As a Santa Rosa Wedding Photographer most people assume I am just a “behind the scenes” woman. They believe that I am just there to take a couple hundred photos, that I’ll edit later and send back to my clients. However, being a photographer is so much more than that.
Not only do I need to have a complete and holistic understanding of lighting, angles, lenses, movement, and everything in between but I need to have a complete and holistic understanding of who I am taking photographs of. That way I can capture each unique element that makes every subject beautiful because I personally have experienced what that is from them.
For this reason, one of the biggest elements of my job is relationships. Not only do I capture them – from engaged or married couples, to friendships and families – but I cultivate relationship through every single individual I take photographs of.
Getting my clients comfortable in front of the camera means that I have to make them comfortable with me. To them, I am more than just a photographer and to me they are more than just clients. We become friends. We become family.
One of my recent couples was just that. Now I am more than just a Santa Rosa Wedding Photographer, and before I photographed Morgan and Ryan’s wedding, I was fortunate enough to already be a part of Morgan’s life.
When her brother was a senior in high school, I took his senior pictures and was able to celebrate alongside their family his success in life thus far. For my senior shoots, I offer a small family shoot along with it where I was introduced to the entire fam and instantly fell in love with their whole dynamic.
We connected so much through this shoot, that they then hired me to take photographs of their entire immediate and extended family. This family shoot was actually one of my personal favorites.
Their family from Sacramento drove over to Sonoma, where I caught all the love and laughter through my lens at their grandmother’s gorgeous home. In total, the shoot was Morgan’s mom, dad, aunt, uncle, cousin, her three brothers, and, of course, grandma, who was playing and joking around with the kids the entire time. Everything with them felt so easy and natural, which is so important for me to witness with my clients because that is how I get the best results possible.
Being a part of this family helped remind me of how important creating these special relationships are to my work. Seeing a family this nice and fun made the entire experience so memorable. It also made me so excited for Morgan and Ryan’s wedding, because deep down, at heart, I am still a Santa Rosa Wedding Photographer through and through!
Morgan and Ryan were actually a couple that took a few times to meet before they knew they were meant to be. The first time they met was a couple years back in 2013 to the sweet sounds of guitar at a country bar. While this isn’t what launched their relationship, country music seems to be their good omen because it was three years later (in another country bar!) when they met again and decided to go on a date.
Their first official date was actually at the Underwood Bar and Bistro in the Graton Casino. Ryan picked Morgan up so they could eat all the food and drink all the drinks. Ryan looks back on that day fondly, saying they talked and laughed the whole night. It was a great time.
Additionally, it was this date where Morgan knew that Ryan was the one. He was exactly what she had been looking for, yet she was scared it was all too good to be true. All great love stories seem to have that element, don’t they?
Luckily for the both of them: it wasn’t. They were both just what the other one needed and they got engaged May 1, 2020!
Ryan was sneaky and surprised Morgan with the proposal. She knew an engagement was coming, but didn’t know when. They both described the day the proposal happened as church turned into “Sunday Fun-day.”
After church, they ate brunch at K+L Bistro, which was followed by drinks at a casino over in Bodega Bay. Then they drove up the coast to spot where they had frequented during their time together.
This was it.
The perfect spot for Ryan to ask Morgan to be his forever.
Now, while it may seem simple to some, days like this were Morgan and Ryan’s bread and butter. When asked what their favorite date was, they couldn’t pick.
They struggled to pin point a favorite merely because they cherished each and every day that they spent, just the two of them enjoying each other’s company, exploring Sonoma County and beyond, and having dinner and drinks together.
This sense of adventure and spontaneity is a quality both Morgan and Ryan possess and make them a natural match. Exploring new things is the number one thing both of them said they love to do together. From road trips to finding new bars and restaurants, finding new things is what keeps their relationship exciting.
So, as they sat on the cliffs overlooking the water after one of their ideal days, Ryan popped the question!
Obviously, Morgan said yes and the rest is history.
That is where I come in. Due to my cherished relationship with Morgan and her family, I was asked to be the photographer for her and Ryan’s nuptials. I was thrilled to be asked to be a part of yet another major milestone.
Morgan and Ryan made it to the altar on May 1st 2021 and I shot every moment of it. From Morgan getting all dolled up over at the Oxford Suites in the afternoon to Morgan and Ryan departing as a married couple at the end of the evening, I captured it all.
Morgan and Ryan sealed the deal infront of all their family and friends under the stunning 80-foot redwood groves at Sally Tomatos in Rohnert Park. The couple and their beloved guests then were able to enjoy the outdoor space, the fire pits, and the delicious catering Sally Tomatoes had to offer. They then danced the night away with their loved ones to the DJ tunes selected by Crystal Clear Studios.
Shooting at special locations such as these, to capture these one of a kind moments, really make me grateful to be a Santa Rosa Wedding Photographer. I cherish the opportunity to capture the groom’s first look, the couple’s first kiss, their first dance, and the portraits that will hang in their home for years to come.
With relationships being such a pivotal element of my job, these portraits are some of the most important for me to shoot over the course of the wedding day. These images showcase so much more than this special day. They highlight not only the love of the couple but other love that is present within both the bride and grooms’s lives.
Morgan was beaming not only alongside Ryan, but also amongst her empowering group of bridesmaids. These photos prove the friendship that she cherishes and wanted up at the alter supporting her in this life changing moment. The same goes for Ryan and his handsome groomsmen. These are the friends that they want with them through thick and thin. These are their chosen family.
Then there is Morgan and Ryan’s family family. These are another layer of relationships that is important to capture, especially at a wedding. Their wedding is the moment when these two families are merging and becoming one. Morgan’s is accepting Ryan into theirs and Ryan is accepting Morgan in his. Each of them will be forming new relationships with their newfound family members.
As a Santa Rosa Wedding Photographer, it is my job to capture these new relationships forming as well as the already developed ones.
Not only is it my responsibility to capture the various relationships at a wedding, but to understand them. I already really knew how the family operated, so I knew how best to shoot them.
Additionally, I want to know them. I adore reading their love stories from their engagement questionnaires. I love seeing what makes them smile and laugh. It excites me getting to take photographs of them on their special day. From the beginning to the end, I want to be their with my clients for as long as they’ll have me.
This is why long lasting relationships are so crucial for me. Not only for me to capture, but for me to have with my clients. Everyone that I work with is incredibly special in their own way and I better serve them if I know them on a deeper level and know just exactly how to bring out their unique, inner sparkle.