The Wedding of Valerie & Tony

Sacramento wedding photography

It’s always convenient when the getting ready, ceremony, portraits and reception for a wedding are close to one another.  It allows for less travel time and more time for all the fun wedding shenanigans.  The getting ready section of Valerie and Tony’s wedding happened at the Residence Inn on 15th Street in Capitol Park in Sacramento, then their ceremony was at St. Anthony Parish and the reception at the O’Club Ballroom at McClellan AFB.  All relatively close to each other!

The getting ready section went really smoothly and I got some great shots of both Valerie and Tony.

Sacramento downtown wedding
Sacramento downtown wedding.
Sacramento downtown wedding.
Sacramento downtown wedding.
Sacramento downtown wedding.

Then we headed to the ceremony location.  They had a beautiful ceremony that really represented two families coming together for their children. 

Sacramento downtown wedding
Sacramento downtown wedding.
Sacramento downtown wedding
Sacramento downtown wedding.

Afterward we took some family photos in the church.  As a photographer, when you get a group together so large it’s always a challenge to get a good photo with everyone being seen and nobody blinking.  But I think we go it with this photo. 

Sacramento wedding downtown.

The portraits were taken around the California State Capitol Building and the Capitol Rose Garden.  One great thing about Valerie and Tony was that they talked to me before the wedding about how they really wanted to get creative with the photos, and they allocated ample time to make that happen.  Additionally, they sent me examples of what they wanted.  I always tell couples that I am good at replicating images so if you send me what you envision there is a good chance I can make it happen for you.  However, very few couples actually end up sending me sample photos.  But Valerie and Tony did and I think we got some really great creative photos for them.

Sacramento wedding photography
Sacramento wedding photography
Sacramento capitol wedding
Wedding photography sacramento
Sacramento wedding photography
Sacramento wedding photography
Sacramento Wedding Photography

After the portraits we headed to the reception O’Club Ballroom at McClellan AFB and had a great time with the special dances, speeches and celebration!

Sacramento downtown wedding.
Sacramento downtown wedding
Sacramento downtown wedding.
Sacramento downtown wedding.
Sacramento downtown wedding.
Sacramento downtown wedding.
Sacramento wedding downtown
Sacramento downtown wedding.

The Wedding of Erika & Matthew

Erika and Matthew’s wedding was truly one of the most fun weddings I have ever shot.  It began with both Erika and Matthew getting ready at separate houses in Galt.  They were both so excited about their day and having fun with their parents and bridesmaids before the big day.

The ceremony itself took place at Saint Robert’s Church in Sacramento.  It was a beautiful Catholic ceremony.

Before taking off for the reception location in Dixon, Erika and Matthew wanted to take some portraits with family and their wedding party both inside the church and outside the church in down town Sacramento.

Their reception took place at Jess Jones Vineyard.  It was a gorgeous location and I love taking couples portraits in the vineyards.  It can really make for an iconic image.

The reception included a cultural Hawaiian dance by Matthew’s niece, some great speeches and of course the special dances between Erika and Matthew and their parents.  Finally, they were joined by the rest of their guests for dancing well into the night.

Classic wedding ended beautifully!

Cyeeta & Tony Engagement Shoot

Downtown Sacramento Engagement

Cyeeta and Tony’s engagement shoot started at the Sacramento Capitol Park World Peace Rose Garden right outside the state capitol building.  This is one of my most requested locations for both engagement shots and portraits on wedding days for downtown Sacramento weddings.  It provides a good variety of backgrounds, between the garden, capitol building, and nearby metropolitan area.  We took advantage of all of these during Cyeeta and Tony’s shoot.

The shoot started with it’s challenges, as I had forgotten the remote control for the light I was planning on using (Pro Photo B1), and had to resort to a flash instead.  This ended up working well, but it posed it’s challenges in the beginning. Cyeeta and Tony were so patient with me, which I appreciated. 

Cyeeta and Tony wanted a combination family shoot with their daughter as well as couples/engagement shoot.  Once they arrived, I quickly realized that their daughter was having some allergies that day, which the garden only made worse.  So we decided to quickly take their family shots so that their daughter could retreat to the car with her cousins and wait for her parents there.  

Sacramento Capitol Park Shoot
Sacramento Rose garden family shot.

We also took some nice shots of Cyeeta and Tony together in the park surrounding the Capitol as well as right outside the capitol building. I thought these came out great. I always like the shots that come off as natural as possible.

Capitol Rose Garden Engagement Shoot
Capitol Rose Garden Engagement Shoot
Capitol Rose Garden Engagement Shoot

Afterward, we were about the wrap up the shoot but took notice of the nice lighting with the sun setting on Sacramento’s iconic yellow bridge.  We decided to try to get a street shot with the bridge in the background.  This was challenging because we had to avoid cars as they would pose quickly and I would take the photo and then run out of the way to avoid oncoming traffic.  But it was all worth it in the end with some great photos coming out of it!

Capitol Rose Garden Engagement Shoot
Capitol Rose Garden Engagement Shoot.

The Wedding of Nia & Daniel

Roseville Sacramento Wedding

Nia and Daniel’s wedding was a simple yet elegant affair on a warm Sacramento early May day.  I was referred to Nia for this wedding by the DJ, Sounds To Go, which underscores how important it is to network in this industry and build relationships with other vendors because you never know when it can result in a job.

Among wedding professionals, there is often a bias against backyard weddings, but I have done several this year and they have all been in gorgeous backyards and this one is no exception.  It provided the perfect backdrop for this wedding.  When I arrived Nia and her family were incredibly welcoming and introduced me to all of the major family members and wedding party. Upon arriving, I was able to get some great detail shots of the location and some of the details of the setup.  

Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding

Since Nia did not require photos of her getting ready, I right away started shooting the groomsmen.  We took some great posed shots.  Daniel sure has some great guys supporting him.

Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding

After finishing up with the guys portraits, the girls were ready to go so we took some nice shots of Nia and her bridesmaids and the flower girl.  

Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding

The ceremony started on schedule and was short and sweet with the traditional entrance of the bridesmaids and bride, vows, ring exchange and kiss.

Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding

Following the ceremony, we took some nice posed photos of the bridal party all together as well as one picture of all the guests.  It’s always a challenge to make sure I can see everyone in these kind of photos but I think this one turned out pretty good!  This was a fun group too, and they did a pretty cool silly picture!

Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding

The bridal party then made their grand entrance to start the reception portion of the evening’s festivities.  There was a great dinner, socializing and some great speeches.  I hear many wedding speeches every year, but the speeches from this wedding will stick with me for a long time.  The best man (the bride’s brother) spoke about how he first realized Daniel and his sister were dating. Before dating his sister, he had only known Daniel as part of a rival baseball team who had just recently beat his team in the championships.  You can imagine his surprise when he opened the door to his home one day and found Daniel sitting on the couch with Nia.  The other speech that sticks out in my mind came from Nia’s step father.  He talked about how he had always wanted a daughter and was delighted when Nia entered his life and filled that role.  His words were so heart-felt and touching, I could tell that he meant it from the deepest of his soul.

Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding

After the speeches, the couple shared a precious first dance with each other and then with their parents.  And that’s about the time my work day finished.  Nia was so thoughtful and wrote me a nice card that she sent me home with (and a little something extra), which is always appreciated for me and my team.  What a great May wedding to remember!

The Wedding of Magnific & James

The wedding day of James and Magnific started out early as my team (myself, Sean and Raymond) and I had to drive to Fremont, CA from Sacramento for this wedding. Whenever I shoot both photo and video for a wedding, I bring at least three people. I was worried that traffic would make us late, so I made sure to calculate extra time just in case. Both the bride (Magnific) and the groom (James) were getting ready at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Newark. When we arrived at the hotel we had some confusion finding the room, so that extra time I calculated for potential traffic ended up coming in handy. Finally, we located their rooms and quickly got acquainted. After snapping some photos of James getting ready I left Sean with James to get some video footage of him and his groomsman. He got some great shots.

Meanwhile, Raymond and I visited the girl’s room. They were still in the midst of makeup. We were able to capture some great photos and video footage of Magnific and her bridesmaids.

The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.
The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.
The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.
The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.

Once we finished up with Magnific, we headed back to James to get an interview on camera. For video, I always like to get an interview of the couple talking about their relationship, especially when the couple has opted not to say their own vows during the ceremony. In this case, James was the only one we had time to capture, but I’m glad we did!

We then headed to the venue for the ceremony. It was a beautiful ceremony and the wedding party did a great job with a choreographed dance in and out of the ceremony. However, the ceremony did last approximately 30 minutes longer than expected which put us a little behind on the schedule.

The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.
The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.
The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.
The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.
The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.

After the ceremony, Raymond and I left with the wedding party, taking a limo ride to the photography location, which was supposed to be the Japanese Gardens in Castro Valley. However, the bride and groom did not realize that they would be closed that day and we were unable to get inside. Additionally, our timing had been set even further off track by heavy traffic to the location. Nonetheless, I improvised and did my best to get some nice portraits and posed video footage in the parking lot and the outskirts of the garden.

The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.
The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.
The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.
The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.
The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.
The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.

While Raymond and I were with the bridal party at the Japanese Gardens, Sean stayed behind to capture some video footage of the reception room (which was converted from the ceremony setup). He also took some great drone footage of the location. By the time Raymond and I arrived back at the venue we were ready for the bridal party to make their grand entrance, which they did in style.

Extended Highlight Video

The rest of the evening went as planned, with speeches, dinner, cake and lots of dancing. Part of the reason I love this job is being able to experience and show off different cultures through my work. In the case of this wedding, an East African wedding, with elements of Rwandan, Congolese and Burundian culture, it is extra special because it is part of my own culture and heritage. The wedding featured traditional Rwandan dancers, and a negotiation between representatives of the groom and brides families to come to an agreement about the marriage. This is a tradition that has deep roots in my culture.

The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.
The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.
The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.
The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.
The wedding day of James & Magnific. Such elegance and grace.

All in all it was a successful wedding and we all got home safely. First wedding of 2018 in the books!

A side note about the Golden Gate Bridge drone shot in the video. That was footage my late friend and videographer buddy, Innocent, got when he visited me two year ago. Another client had requested that footage and we found the perfect spot to launch the drone and capture it. Lucky that we had it now, and that will be a memory with Innocent that I will always hold dear.

The Wedding of Nick & Jason

My day with Nick and Jason started at C.G. DI Arie Vineyard & Winery in Mount Aukum, California. This was a beautiful natural setting to take some of the initial wedding day portraits of the two. They didn’t mind seeing each other before the wedding, so that always leaves more time to get some nice portraits before the pressure of guests arriving. We had hoped that there would be a nice little pond to pose next to, however when we arrived we found that the pond had dried up. Nevertheless, we made do with what we had, capturing their portraits in the wooded natural setting which provided great lighting to get some intimate moments of the two as well as take portraits with their close family members and wedding party.

Wedding in Plymouth, just East of Sacramento
Wedding in Plymouth, just East of Sacramento
Wedding in Plymouth, just East of Sacramento
Wedding in Plymouth, just East of Sacramento
Wedding in Plymouth, just East of Sacramento

After finishing up at the Vineyard, we had a little extra time (a rare occurrence on a wedding day), so we headed back to their hotel room so that I could take some detail shots of their wedding rings as well as some shots on the balcony of the two before their ceremony got underway.

Wedding in Plymouth, just East of Sacramento
Wedding in Plymouth, just East of Sacramento
Wedding in Plymouth, just East of Sacramento

Finally, it was time for their ceremony. They had a small intimate ceremony and reception at a quaint restaurant, Amador Vintage Market in Plymoth. The ceremony was light hearted yet emotional for the two, and you could feel the love in the air.

Wedding in Plymouth, just East of Sacramento
Wedding in Plymouth, just East of Sacramento
Wedding in Plymouth, just East of Sacramento

After the wedding ceremony, we headed back to the hotel so that Nick and Jason could sign their wedding certificate and we could take a breather before making an entrance into the reception. During this short break, they offered me an energy boosting cocktail drink which was super delicious and gave me the boost I needed to make it through the remainder of the night. I just wish I could remember it’s name or what was in it. (Side note: I think it included red bull, berry juice, soda and some kind of alcohol – if anyone knows what this magical drink might be called please comment and let me know!)

Wedding in Plymouth, just East of Sacramento

Finally, the happy couple made their grand entrance into their reception and had a blast mingling with their friends and family, listening to the kind words of the people that spoke, and dancing. One thing that struck me about this wedding was how long many of these people have known each other and stayed friends, with the grooms knowing their maid of honor and best man since elementary school. This does not happen to frequently anymore and is always great to see friends who have stayed connected through the different phases of life. Their DJ was also on point that night with a good variety of popular music, including country, pop and R&B. If I wasn’t working, I would have been getting down with it too!

Wedding in Plymouth, just East of Sacramento
Wedding in Plymouth, just East of Sacramento
Wedding in Plymouth, just East of Sacramento
Wedding in Plymouth, just East of Sacramento

Michael & Veronica Engagement

Sacramento Lodi wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.

A cloudy and rainy day was upon us as I got ready to shoot Michael and Veronica’s engagement photos. Around 12:00 I considered cancelling the shoot because I was not sure that the weather would hold out for us, but I’m glad that I didn’t. The shoot took place as scheduled at 4:00 PM at Hanford Ranch Winery Inc. in Galt, California. This is a beautiful location on a hilltop overlooking grape fields which circles the winery. This is a great venue choice for anyone in the Sacramento and Stockton area to hold their wedding. Veronica, Michael, my assistant (Ashley) and I did a lot of walking through the property on that day and I was impressed by all of the possibilities for great portraits that are there. I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of what is possible.

The property has a cute wooden bridge that is one of the highlights of the outdoor terrace area. That is where we decided to start with the photos. I first posed Michael and Veronica atop the bridge and we took several shots. One of my go-to poses is the couple touching heads and gazing into each other’s eyes. It normally takes a few poses to break the ice with couples and to get a groove going for portrait taking. But Veronica and Michael were in such an obviously good mood without a care in the world for the less than ideal weather. I could see the love in their eyes and their happiness to have found each other. Needless to say it didn’t take long for these two to feel comfortable and to start getting great shots.

Sacramento Lodi wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi Wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi Wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.

Next we moved further down the property following the main path. We used the path and surrounding landscape as the background for several other photos, focusing mainly on announcing the couples’ wedding date in October 2018.

Sacramento Lodi wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi Wedding Engagement Shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.

At this point, the Sacramento valley sky began to reveal a golden sunset that photographers always strive to capture in these kind of photos.  I was able to snap some portraits of Michael and Veronica in this golden sunlight.

Sacrament Lodi Engagement Wedding Shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.

I’ve heard people say that the way to look into the soul of a person is through their eyes. Looking through my lens into Veronica and Michael’s eyes, I could see the happiness that fills their soul as they giggled with each other. I tried to capture these candid shots so that they might always remember the excitement they felt in this moment.

Sacramento Lodi wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi engagement wedding shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.

Eventually, the sun started disappearing and the golden sky gave way to an amber tint. This was the perfect condition to take some silhouette style shots before I added my flash into the mix to fully light their faces. Michael and Veronica were great about humoring me with my different posing and lighting ideas.

Sacramento Lodi Wedding Engagement Shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi Wedding Engagement Shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi Wedding Engagement Shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi Wedding Engagement Shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.

As we were concluding our evening, I asked Michael and Veronica to sit on the top of the hill facing the sun and positioned so that I could capture this unique tree that has probably seen more than a few couples peer out on it as they celebrate their wedding day. I always like these kind of shots because it feels like they are looking into their future, imagining their lives together.

A golden sunset that lasts for over an hour is rare, and is more precious than gold to photographers. What started out as a gloomy rainy day, turned out to be the ideal conditions for capturing Veronica and Michael’s love. I like to think that it all worked out for Veronica and Michael, as a sign of the bright skies ahead for them. Can’t wait to capture their wedding day at this gorgeous venue, Hanford Ranch Winery Inc.

Lodi and Sacramento Wedding
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.