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Spooky Winchester Mystery House | San Jose

Michael and I live for adventure. I’d like to share some of our travels with you on the blog.

A few years ago we drove up north to San Jose and visited the Winchester Mystery House. We loved, loved, loved listening to the history of the house and its builder, Sarah Winchester. The house is famous for several architectural oddities such as doors that lead to nowhere and stairs that end at the ceiling.

Since we visited around Halloween, the Winchester Mystery House was holding a a scary evening tour as well. If you haven’t had a chance to visit this famous house, you should add it to your must-see list of California. And while you’re in town, grab a treat from Psycho Donuts.

travel photography, travel, Winchester House, Halloween, spooky, historical building, ghosts
travel photography, travel, Winchester House, Halloween, spooky, historical building, ghosts

The Hipstamatic app is one of our favorite iPhone photo apps. We use it on all of our travels. Here is a mosaic of our Hipstamatic photos of the Winchester Mystery House.

travel photography, travel, Winchester House, Halloween, spooky, historical building, ghosts, Hipstamatic
travel photography, travel, Winchester House, Halloween, spooky, historical building, ghosts
travel photography, travel, Winchester House, Halloween, spooky, historical building, ghosts

FL&R

Encore! Newlywed Silhouette

Heather and Jacques were married in the beautiful St. John’s Lutheran Church in Orange.

Their ceremony was at sunset so we only had a few minutes for photos and then night overtook us. I wanted one last photo of the newlyweds before heading to the reception. I knew I could use some off-camera lighting to create a dramatic image for them that they’d love. I only had a few minutes so I quickly set the light. I clicked four frames. This is the last one.

church, wedding, Los Angeles wedding photographer, Orange County wedding photographer, night, silhouette, black and white photography

FL&R

Colorful Indian Wedding | Malibu Hindu Temple

Love is a super power. It has the ability to bring people together from different countries, different religions, different races, even different continents.

Anusha and James are from opposite ends of the world but love brought them together. Their friends and family came all the way from India and Britain to celebrate with them.

Their beautiful Indian wedding, called Vivaah, was held at the Malibu Hindu temple in Calabasas.

Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah

I believe that wedding photos should reflect the personality of the couple and the mood of the wedding. Our style of photography is crisp, classic, documentary. That said, when we design the wedding album we make sure the style matches the tone of the wedding. A couple holding a retro wedding may choose a vintage treatment for their photos. This wedding lent itself to added textures and different color treatments. The post-processing actions and textures I use are my own, so your wedding photos will never look like another couple’s. The photos in this blog post feature different treatment ideas. In an actual album, the treatments would be consistent within that album.

Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah

Hindu ceremonies are elaborate and vary depending on region and preferences of the bride, groom and their families.

Most wedding ceremonies are held under a canopy called a mandap. The entire ceremony is conducted in Sanskrit. There are several rituals that are common to most ceremonies.

Jaimala or Varmala is an exchange of garlands between the bride and groom signifying a pledge to respect one another.

Pani-Grahan is when the groom takes the right hand of the bride in his left hand accepting her as his wife.

Vivah Havan or Vivah Homa is the lighting of the sacred fire during which the couple vow commitment to each other. Offerings of crushed sandalwood, herbs, sugar rice and oil are placed in the ceremonial fire.

Mangal Phera or Pratigna Karan is the walk around the fire. The bride and groom walk four times clockwise around the fire. Each time is representative of a different goal in life: dharma – morality or duty to family and God, artha – prosperity, kama – passion, and moksha – spiritual salvation.

Saptapadi is the ritual of seven steps. The couple takes these steps together signifying the start of their life’s journey.

Sindoor is the tradition of the groom applying a dot of red vermilion powder to his bride’s forehead.

Aashirvadah is the parents’ blessing for the married couple. As a sign of respect, the bride and groom bow down to the feet of their parents. The guests then shower the newlyweds with flowers and rice, wishing them a long and happy marriage.

Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah
Hindu wedding; Indian wedding; Los Angeles wedding photographer; vivaha; wedding; Malibu Hindu Temple; Calabasas; Desi wedding; South Asian Wedding; Indian bride; desi bride; Hindu Temple; interracial marriage. interracial wedding, Vivaah

FL&R

Brittney Hannon - Great job on these! I love all of the color! It was so interesting to read about the traditions and rituals that take place during the ceremony.

Aleks Bienkowska - Thank you Brittney! I loved seeing all the ceremony traditions.

Wedding Photography Costs a Latte

This is not going to be a happy wedding post.

Two weeks ago, my good friend’s grandfather passed away after spending several weeks in the hospital. Her family took me in over Thanksgiving weekend every year when I was in college. They always made me feel welcome, as if I was going to my own family’s home.

My friend shared many photos of her grandfather on Facebook. I loved seeing him as a handsome young man in his wedding photos. He beamed with pride walking his sister down the aisle at her wedding. And smiling in his cousin’s wedding photos. Most were in black & white. Most almost 70 years old.

My job is more than taking pretty pictures – it is documenting family history, telling the story of your day. I do not take this honor, this responsibility, lightly.

I know you will share your wedding photos with all your guests. A few years later, you may share them with your children, your nieces, your nephews, your new cousins. You will reminisce with your husband or wife on anniversaries. You may share with grandchildren, grandnieces and grandnephews.

And now I’m going to say something that may not be so popular: Wedding photography is expensive.

Why can’t wedding photos cost as little as, say, Starbucks coffee?

A grande Caffè Latte averages $3.45. The caffeine will get you through most of the day, although you may want to add an extra shot if you’re tired or just get the bigger venti.

I’m going to guess if you’re a regular coffee drinker, you’ll get another cup tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

There are 365 days in a year. So that’s $1,259.25 a year for a daily grande Caffè Latte.

My friend is sharing photos that are almost 70 years old.

What if you had a cup of coffee every day for 70 years, assuming prices don’t go up?

$88,147.50 – and that’s not counting the extra days for leap years.

Coffee is important. Your daily cup of joe may be the only thing that gets you through some days. I know it does for me. But you could go a day, maybe two, without it.

You only have one chance for wedding photos that will last for generations.

Still think wedding photography is expensive? I do. It’s priceless.

Los Angeles wedding photographer, coffee, wedding photography is priceless

FL&R

Karen D - So true and a great way to put the cost of photography into perspective!

Sadi Lane - Fantastic points! So true! As both a bride and a wedding photographer I can relate on both levels and its so true!

Shani - I totally agree ! The value of photos increases with time- and I love seeing peoples old wedding albums and finding some classics haven’t changed …

Aleks Bienkowska - Thanks Shani! I love old photos!!!

Aleks Bienkowska - Thanks Sadi!

Aleks Bienkowska - Thank you Karen!

Kristine Marie - Aleks, thanks for putting pricing into perspective for many. Photos are a legacy!

Aleks Bienkowska - Thank you Kristine!