Mercy Hasselblad

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I hadn’t shot engagement pictures at Oak Canyon Nature Center in Anaheim before. I had done research beforehand, though, and it looked like a good spot with some variety and some interesting light. So we went for it. Needless to say, I fell a little bit in love. With both the location and the couple. I was honored that K and T chose me to be their wedding photographer and that I got to do engagement photography in Anaheim with them.

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I am the fastest Los Angeles wedding photographer I know, when it comes to giving photos back to clients. I always edit full weddings within the week. Most of the time, and especially for smaller weddings, I have the photos ready within 24-48 hours. Many of my photographer friends shake their heads and wonder how I do it, and even more, why. Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about my approach. So, here’s how I edit wedding photos within 24 hours, and lastly, why.

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When these two decided to get married, they had a choice: spend a huge chunk of money on a traditional wedding, or put that money towards home improvements and have a smaller backyard wedding. Especially when Covid hit, their decision was made for them. But look!!! Needless to say, they made the right decision. If you’ve followed my work for any period of time, you know that backyard wedding photography is near and dear to my heart. I love the simplicity of a smaller wedding (having had one myself). I love photographing them, especially. That’s the only thing I regret skimping on for my own backyard wedding, and I love that these two took the time and planned for good backyard wedding photography.

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This year has been crazy. It’s 2020. When Covid-19 first hit, it severely limited or cancelled dozens of planned weddings. Most couples decided to wait and see what would happen. After a few months, more and more couples were faced with a choice: cut the guest list severely, elope, or put your wedding on hold indefinitely. Indoor weddings were almost impossible altogether. As a wedding and Yosemite elopement photographer, I started seeing couples look around for alternatives.

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I think I’ll start a new thing. Adventure engagement sessions. Because this was a blast, despite the unexpected high tide. It helped that S and D were troopers, despite getting almost instantly soaked. S’s gorgeous hair held up, she was fine with her dress getting waterlogged, and we came out with some gorgeous sunset engagement photos from Victoria Beach. All credit goes to these two troopers, who were happy, smiling, and unruffled despite getting hit with wave after wave.

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These two are gold. When Elizabeth threw her heart into planning this engagement shoot, her excitement was contagious. I typically do a lot more romantic/natural style engagement photography, even in LA. But I always love playing with engagement pictures. We get the time and flexibility to play, versus on a wedding day, when we’re a lot more pressed for time. So, as you can probably tell, we had an absolute blast. Even with the smoke-clogged air, we came out with some of my favorite photos of my career.

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From the moment I met Mary, I knew we would get along well. We went out for coffee and ended up barely talking about wedding plans at all. She has the best smile, and when I saw her and Carlos together, I instantly understood the attraction. They adore each other. On one of their dates Carlos was teaching Mary to skateboard. When she took a bad spill he forced her to go to the hospital, where she found out she had cancer. But because she came in when she did, they were able to operate on it and she was fine. So he saved her life.

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“OMG WE LOVE THEM!!! Dan keeps saying, ‘we definitely chose the right photographer!'” Stephanie sent me this right after they saw their first Victoria Beach engagement photos. Parking at Victoria Beach for engagement photos is always tough, so when Stephanie and Daniel got stuck without parking, I got a little worried. However, we had planned ahead and had enough light to get THE MOST PERFECT engagement photos I’ve ever gotten at Victoria Beach and the Pirate Tower. They really speak for themselves. Stephanie wore a gorgeous deep red chiffon dress and Daniel was perfectly matched in a simple, crisp shirt and slacks.

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I got so excited when I found out these two wanted to do an Airstream engagement session! They found an amazing location in the hills above Malibu. The sunset was epic, the love was obvious, and it was the perfect Airstream engagement session.

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C contacted me on FaceBook a little while ago asking if I’d be up for a short-notice mini, backyard wedding in Santa Clarita. I have a huge soft spot for backyard weddings, I had one myself. And C’s sweet conversation convinced me this would be a wedding of dreams. C and E loved each other so much. It was obvious from the first moment. I peeked into C’s getting ready room and found E had slipped a note under her door, saying that he loved her to infinity. These little moments are reasons I love photographing backyard weddings. When the production is stripped away, you get to the bare-bones love of the day. The entire family pitched in, decorated the whole house, and invited me to sit down for delicious food. It was amazing perfection.

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