Hayley & Bill / Wedding Day / Malibu West Beach Club

What is weird about you? What is GREAT about you? What do you stand for, enjoy, and giggle at most serenely?

Most people, I would have to say, do not really, really know… Most people enjoy what the other guy has, or is a little embarrassed about the silly nerdy things that bring her alive throughout the workweek.

SOME people, however, KNOW. A handful of special individuals cherish exactly what they have, they promote it, take it with them, make traditions out of them, and live by the standard of their own personalities and delights. And it doesn’t matter if you’re “into” their “into”s, because they are pleased in just what they have…without you. (😋 No hard feelings)

So meet a couple…:

Hayley & Bill.


MR. & MRS. Bill & Hayley!

When we asked Hayley and Bill what they were “all about”, what their wedding was all about, what they loved about each other and their relationship we got paragraphs! And everything matched; everything synced. These two were undeniably sure of the affections – a most admirable trait.

This surety of gratification is not a self-centered egotistical fascination, because Hayley & Bill’s #1…nope… #2 criteria for their wedding day was that all of their guests and loved ones have FUN, enjoyment, and lots and lots of great food…(oh, and mini donuts! That’s LOVE!)…(#1, so you don’t get worried, they said was saying “YES!!!!” to a life-vow, and sharing precious moments together on the beach and on the dance floor arm in arm, and cheek to cheek).

These two are a loving couple of self proclaimed nerds! Their entire elegant, cool, coastal-breezy wedding was themed around the phrase, “Geek Chic.” And the simple delights that they share together in life and relationship were turned into the fun, bright, and creative decorations of their wedding day. Star Wars, Dr. Who, Avengers, Harry Potter and others welcomed this couple into their married life together with a celebration of fun.

A huge congratulations to Hayley & Bill, for being who they love to be boldly and without apology, and for loving each other complete, without reservation or shame of any kind.

(Increidble fellow vendors’ are credited at the end).




























































Incredible Vendors:
Photography: – Suzy & David / of Cassia Karin Photography / http://www.cassiakarin.com

Wedding Planner: – Holly Orr / Paper Art Events / http://paperheartevents.net

Venue Coordinator: – Jacqui Spiros / Malibu West Beach Club / http://www.malibuwestbeachclub.com

Florist: – Linda Marshall / Acton Flower Lady

DJ – Lara Corrall / Vox Djs / http://voxdjs.com/#/rob-corrall

Cinematographer: – Louis Ng / Lenson Productions / https://www.lensonproductions.com

Catering -Stonefire Grill / https://stonefiregrill.com/catering/

FRESH DONUT CART! – Dazzling Donuts / http://dazzlingdonuts.com


A Diamond in the Grind…Tierra’s Epic High School Senior Shoot


I am a wedding photographer…….
BUT have on many grand occasions had the pleasure to work in a totally different realm of photography, and I am SO pumped to reveal this project today!….

I used to consider myself a total adventurer, and then I married a real adventurer and am now proud to say I am the WIFE of a total adventurer…
Tommy and I are also, among many other things, rock climbers, and we are both teachers to high schoolers; Tommy officially, and myself unofficially.
SO, bringing these identities together, and TIERRA KELLEY’s Project emerges.

Tierra is one of Tommy’s students from his time teaching at Highland High School, and has become one of his rock climbing students (or his “climbing protégé” as he prefers to call her). She is “one of the good ones”, as we like to say; the kinda person you know is “gonna make it” in life. Her ambition is only matched by her bright smile, and unconfined laughter.

Smart, a little sassy, and covered with support and praise from her family and friends, Tierra is kicking down the doors of her future, and ending high school without a grudge. “Climbing up to her future”, as her Dad put it sentimentally during our shoot, and she’s climbing more thing than just rock walls.

My passion for photography blends here with my love for adventure, and Tierra’s young ambitious expressions filled my heart to the brim, for there is nothing that fuels my own fire like witnessing teenage inspiration and courage.

Well done Tierra. Tommy and I are so excited for you, and can’t wait to see what you finish next  What a blast this shoot was!


*Select “HD”

*Watch it “Full Screen” 😉

*Watch it Loud

*Be Inspired*



2018 / Santa Barbara Courthouse Wedding / Elopement


Maria Eloisa & Gabriel renewed a sweet delight in me and my work as I enter into another full and (perhaps) taxing year.

These two were the first I saw through my camera lens wed in the year 2018, and their story and their lives are worthy of unique and joyful remembrance.

The day was short, the guests were few, but no one present felt the least amount of lack. Their hearts were too full, their gratitude too high, and the tears of joy and hope were sent to those they loved afar instead of being kept for themselves.

Santa Barbara County Courthouse was their cathedral. The sun chose to shine on a city recently wrecked with natural disaster, and the bustling about of repair and confusion felt appropriate somehow… For within the hearts of these two lovers is a familiarity with natural disaster, confusion, and the power of hope.

Mariah Elloise is a doctor, and has had days filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of suffering in others. Her own father, with a rare and disastrous sickness lives upon her care and his family’s love for him. She spends her days and years in devoted research of his illness in order to love him, to keep him, and to honor him and his family. Mariah’s father suffers with a similar diagnosis (in disease the family) of that which my own father died two years ago.

Gabriel, far from his parents whom he loves in Brazil, wore the same suit jacket which his father wore the day he devoted himself into marriage to Gabriel’s mother. It was as though his father gave a physical embrace to Gabriel’s  decision that day. Tears appeared in Gabriel’s eyes and the eyes of his dear sister often as they felt the distance of such loving and supporting examples to them.

So their joy is great, and their dependence on one another thick and supple. And in these strong roots of suffering and endurance they entered into marriage by vow of such devotion, and by the soft and gentle light of a cool coastal day.

The final location selected by Mariah for their wedding portraits was the famous Moreton Bay Fig Tree, a tree of 142 years, known for its strong and gargantuan roots. It stood as a symbol to Mariah and Gabriel to set their thoughts of married life to. Mariah related to me that she wants her marriage to look like this tree; strongly rooted.

And so the year of 2018 begins, with a marriage union that humbles and lifts me in the same way that a tree’s roots grow deep into the ground, and the flowers of foliage raise high in reach for the light. So will I endure in my mission for strong roots in seeking truth and high praise in seeking the light. May truth, honor, and the celebrate of the light be my anthem this year.


How to Choose a Wedding Photographer / Part I

You’re Engaged! You’re Excited! And the choices begin… Before everyone starts telling you what YOU want, take a few tips below to get educated on who’s out there so you can choose the BEST photographer for you.

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(Psst… if you haven’t already, this would be the right time to read “I’m Engaged! Now What?” Blog-post to set your heart well, before starting your planning…)

Now, this is the most important and exciting part of your wedding planning! You have a date and you know where you’re getting married, now you can choose your wedding photographer! You’re SO excited because photography is the most important part to you… though perhaps you’re not exactly sure why…

You’re not terribly or particularly impressed with your girl-friend’s images that fill your social media feed… you want something a little different, something unique and special.


The first step is to know who’s out there.
When you go shopping for clothes, You can go to Target, the Mall, the Boutique, or your store (like Anthropologie). You know that Target sells clothes that get the reaction, “Oh I love that!” Or the dreaded, “Oh I have that exact same dress!” Beach street boutiques give you style and class that perfectly (but narrowly) match the swagger of that town.

Then there’s Anthropologie – that’s your gig. They give you self-expression. One unique piece looks different (and better) on you than it could on her, so you feel safe and well-represented.

Translate to wedding photography. Who is going to represent you and how do you know you will like it?



The first step is to know the shops on the block. Meet the six categories of Photographer:

>The Enthusiast
>The Amateur
>The Proficient
>The Expert
>The Story Teller
>The Master

Each type of photographer below fits a certain time, season, and certain person. They each have their place so get to know them just a bit!

The Enthusiast
This photographer just discovered the sound of his own voice through photography. What he will produce for you is his enthusiasm for capturing his memories on your wedding day. The Enthusiast lacks technical skills, has not yet worked out the use of light, and usually does not have the eye to notice other people’s special moments in action.  He will, however, be one of the most enthusiastic attenders and supporters of your wedding, and will cost your wallet next to nothing.

Wedding Photography Cost: Typically free or under $100

Where to Find Him: He is a friend, cousin, or acquaintance

His Wedding Photography Offer Will Sound Like:
“You know what?! I have a new great camera, why don’t I just do the photos for you! I would be happy to help and to save you all that money!”



The Amateur
The Amateur is much like a high school second year foreign language student. He has learned the vocabulary of a language that has brought him into a new world.  He does lacks technical knowledge and experience, but he will be the first to volunteer for you. He typically can only produce for you on your wedding day descriptive images: What you wore. Who was there. Most of what happened. There will be many moments un-captured due to technical error or lack of attentiveness, and emotions in the images will probably be void or boxed into his newly-learned poses. He will spread the excitement of your day and will work hard to create very stylish and fashionable images with the most popular poses online. Amateurs flood the industry more than any other category, and they are the first level of professional photographer out there. Occasionally you can find a really-really great beginner artist! Hope Taylor is an example of one who entered the scene early as a high school student, but had incredible social and technical talent. In her Amateur stage she was downplayed, but she was a steal for all the clients who put trust in her.

Wedding Photography Cost: Typically $500-$1,500

Where to Find Him: He is a high schooler, friend, or acquaintance

His Wedding Photography Offer Will Sound Like:
“I’m a photographer! That’s my job! I’ve done tons of work with families, babies, seniors, and studied photography in a little in school. Check out my website and Instagram. You can see all of my work there. I’ve just been getting into wedding photography so I would be able to give you a great deal!”



The Proficient
Unlike the enthusiast and amateur, the proficient lacks inspiration and creativity. He has simply discovered that people pay for photography services, and has “McDonald-ized” the processes for you. He has a good bit of experience in every scenario of photography, but has never taken an emotionally impacting image…yet. He fires the shutter proficiently. You can identify him by his broad and expansive portfolio, but you will have the same emotional reaction to the images in his pet-photography section, as you do in his landscapes, weddings, real-estate, and head-shot photography. I’m afraid I have not spoken very graciously of the Proficient. I do not have much respect for him, :/ THOUGH for those of you who do not have too much concern for the artistry of your wedding-day story, and simply want the day captured with ease and consistency, this photographer is a good fit for you! He will get the job done fast, and you will know what to expect.

Wedding Photography Cost: Typically $1,000-$2,500

Where to Find Them: Wedding shows, Facebook pop-ups, wedding websites, and through your venue

His Wedding Photography Offer Will Sound Like:
“You can see all of my work on my website. Just fill out the form there to check my availability for your wedding. I’ve shot at your wedding venue dozens of times so I would be a good pick for you.”


The Expert
This photographer has a distinct style. Hire him and you will be a part of his “artistic club.” He will efficiently put you into his personally crafted art. You will get exactly what he offers you because your wedding will look consistently like every other wedding he has photographed. The Expert is straight forward, easy to work with, and what you see from past weddings is what you will get. He has skill with his camera, and he knows how to use light to make a pretty picture. When I was in this category, I was most proud of the style of my work, it was unique and desirable at the time, and I worked hard at making “my art” identifiable. So if you want your wedding date to be dated by the current styles, than the Expert will serve you well.

Wedding Photography Cost: Typically $3,000-$5,000

Where to Find Them:
Google-search “______(city) photographer” or “______(venue) Photographer”, by walk-in storefront studio, or word-of-mouth from that one girl who constantly talked about her wedding.

His Wedding Photography Offer Will Sound Like:
“Hire _________ for your wedding and get epic images that make all of your friends jealous. Offer includes everything you ever hoped for on your wedding day.”


The Story-Teller
Story-tellers are most aware and perceptive about the participants in a wedding day. They come with confidence in their technical abilities (which they must have for their particular art). They use available light and adjust their equipment to suit the natural environment of the event as to not disturb the story, but to capture it (not just as it looks,  but how it is perceived in memory and emotions). The story-teller is an editorial artist and usually a bit of a visionary. Inspiration comes from a love for light and a love for people. You can expect your wedding day story to be told by this photographer with emotion and beauty. The goal of the story-teller is to create beautiful and emotion-filled images without personal thumbprints covering the art. This is whom I most highly recommend and strive to be like. The downside of a Story-teller is that he… or she 😉 … will not always be the most popular photographer on the block because the work is not about them, but about YOU. So if you’re absolutely looking for glam and bragging rights, you will need to upgrade to Master. Also, in order to really acquire gorgeous photography by the story-teller, you need to have a beautiful story. Hire the story-teller if your wedding day for you is about your love, and your care for your families, friends, and guests. She will capture the emotion of your relationships best of all :).

Wedding Cost: Typically $3,500-$10,000

Where to Find Them: 
Word of Mouth, featured in magazines and/or wedding inspiration blogs and websites, from wedding coordinators

Her Wedding Photography Offer Will Sound Like:
“I would be honored to capture your wedding for you! Tell me about yourself and your fiancé. Describe your dreams about your wedding day and I will tell you if I would be a good fit for you.”



Story-telling is the category that I would describe myself in and that I am always aspiring to. Though I will confess that I did travel through most of the other categories before story-telling, except the “Proficient.” I have always had passion and excitement in my work. You can, of course, read about my passion in story-telling Here


The Master
The Master photographer has built a prestigious name. He doesn’t own a wedding-photography business; he is the professional artist of his wedding photography company. When talking to him you will feel no urge to describe what you want out of your wedding photography, but will be inclined to ask what you need to do for him. There is often a twinge of star-struck nerves because you have seen his work amidst celebrities, vogue-type magazines, and on Wall Street billboards.

Wedding Cost: Typically $15,000-$60,000

Where to Find Him:
In New York, Paris, or Hollywood, in top wedding magazines, in wedding dress designer black-address-books, with world-famous wedding coordinators, and at the academy award ceremony sitting by Meryl Streep .


The MASTER I admire most and follow: Christian Oth / New York


Now that you have met all the different types of photographers, how do you proceed from here? It can be overwhelming to sort through the options. How do you pick one that will fit your style and your needs? Find out next week when we look at part two of ‘How to Choose a Wedding Photographer!’ It will help you with the questions that you should ask when choosing a wedding photographer. Sign up for my email list or like Lux Aeterna on Facebook to get notified of new posts!


I’m Engaged! Now What?!


The dating pressure is over! Your angst, fear (anger?), and nerves about relational disappointment is suddenly dissolved into elation over…over…being LOVED by your now (fancifully titled man) “fiancé”! *Sigh* You’ve upgraded to a foreign word to describe the foreign nature of this perfect individual who wants to cherish you “forever!” And things just got real. You’re a bride. It’s your time. It’s your party-and
yes- you can cry if you want to!!! (Brides, lets face it, you’ll get what you want!)

Which brings us to the point: (May I read your mind?…) “What do I want?!” You ask yourself while your breath stops just a little short and you feel the first unexpected pressure in your lower back as your nerves tell you that you have a lot to DO! “What do I want?!” (more…)

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