Bay Area Wedding

Raccoons Taking Over the World!

The last month has been a whirlwind! Not only has it been my busiest season with back-to-back weddings nearly every weekend, and infamous power outages that have stalled my work-flow… but I’ve also had the incredible blessing of going VIRAL. Literally overnight, I was contacted by publications from around the world, asking to feature my photos from a recent wedding on their website and/or TV channel. All because of a chance encounter with some raccoons & my bride and groom in Golden Gate Park! The feedback has been so positive, and it’s been such a fun & humbling adventure.

If you haven’t heard the full story, you can learn more about it through any of these links:

ABC 7 Eyewitness News, CBS San Francisco, Fox 2 KTVU News, SFGATE, Huff Post, Marty & McGee on ESPN, Bored Panda, SLR Lounge, Houston Chronicle, 98.1 The Breeze, Country Music Nation, Newsgroove, Newscabal, Herald Publicist, MSN, Metro, The Dodo, 96.5 KOIT, Republic World, From Press, BEST LIFE

Or, of course, on my Facebook, Instagram & YouTube channel! I’ll also be sharing Sarah & Zach’s wedding story (not just the raccoon photobomb!) on my blog very soon, so stay tuned.


Haleigh & Mike | Wedding @ Sonoma Private Residence

Although I love living in the Northern California foothills, my hometown in the wine country holds a special place in my heart. Sonoma has always been a beautiful town, although it’s popularity has grown over the years. Once a hidden gem, it’s now a worldwide destination. Tourists come for the amazing wine & lifestyle, but for those who grew up there, it’s much more than that. There’s an unique connection between homegrown Sonomans that can’t be denied, and that’s why I was so honored to be a part of Haleigh & Mike’s wedding. Haleigh grew up in Sonoma, and also happens to be my sister-in-law’s cousin… so we instantly connected. I love her wild & free spirit, she’s so down-to-earth and fun… and while Mike shares similar qualities, he’s a calm, cool and collected type-of-guy. Together, they balance each other out so perfectly.

Haleigh & Mike’s wedding day was festive & full of love, in true old-Sonoma fashion. Haleigh’s aunt and uncle provided their amazing property for the wedding venue: an 1800’s farmhouse surrounded by vineyards. Not only that, but her aunt designed all the floral bouquets and boutineers, while other friends & family members contributed their talents (her cousin made a gorgeous wedding cake, and her friend officiated the wedding). Another cool & personal touch to the wedding day, were the potted succulents that decorated the tables & got sent home as gifts for their guests. Haleigh spent months growing them herself, which turned into a whole new hobby and fun Instagram journey. All of these “DIY” features made the day so personal & sweet, and with the help of some amazing vendors, everything was flawlessly beautiful.

Before their ceremony, Haleigh & Mike decided to have a “first look” and spend some time together soaking in the moment. Once guests arrived, they made their union official and spent the rest of the evening having fun, playing games, and celebrating to the fullest. Some of my favorite parts of the day were the food trucks, the bridesmaid’s sparkly dresses, the farm animals and dogs that mingled with everyone, the sunset photos in the vineyards, and the hilarious and heartfelt toasts from their loved ones. It was all such an amazing day, and ended with great music, keeping the dance floor packed the entire night. It was the best kind of party, with the best people, in the best little country town (ok, I may be a bit biased… but I’m cool with that.)

Congratulations Mike & Haleigh!!


Venue: Private Estate in Sonoma, CA.
Officiant: Friend, Gloria Kashani
Floral Design: Aunt Kimberly
Cake: Haleigh's cousin, Shane Enzensperger
Wedding Planner: Camellia Lane Events
Rentals: Bright Event Rentals
Catering: Marks the Spot Fine Food
Dessert: Harvey’s Donuts
Videography: Reno May
DJ: Bay Area Beats DJs
Gown: Enzoani
Invitations: Minted
Transportation: Grape Escapes Limousine
Restrooms: Johnny on the Spot Portable Toilets

Lessons in Second Shooting {Part One}

No matter your age, or level of experience, I believe there’s always room to learn new things... this applies to everything in life. So, even though I own my own photography business & stay plenty busy, I won’t ever pass up the chance to second shoot for another photographer if the opportunity presents itself!

There are so many reasons I love second shooting. For one, even though you’re responsible for capturing certain images and assisting the main photographer, you don’t feel the same amount of pressure. As the second, I’m able to “slow down” and see things from a different perspective.

It’s also fun to shadow another photographer, because we all have our own flow & style of doing things. Whether it’s how we direct our clients, what kind of equipment we use (and when), and/or certain “rules” we apply to our professionalism… I’m always intrigued to see what I’ll pick up from others.

Kari Otero Photography, who is based in New York City, flew out to Northern California to photograph her client’s wedding at the historic Hotel Petaluma this past July, and had me along to second shoot with her. I was really honored to work with Kari, she’s got a successful business and beautiful portfolio. I had never met her before, so it was awesome to make a new connection! Kari was warm & kind from the start, and I was in awe of her use of off-camera lighting (which is something I’m not used to, since I specialize in natural light photography). To be honest, I was a bit intimidated… but she showed me how easy it was to use, and gave me some great tips. Although I still prefer bringing a “lighter load” and working with natural light & minimal on-camera flash, I can see the benefits of using off-camera lighting for certain occasions & am considering investing in one to use for darker receptions, or studio portraits. Kari helped me see how off-camera lighting can expand my creativity & style.

Kari’s clients, Bill & Rachel, were extremely down-to-earth & sweet. I loved their classic & beautiful wedding style, and sheer enthusiasm for taking portraits. They dedicated a good portion of their timeline to formal portraits, and were always up for suggestions… like when Kari proposed that we go a few blocks away for a river-side location, they agreed without hesitation. During the family portraits, Kari set up an area in the hotel courtyard with her lighting, and while guests mingled around them, efficiently checked off their list of groupings. While I typically shoot family portraits away from guests because I find I can get it done faster, Kari made it look effortless & I was super impressed.

All in all, I learned a lot from Kari and loved her positive & confident “lady boss” demeanor. I’m glad I was able to see what it was like to use off-camera lighting, and work with new people, at a venue I’ve never been to before. Thanks again, Kari, for having me!


Next time, on “Lessons in Second Shooting,” I’ll be sharing my amazing experience with Athena Kalindi Photography. Stay tuned!