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On September 2nd, 2021, a boy and a girl hiked into the Yosemite wilderness and came out husband and wife. I got to photograph Stephanie and Alistair’s Yosemite elopement portraits. The day after they eloped, we met at Glacier point right as the sun began to rise and captured their love in camera.

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If you take one thing away from this post, I want you to take this away: go do a Griffith Observatory elopement. When you do, go elope at sunrise. Go elope at Griffith Observatory at sunrise. Morning is pretty much the only sensible time to have any privacy at a popular spot in California. As a southern California elopement photographer, I’ve learned this the hard way.

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Any chance I get to be a photographer at Yosemite National Park, I will take it. The light in Yosemite has a quality I’ve seen very few places. It’s different. As an elopement photographer, I wander a lot. Most of the time, I’ll take days before or days after to play in the park, take some self-portraits, and breathe.

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After much going back and forth, these two international kids decided it was time to get married. So although we were planning a big Los Angeles wedding last year, it never happened. But I am their Los Angeles wedding photographer, so I offered to do an elopement announcement session instead! I’m so glad they took me up on it! We went down to the beach and caught one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve seen in quite awhile.

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I finished off 2020 with two of the most amazing weddings I’ve ever been honored to photograph. This was the first. Victoria and Matt have a special camp up in Julian where they wanted to be married. They booked me for their Julian wedding photography long before Covid started, but proceeded with their wedding with cautions in place (and nobody got sick, yay!).

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I don’t believe in structured meetups and forced relationships. I believe God puts people in your path. If you’re in the right place, you slip towards each other, encourage each other, and make each other stronger. Maybe that means I believe in falling in love with friends. Somebody at the wedding asked how Tiffany and I met. I couldn’t at first think of it. We had cheered each other on via social media before I even came to be an LA wedding photographer. I had never met her until the wedding, but she’s one of those people that shines a beacon of pure light that is pretty irresistible and hard to miss. So when she asked if I could photograph her Mount Baldy wedding, I never hesitated.

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I was in a sleepy haze as I drove down the deserted highway. It was the pre-dawn quiet of a city that doesn’t wake up until it’s time to go to work. I gathered together my backpack of gear. For intimate sunrise elopement at El Matador Beach, I typically carry a prime 35mm, some OCF, a trigger, a stand, and a long lens, along with my trusty, beautiful Canon 5D Mark III.

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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 had the privilege of photographing this wedding with Kathryn Cooper, who is an AMAZING elopement and international photographer. She hired me because, obviously, she liked my work, but Stanley, Idaho, also happens to be a very familiar place. I grew up a few hours from there and visited a lot as a kid. My parents actually got married at Redfish Lake, as well (although I wasn’t there for that part, haha).

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These two were a delight. Y and D hired me to photograph their wedding in Hawaii. They were both out of the country at the time, so planning was all a hectic affair. But in the end, it all came together and it was beautiful. They had their ceremony in a downtown Honolulu church. We had first look and formals at the Hilton in Honolulu. Then the reception was held at the Historic Officer’s Club on Hickam Air Force Base.

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