I am sure that when I show up at local restaurants and throw their condiments, such as sesame seeds, all over their table I am using to photograph dishes, they think I am straight bonkers. But it’s all about the details. Without sesame seeds, thinly sliced sashimi, and soy sauce in cute little bottles, you are left with some really delicious sushi that is all-around perfect. But those little details always help.
Hidden in the small warehouse district across the street from the airport in Palm Springs, is a hidden gem. A vegan hidden gem. Surrounded by plumbing and air conditioner repair businesses, a tiny storefront with ten orange fold-out chairs for small cooking demonstrations is all you will see when you walk into this little business, but the food is out of this world and deserves the most recognition.
Tanya was so sweet through the entire shoot, and the sandwich, though made with the humble chickpea, was to die for. It was a play on a tuna sandwich, and truthfully, tasted more like tuna than most tuna sandwiches, but with an earthy flavor that I want all sandwiches to have from now on.
Check out this cute little store, filled with so many luxury items, like local date molasses, imported Aleppo peppers, and specialty spreads and cheeses, all vegan, and undoubtedly, all delicious.
I’m fairly certain that when I walked into Tiffany’s bakery with two pieces of 98 cent poster board from Walmart and a sprig of bougainvillea I picked from her neighbor’s storefront, and began photographing her beautiful cake, she thought I was bonkers. After all, she was on Cupcake Wars, and can obviously decorate a cake in flawless style.
But the 90’s hot pink vibes, the cutest unicorn cake, rainbow sprinkles haphazardly tossed for flair, and some random bougainvillea can really surprise you sometimes at how cute they can be together.
You really don’t need anything fancy to create the kind of images you want. It’s just how you use what you have that can make something amazing.
The Saguaro is one of my favorite spots in downtown Palm Springs. Not only is it where you can see the most neon cacti you will ever see in your entire life, rent adorable beach cruisers to ride around downtown, and Instagram the rainbow everything, it’s also where you can find some amazing tacos + margs at El Jefe.
I’m talking heirloom carrot tacos (whatt?!), hibiscus margaritas, and freshly made salsa. Yum. Again, my day job isn’t so bad when it is spending time photographing delicious food.
I really love pizza. Being able to photograph one of my favorite foods, not to mention utilizing some of my favorite toppings (real Parmesan cheese, figs, truffle honey, shaved prosciutto), as part of the session made it so much more fun for me. Also, getting to see + photograph the pizza being made was like being in a Mr. Rogers’ special on how they make crayons. So fun.
As part of Locale Magazine’s Greater Palm Springs photographer base, I am able to photograph a lot of amazing food at different restaurants and meet so many amazing people who allow me into their kitchens with welcome.
Also, being able to photograph pizza as part of your day job isn’t so bad either.
These two put the FUN into Balboa Fun Zone. Seriously, one of a photographer’s favorite things is when a couple just wants to take fun, laidback engagement photos that aren’t posed and show off their personality, and these two totally nailed that.
Yuri + Ronnie are such a fun couple and their zest for life completely shows through everything they do together. They totally are “hashtag relationship goals”, if you will. Let’s make engagement photos where you split ice cream, ride on amusement park rides, and just laugh and have fun together a thing forever, kay?
When I first spoke to Justina about her wedding day details, I was nervous because everything that I saw online about the Mitten Building was that it was very dark and moody. I’m thinking like the inside of the Addams Family house, but with a bit more romance . I was afraid that I would not be able to do justice to this image I had in my head of where I would be photographing.
Instead, what was there was absolutely the industrial glam venue of my DREAMS! It was romantic, but well-lit, but also still had a vibe of mystery to it. There were candles, string lights, brick, chandeliers, donut towers, and one of the sweetest groups of people whom I have ever worked with. Not the Addams Family house at all! I had so much fun playing with the lighting at this venue and it absolutely made me (even more) of a believer in natural light.
And you obviously can’t go wrong with a garter toss with your best man pretending to be the bride!
These two are the absolute definition of relationship goals. I’ve known Cecy since our days at Mount Saint Mary’s together nestled up in Brentwood, CA. Back then, I was just taking photos for free for the college to pay down my student loan, but it definitely is what inspired my love of photographing events. Thank God I have gotten SO much better than the terrible photos I used to take back then and when Cecy asked me to take hers and Will’s engagement photos, I was SO pumped. We met up at Griffith Park and spent the morning hiking, riding the old carousel, and enjoying the LA sunshine. But not at any moment did these two stop looking at each other, laughing together, and just having all the heart eye emojis for each other. Check out their super cute engagement session here: Cecy + Will
But seriously, even though that was two years ago, when these two saw each other on their wedding day it was the exact same feelings. It just made you believe in love. You could tell that they just wanted to marry each other. All the decorations, the dress, the hair and makeup, took no precedence over their feelings towards each other. As it should be.
Chelsea + Matt are definitely two of my favorite people that I have had the privilege of having now as friends. Who would have thought that between June 14, via an email from seeing my work on Instagram, til now, we would have taken their engagement photos, wedding photos, and now a cute family session in some of their most memorable places: where they had their first date (Village Pub), their first kiss (The Alley), and then their first official donut portrait sesh (The Goods). I am so sad that they are moving to Hawaii, but I am also SO excited for their new adventures there! Can’t wait to visit them and take more cute photos with them!
When I first spoke to Maggie + Pat it was clear to me how serendipitous me photographing their wedding was going to be. Not only was the wedding cancelled that I originally had scheduled for that day, but Pat’s mom reached out to me after she saw me photographing Elaine + Eddy’s wedding (see their wedding here), on the same day I was made available to photograph Maggie + Pat’s wedding. Also, Maggie + Pat had a carrot cake wedding cake just like my husband and I had at our wedding from Exquisite Desserts. I like to believe that the universe has a special way of making things work out for me, but ultimately I think it is because I also went to high school with Pat’s brother, Franky. But it made for a mini reunion with some old friends and some new, mostly German friends! Their wedding was exactly the kind of chill, backyard wedding that I love to photograph. Pun intended on the “chill”, because it was VERY California cold. Like, 48 degrees. But once we all ate some tacos and danced to some 90’s R&B and belted out some Pearl Jam, it felt like a very brisk 50 degrees. Next time though that we all schedule a wedding together can it be in Germany? In the summer? Asking for a friend.
I recently had the opportunity to photograph a few dishes at Chula Eatery in La Quinta, CA. Not only was the food beautiful to look at, but the tortillas are made with cactus, chef/owner Katherine was so sweet and sent me home with homemade pan dulces, and the entire spread was published in Locale Magazine. It was an unbelievably fun experience!
If you want an interesting wedding story, get married in Palm Springs. For such a small town, nothing short of exciting happens here.
These two started their day in the very normal wedding day way: invite some friends and family to the Air BnB they rented, have a few drinks, have the ceremony, eat dinner, and spend time with each other.
But just like every wedding in Palm Springs, something crazy has to happen. These two got kicked out of their Air BnB before the ceremony, relocated to a new ceremony site, and found a new venue - all while being given 30 minutes to vacate the Air BnB.
Despite the intimacy of this wedding, the small guest list, and quaintness of Sunrise Park - the new ceremony venue - their wedding felt like a huge, glamorous affair, amidst the cool breeze in the park and shaggy Palm trees.
This wedding, just like every other wedding in Palm Springs, had surprises at every turn. It just goes to show that it truly doesn’t matter how large - or how small - your wedding is; the people, the memories, and the story are what make it special.
If someone had told me a year ago that I would be a full-time wedding photographer, showing up at people’s homes and venues, and photographing their day for them, I would have told them that they were crazy. I never thought, in a million years, that I would be a wedding photographer, because of how difficult I thought it was to break into.
The truth is, it’s not that hard to become a wedding photographer. Photographing weddings are tricky, but actually becoming one isn’t hard. The trick is to find friends + family who are getting married, scour the Internet for people in your area who want smaller, intimate weddings, or work as a second shooter at weddings to develop the confidence you need to become a full-time wedding photographer.
It’s weddings like Kathy and Manny’s, where it was just their closest friends + family in the backyard at Kathy’s sister’s house, and only about an hour of photography shoot time to fit in first looks, first dances, cake cutting, and everything in between, that remind me of my earliest days as a wedding photographer. I started with backyard weddings, small receptions, and intimate venues. It is a reminder that even though I now regularly photograph weddings with 400+ people, going back to where it all began, and photographing the true heart of a wedding, can make for the most meaningful set of images. Because even if you are only photographing for an hour in someone’s backyard, literally knowing no one, you can still capture authentic moments and tell a story of the day.
It’s not about the amount of time that you spend with someone, it is about the quality of that time.
If my husband Mike and I ever decide to renew our vows, I can think of no better place than Cottonwood Farms. Not only have I already made best friends with the horse there, Spirit, the entire vibe of the venue is exactly what I love. Every piece of Cottonwood Farms is photogenic: cacti, barns, cute dogs, string lights, billowy trees, and beautifully kept cabins.
Emily’s wedding was a dream for me, not only as a photographer, but a lover of small, intimate weddings. She had an Uncle Mike officiate the ceremony, an Aunt from Iowa do all the florals, another Aunt make the cake and cupcakes, and a close-knit group of bridesmaids and herself who coordinated the entire wedding. I know what you’re thinking, and I agree: Emily needs to become a wedding coordinator because she is damn good at it!
So here’s my idea: I will hire Emily to coordinate and plan my entire vow renewal at Cottonwood Farms, Spirit can be the ring bearer (or flower boy, if he prefers), and (hopefully) it will be slightly as cute as Emily + Kino’s wedding there.
But in the meantime, you can see Emily + Kino’s adorable wedding at Cottonwood Farms, complete with lots of photobombs from Spirit, an adorable group of people, and some amazing scenery.
I first met Vanessa and Bryan when my husband and I were photographing Liz + Anthony’s wedding at the Corona Yacht Club exactly one year ago yesterday (awwww!). Their wedding was super cute, and Vanessa + Bryan’s wedding was super cute, but you know what made it the cutest? The fact that I recognized so many of the same faces that were at both weddings, Vanessa’s “something borrowed” was Liz’s veil from her wedding, and the palpable excitement coming from these two lovebirds just made me so happy throughout the day.
Vanessa told me early on in the wedding planning process that one of the reasons that she chose me as a photographer was because the photos I took of her and Bryan at Liz + Anthony’s wedding were some of her favorite photos of the two of them. That very reason is why I love being a photographer: bringing joy to people, expressing joy through the photographs that I take, and displaying real, authentic moments that truly tell a story of the wedding day as it is.