Wedding family photos

A wedding is a complex event and recently I came to the conclusion that one of the most challenging part if wedding photography is “family portraits after the ceremony”.

Why You think it might be posing people or the dim lit church or glaring midday sunlight  I have been telling couples to organize a person to make a shot list so we can call family member out to pose. The problem is actually telling the family to stick around and not rush off to cocktail hour. My suggestion would be to start with the couple and all relatives and then slowly peel them away. Maybe shoot the grandparents at the beginning.

Make sure you have the couple write out some combination out before hand so it does not take an hour as you have still keep some time for the bridal party and most important with the couple.

The best time I had was at this chinese wedding, they super organized, not just with family photos at the tea ceremony but after the wedding ceremony, where one of the family members had a list with all the names and really all I had to do is press the shutter release button. People were responsive ans paid attention when their name was called. I wish every wedding would be this organized.

I recently shot a wedding at a catholic church in San Francisco. Here the couple had planned to do the family photos at the church and the bridal party and couple photos at the reception over an hour away up north in the wine country. First of all the church coordinator was a totally ridgit control freak, a phenonomen  I will write about in my next blog. The problem was there was another wedding planned right after. The churchlady told us to go out feont because people are lined up for the photo, totally confusing us. I should have taken charge, but it was so crowded and confusing to know at this point to know whether some of the people where from the next wedding or not. So we all went out front until the bride said, she did not want all of those people and we went back up to the altar. Then the musicians where a bit in the background and I constantly had to wave her out of the picture. We only got a few combination together, the family was not very fast to respond and the next wedding was already filling up the pews.

So lets keep the family photos organized and my personal view is, how man combinations do you really need.

This is a fun way to have single family shots too.

Wedding venues -16th Street Train Station

The wedding venue is an important part of wedding photography.  I have seen golf-courses, vineyards, high-end hotels, college campuses and private estates. When Andrea and Case hired me for their wedding photography and gave me the address of their wedding venue, I was pleasantly surprised.

I googled the wedding venue and found pictures of this beautiful abandoned train-station that was being rented out for events.

After I photographed the bride getting ready, my 2nd shooter Dianne and I grove over to the venue. Passing through a few abandoned very industrial looking streets with weeds pressing wildly through the cracks of the concrete everywhere, we pulled up into the parking lot.

The building on the outside was not too impressive, unless you like abandoned buildings like me. When I stepped inside, I let out a gasp of air and my stomach started to tingle like I just had met a beautiful man.

The cocktail lounge was decorated with antiques suitcases, old wooden benches.


The ceremony was held under the train station and the metal ceiling and studded pillars painted eggshell yellow covered in colorful graffiti.

Finally the dinner and reception was held in the mail hall, gigantic window partially painted orange, leaving the light in the hall look like you were in a scene of old Paris 1800. A truly dream venue for an urban bride and a nice change to all the vineyard and golf course weddings.

The light shining through the window gave amazing back light. There were so many cool angles. Here more photos of this beautiful event.

The Environmental wedding portrait and the close up portraits.

Environmental wedding portraits in wedding photography or close up more intimate portraits. What does the bride prefer in her wedding pictures?  I feel like I am always rushing around trying to get all shots done with the same creativity and spontaneity as there is mostly not enough time. Creating an environmental wedding portrait really depends on the location of the wedding. Sometimes the wedding planner or the couple themselves have some ideas of what they think will look great, especially when it comes to the environmental wedding portraits and I am always willing and ready to work with them, but sometimes the light and position of the sun is making it impossible to execute a great picture. The sky ends up being washed out, the sun shines directly in their face, creating either awful shadows or makes them squint or the brides make-up will melt. Hoping for a nice overcast or haze or just the right time at sunset for the shots you want, is all you can do, but you can be proactive and let the groom and bride or the wedding planner know what time is get the best pictures.  I have had great experiences and most people really want their pictures to be beautiful and appreciate your input and advice. I personally you need to do closes ups as well, because I like to see the expressions of the couples faces and their emotion and with the environmental wedding portraits  you can capture the sentiment of the wedding and tell their story. Some people are more urban and some couple are more into nature or beaches or landmarks. Creating  environmental wedding portraits is a lot like painting a pictures for me, compositions, colors and light and in the end telling a story. That is what makes it exiting.


Wedding photography-WPPI

I had never been at the WPPI and a week before the event I bought my ticket to the event and since I was first thinking about making it a road trip I booked the Motel 6 on Tropicana close to the MGM Grand where the convention was being held. The Motel 6 allows Dogs. While I scoping out the situation, I called my friend Nora and asked her if she was maybe wanting to come with me or i not maybe take care of my dog. Nora was excited , but couldn’t take the time off work and offered so generously to take care of my dog. I had looked at all the different hotels and I was making my decisions rather frantic, I decided that driving was quiet long and I found a cheap flight. Motel 6 seemed fine and the pictures looked clean and after my flight was cancelled due to weather and I arranged another flight 3 hours later. At 5:30pm I finally was sitting in the cab to my motel, only to be informed by the cuban taxi-driver that my motel is used often by the black workers. He said ” it’s not dangerous, you just have to lock our door when you leave.


City Hall Wedding

KIKatie and I finally finished our first shoot at City Hall. We ask this beautiful couple Julie and Jason, if they had not booked a photographer.  They hadn’t booked one and agreed  to be photographed. Since this was our first test shoot, they were lucky to have the opportunity to have the jpgs for free. We had a lot of fun and here are the results.

Wedding shoes

Details in Wedding-Photography:
Shoes, often hidden under the long wedding dress, but the bride will remember hers…probably at the end of the night when her feet hurt and she secretly slips on her flip-flops.
I think photographing shoes can be done in so many different ways. Don’t you just love the peek you get when the dress of the bide lifts up like tiny bit giving us a glimpse. The silver sandals just tossed aside, makes you think where the bride went, right? The last one, a classy one, the getting ready for the ceremony, exudes excitement…well at least for me.

Marin Arts and Garten Center Weddings

I photographed this wedding in July. The ceremony was in midday and as a photographer not my favorite time to shoot. l used my 70-200 mm canon lens, a very heavy lens, but worth carrying every ounce of it. The backdrop of greenery is stunning, framing a even more beautiful bride and groom.

Wedding photography and more…

Welcome to my new blog. I love Wedding and Event photography, because I can be in the midst of all the celebration, enjoy it, be a spectator and capture the event for your later to remember. I love meeting new people and new venues, specially at weddings. This photo I shot of Sarah and Natalie a few years ago and the wedding was held at the “el rio” in the mission district in San Francisco.


We really love the architecture of City Hall. While scouting around, I shot this picture of a couple with their photographer. So remember, Katie Fiordalis or Tanja Nixx will be around available to take your  photograph ascending up those beautiful staircase next Friday, Sep 4th. So smile when you walk down this aisle. You can also shoot us an email at our website.

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