Tag Archives: Wedding

Cynthia and Annasel Wedding at Mission Inn, Riverside

I did a favor for a wedding shooter friend of mine, Angela Stanton and worked as a last minute second shooter for a same sex civil union (wedding) in Riverside at the First Congregational Church. Cynthia and Annasel were married at the church and then the reception was held at the Mission Inn which is  just down the street from the church. As a second shoot, I take my lead from the primary shooter but I was still able to get some nice shots.  I put together a short slide show of the wedding and the reception using just my shots. The couple obviously cared deeply for each other and the family was very supportive and happy for the couple. It was nice change of pace to be involved in this wedding and meet everyone involved. I hope you enjoy the slide show and congratulations to Cynthia and Annasel, I wish wish you the very best in the coming years.


The music is is “Crazy” from Stars Go Dim (SGD) and is licensed from TheMusicBed.com

The Mission Inn is an awesome venue to shoot at with great architecture and spectacular lighting in the evening. It was wonderful grounds to shoot at, passageways, arches, stonework and more.

 

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How to be a better photographer? Just Shoot more!

In the last few years, I have been investing quite a bit of effort into upping my game as far as photography as the craft. And with watching my friends and colleages going to dozens of shooting events and all the seminars, one thing has really started to stand out. You can train as much as you want, you can study as much as you want and you can spend a boatload of money on workshops but NOTHING works as well in helping you be a better photographer than getting out and shooting FOR REAL. Thats right, for real…  dealing with weather, clients, stray people, schedules, crying children, bad traffic, balky equipment while in front of a paying client and trying not to sweat in front of them.

Book learning (or DVD, streaming boards etc) all help but you will learn the most just by getting out and shooting. And not just shooting your favorite stuff, you need to be put into an uncomfortable zone with demands put on you to produce. When you stretch out your skills and wing it, you learn alot more than by sitting in your favorite chair or goofing with some friends in a studio somewhere without any pressures on you. And the funny thing is when you are done, what you used to think was hard and uncomfortable is really not any more.

Case in point, I used to hate taking portraits. I mean, I would photograph buildings, cars, landscapes with a vengeance but not people. I didnt want to interact with people, I didnt know how to capture the emotion in people. When I decided to go pro, I knew I would have to learn to shoot people so I grudgingly started to learn how to shoot weddings.  At least I didn’t think I needed to interact too much, I mean, it’s not like a up close and personal portrait session is it? My first mistake was to spend all my time “learning” about shooting weddings. I read books, I watched videos, I watched streaming classes, I was on the boards. I did everything BUT shoot weddings. Then I got drop kicked into actually shooting a wedding as a favor. Now I had to perform so I gathered up everything I had and shot the wedding. It was different than all the “learning” I had done up to that point. Between the chaos, the pressure and the demands of the various groups, it was quite the learning experience. And now after photographing more weddings, I do not view weddings with nearly the angst I had before. In fact, I really enjoy shooting weddings now, there is so much going on, so many opportunities to make art while making families very happy by capturing one of their most important days.

Colorado Bride

Family and single portraits were another “interactive” path that I initially rebelled against. But again, after being put into the position of shooting Christmas portraits for 30 families and shooting Operation Love Reunited deployment mini-sessions of military families where you really want to do your best, I find that portraits are probably what I enjoy photographing the most. It is very satisfying to shoot a deployment portrait for a family with a service member and be told that they never knew they had such a beautiful little family. This comment came from the young wife of a Marine being deployed in a few days and they had never had any kind of formal portraits taken of the family.  It’s the kind of thing that makes it all worth while when you see the wife go “OMG, I cant believe thats MY family”

Daddy's Little Girl

Daddy's Little Girl

This image is a classic “real” world shoot. High noon on the beach with a small child and lots of distractions. Big difference than shooting in a closed studio with a model being paid to tolerate the wannabe photographer. I had to find a good place to shoot, arrange the shot, work out the settings for some pretty adverse conditions, work with mom and child to get the needed smile and move on to the next one.

I’m still learning every time I go out to photograph someone or something. But I learn more when working against a deadline and a high level of  expectations  from my paying clients. If you want to improve your craft, you never stop learning from any circumstances. And the more you shoot, the better you will become at adjusting to those circumstances and be able to step back and catch the lesson being offered.

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Wayfarers Chapel

When someone says “wedding”, many people think large church, large party, large cake and super size me of a day. With some, this could not further from the truth. I had the the good fortune to shoot a wedding a the Wayfarer’s Chapel in Palos Verdes, California.  This location is just on the outskirts of Los Angeles. California and provides an intimate venue for the unique  smallish wedding, about 100 guests The chapel does not discourage same gender marriages or commitment ceremonies. All wayfarers who wish to commit themselves to each other are welcomed . The price to use the Chapel for a wedding is 2.500.00 which includes the minister. For an additonal 400.00, you can have a candlelight service.

Architecturally, the Chapel is mostly glass, much like a outside hot house but in a area with tall pine trees surrounding it and the ocean just across the road. There is a garden in the back and a covered walkway to view the ocean or to have pictures taken with the ocean and cliffs in the background. There is a tall tower and bells that rise above the church.

The chapel has very different looks depending on whether you see in the daytime, late afternoon or at night. Each has it charm and appeal and with the shots below you can get a sense of each “look”.

Wayfarer's Chapel Alter Window

Wayfarer's Chapel Alter Window

Wayfarer's Chapel Alter

Wayfarer's Chapel Alter

Wayfarer's Chapel Misty Morning

Wayfarer's Chapel Misty Morning

Wayfarer's Chapel at dusk

Wayfarer's Chapel at dusk

Inside Wayfarer's Chapel at night

Inside Wayfarer's Chapel at night

Wayfarer's Chapel Main Window at Night

Wayfarer's Chapel Main Window at Night

The Chapel is very striking at night and at dusk. In the daylight, it’s nice but as a photographer, it can be hard to shoot due to the direct sunlight coming through all the glass windows. If you are considering using this venue, then ask your photographer if he/she has ever shot in this venue before. Photographers are not allowed anywhere except for the very back row so telephoto lenses are the only way to shoot the ceremony.  Given the angles of the chapel, I would also suggest to ask the photographer if they are using a second shooter. Having a photographer at both corners in the back can really help to get a nice shot even with the harsh morning light if your wedding is scheduled for the morning.  And speaking of the weather, the chapel is just across the road from the ocean so the weather can be all over the map and be quite localized. Fog or what we natives call “the marine layer” is often around on the early AM and burns off by mid morning. The marine layer tends to roll back into land in the late afternoon except for a few months in the middle of summer when it stays just off shore.

The grounds provide a wealth of background for nice portraits but you as the bride will only have a two hour window for your wedding and pictures so it can get a bit rushed in the end. So long as your photographer knows this, they can plan accordingly. Also, your photogrpaher needs to know there is NO flash during the cermony.  They will eject the photographer who does not follow the rules about this.

These are some pictures  from a recent wedding I did at the Wayfarer’s Chapel in the early morning.

Ready Room

Ready Room

Front steps Wyfarer's Chapel

Front steps Wyfarer's Chapel

Dad, Elizebeth and Mom - Wayfarer's Chapel

Dad, Elizebeth and Mom - Wayfarer's Chapel

Wayfarer's Chapel grounds

Wayfarer's Chapel grounds

Wayfarer's Chapel Cliff Background with Bride

Wayfarer's Chapel Cliff Background with Bride

The venue is a very nice venue and can provide you with some amazing images with a photographer who can work within the confines of the two hour window and no flash. The parking is good but access and exiting can be dicey with you leaving and the next party trying to come in at the same time. From the Wayfarer’s Chapel you can easily to Torrance, Redondo Beach or Long Beach for a reception.

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