Should I Do A First Look?

One  thing I get asked a LOT about is doing a first look. As a photographer and bride, I want to scream from the rooftops “YES! YES! YES! DO IT! You won’t regret it!” I honestly can’t think of any cons against doing a first look. Let’s talk about the benefits to doing a first look:

  1. Doing a first look gives you a moment alone with your future spouse. It’s a wonderful quiet moment to just be alone and focus on the emotions that you’re both feeling.
  2. You can finish more photos before the ceremony – which means more time to enjoy cocktail hour and greet your guests. I see it as a way to skip the table rounds during dinner and just relax for a bit and enjoy your food. Win Win!
  3. It takes the pressure off of your groom/bride. When waiting at the end of the aisle, there will be so many eyes on you that nerves may take over and you may not get the genuine reaction you’ve been dreaming of.
  4. If you’re doing an evening wedding, you won’t see your bride/groom until the ceremony – this usually means not seeing them until pretty late in the day.
  5. Your hair and makeup will still be fresh – this one speaks for itself 😉

Many couples don’t want to do it because they think it’ll take away from the big moment of the reaction walking down the aisle. In my opinion, I don’t think doing a first look takes away from the reaction. If your future spouse is a crier, then they’ll likely cry regardless. At the end of the day, it truly is your decision and we, as photographers, just want YOU to be happy on your wedding day!

Check out this adorable wedding (and first look) photographed by Brianna.


For more information on wedding photography in Southern California or to get a quote, please visit our website at or give us a call at 657-221-8882.

Feeling Festive!

I know I’ve probably said this a million times, but it is seriously crazy how quickly this year has gone by! It’s hard to believe that there’s less than a week until Christmas. (WHAT THE HECK!!) I’m looking forward to a little Christmas break and spending some much needed time with the family. I’m incredibly excited this year because my family and fiancé’s family will finally spend Christmas Eve together! As a soon-to-be married couple, we’re both curious to see what new traditions will come as the years pass. We’re definitely thrilled to bring our families together!

Our families both have their own traditions, but Christmas Eve is their one commonality! My fiancé’s huge family of 50+ people all get together to celebrate. It’s a wonderful night filled with laughs, food, drinks, and a gift exchange. We usually stay until almost 11 and then we make our way to my grandparent’s house. We always eat my great-grandma’s traditional soup to honor her (Christmas Eve was her birthday). Around 11:30, we’d all gather around and begin passing out presents, not-so-patiently waiting for midnight to finally come so we could open our presents. While I’m sad we won’t be doing it this year, I’m very excited to have (almost) all of the people that mean the most to us in one space. What fun holiday traditions do you celebrate?

Check out this adorable engagement session photographed by Rachel.


For more information on wedding photography in Southern California or to get a quote, please visit our website at or give us a call at 657-221-8882.




Woah – I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is already here! This year has zoomed by and soon enough it will be Christmas!! This year has given me so much to be thankful for: a wonderful fiancé, weddings galore, and getting to travel to some amazing places.

While I count my blessings and things to be thankful for, I do still enjoy those Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. This year I’ll be out photographing a wedding, so no crazy shopping for me, but I’ve already seen some great deals for wedding related purchases online. I thought I’d share with all of you other brides out there.

Etsy is a great way to support small businesses! Etsy offers unique, handmade items that are perfect for weddings. I’ve ordered countless things from various shops and have loved them all!

The Mrs. Box offers the most beautiful heirloom ring boxes. I bought one before I even got engaged because I love them so much!

Kate Spade X Keds has some adorable sparkly shoes that are reception perfect. Give your feet a break.

The Knot Shop has a lot of great gift ideas for parents, the wedding party, and for guests.

Fossil  for nicer gifts, like a watch for your groom, Fossil has some beautiful pieces. They are able to customize and engrave things which is another plus!

Lulu’s is one of my favorite retailers to shop from. Their quality, customer service, and shipping is great! They sell outfits that are perfect for engagement sessions, bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinner, bridesmaids, and your honeymoon.

Check out this adorable engagement session photographed by yours truly!


For more information on wedding photography in Southern California or to get a quote, please visit our website at or give us a call at 657-221-8882.


Our Proposal Story Part 2

We slowly made our way over to the lake. Since it was New Year’s, I decided that I wanted to set some goals for this year. As we walked, I told Dustin I wanted to set three goals: a personal goal, a work goal, and a relationship goal. We started talking a little bit and as I said my relationship goal (to hopefully get engaged this year!) we finally got to the lake.  Dustin faced me out towards the lake and we stood there for a few minutes. There was a feeling of serenity and we looked out at the water. I began to ask Dustin what his relationship goal was… right as I do so, he turns me around and I saw Brianna. This. Was. It. After almost 8 years together – this was finally it. I knew Brianna would be there to photograph our proposal one day and as soon as I saw her walking up, I lost it.

Right as I began crying, Dustin said, “Well, my relationship goal is to propose to your right now. Alex, will you marry me?” Through the ugly tears, I smiled and said “Yes!!” Or at least I think I did. I blacked out a little bit from the shock. My dumb ass was still holding my tea from earlier as he slipped the most beautiful ring on my finger. I debated on throwing it into the lake, but I knew I’d never live it down and there’d be photos of that forever *face palm*. So I held me tea and gave my fiancé a huge hug. I couldn’t believe it was finally our turn to get married!!! We called our family and friends right after and celebrated with some champagne! So far, I’m calling this the best day ever. I know that will all change when our wedding day is finally here!

Check out our actual proposal photos capture by Brianna.


For more information on wedding photography in Southern California or to get a quote, please visit our website at or give us a call at 657-221-8882.

Our Proposal Story Part 1

I’ve realized I’ve shared so many wedding tips and advice, but I never even share our proposal story! So I thought I’d take some time to rewind and share our story.

On New Years Day, we woke up early and Dustin asked me if I wanted to go for a walk with him at the park where we had our first official date. It was cold as hell and windy. I didn’t really want to go, but I figured I’d just bundle up since we had been talking about going for a while. I told Dustin I was hungry (typical Alex) and asked if he could make breakfast. The wonderful man that he is made me some food while I sat and drank a mimosa. After breakfast, I started to get ready while he cleaned up. I didn’t really feel like doing my makeup but I did want to get a cute photo of us celebrating the New Year and at a spot that is so special to us. I asked him and he said “Whatever you feel like, babe! You don’t need makeup.” I put on my makeup anyways and then we were off to do some errands.

Dustin absolutely hates errands but it was his one day off so we went anyways. We finished them early and he asked if I wanted to go to Target (the magical words for me and the perfect stall for him). For once, I said “no” because I didn’t really feel like walking and freezing my butt off. So instead, I bought myself tea and played Pokemon before we left for the park.

Because Dustin had been asking me for a few weeks to go on this walk, I didn’t really think too much of it. It didn’t seem weird, but the thought did cross my mind. When we pulled up to the park, I realized it was 3:30 – the light was perfect. I knew it was ideal photography time so I looked around to see if I could see Brianna’s car… knowing she would be there one day to photograph our proposal. No car. Ok. It’s not happening. Damn it! So we began our walk to the lake…

I’ll share how it actually went down next week 😉 In the mean time, check out our 5 year anniversary photos photographed by Brianna!


For more information on wedding photography in Southern California or to get a quote, please visit our website at or give us a call at 657-221-8882.

Sit Back, Relax, and Unplug

You’ve waited for this moment for your whole life. You’re in your dress, walking down the aisle to the love of your life… but there’s people in the aisle. Your fiancé can’t see you, you can’t see them. What the heck is going on?! With the improvement of technology, everyone now has a camera in their pocket. People want to capture the moment and share everything on social media. But what people fail to realize, is that they’re ruining a special moment between two people who are madly in love. The need for instant gratification and taking photos seems to cloud the judgement (and etiquette) for weddings. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times people have ruined this moment and shot for me. Despite kindly asking people to move, sometimes there’s just no fixing the situation. “Alex, how the hell do we avoid this?! We’re paying for photography and I want to see my fiancé!!!”  I’m glad you asked!!

One of the newer trends that I truly hope is here to stay is having a completely unplugged ceremony! At an unplugged ceremony, guests are invited to turn off all of their devices and be fully present in the moment. There’s no distractions, no cell phones in peoples’ faces, no people in the aisle blocking the view. It’s a complete win-win! They’re allowed to focus on the reason they’re at a wedding – to see two people who are crazy about each other finally unite. From a photographer and fellow bride, I seriously hope that unplugged ceremonies become more prevalent. I’d hate to spend thousands of dollars on photography, just to have someone with their cell phone taking photos. I hate seeing guests hiding behind their phones. I want to see their beautiful faces!! I want to be able to see my best friend as I walk down! Opting to unplug for just 30 minutes won’t be the end of the world – I promise.

Check out this sweet engagement session photographed by yours truly!


For more information on wedding photography in Southern California or to get a quote, please visit our website at or give us a call at 657-221-8882.

Staying Calm in The Storm

When Shy Heart Studios first began in 2015, I was so excited to begin my journey into wedding photography. I second shot all summer and by fall, I finally felt comfortable enough to venture out on my own! I photographed my first wedding (as a lead) in November 2015. Not going to lie, I was so incredibly nervous. Despite that, everything went great!

At weddings now, I rarely go in feeling nervous. I have a much better understanding of the flow of a wedding day and how to better every situation. One of the biggest things I’ve learned, is that couples really feed off of your energy. I know, I know, it sounds like a load of hippy dippy crap, but hear me out! When first entering the room, I can really sense how a bride (or groom) feels. I can tell when they’re nervous, excited, or just anxious to finally walk down the aisle. Having a calm energy amongst they chaos can really make a difference! I always share affirming words with them and let them know that I’ll do anything in my power to make sure everything is perfect for them. I remind my couples that today is about them marrying their best friend and that nothing else in the world matters at this exact moment. There’s usually a sense of relief that I can see on their faces as they continue to get ready to see the love of their life.

Check out one of my most recent weddings at Wedgewood University Club.


For more information on wedding photography in Southern California or to get a quote, please visit our website at or give us a call at 657-221-8882.



When I first picked up a camera in high school, the lightbulb went off and I thought “Hey! This would be a super cool career.” So when it was time to look into colleges, I searched for the right school that had a great photography program. In July 2011, I started college at Brooks Institute. They had an incredible program and I learned SO much in my first few months there. But my creativity felt a little stifled by the intense program.

When I started college, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to photograph yet, but I thought trying out wedding photography would be really cool! So that December Brianna invited me to come 3rd shoot at a wedding to see how I liked it. I was super nervous – not only because it was my very first wedding, but because I was shooting with the incredibly talented Brianna!! (Side story, for those of you who don’t know, Brianna is my future sister-in-law. I had just started dating her youngest brother a few months prior to this wedding.) So being the then-girlfriend to her little brother made me want to make her proud! SO. MUCH. PRESSURE. It was fun, but I just had no idea where it would take me (silly 19-year-old me).

I moved back to Orange County and decided that I would do community college until I figured out what I really wanted to do. I went back and forth between interior design and photography; then I decided it just had to be photography. Fast forward to 2014, I tagged along to another wedding with Brianna, this time as a second photographer. After this wedding, I knew this was it. This is what I wanted to do forever. So in 2015 when Shy Heart Studios officially began, I joined the team!  I’ll share more of my journey over the past 4 years next week, so check back in!!

Check out Brianna’s most recent wedding at Wedgewood Vellano!


For more information on wedding photography in Southern California or to get a quote, please visit our website at or give us a call at 657-221-8882.






My Brain’s Going to Explode

Wedding planning is no joke. Just when i think I have a majority of stuff done, another project comes up. I think what makes it challenging  to plan is that I’m incredibly indecisive and my fiancé is very go-with-the-flow. I constantly get asked “How’s planning going?” and for the most part, it’s been a breeze! We finished booking all of our vendors very early on in our engagement. But now that most of my big projects are done, figuring out the smaller details is where it gets tricky. I never realized how much planning it really takes to make everything “perfect”.

The one thing that has really helped my sanity is hiring a wedding planner. Seriously. It is one of  the best investments, especially if you’re planning a destination wedding like us! There are so many options for planners that range from day-of to full service. They are their to share their knowledge with you and are incredible resources! They can give you recommendations on the best vendors in the area, help keep everything and everyone on task, and and make sure everything runs smoothly so you and your fiancé can relax and enjoy your wedding day together. We don’t feel stressed about the day-of things because we know that we’re in the best hands with her, and with all of the vendors we’ve chosen.

Check out this adorable engagement session photographed by Elaine.


For more information on wedding photography in Southern California or to get a quote, please visit our website at or give us a call at 657-221-8882.

It’s Back!

It’s officially the start of football season! If you’ve ever had a single conversation with me, then you’d probably know football is my least favorite sport. I personally find it very time consuming and there’s wayyyyy too much stoppage time to make it an enjoyable sport to watch, but that’s a whole different story. But here we are… this season I got wrangled in to playing my first year of fantasy football. Once I told my friends that I joined, they all responded, “Are you serious?! But you hate football…” To be honest, I expected my fiancé to run my lineup, but with him playing three leagues, I’m on my own. So what can we do to make football more enjoyable? Make a bet, of course!

I’m hoping that beginner’s luck is on my side and I’m going to work my butt off to actually win our league. What’s on the line is something I feel more strongly about than my hate for football. So you’re probably asking, “Alex, what on earth could make you actually enjoy football and put an effort into winning your league?!” A PUPPY- THAT’S WHAT. YEP. A-real-life-freaking-puppy is on the line.  The Fiancé really knows how to motivate me. So send your good thoughts, prayers, or positive vibes, my way so I can FINALLY get my puppy! (I guess I’ll share and we can call it ours eventually).

Now back to photography! Check out this adorable engagement session photographed by Brianna.


For more information on wedding photography in Southern California or to get a quote, please visit our website at or give us a call at 657-221-8882.