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Wedding Photographer California Rebecca Yale Wedding Photography shoots a wedding at Gainey Vineyard, Santa Ynez, United States

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Wedding Photographer : Rebecca Yale Wedding Photography  
Couple : Diana + Gerry
Wedding Photographer California
Ceremony Location : Gainey Vineyard, Santa Ynez
Reception : Gainey Vineyard, Santa Ynez
Wedding Date : 16th August 2014

Tell us a little about yourself??

I am a destination fine art wedding photographer based out of Los Angeles. I shoot reportage style with a romantic eye, looking for great light and beautiful authentic moments. I began my career in fashion photography, working in Richard Avedon's archive and I use my knowledge of fashion photography to art direct when needed. My real passion lies in story telling, and there's no story I love telling more than a love story. I am a hybrid shooter, switching between film and digital because I love the beautiful tones of film and the speed and agility of digital.

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How do you think or would like people to describe you?

I think people would describe my work as romantic and emotional, but as a business person I think people would describe me as a perfectionist and driven.

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Tell us a little bit about the wedding day?

The day was full of elegant and glamorous touches while still embracing the rustic vineyard setting in Santa Ynez. The bride sparkled in her rhinestone Jimmy Choo's and Kate Spade earrings while the groom looked sharp in his bespoke blue suit.

The couple’s favorite movie is Up so they incorporated the brightly colored balloons into their reveal before the ceremony and the bride surprised the groom with a very special “Ellie Badge” grape soda bottle cap pin from the movie. Watching the golden hour light shine through the great big California Oak Trees while Diana and Gerry embraced each other under a bouquet of brightly colored balloons was one of those surreal moments that make my heart skip a beat and make me so appreciative of how much I love my job!

The Jersey natives made the day extra special by bringing their dogs along to California and they were dressed for the occasion in a bowtie and tutu. The couple said their vows under a beautiful California oak tree as the sun set behind them lighting up the Santa Ynez Mountains. After the intimate ceremony guests danced the warm summer evening away under rows of bulb lights strung up in the courtyard next to the vineyard.

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How did you get into wedding photography?

I knew I wanted to be a professional photographer since I was 10 years old, when I filled up a suitcase with film on my first trip to Europe. I studied photography at University and worked as both a fashion and documentary photographer before finding my passion in weddings, which I find to be a perfect combination of the two aspects I love most about photography. I love the fantasy and romance that comes with fashion imagery and I find I can create that and art direct during portraits, but then I get to become a fly on the wall telling stories as I capture the ceremony and reception.

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How long have you been a wedding photographer?

4 years.

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Can you share how you've made your wedding photography business a success? Any mistakes you made along the way?

I don't think there’s one secret formula for success other than working hard. I want all of my clients to feel so special before, during, and after their wedding days and I work hard to make them feel that way. I am always quick to respond to an email- even when I’m pretty much off the grid shooting in Africa and my clients appreciate my attentiveness. Networking is also so important.

I'm so lucky to work with so many other talented wedding planners, florists, calligraphers, designers and other photographers who have become dear friends and we all help each other and grow together. I’ve made tons of mistakes and am sure I’ll continue to do so in the future, but the key is to learn from them. Luckily my mistakes have been all business related and not anything that affects my clients, but I really try to analyze and learn from what went wrong so I don’t get myself in the same situation again.

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What do you think a bride or groom should be looking for and not looking for in terms of wedding photography packages?

I think that a bride and groom should always emphasize coverage over deliverables. I’m never a photographer to say shoot and burn is the way to go I’m a big believer in printing your images, but if you have a finite budget and are trying to decide between extra hours that you really need and an album I always say do the hours. You can always print an album after the wedding, but you can’t go back and relive your day so doing an engagement session and having the right amount of coverage should take priority.

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How do you advertise yourself and what for you has really worked?

Most of my clients find me through the blogs and magazines I’ve been published in. I don't do a lot of advertising, but the majority of my weddings do get published. I also get lots of referrals from other vendors and past brides and grooms, another reason fostering those relationships is key.

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Why do you think people hire you?

I think people hire me because they like the way I tell stories with my photographs and they're confident that I’ll capture their day how they want to remember it. No two photographers will come into the same wedding day and produce the same images and I make it very clear to my clients that my style is intrinsic within me and I can’t shoot any other way than my own so clients who like my aesthetic hire me and I feel honored to be trusted with the responsibility of documenting their day.

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How many weddings do you average per year?

It's changed year to year, but I try to cap it at 20.

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Whose wedding would you love to shoot?

Irving Penn and Lisa Fonssagrive's in 1950. I've never seen photos from it, but can imagine how magical those two would be to photograph together.

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If you were asked to shoot a destination wedding, where would you hope it would be?

Paris or Bali.

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What equipment do you have for a typical wedding day?

Contax 645 with 80mm Zeiss and Hoya Macro Filters

Nikon DF with 35, 58, 85mm lenses

Flash, Video light, Reflector, Light Meter, Kodak Portra 400, 800, and Ilford 3200


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What is the most challenging thing about a wedding.

The timeline. I work with the couple and their planner to create a very detailed timeline for the wedding day, but inevitably something always runs late and I have to be constantly reworking it throughout the day in my own mind to make sure I still get all the photos that I need for the bride and groom.

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Do you have an approach to a wedding?

I approach each wedding differently, but my goal is always the same: to document the day as beautifully as I can. I want my clients reaction to their photos to be as emotional and powerful as the wedding day itself. The key for me is to approach each wedding as prepared as I can be.

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Who or what inspires you?

So many photographers inspire me! When I was in school I thought about being a writer because I was so inspired by Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes, but ultimately I knew I wanted to take photos not write about them.

I am constantly inspired by the greats (in no particular order)- Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Edward Steichen, Erwin Blumenfeld, Julia Margaret Cameron, Lee Miller, Annie Lebowitz, Dorthea Lange, Diane Arbus, Nick Knight, Robert Mapplethorpe and the list goes on and on. In wedding photography the two artists who showed me for the first time that wedding photography really could be an art form are Elizabeth Messina and John Dolan.

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Best & Worst marketing idea so far?

Best is taking the time to curate beautiful styled shoots and work with incredible vendors. Worst is a tradeshow I did many years ago when I was doing more family photography.

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If you weren't a photographer, what would you be?

An art director or editor.

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Share your favourite image of the day and why?

The bride and groom incorporated their favorite film, Pixar's UP, into their first look and the colorful balloons were so fun to take pictures with. I love how genuinely excited the bride and groom are in this photo, which was taken immediately after they saw each other for the first time on the wedding day. The grooms smile is so big the balloons could carry them away. I'm never a huge fan of throwing random props into photographs for no reason, but when they're special and meaningful to the couple it can create magic.

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Do you have any goals for the future photography related or otherwise?

My goals are to keep growing my business and continue to find interesting and unique clients and capture their stories.

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What do you think is key to being a successful wedding photographer?

Patience, drive and determination, a good photographic eye and the ability to collaborate well with others and interpret their visions.

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Are there any other wedding photographers whose work inspires you, can be a well know photographer or somebody you've stumbled across?

See above.

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Proudest moment so far. Photography related or otherwise?

Buying a magazine on the newsstand with my photographs in it.

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