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  • Writer's pictureBen Wagner

Wedding Photojournalism on the California Coast

Bride's nephew hide's among the bridesmaid dresses

While predominantly a PNW Wedding Photographer, I do travel for weddings outside the Pacific Northwest. When Matt and Tessaly asked me to document their wedding day at Stinson Beach's beautiful Willow Camp I jumped at the opportunity to photograph at this beautiful wedding venue.

I began the 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.

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.

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.

Afterwards, it 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, perfect light and setting for my style of candid wedding photojournalism.

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