orcutt ranch

Aubs & Bellas Wedding // Orcutt Ranch, CA

The Aubs & Bellas wedding took place on July 13th, at the Orcutt Ranch Horticultural Center, just outside of Los Angeles, California. It was a typical summer day in the desert– dry and insanely hot. It must have been 100 degrees, or close to it. The location was beautiful, surrounded by an orchard of orange trees with the most delicious oranges I have ever tasted (shhh they aren’t for wedding guests). Those oranges didn’t mind the hot, dry heat. They thrived from it! Oh, and did I mention there was a shaved ice truck?? That shaved ice was the best Hawaiian shaved ice I have and ever will eat. 

These two kids are very special to me. Aubs (Aubrey) and Bellas (John) are two the of the sweetest people I know. I know, I say that a lot about people. But doesn't that mean I surround myself with good people?? And these two are seriously the sweetest. Bellas played club soccer with my husband (Tom) at Penn State University. Those Penn Staters have a bond that I can’t begin to explain. You just have to meet a Penn Stater (actually two, so you see the crazy bond) to see what I’m talking about. They are nuts. Passionate. Crazy about football. Crazy about Penn State. And they are all super genuine. Anyways, when Tom and I moved out to Los Angeles eight years ago, Bellas took Tom in, like a brother. He let Tom stay in his home until we found our own place to live. Then he introduced us to his circle of friends, which soon became our friends. Our memories of LA are so fond, all because of this circle of friends, who we enjoyed numerous adventures with–on the beach, on the soccer field, in Palm Springs, at Chili cook-offs, in the hills, in the valley, in Hollywood, and out on Catalina Island. All of these connections happened because of Bellas. He’s like a big brother to Tom and I. We are just so incredibly happy that he found love with Aubs.

I don’t know the exact story, but I do remember Bellas talking about Aubs frequently when they were first dating. He seemed perplexed by this girl. Like, could he have found the one? Can you really find a partner who is also your best friend? This girl is just so cool, so active, and so easy to get along with. He could hang out with her, like she was one of the guys. And she was super cute. I knew something was serious because of the way Bellas was talking about her. It started out as a friendship, but quickly blossomed to much more. The best part of it all was that Aubs played soccer. And as our dear friend Heller (Matt, who married these two) put it, she may actually be better than him. I’m staying out of that argument though. Regardless, Bellas is one of the most active people I know- and has obviously finally met his match. It is safe to say that Aubs is the second most active person I know (but no less than Bellas). As I type, these two are off enjoying their honeymoon, probably swimming with sharks.

Aubs and Bellas are surrounded with a lot of love. They have touched so many people’s lives, that it is probably easy to lose track of the number. When I first met Aubs, she talked frequently about “Granny”. Granny is now over 90 years old (or close to 90), and smitten over Aubs. You can see that the love between these two runs deep (you’ll see what I’m talking about in the photos below). Granny had the honor of being flower girl on this special day. So adorable! Granny is so beautiful–inside and out. Such twinkly eyes–they made my camera sing!

Clearly these two give their everything to people. They are givers. We need more people like Aubs & Bellas in this world. Their registry included donations to The Painted Turtle (a children's camp in southern California providing the wonderful empowering experience of camp to children unable to attend other summer camps due to their chronic and life-threatening medical conditions) and Hillsides (Run independently and alongside the Penn State Alumni Association of Los Angeles, Hillsides has a vision of creating lasting change in the lives of at-risk children and youth). Feel free to donate!

I am beyond honored to have taken part in this extremely special day. Isn’t it funny when life comes full circle? Tomorrow is my 6 year wedding anniversary, and here I am, posting a photographic journal of the very first wedding that I photographed (as the main shooter). I love that. And it was on my wedding day six years ago, that the spark inside of me ignited to pursue photography. The potential was always there, but the flame was lit on that day.

Thanks Aubs & Bellas! You will always be remembered as my very first “wedding”!

What I learned on my first gig as a Professional Wedding Photographer:
• Wearing black is a great idea when photographing a wedding, but not when it is 100 degrees.
• Don’t forget to eat.
• Don’t forget to drink water.
• Don’t go out the night before shooting a wedding. Go to bed early!
• Having a checklist ready the week before the wedding is phenomenal.
• Having your gear charged and ready to go a day in advance is a must (these last two relieve unnecessary stress).
• 2 cameras + 2 batteries for each + 2- 32 gig memory cards each was more than enough
• Experimenting is always a good idea, but not at a new gig (first wedding, first newborn shoot, etc.).
• If the viewfinder of your camera is blurry, it isn’t because of the death of the camera, or the heat. You just have to adjust the focus on your viewfinder (sorry Tom).
• Having your husband as a second shooter is awesome. They have muscles and remind you to eat.
• Don’t stop taking photographs. Change perspectives. Change lenses.
• You can still take photographs that the second shooter is taking. Your perspectives will be different regardless.
• Don’t leave your reflector or sunglasses in an Orchard.
• Take one shot close up, one pulled back and one of the entire scene (pulled all the way back- wide angle).
• Have your subjects play games. Making them run around to loosen up. Give them an activity- like eating an orange.
• TAKE A SHOT OF THE BRIDE AND GROOM at dusk. I don't care how much they are over photographs.
• I love the Canon 70-200MM 2.8
• I still love my Canon 50mm 1.4
• The Canon 35mm 1.4 was amazing for wide angle and group shots, but really isn't THAT wide of a shot.