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.


2021 Year-in-Review Bay Area Wedding Photography

In 2021 I photographed 24 weddings in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. All but a couple happened in the 2nd half of the year. I feel overwhelmed with gratefulness as I look back on all of the beauty and connection I was invited to witness and document. There’s nothing like a pandemic to remind a person how incredibly good it feels to gather friends, chosen family, and family to celebrate love.

2022 is looking to be a fuller year for weddings… My year is 70% booked, and will bring me up to Mendocino Sonoma and Napa, out to Walnut Creek and Lake Tahoe, and down to Half Moon Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains.

I can’t wait for all these adventures to come.

-XO

Paul


A Stern Grove Wedding at the Trocadero Clubhouse in San Francisco

Laura & Matt – A Stern Grove Wedding at the Trocadero Clubhouse in San Francisco

Laura & Matt were married on a dynamic San Francisco day at Sigmund Stern Grove in the Sunset District. The wedding venue is nestled in a forested valley. The Trocadero Clubhouse, A Victorian Inn built in 1892, a small lake, and a redwood grove are surrounded by hills of swaying eucalyptus. The valley has a magical feeling as if at any moment a benevolent elf might just wander out of the woods.

I often meet clients about a month before their wedding day to talk through timeline details, game plan, and get excited together. I remember Laura & Matt came to talk to me at my spot in the Inner Sunset. When I asked them how planning was going, they tag-teamed the answer to my question. It was striking how well they seemed to be communicating and working as a team.

Their wedding was a DIY affair, of which, I have seen my fair share. And, I have to say that it was the tightest DIY wedding I think I’ve ever attended. There was a bit of time pressure to flip the dinner tables in the Trocadero Clubhouse and decorate them with florals between family pictures and the ceremony, but a team comprised of family made fast work of it. Laura & Matt had delegated well, and they both seemed relaxed, and confident that their families would pull it off.  

Our couples portraits were particularly memorable. We walked over to the amphitheater where the Stern Grove music festival takes place, and found some lovely light on an elevated walkway. Matt let his hair down, and magic was made instantly.

During the ceremony the redwood grove made for a serene hidden-away feeling. Laura & Matt entered together hand-in-hand with the long train of Laura’s dress sliding over the redwood duff. I loved the shock of color in the pastor’s robes, and the sweet, diffuse angular light falling over the whole scene.

As the night grew long, Korean Tacos from Koja were savored, a series of riotous toasts were made, and a few old college traditions were revisited. The crowd was certainly “good craic” as the Irish say.

Many thanks to Small Shindigs for keeping everything running smoothly.

Venue : Sigmund Stern Grove & Trocadero Clubhouse
Photographer : Hazel Photo
Florist : Petals
Wedding planner : Brenda – Small Shindigs
Hair : Zip Zap Hair
Makeup : Jelise Baires
Cake : Whole Foods and Mariposa Bakery
Catering : Koja Kitchen food truck, appetizers from Cafe La Mediterranee
Officiant : Reverend Eric Metoyer


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