Beatriz + Mauricio at Altadena Town and Country Club

Get the ACTION, then get the REACTION.  I have a bazillion trains of thought traveling through my mind when peering through that lens.  This one rumbles in every second.  It's important to capture a grand entrance.  This is standard.  Everyone, even uncle Jack gets this shot.  When Beatriz and Mauricio hired me to capture their wedding, they were investing in a key insight that carries their coverage to to a whole different planet.  This vision requires a deeper level of perception and yields the kind of imagery that blows your socks off.... a groom seeing his bride walk down the aisle, a mother listening to her husband as he proclaims his respect for his grown son... a mom's reaction to her daughter walking into a room for the first time as a married woman.   

 

Carolyn + Canh at W Hotel

To pick up a camera and photograph a wedding is actually the main act in middle of a three act play.  Most of these posts are focused on that middle act.  Before showing a few shots, I just want to write down a few words that illustrate what happens in the dialogue beyond this play... the rock that these gems have come from and how it affects me personally.  When I woke up on April 9th, I couldn't wait to get my eye behind the lens.  I had the chance to get to know Canh and Carolyn and the elemental truths that had carried them to this commitment;  the love, the chemistry, everything that brings two people together in such a powerful way.  The strength of this connection overwhelms any challenges, no matter how difficult... almost with ease ... certainly beyond reason.  For those of us lucky enough to capture weddings, we are exposed to this miracle on a regular basis; we can't help but be affected in a profound way.  It can be easy to be jaded by the traditions that pattern a typical wedding, however once this has been pushed aside, you can view the event as it truly is;  the unique and perfect union of two worlds.  Perfect, as love makes it.  This is what I look for in that lens.  This is what I strive to capture.  My hope is to convey that immense connection.   Just maybe, when times get tough, they can look back on these images and draw from that strength they felt...maybe this can inspire us all in our own lives, to believe that strength can come from love that has no reason, surmounts all barriers.

 

Exploring the Oceanside Harbor

Choosing a location for an engagement shoot is always a challenge.  They key is finding a spot where my clients can feel comfortable enough to forget about the fact we are in a photoshoot.  I was riding my bike through the Oceanside Harbor with my two boys and realized, this would be a great spot for some exploring.  When I mentioned an abandoned exit ramp and some bridge girders Joseph and Engie were thrilled.  These guys were total troopers climbing around fearlessly 20 feet in the air and doing a wardrobe change in the willows.  So much fun.  Here are a few of my favs.  Enjoy.

Winter Engagements

Okay, so props in a photoshoot can take a dangerous step towards the cheese factor.  On the other hand, what can be more fun than an oversized balloon!  Carolyn and Canh were totally game when I suggested creating a fun image that I've had buzzing around in my head for a while.  This kind of collaboration is always the perfect balance to the pure journalistic capture of the wedding day.  I'm guessing we will have a few tricks up our selves when it comes to the wedding party shot next summer.  Meanwhile, enjoy a few of my favs from yesterday's shoot.

 

Posted on December 13, 2010 by Registered CommenterAaron Willcox in , | Comments4 Comments | EmailEmail

Wedding at the San Diego Botanic Gardens

I am often asked to describe my style.  For any photographer, it can be daunting to boil all their work down to a few sentences without sounding like a total cheese-ball.  "I CAPTURE THE MOMENT".... oh boy.  That's rough.  By just using the word "CREATIVE" you have pretty much rolled yourself into the largest group of people on the planet!  The way I answer this question is simple.  I begin talking about what I see at weddings and the kinds of imagery that moves me personally.  Before I know it, the answer is out along with all the passion and genuine feeling it deserves.  That brings me to last weekend's wedding with Angela and Matt.  I was doing summersaults and cartwheels (in my head) at seeing the shot of Angela and Matt in the mirror, just moments before their wedding ceremony.  Matt checks his tie, Angela checks her hair.  BAM.  To them, I was not even present.  It all came together; the stillness of the room, the truth, the weight of what they were about to do ... looks to me like the beginning of a marriage... wow, such a rush.  This is why I shoot weddings!

 

A big thank you to everyone who helped to put this event together:  Venue: The San Diego Botanic Garden * Coordinating and Flowers:  Linda Rendon * Catering: Smoke House Grills * Cake: Sweet Cheeks Baking Co. * Live Band: Lady Dottie and the Diamonds * Lighting: Mike Fuller * San Diego Wedding Photogapher ;)

San Diego Chargers: It's a date... shoot

I'm a firm believer in asking for forgiveness instead of permission.  Don't tell the hard-core-anti-photography security guards at Qualcomm...  those guys were just doing their job... and I was just doing mine;  being a third wheel that is.  Somehow, last Saturday evening pretty much turned into a dream:  hanging out with a couple on their date.  It definitely wasn't an engagement shoot!  The night was Stephen and Arleen's and I happened to be there to document it.  Awesome.  I think I'm pretty much done with ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS.  I'm going to call them "Third-Wheel-Date-Sessions" from now on.  That will probably scare a few of you away, but for those whose eyes just lit up, I'm your photog.  And now... drum roll please... the ring shot!


 

Wedding at San Diego Botanic Gardens: one wedding, two posts

Choosing images to put on this blog is always a challenge.  I have realized, the image set I choose truly establishes my photographic style; two posts from the same wedding could look completely different.  Should I polish the bajeezez out of the perfect shots, crop, balance, tweak and magazine them out?  These are the shots you want to see right?  On the other hand, maybe I should post my personal favs;  the imperfect raw moments that move me... but will they move you?  What if you don't know Ashley and Alec?  Well, now is your chance to weigh in.  No more lurking.  Below are two posts, the first set of images are magazine-ish, cropped out and tweaked.  The second... we'll tell me what you think.  What would you rather see?  Please, no sugar coating.

 

NOW FOR THE RAW

This is by far one of my favorite shots.  No, not perfect.  Could have been better without the flowers in front of Alec's face, surely not magazine content, however... what this image does show is the truth in Ashley's eyes, you know exactly what she is feeling and thinking: ... you know me ... all our time together and here I am ... that girl you fell in love with... in a wedding dress!... about to leap off that cliff and trust each other with everything ... it's as sincere as it gets and this is why I love to photograph weddings.

Thank you again for taking a moment to tell me what you think.  Also, be sure to check out the crew who made this event possible:  Wedding Coordinated by Rachel + Jennifer2 with Bliss Events * Ceremony Venue: San Diego Botanic Gardens * Flowers: Rae Florae * Hair and Makeup: Alison with The Bustle * Catering: Culinary Concepts * Cake: Sweet Cakes Baking

Wedding at the Ayres Hotel

When I met Gina and JR for the first time, I knew right away I wanted to photograph their wedding.  They had applied for a spot on my "Big Heart" program and after seeing these two together and hearing the details about their life, I was already looking foreword to capturing their day.  Gina spends her free time as a volunteer mentoring youth with disabilities.  Her passion for her work in this community and her insatiable smile was only eclipsed by the connection she had with JR.  As she spoke about her plans, I could see the patience and support in JR's eyes.  I knew, their wedding day was going to be full of these moments and I couldn't wait to capture them on film.

 

As always, a big thanks to all of the wonderful vendors to helped realize Gina and JR's vision for their wedding.  Venue: Ayers Hotel Hawthorne * Wedding Coordinator: Miriam of Glam Candies * Flowers: Tigerlilly Floral Designs * Hair and Makeup: Gilbert Gonzalez * DJ: Christian Rasmussen * Cake by Mayer's Bakery

 

Posted on August 8, 2010 by Registered CommenterAaron Willcox in , | Comments2 Comments | EmailEmail

Wedding at Paradise Point

Anjali and Ryan met while traveling the globe.  The entire story was re-told by Ryan's best man during his toast.  He pretty much had everyone, including me, in tears when he presented Ryan with the very guitar used to serenade Anjali.  Ryan apparently plays the guitar very well, as this sparked the beginning of their inspiring courtship together.  Here are a few of my favorites from the few hours I had with them including a few shots of that guitar.

Special thanks goes out to all the wonderful vendors who's work is the reason why my photos look so great:  Wedding and Reception Venue: Paradise Point Resort and Spa * Wedding Coordinator: Brenda Davis Landini * Wedding Cake:  The French Gourmet San Diego *  Wedding Dress: Pronovias * Hula Dancers: Na Pua Llima * DJ: Primo * Officiant Craig Knudsen

Wedding at the Lodge at Torrey Pines

It has been way too long since my last post!  Time to catch up on all the fun news but first... a few shots from last weekend's wedding with Brittany and Russell.  I was afraid it was going to be a hot day, but the venue sits right on the cliffs of Torrey Pines and provided some a great breeze along with that soft golden evening light.  We had a fabulous time and the wedding was filled with plenty of genuine moments;  my camera and I were very happy about that.

 

 A big thanks to all the vendors that put together such a fabulous wedding:

Venue: Lodge at Torrey Pines * Wedding Coordinator: Merilee with EverAfter Events * Flowers by Flowers on 56 * Orchids by South Coast Orchids * Hair: Kathleen Connolley * Makeup: Vivian Kuriakos * Officiant: Pastor David Plank * String Quartet: Angelica Strings *

WPJA winners

With hundreds of entrants from all over the world, it is alway an honor to be recognized in the WPJA competitions.  Here are three shots that placed for the Q4'09 competition:

What is an engagement shoot?

Good question.  Honestly, the value this shoot offers has really very little to do with photography and making photos.  It's all about getting to know my clients as a couple and getting a chance to just hang out and have some fun.  When July 17th roles around, I'm going to wake up in the morning thrilled that I get to shoot Brittany and Russell's wedding.  Here are a few fun shots we put together with a few hours in La Jolla.

It's Album season baby!

I'm stoked to announce, this year will be the first year we are offering the hand-made Cypress albums.  After receiving rave reviews for their 4x6 proof boxes, we decided to include more of their fabulous products.  These guys are at the top of the wedding industry and each product they make is created with patience and care.  They are the perfect match for my photography and I just love how it really showcases each image.  I just received a proof box and a hand crafted Juniper album today so I couldn't wait to share them on the blog.  The proof box pictured below is made for a set of 500 prints and is covered with the Hazel silk and accented with the Sage colored ribbon.  The Juniper album features 200 year archival prints mounted between sheets of Italian parchment.  The album nests perfectly in a matching box featuring  the same color combination of Ice Blue silk with a Chocolate ribbon... yum!

 

Posted on January 27, 2010 by Registered CommenterAaron Willcox in | Comments1 Comment | EmailEmail

Aaron selected as top wedding photographer in the world!

I just received an invitation to join an incredible group of photographers!  Only 350 were selected from a pool of 5,000 wedding photographers from around the world.  Each photog was hand picked by a review board consisting of David Beckstead, Ben Chrisman, Del Sol Photography (Matt Adcock and Sol Tamargo), Glen Johnson, Anna Kuperberg, Crash Taylor, and David Ziser. This is a new association and I will be sure to post a link as soon at it is live around the middle of January.  I'm so humbled to be a part of the amazing group of photographers.

 Of course, blog posts are boring without a photo!  Here's one of my favs from Sheyanne and Dan's wedding a few weeks ago (more to come).  Be sure to check out their SHOW SHOW SHOW!

Seaport Village Enagements (contraband photos)

We actually got away with doing our little photo shoot at Seaport Village.  Security finally caught up with us at the end of the night and kicked us out.  Melanie and Matt were up for just hanging out and we ended having a great time. 

Engagements in the meat packing district, Chicago

My flight arrived at 5:00pm so we only had a quick hour of light left for photos.  Chicago's old brick buildings and graffiti covered walls were no match for the inspiration I found in KC and Louie.

 

Posted on October 30, 2009 by Registered CommenterAaron Willcox in | Comments3 Comments | EmailEmail

Josh and Jenna's wedding in Madison, Wisconsin

I busted out all the big guns for my friend's killer little mid-West wedding.  I couldn't get over those corn fields!  I don't even want to mention my drool when they both jumped in Josh's Harley + side-car.  Of course, I was thriled to hear we were going to skip the traditional downtown Madison photos for some toasts at the local dive bar.  Above all, I still  can't get enough of the genuine moments shared between these two.

 

Cambria Pines Lodge Wedding with Kristina + Logan

From the moment I met Kristina and Logan when they picked me up at SFO, I knew we were going to have a great weekend.  The three hour drive to Cambria, California zipped by even with a stop at the In-N-Out burger YUM!  The Cambria Pines Lodge has a maze of gorgeous gardens, however, we couldn't help but take a few moments away from the reception to enjoy an ocean sunset.  I have to say, my heart was racing as I peered through my camera with those fleeting moments of light.  It was all coming together, despite that howling cold wind.  Here are a few of my favs.  Be sure to check out their wedding slide show.  For those of you at work, be sure to put on those headphones for some rockin' audio captures.  For more samples of my work, be sure to check out my portfolio of rockin' San Diego Wedding Photography.

 

San Diego Convention Center Wedding Photography

GETTING CREATIVE WITH THAT WEDDING PARTY:  Wedding party photos have always been a little tricky for me.  In most weddings, the cocktail hour is already raging, everyone in the wedding party has a beer or cocktail in their hands and it's my responsibility to pull a creative rabbit out of my camea, oh yea and we were supposed to be done 10 minutes ago!  Hmmm.  Not to mention, the bride and groom are distracted with having a good time and everyone is looking at me like, "what is this silly photographer guy going to make me do, stand on my head?"  I was definitely swimming upstream and these photos were quickly becoming my least favorite to shoot.  So, I decided to begin planning these photos a little bit more by getting the bride and groom involved before the wedding day by asking them how they envision these shots coming together.  I began to bring sample photos with me on the wedding day to illustrate the concept to everyone.  Wow, MUCH easier.  So in this wedding, Rachelle and Daniel ended up wrangling their own wedding party into place, got some  exciting and memorable wedding party photos and I ended up enjoying the creative process.  On a general note, I want to give a big shout-out to Rachel with Bliss Events for pulling off an amazing day for everyone.

I'm always getting my inspiration from the work of other artists. and industry leaders. 

As Albert Einstein famously said:

"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."

None-the-less, I want to give a big shout-out to Jesh de Rox for inspiring this specific slow shutter shot.  Here is his version... and mine.

 

 

A wedding in the woods of Eastern Washington

Many couples make a grand wedding fit into a tiny budget by doing everything themselves.  Azur and Erin simply summoned the help of their friends and family and what an incredible wedding day they put together for them.  From full-on choreographed Bollywood group dances, and finger-licking good food, to master DJ's spinning until the wee hours of the morning, this wedding was truly an epic effort of love and devotion.  I have been good friends with Azur since grade school and it was instinctive for me to capture a few special moments for them.  I had the honor of shooting alongside several other photogs, including the battle tested photojournalist Mr. Aaron Huey.  Naturally, we gravitated towards the dance floor by 2am and it didn't make much sense to go bed anyway as my flight was leaving at 7am out of Seattle... a paltry 3 hour drive away.  Just enough time to reflect on the day and process some of that wonderful energy.  As always, my goal as a wedding photographer is to capture the essence of a blooming relationship.  Here area few of my favorite shots along with a fun slide show.

 

 

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