so as a unit.

Their coming together brought friends and family in from all over. In the same way The Westin focus is on people, so too was this wedding. Small, intimate, it was more about the coming together of everyone, not just the joining of two people in marriage.

Enjoy the imagery here, but remember that the antics are always saved for the Facebook gallery.

Missed the afterparty. Heard it was a blast.

Hand crafted by a friend, a little liquor and love letters for a later date.

If you're going to invite children, be sure to give them something to do.



It is absolutely impossible to beat couples to social media with wedding images.

Shot from across the street looking back towards the Westin.

The Westin has been the backdrop for many films and you can see why. Just about everything shot there takes on a cinematic quality.

Remember, fun outtakes are here: Facebook
Be sure to like and share!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Memories at the Twining Vine Winery: Nicole and John

Weddings are a swirl of emotion. There’s good and bad, anticipation, excitement, fear, maybe even some anger, and resentment from time to time (not everything can go right). By in large there’s usually a prevailing wind that pushes the day in a specific direction.

Every once in a while I run into one where I can’t hit on a specific emotion to take my cues from. There are so many feelings going in so many directions that you get caught in the eye of the storm. While in that calm center I pick out moments to capture knowing full well that as my back is turned I’m missing something else. That was Nicole and John’s day in a nutshell.

The location: the beautiful Twining Vine Winery tucked away in the Castro Valley hills, a place where Nicole’s father did plenty of work in the years before his untimely passing.

The guests: Friends, family, framed prints of missing loved ones, and most importantly, a baby boy just learning how to walk.

The stress: Nicole had stretches of time on her own with her new son planning and planning.

The joy: Finally it was here and now it’s all rushing by so fast.

My hope, as with every wedding I shoot, is that I chose the right moments, that what is pictured is what they want to remember, and that what they remember is filled with emotion. 

Bride and groom in front of fountain at night
Nicole and John afforded me some time towards the end of the evening to set up some dramatic photos after dark and I'm so glad that they did.

As I was face down in the bushes getting this ring shot, a guest stopped me and said something along the lines of, "You sure do get into your work."
Wedding cake with dinosaur cake topper
The most killer cake topper ever!

Those fluttery moments tucked away in a barn just before the ceremony.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

California Coastal Wedding: Brittany and Garrett

What better way to sound off the wedding season than with a beach wedding shot down by Pismo in Cayucos with the lovely Jean family? Things didn't exactly go as planned, but they never do. We had a closed pier with a crane on it, wind chill that sent women's hair everywhere, my flash didn't agree with the situation, and I'll leave out who was tardy (you know who you are), but as always, to people said "I do," and that's all that really mattered. 

Cayucos Pier wedding photos
Shot under the Cayucos Pier.
 I was so excited about this pier when I looked up the location on Google Maps. The pier in Cayucos would have been great to shoot on! It was closed. Not only was it closed but it had a big, ugly crane on it. You can see it starting to creep into the frame at the end, so you couldn't even shoot the entire pier from a distance. Really bummed but we got some great shots down below.

Details, they're the first things that slip from the memory and therefore the most important to capture.

Had to put a bridesmaid to work as a light stand to capture this. She did an excellent job.

Lace instead of heels for beach wedding
The girls all looked great in these as opposed to the traditional heels. 

As you can tell by our veil and dresses in this shot, it was a liiiitle breezy that day, but we made due. The nice thing about weddings is that you tend to look past things like the chill and the hair whipping about into people's faces because the emotion commands the scene.

I really need to start shooting these details with my cellphone so that you can see what the scene looks like before I light it and pick the perfect angle. 

wedding dances in a park during midday
Midday is not always the best time for dance photos, but with the right lighting shot from just the right angle, we can make it look a wee bit more dramatic.

And now for the big reveal, all of the reception photos were taken at a local park. You can see more on our Facebook page. It's all in how you shoot it.
The ceremony site. 

A kiss during the first dance. On our facebook page you can see some of these shots in color and see how amazing they look with the flash popping off in the background.
As always, thank you for stopping by. This was a long day far away from home but I'm so glad that I got to be there. It's always a gamble shooting at the beach. Wind, crazy hair, cold, harsh sun, no sun, cranes inexplicably parked at the ends of piers, but if you simply abandon all your preconceived notions of what you want to shoot and instead focus on the emotion, on the love, you'll come out with amazing photos.

Special Announcement: I've teamed up with Aaron Draper and some other photographers to do a series of critiques. The aim is to give photographers meaningful feedback on their work. Check it out and submit. New critiques every week.

Discounts: Everyone in the wedding party is entitled to a $200 discount for their wedding day.
You can see more from this wedding on our Facebook page here.
If you'd like to find out more about our photography, look us up at
Want to see some editing videos that show a bit of how David works his magic?
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And if you want to see cute pictures of our kids along with sneak peeks of what we're working on including all of David's little sketches, follow David on Instagram at: