Monday, Sep 2, 2019 - Comments Off on Point Reyes Elopement | 5 essential Tips on Eloping

Point Reyes Elopement | 5 essential Tips on Eloping

Elaborate weddings are not for everyone, and those free spirits out there, it’s kind of fun to go where the wind blows you. Elopements are a great way to declare your love and explore the world at the same time. What better way to begin a marriage than with an adventure?!

Emily and Steve’s authentic and oh-so-romantic elopement was so breathtaking that it inspired me to write short post for others who may be considering the same. Here are five essential tips after watching these two wanderlusters tie the knot at Point Reyes, California:

  1. Pick a location that is meaningful to the two of you. 

Ask for location recommendations from your photographer (they might need to obtain special permits, so make sure they will do that for you). These two went with an indie vibe for their elopement, so I knew the grassy hillside beauty of Point Reyes and the mossy forest would be perfect for these two (we even had some fog early on for the moodier photos). The environment really sets the tone.

  1. Go with the flow.

Lots of things come up during any wedding day, even elopements. Many elopements are outdoors, so take the weather into consideration. Or, sometimes the location is busier than expected. Have a plan B set up, and enjoy whatever comes your way. It makes for a great story!

  1. Wear what YOU want. 

As demonstrated by the lovely bride, Emily, wedding dresses don't have to be white. Wear what you love and what is totally "you.” I’m love with the way these photos turned out with the dark train of her dress trailing out behind her in the wind, standing out against the white sand below here. Amazing!

  1. Keep it simple.

The point of an elopement is to focus on each other. Some couples invite close family members or a best friend, which is fun! Just make sure you’ll be able to savor the time together and do what you want to do without worrying about appeasing a large crew.

  1. Pick your perfect photographer, duh! 

This person will be with you through the whole thing – and might be the only other person there! Make sure you connect and feel comfortable with them and that they are comfortable and supportive of your vision!

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Monday, Aug 26, 2019 - Comments Off on Sacramento River Engagement Session | Ashley + Bradley

Sacramento River Engagement Session | Ashley + Bradley

Ashley and Bradley are getting married in October – the big day is just right around the corner for these two lovebirds. They are so adventurous and fun. I had no idea what I was getting into during my first conversation with them. But when we got to our riverside location, I was thrilled to learn that they wanted some bold, romantic photos. We had to play around with the positioning, angles, and logistics to get the right shots, but their go-with-the-flow attitudes were perfect for trying out new things. I had so much fun fulfilling their vision for such a unique engagement session!

Believe it or not, it was all Ashley's idea to get in the river for photos! Which may not surprise you when you see the pure elation and unadulterated joy on her face as she relished in this sweet, intimate moment with her handsome man.

Matching Ashley’s sweet spirit, Bradley loves accompanying Ashley on just about any adventure that tickles her fancy. He has an affinity for floral shirts, and I love that. Together, they are an unforgettable pair.

Before wading out into the water, we got several traditional engagement poses on the bank. The tranquil water trickled over the rocks, and green hills rolled across the backdrop. I can’t imagine a dreamier scene! Then, after adjusting to the chill, they waded out a little way into the water. At first, we were just shooting in the ankle-deep water, but then she surprised me and went out even farther, her beautiful dress flowing out behind her. I am in love with how these photos turned out!

If you’re needing some inspiration for an out-of-the-box engagement session, this is it!! A little bit spicy and completely stunning – an experience they’ll never regret and photos they’ll cherish forever! Here’s a little peek:

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Thursday, Aug 8, 2019 - Comments Off on Ardenwood Park Wedding | Frances + Michael by Bethany Petrik

Ardenwood Park Wedding | Frances + Michael by Bethany Petrik

Ardenwood Park Wedding | Frances + Michael

Frances and Michael are lovers of photography, so naturally, it was such a compliment that they asked to me to photograph their wedding! And what a wedding it was! Everything was placed with intentionality and flawless design – Frances even handprinted all of the calligraphy pieces herself. They chose Ardenwood Park because they loved the greenery and the animals at the park. (I guess the animals loved them, too, because the goat kissed the groom during portraits!) Going with the natural ambiance around the farm, they opted for a classic theme with a few rustic accents added in. The soft greenery, bridal white, and hints of blue were just perfect for this outdoor ceremony. And the weather was amazing! The sun shone warmly for the happy couple, and it looked stunning twinkling through the shade trees sprawled across the property. Absolutely dreamy!

about their sweet day

People flew in from all over the work to see these two get married, quite the testament to how beloved they are. After their super sweet and elegantly classic ceremony, everyone spent some time enjoying the weather, playing lawn games, and sipping cocktails before heading inside to celebrate with the bride and groom.

My documentary style of shooting went perfectly with this fun-loving couple’s personality, and the portraits were laid back and quick as we took pictures near all of the couple’s favorite spots. Check out some of their photos around the farm below – too cute!

At the reception, their friends and family, both young and old, danced the night away. Frances and Michael love K-pop and had a coordinated dance routine to one of their favorite upbeat songs. It’s almost impossible to keep a straight face around these two, and I had a blast celebrating right along with them. I truly fell in love with Frances and Michael’s goofy, big warm hearts. Congratulations, you two!

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Ardenwood Park Wedding

Monday, May 13, 2019 - Comments Off on A Backyard Wedding on the Sacramento River

A Backyard Wedding on the Sacramento River

I am left completely speechless by this amazing wedding. Miranda and Kari are the most beautiful people on the inside and out! Here is what Miranda had to say about the big day;

"We held our Wedding at a private residence on the Sacramento River. We lucked out finding a place that would allow us to have our Wedding there. It worked great because we had many out of town/state friends that were able to stay with us the days leading up to the Wedding. We were able to spend so much more time with our Bridal Party and made amazing memories before our big day! We were inspired to throw a party for our friends and family for our Wedding. We wanted our guests to enjoy the environment, eat delicious food, dance to great music. Kari’s favorite memory from our big day is dancing with me (Miranda). The DJ was playing so many great songs! The mixture of the perfect outdoor temperature, the sun setting beautifully and being completely surrounded by love made for some unforgettable moments.

My favorite memory is when Kari changed out of her dress and into her power suit and made a grand entrance. I had to pick my jaw up off of the floor. She looked AMAZING!

If you’re planning a Wedding now, hire a Wedding Coordinator. It is worth every single penny. We worked with Events by Wise out of Woodland, CA. Shari and Dani are amazing at what they do. Many things happened the day of the wedding that we didn’t know about until the following day. We were truly able to sit back and relax on our Wedding day. It was perfect. We’re still gushing about how magical it was and how beautifully our friends showed up for us.

Another one of our favorite memories is of you! You danced with us, you drank a beer with us, you cried many happy tears. It was amazing working with you and I’m happy you were able to have a bit of fun too."


Thank you Mir and Kar for letting me be apart of your day. It was way more than a bit of fun and I am so happy to have been there!

Monday, Feb 4, 2019 - Comments Off on A Winter Picnic

A Winter Picnic

Meeting with Miranda and Kari for their engagement photo session was a delight! We started in their home, which they’d recently remodeled. I really enjoy this couple, who are parents to an adorable rescue puppy. They’re the kind of people who will post on social media that they’re handing out giant candy bars on Halloween and invite the entire neighborhood—super sweet, generous, and kind.
We started with photos in their bedroom, which allowed for an intimate and personal style. What I loved about this setting was being able to see Miranda and Kari in the space where they were the most comfortable. They might not have noticed it themselves, but in this particular setting, I could see it in their body language—their ease in the space, and their ease and familiarity with each other.
After getting some great shots of them in their home, we headed to the Davis Arboretum with a picnic lunch. Kari loves cooking and good food, so she made a charcuterie board. Miranda contributed gummi worms, which I thought was adorable. We went to the T. Elliot Weier Redwood Grove at the UC Davis Arboretum because redwoods are symbolic to the couple, as they spend a lot of time in the mountains with family.
They looked so sweet together. Miranda hates being photographed, which I’ve found is very common, but my approach highlights who the subject is as a person—I’m not looking for specific smiles or poses because I believe—and have witnessed—personality and character come out naturally and spontaneously when people relax and enjoy themselves.
Miranda brought a rose for Kari, and when they hugged, she surprised her with it. The moment was super romantic, and I’m thrilled to have caught it on camera.

Friday, Feb 1, 2019 - Comments Off on Frances and Michael

Frances and Michael

I had the absolute best time photographing Frances and Michael’s engagement shots! Their wedding will be on July 13th at the gorgeous Ardenwood Historic Farm. Frances, a landscape photographer, loves the animals and the lush greenery there.

Frances found me on The Knot and was drawn to my use of nature in my compositions. I was absolutely flattered to be her choice; it’s always an honor when a fellow photographer hires you!

The engagement session started in San Francisco with hair and make-up done by Vero Gersalia. We first visited the Legion of Honor for some formal photos. There were some interesting challenges involved in this site, because half of the building was covered in preparation for an upcoming visit, and also many other photographers were taking photos there.

A note to clients--don’t fret when unexpected things like this happen during a shoot! Professional photographers are aware of the challenges, and we are always prepared to handle them! While I chose my compositions and angles carefully to avoid eyesores like the building being covered up, I also used some Photoshop magic to remove the other patrons.

While walking back to the car, we discovered a beautiful grassy area with gorgeous filtered light. It provided an excellent background to some truly beautiful shots of Frances and Michael. Sometimes these unplanned stops are among my favorites!

Next, we headed to Baker Beach. This is another famous shooting location with tons of people, but again, I was ready with creative angles and compositions to minimize the distractions. It was a beautiful day out and the Golden Gate Bridge was prominent in the background.

Frances and Michael were fabulous sports, frolicking in the cold water. We got some epic shots of them in the ocean. Frances wore a gorgeous flower crown made by Sarah Larkin Design.

I’m always looking for something unique, though. In these areas, there are obvious shots, with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, walking along the beach...but I wanted to find something different and unique for this couple. We moved to the opposite end of the beach and found some amazing rocky cliffs that offered a completely different look--algae and texture and dramatic lighting. These are truly not your grandma’s engagement photos, and they are all the more powerful for their vibrant, unique style.

Photographing Frances and Michael was truly a joy and an adventure, and I’m looking forward to their wedding in July!