The Wedding of Nia & Daniel

Roseville Sacramento Wedding

Nia and Daniel’s wedding was a simple yet elegant affair on a warm Sacramento early May day.  I was referred to Nia for this wedding by the DJ, Sounds To Go, which underscores how important it is to network in this industry and build relationships with other vendors because you never know when it can result in a job.

Among wedding professionals, there is often a bias against backyard weddings, but I have done several this year and they have all been in gorgeous backyards and this one is no exception.  It provided the perfect backdrop for this wedding.  When I arrived Nia and her family were incredibly welcoming and introduced me to all of the major family members and wedding party. Upon arriving, I was able to get some great detail shots of the location and some of the details of the setup.  

Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding

Since Nia did not require photos of her getting ready, I right away started shooting the groomsmen.  We took some great posed shots.  Daniel sure has some great guys supporting him.

Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding

After finishing up with the guys portraits, the girls were ready to go so we took some nice shots of Nia and her bridesmaids and the flower girl.  

Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding

The ceremony started on schedule and was short and sweet with the traditional entrance of the bridesmaids and bride, vows, ring exchange and kiss.

Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding

Following the ceremony, we took some nice posed photos of the bridal party all together as well as one picture of all the guests.  It’s always a challenge to make sure I can see everyone in these kind of photos but I think this one turned out pretty good!  This was a fun group too, and they did a pretty cool silly picture!

Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding

The bridal party then made their grand entrance to start the reception portion of the evening’s festivities.  There was a great dinner, socializing and some great speeches.  I hear many wedding speeches every year, but the speeches from this wedding will stick with me for a long time.  The best man (the bride’s brother) spoke about how he first realized Daniel and his sister were dating. Before dating his sister, he had only known Daniel as part of a rival baseball team who had just recently beat his team in the championships.  You can imagine his surprise when he opened the door to his home one day and found Daniel sitting on the couch with Nia.  The other speech that sticks out in my mind came from Nia’s step father.  He talked about how he had always wanted a daughter and was delighted when Nia entered his life and filled that role.  His words were so heart-felt and touching, I could tell that he meant it from the deepest of his soul.

Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding
Roseville Sacramento Wedding

After the speeches, the couple shared a precious first dance with each other and then with their parents.  And that’s about the time my work day finished.  Nia was so thoughtful and wrote me a nice card that she sent me home with (and a little something extra), which is always appreciated for me and my team.  What a great May wedding to remember!

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

Michael & Veronica Engagement

Sacramento Lodi wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.

A cloudy and rainy day was upon us as I got ready to shoot Michael and Veronica’s engagement photos. Around 12:00 I considered cancelling the shoot because I was not sure that the weather would hold out for us, but I’m glad that I didn’t. The shoot took place as scheduled at 4:00 PM at Hanford Ranch Winery Inc. in Galt, California. This is a beautiful location on a hilltop overlooking grape fields which circles the winery. This is a great venue choice for anyone in the Sacramento and Stockton area to hold their wedding. Veronica, Michael, my assistant (Ashley) and I did a lot of walking through the property on that day and I was impressed by all of the possibilities for great portraits that are there. I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of what is possible.

The property has a cute wooden bridge that is one of the highlights of the outdoor terrace area. That is where we decided to start with the photos. I first posed Michael and Veronica atop the bridge and we took several shots. One of my go-to poses is the couple touching heads and gazing into each other’s eyes. It normally takes a few poses to break the ice with couples and to get a groove going for portrait taking. But Veronica and Michael were in such an obviously good mood without a care in the world for the less than ideal weather. I could see the love in their eyes and their happiness to have found each other. Needless to say it didn’t take long for these two to feel comfortable and to start getting great shots.

Sacramento Lodi wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi Wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi Wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.

Next we moved further down the property following the main path. We used the path and surrounding landscape as the background for several other photos, focusing mainly on announcing the couples’ wedding date in October 2018.

Sacramento Lodi wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi Wedding Engagement Shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.

At this point, the Sacramento valley sky began to reveal a golden sunset that photographers always strive to capture in these kind of photos.  I was able to snap some portraits of Michael and Veronica in this golden sunlight.

Sacrament Lodi Engagement Wedding Shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.

I’ve heard people say that the way to look into the soul of a person is through their eyes. Looking through my lens into Veronica and Michael’s eyes, I could see the happiness that fills their soul as they giggled with each other. I tried to capture these candid shots so that they might always remember the excitement they felt in this moment.

Sacramento Lodi wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi engagement wedding shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.

Eventually, the sun started disappearing and the golden sky gave way to an amber tint. This was the perfect condition to take some silhouette style shots before I added my flash into the mix to fully light their faces. Michael and Veronica were great about humoring me with my different posing and lighting ideas.

Sacramento Lodi Wedding Engagement Shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi Wedding Engagement Shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi Wedding Engagement Shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi Wedding Engagement Shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.

As we were concluding our evening, I asked Michael and Veronica to sit on the top of the hill facing the sun and positioned so that I could capture this unique tree that has probably seen more than a few couples peer out on it as they celebrate their wedding day. I always like these kind of shots because it feels like they are looking into their future, imagining their lives together.

A golden sunset that lasts for over an hour is rare, and is more precious than gold to photographers. What started out as a gloomy rainy day, turned out to be the ideal conditions for capturing Veronica and Michael’s love. I like to think that it all worked out for Veronica and Michael, as a sign of the bright skies ahead for them. Can’t wait to capture their wedding day at this gorgeous venue, Hanford Ranch Winery Inc.

Lodi and Sacramento Wedding
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.

Importance of the Free Consult

When building a business you need customer loyalty. Being a professional boosts this concept and ensures you wiil create customer loyalty. It requires honesty, and giving your customer the best experience possible. When you offer services, it helps to give your customer a free consultation or in other words simple information. If you know that what you offer is the best, don’t turn people off by charging THEM for YOU to tell them that.

What’s To Come

We all have dreams or goals we want to chase and achieve. However, it can be challenging to work toward these goals while trying to juggle other various things in your life. That’s why I am excited to share a series with you, about how you can manage all tasks that you need to take on. So subscribe, stay tuned and hopefully you find some pieces of wisdom along the way. Be blessed!