2022 Hazel Photo Weddings Year in Review

I’m going to “kick” this off by saying that 2022 kicked my butt. There was a metric ton of pent-up demand for live events this past year.

In 2022 I photographed:

37 weddings,

3 elopements,

A baby naming,

3 multi-day corporate conferences,

5 corporate parties,

3 family sessions,

6 engagement sessions,

and 150 headshots.

I’m incredibly grateful to every last client I worked with, and every person who referred me to clients. To be busy again after the pandemic, has made me feel alive and useful. This was the best year my business has seen to date. It was also the queerest year of weddings I have photographed!

Most of my photo work transpired in the greater San Francisco Bay Area… from Oakland to Orinda to Walnut Creek, from Napa to Calistoga to Mendocino from Sonoma to Healdsburg, from Gilroy to Santa Cruz to Half Moon Bay, from The Financial District to Civic Center to the Presidio, from San Rafael to Mill Valley to Bodega Bay.

I did have the chance to travel to Lake Tahoe, Mendocino, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Jamaica to make photographs for clients as well.

I haven’t had time to share very much of the work I made this year, because I was so busy making it. In this coming January and February I am looking forward to reliving 2022 and updating my portfolio with some of the beauty I witnessed this past year.

A few wedding clients this year told me, “We don’t want any posed portraits. Just ‘documentary style’ photos of our wedding day.” I loved those opportunities to turn my entire focus to storytelling images. I felt seen, like my clients understood what I was up to, and wanted me to lean into that strength on their wedding day.

On the home front, our 2-year-old started preschool and brought us on vacation to Japan and Mexico. We bought an old house in Berkeley and have begun to fill it with art, and surround it with gardens.


Sutro Baths Engagement Photos

This is part 1 of 2 of an epic engagement session spread between Sutro Baths and Ocean Beach. Marie, Charlie and I met near San Francisco’s Sutro Baths for their engagement session. We started in the shade at Point Lobos where we made portraits amongst the cypress while the sun was still a bit higher in the sky. Then we made our way down the hillside stopping along the way in good light until we reached the rocky shore of the Pacific Ocean. Down on the rocks we were joined by birds and ocean spray, which made for some majestic images. Satisfied with our time during “golden hour” at Sutro Baths, we headed over to Ocean Beach for “blue hour.” click here for the Ocean Beach engagement session photos.


Thomas Fogarty Winery Wedding

Lisa and Alex were married at Thomas Fogarty Winery on October 23, 2021. Lisa had first reached out to me about photographing her wedding, almost exactly two years previous on October 24th of 2019. While they did intend to have their wedding at Thomas Fogarty on October 24th 2020, I wouldn’t put it past Lisa to find a photographer two years in advance. From that initial Zoom conversation I felt great excitement and anticipation about Lisa and Alex’s wedding. She was so positive and organized, and a delight to communicate with. Well… we all got to hold onto that feeling of anticipation much longer than we thought we might.

Lisa and Alex met as college students at UC Berkeley. Their friends and family were scattered across the country and globe, so gathering at Thomas Fogarty Winery with its hilltop retreat feeling was appealing.

After more than a year, we finally had the chance to meet in person in May of 2021 on the UC Berkeley campus for their engagement session. But more about that in the blogpost about their delightful UC Berkeley engagement session here.

Thomas Fogarty is a special type of winery and vineyard. It is both perched on a mountaintop, and yet a comfortable drive from San Francisco. The approach along Skyline is glorious: a wooded ridge line reveals views out into the valley. The Winery itself is composed of a series of generous buildings built into the hilltop with the view at top of mind. Almost every room looks out over the sky, the vineyards, and the valley below.

We began Lisa and Alex’s wedding day with a Chinese tea ceremony out on the deck under the gaze of a large double happiness symbol and a floral arch incorporated into one. The tea ceremony ritual that centers the elders and the ancestors took on a deeper meaning as a result of the delay caused by the pandemic. Finally the elders were able to gather safely to bless the young couple . Even at the height of the pandemic, an elopement was possible at a dining room table over Zoom, but this in-person blessing of elders could not happen safely before the vaccine, and finally, here it was. After the tea ceremony, Lisa and Alex changed out of their qipao and changshan into outfits a bit more suitable (get it?) for dancing, and we ran out into the vineyard to catch the last of the light and make a few photographs before dinner, toasts and dancing.

Thanks to everybody who made the day run so smoothly, especially Jutta Lammerts of a Day Like No Other, who dotted all the is and crossed all the ts.

Venue : Thomas Fogarty Winery
Photographer : Hazel Photo
Hair and Makeup : Lydia Song, Brides by Lydia
Wedding planner: Jutta Lammerts, A Day Like No Other
Catering : Global Gourmet Catering
Videographer: Justin & Georgina from Weddings on Film
DJ/Band : Stefano Bortolin from BIG FUN Disc Jockeys
Florist: Janelle Jacky from Green Petal Designs


Palace of Fine Arts Wedding – Jessica & David

Jessica & David Part 2 Palace of Fine Arts Wedding.

This was one of the most intimate weddings I photographed during the pandemic. There were five guests in total. We assembled under a glorious willow tree at the Palace of Fine Arts, and one of Jessica’s friends officiated. Just as the two had hoped the sun weaved in and out from behind the clouds. After a few wedding portraits at the Palace of Fine Arts, we headed over to Golden Gate Park for a few more couples portraits and a bit of revelry. We ended in the Shakespeare Garden where Jessica and David read love letters they had written to each other. I certainly not what they had set out planning all the way back in 2019, but they excelled in finding a way to make their wedding day magical, romantic, and full of good humor throughout.

Click here for part 1 getting ready and portraits at Cavallo Point.


Sarah & Chris – COVID Wedding San Francisco

Sarah & Chris were married in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and a historic uprising for racial equality. 

Sarah & Chris were married on a gorgeous, sunny day at their apartment in the Mission District with bright blue skies overhead and wisps of fog off in the distance. 

Sarah & Chris were married on a moody day, dense with fog and magic in a redwood grove in Golden Gate Park. 

All  of these sentences are true. It’s the concept of “Yes/And:” 

Yes, Sarah & Chris, had their plans for a larger wedding upended by the COVID pandemic… and they planned a gorgeous, multi-climate micro COVID wedding anyway. 

It takes a special sort of person, and a special sort of mind to live out the “Yes/And.” Sarah & Chris are both that kind of special person with that special kind of mind. For some, being forced to cancel or reimagine wedding plans due to COVID-19 is primarily felt as a loss. But Sarah & Chris found about a million ways to make their COVID wedding day one of the most meaningful, gorgeous, unforgettable days the two shall ever live. 

The City of San Francisco offered them a virtual wedding ceremony with a virtual officiant on June 19th… so, they said “Yes/And.” Yes to the virtual wedding ceremony (which they were able to share with their families through a Zoom screenshare) and yes to the fact that the day on offer was Juneteenth, a day of protest and celebration for equality and liberation of black people. They would find ways to honor Juneteenth as part of their wedding celebration. 

The day started in Sarah & Chris’ apartment, where they live surrounded by objects imbued with their love and their story: including carefully tended house plants, a web of photographs from their shared adventures, elaborate paper masks, homemade sourdough bread, and a glossy magazine that Sarah made as part of their mutual marriage proposal. After the official ceremony with the City of San Francisco, sealed with a ring exchange and a kiss, they shared personal vows in front of their family on Zoom. They placed leis over each other’s heads and toasted with champagne.

We made  a few portraits in their apartment and on the roof deck, then headed downstairs, where a bike trailer packed with wedding reception fixings lay in wait. On the bike ride to Golden Gate Park, they wore placards that read (small print) “Just Married” and (large print) “Black Lives Matter.” We biked the Wiggle with sweet passersby cheering and honking in support and celebration.

When we arrived in Golden Gate Park we made some portraits at the Music Concourse, the Rose Garden, and the Redwood Grove, where we met up with a few of the couple’s closest friends. There, they hosted a socially-distant wedding reception with well-spaced group portraits, more celebratory signs, and a socially distant dance party.

If you’ve made it this far reading this post, you too can say Yes/And: Yes, we can enjoy witnessing Sarah & Chris’ expression of love — And we can honor them by joining the struggle for racial justice and equality. Breonna Taylor’s killers walk free. You can find resources for action here, here and here.


Round Pond Estate Wedding – Napa Valley

Cat & Ross held their wedding rehearsal dinner at Round Pond Estate, a gorgeous vineyard and winery in California’s Napa Valley. The Approach to Round Pond down the palm-lined driveway is absolutely iconic, as is the architecture of the winery. The first floor is comprised of a large wine cave with a glass ceiling. The 2nd floor houses a tasting room with a massive window down onto the wine cave below. Dinner was served on a patio off the 2nd floor overlooking the vineyard and the rolling hills beyond.

When Cat & Ross, and their guests arrived they were treated to a tour of the vineyards, the garden, and the wine cave. Dinner was a 5 course tasting menu paired with Napa Valley wines from Round Pond winery. Between the courses we ran out into the field to make couples portraits with the rows of palm trees, and the rows of grape vines. I’m particularly fond of what happened with the light in the vineyards after the sun had dipped below the horizon, such supple bright light for these two the night before their wedding.


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