How did you get into photography? Are you self-taught or formally trained?
It was a combination of both, actually. I was really interested in photography in college and my school actually didn’t have a program. They had a film making option which I ended up going to school for so secretly on the side, I was doing photography projects. After school, I went to LA and did a filmmaker stint for a bit. I worked for HBO and NBC, Game of Thrones and fun things like that. I ended up falling more in love with photography and doing my own thing, marching to the beat of my own drum!
Describe your style in one sentence.
I would describe my style as candid storytelling with a fine art twist, using a lot of natural light and journalistic techniques to capture the happiest day of someone’s life.
What’s been your favorite experience as a wedding photographer?
Generally, the first look! Those are usually the more emotional moments that I get to spend alone time with the couple. It’s personal, it’s intimate, and it’s those moments I get to be next to someone when they are seeing their partner for the first time.
What do you love most about photographing weddings? Why do you photograph weddings in particular?
Photography is kind of everything in a lot of ways. It’s fashion, it’s editorial, it’s an event, it’s portrait sessions, it’s live and organic. You don’t really know what’s going to happen, there is always an x-factor to it. I still do a lot of planning, but when I first started I tried to really plan out specific shots before the wedding would even happen. For example, I wanted to try a certain pose with a certain couple and then we would get to the wedding and the bride had a different vision. I think a lot of it is really about working with people, I think that’s my strong suit. Working with people, reading them, reading the room, reading the vibes of the space. It’s kind of an improv act as well!
Where is the most interesting or unique place you’ve photographed a wedding? Was there anything especially challenging about it?
Villa Montevallo, Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga. It’s a lush, little chateau that makes it feel like you are in a French garden with columns, giant arches, and tress. It’s kind of hidden little spot with dramatic iron gates that lead into the garden and it’s absolutely amazing! I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily challenging, it’s just a very interesting and unique venue.
Do you have a favorite, must-capture moment for every wedding?
The first look is definitely my favorite but also magic hour portraits, the hour before sunset. I used to call them “sunset portraits” but in the Bay Area it’s foggy all the time and people would say, “There isn’t a sunset, let’s not do it.” I would have to explain that it didn’t matter, it’s just a matter of the softer lighting at the point, whether the sun was setting or it’s foggy. So I would say the first look and magic hour portraits are my favorite moments to capture!
As a photographer, what has been your biggest wedding day challenge?
The biggest challenge is both a blessing and a curse. The thing I love most about weddings is people and the things I dislike most about weddings… is people. The family portraits, in particular, are always a challenge. Gathering family while everyone has an opinion on where pictures should take place, the order and combination of them, and who is most important. It’s especially hard when there are multiple marriages between the parents! Trying to figure out who gets along, who can’t be near each other, and people who can’t be in the same pictures. We work with it and we’ve developed systems around it to make sure it’s handled by someone appointed at the beginning that isn’t us so that we aren’t occupying photography time with it!
What piece of advice would you give brides and grooms to ensure that they get wedding photos they love forever? (This can include tips about preparation, choosing a photographer, or anything else.)
I’m not just saying this because I am biased as a photographer, but photography and videography are the only things that survive a wedding. You end up looking at them over, and over, and over again. I think people get so bent on budget and pricing in the beginning stages of planning. I try to encourage couples to consider that, if they are happy with a photographer, going a couple hundred dollars over your original budget isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things. I understand couples have just put their budget together and they’re trying to stick to it. After just booking the venue, we’re typically the next vendor to book on their list, one of the first vendors they interact with. I think a lot of times couples don’t realize that they could be pushed out of their original budget more than expected along the way. As far as location, I love when people come to me before booking their venue! I love when couples give me a chance to recommend somewhere and if I have an option to give my opinion between three venues they come to me with, I can tell them, “Yes, that venue is gorgeous, you should absolutely get married there! Or the other one is kind of basic and the lighting is a little dingy.” Having that option and being able to help people influence their day in the best way possible is what I thrive in.
What are your favorite wedding trends to photograph right now?
I love really over the top florals, and I was loving the floral crown trend that was going on. I think right now, what I have been seeing a lot of is geometric floral archways, a lot of lush florals, and chandeliers. I think we’re kind of getting away from the vintage style and moving back toward the classic elegance trend. I also like unique getaway cars (as long as they don’t wait until the end of the night to be photographed because we’ve missed the best light!) It’s really nice to get those pictures at sunset.
How do you think an app like Joy can help make weddings better?
I think any app that helps couples getting married organize their thoughts, RSVP’s, registry, and more, is beneficial to everyone. The more organized couples are, the more it helps guests and vendors stay organized!
If you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be doing?
I would probably be some sort of product manager or product designer. I spent a lot of time with my own company designing my website, brochures, and branding. Everything I have, I’ve done myself. I spent a lot of time learning about that and I really enjoy it!
At Joy we believe that even though a wedding lasts a day, joy lasts forever. What does that mean to you?
What I am immediately reminded of when hearing this is a quote I like to say, “The best day of your life is your wedding day. The second best day is when you see your wedding photos.” There is a sense of permanence to your wedding photos, like everlasting joy. If you’re ever in a little fight, disagreement, or a tiff over how to fold socks in the laundry, you can always come back to the permanence of your photography and the joy that is embedded in that forever.