Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Joy and Teddy, Lark Creek Inn / San Francisco Theological Seminary, Marin County, California

(check out the slideshow by clicking on the image above!)

(Sorry for the blog posting delay - I have been enjoying a TON of great shoots and catching up on editing. Expect more in the next few weeks...)

I had the pleasure of shooting Teddy and Joy's beautiful Marin County wedding earlier this month. They had a morning ceremony at the beautiful San Francisco Theological Seminary (not in San Francisco itself, but North across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin), followed by an amazing lunch reception at the Lark Creek Inn. These were two venues that were new for me, so it was a thrill to be able to photograph them both in one day! Here's Mount Tamalpais - which is very close to my heart, since my parents grew up (and met) while living on various parts of the mountain, and when I was little we would drive from the east side to the west to visit both sets of grandparents.

It was neat driving between venues around the hills. We also got to get a tasting menu of cookies from one of our favorite bakeries!

Joy and Teddy live in Southern California but chose to return to Marin County (where they met, and where they used to live) in order to make it easy for many of their guests to attend. Some of their family and friends came from as far as Taiwan for their beautiful wedding!

Here's Teddy getting ready, with the sweetest chalkboard note I've ever seen.

And beautiful Joy - who has the most lovely smile, and who used it all day, truly living up to her name.

They chose the Stewart Chapel at the seminary, which was dark but so pretty and cheerful. Their minister was one of the guests to come over from Taiwan for the occasion - I believe he had been Joy's father's minister for most of his life, and his affection for her family definitely showed.

I have seriously hundreds upon hundreds of photos I'd love to share from this wedding, but in the interest of not alienating my audience, I've narrowed it down to a few dozen... I'm finding again and again that my absolute top favorite shots are often of the bride and groom. A very good sign I think!

Here are some shots we did while still at the chapel, which has a really cool labyrinth on the enormous terrace that overlooks the beautiful nature of West Marin.

And then, off to Lark Creek!

I need to find out who did the flowers - the bouquets as well as these unique centerpieces were breathtaking, and highly photogenic.

Besides being beautiful, fresh and homey, the Lark Creek Inn has absolutely delicious food. I hope we have a chance to go back when not working one of these days...

After the party (which included a fabulous cake, amazing choreographed first dance, loving toasts, lots of mingling and yummy food - as well as another self portrait setup!), we got some shots of the bridal party in the park across the street:

And then cut to the chase - lots and lots of couple shots! Joy and Teddy wanted a few portraits of the two of them at the seminary, but since they both have large families and groups of friends, we mainly focused on those while there. They wisely decided to hire me to stay an hour past the party's official end so that we could focus on some lovely couple portraits of the two of them - and I'm so happy we did!

Joy and Teddy let me know that they wanted a vintage feel to their wedding day, and to their photos, and that my classic, modern-vintage-y kinda sensibility is partly what attracted them to working with me. To that end, I played around with some regular, digital shots of them (don't you LOVE Teddy's amazing suit, and Joy's unique and elegant lace?!):

As well as busted out with my 1920's 4x5" view camera, shooting with both Polaroids and regular black and white negative film. I love the Polaroid Type 55 (which creates both a negative and a positive, with the cool funky border you see below), but it is sadly on its way out, so I am working with regular 4x5" sheet negative film when couples request this.

Here's the best Polaroid shot:

And here's the awesomeness of unpredictable, 90 year old cameras - check out how much the accidental light leak enhances this beautiful shot! I was stoked to see this, which is technically a "mistake" but is more like a happy accident.

Back to the 21st century - here are more portraits:

I have another great shot where both of their faces are in focus - but I really adore something about this version:

A funny, but cute, triumphant pose!

And a few where we played around with more serious faces (trust me, there are plenty of joyful smiling shots - it made me smile just to see how happy they were!). I wanted to capture the same elegant dance feel from their first dance, but with a calmness created by having the two of them alone:

This one has a random, but mysterious, feel that I really like:

And this is just plain snuggly cuteness!

Gotta have the shoes:

Congratulations, Joy and Teddy! You're not only married, but absolutely adored by your worldwide families and friends. It was such an honor to spend this time with you and capture these moments, thank you!

PS - Joy sent me this email reaction to their slideshow - "Wow. We're totally speechless at how awesome the photos look! We replayed the slideshows several times last night, so happy at how terrific the photos turned out. You have a great eye for framing the photos, and capturing the emotions of the day...
Thank you for being a wonderful (and patient!) photographer - you really helped make the day go smoothly."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wedding client testimonials

I wanted to share these kind testimonials posted to my Pictage listing by:

Jean and Romie

"Jessamyn was wonderful to work with and her photography is beautiful and creative. She is exactly what we wanted in a photographer. She is also a wonderful human being. I cannot recommend her highly enough."

and Jenny and Mike

"Jessamyn is a very professional and very conscientious photographer. She is fun to work with and always manages to be everywhere all at once. That being said, I never feel that she gets in the way of the natural flow of the party or the ceremony. I would recommend her to anyone who is looking for high quality editorial style photos. She is our family photographer for as long as she'll have us."

Wow! Thanks so much, you guys... You are the best, and I feel so lucky to have the clients that I do. I consider many of them friends when all is said and done.

More great weddings and portraits coming very soon!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Kate and "Coalmine"/ Tony, Wellspring Renewal Center, Philo, California

(check out the slideshow!)

My friends Kate and Coalmine (real name: Tony, but we only know him as Coalmine... it's kind of a band name that just stuck) got engaged two years before their wedding date, and asked me to be their photographer shortly after. So it was with much preparation and anticipation that their fabulous wedding weekend finally came, and it was amazing! The whole wedding felt very timeless/ classic, retro, relaxed and easy... which I think is what they set out for it to be, so, mission accomplished!

Kate and Coalmine rented the Wellspring Renewal Center in Philo (on Highway 128 on the way to Mendocino, where Kate is originally from) for the whole weekend, allowing their guests to come up on Friday (the 4th of July) to camp or sleep in the center's cabins, and stay through Sunday the 6th. This allowed everyone to relax, swim in the river, help decorate and clean up, and just generally have an amazing time.
Sadly, Devon and I just stayed during the wedding day, since we had so much gear I didn't think it would make sense to kick it longer...

I had a really hard time narrowing down the photos, so I hope you'll definitely take a look at the slideshow. I think that the long engagement allowed the couple to really plan at a leisurely pace, focusing on what was important to them (guest fun, beautiful location, lots of great music, etc) and what wasn't a priority. To that end, I was one of the only "vendors" (though I am also a friend) - Wellspring provided the food (delicious, simple taco fixings - cheap, easy, and so so tasty!); friends brought cupcakes in kind of a dessert potluck; Kate's mom did a great job with the flowers; and the couple's friends played music (both live and in iPod form). Besides the Spindles, we were treated to a live show of St. Peterbilt's "trucking tunes", and, as the night grew a little quieter, the lovely Emily Jane White's songs. So fun!

One of my favorite things from the day (there were many) were these simple but colorful paper lanterns hung in the trees. I could not stop photographing them! The beauty of the location itself (redwoods, river, gardens) didn't need a lot of fixing up, but these bright spots of color gave the event such a timeless, beautiful, country feel:

There were also little birds and delicate bouquets throughout the venue. Kate and Coalmine really lucked out in that the weather was amazing and perfect the whole weekend - so only the music was inside, but the guests could still lounge around in the summer night outside and hear everything. So fun!

Kate's dress!... I can't gush about this enough. She had picked out another one that was lovely and very "wedding-y", but just didn't feel like her... then she found this one and it was perfect.

Map of Wellspring - I kind of want to live there (though, sadly, they are not in operation after October unless someone buys them and keeps them available for rental - anyone feeling like moving to the boonies? - literally, Philo is right outside of Boonville):

Right before the ceremony started, the officiant (a friend of Kate's) asked how many of the guests were related to Coalmine - I guess he has quite a big, Italian family!

The cutie pies kissing, and newly married:

I love this shot! - coy and sweet and romantic.

We also played around with my 1920s wooden 4x5" camera and got some fun, old-timey shots:

More lovely details and scenes - you don't have to add much when you have your wedding in such a beautifully natural location!

I love this idea - they printed out "through the years" pictures of each of them and wrapped them around candles for each dinner table. Also, there was no assigned seating, so everyone felt free to eat whenever and sit wherever they'd like - there were even some fancy blankets and throw pillows to create an outdoor lounge!

Their first dance was adorably goofy and cute - I still don't know if they rehearsed it or just spontaneously went with the groove!

Beautiful flags decorating the reception area at Wellspring:

Down to the river before sunset:

More reception shots:

This was after my photo shift technically ended, but I couldn't stop taking pictures. I took this random one in my friend Dani's cabin, and it really takes me back to photos from the 70s and my childhood...

What a blast! There are so many photos I'd love to share, and details I'm surely forgetting (like the beautiful red bridesmaids' dresses, the Dia de los Muertos cake topper, all the fun stuff for the kid guests to do...), so please please check out the slideshow!