No doubt about it, this is the crazy time of year for all.. but in my profession its seems tenfold… the motivation, in my opinion, is holiday madness.
And, I won’t lie, it’s a great way to invest in an awesome portrait of your loved ones, get holiday cards ready, and maybe even a few Christmas gifts out of the way…. However, here is my caution I am offering. DON’T FORCE IT.
Now that we are on the home stretch, don’t knee jerk and try to make this happen. Although I am sure we still have some great days ahead of us, busy schedules, and unpredictable weather can cause for some needs to reschedule, etc. This ultimately should be about capturing the best of you and your family, and it will be perfect when the stars align. Waiting until January or even later, is always an option. The light is beautiful, and although we are in full blown winter then, we live in California and have been known to have amazing temperatures in those months.
In fact, as an incentive to be patient I am offering all sessions at just $150 for the months of January, February and March. Now, with this said, if you are one of the lucky ones to capture it before the holidays (good weather and energy) then yeah team!
Have a wonderful holiday season!
This is such a tender time in one’s journey into the next chapter of their lives. No longer a child, yet not quite an adult… however, I will say this, there is no other portrait that will resurface in your lifetime as that of your senior portrait. Your parents will showcase it within their homes, your friends may keep it as a keepsake, your yearbook will memoralize this look for generations to come…. Take control on how you want it to look and let me help you capture this the way you’d like it to be shown.
Think about what you love, nature, ocean, sports, hobbies, and bring that into the look that you would like to capture for the image that tells your story thus far in your life.
Capture these within the months of January and February and receive 20% off any package.
Senior Portraits by Shanti DuPrez
Half Moon Bay, CA
Engagement portraits may seem just like one more thing on the to do list for some when planning a wedding. I get this, but for me, and many times the couple, I find it extremely helpful to get to know you and your chemistry behind the camera before the big day.
The day of your wedding is full of fun, nervous, and sometimes chaotic energy the last thing you want to worry about is how comfortable you are in front of the camera. I recently did a photo shoot where the energy between the couple was so uncomfortable that I had to figure out how to untangle that energy so that they could relax and really bring out who they are in front of the camera… it sometimes is harder for some than others, and better to find out now than on your wedding day.
I also think it’s a great time to “test” out your energy between you and the photographer. Its important that you feel comfortable with me as well as with each other, as I am with you for the entire day creating memories that will last a life time.I usually suggest one or two spots to capture these, and if possible something that is unique to the two of you or that compliments the flavor of your upcoming day. Contemporary city shoots with the city skyline and urban like streets are fun for the more upbeat modern wedding, where as the coastal mountain line and country are perfect for that beach wedding couple.
Check out some of my recent engagement shoots for some inspiration and ideas.
What I loved about this wedding is watching this from the perspective of a mother. I have had the pleasure of knowing Jason’s mother for the last ten years, and have admired the way she has been able to raise her two grown kids while nurturing her two babes, run a successful business, and be an amazing partner in her marriage. Watching Lauren at her son’s wedding and how proud she is of seeing all that she has given to her children and be able to live in this magical journey on such a special day left me feeling fulfilled. She has given them roots and now in turn gets to watch them blossom into amazing adults in their next chapter of life.
There is so much respect and love between Jason and Tijana that as a photographer capturing the chemistry between them was pretty darn easy, and inspiring. Talk about a rustic and simple venue that elegantly contrasted the beauty and shabby chic style that Jason and Tijana brought into their day. Sanborne County Park in Saratoga has a beautiful redwood cathedral that instilled the peace and love these two have with nature. Their ceremony was so perfectly orchestrated by Reverent Lisa Warner-Carey, I don’t know why I love female officiants, but I do. I think it has something to do with the intuitive love us women have for romance. I love, love , love the dress that was chosen for this day, an elegant classic dress from Simone Carvalli that would have been beautiful in a ballroom setting, but take it out to nature and it is amplified a thousand times over in its beauty. In fact all the details of the day were so perfectly chosen from the cake with bark like elements from Studio Cake in Menlo Park, to the simple and breathtaking designs of the flowers from Willi Wildflower. It was a perfect day for Jason and Tijana and I am so glad I was the one to capture it!
Wedding Ceremony and Reception Venue: Sanborn County Park, Saratoga, CA
Wedding Photographer: Portrait Design by Shanti
Wedding Flowers: Willi Wildflower in Capitola
Wedding Cake: Studio Cake in Menlo Park
Wedding DJ: Denon & Doyle, Pleasant Hill, CA
Wedding Officiant: Reverend Lisa Warner-Carey of Half Moon Bay Community United Methodist Church
Wedding Dress: Simone Carvalli
Bride's Shoes: Lulu Townsend
Groom's Attire: Vera Wang
Bridesmaids Dresses: Bill Levkoff
Talk about the world working in amazing ways. Something about the way Jenna approached life (you see we briefly met on Facebook as I saw she became a huge fan of my work) made me want to be the one to capture this wedding for her. She embraces life with every ounce of her being and loves everyone to its fullest. That was just my first impression, not knowing her, never meeting, yet both agreeing that this was “a perfect match”, I had the extreme pleasure of capturing her wedding in the breathtaking location of Monterey. I rarely go into a wedding blind (not ever meeting) but in this case, I felt like I knew Jenna forever, that’s just how she makes you feel.
My impression of Jenna was not only spot on, but also amplified by the tender love that her groom showers her and everyone they come into contact with. It’s the kind of love you feel lucky to have witnessed.
Ok, so now the venue, the day, and the details: Wow! Jenna and Trevor put so much thought into every little detail. Most of it they designed themselves or were inspired by their own passion. The location was straight out of a destination-wedding catalogue, white sandy beach, the last 45 minutes before the sun went down, barefoot in the sand, palm trees, and even sea lions frolicking in the background. Del Monte Beach House in Monterey, CA definitely is a little hidden jewel that will give you that destination feeling without the destination price tag. The reception, which was inside has floor to ceiling windows all along the beach side that gives you a perfect glimpse to the majestic surroundings without freezing your arse off (we are in northern California after all).
Jenna has a zest for dazzle that on anyone else might have been to showy, but on her, she radiated the magic surrounding her. A blue sparkly wedding dress that was matched perfectly with her beautiful bouquet created by Fleurish Floral Designs by Melody King in Carmel, CA. Their spiritual leaders, friends, and couple Rich and Yvonne Dutra-St. John beautifully guided the ceremony. And last but not least, their cuisine was amazing… a scrumptious and delightful array of vegan inspired food that Chef Bliss, better known as the groom created. The vegan cupcakes were amazing! Thank you Buttercup Cakes of Santa Cruz for putting together a great blood orange cake with almond maple frosting. I said lastly, but I forgot one detail: The dj! Oh my goodness, probably the best dj I have ever worked with. Fun, I the moment and just rocked the house down, Beachcomber Kelley, you brought the party!
My favorite moment of the night: the bride and groom dedicated Same Love by Mackelmore to all their LGBT friends. In the words of the bride, “When we were planning our wedding it was not legal to marry in California as same sex couples. Both of us have family and friends who are gay and we believe everyone has the right to marry who they love. So on this day when we're celebrating our love for each other, we wanted to recognize and honor that there are still places were bigotry exists. The song was meant to honor those in our lives who face this every day an to cast a bright, beautiful light onto their love for each other - in that way totally honoring and respecting their love as equal as our own.”
See what I mean, wonderful!
And they lived Blissfully ever after...
We may not have all the tree’s that turn color like the East Coast, but it is that time of year where the fall colors are glowing. And in Half Moon Bay in particular the pumpkins bring this magical warmth that is so perfect for a backdrop for your next family portrait.
There is nothing like the open country, add that with a splash of orange, aka pumpkins, and you have your perfect fall portrait session. My favorite pumpkin patch to capture this at is Bob’s Pumpkin Patch which is just slightly south of Half Moon Bay. If this is something you would love to capture, act fast as they are only hear for the month of October.
Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Patches:
Farmer Dom's Pumpkin Patch at Harbor Village
Holy cow, its almost been a year since this blessed day… I am finally catching up on some blogging. Since this day, I have also had the pleasure of capturing their beautiful baby girl too. Such a great couple and now such a great family!
Vanessa and Arturo chose a love bird theme that they integrated into all the details of their wedding day. The venue, Canyon View Dining Hall, is nestled into the hills of San Ramon. Coordinated by Tony White; from invitations, to decorations, to the beautiful flowers by La Martine Florals, it truly was all about these love birds.
I think my favorite part of this wedding was stumbling upon this beautiful golf course that was untouched by golfers during the sunset hour. And what made it even so much more perfect was the site of a bird house nestled into some foliage that made for the perfect backdrop for their amazing shots. Now I mentioned stumbling because this golf course was right below the venue, and seemed relatively easy to get to… unless you were a beautiful bride in a wedding dress and some heals… and this is why I love Vanessa… she simply kicked off her shoes and was ready for the adventure! Thank you Vanessa (and Arturo) for being such an awesome couple to get to know.
San Francisco Bay Area Vendors:
Wedding & Reception Venue: Canyon View Dining Hall, San Ramon
Officiant: Willie Vega from New Hope Church, Concord
Wedding Coordinator: Extreme Elegance Events by Tony White
Wedding Flowers: La Martine Floral Designer
Wedding Cake: Alpine Pastry, Concord
Wedding Videography: Filmtwist Productions
It’s a story of fate. I had the pleasure of meeting Dan and capturing a glimpse of his world about 8 years ago when I was commissioned to capture his beautiful family at a very tender moment in their lives. Dan and Robert, his son, were soon to loose a very special woman in their lives, his wife and Robert’s Mother. Even though I don’t get to linger long in one’s life, I do come away feeling vulnerable to all the emotion that is within a family, and this particular moment left me feeling so fortunate to have been apart of this brief encounter.
Fast forward 8 years, I am contacted by this vivacious and wonderful woman who would love to inquire about my wedding services. You see, she met a wonderful man a few years back and she thinks I know him… thank goodness for small circles!
Their wedding vows were exchanged at Our Lady of the Pillar in Half Moon Bay and the celebration continued at the Oceano Hotel and Spa. Elegant Cheesecake did an exceptional job with helping these two celebrate a love that was meant to be!
As seen in Lucy Dylan Weddings
Half Moon Bay Wedding Venue: Our Lady of the Pillar
Half Moon Bay Wedding Reception Venue: Oceano Hotel and Spa
Half Moon Bay Area Wedding Cake: Elegant Cheesecakes
Half Moon Bay Area DJ, Photobooth, & Lighting: Golden State Productions; Wayne Noel
There is really nothing like a good ol’ Half Moon Bay wedding, especially when the party leads you to the I.D.E.S. Hall… the place, if you are a local, has held a special memory or two. For me, its where I met my husband 19 years ago but for Nicole and Danny this will be the place they celebrated their amazing day!
What I love most about this day is the couple themselves: Nicole is the most upbeat, go with it, kind of person… even the wet gray skies and a pesky garden cat couldn’t frazzle her. Getting married at the Lutheran Church in Half Moon Bay and partying at the I.D.E.S. Hall left me with few area’s in which to really get some nice formals… so luckily, my own hidden secret was also the florist of this beautiful event, Alena of Alena Jean Flower Shop and Nursery, who graciously allowed us the use of her beautiful and rustic gardens. Perfect! Except what I didn’t factor in for the day was the light mist we would be having throughout the morning and into the early afternoon… ick! I was ready to switch it up and find an indoor venue with which to work… but Nicole was so calm and so willing to still make this work and I am so glad she did… the pictures turned out awesome.
This, paired with the fun of the whole bridal party and their willingness to make each image the best it can be, made the day full of some spontaneous surprises. We also had some fun capturing bridal pictures at the historic San Benito House Inn and Saloon. The food catered by Cheat a Little Catering and the ambiance of IDES Hall, made for such amazing day. Congrats Nicole and Danny!
Half Moon Bay Wedding Venue: Coastside Lutheran Church
Half Moon Bay Reception Venue: IDES Hall
Half Moon Bay Wedding Florist: Alena Jean Flower Shop
Half Moon Bay Wedding Caterer: Cheat a Little Catering
Half Moon Bay Wedding Events: San Benito House Historic Inn
Half Moon Bay Wedding Photographer: Portraits by Shanti
San Francisco Bay Area Wedding DJ: Soundwave Mobile
Blue Jeans and white shirts is the all-traditional go to when picking out your wardrobe for your upcoming family portrait. I only have one word for that: BORING! Its been done, heck I’ve done it… and I’ll be honest, it works, but you will look just like the last family that did that.
So here are my suggestions when trying to figure out what to wear. Really try to envision your backdrop, is it beach, country, more monotone like a forest? Once you have that vision, pick some of the key colors from that, for instance if it’s the beach this is what I would pick: light blue, beige, soft pinks (tones of the sunset hues), soft purples, etc.… however the country I would choose more earthy tones, such as browns, maroons, darker blues and greens.
Now, lets add a little personality to this recipe who are you? Don’t pick an outfit strictly because it fits into my color suggestions, pick it because you like how it looks on you, you pick it because its something you would “normally wear”, and you pick it because it fits into the environment we will be shooting at.
If you aren’t a color person, then fine, easy peasy lemon squeezy… simply take the basic look, blue jeans and white shirt and add a splash of color somewhere, a scarf, necklace, belt, etc.
Now here is what not to do: Don’t find a shirt that fits the color scheme but has a logo on it, and don’t mix patterns… in fact, if you can, try not do any patterns…. of course I have exceptions to this rule (I love a good plaid shirt in a country setting).
Take these suggestions and apply it to your whole family, not just yourself, and make sure you guys compliment each other (you don’t have to be matchy matchy, just complimentary)