Jun 20, 2008

Frederique's Family Portraits

You know you must be a loved teacher if your class gets together and buys you a portrait session. Frederique and her family is moving back to France after being here three years, and the class that she teaches thanked her with a family portrait session with us. They were so much fun to work with, especially the little ones. I hope that one day these photos will bring back fond memories of their time here in Orange County.

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Jun 10, 2008

Kami and Nathan in Laguna Beach

When I first met Kami at the consultation I could already tell that she and her fiance would be really fun to shoot. She was pleasant and just had a really easy-going personality. My favorite part was that she mentioned she wanted to get in the water at the beach. I haven't had one of those in a while and the weather is perfect in June to do that.

We started at Bluebird Park and then headed over to Bluebird Beach in Laguna Beach.

They were more comfortable playing than posing, so the slides and swings were perfect for these two.

We can always find ways to adjust to the height disparity.

They have great chemistry with each other. Kami and Nathan laughed and smiled for pretty much the entire shoot, which is great on camera.

The sun starts to set.

Nathan spun Kami faster than I've ever seen anyone spun!

I love running-in-the-water shots.

Getting hit by the water with regular clothes on takes a little getting used to.

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May 16, 2008

Maria's Maternity Portraits in Laguna Beach

Being the photographer's assistant, I usually just show up and help out wherever I can and get some shots of my own in. When Maria asked us to shoot her maternity photos, I asked Jimmy if I could do this one. See, I work with Maria and she's also a good friend. Her son, Joseph, is completely in love with me (sorry, Jimmy), so I really wanted to shoot this one for her. Of course, Jimmy couldn't just stand there and be my assistant for a day. The last couple of shots were taken by him.

Maria is the most gorgeous pregnant woman I've ever met and her son is just so flipping cute! We had told Joseph to talk to the baby, so that's what he was doing in the picture on the right.

For someone who's 8 months pregnant, that belly looks mighty small!

Like any little boy, Joseph couldn't resist playing in the water. This was his attempt in outrunning the water as it came up the shore. Mission failed.

Thanks, Maria and Joseph, for letting me take these shots. I had tons of fun and can't wait till baby Isabel comes.


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May 5, 2008

Laguna Beach Wedding: Kathy and Steve

It's always flattering when people who work in the creative industry hire me as their photographer. Steve is a senior art director for a prominent website (hint: initials are A I) and I'm so glad that he and Kathy invited me to capture their beautiful wedding in Laguna Beach. We had so much fun during their engagement session that we were totally looking forward to this. Their family and friends were all so warm and friendly and just a joy to photograph. There are just too many great moments to post them all here, so these are just a few preview shots that I picked out.

The bride's brother getting ready.

The wedding party on both sides were so great to work with. This is a total guy shot and it was mostly unposed as they were walking down the hill.

We photographed Kathy and the girls in a home high up in the hills of Laguna Beach with an amazing view.

The wind was blowing a little so Kathy decided to have a little fun with it. This is just how silly and fun she is. I should mention here that Kathy skydives, a lot, and this is what she would probably look like if she were to have a wedding while skydiving.

While shooting the guys and girls at separate locations, the dogs in the neighborhood wanted to say hi. The adorable one below brought a tennis ball up to me to play fetch while I was shooting.

The cute flower girl smiled like this all the way down the aisle.

The interior of St. Mary's Episcopal Church is amazing with gorgeous hardwood and just as important, good air-conditioning.

Not pictured: The hundreds of people watching them being photographed, honking in their cars and congratulating them.

After a wedding, a bride just wants to relax and receive a foot massage.

During their engagement session, I told them to run on the beach and being the athletic types, they ran by so fast I could barely catch up. I learned my lesson so this time, I told them to jog by slowly.

One of my favorites of the day, Kathy and her beautiful expressions.

This cake topper has been passed down a couple of generations.

The lighting was perfect for their first dance.

The speech from Steve was emotional. It was quite endearing when he delivered his speech, and I'm so glad I was able to grab the gorgeous blue glow from the sky as it was disappearing.

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Mar 4, 2008

Jackie and Roy's Wedding in Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach, California

The day started out with a few sprinkles and fortunately it went away by the time we began shooting, since it was an outdoor wedding at Occasions in Laguna Beach. That paved the way for dramatic looking skies that serve as a great backdrop. Jackie and Roy were so great to work with, as were their parents and wedding party. Everyone was so pleasant that it was just a joy to capture the event. Here are just a few of the many shots from the wedding:

Introducing the groom, Roy.

And his groomsmen.

Having a little fun, snapping fingers.

The girls walking down a busy Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach.

I love the dark blue dresses the bridesmaids wore, so we wanted to shoot it against this artistic blue wall.

While shooting this one, I could hear the bridesmaids behind me saying that they loved this shot.

The girls were such a great group to work with.

Details of the wedding dress.

The entire wedding party.

I loved the colors of the cake.

The bride and her father had a classic dance while the groom and his mother performed an entertaining number that cracked everyone up.

Weddings by Melia

Anthony Barthel

Dayna Lewis of Occasions at Laguna Village

Click here to view Jackie and Roy's engagement session

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Feb 18, 2008

Dusky and Bobby at 7 Degrees Laguna Beach

Let me start off by saying that 7 Degrees in Laguna Beach is an awesome venue with its modern architecture, trendy ambiance, and great mood lighting. I'm so glad Dusky and Bobby picked this place for their wedding reception because it's a photogenic location and I think it was fitting of their style.

The night was pretty much a huge party with family and friends and it was a blast covering it. Dusky and Bobby are such a funny couple, I found myself laughing along with them all night.

The location, 7 Degrees.

Champagne awaited guests as they arrived in the front gallery.

Between the front gallery and the terrace where guests enjoyed cocktails, this is the ambient lighting that decorated the walls. Dusky is looking out the window as she gets ready.

Two gorgeous dresses hang as Dusky prepares.

Last minute touches to the hair.

Dusky is almost ready for their grand entrance. She poses for family.

Dusky thanks the make-up artist.

Dusky in her first dress.

Bobby, before noticing the camera and making sexy faces to it.

They are such a cute couple, always making each other laugh.

The first dance. Notice the awesome lighting. The colors change throughout the dance, which could be a nightmare for photos. But if caught right, the photo could be amazing.

Yet another color for the room.

This was the moment of the night for me, when he put on this cap to let everyone know who he was: Dusky's Dad.

You can see how much fun they were having.

Dusky danced a lot, often entertaining a crowd around her.

Bobby gets a mouthful as he reaches for the garter.

At the end of the night, guests held sparklers as Dusky and Bobby walks through. It was an exciting finish to an amazing reception.

Tabitha Wilson at 7 Degrees

Joe Paxton
Atmosphere Entertainment

Make-up Artist:
Jessica Lopez

Rae LaPointe

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Feb 7, 2008

Michelle and Tom's Wedding in Laguna Beach

Michelle and Tom, whose engagement shoot I shot just a little while ago here, rented out a cute house in Laguna Beach called Pacific Edge for their wedding reception. It's a great idea for a smaller sized party not only because it's an adorable location, but also because it's situated practically on the beach giving you a view of the ocean from almost anywhere in the house.

There were again way too many photos to pick from, so here's what I've cut it down to:

Michelle comes into view for the first time as her maid of honor adjusts her train.

Michelle and father await the walk down the aisle.

The center of attention.

Michelle looks over with a smile during the ceremony.

They had a bagpipe performer lead them in the recessional. He was a big hit.

The adorable children in the wedding party.

We made our way out of the church and onto the beach. The flower girl wasn't having any of this "portrait" business, but she's still cute anyway.

The guys.

It was a bit sunny at this time of day, but look at the blue skies and water!

The beautiful bride with sunlight on her back. Those toned arms aren't by accident either, she works them out!

This reminds me of a bride and groom cake-topper.

This is a totally cute wedding cake.

This photo booth by Red Cheese was very popular at the reception. It's a great idea and keeps the guests busy. The prints come out really fast, too.

The coordinator made sure we got into the booth too, so this was us goofing off.

Close-up shot of the rings on the bouquet.

Michelle freshening up.

My favorite shot of the night. The bride looking out the balcony.

Tom and Michelle share a private moment before the grand entrance.

There are two elements that make for an awesome speech. The first is to make everyone laugh by reliving hilarious moments of the past, and the second is to bawl with the bride.

Michelle shares a giggle with a guest.

Here's our adorable flower girl again, this time playing to the camera.

Michelle had decorated these wine glasses with the first initials of each of the guys.

I'll end with this shot of Michelle, after changing out of her wedding dress, dancing to the great selection of music.

This was a great wedding to kick off my 2008 weddings. Michelle and Tom was an awesome couple to work with. The coordinator Lorraine is such a sweetheart, making sure we were taken care of. It was a blast.

Wedding Coordinator:
Lorraine McCullough
Classic Touch Event Planning

Ed McCullough
Classic Touch DJ Entertainment

Photo Booth:
Jay L. Tan
Red Cheese

I forgot to mention that Michelle, besides being a fabulous bride, is also a make-up artist here in Orange County. Her website is www.dialmformakeup.com.

Update: Jay from Red Cheese sent me a few shots from within the photo booth to post:

There's Jay and Lorraine with the bride and groom.

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Jan 21, 2008

San and Allan at St Regis and Laguna Beach

We met up with San and Allan in south Orange County on a beautiful Saturday evening before sunset. We started at the beautiful St. Regis Monarch Beach where they had a chance to get over their shyness in front of the camera. Then we headed up to Aliso Beach Park to enjoy an amazing Laguna Beach sunset.

Click here for the gorgeous flash version, or continue reading below for the smaller photos.

I love this exquisite wall at the St. Regis Rotunda.

They have great looking natural smiles.

Kicking the legs up. Cute.

Embracing at the pretty garden outside.

Our entire shoot at the beach was during sunset.

You can tell they're now loosened up and having fun.

A nice private moment together. Just them, their footsteps and the blue waters.

This might be the reason why I will never leave Southern California.

And we end the session with a sunset silhouette kiss.

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Jan 16, 2008

Kathryn and Steven in Laguna Beach

We met up with Kathryn and Steve at Bluebird Beach in Laguna Beach. He grew up around there so we knew exactly where to go to get the shots we wanted. Let me tell ya, this couple is really fun to photograph! They are so cute together, you can easily see how much in love they are through the photos. For example, we told them it'd be fun to get some running shots on the beach and they just sprinted off racing each other at full speed. Check out the photos to see what I mean.

Click here for the gorgeous flash version, or continue reading below for the smaller photos.

There is the famous Bluebird Beach backdrop.

Any closeup shot of Kathryn reveals a picture-perfect smile.

Focused on the ring.

I just love the emotion of this shot, with the hands held together and her graceful glance downwards.

There's the silliness coming out of those two.

Natural, genuine laughs are often so beautiful.

They kicked off their sandals so high in the air and watched as it fell to the sand.

We then hopped on over to the park nearby where Steve used to hang out as a little kid.

I can't stress enough how a real genuine laugh shows up great in photos.

I love how soft the light is, both on their faces and the trees behind them.

There was no way they were not going to get on the swings for the shoot.

Just another chance for them to snuggle.

This was a funny scene because there were two people to my left doing their taxes on the bench, and we're here doing an engagement shoot ten feet away.

I can't wait for the wedding!

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Oct 30, 2007

Baby Kate in Laguna Beach

We've been trying to schedule Baby Kate and family for a while now, and we're so glad we finally got a chance to shoot in Laguna Beach. We had a gorgeous location at a friend's house, a beautiful family in Kate and her parents, and the perfect lighting at sunset. Kate was such a cute and happy baby. She seemed to love the camera and vice versa.

Mom and dad, Jessica and Jason, playing with Kate.

As you can see, Kate and her mom share this in common: sticking their tongue out.

This is my favorite shot. I could not stop smiling while I was retouching this photo because it's just so darn cute!

Kate was so easily amused. Something as simple as a piece of grass was enough to make her happy.

I love how her cute little toes curl.

She was posing for my wife here. What a darling!

Just look at that face.

Here's an action sequence, with the kiss first...

... then the lift!

Spanning three generations.

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Oct 3, 2007

Michelle and Hai in Laguna Beach

Since I already shot the wedding for Michelle's twin sister, Marlene, I wanted to try something different with Michelle and Hai's engagement session. We walked around the streets of downtown Laguna Beach and captured some candid silliness from the couple.

Laguna Beach features many different colored backgrounds like this green one.

Michelle says something funny into Hai's ears. To the left is Michelle's brother-in-law videotaping the shoot in the background.

Quite happy together.

This isn't a camera/Photoshop trick. The wind blew at Michelle's dress to give it that swirly look.

Playing peek-a-boo through the telescope.

A sweet moment together during the beautiful sunset.

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Sep 25, 2007

Sally-Ann's Family in Laguna Beach

Since I specialize in wedding photography, I usually don't have a chance to work on other types of shoots. I'm so glad, however, that Sally-Ann and I were able to find a date to shoot her cute family in Laguna Beach. When she told me that they were a French-Australian family and were only here in Southern California for three years so they wanted photographs as a souvenir, I was excited to make this shoot memorable and the photos something they can be really happy to look at when they are no longer in the US.

As I looked over these photos, I realized that my parents didn't have the opportunity to have pictures done like these for us when we were little. I thought to myself, how fun it would be for the kids to see this 20 years down the road when they are all grown up. Even though I may not have memories like this, it's every bit as satisfying for me to provide these images to an adorable family like Sally-Ann's.

Sally-Ann and her adorable daughter.

Brother and sister.

A smiling Luca.

Father and son.

Connected family.

We found that Luca would smile biggest when he got to run as fast as he could.

Having a little fun with Luca.

Daddy's little girl.

Something about the ocean just makes people want to jump.

Close-up of the adorable Sophie.

I love how there are footstep lines that go down to him and extend with his shadow, footsteps behind him, and unchartered territory ahead.

Looking out into the ocean.

This is my favorite shot with the sunlight falling on their golden hair.

Sally-Ann gives Sophie a big push.

Another one of my favorites.

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Sep 11, 2007

Jennifer and Vic in Laguna Beach

Jennifer and Vic were married at the beautiful Occasions at Laguna Village in Laguna Beach. We shot their engagement shoot last December and found them to be a delightful couple. They were just as wonderful to work with during their wedding. Vic was one of the most relaxed grooms I've seen yet, and Jennifer was very giddy even right before the ceremony. Everyone was just so pleasant to work with that we had a wonderful time at the event. In addition, the sun's bright light provided a uplifting look and feel to the photos.

The beautiful bride, Jennifer, with the waters of Laguna Beach in the background.

The bridesmaids were kind enough to provide seating for the bride.

Vic was quite relaxed before the ceremony

The girls getting excited as the big moment approached.

The bride walks down the stairs during the processional.

Jennifer's two brothers walked her down the aisle.

You can see just how happy they were to be married!

Smiling children are a joy to photograph.

The grand entrance with a gorgeous blue-skied backdrop.

The best man gave a hilarious speech.

The maid of honor's speech usually gets emotional, and this was no exception as you can tell through Vic's eyes.

Make-up Artist
Shear Oasis Salon and Spa

Weddings by Melia

Anthony Barthel

Dayna Lewis of Occasions at Laguna Village

Click here to view Jennifer and Vic's engagement session

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Jul 21, 2007

Kelley and Aaron in Laguna Beach

I caught up with Kelley and Aaron in Laguna Beach during the magic hour, a term we use in photography to refer to the half hour before the sun sets and the half hour after. Even though it was overcast, we managed to get some great pictures and have some fun by jumping into the water and rolling around in the sand. It's my wettest shoot yet.

Kelley and Aaron are actually friends of ours. Kelley's the one that introduced me to the Orange County Child Abuse Prevention Center, the organization whose events I love shooting. I had met Aaron before they got engaged, so when Kelley told us that he popped the question on their recent trip to North Carolina, I was so excited for her because Aaron is such a nice down-to-earth guy.

I was glad they brought Max along. He has a real gentle demeanor for such a big dog. You can just tell how calm he is.

My poor assistant/wife, Sen, had to hold on to Max's leash for the entire shoot. Well, Sen weighs about 100 pounds and Max is probably around the same. She literally had to use all her strength to hold Max back when he wanted to go play with Kelley and Aaron.

Both the sky and water have a soft look to it at this time of day.

They are such a photogenic couple. They are naturals in front of the camera, despite Kelley saying that she was a little nervous.

I wanted to get the reflection of the sun on the sand. I love how it came out with their fun pose.

They are the first couple to volunteer to get in the water for me. This was the most fun I've had at a shoot yet, despite almost getting my camera wet.

I knew that Aaron wanted to get this shot of the water splashing on Kelley. You can see the surprised look on Kelley's face, much to the amusement of Aaron.

I love how you can see the movement of the water as it's receding back into the ocean, yet the kiss stands still in time.

This was so much fun that we're planning to do another shoot before the wedding. I can't wait!

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Jul 11, 2007

Karen's Family in Laguna Beach

Karen's family were in town and because it's a rare event, she wanted to get some photographs of everyone together. We met in Laguna Beach and had fun playing on the sand and in the water. They are a really pleasant group of people and I'm a sucker for cute babies, so it was a great time.

This is right before they did my signature jumping shot (Karen is a friend of the bride in my popular jumping shot).

I love photographing happy people. This pose was Karen's idea.

She was having so much fun running around in the water.

This picture is giving my wife the baby bug.

Mother and daughter.

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Jun 3, 2007

Christine and Roy in Laguna Beach

Despite June gloom, we were determined to make some happy pictures. It wasn't hard because Christine and Roy are such an easygoing couple. We met them at Bluebird Beach in Laguna Beach.

Christine and Roy were really good at relaxing and being themselves.

Sometimes, I don't even need to tell them what to do.

I love the smiles on this shot.

Christine and Roy wanted to bring their handsome dog to the shoot. I love dogs so I was looking forward to it. Hiro turned out to be as photogenic as his owners.

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May 13, 2007

Kristine and Rick in Laguna Beach

We went out to my favorite beach in Laguna Beach to do their shoot. Kristine and Rick are a cute and shy couple. I like to shoot based on a couple's personality, so we went with a classic sunset on the beach style, using the beautiful sky and soft lighting to complement the gentle bride-to-be.

I like to enhance the glow of the sunset with this effect.

This is my favorite shot of the set. I like the way she rests her head on him, the tones on her face, the color of the sky, and the ocean behind them.

The sky really was bluish pink. It's hard to beat southern california.

At certain times during the day, the sun reflects its light off the ocean waters just like this.

I had them walk towards the light so I can follow the shadow and footsteps and lead it up to their romantic walk.

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Apr 14, 2007

Marlene and Solomon's Engagement Session

To begin the engagement session season, we went to a favorite beach of mine in Laguna Beach to photograph Marlene and Solomon. It was interesting in that at the beginning of the shoot, the sun was out and by the end of the shoot it was cloudy. I liked that we had two types of lighting for this set.

engagement session photo
This photo draws my attention because of it's uniqueness. Many times during the shoot he picked her up and that made for some interesting and fun photos.

engagement session photo
This shot was too cute to pass up. I had them sit on the sand while I shot from far away. Then I noticed how the sunlight was falling nicely on their feet so I got up close and told Marlene to put her foot on his.

engagement session photo
I'm a sucker for footsteps on the sand.

engagement session photo
He really enjoyed picking her up. He is a relatively tall guy so it was easy for him to swing her around in circles.

engagement session photo
I gave this a sepia effect to match the soft innocent look on her face.

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Dec 20, 2006

Jennifer and Vic's Engagement Session

When Jennifer told me that she picked me to be her wedding photographer because of the description of my photojournalism style on the website, I was thrilled. I didn't think anyone paid attention to it, even though I really put my heart into it. In case you're wondering what that style is, check on the top of this page under "my philosophy on wedding photography."

I photographed Jennifer and Vic in Laguna Beach on the coast of South Orange County. The first thing I noticed about them was how nice they were. Her smile stood out to me as bright and beautiful. I can't wait for the wedding day.

I like to use black and white on shots like this.

They brought their Mighty Ducks jersey because they met at a Ducks game. Yep, that's cute.

She has a beautiful smile that stands out in the sunset.

My favorite shot of the set is this silhouette with the sunset in the background. I accentuated the glow to exaggerate the dreamy sunset.

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Oct 10, 2006

Naomi and Shai's Wedding

Naomi and Shai had their wedding in Irvine and then went to a wonderful sunset reception at the Beach House in Laguna Beach. We took advantage of the sunset for a quick shoot before entering the restaurant.

And finally, at the end of the night I thought of this shot.

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