Shayna + Jon’s Sonoma Valley Wedding

This wedding was held at The Lodge at Sonoma. Florals were designed by Fluers de France, hair by Colette and photographed by myself and my assistant Kat Louis.

Shayna + Jon, The Lodge at Sonoma, 2013

Lisea’s Senior Portraits At SweetLane Gardens

Here are some of the best shots from my senior portrait shoot with Casa Grade High student Lisea. We shot at the beautiful Sweetlane Gardens, which is a wholesale nursery in Cotati. A nursery isn’t the first place most people think of when they want a senior portrait shoot, but it’s often the non-traditional venues that make for the most beautiful images. A ton of flowers in bloom doesn’t hurt either. I would love to shoot a wedding there.

A big thanks to Sweetlane Gardens in Cotati for the great location for this shoot. Also, Kat Louis did a wonderful job on Nina’s makeup and Colette did her hair.

Lisea, Sweetlane Gardens, Cotati, California, 2013

Tips For Engaged Couples Before Your Photo Shoot

Delicate hands and shiny jewelry.Engagements, boudoir, and bridal portrait shoots, are now deemed as important as the wedding ceremony itself. With today’s best wedding photographers turning the whole prenuptial stage from linear to creative, a lot of couples-to-be are now challenged to come up with a theme that would perfectly present their love story being immortalized through photographs. A great photographer will work with you to choose the perfect location for the shoot, the outfits to be worn, and even those candid moments and romantic looks and gestures—factors that would keep you all the more thinking about the way your photos would appear. However, before you proceed to get your photos snapped for your friends and family to see, we have some tips to help you and your beloved to be properly prepared for this momentous event.

Get your nails done. Whether you’re into nail polish or not, it is wise to trim your cuticles and even out your nails using a nail file. This would make your fingers look healthy as this also would make an impression, especially in showcasing your diamond ring in photos. Small details make a big difference!

Straighten your engagement ring. Before letting your photographer take a picture of your engagement ring on your finger, make sure that the ring is straightened out so it doesn’t look sloppy on your fingers when photographed. In fact, it is normal to have uneven webs between our digits which make ring sit a bit lopsided. To keep the ring in place during the photo sessions, place your hand on a flat surface, or try to squeeze your pinky against your ring finger. Also, clean your ring before the shoot. This can be done with simple glass cleaner or you can try to visit your jewelry store and ask for their preferred diamond cleaner. Please click here for more details about diamond engagement rings and other jewelry care advice.

Nina’s Senior Portraits At Sweetlane Gardens

A big thanks to Sweetlane Gardens in Cotati for the great location for this styled senior portrait shoot. Also, Kat Louis did a wonderful job on Nina’s makeup and Colette Burrows did her hair.

Nina, Cotati, California, 2013

Diana’s Portrait Shoot At Tara Firma Farms

This portrait shoot was at Tara Firma Farms just west of Petaluma, California. My client Diana drove all the way from Sacramento for this simple Sonoma County shoot. She did all of her own styling.

Diana, Tara Firma Farms, Petaluma, California, 2013

New Logo

Today I am introducing a new logo.  I usually despise the fact that I have to use a logo at all.  Probably because I prefer making photographs to marketing. Of course, I have always wished that my work could simply speak for itself and I wouldn’t need any branding or advertising.  But that’s never going to be the case.  Even for the best photographers there needs to be a hook or something easy and eye-catching that results in someone wanting to look at their work. Sometimes, that’s a logo.

This new logo, or logotype as it actually is, is noticeably absent of the word “photography.” Obviously, I am still a photographer, but I felt the need to drop the word because of it’s ubiquitous use in the names of so many photography “studios.” It’s a self conscious need, I know, and maybe even a little arrogant, but these days when everyone with a digital camera and a website seems to be “So and So Photography” I feel making the small change is critical.

I don’t want to be lost in the myriad of “So and So Photography” studios.  I just want to be myself making the work that I feel most fits my artistic vision for the best clients that appreciate that vision.  I hope that person is you.

Stylish weddings, sophisticated seniors, and fine art photography made in Sonoma County, Calif.

P.S. I promise this logo will never find its way onto one of your images!

Sarah + Dave at The Ranch at Little Hills

On the Go BrideThis wedding was at The Ranch at Little Hills in San Ramon, California. Thanks to Stephanie Larson Events for the coordination of this beautiful wedding.

I have to say that Sarah and Dave’s wedding was one of the most fun, energetic, and loving weddings I have ever shot. From start to end there was non-stop laughter. I was blessed to be able to capture and experience a couple that is so absolutely perfect for each other surrounded by the most supportive of friends. Throughout the day there was beautiful decor and scenery, prayer, a thoughtful ceremony, good food and drink, tons of dancing, revelry (I don’t use that word often), and something called a flabongo.

After some quick pictures of the bride getting ready, I took the couple and the wedding party for some portraits around the ranch. The sun was just going behind a golden hill in the background and made the pictures really glow. There are some times that I really need to encourage a wedding party to have fun and relax while taking portraits, but not with this crowd. They made my job easy.

Sarah and Dave, The Ranch at Little Hills, San Ramon, California, 2012After portraits of the wedding party it was time for the ceremony. Amongst an energy filled day, this ceremony was actually a well deserved moment of thoughtful reflection and prayer. I thrive on making pictures that go beyond capturing just the topical emotions of happiness, beauty and love to the more subtle emotions that a bride and groom feels on their wedding. A contemplative ceremony like this gave me a chance to see that side of Sarah, Dave, and their guests so that when they look at my pictures years from now, they not only recall how happy they were but maybe also how grateful, intimate, selfless, or supported they felt. I’m glad for that as well as the giggling and whimsy.

The sun set just as the ceremony was ending. After some quick family portraits, I took the couple away from the revelry (twice in one post!) for a few intimate portraits of them in the moonlight. It was a full moon that night.

Sarah and Dave, The Ranch at Little Hills, San Ramon, California, 2012

Then there was dinner and finally a lot of dancing. I mean a lot of dancing. And these guys were good at it too. They weren’t pros or anything, but the groomsmen even had a choreographed dance during their toasts that had to have taken a lot of practice to get right.

I am so grateful that Sarah and Dave invited me to photograph their wonderful wedding. It was certainly a celebration that I thoroughly enjoyed capturing. Congrats guys!

 

Katie + Aaron’s Marin Headlands Engagement

Katie and Aaron of San Francisco met me at the Marin Headlands on a foggy fall day for a romantic engagement shoot.

Katie + Aaron, Marin Headlands, California, 2012

Petaluma’s Cimarron Horse Sanctuary Needs Help

I just wanted to pass along some information on a great Petaluma non-profit that needs help.  The Cimarron Horse Sanctuary operated by Gwen Justis with mainly her own backing and the help of a small handful of volunteers is a horse rescue that is facing increased costs and demand to help horses in need.  Below is from a letter outlining their needs in Gwen’s own words.

“As Summer winds down, and Fall is in the air, it appears that many families are undergoing serious changes.  Cimmaron Sanctuary is receiving calls and emails daily from families all over the Bay Area who are losing their homes, sending kids off to college with escalating bills, and/or who are in financial trouble.  These are families who have had one or two horses usually for a long time, and now they can either no longer house the horses, or no longer pay the monthly board bill to house the horses and/or can no longer pay the feed bill as winter approaches.

What is the most upsetting about this situation is that the many of the horses are horses 25 years of age or older – precisely the age where each horse can continue to contribute as long as they are guaranteed a safe and healthy retirement after having given a lifetime of service to mankind.  And many of these horses have had a past injury which means they can contribute as long as the people taking care of them are mindful of the past injury.  In other words, these horses are at high risk through no fault of theirs, and they desperately need help.  In some cases, there is very little time to relocate them.

We have the ability to take care of a larger number of horses than what we currently have at the Sanctuary as far as horse care is concerned.  However, we are paying monthly board expenses for all of the horses we have currently, because we do not yet have a property we either own or have long-term use of for housing the horses.  Our current monthly board bill is considerable – about $300/month per horse plus vet, farriery, blankets, supplements, etc.  To provide a service to our community based on partnership with these horses, we require a property to house horses which alleviates the monthly board bill.

Our Horsemanship Program, Mommy & Me Visits and Buckaroo Visits are based at Sonoma Mountain Equestrian Center in Petaluma.  This facility is expensive because it works very well for the year-round activities offered under those programs, and we are happy with this part of our program.  However, we require a separate property to house the horses we are being asked to take in for sanctuary – and we need space, water, drainage, shelter, hay storage, hay and safe fencing to provide an acceptable home for these horses.

If you have any ideas about whom I could contact – and I’m very comfortable cold calling – who might be able to assist us in getting a property donated as a tax deduction or given to us for long-term use, I and the horses would be very grateful.  From my perspective, humans bred these horses, most probably for profit, raised these horses, trained these horses to obey human commands, and now that the horses are getting older, and times are for some getting tougher, the humans want to discard the horses.

But horses are very sentient beings – in my experience they are much more spiritual, intelligent and wiser than most humans – and we have a responsibility to care for them as partners with us on Earth and to provide for them.

My background is entrepreneurism from Silicon Valley software startups – one after another over the years.  I’m willing to cold call, meet with, and discuss with, anyone who might be able to help.  Our community will benefit.  If you have any ideas on where to start and with whom, please let me know.  Time is of the essence.

Thanks so much,

Gwen
www.cimmaronsanctuary.org
650.245.2047″

Feel free to contact me anytime if you would like to get involved.  A great way to start is to use the below share buttons to get the word out.  Thanks!