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 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

Courtney & Rich Engagement

Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
Courtney and Rich are so excited to marry each other!

The months of February and March have been booming for engagement shoots. With wedding season starting to ramp up in April, these first few months of the year are ideal for engagement shoots, and is a sign of a couple that is on top of their wedding planning tasks. The shoot of Courtney and Rich happened at the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery in mid-March. This location is really a great hidden gem for taking engagement portraits. It has areas of tall green grass great for photos, landscaped walkways and striking trees, some still with yellow fall leaves on them. If you are a Sacramento or Davis area photographer or wedding planner, I would definitely recommend you keep this park I mind for engagement shoots for your couples!

On the day of the shoot, at 2:00 PM, a heavy rainy downpour was under way in the Sacramento area and the shoot was planned at 4:00 PM. But I looked down at the weather app on my phone and saw that the weather was supposed to clear up shortly, and I prayed that for once my phone would prove correct. And it did! The engagement shoot went through, on schedule with no rain!

To break the ice with Courtney and Rich, we started with a simple “V pose”. I call it a “V pose” because the couple takes a simple head on picture slightly turned towards each other forming a fat V shape. That is a pose that most people are familiar with and always helps people get in the mood of photo taking.

Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
Traditional shot in the park. Gorgeous lighting!

After that first initial shot, we began to walk through the park area. At one point I looked up towards the tree branches, and I noticed a soft light shining down through the trees hitting the yellow leaves creating a sort of glowing atmosphere. I truly believe that outdoor photoshoots are the best studio you can have if you know how to read the natural light. In my mind, I realized that this was the perfect time and place to capture my “awkward pose”. Now, I call it the “awkward pose” because I ask couples to face each other head-to-head and stare into each other’s eyes, which always feels incredibly awkward no matter who you are staring at. Then I make it fun by challenging them to see who can make the other laugh first. In this case, Richard cracked a joke and Courtney couldn’t help herself but laugh. My camera was there to capture that genuine moment of laughter.

Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
The lighting hits the couple and provides a beautiful glow as they look into each other’s eyes.
Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
The “awkward pose”. Richard cracked a joke!

There always comes that point in an engagement shoot when as a photographer you want to make sure the couple has an opportunity to show off that engagement ring. Whenever possible, I like to take three variations of a picture to make sure I get the shot and also to provide the couple with options in creating their albums or save the date cards.

Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
The engagement ring here really stands out.
Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
Showing off that ring.
Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
Hanging out on a bench, enjoying the scenery and conveniently showing off that ring.
Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
They had so much fun walking and talking.

We continued our walk through the park area and stopped every now and then to capture some of the more traditional couple poses that you typically see in engagement portraits. I like to make things casual on these shoots, allowing couples to walk together and stop where it feels natural. I and my assistant usually tag along behind them snapping pictures as we walk and evaluating where the best lighting and angles are.

Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
Great photo with the yellow leaves in the background.
Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
Another great traditional engagement shoot.

I do, however try to direct couples to areas that will provide particularly appealing background settings for photos. That is how we ended up near a tree with branches extending along the ground and providing a natural bench for Courtney and Rich to lean on and take a few shots.

Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
The branches provided such a great background for this engagement shot.

With all the walking we were doing, we were all starting to get tired and I wanted to make sure Courtney and Rich were relaxed for the final photos of the day, so I had them first lean up against the tree and take some fun casual photos.

Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
The tree was nice for Courtney to relax and lean on. And still a great casual pose for their engagement shoot.
Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
A kiss for the groom. Not the first, and surely won’t be the last from this bride!
Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
A nice casual pose between two people engaged and in love.

Nearby there was an area of dry leaves that covered the grass. Courtney proposed taking a photo in the area, and I always like to encourage my couples to get involved and suggest locations/poses, etc. Plus, I thought this was an excellent idea. I posed them down on the floor, so that we could make sure we got the full effect of the dry leaves in the portrait. Rich wasn’t sure about sitting in the leaves at first, but I think he did it for Courtney. Love is a powerful thing! And I think the photo came out pretty darn good! So good call Courtney!

That’s all I got for this one, until next time everyone …

Peace out,
Philippe