wedding photography san diego I Music Phreek DJ ~ vendors

From wedding photography San Diego style to non-stop beats at the after party, there’s so many things that make a wedding one for the books. Music is an important aspect of any event – more so, for a wedding and a wedding reception. It’s one of those tasks that must be prioritized from the get-go. After all, a wedding is a celebration of love and happiness, and there are no festivities without music.

For this aspect of a wedding – particularly during the reception and ceremony – I highly recommend Music Phreek by Vynce Pham. Based in Escondido, CA, Music Phreek is a multi-awarded DJ and Lighting Services provider. For a quarter of a century now, DJ Vynce has been entertaining people in different parts of the US, but most especially in Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona.

As the company motto states, Music Phreek “gets the party started… and keeps it going.” Year after year, the company is awarded as the best wedding vendor by different wedding resources (The Knot, Wedding Wire), voted by real couples. DJ Vynce, an avid surfer and stand up paddler, is a pro when it comes to supplying non-stop beats to get the party moving. The pieces of equipment he uses are also top of the line, so there’s no chance of messing the sounds up.

I’ve been to many events where DJ Vynce unleashes his music prowess. In fact, during my first wedding collaboration with him at the Scripps Seaside Forum wedding, I was blown away with the way he got the entire crowd moving. It was a sight to behold! Not to mention, he always gives the perfect opportunity for  wedding photographers and videographers to freeze these moments through photos and videos. He gives everyone the chance to let loose and enjoy the party. The photos in this post are from this awesome La Jolla wedding.

For couples looking for the best DJ to make the wedding celebration a hit, book Music Phreek. After all, wedding photography San Diego is always better with great music!

wedding photography san diego

san diego wedding photographer – vendors I love

I’ve been a San Diego wedding photographer for many years now. I’ve practically photographed all kinds of wedding – from small to big, intimate to extravagant, silly to seductive, and everything else in between. Wedding photography is an important part of the event. It’s one of the first tasks couples try to check off their wedding to-do list. And over the years, I’ve realized that a lot of my clients would ask for my recommendations or references for other wedding vendors. So here it is: I decided to add a new section to my blog to help couples find the best wedding partners for their big event.

As a seasoned San Diego wedding photographer, I’ve had the privilege to work with a lot of talented and dedicated wedding vendors. All of the people that I’ll recommend on this page are professionals that I’ve collaborated with in the past. In fact, most of these collaborations have turned into real friendship sprouting from the camaraderie, mutual respect and support that we give each other to make any event a success. These vendors are experts in their respective fields.

There are a lot of things that happen during a wedding – regardless of how small or big it is. Having an experienced team of vendors – from the wedding photographer to the fun party DJ – can tremendously cut back the amount of stress soon-to-be-married couples feel. With my list of recommendations, there’s no way Bridezilla will be in sight.

Planning a wedding shouldn’t be a burden. It should be an event – and then a memory – that couples can reminisce about without cringing because of the stress or blunders during the planning stage. With my list of wedding vendor recommendations, couples can get the best people for the job. Booking me as the San Diego wedding photographer is the first step, check this section for the next. The first vendor I will feature, is the great DJ Phreek!


san diego wedding photographer love sign decoration

solana beach engagement session | Tristan + Kimberly

There’s nothing more exciting than the start of something new. That’s why I love capturing engagement shots of couples in love. specially in a place like Solana Beach! As much as the wedding is the “main event,” the engagement – the prelude to everything else – is something special. I’ve been privileged to capture moments of love and happiness of so many couples now, and I’m still in awe of how two people find each other, commit to one another, and fulfill their kind of forever. 

For Tristan and Kimberly, their prelude to forever started with their San Diego North County engagement shoot. This amazingly warm and happy couple chose to go for a more casual and comfy session. Something that they will both be comfortable with. And frame after frame, it showed. The harmony of their relationship was reflected on each photo I took. 

We started the shoot at Casa de Bandini, a vibrant, festive Mexican restaurant in Carlsbad. The vibrancy of the place added a touch of color and charm to the already-happy couple. Tristan and Kimberly had some delectable classic Mexican cuisine, and then sat at the bar and grabbed a couple of drinks. A casual yet still intimate toast for their love and future together. 

After some time, the couple went for a long walk on the Solana beach trails prompting the start of our delightful Solana Beach engagement session. Every once in a while, the two would just gaze lovingly at each other, give tight hugs, and kiss – even without a prompt from yours truly. These were just natural gestures that you’d see from two people in love and enjoying the moment.

The San Diego engagement session for Tristan and Kimberly concluded at the Grandview Beach, in Encinitas, for some amazing shots just before the sunset. 

The engagement shoot ended, and the start to their forever began this October when Tristan and Kimberly tied the knot at a private property in San Diego.  

carlsbad engagement session

tower 23 wedding photography | mike + colleen

Immaculata Church followed by tower 23 reception

The clear sky, Tower 23 Hotel, the beautiful beach, and one of the most beautiful churches in San Diego – somehow, all these still couldn’t compare to the magnificent aura radiating from Mike and Colleen as I took their pictures under the Crystal Pier at the Pacific Beach. The way they looked at each other definitely made you experience the life and love that they now and forevermore will share, and from where I stood behind the lens, I knew it was going to be a splendid journey.

The Immaculata Church is one of the most beautiful churches in San Diego, a fine choice for a couple who evidently shares a similar level of passion, adoration, and excitement for the future that they will be sharing from this point forward. 

The Tower 23 hotel was unique and laidback, serving as a great background for a reception that’s truly one of a kind. From the wooden arch with burlap and flowers, all the way to the popcorn and the fun games for the guests, you can definitely tell that this couple did not settle for the boring and ordinary. The couple showed an equal yearning for making life even more interesting than it already is, and as their friends and family delivered one inspiring speech after another, you can tell that the way Mike and Colleen shared their love was infectious. 

This entire scene was nicely complimented by the live music delivered by the guitarist, completing a nice selection of eclectic choices that mixes the rustic and the contemporary in this memorable occasion.

Of course, in the background, I stood as a silent witness to all this, as I made my own contribution to the couple’s journey ahead by capturing the magic in each moment pose by pose, smile by smile, frame by frame.

tower 23 wedding photographer

solana beach engagement session | tristan + kimberly ~ preview

Solana Beach Trails and Encinitas engagement session

If you’re looking for the kind of couple that you’d love to grab lunch with – maybe in a cool Mexican restaurant – and have a couple of drinks with while you’re at it, then you need to meet Tristan and Kimberly. They both exude an aura of positivity and charm, with guaranteed laugh-out-loud moments. Needless to say, their own Solana Beach Trails engagement session was a ball! 

The couple opted for a laid-back yet friendly, casual and still intimate type of shoot. They grabbed food and drinks at a busy Mexican restaurant, and loved every minute of it. They walked along the Solana beach trails, marveling at the beauty of the place… and each other. The wonderful engagement shoot ended at the Grandview Beach, just in time for the picturesque sunset.

solana beach trails engagement session

desert engagement session | amin + jennifer

Bombay Beach and Desert engagement session

“Live a great story.” This is something that stuck with me during a very extraordinary desert engagement session I had with Amin and Jennifer. It was a saying posted at one of our location shoots. It resonated so well with what we were doing at that time that I just knew it was meant for the lovely couple. 

You’d know it’s great when you can create something wonderful out of obstacles and mishaps. Amin and Jennifer’s engagement story had its own brand of greatness for a variety of reasons. First, we started off with the Bombay Beach engagement session. Not the most popular place for a romantic shoot, yes. But it was something very unique. And that’s what made it extraordinary for the couple. 

Our olfactory senses were tested to the fullest, so as our tolerance for insects flying out of nowhere, but it can’t be denied that Bombay Beach gave us a one-of-a-kind location with great backgrounds. And boy, did we use them well! We explored the place for the best part of the day, using the graffiti on the wall and even the wreckage of an old building as backdrops. It was fun for me, but more so for the soon-to-be newlyweds. 

Later that day, we had our California Desert engagement session. We drove to Glamis Desert and just marveled at the fine, golden sand. If Bombay Beach was extraordinary, our Glamis engagement session propelled the extraordinary to another level. It was beyond extra, it was unbelievably special. 

A picturesque sunset in the background added a whiff of romance and fantasy to the place. With the sand dunes as a golden, majestic backdrop, Amir in a three-piece suit and Jennifer in a lovely gown did what they do best. They showed their love for each other, with every touch, every smile, and every kiss. But this time caught on cam.

couple on desert engagement session

kate Sessions wedding photographer | ryan + jamie

Kate Sessions, Balboa Park, and Marina Village DIY wedding

Imagine the shock when the groomsmen showed up at the first look wearing bright Hawaiian shirts, saying that this was exactly what they were going to wear at the wedding. It was a prank of course, but this told me more than any smile or pose would say. It showed me that the couple had pretty cool friends, and when you’re surrounded by amazing people like these, then you must be more than amazing, too. And this was exactly what I proved as I captured every moment at Ryan and Jamie’s Kate Sessions wedding. 

The first look was done at the Marina Village, and we also found this wonderful spot at the Balboa Park for some portraits and bridal party shots. You could feel that the couple couldn’t get to make their ‘forever’ official as they gazed into each other’s eyes.

It all blended together into one fantastic and fun-filled day. The beautiful view of Mission Bay as we witnessed the ceremony at Kate Sessions made the event even more breathtaking, as you see a powerful scene that showed nothing but love set against that magnificent backdrop.

Even as we went on to the reception, you can feel that addicting, laidback fun that hung in the air as you see that not only did Ryan and Jamie have a cool and tightknit group of friends, but they also shared a strong kind of friendship with one another, the best foundation for any marriage. 

With the rustic wedding decorations done by the bride and her friends accented by the wonderful lights and tulle by Pedro, and the mouth-watering food prepared by Wild Thyme catering, you can definitely mark the date as one of the most perfect weddings you can ever have. It wasn’t about the glamour, and it definitely wasn’t about extravagance. It was all about life, love, and friendship, and I captured it all, every fun and loving second of it.

bridesmaid diy wedding project

santa monica engagement session | brian + stephanie

Great food and beautiful sunset in this Santa Monica engagement session

Normally, spending the day with your loved one in picturesque Santa Monica is just considered as a good day. But for Brian and Stephanie, LA County’s majestic beachfront just became one of their favorite places on earth, thanks to their amazing Santa Monica engagement session.

As a photographer who adores the great outdoors for its visual beauty and authenticity, Brian and Stephanie’s engagement shoot was a thrill for me. We started the shoot at Cha Cha Chicken Restaurant, an honest-to-goodness Caribbean restaurant in Santa Monica. The ambiance was delightful, the food was delectable. And the couple donned in casual, eye-catching get-up was a delight to shoot.

This particular Los Angeles engagement session brimmed with the double C – cool and casual. A mirror of how cool and genuine Brian and Stephanie are.

We walked around the city, the lovebirds soaking in the love and the fun brought by the prelude of their wedding, which will happen in the famous Tom Ham’s Lighthouse in San Diego, CA.

I snapped a few photos of the lovebirds in front of the Santa Monica Library. We also took shots at an old Victorian house – aptly named Victorian – near the library. Along the way, we passed by these very cool walls decorated with colorful graffiti. Brian and Stephanie had fun posing, hugging, and kissing with these large wall scribbles as their awesome backdrops.

Our engagement photo session concluded at possibly the most romantic place in Santa Monica – by the beach. Blessed with a beautiful sunset that day, the two had a blast just being what they are – a couple happy and in love. With the beach and the sunset as their gorgeous background, and the happiness they effortlessly exude, our Santa Monica engagement session was a success.

I can’t wait for their love story to continue. Our next journey together: me, as a Tom Ham’s Lighthouse wedding photographer, and Brian and Stephanie as husband and wife.

santa monica engagement session

tower 23 wedding photography | mike + colleen ~ preview

UCSD Immaculata Church wedding, followed by Tower 23 reception, in Pacific Beach

As a San Diego wedding photographer, I already knew for a fact that the city offers so many breathtaking options for people celebrating any occasion. But when I got to capture Mike and Colleen as they celebrated life and love at the UCSD Immaculata Church and at the Pacific Beach Tower 23 Hotel, I realized that it really isn’t about the venue lending its beauty to a celebration. Rather, it’s the emotions that the people celebrating radiate that makes the place even more worthwhile.

Witness how Mike, Colleen, and their love for each other lit up the San Diego sky through these memories that I captured on their wedding day.

Tower 23 wedding photographer

desert engagement session | amin + jennifer ~ Preview

Bombay Beach, and amazing sunset in this beautiful desert engagement session

When was the last time you did something for the first time? For me, it was during Amin and Jennifer’s engagement session. This extraordinary couple wanted something unique for their shoot. And by unique and first time, I mean flying insects during the shoot and a very, very bad smell surrounding us for the best part of the day. But all these obstacles were worth it. Amin and Jennifer’s desert engagement session is one for the books!

Shot in Bombay Beach and Glamis Desert in California, this happy couple made every frame the perfect shot. I guess that’s what love can do – sacrifices here and there for something wonderful, something that lasts a lifetime.

desert engagement session

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