san diego

Anastacia & Garrison | Windansea Beach Engagement Session

AHHHHH, talk about a DREAM engagement session! When I suggested that Anastacia and Garrison get all dressed up to jump in the ocean, they were all for it! This gorgeous and adventurous couple braved the cold water to make make the most epic engagement session images ever! And it was indeed, quite cold. I love the laughter and shock on their faces when the waves finally reached them!

Garrison and Anastacia are two brilliantly fun and upbeat personalities who are both living the California dream! Garrison is an actor and a model and Anastacia is a dancer. I know, I know... how lucky am I to get to photograph such an incredible couple?!?! Windansea Beach in La Jolla was the perfect setting for this dreamy engagement session. Anastacia wore a gorgeous, flowy dress that caught the breeze beautifully, and Garrison was looking very Prince-Eric-esque is his blue pants and white button-up. Basically, everything was perfect. The weather was beautiful. The sunset was lovely. They were cuddly and cute. And I'm just a really, really, REALLY happy photographer!

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!

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

Megan & Matt | La Jolla Maternity Session

Like several of the wonderful couples I've had the joy of photographing, I first met Megan and Matt through music. Megan and I started working on a show together about a year ago. Little did I know that my lovely duet partner would soon become a wonderful friend! Several performances, holiday parties, and a shared birthday later, I am unbelievably happy to call Megan and her sweet husband, Matt, dear friends!

As I have gotten to know Megan and Matt over the last year, I have learned that they are two of the kindest souls you will ever meet. Their compassionate and generous hearts continually astound me. Megan and Matt are the type of people that would go to the ends of the earth and beyond for the people they love. That's why I am so excited to watch them become parents. I haven't the slightest doubt in my mind that they will make an incredible parenting team. They've got one very lucky little girl on the way!

The eucalyptus trees in La Jolla were the perfect backdrop for this Christmas-inspired maternity session. Of course, when I say Christmas, I mean the southern California version where the warm sunshine eases the sting of the bitter 60-degree cold. Nevertheless, their red and green outfits and warm sweaters sure got me in the holiday spirit! And if you're looking at these images from somewhere with "real" winter, Megan and Matt's sweet smiles are sure to warm you right up!

Coco & Cam | Balboa & North Park Engagement Session

If you ask Coco, she'll joke that an extra glass of wine was responsible for her finally sending a Facebook message to her floppy-haired, guitar-playing crush from back in high school. She was planning a night out with friends and figured she would invite him along. Much to her surprise, Cam showed up, and they've been teammates ever since!

Coco and Cam had the same thing to say about the start of their relationship; they both knew right away. "It just clicked. When you can be the best version of yourself without having to try to be what they want, it's the most awesome feeling. We don't have to be anything other than our authentic selves."

Watching these two be their authentic selves has been a joy. We started Coco and Cam's engagement session at the Florida Canyon Preserve and their personalities shone through immediately. We then took a trip through Balboa Park and ended their session in their very own neighborhood of North Park. This session is full of crinkly-nosed smiles and sweet snuggles. I can't wait for their wedding next year! In the meantime, I'll just be hanging out and drinking wine with these two cuties!

Elly & Aaron | Shelter Island Engagement Session

Holy cuteness! Elly and Aaron are as sweet as can be, and their engagement session proves it!

Elly and Aaron are incredible musicians and I've had the pleasure of singing with both of them on many occasions. In fact, it was their mutual love of music that brought these two together! Elly and Aaron got to know each other while singing in San Diego's professional choir, SACRA/PROFANA. It has been such a joy to watch these two amazing people fall in love, and now, to get to share in the telling of their story!

Because San Diego has been such an integral part of their story, they wanted to include the skyline of America's Finest City in their engagement photos. So, we headed to Shelter Island for what would be one of my very favorite engagement sessions to date! Elly and Aaron are affection, kind, funny, and an absolute joy to spend time with. This made photographing their engagement session all kinds of fun!

Elly asked me if I had a favorite image from their session, and I honestly can't pick one! They're just too stinking cute! Maybe you can pick a favorite! Enjoy!

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."

Tina & Joey | The Lafayette Hotel

Tina and Joey's wedding at The Lafayette Hotel was beyond perfect! First of all, Tina is drop-dead-gorgeous! She rocked a beautiful mermaid wedding dress and had the perfect sparkly details to go with it. Seriously, just wait until you see her shoes!

In her own words, Tina is "not a traditional bride", and Tina and Joey wanted to make sure their wedding uniquely reflected their spunky personalities. Tina lived up to those words when she started rapping during the toasts! Coolest. Bride. Ever. They chose the Lafayette Hotel because they love the North Park neighborhood and liked the unique atmosphere of the hotel. From the eclectic collection of chairs to the umbrellas hanging from the ceiling, this venue had the perfect personality to host their special day! This wedding was a beautiful balance of elegance and downright fun (complete with shots of tequila right after the first kiss).

I was so fortunate to spend the day with these sweet people and their wonderful friends and family! I hope you enjoy looking through these photos as much as I enjoyed creating them! Tina and Joey, I wish you all the best. Thank you for inviting me to play a part in your big day!

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 :)