it’s funny to jump back into film photography, and to see what habits i’ve developed over the last fifteen years of shooting exclusively with digital cameras. each time i shot a frame, i intuitively checked the back of the camera for the image. i laughed a little each time, thinking the next frame would break the habit. it didn’t, and i was so unconfident about the quality of the images that i took a few with my phone camera, for insurance.
ashley and i went out on an unseasonably warm winter day in denver, colorado, to shoot with the grungy backdrop of an industrial part of town. i liked her polished look — sleek hair, flawless makeup, and fashion-forward sack dress — against the variety of textures this construction site had to offer.
this won’t be a permanent move to film photography but a flashback to analog is a worthy lesson in patience and precision.
sofia and i ventured out to a pocket of redwoods in san francisco’s golden gate park to play with light. i asked her to float around so i could find a sliver of sunshine just big enough to catch the gold in her brown eyes. i noticed that the branches were creating shapes similar to the print on her dress, which led to an exploration of shadows rather than light. she changed into a top that exposed a gorgeous blank canvas of soft skin across her back, and from there, we married nature with art.
i prefer to take an unconventional approach to boudoir photography, showcasing the under-appreciated parts of a woman that, collectively, make her beautiful on the whole. an angular collarbone creating soft, geometric shadows. the length of a thigh muscle on a toned leg. the pattern of her lashes hanging over a cheekbone. a delicate hand drawing your attention to...another beautiful body part. i like the images to remain sensual, feminine, delicate, artful, and — most importantly — leaving the viewer wanting more.
for this shoot, we went to marshall beach, which is a secluded sliver of sand and rocks where san franciscans flock to flaunt their banana hammocks and bare buns in warm weather. it wasn’t exactly a temperature to strip down in, so i didn’t anticipate the gang of photographers that became our audience. while they weren’t dropping trou, they were there to capture the glowing golden gate bridge against a sunset-lit sky (and getting more than they hiked down the cliffside for!).
my goal for this golden hour was to play with form in motion, light, and texture. we managed to accomplish all three, thanks to a generous stretch of sunlight and an abundance of sea spray. and maybe feeling like a celebrity because there’s a private photographer and paparazzi helps bring out the model in all of us.
These loves have been together for nearly half of their lives and I was lucky enough to be witness to and photograph their wedding day. The City Hall officiant who married them asked how long they'd been together, and when they told him, his response was, "About damn time." He later brought them to a statue of Harvey Milk in the rotunda where they exchanged vows, and he explained that it wouldn't be possible without the efforts of Harvey Milk decades ago.
D + D are a treat to spend any amount of time with - and to photograph a couple that has been together for so long but is still so obviously in love is a treasure. They came to the table with a couple of requests for photos but for the most part I was just there catching them in the midst of their naturally playful interaction.
The first time I met these two, San Francisco didn't exactly deliver on the weather front. We met in the parking lot at Land's End on a foggy/misty/gray day, and decided to reschedule. The second time around was just what we wanted, and it shows in these photos.
Sometimes overcast weather can be better than sunny weather, especially when that sunshine is casting dark shadows across my clients' faces. In this case, we had some golden hour light that was unbeatable. it poured through the cypress trees and made this couple glow.
We tackled a few couples shots together in the beginning and then captured the Mrs. in her element. A pilates teacher in Cow Hollow, we took some photos of her in some bendy stretches, with her toned baby bump prominently displayed.
I met Matt and Sunny early on a November Saturday at Fisherman's Wharf's historic Buena Vista Café. They'd flown in the night before from Vancouver, where they both live and work. We sat down for a morning Irish coffee, and I can't think of a better way to get to know a couple than over a booze-spiked beverage.
They were so much fun and so easy to talk to, that it was like photographing a couple of old friends. It was a warm, bluebird day, which allowed for some clear shots of the San Francisco Bay and its iconic landmarks. Aside from all of that, these two are very clearly in love; it is evident in the way they look at each other, so any weather would have resulted in great photos.
Congratulations to the lovely couple!
This easygoing, sweet couple has been such a treat to work with, and they make my job fun and easy. Without prompting, they look at one another with such love and affection, and at the risk of sounding cliché, just by watching them interact, you can tell they are meant to be together. As we walked through Russian Hill and North Beach together, they pointed out silly things to one another, shared inside jokes, laughed, and held hands. I am so pleased to share Liz and Corbin's lovely May engagement session!
I have yet to work with two people who make each other laugh more than Liz and Corbin. They are both silly and playful, almost constantly building up to a giggle. But when they're not laughing he's sweeping her bangs away from her eyes or she's holding tight on his lapels to bring him in for a smooch.
Liz and I met for coffee to discuss the details of their upcoming City Hall wedding, and I was immediately drawn to their laid-back attitude about planning. They wanted it to be intimate and simple, making it more about their loving union than anything else.
The day we had coffee, Liz explained that they bonded over their mutual love of music and that they are both creative. She showed me the invitation envelope sample she'd been working on perfecting; it was flawlessly calligraphed and she'd taught herself how not long before. I shouldn't have been surprised, when I arrived to photograph her getting ready, to find that she had hand selected and made all of their gorgeous flower arrangements; or that she and Corbin spent months coming up with the perfect playlist for their reception. The details that mattered to the two of them were carefully thought out together.
The architecture in San Francisco's City Hall is stunning, with its old-time details and variety of textures. Divided-light windows, marble and concrete walls, intricate steel handrails along each staircase, and geometric tile flooring come together and make for a beautiful wedding ceremony backdrop. I present to you Liz and Corbin's romantic City Hall wedding.
I love the untraditional approach this couple took to their wedding planning. They decided to do a pop-up wedding on a bluff overlooking Montara State Beach, off of Highway 1.
I'd been to Montara Beach for hiking and beach-dwelling, but hadn't yet explored the bluffs. I scouted for an hour before the ceremony and that was that. We were all winging it together.
It was a gorgeous day - just enough haze to make the images look like a painting - and a slight breeze for some movement. The ice plants were bright green and blooming a sea of vibrant yellow and purple flowers.
A complement to the gorgeous setting was this beautiful couple, so clearly in love. You can tell by the way they look at one another, and not included here are outtakes of them bent over in laughter. Constant inside jokes have them smiling and cracking each other up, and I can't help but love their love.
Just a few short years ago I was photographing this couple's engagement, then their wedding, then her first maternity session, and then their first photos as a family. One of the greatest pleasures of my job as a photographer is watching people grow. In this case, the De Rosas have recently grown into a family of four, and I feel lucky to know them on a personal level, but also to capture these moments as their photographer.
These days, it makes the most sense to select a location based on how fun it may seem to their two+ year old. This time, we landed on the San Francisco Botanical Garden, because what is more fun than giant leaves and rocks when you're an adventurous toddler boy?
One of my favorite people to photograph is pregnant with a sweet baby boy. My vision for the shoot was to keep things simple and really highlight her precious baby bump. I photographed her on a gloomy, windy day at Ocean Beach for some wide-open beach space with cool grays and tans in the background. We then skipped nearby to Land's End, where you can peek through the curvy cypress tree trunks to see whales making their way down the coast. At least we were lucky enough to see them on this particular visit!
When I finished editing Jeff and Stacy's wedding photos, I was left with nearly 500 from which to choose for this blog post. I am obsessed with Stacy's Amy Kuschel dress - not only is it stunning on the hanger, but it fit her like a glove - and with all of the rain Northern California was having, the gardens of Cornerstone were blindingly colorful. Narrowing it down to just a handful was tough.
The couple decided they wanted to do a "first look" prior to the ceremony, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. While the barn where the ceremony was held is charming and inviting, I was stoked to stage the first look and to utilize one of the gorgeous mini-gardens on the property instead. They were an easy-going bridal duo but most importantly they trusted my vision and asked me to decide where to have them see each other for the first time. No pressure! But, really, it was such a sweet rendez-vous that I cried while I was taking the pictures and then again while I was editing them. Sucker.
And then there was the comic relief brought on by the groomsmen. I quickly figured out that I wasn't going to get them to do anything serious or even sit still for 30 seconds, so I let them call the shots. When I say that, I mean they were actually insisting on calling out which photos they wanted me to take, which included one of all of their toes pointed together in a circle, one of them lifting up the groom, and one of them bending over to show me "butts in khakis." Amazing.
Stacy and Jeff are a BLAST. We spent an entire day touring some of the best neighborhoods in San Francisco - Pacific Heights, Chinatown, North Beach, the Financial District, the Castro, and all the way out to Fort Funston - and it's obvious that they're made for each other. Stacy's Long Island accent and dry sense of humor are the best possible complements to Jeff's playful, outgoing personality. One of the best remarks I heard from Stacy on the shoot was, "You gettin' fresh with me, boyfriend?" Jeff responded by putting her in a headlock. Ahh, true love!
Clearly she gets these doe eyes from her beautiful mama. Look out, world. This girl is going to grow up breaking hearts.
I LOVE these San Francisco engagement shoots. I have very strong, romantic feelings for this little "City-by-the-Bay" and, when I get to capture a couple's love right in the middle of it, it's an inspiration overload.
There's a bit of a challenge to overcome when shooting in San Francisco: how do I get classic SF shots without posing the couple in front of the most famous landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge? While that's a beautiful, world-renowned structure, it's important to me to reveal the less-famous but equally remarkable places San Francisco has to offer. Lucky for me, I get to marvel at the unique and historic architecture, rolling hills, vistas, and sometimes edgy alleyways on a daily basis. I feel it's my responsibility to showcase it.
For Eaven and Natalie's photo shoot, I took them to a steep hill in North Beach, a secluded viewpoint in Pacific Heights, the rugged rocks of foggy Tank Hill, and finished in the Ferngully-like Sutro Forest. I am so fond of these two fun-loving, carefree people and had a blast tripping around the city with them.
Four-month-old baby Daniel is as sweet as they come. He has big, beautiful eyes, and all he really does is smile, kick his squishy baby legs, and charm the socks off of everyone in sight. Even his drool is adorable. When I arrived for our photo shoot, his mama, Ana, brought him into the living room of their San Francisco home and announced that he was grumpy. If that's grumpy, sign me up for a baby. He didn't fuss but once, and was all smiles and sweet baby coos.
We took some shots in Daniel's chevron-painted nursery, and then we strolled uphill to Lafayette Park to take in some Bay views. As if I wasn't impressed enough by Daniel's shark-print overalls and matching socks, Ana busted out a pair of Babiators and a precious little newsboy cap to keep the sun out of his eyes. Later on that same night, we met Dave, Ana, and Daniel for dinner. Although the restaurant was noisy and it was far past his bedtime, Daniel was cool and calm, and he didn't cry once. I think it goes without saying that Dave and Ana won't have a hard time finding babysitters.
Victor and Rich of the insanely talented musical duo, Steelstrings, contacted me for some fresh new photos together. I was so excited to have a project like this come along, and, like all of my clients, they were both so kind and easygoing that it didn't feel like work on that early Saturday morning.
While we were shooting in an alley in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, they began to play and instantly attracted a crowd. It reminded me of a day traveling in Barcelona, when I sat in Park Guell and listened to some musicians playing Spanish guitar under the Pont de Baix. I looked behind me to find people taking pictures of the scene - a casual pair of guitarists jamming in an alley with a photographer in their faces.
Keep an eye out for Steelstrings on the San Francisco scene!