Wedding PhotoJournalism at a Willow Camp Wedding
While predominantly a PNW Wedding Photographer, I do travel for weddings outside the Pacific Northwest. When Matt and Tessaly asked me to document their Willow Camp Wedding in the beautiful Stinson Beach California, I jumped at the opportunity to photograph at this incredible wedding venue.
Driving out from San Francisco up the winding highway 1 is a breathtaking experience in itself, the Pacific Coast stretching out as you make your way up the famous highway. I began the wedding day early, and when I arrived Matt was working on thank you notes for guests and family. I had plenty of time for some detail shots and for the group to acclimate to my presence, and by the time the prep started in earnest I was able to document some key early morning events: gifts for the bridesmaids, a toast for the groomsmen, and of course all the preparation.
This section of the day culminated with an emotional first look with Tessaly and her dad. This is something that there isn’t always time for, but when there is it is often my favorite part of the day. I’ll never forget his choked out “hey girl” as he saw her for the first time, a career highlight. It doesn’t matter how many wedding you photograph, moments like these can still get to you.
With prep completed we moved on to a quick first look and portrait session before the ceremony. My goal is always to knock these photos out quick and efficiently, while keeping it loose, fun, and celebratory. Any Willow Camp wedding will have plenty of setup options for portraits, the pond, the gardens, the carriage house, and of course the beach just around the corner.
Finally it was time for the big event, which was held on the Willow Camp front lawn and included a potting ceremony and a ukulele performance by one of Tessaly’s bridesmaids. Officiated by the couple’s friend Catey, it was a beautiful celebration.
Afterwards, we moved right into a reception at the Pavilion, which is surrounded by a lovely Lily Pond. As the sun started to go down, a light Northern California mist started falling, giving the entire area a bit of an ethereal misty light. Everyone crowded under the pavilion and partied the night away, the perfect light and setting for my style of candid wedding photojournalism.
Many of the couple’s closest family and friends were staying on property, giving the Willow Camp Wedding a true camp feel. As the official wedding started to wind down, nieces and nephews were put to bed, many guests returned to their hotels, and a campfire was started in one of the venue’s fire pits. The bridal party passed around a bottle of Japanese Whiskey and told stories late into the night.
The next morning I packed up my car and headed down to the beach where the couple hosted a small farewell breakfast. As I sat in the sand eating breakfast, Humpback whales started to breach over and over, playing together just off-shore. Somewhere between a goodbye and a congratulations.
In the following gallery you will see images in both Color and Black and White. Each couple receives all digital photographs edited in both a color and a black and white version. Click any image to view in fullscreen or slideshow mode.
We LOVED working with Ben for our wedding. He was super organized leading up to the event, doing a consultation to check in about what we were looking for and to discuss the schedule for the day. The day of, I was a little nervous about looking really awkward during our ‘first look’ photoshoot but Ben was great at directing us and making us feel at ease, and we’re so glad we have some nice posed pictures from that. He also did an amazing job capturing candids throughout the reception. From funny faces to laughter to action shots to happy tears, he managed to get tons of special moments without interrupting or being in the way. The photographs he took are beautiful and really capture the joy and love we felt. He also put together a wonderful video of pictures set to audio from the ceremony and reception and it makes me cry every time I watch it cause I feel like I get to relive the day.