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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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Elizabeth and Robb’s plan had to change slightly when Covid shut everything down. I’m so happy they still decided to prioritize photos, though. I was still able to be their Santa Monica wedding photographer. They cut down their guest list significantly, changed their venue, and ended up getting married at Tongva Park in Santa Monica. The park is a well-kept secret, something you pass often without realizing it’s even a park. It’s just steps away from the Santa Monica Pier. But it wasn’t crowded and we had one of those amazing, golden sunsets.

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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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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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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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As with almost all the weddings this summer, Masha and Nate’s was put on hold due to Coronavirus. However, they couldn’t wait, and decided to hold a tiny backyard celebration anyway. They picked up the pieces of their original wedding, did a lot of DIY, made masks, and invited the people closest to them who weren’t as vulnerable. I love photographing backyard weddings. They are near and dear to my heart, since I had one, too.

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Quite awhile ago, Liba and Sasha contacted me about doing photography for their grand Los Angeles wedding. Then, 2020 hit, and nobody was sure what to do. These two decided to get married anyway, and needless to say, it was a good choice. I loved photographing for their backyard microwedding. I’m so proud they decided to get married anyway. Maybe that’s a weird response, but I’m a huge fan of love, and finding your spouse, and marrying them, regardless of how much money you have. That’s one reason I love offering affordable wedding packages and alternatives.

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