Where does that little lump in the throat, or that little skip of a heart beat exist before it happens? Is it hiding somewhere in your chest or is it this crazy thing that we manifest in ourselves, or is it something that appears from the slightest touch? I do not mean only a physical touch, but the force that helps create that skipped beat, is where the emotions live. Many of us do not allow ourselves to seek out these things. Though others tend to be — a walking, standing, running emotional wreck at any moment. I proudly wear my heart on my sleeve and allow myself to be taken by anyone willing and wanting to inflict their force of emotion. I will smile, laugh, and cry with the best of them. I can and do get angry, and have searched far and low for a way to shield not only myself, but my being, from these emotions. But I have found that embracing the influx of force from the world around can be energizing. I can turn anger and pain into love and emotion, though I must choose to consume each emotion and allow my heart to be open in a world that seems, at times, closed off. I wonder, am I the only one that is foolish enough to succumb to our emotion filled world? One evening Lisa and I opened our door to Erin and Matt, this fun couple who just happened to be amazing creatives. There was a force that left not just my heart, but Lisa’s, wanting more. Erin and Matt kept us on the edge of our seats when we met, wanting to know every little detail about how they had come to be the amazing couple and people that they are. It was as if we truly were long lost friends getting together after years apart, spending the night catching up. It is this feeling of familiarity yet the excitement of learning all the new and unabashed nuances of their relationship. Being entrenched with idiocyncracies that only friends know about their close friends, rushed through my mind for hours as we all talked the night away. It is funny how closing a door can then lead to another one opening, as Lisa and I said goodnight and closed the door we just smiled knowing that if we are lucky enough to tell their story it will be like photographing friends in only a way a friend could. To so many of you who have allowed us to take your photographs and become friends because of this intimacy, thank you. Thank you Erin and Matt for being yourselves, fun, sweet, and vulnerable in the ways you are. Your love for each other did give me that lump in my throat, and my heart did skip a beat…Thank you!
Magic and love seem to go hand in hand for so many of us. I would say many romantics believe that a little bit of mystery can lead to magic in love. It is not that the unknown is driving us for love, but that magic can be found in a bit of mystery. For Shelagh, Paris was a mystery, a place that had only been visited in films, books, and photographs, transporting her to this place that she dreamed of. For Elizabeth it was still a mystery but also a place of familiarity that she was determined to share with the love of her life. Paris is a place of love because we allow it to be. We allow ourselves to be free of worry, the overwhelming weight of the every day, and instead embrace a way of life that is not our normal. A life that is driven by an idea of working so that we may live, which is a stark contrast to the American life we are taught of living to work. How can a simple change in the view of the every day change, not your life, but your world? I sit every day making sure I know which order those words should go in for me to be able embrace my life’s happiness. I challenge you to see which order will make your change. I know that when Shelagh first stepped onto French soil, Elizabeth was there holding her hand excited to show her what Paris meant to her, and how it could become their city of love. We can all call Paris our city of love, as long as it is what you want in your heart. There are many cities that can be your love but this one is where these two fell deeper into their magical love. It was their dream to escape their everyday together and have Lisa and I capture who they were, two beautiful women in love who wanted nothing but to be together. They were to get married a few days before coming to Paris in Scotland, and then head home to California where their marriage was legal. The crazy thing I think none of us could believe was that we would land back in the US and two days later their marriage would be legal in all of the US. Lisa and I have been able to celebrate their love now in so many unique ways, it brings huge smiles to me just thinking about Shelagh and Elizabeth. Thank you to both of you for falling in love with a city that stole mine and Lisa’s hearts on our honeymoon. I love that it also stole yours.
After a very early morning session with these two we all headed back to our places. Shillelagh and Elizabeth got dressed into some fun clothes and we decided to shoot a bit earlier than we originally planned a later evening for a perfect sunset. We all new that rain storms were coming and we wanted to miss them. As we all walked up the steps of the Abbesses Metro stop the rain started. At this point it was only a teenie sprinkle and we were hoping we could avoid it. We started the hike up to Montmartre to enjoy the artists square and a favorite place of ours in the city. The love wall even happens to be there two which I thought was a perfect place to start. We made it all the way to the square and my favorite pink wall in all of Paris, this adorable cafe, and it hit. The rain started pouring down. We all luckily had a total of two teenie umbrellas and quickly found shelter. We opened our phones to check the weather radar and it was bleak. The rain was here to stay. Lisa and I crossed the street in preparation of a photo and said hmmm what do we do. We planned an extra day just in case this would happen so we were perfectly prepared. We then crossed the street back to Shelagh and Elizabeth after taking a photo and asked what they wanted. Shelagh quickly replied, that she wanted to keep going in the rain. We knew where we could buy some more umbrellas and started back to the artists square. We happened upon the most perfect white umbrella and our session continued on!We all thought that this was the end of the evening. We decided to go out to a cute little place for dinner called Les Cocettes. It was this delicious hip place near Le Tour Eiffel that served everything in these delicious hot pots, a cocette. After dinner and a mandatory bottle of wine we were ready to walk Shelagh and Elizabeth to the nearest Metro and wish them an amazing rest of their honeymoon. This picture below is what we saw when we went into the restaurant. The photo below it is what we saw after leaving the restaurant. None of us would of ever guessed that we would end the night with an amazing sunset that took all of our breath away. Magical is not a word that could start to describe how I felt seeing the warm glow wrapping around the Parisian sky. It was the city showing us that it too loved us as much as we loved it!
Every story has a begin, a middle, and an end. The beautiful part is that even with those basic similarities when you add love to the picture it is never the same story. We may desire to see the endless coincidences of someones love story as a greater resemblance to one another but love, I believe, is this unique feeling we are able to posses. The similarities are just that we can all feel this emotion, as love can best be described as an endless sky filled with light that changes from every blink of an eye. Love is that billion year old light that we are just barely able to see tomorrow, as another million year old light fades. It is perfectly imperfect as it only knows how to change.
Ben and Sarah met as as Resident Advisors at Chico State. Ben may of happened to have already been there for a couple years and was able to show Sarah the ropes of being an amazing RA on campus. Ben quickly introduced Sarah to the perfection that is Wes Anderson, he goofiness, and she even embraced his love of video games at this time of his life. You will tell Ben is the one that brings our a lot of fun in Sarah. The have this adorable quirky banter that leaves you laughing your self. Lisa and I had giggle filled afternoon with these two, it may have been 104 degrees, but we were all smiles! I bet you could not tell that all four of us may have been sweating a little. I hope you enjoy their special love as they shared the special places that made Chico their first home together! We can not wait to see you both this fall!
I hope you are ready for Adam and Lauren’s beautiful wedding at Solage in Calistoga! Do you think you would find the love of your life at your friends wedding? The beautiful thing is these two found love not far at all from where they were married. They actually met at a friends wedding in Sonoma, which is where this story really started. Adam dropped off one of his friend’s luggage at Lauren’s hotel room and she greeted him at the door. The funny thing is he had to re-introduced himself to Lauren later that evening at the rehearsal dinner since she forgot who he was. That did not end this beautiful story at all. They got to know each other the following day when some of their mutual friends went wine tasting around the Sonoma Square. They then had a perfect evening continuing to get to know each other, and Adam, who was supposed to leave early, changed his flight to stay longer. He was quickly taken by the amazingly sweet and charismatic Lauren. In fact Sonoma is such an important place to these two it is exactly where we took their engagement photos walking along the same path they did together that first fun day hanging out.
These two have this very sweet and gentle love that shines bright as you see them together and apart. Their family and friends had an amazingly fun time that you will see ahead. I didn’t think Adam was going to cry at all, but when he saw Lauren on their private first look he could not contain his love for her. There was this happiness bubbling from the two of them, while we were in this beautiful oak grove at Solage. Let us know what you think of their beautiful Calistoga wedding!
Thank you again Adam and Lauren for sharing your beautiful wedding with Lisa and I at Solage! Calistoga really was a perfect place to celebrate your love!
These two have been cracking me up since our first interactions via email. They have combined their last names and refer to themselves as the Hernanagan Family, have constant witty responses to my emails, and have this infectious enthusiasm that shines through in everything that Kevin and Monica do. Even more crazy is the fact that I show up to their gorgeous house in Oak Park where they have a little library they built out front, a collection of amazing vintage bikes, and an adorable house that they have been fixing up for themselves. A couple’s home is beyond kinda special for an engagement session. It is a place we live so much of our lives. I was able to meet their dog Clover, who may have one of the most amazing .Gifs you will see this week below. Now, you might be surprised that I was forced to get on a bicycle, camera in hand to ride around their neighborhood during the session, but even cooler is their vintage Schwinn bike that is a yellow tandem. YES…a vintage tandem bike! It was was pretty cute to see that Kevin is the one doing most of the hard work as Monica enjoyed the ride, maybe playing on her phone once or twice and teasing me by taking pictures of me after I was taking pictures of them riding around. After rolling around their Oak Park neighborhood we decided that we had to head to Downtown Sacramento and get a few pictures of this amazing city. There was this joy that shined through after every click of my camera and all I wanted to do was hug these two. It was this infectious energy that Kevin and Monica have, and all they wanted to do was share it with me. Thank you both, for welcoming me into your home, for sharing your love and laughter, and treating me like I was a friend that you have known for years. It is these relationships with our clients that make me one of the happiest men in the world. Monica and Kevin, thank you.