Michelle & Stacey at Marival Resort Nuevo Vallarta

When you find the right person for you, everything just radiates LOVE.

It was an honor to photograph MIchelle and Stacey for their wedding and even more beautiful to see them both elated to have found each other in this big, big world. Surrounded by their most cherished and loving family and friends, it was a beautiful sight to see how much their love had brought all of these amazing people together on a beautiful beach in Mexico.

Weddings are beautiful in that way aren’t they? They bring all of the people together in one place to honor and witness how much love there is between a couple. So much love that it is solidified in vows promising all that is sacred and beautiful.

Michelle & Stacey: You’ve made me see love in an entirely new way that I had never thought before. And the fact that you’re just two of the most amazing people I’ve had the honor of photographing makes it so much more special! Thank you so much for choosing me and giving me this honor! I hope you cherish these photos for many years to come!

Brooke + Mihai Villa Paraiso, Puerto Vallarta Destination Wedding

Oh my heart, it grew about two sizes on this wedding day!  Brooke and Mihai booked me through the amazing Jennifer Lawrence at Beautiful Vallarta Weddings and planned their intimate and beautiful day at Villa Paraiso in Puerto Vallarta.  Only 35 guests witnessed Brooke & Mihai's personalized vows while overlooking the ocean.  Filled with tears and lots of happiness they said "I do" to one another knowing that they had found their perfect match. 

These two wear their heart on their sleeves and are big time huggers, which is a total plus because so am I.  We hit it off the second I arrived and felt as if I had known them all my life.  Just absolutely beautiful, giving, appreciative, and honest people.  Brooke's dad oficiated the wedding, Mihai's family sent a special wine for the wine ceremony all the way from Romania, and during toasts, there were no dry eyes.  We are friends forever now.   

Thank you so much to the both of you, your family, as well as all of your 35 guests who made me feel like a part of the party! It was an honor to witness two souls vow happily ever after to each other in the most romantic and intimate way.  Love you guys!

Bride wore BHLDN pretty much from head to toe and it was gorgeous!!! And the sunset photos... my goodness, it doesn't get prettier than Puerto Vallarta Sunsets! 

How to hire the right wedding photographer

Hiring a wedding photographer doesn't have to be stressful, as long as you make sure to do it with enough time.  From varying styles to dates available all of this is important when you begin your search.  This post is here to help you take all the guess work out of the process and really get the photographer and photographs that you are going to love for years and years!

1.  What is your personal style?

The first step before you even start searching for a photographer is to look at your own style.  Are you draw to fashion and like the glitz and glamour? Striking colors and lots of contrast? Or are you more of an ethereal, I like soft tones and brightness?  It could be that you like a particular decade like pin-up or vintage styled clothing.  What your style is, that is what you'll be drawn to in your photographs.  

I've often heard of clashing styles because the bride hired a photographer whose style is completely the opposite.  So make sure you check with your personal style first before looking for a photographer, it'll make you happy later when you see the photos!

2.  Tools to narrow down search - avoid Google!

Google is so vast and never ending that a quick search can quickly overwhelm and might even stress you out.  Unless it's something really specific like "Wedding photographer in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico" I don't suggest using Google at all.

Instead use tools like The Knot or Wedding Wire and if you're in Mexico, Bodas.  These resources have a list of vendors that have been reviewed and can attest that you'll find someone that will be perfect for your wedding day.  You can view their portfolios, check out their websites, and contact them directly.  You might have to create an account, but it's something that can be deleted later.

3.  Photographer's Style

Every photographer has a style.  Especially if they've been photographing for a long time.  Some photographers have more than one lead photographer and can provide you with options in style.  

It is very important to note that a photographer's style is like their signature, and it's very difficult for a photographer to change styles for a particular event.  For example, I shoot primarily classic, romantic, and traditional photos, I won't do vintage style photographs.  It's hard for me to change my style since I've worked for 10 years photographing a certain way.  Same goes for other photographers.

Sometimes you'll have photographers that can do classic, traditional with a mixture of photojournalism (like me) or perhaps more fashion style with lights and mix in a little romance.  Make sure you look through their website/portfolio and you can even ask to see a full event gallery (I always send links to full events!) so you can see from start to finish the real work that is handed over to brides and grooms.  

Just to add, Pinterest is a fascinating tool to help organize and plan your wedding, however, don't go to a photographer asking them to shoot exactly like the ones you pin, unless you're hiring the photographer who made the photo.  This cramps our style and makes it difficult for you to be happy with the photos later on.  

4.  What to consider when meeting with the photographer.

There are various lists of what you should ask your photographer, and I'm here to tell you to stay away from them.  Ask what you really want to know and not what you think you should know.  

For example, don't ask about equipment if you know nothing about photography equipment.  Instead, ask if the photos will be able to be printed x size and if there are albums available.  Don't ask for the copyright if you don't know about copyright laws.  Instead, ask about receiving the images and how the photographer goes about it.  

The list goes on and on but you get the idea.  Ask what you REALLY want to know and what you really want from the photographer.  Write the questions down before hand and if any come up during the meeting, then ask away.

During the meeting, make sure you feel out the photographer's personality.  This person will be helping you and guiding you from the book date until well after the wedding.  You want to know that you can get along with this person and have great communication with them.  You might even become friends after! Happens all the time :).

5.  How soon should we hire our photographer?

The whirlwind of getting engaged is such a special time so you should definitely enjoy it! Take at least a couple of weeks to enjoy the flutter of being engaged before you start the planning process.  I know that this helped me and my husband and allowed us to just soak it all in before making any decisions on style, theme, colors, etc.

That being said, hiring your photographer along with booking your venue and church, should be one of the first things to get crossed off your list!  Why? Because wedding dates book fast and some photographers allow for up to one year in advanced to reserve the dates.  

I recommend that you book your photographer 9 months to a year in advanced to avoid issues with booked dates.  If the person you really, really wanted has your date booked, consider moving it.  Your photos are the only thing that you will have after your wedding, don't skimp on the chance to have the ones you're going love!

6. Other important things to consider:

  • Contracts: Ask to see a copy of the contract and make sure you read it fully.
  • Payment schedule and if the photographer offers payment plans (I do and my clients find it a huge stress reducer)
  • Additional fees: Like travel fees, extra coverage, hourly fees, session fees, etc.
  • Ask to see products like albums, prints, and their price lists so you can get an idea.
  • Ask yourself: Are you dealing with a professional or a hobbyist? This has nothing to do with equipment, it's all about experience!

Am I missing anything? I hope you find these helpful as you start your search for the right photographer! If you need any additional advice, comment below and ask me! I'd love to help you in any way possible so you have the best photographs of your wedding day.  

Why you should have a destination wedding | Mexico Destination Wedding Photographer

According to Wedding Wire: 

Approximately 14% of U.S. couples have a destination wedding - of those, 11% have a wedding at a destination within the U.S. and 3% travel internationally..."

I believe that the reason Destination Weddings account for such a small percentage is because of the lack of information couples receive about having their wedding outside of their home country.  

Personally, I had a destination wedding and couldn't have been happier with the outcome as I whole heartedly remember my day to have been one of the most beautiful and meaningful days of my life. 

So, the question is: Should you have a destination wedding?  Below I outline 5 reasons as to why you should have a wedding at a beautiful destination outside of your home town.  

1.  COST EFFECTIVE 

Not sure if many of you know this, but a large number of all-inclusive resorts gift the couple the basic wedding collection if they reach a certain number of rooms booked.  So in other words, if you are going to have 50 guests book around 30 rooms, you can get your wedding for little or no cost to you! How awesome is that?! 

In addition to the great collections that most resorts offer, you will also be able to take advantage of hiring local vendors that for example, here in Mexico, have more affordable collections as the exchange rate is usually better for those who spend in U.S. dollars.  

2.  VACATION FOR ALL

A destination wedding is the perfect excuse for people to get away from their day to day.  They will be traveling to attend your beautiful beach front wedding as well as enjoy all the resort and location has to offer.  Here in the Riviera Nayarit, there are all-inclusive resorts that offer tours to nearby attractions, surfing, and the sunsets are just breathtaking.  Not only will they enjoy your wedding, but they can also enjoy as a family, couple, or individual, a nice beach vacation.

3.  FULL SERVICE COORDINATION

Many resorts are equipped with a wedding coordination team that makes sure your day goes smoothly and according to plan!  They will also help you choose local vendors, help with getting all of the details set, and all from the confort of email and telephone.  You get to make all the decisions without having the hassle of going from place to place.

On your wedding day, the wedding coordinator and team are on site and ready to handle every important detail of your day.  This makes for a less stressful day and a more enjoyable wedding! 

4.  EVERYTHING IN ONE PLACE

The biggest advantage of having a destination wedding is that you will be able to enjoy your wedding all at one place.  Your ceremony will be beachfront with the sun setting behind you as you say "I do." Your reception will be accompanied by the fresh ocean breeze as you dance the night away with your guests!  

Having all of the major events in one location and not having to deal with moving guests around, makes your event run smoothly and effortlessly.  And if that isn't enough, your on site coordinator will always be close by to help.

5.  WHAT IF MY GUESTS WON'T BE ABLE TO GO?

It is a common misconception that if you have a destination wedding, people will not travel to your wedding.  However, most guests love the idea of having a vacation and enjoy the sites and sounds of a new place where they can relax and rejuvenate.  

I once photographed a wedding that had 150 guests travel more than 1000 miles to attend the wedding.  Another had 100 guests.  When you invite your guests to attend your one-of-a-kind destination wedding, they will most certainly make arrangements and be excited to get away.  Just make sure that you give your guests all of the information with enough time ahead.


Here are two resorts that I have loved working with.  There are so many more that offer destination weddings, especially here in Puerto Vallarta.

Sunset Plaza Beach Resort & Spa
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
weddings@plazapelicanos.com.mx

Moon Palace Resort
Cancun, Mexico
weddings@palaceresorts.com


Having a destination wedding is all together less stressful, more enjoyable, and definitely a one-of-a-kind event!  I hope these tips were helpful and I would love to hear any additional tips you might have in the comments below!  

Would you have a destination wedding?

Quality Photography is an Investment | Tips for Brides

Many brides don't know how much a quality photographer actually costs until they begin the planning process.  They also don't know that wedding photography is an investment.  As far as pricing goes, most quality photographers range between $3000 - $7000.  Of course there are photographers who are worth investing much more and there are those who will offer for less.  

Pricing is not the be all end all when it comes to quality photography.  As an investment, there are many other factors to consider when looking for your wedding photographer like experience, style, passion, client base, What they are like? Do you get along with them? 

Here I have outlined a few reasons as to why hiring that really great photographer you loved, but is just a tad bit over your budget, is totally worth investing in. 


1. NO DO OVERS

Your wedding is one day.  One.  You don't get do-overs.  You won't have a chance to hire another photographer because the one you spent little on didn't know what they were doing or didn't know how to anticipate moments. Your day will be over in the blink of an eye and soon it'll be two days as husband and wife.  A quality photographer will make sure that they've made quality photos so that you can relive your day again and again.  

2.  LONG TERM INVESTMENT 

Ever cringe at that photo that your cousin posted when you were two naked in the sink? Photos last forever.  They last years, decades, and even after we're gone, they are the only memory of our legacy.  Your wedding is the first event of your legacy.  Invest in quality photography so that you don't have to cringe or hide the photographs later but rather be in awe of them and remember those one of kind moments.  

Don't you want your children to see and feel what your wedding day was like? How the love just pours from the album of your beautiful day?  I know I do.

3.  QUALITY 

Investing in a qualified professional wedding photographer who takes quality photographs will ensure that you get only the best out there.  You won't have to worry about enlarging a photo and having it be pixelated.  You know that the photos in your album will be of the highest quality. 

It is more than just a "good camera." A quality photographer will make sure that your day is stress free, will help with the schedule of events, will go above and beyond for you on your day.  Why? Because they love their jobs.  Because they have experience.  Because they know how to anticipate moments.  Experienced photographers know their equipment and know how to make your day as beautiful as you remember it.  

Not having to worry about your photos and knowing that your investment in a qualified and quality photographer is going to take the best photos ever is worth more than gold.  You as the bride already have enough to worry about. 

4.  INVESTMENT PROTECTION

When you invest in something, you want to know that it's going to be protected.  A quality photographer will do just that.  They will have your event backed up, they will know how to care for your images and even give you options for creating one of kind products so that you can relive your day over and over again.  You can safely say that your investment in quality photography is protected.  Can you say that about any other purchase for your wedding?

Ensuring that your photographs are safe and will be of the best quality can only come from a quality photographer.  Get the 5 Star Photographer and get 5 Star treatment.  

5. TRUST IN YOUR INVESTMENT

Not all photographers are created equal.  It is nice to see that more and more people are becoming passionate with photography and allowing their creativity to flow.  That being said, it is important to find a quality photographer who will take your ONE DAY and treat it as if it were their own day.  Not all photographers are passionate about their work.  Not all photographers have the same level of experience, style, or even pricing.  We are all different and it is important to trust in your investment.   Not all photographers will know how to work a wedding and vibe with you and your family.  

Make sure that when you do invest in a quality photographer that you trust said photographer with your legacy.  Like I mentioned before, there are no do-overs.  Take the time to seek a great photographer who will make sure that your day is remembered forever just the way you want. 


What are you thoughts? Do you think photography is an investment?  

Let me know what you think about this post in the comments below! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

 

Jackie + Kevin | Laguna Beach Wedding

It was a beautiful day.  The sun was shining and the weather was perfect.  Perfect for a beautiful beach wedding at Crescent Bay in Laguna.  They decided to have a small intimate wedding with only 30 guests.  And it couldn't have been more beautiful.

With the beach as the backdrop, Jackie and Kevin vowed to love each other in front of their closest family and friends.  After, we followed them to the shore for some amazing portraits with beautiful light!  A nice dinner followed where their maid of honor and best man gave amazing toasts, as well as the fathers of both the bride and groom.

Jackie + Kevin:  thank you so much for having us there on your special day!  I enjoyed watching the two of you join lives and I wish only the best for you! Thank you! 

Karla + Sergio | Chihuahua Wedding Photographer

We thought it would rain.  Earlier that week it rained non-stop and the clouds hung heavy and grey.  Upon waking, the day was more beautiful than ever.  No rain cloud could have dampened this special day, this day when Karla and Sergio were to say I Do to each other.

We met Karla and Sergio at the Expo Boda this past February and they were so kind.  They moved their date around and we were able to work with them so that we could photograph their special day.  I have to say that spoke volumes for me.  I was humbled when they chose us.  

It started with a day at El Salon where Karla and her mother were getting ready.  We headed over to the San Francisco Country Club for the portraits and the light was gorgeous through the trees!  I couldn't have asked for more perfect light for these two.  The ceremony was even more emotional and the amount of faith these two possess could move mountains.  It was wonderful to see.

Karla and Sergio:  Thank you so much for honoring us with the privilege of photographing your wedding.  It was every bit as special as the love between the two of you.  I wish you nothing but the best!  

Shoes:  Guess

Hair/MUA:El Salon

Portraits:  San Francisco

Temple:  Shalom

Reception:Casa de Los Olmos

Decoration: Xitle Company

Preview of Linh + Manny | Embassy Suites Anaheim Wedding Photographer

I met with Linh + Manny over a year ago.  At a little boba cafe tucked in a corner of Riverside.  I knew of Linh from high school.  I also knew Lihn's cousin,

Thi

, who I photographed when I was first starting.  Thi referred me and Lihn and I understood each other.  Our no bs, honest, and upfront styles meshed well and we hit it off.  Manny was quiet but knew exactly what he wanted.  As a graphic designer, he definitely knew what he wanted and that was a God-send because I like a couple that knows what they want from me and can articulate it well!  Makes my job more interesting to create what they want and still hold onto my style of doing things.  It's a great mixture!

I will stop here because I intend on blogging more of this wedding with it's beautiful details, wonderful couple, fun bridal party, and an awesome party!  So stay tuned...

Dreaming of blue waters

I'm dreaming of blue waters, reefs, white sands, and a icy cold blended drink.  Preferably alcoholic ;).  In anticipation of this dream, prepping has been crazy!  I've worked until my eyes went cross eyed.  Made about 4 trips to the post office in the last two weeks, and managed to pack.  And I know, I'll forget something.  

However, now that it gets down to the wire, I am so EXCITED!  I will be photographing a wedding down on the beaches of Cancun.  Taking in the sites of the Mayan ruins, swimming and lots of tanning.  

Before I make you more envious, I wanted to let everyone know that I will be off line during this time.  Once I get back from my

vacation

 (work), I will answer phone calls and emails.  I will however, make time to upload to Insta.gram and hopefully update the blog with some beautiful photos!  

I will be back August 3rd.  In the mean time, I'll leave you with this cutie pie :).

Happy Summer!