Anniversary Portraits in Orange County Photography | Legacy Sessions

I have recently found beauty in photographing the love in mature marriages! It's easy to photograph a couple in their 20s or 30s. Photographing a couple that has been married for 20, 30, 40 or 50+ years holds a special sense of meaning and importance to me! For better or worse, in sickness and in health, through children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, these marriages have endured. These portraits matter and their love stories are worth commemorating!

And as the years and people pass by, my heart tells me these photos will come to mean even more. If you have older parents, get them photographed! If you are celebrating a special anniversary, get your portrait taken together. It's as simple as that!

Check out some samples of these types of portraits below and book a session HERE.

Dana Point Anniversary Photography | Lauren and Thomas

I hate that Lauren and Thomas live so far away! Lauren and I are so similar...it's just ridiculous! Taking their one year anniversary portraits on the beach for their anniversary was a thrill for me! I've always wanted to have my own portraits taken on the beach in my wedding dress but have never made it happen. 
Even though the day of our session was cloudy and a bit stormy with rough waves, Lauren and Thomas were champs! I love them both so much! 

Newport Beach Lido | Nguyen Legacy Session

They never get their own...they always share a cup of coffee. They travel from Florida to California to see their grandson as often as they can. Their marriage is one of quiet patience and love. They don't speak a lot of English, but I can tell that he adores his wife. 

This is not my first time photographing the sweet Mr. and Mrs. Nguyen and I walk away blessed by them every time! I'm so thankful that their daughter has given me the honor and task of photographing her parents. It's a wonderful Legacy to document!

Special thanks to Honor Coffee in Lido Marina Village in Newport Beach!

Dana Point Maternity Photographer | Toni & Paul

Toni and Paul are the classic example of clients that have become friends! I have had the joy of photographing their engagement, wedding and now maternity! At the time of this blog's posting, their baby is already here! Photos of the new adorableness to come soon. 
Toni and Paul invited Eli to come on their session, so you will see a candid photo by him in the images below. I love Toni and Paul and had a blast photographing them in Dana Point and grabbing dinner with them after! :)

Newport Beach Family Photographer | Paprocki Family

I LOVE THE PAPROCKIS!!!!!! They are dear friends and extra special models! 
We chose Newport Beach and the Balboa Fun Zone for their portraits. The day was made extra special be the attendance of "Gigi" and her silly hat! Perfect for extra getting giggles and smiles our of the little kids...and the big kids too!

Custom Highschool Band Photography

When band teacher Mike Alvarez contacted me about photos for the band at his high school, I knew I wanted to do something unique and different! My mission: make band cool again! I think we accomplished it. Along with classic group portraits, each student was given their own mini custom photoshoot. We also added some epic group photos like the world has never seen! I hope to work on more projects like this in the future!

Orange County Family Photographer | Toni, Paul & Qwei

I adore Toni, Paul and their puppy, Qwei! I have had the JOY of photographing all of them at different times, but never all together! I recently had the opportunity of photographing their little family. While, I love the images, I must say I equally enjoyed the drinks and laughs we shared at Provisions after their session! Can't wait to see them again!

Strehlow Family | Old Town Orange Family Photographer

I love the Strehlow family!!! As in (if I could) I would move them from Michigan and plant them in my backyard and we would be neighbors. Life would be good!
Their family came out to California for a wedding recently. It was my first time seeing them since I photographed Kevin and Stephanie's wedding in 2012! As you can see, they have added to their family since then. I loved getting to meet their kiddos and wander Old Towne Orange for photos!
Strehlows, please move to California...

Newport Beach Sunset Engagement Photos | Bonnie & Tim

As if Bonnie and Tim's Disneyland engagement photos weren't fun enough, they decided to do a second round of engagement photos on the beach with their fur baby, Moby! I'm so glad they did!
Coming from the Midwest, I have always loved the ocean. I blame my father for this with all his Jimmy Buffett, seafood and beach vacations! I think I will never get over the amazing reality of now being hired to photograph couples on the beach in Southern California. It is my absolute favorite! 
These photos and our evening on the beach were absolutely PERFECT!

We even ended the evening with a trip to my favorite taco place in Newport Beach, Wild Taco! Yup, this is my job! Photography on the beach while barefoot, running around with puppies, and eating lobster tacos! Someone, pinch me!

I CAN'T WAIT FOR THEIR WEDDING!!! Less than 1 month to go!

Disneyland Engagement Photography | Bonnie & Tim

This is the story of how I cut to the front of a 1-hour line for Space Mountain! Just kidding...well, kind of...keep reading!

I'm so excited to share this engagement session at Disneyland in Anaheim, California! My day with Bonnie and Tim was truly magical and full of fun! From starting our day with yummy Beauty and the Beast "gray stuff" (If you ever go to Disneyland, try it! It's delicious!), riding teacups, and carousels, balloons and bubbles, to Dole Whip it was all incredible!

My favorite moment, however, was at Space Mountain! Tim proposed to Bonnie on Space Mountain. Yes, on the actual ride! So, I wanted to go back to Space Mountain to recreate a proposal photo for them their. The staff at Space Mountain were happy to let us go up to where the line is to take photos with the iconic "space mountain sculpture" in the background. I suggested to Tim that he should get down on one knee and pretend to propose again for a photo. What we didn't know is that the ENTIRE space mountain ride was watching us and thought Tim was actually proposing. Cheers and applause erupted!!! 

After the "proposal", Tim was able to convince the staff that he and Bonnie would love to ride Space Mountain again with their wedding photographer. They happily escorted us to the front of the line! Bonnie and I then rode together on the front row of the ride!

After the engagement session, my little son, Eli and his babysitter of the day were able to join us all for a ride on the Jungle Cruise and more! So fun and memorable!

I'm so blessed to work with so many amazing couples just like Bonnie and Tim! Check out PART 2 of their engagement photos on the beach HERE!

Casa Del Mar Santa Monica Wedding | Megan & Nick

Megan and Nick’s wedding at the Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica was oh so lovely! Photographing a wedding on the beach is always a “pinch me” moment, even when the wind on the beach is crazy and the sand is blowing hard! The bride and groom’s fur baby, Ellie, was an especially adorable member of the bridal party. 

With it’s chandeliers and robin’s egg blue walls, the ballroom reception in the Casa Del Mar was stunning! The music of the 12-piece, live-band, Rembrandt made sure everyone had an amazing evening!

Special thanks to Belinda and her team at Bookt Events! They are totally amazing!
Vendors of the Day:
Photography: Smetona Photo (it's where you are right now)
Venue: Casa Del Mar- Santa Monica, CA
Coordination: Bookt Events
Flowers: Martha Claire Floral Design
Live Band: Rembrandt
Makeup: Chroma Makeup Studio
Bridal Gown: Nordstrom
Bridesmaids: Various Designers
Officiant: Hon. Sandra Ikuta
Guitarist: Dan Marks
Linens and Events: 204 Events

Shawntel & Aaron | Newport Coast Engagement Photography

I'm so excited to share Part THREE of Shawntel and Aaron's Engagement Session! For this part of their session, we photographed in a private estate where the bride and groom-to-be donned formal attire! I loved Shawntel's golden, sequin dress! It went perfect with the golden sunset! Isn't she a knock out?!?! We wrapped their session some quick with s'mores by the fire. I'm so excited for their wedding in just a couple months!

Kayla & Nate | Villa Del Sol Fullerton Wedding Photography

I'm so thrilled to share Nate and Kayla's wedding photos! I have had the privilege of capturing their love story since the moment Nate proposed to Kayla at the Montage in Laguna Beach. Their story now continues at the beautiful Villa Del Sol in Fullerton, CA! I loved all the gold sequins and gorgeous colors that Kayla and Nate chose for their big day! I'm especially in love with Kayla's two-piece wedding dress from Martina Liana! Kayla loved the way it made her feel like a princess when she twirled...and there was lots of twirling! We also loved that they chose to have brunch for dinner! I mean who doesn't love bacon and mimosas?

Special thanks to me dear friend and 2nd shooter, Bonnie! She was her normal, crazy and delightful self!

Vendors of the Day
Photography: Smetona Photo
Venue: Villa Del Sol Fullerton, CA
Wedding Coordinator: Selah Short
Videographer: Memo Collective
Flowers: Flower Allie
Wedding Cake: SJ's Custom Cakes
DJ: DJ Burnheart
Hair and Makeup: Judi Mcaskill
Bridesmaid Dresses: Rent the Runway
Men's Tuxes: Friar Tux
Tables and Linens: Create a Party
String Quartet: Jocelyn Choo
Catering: Stadium Tavern
Coffee Bar: Espresso Chauffeur