A Real Adventurous Elopement - Destination Wedding

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“It’s funny how we create expectations on important events in our life. Since I was little, I always dreamed of a perfect wedding, a princess dress, and a huge party with elaborate and impeccable decoration. But life always proves that no dream or thought can create something better than what it was supposed to happen. I couldn’t imagine it was going to be like this, because I could never imagine that it could have been so perfect. The only thing I got it right is that it would be with the most amazing man in the world.”

These are words from our adventurous bride Erika. I have been struggling to write something that can do justice to what spending 3 days with Marcelo and Erika documenting their intimate wedding journey was like. But she said it all and her words couldn’t have been more truthful to the whole experience.

They went through a lot a week before the wedding, had to do a million things and continue to work on top of that. They arrived late at night in the city we were sleeping in and still had to organize our bags and all the food for our trip. We had to wake up really early the next day, and the weather forecast was predicting rain for the rest of the week. Anyone else could’ve complained about all these things and more. But not them.

At 6am the next day I stumbled on to Erika’s smiling face in the bathroom, putting her contacts on and brushing her teeth, beyond excited. She sat on the floor, made her bouquet and wrote her vows while Marcelo’s uncle, bless his heart, made us coffee. We started our hike at about 10am and five hours, some rain and some sunshine later, we arrived at the hut we were gonna sleep in.

Marcelo announced to all the other hikers that he was getting married at the top of the mountain the next day, at sunrise, and whoever wanted to wake up was invited. After a poor night of sleep, being woken up by someone snoring crazy loud, we were all up and ready to go by 5 am no problem!

There wasn’t going to be an epic sunrise, and we knew that. But that didn’t bother any of us. Still wearing winter clothes, hiking gear and headlamps they hugged each other one last time before the ceremony and went their separate ways to get ready. The sun lit them through the fog and, at the top of the mountain, barefoot, cold and happy, they spoke some of the prettiest words I’ve heard. With impeccable timing, the rain waited for the end of the ceremony and for us to take pictures to come pouring down, blessing their marriage.

By the time we got back to the hut, all the hikers were up and outside cheering the newlyweds. They were received with applause and genuine hugs from people that they met the night before. Everyone wanted a picture with them and the energy that filled that space was like no other. I have to say, only in Brazil you get to celebrate your intimate mountain elopement with people that you’ve never met before, and that were as excited about your wedding as you.

Erika didn’t have a big party. No fancy dinner or crazy decoration. But she had the wedding she wanted to have. Their wedding was the first one ever at Pedra do Sino. They couldn’t stop smiling, and we couldn’t either.

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Thinking about eloping?

We would love to come along.

Rainy Engagement Session - Rio de Janeiro

So apparently Stephan and I brought the rain to Rio de Janeiro this past August. Winter is usually the dry season but this year it was different, the first week and a half we were there it rained pretty much every day. It honestly felt so nice to be a little cold, I can’t say we were sad to leave Fresno in August...

Iconic View - taken from my phone

Iconic View - taken from my phone

Parque Lage was a place that’s been on our list to shoot at for a while, and we were really glad Isabela and Erick got on board with it for their engagement session! This sight in Rio is a public park, located by the Botanical Gardens, and it was originally a mansion owned by Enrique Lage, back in 1859. It has one of the most iconic views of Christ The Redeemer and if you find yourself in the wonderful city of Rio, you can’t miss it. It’s free admission and I recommend getting there as soon as the park opens, at 8 am, since it gets crowded quickly.

Definitely take a picture of the famous view once you get there, but it’s also just so nice to take your time, walk around and enjoy all the green surrounding you. The rain gave us a little break, but these two got engaged recently so they made it pretty easy to ignore the rain while we walked around and captured their love!

If you’re a photographer you’ll love shooting there! So many photo options but, like most good places, it’s better to go on a weekday and as it opens to avoid the crowd!

I’m working on a few more blog posts from this trip and on a Rio de Janeiro Guide as well, but for now enjoy these pictures from this sweet engagement session.

What it Takes to be a Photographer's Wife

When Stephan and I started dating, I’m gonna be honest, I did not know what I was getting myself into. I knew he was slightly obsessed with photography and I knew he liked to travel more than anyone I’ve ever met on tour, no matter how tired he was from the shows. But I didn’t know that dating this man came with so many 3 and 4 AM wake up calls to either catch a plane, a bus or a sunrise. I didn’t know it meant planning your whole day around golden hour, blue hour or milky way rising times.

3:45 AM wake up call to see the fisherman in Myanmar + sightseeing in my pajamas because I was too tired to change into normal clothes.

A few months into this relationship and guess what? I was loving it. I was more tired than ever and it was pretty hard to keep up with him and all the places he wanted to go, but I also couldn’t wait to brainstorm around our next destinations.

Being a photographer’s girlfriend/wife means you have to be patient. You will stay at a place later than most tourists, get home late and probably not eat dinner at a normal time. You’ll wake up so early and skip breakfast to catch a sunrise that might not even happen. You’ll be tired. But you’ll have so many experiences and stories to tell.

Catching the sunrise at Nugget Point Lighthouse in New Zealand, cold and looking tired but so happy!

On our last trip to Big Sur, which we did specifically for the purpose of getting sunset and milky way pictures, we met an awesome couple at Macway Falls. Maxim is from Haiti and an awesome photographer, his wife Ashley is from California and they have a sweet 6 month old baby. We got chairs, blankets and snacks from our cars and sat there overlooking the falls and chatting for hours starring at the sky as the stars got brighter and brighter and the milky way started to appear.

Ashley and I got to talking about how being a photographer’s wife forces you to do things that are out of your comfort zone. Would we be in a nice and warm hotel room if we weren’t there waiting for our husbands? Maybe. But then we wouldn’t be able to say we experienced seeing the stars rise above such an iconic landscape. Just like every other experience I’ve had because of Stephan’s passion!

So if you’re a landscape photographer’s girlfriend/boyfriend, husband/wife you’re not alone! And maybe you get tired of just waiting around and decide to get into photography as well and you find that it’s something you really love and you end up working with your husband and spending 24/7 thinking about lighting and composition then well... welcome to the club!

Watching the sunrise for the 65th time in New Zealand, everyday was a 5 AM wake up call. Worth it.

Tips for Shooting Couples at Taft Point

We absolutely love Yosemite and that’s no secret. I’ll go as far as saying that being close to the most amazing Valley on earth is one of the best things about living in Fresno.

We love shooting couples around the Valley, with Yosemite Falls or El Cap as the background or just any little corner of that place, really. But there is a reason why Taft Point is so popular, that spot is just to another level!

But there are certain things you should know before planning a shoot there. So here are some tips to help you out!

  • The hike is about one mile long and it can be done in 25 minutes. But take your time, leave nearly an hour for the walk. Don’t rush straight to the spot, there is so much opportunity for photos during the hike.

  • Arrive there about 45 minutes to 1 hour before sunset, give yourself time to explore other photo options, don’t focus just on the famous shot!

  • Make sure your couples are safe, there is absolutely no need to stand right at the edge of the cliff for the picture to be epic.

  • Direct them clearly before they head on to the spot, make sure they know the poses and keep them simple. Remember, you’ll be shooting them from really far away and it’s not so nice to keep shouting.

  • Makeup arm and hand signals that mean “next pose” or “we’re done” for example, so they’re not standing there wondering what’s happening.

  • Bring flashlights for the walk back, you’ll need it.

  • Try to shoot on a weekday, it’s so much better! We went on a Tuesday and we were the only photographers there.

  • If you can’t go on a weekday and it is crowded, respect each other. There is plenty of time for all the photographers to get the famous shot.

  • Be prepared to leave Yosemite at night, make sure your couple is aware of that and comfortable driving winding roads in the dark.

Check out some more photos from this lovely shoot! These are proof that you should make a trip up there at least once in your lifetime!

Briana & Michael - July 2nd, 2019

Do you have any questions that we didn’t cover on this post? Just contact us! We’ve traveled quite a bit and we know there is nothing better than hearing recommendations and tips from people that have already been to where you’re planning to go.

Want to book a Yosemite/Taft Point shoot? Click here for more information on our photo session prices and send us an email for availability. Yosemite is basically our backyard, and we would love to take you to our favorite place in California!

The Coolest Proposal Ever!

Jeff had been planning this for a while, nearly a full year. Based on one of their favorite movies, 500 Days of Summer, he organized this awesome Flash Mob to propose to his girlfriend Lana! He got around 100 people involved, researched and rehearsed over and over again.

I mean, let’s talk about dedication here. Everything was planned so she wouldn’t have any idea at all. He told her he would be out of town, took a picture at the Fresno Airport with his buddies and posted on Social Media. A friend of his also photoshopped a picture of him at the Denver Airport and posted it as well! How awesome?

She thought it was a normal Saturday, going to the movies with her friends while her boyfriend was on a trip. Little did she know that she was about to be part of the most amazing proposal ever and that she was gonna get asked the big question!

We were so honored to document this special day, check out our video!

3 Effective Ways to Invest in your Photography Business

When it comes to photographers and the word investiment, we immediatly think about gear. What camera or lens to buy, is it worth to upgrade it or not, Nikon or Canon, and things like that. But that’s not what I’m gonna talk about.

I wanna talk about all the other things we have been doing in the past 6 months to grow our business that have been incredible investiments, and they have nothing to do with gear.

1.       Online Classes

When I say online classes I don’t mean watching videos on YouTube (although there are some pretty awesome people out on there sharing amazing advice and knowledge through that platform). I mean two words, Creative Live. If you’ve never heard of this website please go take a look at it.

CreativeLive.com is a community of over 650 instructors, leaders and legendary entrepreneurs. This website contains classes on every subject you can think of that’s related to running your own business. I’ve watched classes on marketing, SEO, Instagram and Facebook ads, contract writting and etc. If you catch the classes live, they’re free, and if not, you can purchase them and have access to it anytime.

Stephan and I decided a few months ago to get the “Creator Pass” and it was one of the best things we did! For $300 you have access at anytime to all of their classes for a whole year. Trust me, $300 is nothing when it comes to the level of the instructors and the amount of information that they offer.

2.       Workshops

It was through Creative Live that we found Roberto Valenzuela, a professional wedding photographer sponsored by Canon USA and, above all, an amazing teacher and person.

Stephan was feeling a little down about photography and the whole industry, and I knew he needed some kind of inspiration to lift him up again. We both watched Roberto’s online classes and loved it. After that Stephan bought 3 of his books on Amazon and he had been reading and obsessing over them every morning.

I quickly decided that that’s what my husband needed, an experience, and to learn from the best. I purchased a spot on Roberto’s Perfect Posing Workshop in LA and gave it to Stephan as his birthday gift. He was so happy and at the last day of that workshop he booked himself a spot at the Picture Perfect Lighting Workshop in Tucson, AZ!

I’ve been editing my husband’s pictures, and after those two workshops there was a massive change. Not just the pictures kept getting better and better, but I saw his motivation and the desire to shoot back again in full force!


3.       Connecting With People

Even though you won’t be spending money in this case, you’ll be investing your time. Time to get to know people in your industry, to truly connect with them. To learn about their story, why they do what they do and how you can relate to each other.

At the beggining we were afraid of randomly messaging people and asking them out for a coffee, but once we started doing that we realized it was one of the best things we could do! Time is really precious when you run your own business, and we have yet to think we wasted ours by sitting down and having a nice meaningful conversation with someone.

If you would like see some of the beautiful pictures Stephan got at the Tucson Workshop and read more about it, click here.

If you have any questions about how to invest in yourself and your business, or if you just wanna chat over a cup of coffee, don’t hesitate to ask, just contact us!

Who Gets Married on a Monday?

Mondays are better when they’re filled with celebration and love. Marisa & Garrison are one of sweetest people we have ever met and their wedding day was as beautiful as they are. They put so much thought into this day and, at the same time, everything was so natural. It was clear that all they wanted to do was celebrate, have fun and enjoy their family and friends.

They got married on a beautiful Monday at the Hotel Piccadilly Fresno and it certainly made everyone’s week a little bit better, I mean, who doesn’t like to start off the week like this? Congratulations to these two, Adriana and I had so much fun capturing so many beautiful moments!

Picture Perfect Lighting Workshop in Tucson, AZ

Hey there, Stephan here, and I decided to share a little bit of why being part of this workshop was the best thing I did for my photography since starting my business.

Yes I have upgraded my gear quite a few times and bought new things here and there when I think the quality of my images will improve considerably. I’ve also watched loads of online classes and read a great amount of books in the past few months.. but learning in person is a whole other deal!

After being at Roberto Valenzuela’s Picture Perfect Posing Workshop in LA, a birhtday gift to me from my wife and family (they are the best), I booked myself a spot at his next Workshop, Picture Perfect Lighting without thinking twice.

A month later, my wife and I drove ten and half hours to Tanque Verde Ranche in Tucson, AZ and I spent 3 days learning, practicing and absorbing an insane amount of information! Besides being an awesome person, Roberto is a genius and the fact that he shares his techniques and his whole brain with us is pretty amazing.

So what I’m trying to say is, if you’re a photographer, reinvest in yourself, learn from the best, change your point of view once in a while and see how amazing that can be.