The Blog

"Blind" (Wedding) Date

When someone contacts me about potentially photographing their wedding, I encourage them to meet me for coffee.  I think it's a good opportunity for me to show more samples, talk about my process on a wedding day, and gives them a chance to get to know me a little to make sure the like and trust me to be the one responsible for preserving the memories of their day.   Well, in this case, a potential bride contacted me from the East Coast.  She's getting married in Orinda, but lives in Michigan.  So , meeting for coffee was going to be difficult.  Despite that, Shelly booked me for her wedding.  This was one of the first time a bride (couple) booked me without meeting me first.  Well, Shelly made a trip out to go over some wedding day details at the beautiful home that will be hosting the wedding, so I got to meet her there a week or so ago.  She was not only a fantastic girl, but so photogenic as well. .she is going to make my job easy!

Grabbed a quick portrait while I was there  (the "before" if you will) :)

Looking forward to shooting the real thing in a few week.

Mitchell | Munch Wedding

There are times in the life of a photographer that you are faced with challenges.  The Mitchell | Munch Wedding had it's share, but also lent itself to some spectacular imagery.  The beautiful bride and handsome groom were not the challenge. .  . the challenge was how to capture the ceremony.  The rules are VERY strict inside San Francisco's Grace Cathedral.  I was not allowed past the last piew , nor was I allowed to go down the outer sides of the church during the ceremony.  No flash, no noise, no chance. . right?  Well, knowing that 99% of the ceremony was going to look the same, I took a chance on the bride's walk down the aisle.  Sure, I could have gone for the "typical" or "traditional" shot of her and her dad coming towards me, but since the rest of the ceremony wouldn't lend itself to being creative photographically, I decided to take a chance now and get a shot that was different from the norm.  

This was an all day wedding with getting ready shots beginning at 2pm and the wedding didn't end until after midnight.  But what a wedding it was.  From the earlier mentioned Grace Cathedral to the gorgeous Fairmont blocks away, it was a true fairytale wedding.

There was even an old Rolls Royce to take the couple from the church to the hotel.

The bridesmaids were stunning, the groomsmen all good looking nice guys, this was a wedding to remember.

A phenomenal touching speech by the father of the bride, a crowd that danced all night, and a fantastic band.

My 2nd challenge , as gorgeous as it was, was the fairmont reception.  With styled lighting, comes a very dark place to take photographs.  Having done a scout and planning ahead, I used my first "assistant" to help me with some off camera lighting (thank you Megan!).  

Here are some of the results . . .

"Day in the Life" - Schroeder Family

Another "Day in the Life", another incredible family.  As a gift to his wife, Dad bought a "Day in the Life" photo essay for his wife for her birthday.   This was a jam packed, morning to night, event filled day.  I don't know how they do it.  After looking back at this book, and all the different activities, places and things, I'm exhausted! These kids were amazing.  So polite, smart, respectful to everyone, and smiles on their faces.  This day reminded me why saving these moments are so important.  They go by in a an instant.  The days are about "Go! Go! Go!", and by the time you have a moment to breathe, you get to start all over again the next day. 

headshots with Paolo


I got the chance to photograph Paolo, a kindergartener who is as poised as he is handsome.  It was a last minute shoot that he and his parents needed for a shot at a major catalog.  Look out for this kid. . . he's going to be something!

why I do what I do . . .

I love photography. . .

I love the art of it.

I love the creativity of it.

I love the technology behind it.

But what I realized the other day, and most important of all, I love the emotion and history that photographs provide. . . the heart of it.

I shot a couple several years ago on their wedding day. They are a wonderful couple who couldn't have been more complimentary of the images I gave to them.

A few days ago, the bride lost her Grandfather, who was possibly her favorite person in the world. She had a special relationship with him. It was evident when you looked at how they acted towards each other. . . unquestionable love.

I can relate to this myself because my grandmother and I had a special relationship as well. To this day, I can't describe it, but there was just something a little extra special. We just "got" each other. She passed away many years ago, but there is rarely a day that I don't have a thought about her.

Anyway, a few days ago, when this bride lost her most special Grandfather, she shared a post "Goodbye Zadie" on Facebook. It was a way to tell all she knew , just what he meant to her and the bond they had.

Accompanying her post, was one photo. . . one that I was able to capture on her wedding day.

The fact that of all images, it was one of mine that she sought out, solidified to me why I do what I do.

I'm so sorry for her loss, but I'm so thankful she has that image to remember him by.

We will always have our memories, but over time, they fade.  Images last forever.


by Michael Clemens