Almost to the day, my first shoot with Brittany was five years prior to this engagement session. She had recently moved to Los Angeles from Oklahoma to pursue her music career and wanted some photos by the beach to accompany the release of her newest single. Our friendship grew over the years as she released new music. She casually mentioned a hair appointment while we were in the car driving to a location and told me that it was the five year anniversary of her remission from cancer. She wanted to celebrate by donating her hair to the cause that provided her with wigs while she saws going through treatment. I asked to tag along and a few weeks later, our short documentary was picked up by Pantene for a national ad spot throughout the web and received almost two million views -- watch it here!
Shortly after, Brittany met Kristian and the two got engaged at the beginning of this year. They chose Kristian's alma mater -- the beautiful Pepperdine campus -- as the backdrop for their engagement photos. We ended the session at the popular El Matador beach in Malibu and couldn't have asked for a more cozy, almost-summer night. I cannot wait to continue photographing their journey as they tie the knot (in Malibu, of course) later this summer.
All photos by Jes Workman
Brittany's dress by Paper Crown
If you're searching for a wedding photographer, you've probably skimmed across a few pricing guides and seen the variety of packages people have to offer. Some are purely digital - an online gallery with a link to download. Some are loaded with prints, canvases and albums. Some might mail you a DVD and others a custom USB. I've seen it all and I'm sure you have too. Personally, I've always been drawn to the tangible - I like to hold photographs in my hand. I love seeing a heavy, weathered leather album sitting on a coffee table. I can finally say that I'm able to offer my clients the same experience.
Over the years, I've honed in on my style and have paid close attention to what my clients value. They're creative, real and passionate people. We're either already friends, referred by a friend or became friends within minutes of our consult. I know that my clients love the thoughtful details and value quality. With my new packaging, I'm able to give all of my clients the experience of preserving their memories both digitally and in print while also having something beautiful that they can display in their home. While albums are available in most of my packages, my new maple box with 50 prints and a USB is my treat to each couple that spends time in front of my camera.
Now available in my Lunada & Malaga collections.
Palos Verdes is my home. Not by birth or even by longevity but from my first visit over six years ago I could feel the sea calling to my soul. This town is truly magical -- each cove holds new adventures, each cliffside with a unique face. It is peaceful in a way that could take you novels to describe. For the past year I've called it home.
Southern California is one of the world's most popular destination for weddings. There are beaches, deserts, mountains, lakes and everything in between. Just within Los Angeles county there is almost every landscape imaginable. With gorgeous locations comes many talented creatives. I decided to pull together just a handful of them to combine our visions and create a story that personifies just one part of Palos Verdes that I love. The rich history, the mysterious fog enveloped hill, the bold colors and lush greenery, the Italian-inspired architecture that inspires many a home in a sea of eclectic mansions. The ageless beauty that is Palos Verdes.
My dear friend and stunning model, Jessica, lent her talents to this session. I love working with Jessica because we always seem share the same brain wave. While the start and end of our shoots is always filled with sarcasm and laughter, we're silent artists in the midst of our sessions working purely off of energy. She embraced this character of a young siren with grace and ferocity. While bridal sessions are typically joyous and light, we incorporated my signature edge into this session.
Flowers came from the wonderful Brie Walter of Brie's Honeybees & Flowers in Redondo Beach. Brie fully understood the vibe of this session and arranged a gorgeous bouquet of loose, dusty roses and matched the bright, tropical greenery of the peninsula. Pops of deep cranberry and a dot of navy added a touch of class to the piece.
Vivan Tran from Vivian Tran Hair-Makeup Artistry created a loose up-do with a side fishtail braid that perfectly mixed both sophistication and bohemian elements. She matched this with dewey, bronze skin and a smokey neutral eye. Matte rose brown lips finished the look.
January from January Rose Bridal was on hand to add a touch of metal or a soft veil when the moment called for a bit extra. Her delicate handmade headpieces were the perfect addition to every look -- from a discreet, small gold branch at the base of the hair to a more elaborate crown-style piece, she had a unique creation for everything.
We worked with two gowns from Dreamers & Lovers from Torrance, CA that were absolutely stunning. The first was a thin strapped, body hugging dress called Amber that showed off Jessica's curves while remaining the element of class. We wanted to still portray a California setting where skin is adored and the body is everyone's temple. The second was the Alice gown and I chose it for many reasons: we wanted a more conservative option for our church setting, the train was long and loose and the low back was a our edgy surprise. This gown was everything. We effortlessly took it from youthful and fun to bohemian and cultural to high-class and formal. With just a bit of unique styling, there really wasn't an occasion where this dress could fail!
Last but certainly not least, our location. The Neighborhood Church has been a staple in the Palos Verdes history for almost a century. Originally built as a private estate by J. J. Haggarty in 1928, this seaside Mediterranean mansion has since slowly evolved into the areas oldest and most iconic church. They hold a wide array of weddings each year with one of the nation's most desirable coastlines as a backdrop. I'd like to give a special thank you to the church manager, Lauren, for helping to make this shoot happen. The church was the original inspiration for this shoot as it embodies everything that Palos Verdes is about: beauty, elegance and a bit of mystique.
Model: Jessica Draven
Flowers: Brie's Honeybees & Flowers | www.briewalter.com
Gown: Dreamers + Lovers | www.dreamersandlovers.com
HMUA: Vivian Tran Hair-Makeup Artistry | www.viviantranmakeup.com
Accessories: January Rose Bridal | www.januaryrosebridal.com
Venue: Neighborhood Church of Palos Verdes | www.neighborhoodchurchpve.org
Photographer: Jes Workman | www.jesworkman.com
Let's begin with the fact that I have a fairly strong sense of humor. I often have to tuck it away for the eight hours or so that I spend with my clients for the sake of professionalism (aka not making them instantly regret their decision to hire me to capture the most important day of their lives). As I grow in this industry, I'm attracting clients that are choosing me for me -- they love my style and after our consultation, they love me. And vice versa. I'm in love with all of my clients and only take on weddings that I know will have me ugly crying during the speeches. Within seconds of meeting Vered & Ben, I knew I had met my perfect match.
These two are witty, quick and hilarious. They're both actors, artists, yogis and just really awesome people. We knew we were going for an overall "editorial" feel for the photos but between the three of us, laughter was hard not to interrupt. From sneaking onto a property that we knew we were within seconds of being kicked off of to later assigning personalities to the imaginary owners of the property and going on improv tangents, we had a blast . Not to mention, Vered (and Ben!) completed worked the camera without the phony "I'm sooooo bad at this" preamble (if you aren't familiar, it's when a gorgeous couple prefaces the shoot with a false "we're so awkward in front of the camera" and then totally kills it).
It's safe to say that we had an awesome time roaming around the hills on this warm January afternoon in sunny California. They'll be married down the road at Malibou Lake this summer in an enchanting, garden wedding that I'll of course be sharing everywhere. I can't wait!
All photos by Jes Workman
I had been looking forward to this session since I first met with Cynthia and Anthony. She described a perfect setting: sunny Joshua tree, Mexican blankets, fresh florals and a day of adventure. I was in! Being able to hang out with my couples - especially wandering around cool locations - is my absolutely favorite. I headed out to the session in ripped jeans, sandals and a t-shirt only to be greeted by freezing cold temps and gusty winds.
You'd never know that we were freezing on this sunny day but yes -- our teeth were chattering and our hands were numb. Despite the unfortunate elements, these two never once stopped smiling! From in front of the camera, in between blanket wraps and warming up in the car in between locations, Cynthia and Anthony laughed and braved the cold wind with grins on their faces.
We wrapped up our day just as the clouds moved in and rain started falling. We left the park with the spirit of adventure still alive inside of us and ended up at a diner down the street to enjoy some great food. By the end of the day, it felt like I was having dinner with two good friends. If we had this much fun at the engagement session, I can't wait until their wedding day! I'm so truly happy to have these two as clients this year and I am so honored to be the one to photograph their wedding in the desert this fall. Congratulations, Cynthia & Anthony!
The Santa Monica mountains are well known but because of their proximity to the city, not thought of as much of an adventure. I had driven through a thousand times but never had the chance to pull over and explore with a camera. I suggested the area to Jessica and she responded with, "Sounds great! Drop a pin!". Halfway through our session, I asked Blake if they had ever been up here before. He pointed over toward one of the mountain ranges and said, "I proposed to her right over there". Well, what a perfect coincidence.
Jessica and Blake are the epitome of style & taste. Each outfit they arranged was seemingly thrown together so easily but photographed like a dream. If these two look like they did well in front of the camera, you're correct. There was never a single "what do I do with my hands" moment, not to mention the freezing cold temperatures that they braved toward the end of the shoot.
I love the more serious tone of this session. It was a bit more editorial and less "smiley" - even though they couldn't help but laugh and smile half of the time. Adventuring and wandering with my couples is the best - we get to see new places together and get to know each other while we explore. Jessica and Blake were the perfect couple to photograph in these hometown mountains and I am so happy for them. Congratulations, you two!
Ann contacted me a mere two weeks before her wedding date and asked if I could come and photograph a simple courthouse ceremony the week before Christmas. December till February are generally hibernation months for photographers where we get comfortable in our yoga pants and edit out our remaining 2015 sessions. So of course I was happy to get dressed up and enjoy one final wedding for 2015.
Ann and Mehdi anxiously waited with a small group of friends and family outside of the chapel room. Other small groups came and went as we took photos in the hallway. Finally, they were called in to perform their ceremony. It was short and sweet and both the bride and groom could not contain their joy. They kissed, everyone hugged and we wandered across the street to take some formal portraits. Everyone was just so genuinely happy and excited for the merging of these two families. They said farewell to their family and we ventured to downtown LA for some portraits at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
We made it just in time to catch the last light of the sunset. The warm hues glowed on the metal structure of the building and the cool air whipped around through all of the small channels in the building. Ann and Mehdi were a wonderful end to me amazing 2015 season. I cannot wait to make 2016 incredible!
Beverly Hills Courthouse Wedding
Walt Disney Concert Hall Elopement
Second Shooter: Jason Horrell
All images shot on Canon 5D MKIII
The rolling hills of Paso Robles welcomed us on Lauren and Matt's wedding day. Vineyards sprawled across the hill tops and the sun warmed up the valley. It was a weekend affair as the wedding party took over the Vintage Ranch Estate the few days leading up to the big date. Lauren prepared quietly as she watch each detail of her year worth of planning come together. Her brother-in-law set out the chilled flower arrangements, covering the grounds with white, pink and natural greens. Her bridesmaids prepared her dress, ensuring the delicate lace fell perfectly at each tier.
The excited nervous energy that had built up throughout the morning came bubbling over after Matt and Lauren's first look underneath the vineyard trees. I encourage first looks for this very reason - once you see your person, the whole day can be taken in with only joy instead of nerves. Their entire bridal party and family joined us in the shade as we took all of their formal photos before the ceremony to ensure Matt and Lauren could throughly enjoy the rest of their day with their guests - also highly encouraged!
Their ceremony was held under the property's oldest oak tree in the middle of the vineyard. The light could not have filtered through the branches any more beautifully. It was a perfect end-of-summer September afternoon and the guests sipped iced water while the newlyweds shared their first kiss.
After mingling with their guests while switching from water to the day's signature Moscow Mules, Jason and I took the couple to the hilltops for a few minutes of portraits. The sun dipped behind the mountains and we caught the last bit of sunlight before their night began. Guests danced until almost midnight and I have never wanted to put down my camera and join the dance floor more! Glowstick bracelets and light-up rings were a huge hit with everybody - including myself. I won't share the photos that Jason took of me with several glowsticks wrapped around my arms and camera.
Lauren and Matt made their grand exit through a sparkler tunnel of friends and family. It was the perfect end to a downright perfect day. Congratulations, Lauren and Matt! Thank you for letting us photograph your special day and dance with you all night!
Elena was the girl in middle school that every boy had a crush on and every girl wanted to be friends with. She was a grade above me when we met in our school's video production class -- her lively energy and friendly smile won over everyone around her. I was so stoked when she was a bridesmaid at a wedding I filmed last year and even more excited when she asked me to photograph AND film her wedding. A few weeks later, we sat on her living room floor surrounded by (literally, like, seven) dogs and sorted through all of the details.
Fun Fact: One of my favorite bonuses I get from shooting weddings is befriending awesome family members. I've had some awesome moms over the years and absolutely love keeping up with them on Facebook. Elena's mom, Jo Marie, joined us at our first meeting and within minutes, we realized we were neighbors in Palos Verdes. Now I get to run into her pretty face all around town!
During a visit to her parent's house in Palos Verdes, we got together for their engagement session. Finally, I meet this quiet, tattooed guy whose smile is uncontrollable when he glances over at his fiance. Purely being in their presence is enough to believe in soul mates.
Their big day was spent at Calamigos Ranch in beautiful Malibu, California in August. Elena could not look more stunning in her backless, long-sleeved lace gown. The lush grounds were a perfect setting for this nature-inspired wedding. Succulents, cascading florals and raw woods filled the glass walled room and set the scene for the magical day that was about to unfold.
Truly, there wasn't a dry eye in the house as Elena walked down the aisle toward Alan. The happiness and joy overflowed into the night as some of the most heartfelt speeches I've heard were spoken at their dinner. Guests made their way to the dance floor and partied the night away. One last magical moment was spent underneath the lights before the two took off on their honeymoon.
This wedding was an honor to be able to photograph and I am so happy that I get to call clients like Elena and Alan my friends. I look forward to sharing their film and reminding everyone once more of that magic in the air on their wedding day.