At home sessions have been the thing since sliced bread, except for one thing.. people like you and I didn't really know about them. Up till' recently organically styled at home sessions of couples were reserved for the pages of editorial while family photographers were asked to photograph expectant mothers in studios draped in silk or outdoors in weird states of half-dress. I have clambered through a few of these myself but these kind of shoots usually created a few keeper photographs but there was something missing in the photos that captured my photographic style. But some thing just changed. And I think there is no going back.
Lea and Zeda pour me guava Kombucha 'blessed•booch' from a big glass jug mid shoot. I am a fan. I spit it and realize I have eaten all of their perfectly arranged grapes off of the table in front of me without asking and Zeda is plucking the stems clean... tidying up behind me. I've only shot a few pictures in the past 20 minutes because we've been having such a good time chatting. I see Zeda look over at Lea as she arranges flowers in the corner of their little mirrored backsplash. It's like the sweetest moment ever.
< Snap > My shutter flips. It's a keeper.
My favorite of the session, to be honest and there is something so perfect real about that look he is giving her. Something that sums up the whole reason why I am here: to try and capture the excitement of this space between being a couple and being parents. It is inspiring. There is a calm in the waiting.
I say goodbye to Lea and Zeda. We make some plans to try and meet up before this baby comes out but it's coming. Like any day now... and there is that fun feeling of leaving someone behind that you know is going to be changed for life the next time you cross paths.
Canon 5D Mark III, 50mm Prine 1.2, 24-70mmL, Natural light, Laguna Beach, CA
When deciding what to do for our own wedding, the answers came easily once we established our theme. I'm not talking about colors and decor...I'm talking about the feel. And the theme we chose was literally marooning our closest friends and family in a tropical place and having the most wild free party we could manifest. We ended up making decisions on everything from that mantra. The next order of business was deciding how much tequila we needed to buy!
Pulling inspiration from the colorful town, I decided to go with a neutral and white palette. With a destination wedding you are limited by the amount of things you can bring on an airplane. One thing that was safe was knowing that white, cream and stone would all compliment the already beautiful gardens and vibrantly painted walls at the venue. We also wanted our guests to arrive and feel as if they had been taken away to a retreat. Guests were asked to wear white and shades of neutrals. I designed a tipi to serve as a natural wood cathedral that was built buy the local palapa builders and embellished by family with rope chandlers that I created myself. It was stunning. For decor, I spent my evenings leading up to the wedding doing a lot of DIY macrame and twine making with a cup of wine in hand. I knew that I could make a lot of twine flags and later make decisions about where they should go and just string them up around the property. All of the decorations fit into one large suitcase!
We leaned heavy on our friends and family whose contributions came together, culminating in what become an epic party. One of my favorite memories was sitting in a beach house the day before the wedding with our homie Julio, The Whooligan, covered in sand sipping on beers while putting together the playlist for the wedding at the final hour. It all just came together like that. You do as much as you can before, but it was the moments of everyone coming together and splitting up into little groups for little adventures that we will always remember. We threw songs out there, cracked jokes, and got pumped for the big day laughing at each other's suggestions. It was the best!
You probably already know this but Josh and I also own a company making re-useable stainless steel cups and being environmentally conscious is high on our list of priorities. We served a mix of specialty cocktails, hibiscus margaritas hand made from dried petals by our great friend Eddie Concha, local beer, and aqua fresca from the cups which doubled as gifts for their guests. Guests were also given wood veneer etched artwork from the folks at 5 Points Collective that matched a screen print the couple used in lieu of a traditional guestbook. I wanted to have something that they would go up in our house not something that would tucked away and never be seen again and for our guests to take home something that wouldn't end up in the trash or their nic-nacs drawer. I found the artists while window shopping in Venice one day. The message on the print, "See the Unseen, Be the Unbeen," was perfect and the art couldn't have looked more like a scene from Sayulita.
Best thing ever? Squarespace! Which I used to design the wedding website which aided in relaying ever-changing travel and accommodation information to their guests. I used the images on the home gallery page to tell people what they needed to know about the feel of the days to come. It ended up being a huge success, one of my favorite pages I created was an RSVP page where I populated an image of our guests after they said they were coming. People had a lot of fun watching familiar faces pop up and it helped build the anticipation of the wedding and get folks to know each other who might not have met yet.
For fare, we kept it simple and delicious. Everyone loves tacos. After the ceremony and before sunset guests milled the beach eating a mix of tamales, ham and pineapple tacos pastor, wood fired pizza and late night churros. To counteract the effects of the tequila bar we made a stack of fresh coconuts with straws prepped to keep partygoers hydrated.
It got sweaty, shirtless, and barefoot. It was f*%#ing awesome!! summarizes Josh who doesn't dice his words.
I would like to say a huge thanks to the people who came together for our lives and this event. Laura Austin, Frank Harrington, John Lucarelli, Miguel the man with the plan, their parents and families, and Trev and Amanda, their friends who turned their Thanksgiving break into a wedding scouting mission. JJ & the folks at Pizzeria Rustica where they had their rehearsal dinner. To the talented Meghan Minillo for her lovely signage. And to Johannes and Anne who created a home so beautiful beyond imagination that our wildest wedding dreams came true.
I remember her getting down to business with me at athe ripe young age of ten, "Never work in a cubicle!" she commanded. (The woman who never told me what or how to do anything). I knew she meant it. I wondered on Sunday as she held my reflector in the middle of the woods on the windiest day in SF history what she thought of my "office." Sorry mom. I didn't mean to have you hold a sail. You are a trooper. Anyways; she handled assisting like a mother effin' champ holding my clients coats and sunglasses and even snapping BTS photos on her iphone. Go Mom! You rock. I love you and thank you for always supporting me and thinking that I am cool. :)
Also HUGE props to Lujia and Clement who braved the wind. You guys are wonderful and people would never know how crazy it was. Looking forward to photographing your big day!