Is “Raniest” a word? WordPress says no. But that’s ok.
I heard we were having a “mini” El Nino this year, but so far it has proven to be anything BUT “mini”. This is full blown adult status El Nino. I love the rain, so I’m not complaining too much (especially after we had such a long and horrible drought) BUT… I am complaining a little when it messes with my clients and causes all kinds of rescheduling on top of rescheduling. Also… I really want to wash my new car but feel it’s pointless…. #firstworldproblems am I right?
I have always been a lover of the rain though… so I am enjoying it for the most part.
We got LUCKY with the weather for our weekend up in Arrowhead. It rained here, and dumped snow up there the weekend before. So traffic up and down the mountain, thanks to all the snow bunnies wanting to hit the slopes, I heard was a nightmare. By the next weekend, we headed up the mountain with no traffic at all… not much snow left on the ground in Arrowhead, and beautiful clear skies. Then that following week the rain and snow came back and dumped some more. So we snuck in our weekend of shoots in the absolute perfect timing… because there would be no way to reschedule all 5 sessions we had booked. I am super thankful for that!
Side note – happy Valentine’s Day my friends. I’d say that I’m posting this session in the spirit of Valentine’s Day and love and all that crap… but all I post are photos of people in love so… that would be dumb. Instead I’ll be honest… I’m posting simply because I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks and this session is freaking stunning. But I’m also wishing EVERYONE a Happy Valentine’s day. Taken, or single… you are loved! I used to DREAD this time of year… the second all the lovey dovey crap was littering the walls, floors and air of every store I walked into, reminding me that I was feeling heartache and loneliness, instead of the love and adoration that I longed for. I remember that feeling every year, even though I am happily married and very much loved and in love now…. and I think of others who are feeling that way and I wish I could hug them and tell them it’s temporary… and to call their mom or dad, or their best friend, and share the love of this day that way! Or you know… close up your windows, lock your door, and put on an action thriller and crawl into bed with a glass of wine and remind yourself that tomorrow all the decor goes away and you can pretend it never happened 😉 Whatever makes you feel best!
On that note… here is just another beautiful engagement session having absolutely nothing to do with Valentines Day!
Enjoy the rain, enjoy the day!
For more information on Orange County Wedding Photography, Destination wedding photography, Destination engagements – or whatever else you have in mind… visit http://www.briannacaster.com and send me a message!
Is it seriously already the end of January? What happened?
This is one of those months where I feel like I’ve been pretty busy, but I also feel like I have not accomplished a thing. I hate that feeling. What I HAVE accomplished is the launch of our new team website at http://www.ShyHeartStudios.com – it still needs some tweaks and refining touches, but I’m really happy that it’s live. I hosted our website and purchased templates through bludomain for YEARS and I do not recommend it. I went with it because it was cheap and easy and I thought their sites looked good… and they do. But if you want to get SERIOUS, they’re the worst. I had nothing but trouble with them. They over billed me, refused to refund me, and their customer services is absolutely awful. So I FINALLY got out of that with both briannacaster.com and shyheartstudios.com and I could not be happier. I have ONE person who actually works on my websites and does anything I ask her to, and has made both of my websites look beautiful. Because of the many issues with bludomain, our site was down for way longer than I would have liked. We navigated the domain to our facebook page for a while to avoid the embarrassment of the busted up old site that was no longer functioning properly… and although the new site isn’t TOTALLY done – it looks 1,000 times better than it did before and it is LIVE! Go check it out 🙂
Or… stay here and look at these pretty photos of Kailey and Kristopher… we took these on a cloudy drizzly day but they still turned out beautiful. You can’t go wrong at The Mission in San Juan Capistrano.
Aren’t they cute!? I loved photographing their engagement session at Mission San Juan Capistrano this month… the rain held off just long enough for us to finish our session. Thanks mother nature!
For more information on wedding photography in Orange County and beyond – check out my website at briannacaster.com or check out my team at shyheartstudios.com
Happy New Year everyone!!
I am not a big New Year celebrator… I keep it mellow. But I do like to reflect on the previous year and the goals of the new year and I do enjoy this time. For me 2018 had a lot of ups, and not many downs… for which I am very grateful. Business was wonderful; my marriage was wonderful; we traveled to Costa Rica and to Ecuador, and we found out that we are expecting a baby girl. There was a lot to be thankful for in 2018 and I hope that 2019 offers us, and all of you, just as many blessings.
The first few days of 2019 have already started me off on a high! I woke up on New Years Day 2019 much like I did on New Years Day 2017… In 2017 it was the realization that we were getting married in just a few months and it felt like TOMORROW. In 2019 it was the realization that WE ARE HAVING A BABY, and it feels like she’ll be here tomorrow. SO MUCH TO DO! So exciting.
On January 1st I captured my youngest brothers proposal to one of my photographers, and his long time girlfriend Alexandra. So on day one of this year the excitement of knowing our baby is coming, AND I’m getting my very first brand spankin’ new sister-in-law had me feeling that there is so much excitement and love to plan and enjoy this year. Then on day TWO of this year I reconnected with one of my oldest friends who I have very dearly missed. We are only 4 days into this year and I am just on cloud 9 with all the goodness and love.
Take a look at my very first session of 2019… Three Caster’s down, One to go!
Wishing you all a very blessed 2019 full of love and happiness.
ARE YOU READY!? YES!? NO!? Well get your shit together friends because like it or not (if you don’t like it that’s sad) – Christmas is almost here.
Which also means that 2018 is almost over you guys! Christmas is in t-minus 5 days…. and I just want these last 5 days to go super slowly because I love Christmas with my whole heart… and it all goes by too quickly. Every year goes by faster as we get older and it freaks me the hell out. I try so hard to savor moments, but they quickly become distant memories… and when I think too much about that I get depressed – so moving on!
Usually by this time of year business has slowed down for me quite a bit by now and I’m usually on top of the holiday cards but scrambling to finish my shopping. However, this year my husband started working either Saturday or Sunday every weekend – which, coupled with my weddings, meant we didn’t have a full day off together in 3 months!!! So we literally just scrambled to get our holiday photo done on Sunday, and I rush ordered the cards and sent them out yesterday…. BUT my Christmas shopping has been done for a while… AAAAAND I finished wrapping gifts too! So, Go me… sort of 🙂 Now I get to sit back and enjoy my Mom’s most delicious pumpkin bread (I’ve literally never had better pumpkin bread than hers – ever, hello sweatpants!), and get ready for all of the holiday gatherings coming up over the next week. Life is good.
And you know what else? *Insert clever transition here *
How CUTE are these two? So damn cute.
Happy Holidays my friends! For more information on engagement sessions in Orange County or anywhere in So Cal, or on wedding photography in Orange County and beyond – check out my website, and say hello 🙂 http://www.briannacaster.com
I am such a nerd for Christmas.
My husband likes Christmas too but he likes to try to stifle me until December 1st usually. We have a light-hearted argument as Thanksgiving draws near every year about decorating for Christmas because he knows I like to decorate the moment Thanksgiving is over. I’m not SUPER crazy – I don’t ever want to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving because I love the fall decor too and I like to let Thanksgiving have it’s time 😛 As a kid I always felt bad for Thanksgiving because all the stores just skipped right over it… and I thought the holiday probably had some legit feelings and was probably pretty depressed about it.
But anyway – back to not being “allowed” to bust out the Christmas decor until December 1st… last year I played a little game with myself. Each day after Thanksgiving I snuck out one small piece of Christmas decor and put it around the house to see if my husband would notice. The first couple of days he didn’t notice, so I put bigger items out and he finally did. I thought I was pretty funny… so did he. But because we bought a real tree – I still couldn’t get my tree as early as I would have liked since I wanted it to last until Christmas.
This year we decided to get a fake tree. Last year we went to three or four different lots before we found a decent tree. Everything seemed half dead already due to the drought and it was a wake up call for us… We decided that being in California with this drought, it was probably not a very good idea to buy into the real Christmas tree market that takes up water resources. So just before Thanksgiving we bought our fake tree. And since it wasn’t up in the rafters where I couldn’t reach it, I had this great plan to put it up by myself the Monday after Thanksgiving while Randy was at work… BEFORE December 1st. Which I found to be a hilarious idea… But he threw me a curve ball you guys!!! We were out at dinner on Black Friday and he spoke the magic words; words I never thought I’d hear from my husbands mouth; words that nearly made me fall out of my chair and certainly made me question the authenticity of this being who looked like my husband but certainly wasn’t talking like him… uttering a question he had never uttered before… “Do you want to put the Christmas tree up tonight?” I stared at him dumbfounded trying to make sure that the words he spoke were the same words I heard… wondering if maybe I imagined it, I said, “excuse me?” AND HE SAID IT AGAIN!!!! He’s probably never seen a smile on my face so bright as he did in that moment. So although I couldn’t play my funny game again this year… I was happier than a pig in shit when we got home and started decorating. By Friday night my home was now my little Christmas haven and every time I come in the house or come down the stairs and see it, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside!
The next day I dragged my cousin Stacey out to Joshua Tree with me for the weekend to photograph some couples in the desert. I didn’t so much drag her as I asked her to come with me and she was like “hell yes.” We both equally have an obsession with Joshua tree. So while it was hard to pull myself away from my sweet magical house full of Christmas… I was amped to be back in a place that I feel is every bit as magical as Christmas. I photographed three engagement sessions in Joshua Tree and loved them all equally!
First up was Jade & Casey – avid campers and adventurers who moved to California from Connecticut a couple of years ago, and were absolutely the perfect couple to go on this adventure with! Take a look:
See why I’m so obsessed!? All the heart eyes!
For more information on engagement sessions locally or an adventure shoot like this one, check out my website and drop me a line at http://www.briannacaster.com
This is my absolute favorite time of year. There is just a different spirit in the air… I love to see peoples gratitude posts around this time, and see all of the families coming together to share a meal. With this season comes a lot of busy work to do, cooking, cleaning, hosting, driving, traveling, shopping, etc. and it can become overwhelming. I often hear people talking about how many places they have to go, and how many Thanksgiving dinners they have to attend, and I find myself smiling knowing that people have somewhere to go, and people who want them there. Because we often forget that not everyone has somewhere to go for the holidays. So when we find ourselves stressing out over all of the people we have to make sure we see, I am very quickly reminded of what a blessing that is each year and the stress melts away. To be loved, to be wanted, and to have loved ones to share this season with is the greatest blessing anyone could hope for. Whether your tribe is large or small… whether you have one house to visit, or four houses to visit… aren’t you lucky?
I am never able to turn down a food drive or donation opportunity this time of year because I am also reminded of how many people need this comfort food in their bellies. I am grateful to the kitchens who serve those without a place to call home, and grateful to the grocery stores and all of the organizations who accept donations on their behalves as well. Knowing there are so many people who remember the less fortunate, and make sure that they are not alone this time of year, is another blessing to count.
This month has been full of chaos and tragedy around the state California… and I cannot thank God enough for the safety of my loved ones and the opportunity to spend another Thanksgiving around a table seeing their smiling faces. I have found myself disappointed that certain family members wont be at our table this year as they have other tables to sit at… but then I remember, at least they are here, they are healthy, and they are happy… and I will see them another day. There are many reasons to feel Thankful this year – but none greater than the health and wellness of our family and friends.
Tomorrow our day will be filled with laughter, conversation, new friends, old friends, family, and delicious food… it will be loud, it will be chaotic, and it will be amazing. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year because everyone comes together.
Of course I am also thankful for all of my incredible clients that I had the honor of photographing this year. I have two weddings left, and several other smaller shoots to come before I call it a year in the photography world – and I am grateful for it all. Take a look at Jake & Julianne’s wedding at Mission Viejo Country Club:
May you all have a very blessed Thanksgiving Holiday. Stay safe, stay warm, and spread all of the love and gratitude you can to everyone you come in contact with.
Some weeks I straight up SLACK on blogging. Some weeks, I am SO freaking busy I just can’t find the time. And some weeks I get hit with hard decisions in business, tragedy around the world brings me down, or something eats me up in my personal life, and I just don’t know what the hell to blog about… and I feel like “it’s not a good day.”
I don’t want to say that this was “the week from hell” because things could ALWAYS be worse…but I kept putting off blogging this week because I felt like the timing wasn’t right, and I didn’t have anything fun or silly to talk about. It was a hard week in business, it was a hard week in my heart with yet another mass shooting way too close to home, and hearing of the passing of someone I loved dearly. This morning I decided to blog anyway. My heart is heavy this week and as much as I’d like to blame it on the crazy hormones running through my body, I think the tears roll today for completely legitimate reasons.
I am a person who’s emotions run very deep. I don’t cry over everything, but I feel people’s pain very deeply and events that most will find sad and tilt their head at … I can sometimes obsess over for way too long. I find it to be a both a blessing and a curse. So on days like today, or weeks like this week – to prevent myself from going too far down the rabbit hole… I have learned to give myself some grace. I allow myself to step away from work if I feel I need to… maybe spend time with my niece and nephew who ALWAYS make me smile… and focus on things that make me happy.
I know it’s been a while now, but one thing that makes me incredibly happy is the legalization of same sex marriage. As a wedding photographer, capturing same-sex weddings still makes me feel like my heart could burst. I remember what a fight it has been and how proud I am to be in the presence of such love and joy. I love photographing weddings in general, but every time I get to photograph a same-sex wedding it still feels like a victory.
So in an effort to keep today’s blog short and sweet because I just don’t have much else to say… I will jump right into this beautiful wedding I photographed for Arica & Christian. I hope that everyone can find some peace today, and when you’re feeling low… remember to give yourself some grace, let yourself feel sad, and count the reasons you still have to smile.
For more information about same sex wedding photography, or wedding photography in general, please visit http://www.briannacaster.com and send me a message.
Wishing you all peacefulness and love.
I’m getting really T.O.’d about this weather lately you guys. I am literally itching to bust out my warmer clothes but it’s still hitting 90! Mother nature teased us a bit with a good solid 24 hours of rain about a week and a half ago, and then the next day it spiked right back up to 85. What is this crap? The mornings tease me… it’s cloudy and crisp and glorious… and I want to put on an over sized sweatshirt and drink a piping hot cup of PSL… and then by 9:30am I am reminded that it’s basically still summer… and the layers have to come off. But what can you do? I guess I’ll just continue to sit here, staring longingly out the windows dreaming of rain boots, scarves and rain drops on my windows… and wait not-so-patiently.
The one time I was actually glad it didn’t rain when the weather app told me ALL WEEK LONG that it would… was the day of this couples engagement session. We were supposed to get a legit STORM… big warnings everywhere… but as per usual, what we got, was about 30 minutes of a light drizzle that can best be compared to the misters that theme parks and some restaurants have on in the dead heat of summer. And also it was like 78 degrees still…. BUT!!!! It made for the absolute most perfect beach engagement session for Chelsea and Aaron.
Check out how cute they were at Crystal Cove… there was almost no one else on the beach that day. It was magical!
It also helped that this beautiful bride was ready to shoot rain or shine… I LOVE it when I have couples who aren’t afraid of a little drizzle. Rainy days make for some of the best shoots.
Happy not-quite-fall everyone!
Is anyone else sick of the fact that by mid-day it still feels like summer? I get up in the morning, it’s overcast and cool and lovely… Take my dog for a walk… have a nice hot cup of coffee… and then the sun comes out and it’s 85 degrees and I get sad. I just really want to wear jeans and sweaters all day. Come on Fall – where are you?
Anyway… I want to talk about this beautiful couple and their wedding at Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu. Josh & Jazmin have been together since high school, and they are sincerely one of the most delightfully fun, adorable, hilarious and loving couples I have ever had the honor of working with. I met the Plemon family several years ago through my sister and brother-in-law who work with Josh. I met them at a holiday work event for their company which was hosted by Josh’s family. Their team hired me to capture their casino night and I immediately fell in love with the Plemon’s. This might sound self absorbed – and I don’t care – but I loved them so much because they reminded me of MY awesome family. I am so proud of the family I come from, and the older I get the more I realize how rare it has to have a big family who truly enjoy’s each other all the time, and opens their hearts and homes to everyone… so in the very rare instances I come across another family who welcomes me into their home the way my family welcomes others in to theirs… I can’t help but instantly feel all warm and fuzzy inside and want to be their best friend!! That is how the Plemon’s made me feel when I first met them.
A little while later, Tracy & Dean (Josh’s parents) hired me to photograph their extended family to honor their parents wedding anniversary. I loved seeing all of the siblings laugh together, and the cousins relationships with each other. We photographed each group together and then went to Ruth’s Chris to continue the celebration honoring this monumental anniversary and birthday. Everyone in their family made me feel like family too, and I couldn’t have enjoyed working with them more. So when Josh & Jazmin asked to meet with me to discuss their wedding photography, I was elated. I knew it would be an amazing event, with an amazing group of people, and a couple that literally no one can get enough of. Their day was right out of a fairytale. From Jazmin’s stunning and unique gown, to Stanley the giraffe (yes – a friggin GIRRAFE!! AND I LOVED HIM!), to the twinkle lights in the oak tree’s – the entire day felt like an absolute dream…. and I so wish we could all go back to Saddlerock Ranch and do it all over again.
This was a day where truly nothing went wrong. It was every photographers (and couples!) dream – Every detail was completed to perfection; every guest had a smile on their faces… and every family member on both sides was beaming with pride and love and everyone had an amazing time. Take a look:
This incredible wedding could not have been possible without this awesome team of vendors:
Venue: Saddlerock Ranch
Photography: Me. Duh.
Planning: Cat Nguyen at Wish Wonder Dream
Hair & Make Up: Blushing Beauty
Gown: Haley Paige
Florist: Beautiful Savage Flowers
Videography: D.P. Weddings
Catering: L.A. Roots
Rentals: A Rental Connection
Vintage Rentals: Pretty Vintage
Officiant: Words for All Occasions
Sweets & Treats: Sweets by Kacy
DJ: Vox DJ
Live Music: Black Noise
Photobooth: Photo Bus
Late night snacks: Dedicated Danny
Ring Box: The Mrs. Box
For more information on wedding photography in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, and anywhere else… please stop by our website at http://www.briannacaster.com – and say hello! Or follow me on Instagram at @briannacaster and Facebook.com/briannacasterandco
Peace, Love, and Pumpkin ravioli,
Last week… or was it the week before? I’ve lost track. Anyway – last week (I think) I went a little nuts about how much I love the fall… This week I’m going to tell you one of the reasons I love the fall…
BECAUSE IT’S MINI SESSION TIME!!!
If you go to any local parks in Orange County this time of year… you’ll see a sea of photographers busting out family portrait sessions. For us photographers it can be quite a challenge to navigate our locations and not get into each other’s way – but it is inevitable that if you look out for it, everywhere you go you’ll see families ready for photos, or having their photos taken. It’s that time of year where everyone starts color coordinating, parents fight the little ones for early naps so they behave for their session, and everyone is anxious to get that perfect holiday photo to send out with their holiday cards. If you see families in restaurants that are color coordinated and you see a massive look of relief on the faces of the parents – you can probably bet they just finished their holiday session and are so glad it’s over.
While everyone wants that yearly family photo it can be TOUGH to get it done because:
- Timing – it’s the busiest time of year for everyone! School is back in session, sports seasons are starting, and you have to prep for all of the upcoming Holidays. And for many families getting your kids or dogs to cooperate for a specific amount of time is nearly impossible.
- It just always seems that when you finally have your session set, something inevitably goes wrong… one of your kids has a black eye, or a cut on their nose, someone didn’t nap and they’re cranky… someone got sick… the dogs don’t cooperate, etc etc.
- MONEY! This time of year is expensive, and so are portrait sessions… While they are worth every penny – it can still be stressful all the same.
This is why we. love. mini sessions!
- They are short and sweet. We only spend 20 minutes and we knock out everything you need for your holiday cards! Little ones attention spans don’t last very long, so mini’s are PERFECT for families with little kids, couples who just want a couple cute shots for their memories, or couples with dogs!
- Lucky for you we are pro’s and have some tips below to help avoid some of these disasters (probably can’t help prevent your kid from getting a black eye)!
- Mini sessions are short and sweet and therefore more affordable than a full length session! These sessions get you what you need in a timely manner without breaking the budget.
Here are our tips for a successful mini session with kids:
- Try to coordinate your session for AFTER nap time. Kids always do better when they are well rested! Take them to the park early in the day so they can run out some energy and take a good solid nap.
- Coordinate your outfits, but don’t get TOO matchy-matchy. Gone are the days where everyone wears a white shirt and jeans. Choose 3 colors that look nice together and mix it up among your group.
- Prep your kids all week long! Let them know in a fun way, that you guys are having a photo session! Make it exciting for them – let them see the outfits you chose, and tell them how they get to wear that special outfit for picture day. Tell them who you want to send photos to, and even get silly and practice smiling with them. This will get them excited for their session and ready to perform for the camera (hopefully!). If your kids HATE getting their photos taken… prep them anyway… and give them some incentives for doing well at the shoot.
If you do not have kids – but want to bring your dogs:
- Bring a puppy wrangler! A friend or family member who can help manage the dogs in case you don’t want them in every single photo.
- Bring their favorite toy or treats so that we can coax them to sit and look at the camera 🙂
We do all of our mini sessions in Orange County and this year we are only doing TWO dates as opposed to three. Our calendars are filling up fast, so if you haven’t already reserved your spot – don’t waste another minute!! Below are our mini session details and locations, as well as some photos from last years fun.
To book your Orange County mini session – email us at email@example.com – or send us a DM on Instagram of Facebook.
HAPPY PHOTO SEASON!