Two Thousand & Eighteen // Moments in Review

I truthfully look forward to creating this journal post all year long. There are so many moments that make up an entire wedding day, moments that are so present that tears start streaming, and eyes begin to disappear from laughing so deeply. When those around me don’t even notice I am there and focus on each other instead. These are the moments that always stand out to me the most.

If there is one thing I’ve learned from the minute I entered into one of the most intimate crafts in photography is how badly we as humans want to connect. We search for sentiment and nostalgia becomes our greatest high. We crave connection and search for it endlessly. As we should. And I found myself with the same cravings and same endless search for intimacy with these strangers reaching out because they connected with my words, my work, who I am. Never was there a moment did I have to be someone else, never did I have to create a moment to fill in an uncomfortable situation or silence. Instead, I would ask an inquisitive question because connectivity was my job, I would relate intimate details about myself because constructing a relationship was the basis of the work I create. The collaboration of intimacy can only be done when both myself and my couples are also running on connectivity and honesty. What I’m getting at is that even after years of doing this unbelievable job, I am in shock that my world revolves around an idea that I believe so deeply about, one that I am truly passionate about. Closeness. And in every aspect of the word. So many of the photos you will see here are not taken with a zoom lens or a long focal length, they are simply me getting real close in any situation, with no fear of how the camera will affect the intimacy of the moment because of the relationship, trust and connection that has already been so beautifully created prior. But as I always say, I couldn’t do any of this alone - this is a pure collaboration and without that trust and comfortability to be themselves, the people in front of my lens and in these photos wouldn’t reach such deeply honest and fervently uncontrived moments. Closeness is my job, connectivity is the most powerful tool in my arsenal, and these people are my passion. Feeling immensely grateful to be able to fit that all in the small bubble of a venn diagram that usually seems impossible to reach simultaneously. Writing that out made me laugh out loud.

This past year I focused more on growing roots into shooting closer to home. Creating homemade relationships with couples I still get to see or shooting at venues that I feel even more familiar with. I will always favor and love new experiences and amazing new places to see, but there is nothing quite like shooting in your own backyard (or at least what feels like San Francisco’s backyard) and being a part of a community that feels like home.

I am so grateful for every moment and every love filled day. I am so grateful for getting to do what I love and foraging connections all while connecting to my surroundings. I am grateful for every moment of vulnerability I get to be a part of. Being a part of one of the most personal and intimate days of a person’s year is so wild. Being an observer and a documenter of affection and interaction is truly amazing. I am grateful for what I do and those who let me in to do it. But above all else, I am grateful for constantly staying true to myself and what I believe for that is what attracts these truly rad humans and these absolutely meaningful weddings. People who simply just want to be themselves too.

As you may have read here and there, my work is heavily influenced by my street photography and I use the same mindset on a wedding day - present and immensely observant, building relationships with your people that allows me to take intimate photos of people with their guards down, and yet simultaneously being ready to hit the shutter at a moment of intimate affection or gorgeous outburst of laughter. These are some of my proudest moments and this post is unapologetically long but I am so happy to share them with you.

-Nataly

Ariel & David // Blackbird Farm Wedding

Ariel & David // Blackbird Farm Wedding

Ariel & David // Blackbird Farm Wedding

Ojai Lovers' Session / Gaviota Hot Springs

Ojai Lovers' Session / Gaviota Hot Springs

Ojai Lovers’ Session / Gaviota Hot Springs

Sierra & Shawn // Swedenborgian Church // San Francisco Wedding Photographer

Sierra & Shawn // Swedenborgian Church // San Francisco Wedding Photographer

Sierra & Shawn // Intimate Swedenborgian Church Wedding