Behind the Lens | Setting up the sunset shoot in Tahoe!

I love when good planning meets opportunity to create unbelievable photos for my clients. 

Location: Lake Tahoe. 
 It was the afternoon before the wedding and my second shooter, Shannon, and I had planned to scope out all of the locations for our wedding the next day. We had never shot in Tahoe before and wanted to make sure we had a lay of the land so we know what to expect for lighting and portraits for the next day. 

Boy am I so glad we did! 

We first went to the bridal house where we saw there was the cutest dock that had just the right amount of wear and tear. What we then realized was that the wedding location and reception was just a stones throw down the shore. 

I knew this was the spot I wanted to shoot Matt and Cristina's wedding portraits, and they happily agreed to slightly alter the wedding schedule so that we could be out on this dock as the sun was setting. This did make them step away from the reception for abut 40 minutes, but it was so worth it and they both say it was one of the highlights of the day!  I love when client are a little flexible to  maximize their wedding photo time! : ) 

So we took a walk...
What neither of us could have known was how perfect the sunset was going to be that evening. 

The sunset went from cool blues and yellow, to vibrant reds, pinks and oranges that seemed to set the lake on fire all in a matter of 20 minutes. And then it was gone. 
Behind the scenes setup to this shot: 
Thats me laying on the dock. I brought the equipment I needed to get the right lighting for this situation. Since they were backlit, I used my 600 exrt on a Manfrotto light stand with white umbrella to throw out just enough light to make them glow. We also had a 8 pound sandbag on the base to make sure any wind wouldn't send my light setup toppling into the lake. 

The next one: from the lake... 
The Behind the scenes: 
I knew I wanted the angle of coming up from the glistening water. So I planned ahead and brought shorts to change into as I knew showing up to the reception in sopping wet pants wasn't going to cut it. It was so worth it as I had no reservations to walk into the lake and get down to get the shot I wanted. 

The Shot: 
 Behind the Scenes: 
I found I couldn't get the light strength I needed when my light was sitting on shore, and putting it on the dock wasn't the right angle, so I  brought my stand into the water with me. I weighted it down with an 8 pound light weight and dug it in deep into the sand to make sure it wouldn't move on me. It was a risk, but it worked just great and the photos we got were so worth it! 

One of my favorites from the day 

And Behind the Scenes: 
Same setup as before. Me in my soaking we shorts ( Like I said, I don't wear this to weddings ever, but needed it to have the flexibility to get into the water : ) 

So there you have it! A little behind the scenes into my mind of how I see the shots before hand and then plan out how to execute!  We really had only about 20 minutes of just spectacular light, you can see how fast it changed just in the time we were there. This is a great case of how to really optimize your shoot locations and great light. Hope you enjoyed! 

Sandra + Eric | Maternity

Sandra and Eric are in the final countdown to becoming parents! Sandra just has a natural glow to her that makes her skin look amazing and she rocked that bump in style for our session! 

When Eric said that they had some shoes that they have bought for their son, I imagined, I don't know little baby booties?  Little did I know they had bought the cutest little chucks! This boy is going to be walking in style! 
Eric and Sandra, I'm so excited for you guys as you become parents! I hope you always remember this special time of glowing anticipation of your little boy. :) 


Matt and Cristina | Tahoe Wedding

Some weddings day tend to have a little bit of extra natural magic. 
This was definitely the case on Cristina and Matt's day. It was a highly emotional, happy and almost fairy-tale like gorgeousness surrounding the entire day that took place in Lake Tahoe California. 

When I asked Matt and Cristina what their favorite part of their wedding day was, they both mentioned their time "alone" on their wedding day as we did bride and groom portraits. I love to give clients some personal time away from everyone and I'm so glad that Cristina and Matt will always remember it! It was seriously full of magic! I love what matt said about this time they had: 
 "My most memorable moment of the day was when my absolutely stunning bride (the freshly minted Mrs. Gaspar J ) and myself were able to break away from everybody and everything going on for a relaxing and refreshing leisurely stroll on the beach together. We got to take everything in together hand and hand as husband and wife. Little did we know we would have the most magnificent backdrop to hangout and reflect as the giddy newlyweds we were. Maintaining the emotional high we were both experiencing, we held each other and felt like little kids swinging our legs from the rickety pier outstretched on the quiet blue lake. While reflecting and enjoying the calmness we had no idea that we would get to experience one of Lake Tahoe’s most prolific sunsets. The shades of orange and red were so incredibly stunning and pronounced that we could not tell if both the sky and water were on fire. According to one of the locals it was the most beautiful sunset he had seen since in over 20 years. We felt so blessed to think how fortunate we were to have such an astonishing backdrop to top off a day we had both waited to enjoy for so long!"

Matt and Cristina! Your day was seriously unbelievable, from the blue glistening of Lake Tahoe to your amazing white dress and then of course the sunset and sparklers. It was just all around and fantastic day. Thank you for giving me the honor of capturing your day. 
I hope these photos bring back the emotion, the joy and the special moments that made up your wedding day. 

"When I think back on our wedding, there are a few memories that always pop out.  The first, as cliche as it is, is our first kiss.  I don't know why, but I relive it all the time, and it still feels like I am back in that moment.  I had been dying to hug or kiss him the whole ceremony, and combined with the symbolism of it, it was just a really deep moment for me." - Cristina

" I also remember our time on the dock.  I am so happy we did those sunset pictures.  It was great to have some quiet time together and you and Shannon made us feel so comfortable we were able to release some emotion and enjoy that beautiful sunset together!  Which by the way, I still cannot believe that sunset!!!! There wasn't a cloud in the sky all day, and then it felt like suddenly at sunset, the clouds appeared and made the sky so gorgeous.  It was really such a special time of the day" - Cristina

"The story that I can’t refrain from repeating over and over was the spectacular sunset we had to top off our ceremony. Lake Tahoe means so much to both of us, and even more so now, and that sunset we got to experience together as newlyweds is permanently engrained in my mind forever. Initially I was hesitant to break away from the family, friends and fun but little did I know Cristina and I would have the most magical moment ever to top off the incredible buildup to this day, this place, this event for this new beginning!" - Matt


Thanks again Matt and Cristina! I pray the next 60 years of marriage will be unbelievable!