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While we were photographing Kevin and Brittany’s bridal prep photos we noticed a photo in a frame of two little kids standing next to a drinking fountain, the little boy had a smirk on his face and was looking at the girl next to him. Later on in the day our Associate Photographer, John, asked them how they met. Apparently Brittany and Kevin met at during first grade, we were shocked, we’ve been to numerous high school sweetheart weddings, but it’s very rare to see a couple who had seen eye to eye since the first grade.


After the stunning wedding at St Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, on the way to our romantic session with the Brittany and Kevin, we passed by the Elementary School where they first met and we were able to reenact the photo that was taken so many years ago.

We saw sparks between Kevin and Brittany during their first look. From the moment Kevin first saw her in her dress, his eyes teared up. He walked briskly and nervously and tapped her on her shoulder. As soon as she turned and saw him, it was like we stopped existing and time slowed down, we don’t intervene during moments like these and we gave them their privacy and the intimacy that only a first look can give them.




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Who should I pick to be my bridesmaids? After you get engaged, your first thoughts are, what date will be the best for us and our family.  Then you proceed to think, I have always wanted an outdoor wedding, where should we have our wedding? Locations add to the fun of your wedding. After all the hub-bub of when and where, you ask yourself, who?   Who should I choose to be my bridesmaids?

Bridesmaids are usually chosen based on how close certain people are to you.  Maybe a childhood friend or and very close cousin.   In my opinion I think the people you choose should make you, the bride, happy, laugh, and have your back.  After all, this is the most important day of your life and you will need the people who can detour stress, fears and create an easy going environment during your wedding day. After 13 years of shooting weddings, I pretty much have seen and heard it all.  It makes me cringe to hear after the wedding that you and a certain bridesmaid or MOH are no longer friends based on events that happened at your wedding. Choosing your bridesmaids needs to be like choosing your girls that will go to war for you.  That being said, enjoy the images below.

Orange County Wedding Photography | Orange County Wedding Photographers

Orange County Wedding Photography | Orange County Wedding Photographers

Orange County Wedding Photography | Orange County Wedding Photographers

Orange County Wedding Photography | Orange County Wedding Photographers

Orange County Wedding Photography | Orange County Wedding Photographers

Orange County Wedding Photography | Orange County Wedding Photographers

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Ok, so now that your engaged, Now what?  Where do I start…  After the dust settles from the excitement of your engagement. Most couples try to figure out where to start with their planning endeavors. The majority of the time the first thing that is thought about is “Where should we get married?” Once that is taken care of, usually the next step is to start shopping for your photographer.  Lately, with the increase of quality that digital cameras have to offer, you are finding more and more people calling themselves “Professional Photographers”.  We would like to give you a few tips on what to look for when you are soliciting Wedding Photographers.

  1. The Photographer’s Visual Perspective: It is sometimes referred to as the photographer’s eye.  Here is where you need to take notice to what the photographer sees during the day of events. How do these images make you feel? Are they unique or do they look like every other photographer’s work you’ve looked at. Do they look extremely staged? Does the bride and groom look uncomfortable? Does they look like they are having fun?  Are they romantic enough for you?  Are they too riske for you? Do they tell a story?  Finally, which photographer’s work puts a smile on your face and do you feel connected to.
  2. The Photographer’s Experience: In my opinion, experience is a big factor.  It’s important that the photographer that you are gravitating to has experience dealing with the day’s hectic people and schedule. Don’t base your choices on costs.  Wedding days consist of lots of emotions, personalities, and sometimes egos.  The question you should ask yourself is “Does this photographer have what it takes to deal with my families diverse dynamics?”  It’s important for a wedding photographer to be “Chameleon Like” to fit in with the mother of the groom that can’t stand the new wife…   Or the overly eager wedding coordinator that has her job to do. Even your crazy uncle Leo who decides that the line at the appetizer bar is more important than the family photos that he’s supposed to be in. With experience comes patients and an understanding of what a client’s needs are. We are contacted 6-8 times a year to create an album for clients who’s photographer has either gone out of business or just handed them a disc of images. This is a dis-service. It is important that your photographer has the ability to create these memories for you to enjoy with your family.
  3. The ole’ Switch-e-roo.  Now that you’ve decided on what studio will be photographing your wedding. Be sure to get in writing that the photographer you chose (hired) will be the photographer that will show up to your wedding.  Some companies offer multiple shooters to choose from. Others offer services and often double, and even triple book weddings on any given day. Sending any photographer to cover your event. Make sure that the photographer that you interviewed and who’s work you fell in love with, will be the same photographer that will photograph your wedding.

Finally, A photographer with an easy going personality with experience that is flexible enough to fulfill your needs would be your best choice. Ultimately, you should love their photography and there products that they have to offer. Great photography + great personality+ great products  + awesome experience = Happy Clients (Bride & Groom)

These are just a few tips to help you choose the right wedding photographer f0r you. We hope that this article was helpful for you while you are planning your beautiful wedding.  I wrote this article to share an insider’s point of view.  It’s through experience and having had the privilege of photographing hundreds of weddings  that I consider myself both an expert on wedding photography and an expert wedding photographer.  I really hope that you’ve found this article useful in your search to get the best wedding images from your wedding photographer.

If you have any questions about our wedding photography, Please contact us at the links below. Feel free to share this post on your facebook page by clicking the share button below.

Written By Miguel Pola

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Found this on another photographers site, Great article!… So true! Great article written by Grant & Deb. Thanks for such a real article. Miguel

So you’re meeting your prospective wedding photographer for the first time. You found them on a Google search, and their site seems nice enough. But how do you really know they are the best for you?

The easiest answer is also the most ridiculous; in 30 initial minutes you can’t. BUT … there are a few things you can look for to become more comfortable with your decision.

1. Relationship – Relationship – Relationship
The absolute most important aspect to you reaping the results you desire from your final wedding photography is that you fall in LOVE with your wedding photographer(s). And by LOVE I don’t mean you’d ebay your rings, cancel your date and marry them – but I do mean you feel so comfortable that you’d be able to brag about them to your closest friends or have them over for dinner at your house.

A wedding photographer worth hiring doesn’t take pictures, and that sounds totally weird, I know. A great wedding photographer isn’t really a photographer at all but an artist who uses a camera and lens to paint and CAPTURE MOMENTS in digital files filled with emotion and passion. Their images – each and every one – CAPTURE a narrative or story that with one glance creates an emotion from the viewer; namely you. ANYBODY can take a picture, especially with the advances in today’s geeky low-priced digital cameras. But only true wedding photography ARTISTS can capture your story with passion and emotion.

Someone who is bestowed such a precious and significant task as being your ONLY wedding photographer must be someone you absolutely love and admire. In fact, a true wedding photography artist will almost always be easy to be comfortable with because they themselves are depending on building a strong relationship with you so they may better understand what is important to your final outcome.

2. Passion
Ask your prospective wedding photographer if they take their cameras with them to family birthday parties or if they shoot pictures of their niece’s soccer games. Only someone passionate about their craft integrates that passion into their lives – and a great wedding photography artist always integrates their passion into their lives.

When you’re sitting across the table from them, how do they make you feel? Are you getting excited about your day as they talk about their involvement? When they talk about their product, do they exhibit a kind of giddiness or are they just selling? What adjective comes to your mind to describe them if you were asked 5 minutes after you’ve left the appointment?

Passion HAS to at least be a likely adjective you could choose. If not? Run – do not walk – to the next photographer.

You see – any great wedding photography artist is in the “game” for more than just the coin. They are always – and I mean always – looking to become your wedding photographer because they are passionate about painting your special story with the lenses of their camera that tell the story through fine art photography. In fact, a passionate wedding photography artist will always be a remarkable artist.

3. No new stress – please!
The wedding photographer sitting across the table from you has no idea what your plans are for your upcoming fairy-tale day. In fact, just because they’ve taken pictures for hundreds of brides before you, there are no other weddings even close in style or substance as yours, period.

If your prospective wedding photographer isn’t asking the right questions of you, questions pertaining to your day, how YOU plan it to unfold, how many bridesmaids, groomsmen, the venue, is there going to be dancing, will your dad walk you down the aisle, who your maid-of-honor is and who she is to you …

If they are insisting on showing you their previous work, and how awesome they are, and who they’ve photographed before ever asking about how YOU envision your day? RUN – do not walk – to the next prospective photographer.

The most counter-productive and stressful situation is to have your wedding photographer not clearly understand your time line. And the best scenario in this situation is to have a needy, whiney, and question ridden person running around taking pictures creating more stress. The worst scenario? They don’t ask and subsequently don’t GET the pictures you envisioned. In either scenario? Stress and disaster.

Actually, the absolute BEST scenario is a wedding photographer who sits across the table and interviews YOU. That’s right, you’ve invited them to the table to choose them – but what you really want is someone who wants to work with you because you both click. Someone who asks you a bunch of questions, and diligently writes down YOUR answers about YOUR day as they interview YOU. Why? Because when they truly understand YOUR day, and how it will unfold, you have found someone who doesn’t need to create stress on your day (or before), you’ve found someone capable of discovering and understanding what you want prior to your day. Someone who can click with you (and hopefully – FOR you – wink).

4. Show me your stuff
More than likely, you’ve seen a lot of your prospective wedding photographer’s work (and probably their best work) from their web site. And having a look at an album or prints or canvas or … is a good thing too. But understand this, nothing they show you across the table is going to be what you get – ever. You are seeing a compilation of work from perhaps their best work, which is understandable. But even on a perfect day, no two weddings are the same, nor are any two wedding albums, or prints, or … the same.

Obviously your wedding photographer needs to be able to nail their focus, and exposures, and all of those technical photography details in order to even be considered. But, going back to the number one “must” – other bride’s relationships with your photographer have got to be great.

Ask your potential wedding photographer to give you a couple of brides you can contact. And when they provide those names, call those brides and ask one question; “What do you remember most about Photographer xx?” That’s it! You’ll get the whole story from that one question. And the best part? You’ll also get your answer overall from that question.

5. It’s gotta be fun
Ask the wedding photographer this question; “So what do you do for fun?” Not that you need to care WHAT they do for fun – but you do care if they do anything that IS FUN.

Just because your wedding photographer will be working as a “vendor” on your awesome day does NOT mean they have to portray it as work. They have to have fun at it – and you’ve got to have fun at it – and that does NOT mean it’s up to you to make it fun. THEY have to make it fun – the whole day. It may be 98 degrees in the shade or 2 below zero – but THEY have to be able to roll with the punches or change direction at any given time and still make it fun and stress-free for your entire party.

And there is really no way to know if that person you just met is that person other than to know they know how to have fun on their own, hence “So what do you do for fun?”

Fun = happy. Stress = ugly. Which do you choose?

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Happy New Year! Welcome to 2010 and a whole new lineup of blog series we will be featuring at The Spiraled Stem. Our first series is called Coffee Chat with The Spiraled Stem, where I sit down with one of my colleagues in the wedding biz for a fun Q&A about them and their biz. Subscribe to our RSS feed to catch all of our Coffee Chat guests!

Episode 1 is with Miguel Pola from Miguel Pola Photographers located in La Habra, CA. We sat down at the floral design studio to chat about his approach to wedding photography, what his clients should expect in their consultation and relationship with him through the course of the wedding, how to create timeless photos that will look just as fresh when your grandkids look at them as they did on the day they were taken, and the highlight moment in a wedding that he loves to capture for his clients. You can visit his website at for more information and to view his portfolio!  Not sure why but the audio is a little off from our moving mouths.  Hope you enjoy.

Coffee Chat with The Spiraled Stem – Guest Miguel Pola from Christine Saunders on Vimeo.  Not sure why but the audio is a little off from our moving mouths.

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