Amber and Camden// Arcade Underground

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Amber and Camden// Arcade Underground

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Amber and Camden’s big day felt like a giant party with all of their best friends that just happened to include them getting married. If you know them personally, you also know that you can’t help but have a goooood time right alongside them. I instantly knew when I met with Amber that we were going to jive (I don’t think I’ve ever said that word before?) and was so excited once the wedding day finally came.

I talk a lot about finding a good getting ready space for brides - preferably one that has really good natural light: think big windows. Amber was able to find the perfect Airbnb to rent for getting ready just a few floors up above her wedding venue, so it was really efficient to have everything all in one place. Then, when it was go-time, she was already on site!

The day truly went off without a hitch and the night ended with some Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls. Like I said, my kind of people. <3

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Photography: Vanessa Lynne Photography

Day of Coordination: Tin and Twine Events

Makeup Artist: Alexa Dias

Bridal Shop: Miosa Bride

DJ: DJ Casualtee

Wedding Venue: Arcade Underground

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Amanda and Jon// Hope Valley Maternity Session

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Amanda and Jon// Hope Valley Maternity Session

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It’s really no secret that Fall is my favoritttte season. Every year, I play the “how-many-sessions-can-I-squeeze-in-during-peak-fall-season'‘ game, and every year gets a little crazier. I will say that, even though peak fall colors changes every year, I’ve gotten pretty darn good at the game. There really isn’t anything quite like the bright yellow, orange, and red hues that fall gives us, except for maybe Amanda’s gorgeous yellow dress that so perfectly complimented it so perfectly.

Amanda and I worked together back when we were teens at my very first job where we were Starbucks baristas. 12 years ago, people. So to say I was excited to capture this new chapter in her life would be an understatement. We hopped around Hope Valley, finding some new favorite locations along the way.

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Lauren and Bryan// The Maples Woodland

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Lauren and Bryan// The Maples Woodland

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the fun:

The first word that comes to mind when I think back on Lauren and Bryan’s is FUN. It was one of those weddings where, even when I was off the clock, I was sucked in to the the vibrance of their beautiful day. Once the party started, I really didn’t want to leave. They had alive band, Trace Repeat, who KILLED it and added such a lively component to their reception.

One of my favorite things to do is ask couples the story of how they met. Partly because I love seeing the two different perspectives, but mostly because I just really enjoy getting to know my couples and their story.

how they met:

Lauren: Armadillo Music is where we met back in May 2012. I still remember introducing myself to my new, incredibly handsome co-worker and being instantly nervous around him. This funny, handsome, great-taste-in-music and over-all wonderful guy had me smitten from day one. I knew quickly that I had to get to know him better. Our first date lasted seven hours, and that was the beginning of our journey together. Six years later we are a married couple!

Bryan: When I first saw Lauren, she had green hair, and was wearing a sweater any Grandmother would be proud of. She was many things all at once: fiery, well-spoken, engaging, and genuinely interesting. However, Lauren is wrong. Our first date was nine hours-- I know because I timed it. If I could spend nine hours of any day with any person, it would be her. So here we are taking the first of many first steps in our 'new' life as the independent but intertwined, slightly unhinged, but lovable couple that we've come to be.

How he proposed:

Lauren: The engagement happened on the Tower Bridge in Sacramento, CA. After numerous failed attempts to get me to stop taking photos and focus, Bryan managed to "pop the question" on the bridge. I believe my words were "it's happening?!" rather than yes.

Bryan: I spent a considerable amount of time rehearsing what I was going to say when the time came. To this day, I remember bits and pieces. In my head it was going to be profound, and encapsulate our journey to this point, a grand gesture. Fun fact: she never said 'yes' until much later. I like to think that I wooed her speechless, so I'm sticking to that. Under the setting sun of a pleasant but hot Sacramento evening, in the middle of the of the mustard yellow Tower Bridge, we got engaged. Shortly after rising off the concrete, a boat below us playing some truly awful rap song came into view, and we laughed heartily as if I had planned it. We also had the worst champagne hangovers of our lives the next day, we laughed about that, too, but much later. I'm a lucky man.

The Kindest of Words:

I asked Lauren if she would be willing to share with me her experience with me as her photographer. To my surprise, Bryan insisted on writing it and I think you’ll love it as much as I did:

Bryan wrote, “I never met the photographer; but I trust my wife. When she came back from meeting Vanessa for the first time, she said "I think I've found the one." Similar words are only spoken at the altar, and rarely with such enthusiasm. So, naturally, I was optimistic. The day of the wedding was a blur, and when I saw commanding red hair descend into my bachelor cave, (and it did have the dinginess of Frank Sinatra's bomb shelter) first thing she did was assess her environment, and said something along the lines of 'we can make this work.' Of course, Lauren chose her. The bachelor room was small, dimly lit, but cool in a very industrial way; with piping lining the walls, painted the same shade of grey as the rest of the interior. This should be a photographer's nightmare, but it just proved to be a welcomed challenge to Vanessa. When we got the photos back, I was floored with the way she made a drab, dark place, come to life with the excitement a wedding day brings. With the camera, she slinks around like a shutter-fly assassin. You can really see the delicate touch she puts in her photos, and there were so many damn good photos that it was extremely difficult to put a finger on which ones would make the walls in our home - there wouldn't be adequate space, and people's eyes would roll into their skulls, and vomit with jealously. She made us feel the moment (even more), and gave us direction, which, to me, life's a party when I have to be serious, and inexplicably, I turn into Woody Allen without spectacles, and flail about. 

This all reads as hyperbole, but good wedding photographers (like really good) are hard to come across, and there are even fewer who will take the photos that you revisit time and again. Just thinking about the overload of emotions, and awe when moving from one to the next, sitting next to my Wife, is a ride worth more than the price of admission. We were in very good hands, and I can't recommend Vanessa enough!”

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Venue: The Maples Woodland

Wedding Planning and Day of Coordination: Jessica of Joyeux Events

Hair Stylist: Liz Cordis

Makeup Artist: Jen Hooker

Florist: Katie Koch of Flower Mama

Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero

Live Band: Trace Repeat

Videographer: Captain and Cat

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Mary &amp; Jaime's Tropical Maui Wedding

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Mary & Jaime's Tropical Maui Wedding

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This weddings, guys. Where do I even begin? When Mary first got engaged last year (while in Maui), we booked hers and Jaime’s engagement session right away (you can find their engagement session blog post here). We opted to do their shoot in the mountains in the fal since they had a pretty good idea they were doing a tropical wedding. They woke up at the butt crack of dawn (2:30 am) and met me hours before sunrise to catch the first light in one of my favorite spots. Nothing says “we trust your vision” like waking up in the middle of the night for an adventurous engagement sesh.

Fast forward to their wedding day and the warmth of Maui literally couldn’t have been more of a contrast to their chilly and mountainous engagement session (thank you, Jesus!). They said their vows surrounded by their family and closest friends, then ran off with me for some portraits out on the jetty. As is pretty typical for Maui, the most spectacular sun began to set and so began the onslaught of many happy dances.

They wrapped up their evening with the kindest words and, *cough*, roasts from others and boogied the night away on the dance floor. My most sincere congratulations, Mary and Jaime! What an honor to photograph your PERFECT day.

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Venue: Olowalu Plantation House

Wedding Planning and Coordination: Tropical Maui Weddings

Wedding Dress: Lulus

Videographer: Ryan Flinn

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Fall Engagement Session in the Mountains

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Fall Engagement Session in the Mountains

If you know me, you know I love a good sunrise session. Maybe I'm a freak of nature, or maybe I just love the morning light. I'll let you decide. I somehow persuaded Mary and James to accompany me up to the mountains before the sun came up for their peak autumn engagement session. 

We fueled up with some hot coffee before making our trek up towards Hope Valley and found ourselves in the perfect location before the birds chirped. I spotted this location years ago and will talk just about anyone and everyone into going with me because it's just that magical in every season. 

Mary told me weeks after that they had both been so nervous the night before that they barely slept. But as soon as we hopped out into the open valley, they were too busy to think twice about their nerves.

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My fiancé Jaime and I had never taken any sort of professional photos before, so the thought of 2 hours of shooting made us cringe. We had just accepted the fact that we had to take these pictures for our save the dates. From the second we met up with Vanessa she made us feel so comfortable with her bubbly and upbeat personality. We arrived at the location and our nerves were going nuts, but she assured us we would be fine. I’ve never felt so at ease doing something so out of my element. She let us be ourselves and made a two hour shoot feel like 10 minutes. Still we wondered how the pictures would look and how awkward we would look in them. It was the longest 2 weeks of my life waiting for the final photos, but when we finally saw the pictures edited we were absolutely blown away. We looked so natural and so much better than I could have ever imagined. Vanessa has a vision like nothing I’ve ever seen before. We loved her and the pictures so much we scheduled another shoot with her a week later. Vanessa is not only professional and talented, but warm and comforting.. We will never use anyone else for our photos and I’m telling the world about her.
— Mary H.

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Intimate Newborn &amp; Family Session

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Intimate Newborn & Family Session

The Whitfords invited me into their home with their newest addition, Asher Louis, just 9 days old. Asher preferred to be held in his parents' arms, only fussing briefly when laid down for a few moments. 

In-home sessions with newborns are so quiet amongst the chaos of this world that time seems to stand still. So still, in fact, that the shutter of my camera even startled Asher once or twice. It fascinated me that I had never before noticed just how abruptly loud it could be in the absence of noise or movement each time I pressed the shutter button.

Congratulations, Jess & Matt, on your sweet baby boy. <3

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Kelly + Florian // Elopement in the Redwoods

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Kelly + Florian // Elopement in the Redwoods

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Kelly and Florian contacted me all the way from Belgium back in March about photographing their elopement in Redwood National Park. They were planning on spending two weeks in California and wanted to start their trip off in Northern California by tying the knot. I immediately felt like we were long friends and was so excited to capture their special day.

We started by exploring around Patrick’s Point, then headed over to Redwood National Park to stand under the Redwood Giants while they exchanged vows. We finished the day frolicking amongst the ferns and it was pretty darn magical. <3

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Intimate Ceremony on Kehoe Beach

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Intimate Ceremony on Kehoe Beach

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Dorothyrose's first words to me were, "interested in photographing a tiny June wedding on Kehoe Beach?" UM YES, Dorothyrose. I AM interested. "Interested" is the understatement of the year.

Together, She and Josh live in Arizona, but both grew up in California. Josh spent much of his childhood on Kehoe Beach so it was a no brainer to have their ceremony somewhere with such history. A 15 minute walk to the beach from we had the shoreline almost all to ourselves. Vows were shared, applauses were made, and Josh + Dorothyrose became husband and wife.

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Tuscan Villa Inspired Wedding in the Heart of Amador County

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Tuscan Villa Inspired Wedding in the Heart of Amador County

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Natalie and Rob's wedding was extremely special to me. I had photographed Natalie's twin sister's wedding a year and a half ago and had felt a special connection with her family. So, when Natalie met with me after she was engaged, we got right into planning mode for her engagement session and got her date on the books.

On the wedding day, I pulled up to their venue, the Grand Reserve Inn, and felt immediately transported into an italian countryside. The venue is set back quite away from the road and is completely surrounded by vineyards on sloping hills. Natalie's vision for the day paired with her event planner's eye (Shannon of Tin and Twine Events) and ability to tie it all together made for one magical wedding day.

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A BIG shout out to all of the vendors who made this wedding run so effortlessly!

Photography: Vanessa Lynne Photography

Venue: Grand Reserve Inn

Event Planning and Design: Shannon McAlister of Tin and Twine

Rentals: Ritual Rentals

Day of Coordinating: Tan Weddings & Events

Flowers: Yay for Cake

Dress: Miosa Bride

Rings: Shane Co.

Hair & MUA: Brandi Ritberger of Do My Hair

DJ: Brandon + Kami of

Cake & Dessert Bar: Frank Vilt's Cakes

Officiant: Lonny Felcher

Restrooms: Executive Restrooms

 

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Adventure Session along the Big Sur Coast

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Adventure Session along the Big Sur Coast

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At literally every turn, Big Sur never ceases to blow my mind with its landscapes and breathtaking views. it is HANDS-DOWN one of my favorite locations to shoot; it has a unique sort of magic that I haven't found elsewhere. For those who've visited, I think, will agree with me here.

After grabbing lunch at Nepenthe (and some tasty local vino, of course), we chatted about the day and made a loose game plan for where we wanted to shoot. We started in the redwoods, frolicked on the beach (yes, I frolick), and watched the sun set on Bixby Bridge. 

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Amber + Camden's Mountaintop Spring Engagement Session

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Amber + Camden's Mountaintop Spring Engagement Session

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When we were trying to choose which location to choose Amber and Camden's engagement session, I gave them probablyyyy a few too many options. I have lots of places on my "dream shoot" list (ahem, death valley) and so I had given them several choices to see which fit them best. They landed on the mountains; a couple after my own heart. Don't get me wrong, I love the ocean, but the mountains are my *jam.*

We started the session with a beer and ended it with one of the best sunsets I've seen this year. The Eastern Sierras have a certain magic that is beautiful all year round, and I was so glad that Amber and Camden trusted my vision for their adventurous mountain-y engagement sesh. <3 

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Engagement Session: From the Sierras down to the River

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Engagement Session: From the Sierras down to the River

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We've had Lauren and Jason's Engagement Session on the books since January. They picked a day in late April, hoping for some blue skies and the chance of wild flowers. We went over location ideas and Lauren settled on both the Sierras and the American River. 

When the day finally came, we set off for the mountains in Jason't truck, not realizing he was on E. When we got to the next gas station, the pumps were down (What??!!). We were baffled but at the same time it was a completely laughable scenario. We made the safe choice to go back down (losing about 35 minutes of time) and fuel up at the last gas station. Once we were finally back on the road, Jason started talking about a super cool look out spot. Normally, I have the general locations more or less picked out, but the way his eyes lit up when talking about this amazing spot, I knew we had to go.

As we pull off the highway, I was beyond excited to realize that this was a place I've always wanted to go, but never really had the chance to explore. It was fate! We hopped out and got started shooting right away, having the spot to ourselves.

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From the epic view of Lake Tahoe, we drove all the way down to the river in Coloma - one of their favorite places to spend time together.  Even with the gas mishap, we still had plenty of light left and hiked up to get a good view of the sunset over the river. 

We literally ran around in the wildflowers and chased the sun going down. If this doesn't epitomize adventure, I'm not sure what does. 

Cheers to Lauren and Jason. I canNOT wait until your wedding next year; I'm already counting down the days.....only 525 to go....

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Anniversary Session: Kate + Kyle Celebrating One Year of Marriage

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Anniversary Session: Kate + Kyle Celebrating One Year of Marriage

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Kate and I worked at Starbucks several years back and were instant friends. She was my hiking buddy, my on-call model, and my sanity from the barista madness. She now lives in Germany with her hubs, so we took advantage of her short time visiting in California, chatting over iced teas before the shoot and catching one another up on the newest details of in our lives. Kate told me about life in Germany and I told her about my latest travels and summer plans.

When it came time for the shoot, Kyle met up with us as we packed up and headed for Pena Adobe Regional Park. We explored, climbed a few hills, chased the sunlight and documented this special time in their life. Happy one year anniversary, you two.

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The Channel Islands on a Sunny Spring Weekend

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The Channel Islands on a Sunny Spring Weekend

Raise your hand if you know next to nothing about the Channel Islands? Me, too. And up until my most recent National Park visit (if you're keeping tracking, this is stop #3) of the Channel Islands last weekend, I had little to no knowledge of this majestic wonderland. There are eight separate islands, but we only had time to visit two of them: Anacapa and Santa Cruz. 

The first island we visited was Anacapa. We boarded a boat out of Oxnard, California with Island Packers at 9:00 am. It took us about a half hour longer than it was supposed to because we kept seeing whales and dolphins and, of course, had to stop. 

It had been foggy the whole ride over on the boat and for the first two hours that we roamed the island. When we finally pulled up, the first thing I noticed was the seagulls. Seagulls EVERYWHERE. There's no freshwater on the island and for whatever reason these seagulls just absolutely love Anacapa and are basically the only life on the whole island. They were so fun to photograph and had no aversion to humans. They ignored us most of the time, but, man, were they up close and personal when we were snacking on our lunch. I could've watched them for hours. But just after 1:00 p.m., the fog finally lifted to give us more of a view of the rest of the "banana" shaped island.

I could've stayed there all day with the sun out and the birds flying all around me, but, alas, the boat arrived at 3:00 p.m. to take us back.

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The following day, we left out of the Ventura harbor. Thank GOODNESS I had taken plenty of Dramamine because it was the roughest boat ride I've ever endured. And if you've ever been on a boat or kayak with me, you know how terribly sick I get if I forget to take it, Unlike the start of the previous day, it was warm and sunny for the get-go. Thankfully, we packed the sunblock (SPF 100 for my ginger self). It was going to be a hot one. We had a solid seven hours to explore, so we had a packed lunch and lots of water. The first thing I noticed was the similarity to landscape found in Northern California, so I felt right at home. 

We chose the longer of the hikes since we had pretty much all day. Not far into hike, we started seeing a sprinkling of caterpillars right on the trail. A few hundred yards of that, though, drastically morphed into a solid mile of THOUSANDS of caterpillars. So much so that we had to focus so hard on the ground to watch every single step we took to avoid stepping on them. I've never seen anything like it. 

For lunch, we made a pit stop down at a gorgeous sandy beach to take a little break from the sun and sit under the Eucalyptus. After about a 2 hour lunch break, we headed for the boat since we had quite a bit of a hike left. All in all, I think we did a 9 mile hike - lots of hills and sunshine.

Fun Fact: The Island Fox is found on the Santa Cruz Island (and a few of the other Channel Islands) and they exist nowhere else in the entire world. Another tourist asked one of the National Park Naturalists if we'd be likely see one of them. She chuckled and told us the only way we wouldn't see them was if he kept our eyes closed. Sure enough, we rounded the corner and one (of many seen throughout the day) was right there. They were so precious. Very petite and quite clever little creatures.

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Spring Maternity Sessions in Northern California

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Spring Maternity Sessions in Northern California

After many, MANY weeks of rain, the sun came out just as I had back to back maternity sessions.

Spring is an especially popular time for expectant mamas, and it's no wonder. The birds are singing, the grass is green and the weather is a 10/10. From the ocean to the American River, these two mamas rocked their sessions, Check out a few of my favorites and let me know yours!

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American River Newlywed Session in Foresthill

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American River Newlywed Session in Foresthill

foresthill engagement

Julie and Will both have hectic and sometimes opposite work schedules, so we had planned their engagement session months in advance to be sure they both had it off. Julie is a nurse and Will is a firefighter, and with all of the crazy fires we had last fall, Will was putting in some major over time. So, with many rescheduled dates and the wedding day approaching, Julie proposed to me that we do a newlyweds session during the off-season. "Heck yes!" was my immediate response. Count me in.

They wanted to stay close, since they just got a new puppy (adorable!), so I dreamed up this shoot at a new location I've been dying to bring a couple to. It's a bit of a hidden gem and I knew I'd need a super adventurous couple who would be up to sort of explore the area with me. It ended up being so fun, we just followed the light and enjoyed the sunset over the American River.

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