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Love doesn't Care about the weather!

I photographed a wedding in North Carolina in a hurricane.  The bride gave up worrying about her beach side ceremony and switched into a go with the flow outlook.  It was a fantastic wedding!

Looking out at the hurricane while waiting for the "first look"  

Looking out at the hurricane while waiting for the "first look"  

The reveal or first look is always a great moment.  We had planned this on the beach, but with 70 mph winds- this was a better choice, and just as special for the bride and groom.

The reveal or first look is always a great moment.  We had planned this on the beach, but with 70 mph winds- this was a better choice, and just as special for the bride and groom.

Always have a Plan B for when the weather acts up 

Always have a Plan B for when the weather acts up 

We stepped outside the wedding reception for some photos.

We stepped outside the wedding reception for some photos.

The bride does not let the hurricane get in the way of having a perfect wedding.

The bride does not let the hurricane get in the way of having a perfect wedding.

 Reynolds-Lombardi Wedding
The reception site at The Sanderling Resort in North Carolina.

The reception site at The Sanderling Resort in North Carolina.

The day after the wedding with blue skies we took photos...

The day after the wedding with blue skies we took photos...

 Reynolds-Lombardi Wedding
 Reynolds-Lombardi Wedding
 Reynolds-Lombardi Wedding
The day after the wedding with blue skies...

The day after the wedding with blue skies...

 Reynolds-Lombardi Wedding
a little smoke bomb effect.

a little smoke bomb effect.

 Reynolds-Lombardi Wedding

A Carmel Valley Ranch Wedding

Marc Howard shot Carlie andJoe's wedding at Carmel Valley Ranch.  I was the second shooter at their wedding.  Before the ceremony Marc took these great still lifes...These are the shots we like to take while the bride is finishing her hair and makeup.

 Carli and Joe CV Ranch
 Carli and Joe CV Ranch

The Ceremony site overlooks the Pinot Noir Vineyards at the Ranch.  It also has a spectacular view of Carmel Valley...not a bad backdrop for the bride and groom.

 Carli and Joe CV Ranch

I like that the Vineyards are right there....Marc Howard's great shots of the bride and groom

Engagement photography for Derek and Gillian

Rarely do I photograph newly engaged couples that I have a long time connection to....I have known Derek since before he was born...so it was with extreme pleasure that I was able to spend some time with this fantastic couple.  

Carmel Mission Beach..a favorite place to shoot engagement photos.  I have also shot a few elopements here as well.    

Carmel Mission Beach..a favorite place to shoot engagement photos.  I have also shot a few elopements here as well.

 

 

 Derek and Gillian 
Photos by Tom G O'Neal
Bright sun isn't may favorite light to shoot in, but here it works with all the rock shadows... 

Bright sun isn't may favorite light to shoot in, but here it works with all the rock shadows... 

the bride to be taking a scenic moment....

the bride to be taking a scenic moment....

 Derek and Gillian 
Photos by Tom G O'Neal
Gillian's tattoo fits the moment.

Gillian's tattoo fits the moment.

 Derek and Gillian 
Photos by Tom G O'Neal
I want all my photo shoots to be relaxed and fun...this is why I try and allow plenty of time with my bridal couples... and a go to a few locations, so that both the bride to be and groom to be can savour this time.  

I want all my photo shoots to be relaxed and fun...this is why I try and allow plenty of time with my bridal couples... and a go to a few locations, so that both the bride to be and groom to be can savour this time.  

The Monterey Peninsula and Carmel Valley offer wonderful wineries and tasting rooms.  Here we went into downtown Carmel to Vino Napoli Wine Bar to enjoy and get variety into our pre bridal session.    

The Monterey Peninsula and Carmel Valley offer wonderful wineries and tasting rooms.  Here we went into downtown Carmel to Vino Napoli Wine Bar to enjoy and get variety into our pre bridal session.  

 

We walked around Carmel and ducked into another quaint alley way... 

We walked around Carmel and ducked into another quaint alley way... 

The choices on the Monterey Peninsula for engagement or wedding locations are huge. Derek and Gillian are looking at a  Carmel Valley wedding...and then there are Big Sur weddings, Monterey weddings, and Pebble Beach weddings...endless fantastic wedding venues.

The choices on the Monterey Peninsula for engagement or wedding locations are huge. Derek and Gillian are looking at a  Carmel Valley wedding...and then there are Big Sur weddings, Monterey weddings, and Pebble Beach weddings...endless fantastic wedding venues.

The Rehearsal Dinner

The  rehearsal dinner kick starts or initiates the wedding celebration.  I love shooting the rehearsal dinner as the the celebration finally (after all the wedding planning) has begun, and the energy of the family and bridal party is great.  It's also a good opportunity to get to know the family and friends or key players in the upcoming wedding.

At this particular rehearsal dinner, at the  Monterey Peninsula Beach House in Pebble Beach, the parents seemed to know all of the bride and grooms friends.  The rehearsal dinner is also when most of the toasts can take place, and they  are heartfelt and entertaining....sometimes there's a bit of a roast involved as well. 

 Palino- Hill Rehearsal Dinner
Photos by Tom G O'Neal

In some situations the   bridal couple is too busy with their party to take a moment to shoot a few shots of just them...here, we were at this great venue on Spanish Bay, and Morgan and Jennifer were into having some photos of just them.

When couples are relaxed and having fun it translates into great photos.

When couples are relaxed and having fun it translates into great photos.

 Palino- Hill Rehearsal Dinner
Photos by Tom G O'Neal
 Palino- Hill Rehearsal Dinner
Photos by Tom G O'Neal
Jennifer already looks like a bride.  A great couple, and a great rehearsal dinner at MPCC Beach House

Jennifer already looks like a bride.  A great couple, and a great rehearsal dinner at MPCC Beach House

A Carmel Valley Wedding

At Bernardus Lodge couples get married in a rose garden setting with a view of the mountains.  It's a great country walk for the bride to walk from the resort down to the ceremony site.  Another great wedding to shoot...Mark, the father of the bride was very involved in the wedding planning, and I tried to capture his moment walking his daughter to her groom.

The shoes,  the brides jewelry and bouquet create a still life.  For me, it's like painting with my camera.

 Photos by Tom G O'Neal
www.tgoweddings.com

I always say a bride is not a bride until she puts on her wedding dress.  To me, it's a significant part of the wedding.  

 Photos by Tom G O'Neal
www.tgoweddings.com

The groomsmen's shoes- I am always looking for these detail shots.....

 Photos by Tom G O'Neal
www.tgoweddings.com

Carmel Valley weddings are a great setting for an elegant wedding.  The Father of the bride making "the walk"....

 Photos by Tom G O'Neal
www.tgoweddings.com

During the ceremony we had 2 photographers.  I always like to have 2 angles of view, and especially  during the ceremony.  One view of the groom, and one photographing the bride. 

 Photos by Tom G O'Neal
www.tgoweddings.com
 Photos by Tom G O'Neal
www.tgoweddings.com
The guests threw rose petals to the happy couple.

The guests threw rose petals to the happy couple.

This is one of my favorite bridal party groups shots- weddings should have moments of fun - like this!

This is one of my favorite bridal party groups shots- weddings should have moments of fun - like this!

Another favorite group shot.

 Photos by Tom G O'Neal
www.tgoweddings.com
 Photos by Tom G O'Neal
www.tgoweddings.com

Photographing Wedding Rings

Wedding rings are a symbol of eternity with no beginning or end. They represent the continual bond of when two people fall in love. The circle of the rings are also symbolize the sun, earth and universe and represent holiness, perfection and peace. The reason the wedding ring is worn on the fourth finger is it was believed that it is the closest to the vein that runs to the wearers heart - also known as "the vein of love."

As a wedding photographer, I always view the wedding rings as art and place them in or around the bride's bouquet, wedding invitation and sometimes with the bride's shoes or jewelry. I usually photograph these shots as the bride finishes getting dressed and before the ceremony.  I want them to look like sculpture or a painting. 

I prefer not to shoot the rings on the hands as the fingers can be distracting. I use a special macro lens and selective focus to highlight the design of the rings.

Selecting your wedding Venue....

whether your wedding is in Carmel, Pebble Beach, Carmel Valley, Big Sur or beyond- it's important that your wedding site fits your style and personality.  There are a few exceptions...I have seen over the top elegant weddings in a very rural and rustic setting...just  make sure you book the venue first thing, and that you love it.  

 

Every wedding venue has something special to offer, and this can be part of your decision making process for choosing where to have your wedding.  If you love the ocean there are numerous places to hold your wedding.  Spanish Bay (in Pebble Beach) wedding site is a short walk to actually being on the ocean.  Both Marc and I love the shots of the bride with the dramatic ocean backdrop.

My version of a bridal portrait taken at Spanish Bay
This was taken by the 7th hole in Pebble Beach.  The reception was at the Beach and Tennis Club on a perfect day for a wedding.

This was taken by the 7th hole in Pebble Beach.  The reception was at the Beach and Tennis Club on a perfect day for a wedding.

A moment right after the ceremony on the 18th hole 

A moment right after the ceremony on the 18th hole 

Carmel Valley Wedding First Look

 

The reveal or first look is becoming extremely popular.  There are so many reasons to seriously consider having a reveal.  We like to place the bride in a place with a background that her groom will always remember.  Remember in a traditional setting the groom is in front of 100+ people and to see his bride for the first time it is an emotuiopai experience.  The shots we get the groom at that time he often has a look of overwhelming nervousness we call it “the deer in the headlights” expression.  The reveal offers several advantages; the groom sees the bride like a painting hence a visual moment never to be forgotten, we can capture this intimate and emotional moment where as in a traditional setting the aisle makes this difficult,  the couple has a moment to connect, and the bride and groom shots that come from this are incredible.  With a first look or reveal the couples also less nervous and more present during the ceremony. 

In some instances the family and/or bridal party is off to the side watching.  Following the reveal we can do the  family/bridal party shots, which mean following the ceremony the bride and groom can enjoy their party.  We always tell our couples that a reveal does not weaken the wonderful drama of the bride walking down the aisle….with a reveal the bride has 2 entrances for her groom.  

These are shots form Chelsea and Matt’s reveal.  She is wearing tennis shoes under her dress and we have place a sheet under her so she will not tarnish the dress on th beach….you can see from their reveal what it meat to them.  After this Chelsea freshen up at her hotel and was driven to her ceremony in Carmel Valley.