Happy Friday and happy February! This is one of my favorite months for a few reasons: 1) February always feels like the REAL start of the new year after the slow start in January, 2) this month, my husband and I celebrate our 9th year together and 5th year of marriage, and 3) we are nearing the end of engagement season, which means wedding season is just around the corner!
This week, I had the pleasure of capturing Lee and Jeremy's Coronado proposal and engagement. They're in town from Washington DC visiting family, and Jeremy decided to pop the question in front of one of the most famous California destinations, Hotel Del Coronado.
These two were all laughs and smiles... it was impossible NOT to get a great photo of them.
There's always time for a selfie!
Seriously though, could they be any cuter??
I love this epic shot with the Hotel Del Coronado in the background.
Congratulations to Lee & Jeremy! Wishing them all the best in their lives together, and a safe trip home to the East Coast.
Need a photographer for your proposal, engagement, or wedding? Contact me here!
I hated my name when I was a kid. I wanted a name like my classmates; I wanted to be a Jessica, an Emily, or an Ashley... It wasn't until I was in high school that I actually started to appreciate that my name was different than most of the kids I hung around. When I was trying to come up with a name for my photography business a while back, I struggled to find the perfect one. I started out as "Photography by Alicia," then "Forever Moments by Alicia," but neither really felt right to me.
I don't exactly remember when (either in high school or my early twenties) I found out the significance of my name. My dad's side of the family has a tradition of passing down names. My dad is named after my grandpa, my uncles are each named after their uncles, and my oldest uncle is named for my great-grandpa. My parents carried on that tradition with my brother and my middle names. My brother has my grandpa and dad's first name as his middle name, while my middle name "Jeanne" comes from my Great-Aunt Jean Ellen. When I learned of my name's origin, I also learned of a very unfortunate incident in my family's past.
My grandpa was a month shy of his 9th birthday in December of 1935 when a fire consumed his home. My Great-Grandmother Florence died on Christmas Eve, my Great-Grandpa Roy lost his life a few days later... Jean Ellen survived the fire only to pass away on January 3rd, 1936 from an illness she contracted in the hospital. She was 11 years old.
My grandpa survived. He lived with his grandmother and other relatives over the years. He joined the Navy and fought in World War II, where he met Bill Green. Bill introduced my grandpa to his sister, Vesta Lea, who would become his wife and mother to his seven kids. My grandpa lived a full life, and passed away at the age of 88 in 2015.
After hearing the story of Jean Ellen and her oh so short life, I gained a new appreciation for my name, and I often wonder what she was like; was she stubborn and ambitious like my grandpa? What did she want to be when she grew up?
My aunt gave my dad an old wooden box after my grandpa died. It belonged to Jean Ellen.
It was made by my Great-Great-Grandfather George Cecil as a Christmas gift for Jean in 1934, a year before the tragic accident.
Inside the box were a few treasures that give me just a glimpse into who Jean Ellen was... old report cards from 1st, 3rd, and 5th grades.
And a cute handmade note to her mother, I'm assuming was made for Mother's Day.
I get teary-eyed thinking about everything young Jean Ellen wanted to do with her life, and how so often I find myself taking many of the opportunities I've been given in my 32 years for granted. I feel like along with my namesake I was a responsibility to live the best life I can not only for myself but for my grandpa, my great-grandparents, and Jean Ellen.
So it was decided a few years ago, that the official name of my photography business would be "Alicia Jeanne Photography" in memory of my great-aunt... and because I'm glad I'm not a Jessica, an Emily, or an Ashley now.
Happy New Year! I don't know about you, but I'm super excited for 2018, more so than previous years. So much is happening right now, and a huge milestone is coming up this year that I can't wait to tell you about (hint, it involves my new logo).
Before I start getting settled in to 2018, I thought I'd take a look back at the past year, and share my favorite 17 photos from 2017. I had so many amazing opportunities and met some amazing people. It was hard to narrow it down to just 17 pictures, but here they are, in order of when they were taken.
1. Alyssa Maloney, Vista, CA, January 2017
This has got to be one of my favorite head shots I've taken ever, and Alyssa was such a great model. I took this photo during a photo session for her article in 92081 Magazine. It was taken at Rancho Buena Vista High School in Vista, CA. I love the colors, the catchlights in her eyes... I love everything about this photo.
2. Doris Teich, Vista, CA, January 2017
Doris is another person I photographed for 92081 Magazine in January. My absolute favorite place to photograph people is in their homes: it's where they are most comfortable and their surroundings add so much to the image. Doris's home was filled with so much of her personality, memories, and heritage. Environmental photography is one of my favorite types, and I'm so glad I was able to capture this image.
3. April's Bouquet, Coronado Cays Yacht Club, February 2017
I've mentioned it before in my wedding blogs, one of the reason's I love photographing weddings is all the beautiful details. April had such a beautiful bouquet with soft colors. The overcast, diffused light also added to the elegance of the flowers, and I'm always a fan of using a shallow depth of field in my images.
4. April & Isaac, Coronado Cays Yacht Club, February 2017
With every wedding, I strive to create unique portraits because every couple is different, every venue is different, and every wedding is different. This was taken about an hour before sunset on the docks of Coronado Cays Yacht Club. The sky was amazing that evening, the background was gorgeous, and April & Isaac were one of the best couples.
5. David Lozeau, Vista, CA, March 2017
I didn't quite know what to expect when I was asked to photograph David for 92081 Magazine, but I fell in love with his home. David is a local artist in Vista, and his home was filled with collections of his work and his favorite guitars. As with Doris's portrait, this is another one of my all-time favorite environmental portraits: it just says so much about David and his art in just a single photo... and I loved the green walls.
6. The Taylor Family, Carlsbad, CA, April 2017
Besides the home, where a person works is another great spot for portraits. It's familiar and people seem more comfortable in surroundings they know. The Taylor Family owns the 9ROUND in Carlsbad, and I photographed them for their 92009 Magazine article. The gym is small, but there was some great light coming through the back windows. I chose to photograph them from below using my ultra wide angle lens and my flash to fill in some light, and doing so, I created this epic "hero" shot.
I've known Jen for a few years, and I was super excited when she asked me to be her wedding photographer at the beginning of June. I'm almost tempted to do another blog of my favorite photo sessions because this was one of the best photo shoots I've done, and it was so hard to choose just one image. Even though they'd never had a professional photo shoot before, they were both so natural and relaxed in front of the camera... and it doesn't hurt that they are an adorable couple. (Click the title to see more images from Jen & Tom's engagement session.)
I met Robin & LaCreelin about a week before their wedding. They were both so relaxed and easy-going, and like all of my couples made me excited to be a part of their big day. Again, it was hard to narrow it down to just one image from their whole wedding, but I love how happy Robin is in this image in particular. (Click the title to see more images from Robin & LaCreelin's wedding.)
9. Elopement, Hotel Del Coronado - Coronado, CA, August 2017
This wedding was kept on the DL, so I didn't post much about it. It was an elopement at the famous Hotel Del in Coronado. Silhouettes haven't really been something I'm known for, but it seemed appropriate for this image. The sun was minutes away from setting, creating long shadows and amazing texture across the sand, and I loved the mysterious lighthouse in the background.
Another amazing photo shoot was with this cutie and his parents in Keller, TX. Rhett's mom (and long-time friend) asked me photograph Rhett for his 1st Birthday, and I was more than honored to do so. I'd taken pictures of a few other babies and toddlers before, but Rhett has set the bar. He was the perfect, little gentleman. (Click the title to see more images from Rhett's photo session.)
11. Skateland, Irving, TX, September 2017
While I was in Texas to photography Baby Rhett, I decided to do a little exploring of my hometown of Irving. Skateland is just down the street from the house I grew up in, and it was THE place to go for your birthday party in the 90s. One of my favorite things to photograph is cityscapes at night, so I drove down and took this long exposure at dusk of one of my childhood hangouts.
Another beautiful wedding, this time at Tom Ham's Light House on Harbor Island in San Diego. I like this portrait for several reasons... 1) it's has a deep depth of field, which is different from my usual shallow depth of field portraits; 2) the shadows of the trees and shrubs; 3) the lovely light falling on the couple; and 4) the lines of the tall trees. I was also honored when the venue chose to share this image on their Instagram feed. (Click the title to see more images from Christine & Mark's wedding.)
The big day for Jen & Tom (from #7) came in November. The day was magical, and again there were so many great photos to choose from for this post, but I decided on this one in particular for the lighting. I always wanted to try a backlit couple's portrait at night, but I never had the opportunity. Luckily, Jen & Tom were game for my experiment, and I was so thrilled with the result. I had my flash on a trigger, and my assistant, Arie, crouched behind them with the flash. My husband told me it was the best wedding photo he'd ever seen (though he may be a little bias). (Click the title to see more images from Jen & Tom's wedding.)
14. Delph Family, Batiquitos Lagoon - Carlsbad, CA, November 2017
In the Spring of 2017, I donated a family photo session to a silent auction for an elementary school in San Marcos, and the Delph Family purchased that session. Life events prevented us from getting together until Thanksgiving weekend in November, but I'm so glad we finally had the chance to meet. Not only are they one of the best looking families around, they were all so kind and fun to photograph.
15. Poinsettia, at home in San Marcos, CA, December 2017
I've had a little bit of an obsession with photographing flowers for the last couple of years, but being so busy with weddings and portraits, I hadn't really had the time to really get into it or the money to buy flowers regularly. I bought a poinsettia plant to make my apartment more Christmasy, and since I hadn't ever taken pictures of one before, I pulled out my macro lens and my flash and just started shooting on my dining room table. The result was this beautiful image.
16. Jesse & Melissa Proposal, Sunset Cliffs - San Diego, CA, December 2017
The Holidays may be a slow time for weddings and other types of portraits, but it is the season of engagements. I was in contact with Jesse the day before he asked Melissa to be his wife. The setting was perfect at the beautiful Sunset Cliffs in Point Loma, and about 15 minutes before sunset, Jesse got down on one knee and asked Melissa the big question... she said "Yes," of course. And it was all smiles and giddiness after that.
17. Caroline & Chris Engagement, Sunset Cliffs - San Diego, CA, December 2017
Caroline & Chris are from South Carolina, and Chris brought Caroline with her to San Diego while he was here for a business conference. He popped the question one evening, and while they were in town, they wanted to capture the moment. So I headed back to Sunset Cliffs just two days after Jesse and Melissa's proposal. This is another shot I love because it is a little different from my usual portraits, and I wanted to use the gorgeous cliffs to create an epic photo. I used my ultra wide angle lens (not my typical lens for portraits) and composed the image to use the cliffs as converging lines.
So there they are: my favorite 17 photos from 2017! It was fun to go through this past year's photos and remember the awesome people I've met and the places I've been. There's so much to look forward to in 2018, and I'm looking forward to working with all the amazing people I have yet to meet.
Cheers to another great year!
Life has been a bit chaotic these last couple of months with finals, the holidays, and being in the midst of engagement and proposal season... But I'm finally ready to share Jen & Tom's magical November wedding!
I shared their dreamy engagement shoot this past summer, and their wedding was just as dreamy and romantic. It took place at Mt. Woodson Castle in Ramona, CA. I remember we had had a string of very warm November days, but it cooled off rather nicely just in time for their big day.
The details are always my favorite part of weddings; the bride, the groom, the bridal party, and the the family spend weeks, if not months, working to perfect every little thing to make the day special. I loved every detail, and I know they put in a lot of work. All of the flowers were actually paper and made by Jen's sister, Ingrid!
Jen & Tom had their first look just out front on the castle steps.
What I loved the most about Mt. Woodson Castle was all of the beautiful spots for taking gorgeous portraits.
Jen & Tom's Dachsund, Lil, and baby niece, Jubilee, nearly stole the show as the adorable Ring Bearer and Flower Girl.
I love how simple and elegant their cake was.
It truly was a magical night for Jen & Tom. I enjoyed going through these pictures again to relive it all. Congratulations to the happy couple!
Looking for a photographer for your upcoming wedding? Contact me today for 2018 pricing and packages!
Venue | Mt. Woodson Castle, Ramona, CA
Flowers | Ingrid Warner, Florigami Fashions
Second Photographer | Ariana M., Oliver Madrid Photography
Cake | Flour Power
One thing I love about photographing weddings is that no two weddings are the same. Christine and Mark wanted to have a fun, no frills wedding: short and sweet ceremony, lots of partying!
Their wedding was at the beautiful Tom Ham's Lighthouse on Harbor Island in San Diego, and Christine got ready at the Sheraton just up the road where the view was spectacular.
How many women does it take to keep the groom from seeing the bride before the ceremony? Four.
The ceremony site has an amazing view of Downtown San Diego, and there just happened to be a sail boat event going on nearby.
Here's that view of Downtown San Diego at night.
Congratulations to the new Mr. & Mrs. Mark Azar!!
Venue | Tom Ham's Lighthouse
Wedding Planner, Officiant, & Flowers | Elements of Style
DJ | Victor Getz
String Quartet | De la Motte Strings