Five Creative Fall Photo Shoot Ideas, Other Than the Pumpkin Patch

Five Creative Fall Photo Shoot Ideas, Other Than the Pumpkin Patch

For the record,

I am a big fan of pumpkin patches.

But there are only so many holiday pictures at pumpkin patches until you realize you want to do something different - something unique - something with originality. Here are five creative fall photo shoot ideas for you and your family to savor through the years, that don’t involve wheelbarrows full of pumpkins and sitting atop hay stacks.

1. The beach!fall photo shoot creative brant bender photography

The beach is forever astounding because it is truly a wonder to see, especially if you have holiday cards to send out of state. You can (pumpkin) spice up your fall photo shoot with outfits involving plaid, boots, darker jeans, corduroy, etc. for a more seasonal vibe in front of those glimmering sands and cerulean waters. Nearby, beautiful, and classic, our local beaches are one of the best parts of living in San Diego - take advantage of it!

2. A winery

family photo with fall vineyard photoshoot

Consider a family portrait surrounded by green-turned-amber vineyards, as well as the rustic tractors, barrels, and barns that are part of a winery. The rustic woodiness of the cellars, combined with the turning of fall seen on the vines, will ring in the perfect seasonal feel you’re looking for in your family’s fall photo shoot. The Bernardo Winery is my personal go-to, where there is never a bad shot and its timeless setting fits any season, any weather, and any kind of day.

3. The town of Julian

julian san diego apple orchards brant bender photographer

There is nothing like the cozy and utterly delightful mountain town of Julian. If you don’t mind spending a little extra time and money on driving to Julian for your fall photo shoot, I’m here to tell you it is the small town photo op of your dreams. Julian is just far enough east to make visiting a nice day trip for the family, and to observe real seasonal changes in the environment. Think about scheduling your fall photo shoot at one of their historic landmarks, a picnic site painted in fall foliage, or their renowned Volcan Apple Farm. Not only will your family visit a town full of endless charm, but you are also guaranteed amazing photos here.

4. Railroads

railroad family portraits san diego ca

Railroads convey the warmth and nostalgia of “a simpler, easier time.” Their old-timey, resilient and age-old tracks are perfect for unique family pictures. And for all you new parents out there, kids love the train. A railroad photo shoot may give you the perfect chance to capture pure joy on your children’s faces, making for an authentic holiday postcard.

5. Lakes

creative family photo shoots brant bender photographyWhen the twilight sun hits a lake just right during autumn, photos of the scene can be breathtaking. Grab your family for a fun-filled day at a local lake, and capture the golden yolk of a falling sun on water illuminating your loved ones. For an added bonus, find a wooden dock or large rock to create an isolated, end-of-summer. nature-y feel to your photos.

Katy and Rocky’s Golden Kona Kai Wedding

Katy and Rocky’s Golden Kona Kai Wedding

 

They fell fast, & fell hard.

“I’m going to marry you,” Rocky assured Katy, the night they first met, at a bar nestled in Hermosa beach. That bold pickup line was the perfect one–as it seemed to foretell a romantic prophecy that would unfold soon later. It didn’t take long for these two to know they both met their soulmate. Katy and Rocky fell for each other, and fell hard. Rocky soon dropped down on one knee and asked the big question. Katy gave her answer. Their wedding day was set for September 7, 2019.

A Golden Day

These two picked the perfect day to tie the knot, on a private beach, on a breezy summer’s day at the gorgeous Kona Kai Resort and Spa. Katy and Rocky nailed the intimate, beachy and romantic wedding aura: every single guest seemed to truly enjoy the closeness and beauty of the event. And yet, their laid-back vibe hit hard, with a dance floor sitting above the sand in front of a quiet, sun-soaked harbor partially blocking the horizon. Their blissful ivory and ocean blues color scheme fit well with the summery on-the-sand backdrop, and the subtle white candles found at every reception table provided a golden glow that seemed to keep the close-knit party going long into the evening.

From September 7, 2019 onward…

What a beautifully woven relationship between Katy and Rocky. I couldn’t be more excited for them in this next chapter together, and I feel very lucky to have captured their big day. You can catch this power couple enjoying the simple things together as husband and wife: enjoying each other’s time, jogging along San Diego’s golden-flaked beaches together, and finding happiness in being a complete, happy family with their husky puppy, Yeezy! 

Congratulations, you two. A (virtual) toast to a lifetime of happiness for you both!

Christina and Chris’ San Diego Zoo Safari Park Dream Wedding

Christina and Chris’ San Diego Zoo Safari Park Dream Wedding

The dream wedding of adventurers

Have you ever met a couple that perfectly defines the word “adventure”? Christina and Chris are the modern-day nature heroes we dreamed about being as kids–this dynamic duo has traveled the world researching animals and making exciting discoveries, and they also currently teach future scientists/nature lovers about the intoxicatingly interesting world of snakes and reptiles. Moreover, their movie-worthy love story sparked from venom extraction best practices, and their wedding served as a testament to their wildly amazing personalities.

 

A love story extracted from venom

Flash back to 2016 in Australia, where Christina was a student gaining as much knowledge as possible, and Chris was known as “Venom Santa” to universities in the area, both passionate about wildlife conservation, met for the first time to go over some pipette-tip extraction techniques on snakes. The two hit it off with out-bush tales, Death Adder deep-dives, and many other adventurous topics, but after the training was concluded, Christina and Chris split ways. Some months later, they met again, where even more sparks flew. This time, the chemistry between them was obvious, where every spare minute was spent getting to know as much about each other as possible.

Then, the look happened: Christina caught Chris looking at her in a new way–one that meant something much deeper than friendship. Since then, their relationship blossomed into an unbreakable bond. And to think that it all started over snake venom: these two invented a new definition for intoxicating!

The wedding of their dreams

I was lucky enough to photograph these two, who flew all the way from Australia to enjoy a one-of-a-kind destination wedding at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. There seemed no better venue than the Safari Park for Christina and Chris, as their big day was surrounded by freely ranging wild animals and gorgeous scenery.

The wedding focused on the fun and intimate relationship between Christina and Chris. Watching their friends and family gather together to celebrate their love was a huge joy for all those that attended, including me! Their light baby blue complimentary colors blended well with the jungle-like greens of the Safari Park. And, of course, there were elements of danger to the wedding, including a majestic cheetah and (VERY) large snake as special guests.

 

Here’s to changing the world

To Christina and Chris: your career paths, your love story, and yourselves are so inspiring and influential; I’m so honored to have gotten to know you both and and captured your special day. It is a true gift to make people think differently about how we perceive the world around us, and you both share that gift through your work with venom, snakes, and wildlife. I can’t wait to see what comes next for you two, I can easily guess that whatever it is, it will be very exciting!

And a special “roar” (I’m loving the adventurous theme here, everyone!) to the mother of the bride–we took an action shot together; it was an amazing experience to share such a special moment with the family! Get a sneak–no, snake peak, into their gorgeous wedding with some pictures below. Congrats again, Christina and Chris!

The Ultimate loophole to themed weddings, just ask Daniel and Michael

The Ultimate loophole to themed weddings, just ask Daniel and Michael

Themed weddings can be so much fun to photograph, and even more fun to attend. If done right, themes are the fibers of a wedding that connect people to your wedding experience by immersing your guests in a memorable, joyous celebration. But themes can come at a price, both financially and emotionally, for couples when budgets topple or when venues use strict policies that prevent planners from going all out with a desired wedding theme.

Daniel and Michael, our heroes (and the power couple) of this story, found the ultimate loophole of themed weddings: leveraging the wedding venue their theme. By choosing the San Diego Safari Park as their wedding venue, Daniel and Michael not only gave an unforgettable and breathtaking experience to their guests, but also saved big on time, energy, and cash spent pinpointing specific decor and elements that would have been costly to purchase and set up.

So how did they actually pull off this big secret to a flawless themed wedding? It really only took two major considerations.

1. They remembered their biggest moments together.

Michael and Daniel’s first date was at…you guessed it, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. From there, their relationship blossomed into what is now a blissful partnership that will only continue to grow for the rest of their lives. Their story began as a true adventure, surrounded by wild animals and an exotic environment. Their wedding would convey that sense of fun and spark that Michael and Daniel share to this day.

2. Their wedding location was an experience first, venue second.

In selecting a zoo as their wedding venue, Daniel and Michael didn’t need to seek out any extra decor to add to their wedding experience–it was already all around them! From the building architecture to majestic giraffes and rhinos baring witness to their ceremony, this couple had a more authentic and detailed theme than what would have been mocked up at a different venue location. On top of it all, no extra money or effort was spent to recreate what was already embedded within the safari park.

Daniel and Michael pulled off a truly amazing themed wedding. If you’re looking to plan a themed wedding, start looking at the most cherished memories you and your partner share together. From there, find a place that really speaks to you both. It doesn’t need to be a cookie-cutter wedding venue; it just needs to bring a smile and a warm memory to both of you.

And to Daniel and Michael, congratulations to both of you, wishing you many years of love and adventure to come!

Meet Tap Truck, the coolest way to serve drinks at your next big event

Meet Tap Truck, the coolest way to serve drinks at your next big event

Picture this: it’s a casual sparkling San Diegan day, and you’ve got your shades on and your smile wide. The one thing you’re missing is a choice IPA in your hand. Then your sun is blocked, and the roar of a vintage engine cuts to a sputter and stop. Some local surfer dude pops out of a 1965 Chevy Suburban as blue as the waves and grabs a beer mug. Like a laid back mad scientist, he pulls a lever - on the side of the Suburban - to fill the mug with a frothy beer and hands it to you. Sounds like a dream come true.

That’s me with one of the founders of Tap Truck, one of the coolest concepts I’ve seen while photographing for weddings, birthdays and events. It’s the next unique idea that will bring on that “wow” factor you’re dreaming about for your next big thing.

It’s a lifestyle.

Before you read any further, you should know that Tap Truck is not for you if you’re looking for a traditional, by-the-book event or wedding. Tap Truck is for those who enjoy the San Diego way of life: meaningful experiences are the top priority, which includes being surrounded by friends and family, laughter, and an appreciation for the little things that make the day beautiful.

Practicality.

Park, pour, sip. That’s really all that needs to happen for you to enjoy Tap Truck. You just pick the spot, and Tap Truck can wheel in, park it, and start filling up cold beers or chilled wine immediately. With up to five beverage choices to pick from, every guest will find a drink they can truly enjoy, and they can even grab a few refills before the day is up!  

Cool factor.

Not only do you get to choose from several top-rated local breweries/wineries, but you get to drink straight from a historical automobile that symbolizes the sweetest sentiments of the U.S.A. What’s cooler than a vintage American classic that rolls up to your event, stocked full of multiple beverages that you love to drink, with a dedicated bar/car keep that will serve them to you with a smile? Not much else, that’s what.

 

The Balboa Park Spark: William’s and Richard’s Love Story

The Balboa Park Spark: William’s and Richard’s Love Story

The Balboa Park Spark: William’s and Richard’s Love Story

-On top of being a historical icon of San Diego, Balboa Park means something different to so many people. For William and Richard, Balboa Park means a beautiful future with each other. In honor of pride month, a sweet love story and for everything love stands for, this post is dedicated to finding the right person and never letting go. This is for William and Richard.

-What began as a harmless, albeit boozy brunch in Uptown, Texas, transformed into spark-filled and spontaneous courting for over a year. Thanks to many more brunches and friends urging the two to get together, Richard and William became an official couple in late 2013.

 The two moved to the sparkling, sunny town of San Diego with their eyes set on the beaches everyone seemed to rave about. Yet it was Balboa Park that really caught their attention. It became one of their most cherished spots to spend time together. On an unsuspecting Saturday, Richard and William climbed the Park’s California tower to catch the breathtaking views of the shimmering sea and San Diego’s skyline. William felt something important was coming…and he was right. Richard took a knee and popped the question, in the most perfect setting possible.

The rest is history–their 1916 World’s Fair-themed wedding brought their friends and family together for a day of love and togetherness. And of course the wedding took place at the most memorable spot in their lives, Balboa Park.

On a personal note, working with these two was a blast! They are a great couple that I was lucky enough to work with, and watching them together is a perfect example of what being in love looks like. And a especial thanks to Courtney from Breezy Day Weddings, who ensured Richard and William’s wedding ran smoothly! All the best to Richard and William, and here’s to many more happy years to come!

 

 

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