Snapshots of a Photographer's Life in The Bay Area
RSS Follow

Delivered by FeedBurner

Recent Posts

Winner-Winner Chicken Dinner
Top 10 Badass Wedding Commissioners @ the San Francisco City Hall
Rachel + Rob: Lucky
Musee Mecanique
Servino + Lime & Black

Most Popular Posts

Top 10 Things You Should Have Before Starting a Photography Business
Here's to Husbands, Mentors and Thrill Rides
Thumbtack Q & A
Sono Io
Elaine + Tristan = Unique Love


Deals & Bargains
Fun Booth
San Francisco Places To Visit
Snapshots of Life + Love
Tips for Brides
Tips for Photographers
Top 10


November 2012
October 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011

powered by

Snapshots of a Photographer's Life in The Bay Area

Winner-Winner Chicken Dinner

ALL my main men have fucking WON.  (dancing to

October 28...The Giants.

October 31...Greg Merson (WSOP)

November 6...Barack OH-BEE!

In a span of ten BEAUTIFUL days, I've been on the edge of my seat one minute, in tears the next and cheering my ass off with my homemade routines ala-Mary Katherine Gallagher in front of my husband who can't decide whether to join me or slap me back to reality.

What the FUCK is up? I am SO loving all this crazy energy!

Ok, I'm back from watching Oh-Bee's speech. That man gives me goosebumps each time he opens his mouth.

I was SO proud to be from The Bay watching the Giants win four fucking games in a row. FOUR. BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK.
I was PROUDER watching a sea of orange towels twirled around like there's no tomorrow by SF natives amidst the LOUDEST, most in unison cheering I have EVER heard. And they did this not just during home runs but ALL THROUGHOUT THE FUCKING GAME.

I felt proud simply being a human being watching 24 year old Greg Merson, a college dropout who’d overcome drug addiction and parental doubts, raise his second World Championship bracelet standing beside his pile of $8M. CASH.

I watched the first of two final table sessions for six straight hours as they reduced the players from 9 to 3.

You think that's lame?

Fuck you.

You'd think men (and a few women) sitting around a table, looking at cards, saying nothing (unless you're a trash talking poker asshole) and purposely trying not to move or convey any expression would be the MOST BORING game ever but it's SO not.

It is SUPER exciting! Maybe 'cause going balls out with your mind and intuition and ability to read people AND factor in the element of luck makes the game so absolutely fucking addicting.

Me and Johnny ended up in shifts the following night 'cause Balsiger, Merson and Sylvia battled for twelve freakin hours, leaving even the most battle-tested audience (moi) weary and blurry-eyed.

I am proud to be part of this country watching Oh-Bee's speech. With a suitcase with some clothes and just a handful of mooh-lah four years ago, a lack of excuses and a heartful of dreams can take you farther than you think.

Top 10 Badass Wedding Commissioners @ the San Francisco City Hall

After a gazillion San Francisco City Hall weddings, it's about time I introduce you to our top ten wedding commissioners. (applause). The man/woman who will check you in, walk with you to the rotunda and seal the deal by the power vested in them by the State of California, pronounce you husband and wife. It's a one-stop-shop, baby. And they're as varied as the fruits and nuts of Northern Cali.

1. Tom

If Will Ferrel and Ryan Reynolds had a baby, it would be Tom. Upon seeing him, he would seem like a young executive lost from the Financial District -- tall, lean, clean cut, jockey-ish and always seems to be in a hurry. (Hey, if you were marrying three couples every half hour, wouldn't you?) He has this pronounced resemblance to Will Ferrell and has this serious facial expression but every now and then says things that crack me up. He just told my last couple, after pronouncing them man and wife,

2. The Bride Whisperer

This redhead is one of my favorites. A nice, soft spoken lady, very gentle and careful with her words. I picture her coming home to a cottage in the middle of the woods, walking down a path surrounded by butterflies and daisies to relax by the lake with a grazing doe in the background named Bambi.

The ceremony starts much like any other ceremony. But when it's time for the bride and groom to exchange vows, she does the extraordinary. At this point, from the first time I saw her officiate a wedding, I first wondered

She would, at this point, slowly walk directly behind the groom and whisper ever so gently in his ear the vows he is to repeat to his (soon-to-be) wife. (She does the same to the bride.) Nobody's ever given a heads up and I now look forward to the weird look on everybody's faces when we get to this part.

It's out of the ordinary, but hey, that's her own unique spin on how to make the ceremony memorable. That's why she's in the Top 10. :)

3. 856 wpm

If the speed in which he talks is translated into typing, that would be his

4. My Home Girl

Now this lady is my kumadre, mi amiga, my kababayan. A fellow Filipina, this petite kabayan is just the sweetest. From the moment you check in, to the ceremony, down to the moment you sign your certificate before you part, this lady is constantly smiling. (Note: Keep in mind to adhere to Filipino time.)

5. Mr. Baggins

He would seamlessly blend in The Shire. He's poised and polished as he goes about his business but he has this naughty little smile as if he's still cracking up from the episode of Judge Judy he was watching before going to work. Recently, I've noticed he doesn't ask you where you want to get married (when you check in, the commissioner usually shows you a 12x12 photo of the lobby and you are to point where you would like the ceremony to take place). You normally have a choice between the rotunda, the bottom landing, the private room, etc. Oh, and he's not a huge fan of photos taken of him.

6. Slash Photographer

Quite the opposite of Mr. Baggins. I like this chick since we share a common interest, photos. Nothing extraordinary about her demeanor or how she goes about the ceremony. At the very end though, after I ask to take her photo with the newlyweds, she busts out her own camera and asks me to take another one for her. I like that. It's something I've been meaning to do with each couple I work with but have not been consistent in fulfilling. She collects photos of her with all the couples she marries. Whether its for her business website or simply as a personal souvenir, it's a pretty neat idea.

7. Ex Popo

The first time I worked with him, I was given instructions TO THE LETTER. I wanted to give him a salute and fucking click my heels as he checked us in. He gave me detailed instructions from how to go up the stairs before the ceremony, where he prefers I take shots to post ceremony photos.

8. Lady from good 'ol Texas

My first gig with this fine lady was my first time in the private room (there was something going on at the lobby). It didn't seem to disappoint Tristan and Elaine though, even if they drove all the way from Santa Cruz to get married in SF. They were just so psyched to get hitched! Anyhoo, this commissioner is usually all business but on Rachel and John's wedding day, for the first time I saw her loosen up upon hearing where they were from. The key to her heart? Her hometown, TEXAS. So to all y'all couples from the Lone Star state planning on a San Francisco elopement, she's your girl.

9. Most Chill

Out of all the wedding officiants I've had the opportunity to work with, this gal is definitely the one who most embodies good old San Francisco. She's relaxed, super chill and incredibly casual. I see her bumming on the beach in her younger years just hangin' loose with her surfer friends. I totally expect her to say something like

10. Jared, Jared, Jared :)

The BEST wedding commissioner EVER! Of course I'm biased, he married me and my

Rachel + Rob: Lucky

I love Rachel.

Just wanted to get that out of the way.
She's in the first photo you see on the website.

(Actually, it's the bottom half of her bridal party behind the second love of her life, the star who REALLY stole the show.)
She's incredibly sweet, unpretentious, real.
She's one of those refreshing people you come across and instantly feel as if you've been pals for years.

She reminds me of Marisa Tomei when she was starting out. Carefree, bubbly and super friendly.

She and Rob got married on a perfect Saturday morning in the middle the redwoods at beautiful Roberts Park in the Oakland Hills.

I've never met her before the day of the wedding. Here she was in a simple elegant one-shoulder white gown walking in between beautiful old trees the sun beaming on her equally radiant smile in between.

I look at Rob and see nothing but love and a look of disbelief having been so lucky.

Rachel, with that gorgeous smile not leaving her face, takes her position in front of her man and immediately compliments him for looking so good.

Rob, with this hands clasped in front of him, gives an obvious nervous chuckle and thanks her. Without missing a beat, Rachel moves toward him and reaches out for his hand.

She immediately breaks the ice, lets go of all formality and put Rob at ease.

That's the moment I decided I liked her. Weddings are very often thought of as a stressful event. You prepare for it for months. Get every little detail from the song for the first dance to the wedding favors you'll be handing out to your guests. It's a million and one things on your to-do list so everything will be PERFECT.

But here's the thing,

It doesn't have to be.

Why? Because with weddings, as well as careers, family, relationships,

There is no such thing as PERFECT.

What's important is that we ENJOY each and every moment. We may or may not remember the kind of flowers set on each table, the gift we received from Aunt Marie, even the toast given by your god father.

But it's those precious moments in between. The way your bride reaches for your hands to put you at ease. Or your husband whispering in your ear how he can't wait to devour you after the party (or maybe sometime in between), the hug from your father that lasts longer than usual him not wanting to let you go.

Rachel seemed to have embraced this truth. I know because as I went through my day's work, I noticed her smile never changed from beginning to end. And I realized why.

she was relishing EACH and EVERY fucking moment.

To Rachel and Rob, thank you SO much for allowing me to document your most precious day. You two are are such a fine and funny (I mean that in the best possible way) couple. Which is great 'cause when you think of it, marriage is a beautiful combo of constant work and a sense of humor.

To view Rachel + Rob's photo storybook video, click here.

Musee Mecanique

I always ALWAYS enjoy working at a new location for a photo shoot. Be it a park, an alley, a store, a building, whatever it is.   Anything new is always a challenge and really keep the creative juices flowing.

I love that.

So when I was on my way to Musee Mecanique for Zach & Ralu's engagement shoot, I was totally psyched.  I had this idea I was toying with in my head. I thought it would be tight to set this young couple against a backdrop of old ass mechanically operated musical instruments and antique arcade machines. Then I'll balance it out by taking them to fun and colorful Pier 39.  Though seeing how gloomy and windy it was (AND it started to drizzle), I was verging on half excited half worried.  So I passed the time (ok I made time) at La Boulange and got me some yumdiliyumcious macarons (the chocolate hazelnuts are the bomb!).   It started to stop drizzling so I made my way to the museum.   I meet Zach and Ralu. They're so young and cute and their love was so raw it translated onto their images.   Thanks to Photoshop (I love you Adobe!) I was able to make it look like they were hanging out by the Pier in 80 degree weather.  The wind turned out to be a good thing (except for when they were trying to hold down the banner of their wedding date). I actually liked most of the photos with a few strands of Ralu's hair brushing on her face.

They looked young, raw and lost in their own world (in a good way).  Zach and Ralu, you were great at our shoot. I loved how the energy between you two effortlessly showed on the images. I am so looking forward to your wedding in August.   Ciao!

You need Flash Player in order to view this.


Servino + Lime & Black

I just got done pinning a few photos from Anna and Michael's wedding on my Pinterest board.   

The first time Anna told me where the ceremony and reception will be held (a restaurant) I thought okay, a relaxed wedding, real simple, a chill family gathering kind of thing, nothing fancy.  

So wedding day arrives, I get my butt ready and the hubby and I go for a ride to Tiburon. 

The day couldn't be more perfect and I wish we had put the top down before we left. It was a good ol' California summer day and upon reaching Marin County I knew I was in for something I didn't quite expect. 

It was held at Servino in Tiburon, a beautiful quaint uppity little town north of San Francisco.   

I head to Lodge at Tiburon where Anna was preparing and took care of bridal prep shots (her wedding gown looked surreal hanging against the white shutters).  

Anna's got a vibrant personality. Down to earth, real, straight-up, no fluff. I like her.

Servino was just around the corner. As I walked up the second floor to the Bellavista Room, I was delighted to see a beautiful and charming space. I'm guessing it could comfortably accommodate about 100-150 guests. It had its own bar and a magazine worthy lounge area.

The color scheme was white, lime and black and I luuurved it. It was clean, crisp, elegant. They paid close attention to details and I made sure to capture each one. I loved how they stacked the cupcakes into a mini wittle tower. So cute!

The coolest part is the waterfront deck overlooking the bay. And THAT'S where they held their killer ceremony. It couldn't be more perfect. Just gorgeous.  

To Anna and Michael, you two are one hot couple. I love how cool and relaxed you are, just like best friends getting married. I enjoyed covering your special day and meeting your equally awesome friends and family. Mwah!

You need Flash Player in order to view this.