More fun in the Mexican sun!

Finally got a chance to go through a few more of my shots from last weeks workshop in Mexico. I'm convinced, they have a different sun down there! I've got a laundry list of to-do's now that I'm back home. The four days I spent with Jose Villa, Cameron Ingalls and Karina Puente have inspired a new direction in my photography that I never thought possible. There must have been about 20 of us together for those 5 days and I'm still amazed by the talent and drive of each of these photographers. Of course I only pushed the shutter button, so here's a shout-out to Hacienda Del Carmen for the backdrop and of course that amazing food. Mar Romero for hair and makeup (all the way from Cali), and of course Miiriam, Danny, Valeria and Martin from Citro Models who didn't miss a step.  It wouldn't have been the same without Gene Higa, Ann Hamilton and of course Joel Serrato with those inspiring Super 8 films.  Here are a few of my favs.  I've thrown in a few shots from the fomal shooting sessions as well as my own goofing around. 


Lovin' my time here in Mexico

Just finished my second day with Jose Villa, Gene Higa, Cameron Ingalls and about 15 other amazing photographers here in El Camen, Mexico.  Wow.  Lovin' it.  The talent, drive, and inspiration is thick as butter.  Here are a few shots from today's shoot.  We had three, (yes, that's 3) minutes with the models to do our stuff.  I was lucky enough to pick up a notorious Holga camera and am excited to see the results, but will have to be patient for the film factor.

Posted on November 11, 2008 by Registered CommenterAaron Willcox in | Comments2 Comments | EmailEmail

Fire and Ice

My birthday party ended up being just a few close friends and family, but that didn't mean we didn't have any fun!  We attempted to make an ice luge for drinks... I'll just say the attempt was well worth it. Of course we busted out the camera so we had a chance to explore the high ISO abilities of Nikon's newest cameras.  I was amazed.  Upgrading equipment can be a tough decision, especially when "want" and "need" don't seem to agree.  In my mind, the digital camera is just a computer and should probably be "updated" regularly.  The ability to shoot quality images at 3200 ISO (as in the fire shot) can really open some fun doors creatively.  So here we go...!


Sheraton Carlsbad Wedding Photography

I was expecting some great wedding details and design ideas from Yelena and Michael and boy did they take the cake.  With flip-flops for the girls on the dance floor, a club-like loung area and the coolest table flowers I've seen, these guys had it all.  Be sure to check out their SHOW. The day was a bit overcast, so the lighting was just perfect.  I found the low light also helps to get my shutter speed down, adding a little movement blur;  just to give it that extra something.  Thoughts? 


A few days in Hong Kong....

Wow, what a city!  I can't wait to share a few shots from Catherine and Kevin's wedding here in Hong Kong, but first a few shots from around town.  I had about three days to spare and ended up cruising over to Phuket, Thailand too.  I've got about 5,000 images to sort through from my 10 days, so stay posted.  I arrived in town with a category 4 typhoon (think lots of rain and wind- goo-goo photo ops).  Here are a few of my favs so far... and yes, I'm actually riding an elephant, I think it was 10,000 Buddhas, and that's the banana eating monkey that slapped me about 10 seconds after I took his photo!

Belmont Park Engagement Photos

I have always believed it's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission (don't tell my son that).  I actually got my camera confiscated from the woman operating the roller coaster ride at Belmont Park in Mission Beach.  Luckily, I was hiding my trusty 2nd camera and was able to get some fabulous shots of Renee and Jonas.  These two came all the way from Phoenix for their engagement shoot so I just had to show them a good time.  Thanks for being such great sports you two!

Jones Victorian Estate Wedding

I checked my email today to see the WPJA contest winners are posted.  I'm thrilled to announce one of my images placed 2nd in the Great Natural Light category.  What is funny about photo competitions, is, the images with the most meaning to my clients probably wouldn't win anything.  They aren't necessarily amazing, visually inspiring, perfectly composed images.  On the other hand, they just illustrate their wedding day and the often subtle moments that pass through them.  Here's one that even the "judges" were happy with.

Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Wedding Photography

I've been looking foreword to posting a few shots from Erin and Destiny's wedding.  But first, if you are a fan of my SHOWS here is a link to Erin and Destiny's SHOW.  Listen for a few great words from the best man at the beginning.  It was tough to pick my favorites for the post as there were just so many good moments between these two.  It probably sounds cheesy to hear, but it was such a pleasure to document this relationship.  I could tell this wedding really was just the beginning for these two.  Their wedding photography was at the top of their list for importance and that is always a great motivation.  Here are a few of my favorites;   a few visually dramatic and a few emotionally dramatic.  Two aspects I strive to capture at every wedding.

Old Town San Diego Engagement Photography

I had a great time touring around Old Town and Downtown San Diego, in fact, Monica, Edde and I even cruised around The Gaslamp District, Seaport Village and finished the night with a great dinner at The Fish Market. We probably could have just stayed in one spot, but we all were up for a little adventure. We ended up picking at least a dozen little spots to shoot. The best part is having the opportunity to experiment with different lighting. Some of the time, it just doesn't work out. The only way to experiment is to take chances. It's tough to look professional when you have to say "sorry, this just looks like crap". I figure, if I don't say this at least once during each shoot, I'm not taking enough chances.
Posted on August 11, 2008 by Registered CommenterAaron Willcox | Comments1 Comment | EmailEmail

Anaheim Hills Country Club Wedding Photography

My creative process, unfortunately, really starts flowing late at night.  I ended up finishing Susanna and Phil's SHOW around 5am last night!  My SHOWS tend to have a very cinematic look to them, so I suppose it comes at no surprise that I might find inspiration from movies and wedding videographers.  I ended up stumbling upon the work of an amazing Filipino wedding videographer;  Jason Magbanua.  I'm going to have to give him credit for the music choice as well as the non-linear timeline.  Thanks Jason!  This SHOW takes a small departure from my normal path, hopefully, in the right direction.

Family Time: Jackson Hole

In the middle of this crazy summer, I've found a week to spend some time in one of my favorite places on this planet;  my old stomping ground in the shadow of the Teton Mountains, Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  There is just something truly special about this place, the energy, the fresh air the adventures.  Everything here is just so dramatic.  I'm really happy that I've got the chance to share this place with Riley too.  Today, we spent most of the day just hanging around on the lake doing some swimming and kayaking, it sounds like we've got some biking scheduled for tomorrow.  I'll post more photos, but here is one from last night:

Posted on August 4, 2008 by Registered CommenterAaron Willcox in | Comments1 Comment | EmailEmail

Sarrah & Tim's Ocean Beach Engagement Shoot

Sarrah and Tim will begin their wedding day on their surfboards.  If I'm lucky, they will invite me out to capture their early morning floating circle of family and friends.  It will probably be early in the morning and will be a great opportunity to capture a very special part of their wedding day.  I can't wait!  So, it would be fitting that Sarrah, Tim and I would spend an evening together hanging out on the cliffs of Ocean Beach only a few miles from their ceremony location.  I could tell these two had spent a lot of time together on or near the ocean and we had lots of fun exploring that visually.




Posted on July 28, 2008 by Registered CommenterAaron Willcox | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail

Grand Del Mar Hotel Engagement Photography

Everyone I know (including me) is pretty nervous about getting their photo taken. Even if you know the photographer, there is always something about having that lens pointed at ya that give you the super-self-aware-feeling. There are a few things I do to help dissolve those butterflies and allow for a few genuine moments to show through. I usually begin a shoot without the camera, starting off with just hanging out and spending time catching up. Using a telephoto lens for the first few shots offers some distance which helps everyone forget about the camera too. I was surprised to see how quickly Kevin and Catherine were able to forget about the camera and enjoy the evening together. We had met for the first time that evening and we ended up having a great time exploring the Grand Del Mar Hotel together:

Calumet Park Wedding Photography

Photographers always secretly hope for an overcast day and that is exactly what we had at Maureen and Bram's wedding at Calumet Park in La Jolla. The white sky worked as a giant softbox bringing out all the great colors of the wedding. With family and friends from Indonesia looking on Maureen and Bram exchanged their vows with sincerity. Here are a few of my favs. hopefully illustrating the details of what made their day so special.

Reinventing the beach engagement shoot.

The beach is one of the most popular places for an engagement session, especially here in San Diego. As a photographer, this can create some challenges; my goal as a photographer is to create unique and dramatic images with every shoot. It is easy to find myself looking for locations, angles even exact photos that have worked well in the past. The tough part is to just avoid them and trust that my creative eye will find something just as visually impactive. Then again, every couple has their own way of spending time together and allowing myself to stand back and allow that to show through, always guarantees a unique and powerful shoot. Here are a few of my favorites of Robin and Rachel at the beach again...for the first time.

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Hyatt Huntington Beach Wedding Photography

"We trust you" are probably the best and most scary thing a photographer could hear from his clients. It is wonderful to hear as it means they are completely onboard for your vision and creativity; they know you will do a great job, and they know you will make them look good. Scary, yes, as a photographer, you have achieved the ultimate status, now it's time to deliver the goods. And now that my subjects aren't worried about me getting the shot, they are free to live the moments of their day spontaneously. That makes my job even easier and the exact reason the wedding day of Sarah and Joe sailed by. They gave me that crucial confidence and forgot about me. When they came over the other night to view their photos, Sarah looked at me and said "Yep, you nailed it". Here are some of my favorites... you?

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Wedding Location: St. John Coptic
Wedding Reception: Huntington Beach Hyatt

Photos by Destination Wedding Photographer Aaron Willcox

Jones Victorian Estate Wedding Photography

Okay, so here are a few of those great unplanned moments I mentioned in my last post. There is something very timeless about capturing the proud glance of the mother of the bride. Ooops... did I say timeless! If you haven't noticed "timeless" is certainly a buzz word in the wedding industry. People say they don't want a "dated" looking photos nor a "dates" wedding album. Well, I'm sorry to say, you won't always look that young and you can't help dress, hair and makeup trends. Not to mention the look of your photos. But that isn't all bad; I mean you got married in the mid 2000's? Well, your photos will just reflect that right? Either way, I try to stick with a pretty straight foreword image, simple black and whites and a little photoshop here and there. My goal is for the viewer to see the feeling, not the affects. Okay, enough blah blah, a few of my favs from Christian and Emily's wedding at the Jones Victorian Estate.

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Hotel Del Coronado Enagement Photography

Okay, so there are a ton of little tip sheets floating around on how to choose a wedding photographer. It all really just comes down to a few simple ideas. #1: Your going to spend more time with this person than your fiance on your wedding day, so you had better like them. #2: They shoot what you want them to shoot, really well. If you love glamour posed photos, they had better have a bunch of great ones on their site showing it. If you want them to catch special moments at your wedding, just give them a little test at your engagement shoot. Do something spontaneous, and see if they were ready to catch it. If they don't, then there is a good chance they are going to miss that intimate moment during the father-daughter dance and not to mention the proud glances of the mother of the bride during the father's toast (see my next post... AHHH shameless)... Meet Philip and Susanna. They kept me on my toes all evening, here a few of my favorite moments including those all important unplanned ones.

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Christian & Emily's Slide SHOW!

Ok, so I think I finally figured out how to put my slide shows on my blog! I include these shows with every wedding I shoot. Images just become so much more powerful with a little music and movement. Just click on that blue arrow down there and ENJOY!

Destination Chicago

Just about to board my flight back home to San Diego and thought I might post a few photos from yesterday's shoot. I don't have any photos from the wedding, I'll get those up next week. Rather a few shots I captured around 2am of the Chicago skyline. I just can't seem to get enough shooting! After 14 hours of wedding coverage, I find myself in a classic mid-west lightning storm. I couldn't wait to get my camera out! I was staying at a friends place with a fabulous view of the lightning storm. We were lucky enough to watch the Sears tower get hit several times and even more lucky to get a few shots. Here are my favs.



Posted on May 26, 2008 by Registered CommenterAaron Willcox in | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail