Special thanks to Marilyn Nakazato and her wonderful clients, Shirley and John…
Huge thanks to Tracy, Patrick, all of their amazing friends and family, and the team at the Coco Gallery for having me be a part of such an incredible and unique wedding at the Skirball Cultural Center. One of my favorites to date!
Karla and Du are a couple of sweethearts who are absolutely crazy about each other. I don’t think either of them could have smiled wider during their first look. Their wedding ceremony and reception took place on a boat in Newport Harbor at sundown which made for a very intimate and beautifully-lit ceremony. The couple and their friends and family had a great energy about them that carried throughout the entire day. Everywhere I turned, I saw smiles and laughter – i.e. photographic gold. It was one of those special days where you end up changing out your memory cards four or five (or maybe even six) times and apologize to the lead when you hand over a big stack of plastic cases and about a million images at the end of the night (sorry, Ronan!), but you know it was worth it. Thank you Karla, Du and the most awesome Ronan Ragasa for letting me be a part of this beautiful day.
“How long have you and Scott been together?” I asked Sheila as she was shrouded in a cloud of hairspray. “Too long,” she joked. Just two doors down the hall of the hotel overlooking the marina in San Diego, Scott could have been the coolest, calmest groom I’ve met. All smiles, no hand-wringing, no pacing, no deep sighs. Sheila and Scott were a fun-loving couple who had planned this day for a very long time, and they also planned to enjoy it to the absolute fullest. Sharing the auspicious date of June 2nd with Sheila’s parents on their 50th wedding anniversary (wow), this celebration at the San Diego Museum of Art was anything but ordinary. Just check out their amazing wedding video by Letter Box Films and you’ll see what I mean.
Congratulations, Sheila and Scott. And thank you to my friends at the Coco Gallery, Thomas, Jack and Alfred.
Kristeen and Adnan are one of the kindest and most fun-loving couples I’ve had the good fortune to work with. I first met them while assisting Brett Hickman on their engagement shoot (check it out here) – it was COLD and extremely windy that day, yet we still managed to get to know each other and have a great time all while turning out some amazing images (nice work, Brett!). I was then asked to second-shoot their beautiful Sikh ceremony in Los Angeles for my buddy and fellow photographer, Ning Wong.
This was an entirely new experience for me so I was grateful for Ning’s wife and Kristeen’s close friend, Geetu, who gave me the quick rundown on Sikh traditions. I covered my head with a scarf, slipped off my shoes and looked to Geetu for approval before entering the temple – yep, I was good to go. Even though I was there to work, they welcomed me as a guest and everyone was eager to help me understand and enjoy the experience. The ceremony was peaceful, lighthearted and moving all at the same time, and one of my favorites to date.
Things really got interesting when it was time for portraits. Due to their different faith backgrounds, Kristeen and Adnan had several ceremonies and celebrations over a period of a few weeks, which I’m sure was both awesome and exhausting. The BIG ceremony was not for another week so this day was all about having fun, and instead of taking traditional portraits, the four of us wandered the streets to come up with scenes you might see in Bollywood films. Hilarity ensued.
By the end of the day, my cheeks hurt from laughing. Thank you, Ning, Kristeen and Adnan for an awesome day of “work”!
One of the first things photographer Ronan Ragasa asked me when I expressed interest in second shooting for him and his colleague Josh Fernandez was “How do you feel about shooting a 12-hour wedding?” I was all for it, although I knew a gig like that would require plenty of sleep, good shoes and maybe a few bananas to get through the day.
With comfy shoes and my bag packed to the brim with gear and snacks, I made my way over to the Shore Hotel in Santa Monica at 9:30am sharp to help Ronan shoot the groom and his guys getting ready. From my experience so far, men don’t usually want to have their pictures taken and it can take some time and effort to get them to open up. Francis and his groomsmen were the exception to the rule. Smiling, laughing, joking and interacting with us from the moment we arrived, they made our jobs way too easy and it was a great way to start the day.
We made our way to the beautiful mansion in Malibu Hills where we met the equally friendly and energetic Lana and her bridesmaids. From the rehearsal, to the ceremony, to dinner and dancing, this group was going to have the time of their lives no matter what – and it was so fun being a part of it. All of this positive energy made the day fly by and before I knew it, Ronan was tapping me on the shoulder to tell me it was time to go home. After nearly 13 hours of shooting, I didn’t want it to end! It was an awesome reminder of why I do what I do.
Thank you, Josh and Ronan! Looking forward to the next one!
Reacting to an incredible same-day video edit by Fluid Contrast Productions…
My friends at ZOe Productions invited me to shoot the Closing Night reception they designed for the 2011 Busan West International Film Festival hosted at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. From the bold colors, lighting and music, to the stylish furnishings, decor and captivating entertainment, this event was a fantastic example of ZOe’s unique ability to transform a simple soundstage into an exciting and luxurious multi-sensory experience. I can’t recommend a company more highly than ZOe Productions to craft a custom convention, gala event or show that is sure to be unforgettable. As a photographer, ZOe is by far one of my most-loved clients because I never know what to expect but I’m always thrilled with what I find – color, texture, challenging lighting scenarios and details abound. And as someone who is recently engaged, it pains me to know that they don’t do weddings. Sigh. Here are some of my favorite shots of the evening:
As the event was wrapping up, the ZOe team and I decided to have some fun with flash…
The latest lesson of the Scott Robert Mentoring Series focused on the wedding day workflow. Skilled and experienced photographers can set up and photograph a scene under extremely tight time constraints (and pressure, distractions and general chaos) because, well, they typically have to. From my experience with weddings, plans change, schedules change, key photo subjects disappear, and you really have no choice but to keep a cool head and roll with the punches. So our time with each of the models at the Santa Anita Race Track was very limited and mentorship coordinator Michelle Ford wasn’t joking when she called out “Time’s up!” at each rotation. Fortunately, models Amanda Maston, Aryn Taylor and Lexi Calo (featured below) were all beautiful and had the personalities and attitudes to match.
Ahh, the SoCal Photog Shootout — yet another high-pressure, time-crunched photographic endeavor. And I love it. Organizers Hanssie Trainor and Matthew Saville do a fantastic job of recruiting the best instructors, models, stylists, and hair and make-up artists in the region, and they find amazing locations, too. October’s shoot took place outside of a private estate in South Orange County called Maison Des Oliviers, and everywhere you turned was another beautiful scene or backdrop to place your subject. With groups of six to eight people and a limited amount of time to set up that perfect shot you’re envisioning in your mind, you really only have once chance to get it right. I guess that’s why it’s so much fun.