Christa is a lovely hair & makeup artist I had the great pleasure of photographing. A blonde pixie & amazing style… yes please! We shot in my natural light studio & home. I brought out a roll of tulle I’ve been saving and we had some fun. She’s a super talented artist and I’m excited to be working with her more often, follow her @christapalige on Insta.
Fatimah emailed me about doing a Trash the Dress session for her and Anthony’s 1 year anniversary. I shot their wedding & engagement session last year so I was super excited to do another session to celebrate their anniversary. They’ve always been into any of my strange ideas, I knew it would be a good one. Fatimah’s wedding dress was her mother’s handed down to her, so we didn’t really want to “trash” it. Since their engagement session & wedding were both on the nature side, I thought it would be fun to do something more urban. Something even grungy to juxtapose what they’re dressed in… I stumbled onto this spot underneath the freeway one day on a walk with my dog and thought it would be perfect. A homeless man’s paradise… it’s not really a place you’d notice since it’s just a hill behind a torn up fence with some construction in the background… but something about it grabbed me. I saw opportunity where others might see a place to dump their half empty McDonald’s french fries. There’s always beauty even in the ugly! We got up early, it was going to be a hot and sunny day, I wanted to catch some of that morning light and so glad we did!
And here’s a fun behind the scenes shot taken by my wonderful assistant Gabi Manevich! #sotrashy
I met Allie & Jeremy at Stumptown Coffee in downtown. I got there a little early, ordered my ice vanilla coffee and sat down to read a book. Soon after, I looked up to see this adorable and happy couple bustling in with two dogs in hand. Babysitting one dog, and Jackson, their baby was able to join us on the day of the session. Allie & Jeremy were already married when I met them. They never got engagement photos and weren’t super stoked about their wedding ones, so just wanted something sweet and personal for the two of them. Jeremy mentioned he proposed to her in a cabin in the forest, so my first thought was to shoot in a forest.
We didn’t trek too far, this forest was actually here in LA in the San Gabriel mountains. I’m always in awe of all the different scenery southern California has to offer. This session was great, no one was around, it was just the four of us (lil Jackson included of course) and the sounds of nature. We frolicked and explored and had a lovely little afternoon together.
Starting over is kind of crazy… rejuvenating and a little scary. With a brand new drastic haircut, a new loft apartment… my business was the next thing to start over. Well, move forward more than start over. I’ve been working on this website re-vamp for a couple of months now, solidifying my brand and creating a website that is more ME! Last year, after my wedding season was over… I did some traveling, some soul-searching. I felt a little burnt out and wanted to step back from it all and think about what I wanted from life. I started shooting photos for me, things that I really loved and that inspired me. I even made a whole personal photo series website. I suddenly found a new avenue I wanted to take my business. That sparked this whole revamp of my website & blog. I went through all my wedding images and found the ones that really spoke to me and thought about WHY. The ones that weren’t so posy but had some true emotion, the ones where I remembered the story behind them, and the ones that had those really intentional compositions. Some that had vibrant color and some that had milky & grainy tones. Those stood out to me. I thought about what made me different than other wedding photographers out there… I realized through my personal work that I loved photographing people, not always through their perfection but through their rawness and honesty. I like those “in between” moments, not necessarily the ones you plan for, but the ones that bring out that real and organic beauty. I like to know people’s stories, I’m interested in struggles as well as blissful moments. Our struggles help us become who we are and help us get to those happy times.
It was a hard decision, but I decided to flush out my old blog and start over. I’ll post some “throwbacks” of old weddings & shoots I love, and you can see a bunch of my favorites on my new galleries, but sometimes you have start fresh. I remember in college, I had this great art teacher who one day had us draw a still life on a large sheet of paper. It took us maybe 2 hours, and at the end of class he told us… “erase it.” Everyone was shocked, but the lesson was that sometimes you can’t hold on too tight to your work, you have to be brave enough to erase it.
I want to start off this blog with a wedding I recently shot of two dear clients of mine, Sahra & Dave. They have a relationship I really admire and I feel like I’ve learned a lot through them. They also started over… life pulled them apart and then they found each other again years later and they were ready to start the journey together. Life is funny like that, you never know where and with who you will end up. You just have to keep your heart open and remember life rewards you when you do.
This wedding was very small, just 35 guests, in a beautiful botanical garden in the South Bay. There was no bridal party and the whole thing was very casual, a celebration with all their closest friends. It was far from traditional and that’s what I loved about it. The ceremony was filled with sweetness and the vows were something so special and real. It made me remember how special a real love & marriage can be… it’s about overcoming those struggles together, going through the depths of life together and opening your heart to someone fully. It’s about accepting someone for who they are and not trying to make them into someone you want them to be. It’s about balancing your responsibilities and letting the other person be right. It’s about respecting each other’s choices and holding their hand through it. Love… real, honest, crazy love.. there’s nothing like it. Sahra & Dave ended their ceremony by asking their blessings from the universe and giving a congratulatory high five! Yes! It was a day to remember and I feel really special to have been able to be a part of it and get to know these two.
Hotel: Beach House Hotel
Ceremony venue: South Coast Botanical Gardens
Reception venue: Abigaile
Hair/makeup: Unveiled by Christina Vo
Coordination: Angellah Petruso
Flowers: Dao Lee
Videography: Trumpet Bird
Associate Photographer: Kristine Ko