I’m Engaged!

I’m engaged!

This past Sunday morning, before church, I finally popped the question to Ahreum! I originally planned to set up my lights and propose in the afternoon on a beautiful stretch of Woodside where we like to watch sunsets. Unfortunately the past week was very wet and windy and though the forecast featured no rain, it was still windy and I did not want to risk it. I also did not want Ahreum to have to wait an entire week to tell her friends at church. Lastly, the ring felt heavier in my pocket with every passing hour! So at the last moment, I decided to just go for it and propose in the morning.

I scrambled to set up my light and camera as quickly as possible. Though I was nervous, I tried to be cool and acted like I simply wanted a nice picture of us featuring me wearing the spiffy cardigan Ahreum’s aunt got me for Christmas. When my equipment was ready, I asked her to step outside. I took a few test shots to try to get her in focus. She looked at me like I was the most silly guy in the world (I am) and though we were running late, she very sweetly played along. As she turned to look at the camera again, I got down on one knee, pulled out the ring, and said something like, “…but the real question is, will you marry me?” At this point I pretty much figured that she saw this coming. I could not be more wrong. Her response was, “AAAAAAAAAAAA!!!” Breath. “AAAAAAAAAAAA!!!” This went on for so long that I actually started wondering if this was her way of saying, “NOOOOOOO!!!” So I asked her again…and maybe two more times! She finally nodded vigorously and said, “YES!”


So I got all this on camera right? No! My remote was spotty all morning and ended up not triggering at all during the crucial moment. These pictures are actually reenactments :-)

We ended up getting to church a little late, but I think it was worth it!

By the way, you see that small light blue object on the ground? That was a garden knee pad I used for both keeping my pants clean and for marking where I needed to kneel in order to be in the picture. Just a free hint to all my photographer buddies who might also want to capture their proposals :-)

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Sendy + Bryan: Wedgewood Wedding

Sendy+Bryan Bubble Party Favor

“Bryan is nothing if not tenacious,” reveals his mom Elizabeth. For months he pursued, and for months she rebuffed him. But she finally gave in (partly due to his piercing blue eyes?), and hasn’t regretted a moment since. Once they got together, everyone could see that they were the perfect match. Sendy’s boss Kanoa noted that they walk hand in hand, perfectly synced to each other’s movements. Furthermore, this goes beyond just walking, they are simultaneous everything!

I’m so happy and honored to be a part of this great day. Sendy and Bryan, with such strong love and support from your wonderful family and friends, there’s nothing the two of you can’t accomplish together!

The day starts off with Sendy and Bryan prepping in separate rooms at the Embassy Suites in Millbrae opposite either sides of the atrium, close, but no so close as to reveal Sendy’s dress to Bryan.

Let’s start off with Sendy’s lovely shoes and dress!

Sendy's Badgley Mischka HeelsSendy's White Wedding Dress

Sendy's White Wedding Dress

Sendy’s room is a crowded, yet tightly controlled orchestra of hands and feet moving with quick precision.

Ivon Teasing Sendy's Hair

Sendy Tying Sash Around Her WaistSendy In The Mirror

The girls take a moment to take in Sendy. She is breathtaking and I have to remember to snap out of it and keep shooting!

Bridesmaids See Sendy In Her Dress and Veil For The First Time

With only a few minutes to take portraits near the window, Sendy whips out six of her signature looks. Here are two.

Sendy Posing In Her Hotel RoomSendy Posing In Her Hotel Room

Meanwhile, on the other side of the hotel, my good friend and photographer Brian Lee captures Bryan prepping for the big day. This is a shot of Bryan’s father Patrick giving Bryan a little advice for him to ponder.

Bryan and Dad Getting Ready

Bryan looking good in a suit. What happened to the AC/DC t-shirt? :-)

Bryan Knotting His TieBryan Putting On His Suit Jacket

The ceremony and reception is held at Wedgewood Wedding and Banquet Center at Crystal Springs Golf Course in Burlingame.

Custom bottles with a personal message from Sendy and Bryan and a wide selection of treats greet the guests.

Custom Labeled BottlesChocolate Treats

Bryan sees his lovely bride-to-be in her gorgeous dress for the first time!

First Look: Sendy Hugs Bryan From Behind

First Look: Sendy and Bryan Hug

The sun is going down and the ceremony is about to begin, but Sendy and Bryan turn it on and look beautiful and cool at the same time.

Sendy and Bryan Pose

Sendy With BouquetSendy Holding Her Bouquet
Bryan Looking HandsomeBryan Smirking

Sendy Looking At Bryan From A Distance

Crystal Springs Golf Course provides a beautiful backdrop for their special day.

Sendy and Bryan Looking Out At Wedgewood

Delicious three level cake and lovely table flowers.

Three Level White Wedding CakeWhite Table Flowers

Butterflies in their stomachs, Bryan and Sendy hug and the ceremony begins.

Bryan Greets Sendy With A Hug

Wedding Ceremony

Sendy Laughs and Claps During Ceremony

Now THIS is how you kiss your bride!

You May Kiss The Bride!

Sendy and Bryan Kissing With Bubbles Blown Around Them

Closeup of their lovely rings.

The Rings

Bryan and Sendy stand up and acknowledge the cheers before kissing each other for the thousandth time. :-)

Sendy and Bryan

Grandpa Jim reminds Bryan that he still needs to pick up his towel!

Grandpa Jim Giving Toast

Geovanny tells Sendy and Bryan that nothing is more important than family.

Sendy's Brother Geovanny Gives A Toast

Bryan’s dad provides some sage advice to the new couple.

Patrick, Bryan's Dad, Giving A Toast

Enough talk, cue the lights, it’s time for the first dance!

First Dance

First DanceFirst Dance

Bouquet toss!

Bouquet Toss

Bouquet Caught

Garter toss!

Garter Toss

Time for the party to really begin!

Bryan Dancing



The evening ends perfectly: Sendy and Bryan in each other’s arms, ready to conquer the world together!

Sendy and Bryan Dancing

I had a wonderful time being a part of this beautiful day. The outpouring of love from Sendy and Bryan’s family and friends was overwhelming. Thank you all for showing Sendy and Bryan what true love is. I also want to single out a few more people who really made the day special.

First, thank you Sendy and Bryan for inviting me to be a part of all this. You two are so cute together and I wish you all the best!

I also want to thank Elise Stefani of Wedgewood Wedding & Banquet Center for always being on top of things and making sure that everything ran smoothly.

Much love goes to Shawn Storm of Storm Productions who MCed and DJed the reception. Thanks for looking out for me!

And finally, I want to thank Brian Lee of brianglee PHOTOGRAPHY for taking time out of his busy schedule to be my right hand man and an extra pair of eyes. Your images are breathtaking. You always have my back and I couldn’t have done this without you. Thank you and I look forward to assisting you in August!

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Thank you Sendy and Bryan!

Sendy and Bryan's First Look

I have many people to thank, but I want to first thank Sendy and Bryan for sharing the most important day of their lives with me. Though the rain toyed with us, it helped create some very dramatic photos, like the one above of Bryan and Sendy’s first look. Sendy and Bryan, you guys are awesome!

Thank you again, and I’ll have more photos up very soon!

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Preparing For Sendy+Bryan’s Wedding

Sketch of Bryan holding umbrella for Sendy

Sendy and Bryan’s wedding is only hours away! After weeks of drawing sketches of potential poses for Sendy and Bryan, it’s almost time for the real thing! If it rains (and it might), I have a few poses up my sleeve!

I also made a giant checklist of things to do before the wedding. Here’s a little peek:

  • Learn to draw? Someday.
  • Sync camera clocks with Brian? Check.
  • Reformat memory cards? Check.
  • Recharge batteries? Check.
  • Print shot list, schedule, and map? Check.
  • Watch as much Jasmine Star’s Wedding Photography Course on creativeLIVE as possible? Check.
  • Get haircut? Check.
  • Pick up pocket-sized tissue and facial blotting paper? Check.
  • Wait in line for 15 minutes at new Emeryville Target for the two items above? Check. Ugh.
  • Sleep? Soon!

I am very excited for Sendy and Bryan. I know they are going to look amazing! I can’t wait to start shooting!

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Doing What You Love

Bacon and Egg sandwich from Outerlands in San Francisco

When something is made with love, whether it’s a piece of chocolate, a sculpture, or a sandwich, you can tell. Restaurants run by people who are doing it out of love and not strictly for profit serve tastier food. The experience also feels more personal. Sure, it may all be in my head, but I don’t think so.

Outerlands in San Francisco is one of these places. I heard about them in a video promoting Tartine Bread, also located in SF.

As an aside, I’ve watched that video at least 200 times, and it inspired me to bake bread and I can honestly say that it definitely took some of my attention away from photography! But that’s for another post.

Pastrami sandwich from Outerlands in San Francisco

Okay, back to Outerlands. After over an hour wait in the cold, my buddy Manny and I were seated and we ordered soup and sandwiches. My photos don’t do the food justice. Everything tasted amazing!

Soup and Coffee from Outerlands in San Francisco

When I see other people doing what they love, it reminds me to keep on taking pictures with passion and zeal. It pushes me to try new and different things, so I can continue to grow as a photographer. Want to know the best part? I usually get to munch on something tasty while being inspired!


P.S. for those of you who have been victims of my past bread experiments, my old starter died in January. But I finally have a new starter brewing, so get ready for another round of carb overload!

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My Sweet Chair

My garden chair

This past weekend was perfect. Rain and in the mountains, a dusting of snow, finally gave way to clear skies. But alas, sweet chair, we were unable to enjoy the sun and beer together. Saturday I napped all day (oh the horrible life I lead!) and Sunday I spent in San Francisco marveling at the photo exhibits at SFMOMA, ate dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp, and beheld (is that a word??) the ocean from SF and Sausalito. I missed you sweet chair…but not too much.

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Happy Friday!

Boy upside down on a swing

I hope everyone has as much fun this weekend as my buddy’s son had last weekend! If you see a swing, I say jump in and have a go at it!

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Natalia and Sarah Model Shoot

Three closeup photos of Natalia

“My friend Eric is setting up a model shoot: Gorgeous models in a beautiful hotel and a few enthusiastic photographers. Are you in or out?” Brian asked me. How could I say no?

Natalia's dress

We met at The W Silicon Valley bright and early and inside one cramped room littered with makeup, gowns, and lots of shoes, we collectively pulled out some great images! I can’t thank Natalia (above), Sarah (below), and Mike enough for their time and patience.

Mike relaxing

Sarah relaxing on couch

Finally, much love goes out to Jocelyn Gomez for the beautiful hair and makeup!

Jocelyn working on Natalia

I learned a lot watching Eric and Brian work and definitely took home a few new nuggets of knowledge. It doesn’t get much better than spending a day photographing beautiful people.

Stay tuned for more photos from the shoot!

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Nice Little Surprise

Jakey staring at camera

I was looking back through a few months of unprocessed personal photos (yeah, I’ve been lagging) and found a set I took at my sister’s house in January. Of course my nephew Jakey was in most of the shots and he looked cute as usual. But it was the shot above, taken right before he went to bed that stuck in my mind. Eyes piercing my lens, he seemed to be challenging me. I love it.

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Sendy+Bryan’s Engagement Session

Sendy and Bryan holding hands in front of mosaic in Half Moon Bay

They met at In-N-Out. She was a manager and he was the dashing new recruit with the piercing blue eyes. Before long they fell in love. That was two and a half or three years depending on whether you’re asking Bryan or Sendy.

Right off the bat, I could tell they were a good match: She was organized and asked all the important questions. He was mischievious and made some very zany requests (see broken guitar below!) Together they finished each other’s sentences.

I left our first meeting with the impression that it wouldn’t be difficult to capture Sendy and Bryan’s love and affection for each other. This turned out to be true.

The engagement session started out in downtown Half Moon Bay. It was my first time there and I was amazed to find so many interesting little alleys and beautiful murals in such a small area.

Sendy showing off her and Bryan's In-N-Out name tags in Half Moon Bay
Bryan holding Sendy in front of ocean mural in Half Moon Bay
Three photos of Sendy and Bryan walking along bridge in Half Moon Bay

It took several breaths, but they eventually blew the seeds off the dandelions.

Sendy and Bryan blowing dandelion together in Half Moon Bay

After spending an hour downtown, we moved over to a nearby beach. The sand, the skies, the sun…it was all gorgeous!

Three photos of Sendy and Bryan posing with guitars in Half Moon Bay
Sendy and Bryan standing on beach in Half Moon Bay

At our initial meeting, the first thing Bryan asked me was, “Can you get a picture of me breaking my guitar?” Caught completely off guard, I gave him a quizzical look and asked, “Ummmm, what does that have to do with your engagement?” My next thought was: now this is an interesting guy, I think we’re going to create some very cool images together! Having never seen someone smash a guitar, I jumped at the chance to try it out. I made sure it was one of the last things we did on the beach, just in case the police booted us out for disorderly conduct!

Bryan breaking his guitar in Half Moon Bay

By sunset we were all shivering from the famous winds of Half Moon Bay. Guitar smashed, we picked up the pieces, grabbed our stuff and started hiking back. “Wait! Can we shoot the chocolates?” asked Sendy. Never one to say no, I snapped this and a few more shots before the sun disappeared. Thanks Sendy for the awesome suggestion!

Sendy and Bryan kissing heart-shaped chocolates in Half Moon Bay

Thank you Sendy and Bryan for being such great sports! Though it was freezing and the wind was merciless, you guys really gave it your all! I also want to thank my buddy and fellow photographer Brian for taking time out of his busy weekend to help me out. His advice, ideas, off-camera lighting prowess, and hard work is always greatly appreciated! Sendy and Bryan, I am really looking forward to your wedding in Burlingame. We’re going to have even more fun together!


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