Photoshot with Lucy

Hello :)

It’s me again, Lea.

My time at She Wanders has been wonderful so far. My personal highlight was a photoshoot Suzanne initiated just for me, so I could learn how she directs models. This was something I really wanted to learn, naturally I was thrilled when Suzanne announced that we were going to do a photoshoot at Balboa Park and I would get to choose the model.

We met in the afternoon at Balboa Park with my friend Lucie and then wandered off to different spots to catch the golden hour light. It was amazing to see how Suzanne was able to read the light in a matter of seconds and could quickly decide which location would make for a great photo. While doing that and in the whole process of shooting she communicated with Lucie to get to know her and build a connection. The most important advice that I took away from Suzanne’s directing was that it is important to get a sense for the person in front of the camera. This way you can find the balance of directing and granting freedoms to allow room to capture the essence of the person.

It is incredible to realize how much multitasking a photoshoot requires. You have to read the light, find an interesting composition, set your camera and direct the model, all at the same time. A lot of this is practice, and this shoot motivated me to practice a lot more. It was magical to see the how Suzanne does all of that with an unmatched lightness, positivity and empathy for the model.

This amazing opportunity has sparked a new joy in taking photos of people and has inspired me to keep working on all my insecurities to become a better photographer.

These are my favorite photos I took of Lucy.


A Brigatine Wedding for Rose and Matt

These two.  Wow.  Rose and Matt took their time getting to their wedding day.  Life just kept bringing them back to each other.  I loved that I was able to witness Matt watching Rose walk down the aisle.  It was a long epic walk full of beauty.  These two are consummate hosts, it was beautiful to watch how much they loved every person that stood with them by the sea in Del Mar.  The getting ready room was full of laughter and long time friendship.  I loved watching everything unfold.  I could spend every Saturday with this crew.  Everything was beautiful the decor and the love that was everywhere.  Friends, it was amazing. 

xoxo Suzanne

design and coodrination : Before I Do Events floral : Isari Floral

Britt Scripps Manor Wedding for Jessica and TIm

Jessica and Tim are originals.  They have a world view of figuring out how to design their lives and not just live by default.  Their friends and family obviously love them for it.  I could see it in the laughs, the warm embraces and the general witty remarks and heart felt speeches. 

Here are just a few musings I had on how they stood out.  Bridal party was their friends hanging out.

Their friends sang as they walked down the aisle.  Yup.  It was awesome.  Tim walked in dancing to the tune of Higher Love and suddenly the front row started singing and then turned around and invited everyone.  So Jessica walked herself down the aisle while everyone serenaded her.  Their wedding program says they met on Tinder, that they are in fact already married, and that there is an after party of 80's vs 90's music.

I could go on and on and on but for now here are some images.

With love and definite admiration.  Congrats to Jessica and Tim and their loved ones.



The Santa Monica Pier Engagement : Brandon and Lindsey

Lindsey and Brandon feel like rainbows and ferris wheels to me.  All color and painterly.  When I think of Lindsey I remember her laughing in a bridesmaids dress in Jenna's getting ready room, helping me with a family problem, and this gorgeous engaged girl at an Exquisite Weddings party.  It's wonderful to get to know her and Brandon better.  I love knowing that I get to have a back stage pass to her wedding day and hold up a mirror that says You guys are magic.  I can't wait.

Mentoring : Paying it Forward - Lea

Maryanne and I talk about Lea all the time.  She's been gone a couple of months now and we miss her.  First she went to the Barbados to celebrate the end of the school year and now she's visiting family in Germany.   In a couple of weeks though she will be back In Sydney preparing for her final semester.  

Lea was our spring intern at Shewanders and since I often share work space with Maryanne they really had a chance to become fast friends and even shoot together.

I'm so invested in Lea's success.  I want the world for her.  She's talented, quick and kind.  Even though she's barely in her 20's she is one of the most grounded people I know.  I miss giving her advice and catching up on our days together.  I miss growing her up. So I'm going to share one of our mentoring sessions.  She set up a shoot with Ricky her roommate and we headed to Balboa Park.  I inundated Lea with questions before hand.  

In an ideal world would you photograph -1 person, 2 people, large groups?  What feeling do you want the background to have - industrial, architectural, natural, floral, water, desert?  What do you need tips on - how to move a person comfortably through a session, how to draw out a specific emotion from someone, your settings, experimenting with movement-exposure-gesture, how to pose? For a couple of weeks she would journal in the morning a list of dream shoots and then text it to me.  Over the weeks they were bolder and more specific.  

It feels so empowering me to be able to draw out someone's artistic ability.  To give them permission, to practice and grow.  I want to tell all budding photographers to put themselves out there and experiment.  To set themselves up for success and care about their fragile egos.  To make room for messes and understand why when something is successful.  

This shoot was pure magic.  Ricky has an energy that any photographer would love and Lea has a light and kindness to her that makes me miss her so much.  Lea learned to move around a lot and respond to Ricky's light hearted mood.  She also learned to just keep talking so that Ricky wouldn't feel alone when Lea covered her face with a camera.  There's so much that goes into every shoot and nothing that can replace real life experience.  Hopefully i'll be adding a video to this soon as well. =)

New York I love you. I dream in color palettes.

New York seems to be popping up everywhere.  This week my mother in law is in town from Orange Country, New York.  Last week Maryanne was in Sag Harbor New York.  Last night the new clients I met were from New York etc etc.  I guess you can say New York is on my mind.  Here are some colors that I was drawn to when I was in the city last month.  As always I love street scenes and checking out the latest art exhibit.  I had the chance to finally visit Alana's new store ANGL which was even more beautiful in person.  Alana and I went to MOMA and had drinks with my sweet friend Katie.  If I could click my hills 3 times I'd be looking at some art with those babes right now.  I have to share that my friend Taylor had the best instagram post explaining how she dreams in color palettes.  I've never had someone explain that habit of mine before.  It was so refreshing and made me want to share a thread of a color palette I followed and share it with you.

Detroit Wedding : Victoria and Travis

Hello friends,

As always I'm so thrilled to be sharing one of our weddings with you. You met Victoria and Travis with the Detroit Engagement blog post.  And just a couple days later I photographed their wedding.  It was so cool to meet their family and friends.  A few people came up to me and told me which of their engagement photos were their favorite and I loved the midwestern hospitality.  There were so many beautiful moments I don't even know where to start.  Victoria and Travis are both so loved by their friends and family that it was just moment after moment.  Since Detroit is so far north the sun stayed out while everyone was on the dance floor.  I wasn't expecting the golden hour to last so long.  My awesome local 2nd shooter Amanda Junae was so awesome to work with and sported a 7 month baby bump and is such a girl boss.  She was my hero that day.  I'm just sitting here smiling and trying to think of what to say but I'll just have to say it in images.  There aren't words for how Victoria lights up when she sees Travis or how hope and beauty floated around the room.  I love that these two found each other.

Say you, say me say it together : Detroit

I went to the Motown Museum in Detroit on what turned out to be Juneteenth.  How serendipitous. Detroit plays an important role in our country coming together.  I was overwhelmed to learn what an impact a record company could have. During a time of great racial tension, Motown’s positive message and new sound gave blacks and whites a way to come together.  I love that in a time of political strife they used music that was aspirational to build common ground.

They showed us concert footage of the 60’s and explained how concert halls used to be segregated.  Even when they weren’t often at the start of the concert there would be whites on one side and blacks on the other. Then once the concert got going the crowd would mix, dance together and come together.  It felt like a tale of musical revolution. Believe it or not Martha of Martha and the Vandellas joined our tour! How epic is that! We heard Martha sing a few songs on the documentary. She also let us know the ones she sang back up on too.  She’s just as gorgeous now as she was in the 60’s.

(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave (1963)

Dancing In The Street (1964)

Along with the Vandella’s - the Supremes, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder released more than 180 No. 1 hits worldwide.

Also in 1963 Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. led more than 125,000 people down Woodward ave in Detroit for a civil rights march.  This is where he first delivered the “I have a dream” speech. Which was recorded on the Gordy label of Motown records.  

Abdul Fakir of the Four Tops, known as “Duke,” said in a 2009 interview “We looked at Martin Luther King and we thought, he’s doing the same thing on foot that we’re doing on the radio,” “I like to think that we were softening the blow for him a little bit.”

There are so many ways for our country to come together and in 2018 we need to.  I love voting and marching but this trip made me wonder what are some ways we never even thought of?  What beautiful artistic ways can help us to come together?

I love the song Say you, Say me by Lionel Richie

Say you, say me say it for always

That's the way it should be

Say you, say me say it together


When I hear this song I think

Say yes to you, Say yes to me

We are one.  We are each other.  When I say you, I’m saying me.  

So let’s see that we are all Americans from a great country of immigrants.  Let’s see ourselves in people seeking political asylum. Let’s know that we would never want to have our children taken from us.  Let’s know that our families came from other countries to seek better opportunities. My family came from Norway and Ireland on the boat.  I see myself in these brave people trying to make a better life for themselves. Just like I see myself in our amazing clients who are brave enough to stand in front of their friends and family and pledge their love and hope to each other in a message of peace.  

With love and peace,

Suzanne, Mike, Morgan and the Wanderers

Balboa Park Engagement for Drew and Johanna

I love these images!  These pictures happened while I was in the Hampton's photographing a wedding.  My awesome partner in crime Mike Ofeldt pinch hit for me and photographed my clients engagement when they were visiting San Diego from Chicago.  I was so happy we could make it work for Drew and Johanna.  Although I do have to admit I was crazy jealous not to be the one to capture these love birds.  As always, I'm a little jealous of Mike.  I just love his point of view and even though there was a ton of Friday traffic and the shoot was a little shorter I think these images came out so dreamy!  Total perfection.  My husband has skills and Drew and Johanna are naturals.  They exude happiness and fit each other with such ease.  I can't wait to get my hands on them later this summer at the Del with Luxe Events.  I love love love that the beautiful Johanna had her hair and make up trial with Audra Rene right before.  It's so fun to get dolled up before a shoot =)

Montauk Yacht Club for Stephanie and Ryan

You never have to ask me twice to go to New York.  I jump at any opportunity but this was extra special.  I love when past clients recommend us and I was especially honored when Ashley recommended us to her cousin Stephanie.  I love the Anton's and was so stoked to get to photograph this wedding.  Stephanie and Ryan were so laid back and cool from the get go.  I knew we were a great fit.  We hung out while they were visiting family in San Diego and went over all the details which were mostly how awesome, in love, relaxed they are and that Ryan is a heck of a fisherman.  It was a breezy year and then finally I was in Montauk at the rehearsal dinner and it was a flurry of hugs.  Lauren - Stephanie's amazing friend gave me the low down of who everyone was and then gave the world's best speech.  I love you Lauren.  I also wanted to share one of my instagram posts right after the wedding.  It's impossible to explain how wonderful being a part of Stephanie and Ryans weekend was but I gave it a shot in my usual round a bout way.  

Behind those eyes is a firecracker. 
It's easy to fall in love with photography. 
It's harder to run a business. 
I know so many people who fall in love with the craft of photography and the beauty of weddings. 
But what happens next?
How do you find clients?
How do you find the right clients?
These are questions every photographer must find an answer too.
Some how for the last 15 years we have managed to find the right clients. 
We've tried dozens of ways and had our share of successes and failures. 
I imagine most of our success comes down to loving our clients and being wildly grateful for them.
If you love someone it's so easy to see their inner beauty. It's so simple to have compassion for them and anticipate what they might need during the day. If you love someone you cheer them on and wish them every happiness. If you love someone you are on their team and feel grateful to be a part of it all. 
I loved getting to travel into Stephanie's life. I love how open she was and how loving her friends and family are. You might look at this image and think what a beautiful woman. But I look at it and think -She is so loved and cherished. She means the world to everyone in the reception and some that couldn't be there. I know what it's like to love someone and I could feel everyone pouring their love in Stephanie. She is so worthy of it. 
That's the story I was trying to tell. If you were there you would have laughed and cried and been a little in awe of this firecracker . You wouldn't have just seen a beautiful woman you would have seen so much more behind those eyes. 
I'm so grateful to her cousin Ashley for referring me and letting me get to know her family more. 
I'm always so aware that not everyone has a career that is so full of moments that break their hearts open and allow them to live an artist life.
I look at this image and all I see is love. #stephanieisababe