photography

Olivia & Oscar | Little Italy Engagement Session

Olivia and Oscar are hardworking, kindhearted, and stunningly beautiful! I had the pleasure of studying biology and chemistry alongside them at Point Loma Nazarene University, where their love story began. It's always so much fun for me to photograph couples I've known since the start of their relationship!

Oscar is the definition of dapperness and chivalry. There isn't a mean bone in his body. And this guy has style for days! Olivia exudes sweetness and elegance. Her smile and vibrant personality are so contagious. And how about that gorgeous gown? These two DRESSED. IT. UP. I really wasn't kidding when I said they are a stunningly beautiful couple! WOW!

We spent our evening meandering through Little Italy in downtown San Diego. It was the perfect setting for an elegant engagement session. I was definitely geeking out over their AMAZING outfit choices, adorable smiles, and affectionate personalities. It truly doesn't get any better than this. Enjoy!

Hamilton Cast Dance Portraits

If you've ever had a conversation with me for more than 5 seconds, you know that speechlessness is something I experience approximately never. But trying to put words to one of the most rewarding experiences of my photography career is not easy. Everything I write feels inhibited or overly professional, so I'll just say it like this; photographing dancers from the cast of Hamilton was REALLY, REALLY FREAKING AWESOME!

I have been a musical theatre nerd my entire life. I unabashedly belt show tunes in the shower (you're welcome to everyone who has ever lived with me) and have been performing since I was a young child. So when I got to see the national tour of Hamilton during its stop in San Diego, I was ecstatic! Unless you've been living under a rock for several years, you'll know that Hamilton is the talk of the town. The musical won 11 Tony Awards in 2016 and has been sold out for virtually every performance in its existence. I'll admit, I was nervous to see if the musical would live up to the hype, but after seeing the show, I can honestly say that you just can't hype it up enough. It's truly spectacular in every way.

However, the excitement of seeing the show pales in comparison to the excitement of actually collaborating with these incredibly talented performers in the photography studio. Besides being insanely talented and stunningly beautiful (seriously, is this a requirement for Hamilton casting?), these dancers were kind, gracious, and a dang good time to hang out with! While I'm not a gifted dancer myself, I have long believed dance to be the most beautiful and expressive of art forms. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I believe that dance is altogether beyond words. And so, creating together with these beautiful people was truly an experience that left me speechless.

Downtown San Diego Styled Shoot | The El Cortez Don Room

Hello, gorgeous!!!

This incredible styled shoot at the El Cortez Don Room features vibrant jewel tones and rich golden hues for a truly jaw-dropping, luxury wedding. The outdoor fireplace on the terrace was the perfect setting for a stunning lounge designed by Breezy Day Weddings with rentals from TBD San Diego. Breezy Day Florals created some of the most spectacular arrangements I have ever seen! I'm still reeling over the incredible bridal bouquet!

With dark wood floors and a real 24k gold ceiling, the Don Room is one of the most romantic venues in San Diego. We ran with the romance and the gold theme to create a sweetheart table for the ages! From the floral arrangements to the gold flatware, this table is full of delicious colors and is sure to give you all the warm fuzzies.

In short, this shoot is one for the books! Every single detail created by the incredible team of vendors is perfection! Be sure to check out the entire list of vendors below! Enjoy!

Photography: Weston Bennett Photography

Coordination: Breezy Day Weddings

Florals: Breezy Day Florals

Venue: El Cortez Don Room

Hair: Laura Claire

Rentals: To Be Designed, Tavolo Chaise & Lighting

Linens: Patty's Linens

Cake: Frost Me Gourmet

Calligraphy: Orange and Melrose

Robert & Alan | Waterfront Park Engagement Session

I met up with Robert and Alan at the San Diego County Administration Building and began their engagement session the way I always do. "I know it can be really strange to have somebody telling you what to do and pointing a camera in your face, but I want you two to have fun tonight. Think of it as a date. You're all dressed up! I want you want to be yourselves. I want you to enjoy each other's company. Just be present in the moment. Soak it all in and have a great time. I'll take care of the rest."

Then, just as I set up the first shot and grabbed my camera, I saw that they had stopped. Robert was tearing up. "Hey Robert, talk to me. What's going on?" I asked.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to stop. I'm just so happy."

His reply was every reason I do what I do. My job is not just about making people look their best. It's not just about lighting and posing and camera settings. My job is about encouraging authenticity. It's about inviting people to be vulnerable and asking them to trust me with the most precious parts of their story. It's about encouraging them to be present in the moment, because the images we create are reminders, not the memories themselves. The memories are up to you.

The Good Ol' Days

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I'm a marine biology nerd. I love all things nautical. Blue and white is the color scheme of my life (and most of my closet). Coffee is life. Leather-bound journals are awesome. Pilot gel pens are the only pens. Narwhals are real.

For being a marine biology nerd, it's a bit embarrassing to admit that I didn't discover that last truth until I was in college. Narwhals are the unicorns of the sea, and they totally exist. Mind blown. Much to my dismay, my dear roommate was present during this epiphany and still never tires to remind me (or our friends) of it.

While discovering the existence of these majestic creatures was a crucial revelation in my college career, the most life-changing lesson I learned in college was the practice of being fully present. I had just returned to an empty campus after Christmas break of my senior year, meaning I had one semester left. Just a few more months of the most transformative and exciting times of my life. That reality hit me HARD! I kept picturing my future self saying, "remember the good ol' days?" I found myself sitting alone in my room, crippled by the fact that, very soon, my entire community would just disappear. In a very real sense, I was grieving the loss of something I loved before I had even lost it!

Thankfully, by some divine revelation, I realized that I had become so engrossed in my fears for the future, that I had completely stopped living in the present. A switch flipped. Rather than spending my time imagining what it would be like when all of my friends moved away, I started making the most of my time with them. Every single day I woke up and asked myself, "What are you going to do today that's worth remembering?" As somebody who had always been futuristic and goal-oriented, this new philosophy ROCKED. MY. WORLD. 

It's now four years later, and yes, I consider those the good ol' days. But guess what! Today is the good ol' days, too. Practicing presence is something I continue to do every day. Admittedly, I often forget. Sometimes I get caught up in the rush and let the day slip by. Our culture is pretty good at teaching us how to live for tomorrow. But when I remember, I take a few deep breaths and I grab my journal, or I sit at the edge of the ocean, or I grab coffee with a friend. And in those moments, I do my best to slow down. I take in everything around me and I tell myself to remember this. And it works.

As a wedding photographer, I now believe in the power of presence more than ever. I know from first-hand experience that being fully present results in deeper relationships, truer emotions, and clearer memories. That's why I am so committed to practicing presence with my couples on their wedding day. Beautiful photographs are precious. They will tell your story for years and generations to come, but there is no substitute for being fully present the first time around.

Try it.

 

 

"Bye, Buddy! I hope you find your dad."

Megan & Gage | The Ranch at Bandy Canyon

As family friends, Megan and Gage grew up camping, fishing, and four-wheeling together. Gage fell pretty early on for Megan's adventurous spirit and sweet smile, but it would take 12 years for Gage's crush to pay off! Every Valentine's day, Gage would send Megan a gift, regardless of their relationship statuses at the time. Talk about dedication! I guess it worked, because last year they started dating, and now it's pretty easy to see that these two just belong together! 

Megan and Gage's wedding at The Ranch at Bandy Canyon was everything I love in a wedding day! Beautiful blush and navy details, a gorgeous outdoor venue with market lights, and lots of wonderful family and friends. Most importantly, Megan and Gage's love for one another was so obvious and fun to watch! From beginning to end, this day was all smiles. Enjoy :)