Yay for me…found it on my own!!!! Wow, I’ve impressed myself, lol. I think it’s installed in the header from Headers and Footers?
Vanessa and Luis: A Glorious Church Wedding and a Family-Focused Celebration

Vanessa and Luis: A Glorious Church Wedding and a Family-Focused Celebration

I can still hear families laughing and church bells ringing.

I don’t mean to brag, but I had the best time photographing the ultra-sweet and fun soul mate couple, Vanessa and Luis, for their wedding at the glorious Our Lady of Guadalupe church and their family-focused reception at the 60’s-themed-gem known as Kings Inn. Their love story is nearly fairy tale, and their wedding day was the essence of a perfect event!

Vanessa and Luis first met through a mutual friend during their college years. As the spark between them caught fire, they discovered how much they loved to simply be together, whether it was spending time with one another, being foodies together, or catching flicks together. They especially loved outdoorsy activities, with their first date under golden rays at the beach. And later on, when they both knew that they had found their soul mate, they were engaged during a romantic trip in Cabo San Lucas.

In mid-January of this year, I photographed Vanessa and Luis as they were wedded at the prestigious and holy Our Lady of Guadalupe church, after a first look and a few portraits in Balboa Park. The church’s historic architecture and stained glass windows brought out the smiles on Luis’ and Vanessa’s faces, along with their warm, romantic and inviting wedding colors of burgandy, blush, and white. The fun continued with their reception at Kings Inn, where family was the focus of a laid back, relaxed, and comfortable atmosphere. I couldn’t take a bad picture if I tried – Vanessa and Luis made the entire day about having fun, about being with family, and of course, about the love they share for each other and everyone that celebrated with them. Congratulations to you both, may your life together be filled with outdoorsy fun, beach days, delicious foods, movies, and of course, being together!

P.S. Vanessa and Luis, thank you both for the amazing review. People like you two make me absolutely love what I do, and I feel overwhelmed with gratitude. I can’t wait to see what comes next for you both, and I can’t wait to capture the next chapters of your life on camera very soon!

Snowy frontier to sunny beach: Leslie and Jared’s dream wedding

Snowy frontier to sunny beach: Leslie and Jared’s dream wedding

Looking for Alaska San Deigo

I’ve got another amazing love story for you: Leslie and Jared, the soul mates from Alaska that wanted their dream wedding in sunny San Diego, surrounded by their kids, family, and friends. From what started as an algorithm-spurred brunch followed by a romantic pawn shop peruse, these two found the perfect partner within each other, and after building a life together equipped with laughter, children, and sleep, these two just finished throwing the wedding of their dreams at the Prado at Balboa Park.

Skiing+napping+sarcasm=the ultimate love spark.

Leslie and Jared filled me in on their favorite things to do together, which easily explains how much fun they were to work with! They thrive on laughing with one another, combining parenting forces, skiing, hiking, biking, and other cool Alaskan outdoorsy stuff. Oh, and they are both proven sarcasm experts.

Bringing Alaska to San Diego

Jared and Leslie dined at the precise restaurant that they visited on their first fancy date. Jared had so much more than a Groupon in his pocket: he popped the question to Leslie! From there, the duo set out to orchestrate the wedding of their dreams. Fun fact: destiny would have it that their daughter be born exactly five years after the proposal! And, they blew themselves and their guests away by bringing elements of Alaska to the breathtakingly historic Balboa Park and by having an interactive celebration for every single guest, especially their kids, to participate in. Bonus fact: these two were married January 11, 2020 – marking their six-year anniversary! 

Leslie and Jared got ready and had their very sweet first look at the US Grant. Leslie even got to have a first look with her boys! The famiy-centric wedding focused on fun and play, while staying classy and graceful. Bliss Events‘ Ashley coordinated a jaw-dropping environment for the bride and groom, with notes of deep rasberry reds mixed with greens and other earthy tones based off the natural beauty of Alaska. To include their family spirit at the wedding, Jared and Leslie made sure their kids as well as their other guests played important, real roles throughout their celebration.  And, if you ask any of the younger guests of the wedding, those hula hoops, games, face painting and that play area made for a great party scene!

This happy couple’s story was so much fun to learn about, and what a sweet, creative wedding I was able to witness. To Leslie and Jared, congratulations you two! Wishing you and the kiddos many naps, laughs, and powdery ski trips for many years to come.

Five New, Original Location Ideas for Your Next Event

Five New, Original Location Ideas for Your Next Event

“Location, location, location,” – real estate agents everywhere.

And yet, the saying still holds true: location is extremely important to where you’re having your next big event. Whether it be a first or 60th birthday party, a wedding, modeling head shots, a company event, a performance, or anything in between, finding the perfect place to host your event can be tricky without knowing the right places, people, and websites to look. A simple web search of your desired event location will most likely bring up popular event spots. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s a safe guess that your desired date might be booked, that it will be crowded with people not in your party, and that there won’t be enough parking for everyone.

Whenever I work with clients who rent a private space to call their own, I always notice the freedom they enjoy, the privacy and the relaxed atmosphere that they get to soak in for themselves. Imagine you have an entire place reserved in your name to host that surprise party, or that corporate event, or an upcoming graduation photo shoot, for the hours you need it, on the date(s) you want, with only the people you want there with you! Enter Peerspace: basically, the Airbnb of meeting and event space rentals.

Using Peerspace‘s search results, here are five quick event location ideas that are unique, personal, and completely yours for your next event, whatever and whenever that may be. Happy location finding!

1. A getaway equipped with everything needed for the perfect house party.

Sometimes, having a party in a cozy chateau is the perfect place for a family get-together. It’s a chance to turn a professionally designed and well-kept house into yours, with those renovations you’ve always dreamed of, without the worry of having to move anything or clean up too much.

Peerspace examples:

La Jolla Country Casa Event Space

– Versatile Beachside House – Lifestyle and Products- Great Lighting, Spacious, Custom Designed

2. An estate for bringing your guests and you together in an intimate, unique setting with no other distractions.

These types of rentals are especially popular for weddings, where an immaculate estate is available for everything a bride and groom may need. Estates provide a private environment where couples can get ready onsite, walk to their ceremony and their reception, and enjoy the estate as if it was their own.

Peerspace examples:

Spacious Villa with Breathtaking Views for Events, Meetings, Photo Shoots!

– Country Elegance on Hilltop with majestic 360 views. Spectacular outdoor spaces

3. An outdoor space that can handle the band, the fans, and the drum solo!

For musicians looking to hold a private party for themselves and their biggest fans, renting a private space to hold a concert is a great way to add hype and exclusiveness to the event. It also allows for the band to play without any permits, interruptions, permissions from the city, etc., since, the space is entirely theirs to do what they please with it!

Peerspace example:

Barrio Logan indoor/outdoor event space

4. A space dedicated to targeting your customer base.

Good entrepreneurs know their customers; what their audience looks like, does for a living, does in their free time, and what their pain points are. If you’re a business owner reading this, renting a space to market a product or service in a location that captures your targeted audience’s attention will not only get your brand noticed, but will also help you stand out from your competitors, too.

Peerspace examples:

– Smart & Sleek Conference Boardroom – Edison

Light and Bright Yoga Studio

– Artistic Urban Gym

5. A garden flourishing with the most beautiful greenery you never knew existed.

Gardens are an attraction as well as a location, and from a photographer’s perspective, they are particularly gorgeous in the background of a headshot or grad photo. To create an entirely different environment filled with living, growing flora, booking a garden as your next event location will be as exotic as it will be breathtaking.

Peerspace example:

Canyon Perched A-Frame Home & Art Studio

Hailey and Tyler’s Beachy Bohemian Wedding

Hailey and Tyler’s Beachy Bohemian Wedding

Ballerina Meets Party Foul.

Tyler and Hailey met at a college Halloween party. The ballerina (Hailey) and party foul (Tyler) got to talking, and soon a relationship blossomed. They found out how much they love to bake together, watch scary movies together, and adore their rescue Corgi, Leo, together. They discovered how much they love hiking, camping and exploring new restaurants with each other too.

A Garden Proposal.

Tyler popped the question during their trip to Miami, Florida a little over a year ago. Surrounded by the stunning greenery of the renowned Vizcaya Gardens, Hailey was completely caught off guard when Tyler asked her to marry him. To Tyler’s delight, she said yes!

50% Beach, 50% Bohemian, 100% Romance.

With bohemian scents of lavender, rosemary, and pink roses drifting through the air under a clear blue sky on the beach, Hailey and Tyler tied the knot in a lovely, sweet, free-spirited fashion at Hotel Del Coronado. Their dusty rose, gold, sage, and cream wedding colors superbly matched the vintage water color elements and wood accents of the glimmering beach and sunset. Hotel Del couldn’t have been a more picturesque location for this laid back celebration of love.

Personally, I had a blast watching guests tear up the dance floor to a live band, enjoy edible cyclones of cotton candy, and party with the newlyweds on the toasted sands of San Diego’s esteemed historic (and extremely picturesque) hotel. And extra kudos to the wedding’s event planner, Korie, of Bliss Events, for coordinating a flawless event filled of fun and romance! 

Sweet like cotton candy and classic like Hotel Del, Hailey and Tyler are the perfect pair in so many ways. May every day together feel like a day at the beach, and your future smell as delicious as rosemary and lavender! Congratulations you two, it was so much fun working with you and I’m so thrilled to see what comes next for you both!

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!

Pin It on Pinterest