California - 5 years later!

Back in May 2013 we headed off to America for an amazing 3 week road trip from Seattle, Washington to Laguna Beach in California. Not only was it a dream holiday we’d planned for ages, but it was also our wedding! We chose not to have a big wedding in the UK, but instead be totally selfish, bugger off to another country, and get married on a beach with just a photographer and a Minister present… and it was perfect!

Fast-forward 5 years and we still don’t regret choosing to have the wedding day we did. It was exactly the day we wanted it to be. No fuss… but SO memorable.

So for our 5th wedding anniversary last year we decided to head back out to Laguna Beach for another 3 week break. Minus all the miles of the original road trip, but this time around with the addition of Jesse, our 2 year old son, this was going to be a very different holiday! Not to mention the fact Clare (my wife) was 5 months pregnant too.

We both love California, we must do to want to get married out there right? The atmosphere, the stunning scenery, the gorgeous beaches, and the totally relaxed lifestyle everyone out there lives by, the place has it all. Both of us were so excited about taking Jesse down to the beach we got married on.

This was one of those holidays however that we thought was jinxed, and just never going to happen. We originally booked to go away in February but sadly just a few days before we were due to fly out Clare had a miscarriage. Obviously we were heartbroken and cancelled the trip straight away. We then re-booked it for the November as I didn’t have many weddings on that month. Then just 48 hours before our flight wild fires struck across a large part of California, including the area near the Air BNB we had booked in Malibu. We managed to get hold of our Air BNB host and she told us that they had been evacuated from their house, and had no idea when they’d be safe to go back. Instead of cancelling for a 2nd time I got straight onto the booking.com site and looked for a motel to stay in for the 18 days. I found one, and within an hour of thinking we weren’t going we were booked into motel in Laguna Beach, just over the road from the stunning Treasure Island beach.

I’m so pleased we got to revisit the place we had so much fun in 5 years ago, and also to make new memories with Jesse. I’m also very pleased I actually took my camera on a holiday for a change. I mean, I always take one, but don’t always end up shooting much.

We had so many lovely days out including trips to San Diego, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Dana Point, Huntington Beach (a few times), Newport Beach (a lot of times!), Balboa Peninsula, Joshua Tree National Park, not to mention lots of milkshakes in various Rubys Diners (the same diner we had our wedding photos taken in after our wedding ceremony).

We made sure we spent every evening on a beach watching the sun set. It was so cute seeing Jesse cuddled up to Clare each night on the beach, just taking in the gorgeous colours in the sky, and listening to the waves hitting the beach. Even though we ended up staying in a pretty rough-around-the-edges motel for the whole holiday we had so much fun, and actually enjoyed being in a cosy four walls place, instead of the stunning Air BNB we should’ve be in. I think it actually made us appreciate it all even more. Especially as the wild fires that forced us there were so terrible, and had affected so many people and their homes.

We spent the last night of our holiday sat eating pizza on the beach we got married on, and there was actually a couple getting married just a few feet away from the spot we said our vows!

Clare and I could easily live out in Laguna Beach, or any part of the Orange County come to think of it. I’m not sure how much work we’d actually get done if we did, but we’d certainly be very chilled and pretty much be living on the beach most of the time.

Until next time California! Maybe see you in another 5 years :)

All photos (except the last one) were taken on the Fujifilm XT3 camera / with 23mm f2 and 35mm f2 lenses.

Sophie and Julien - France destination wedding photography


If I was asked “what’s your idea of a great wedding to shoot?” I would probably answer the following…

A fun-filled day, spent with a couple that aren’t paranoid about every tiny detail being absolutely perfect. A couple that totally love each other, and aren’t afraid to show it.  A couple that are relaxed and chilled enough to just enjoy every minute of the day,  because they are having the wedding day THEY want. A couple that just want to have a fun day they can remember fondly, and know that all their friends and family had the best time possible! A couple that trust their photographer so much they just leave me to it… capturing the joy, the love, the laughs, the tears, and not to mention the fun on the dancefloor.

– That’s my idea of a great wedding, and that’s exactly what Sophie & Julien’s wedding day was. Being treated like one of the guest was as added bonus!

I’d prefer to let the photos tell the story, but here’s a brief outline of their day. Their sunny south of France wedding day was made up of two ceremonies. First was the legal ceremony at the nearby town hall in the morning, followed by a much less formal one at a beautiful setting under a tree, in Julien’s parents garden. They then chilled out with their guests, soaking up the sun in the garden, before partying into the early hours at the farmhouse barn.

One of the guests said something to me that I’ve been told before at a wedding – He said, “Every time I’ve seen your face come away from that camera you’ve been smiling… you must love your job”… and yes, I do, but I think it’s more that I’m smiling because I love seeing people genuinely really happy. Its much more that than the fact I’m enjoying myself. Infectious smiles… you can’t fake those, and if I’m there to capture them in a photo, even better!


Were you a guest at this wedding?

Below is just a selection of my favourite shots from the day, but why don't you take a look at their online gallery and download some photos... for free!

Simply click HERE -  Then get the password from Sophie + Julien, and download as many HI-RES images as you want!

If you scroll through this wedding and think "WOW! Yeah... these are the kind of fun and relaxed photos I want at my wedding!" Then please do get in touch and lets chat.

Charlotte and Ben - Lincolnshire wedding photography

Were you a guest at this wedding?

Below is just a selection of my favourite shots from the day, but why don't you take a look at their online gallery and download some photos... for free!

Simply click HERE -  Then get the password from Charlotte + Ben, and download as many HI-RES images as you want!

If you scroll through this wedding and think "WOW! Yeah... these are the kind of fun and relaxed photos I want at my wedding!" Then please do get in touch.