Inspire. Empower. Celebrate.

Startup Stir in San Francisco

Startup Stir has opened a chapter in San Francisco, and I'm so stoked to be photographing their events! They have created a monthly networking and enrichment event series aimed at empowering entrepreneurs. Last month's event featured a dynamite and eclectic panel of all women speakers, including social media marketer Angie Hilum and Kali Williams of Hack the Patriarchy and The Opinionated Woman podcast, all offering guidance in the challenges women experience on the entrepreneurial path, and how they've taken them on to become successful in the Bay Area. As an entrepreneur myself, it was so helpful to understand the landscape of business through the eyes of successful females, and to feel supported among such strong and creative women. 

When people come together to educate and inspire each other, a whole new kind of community is formed. It is one that fosters safety and trust without the competition and strategic sabotage so prevalent in the business world. The work before us to accomplish our goals becomes more manageable when we know we're not alone, and we're given the tools to navigate it one piece at a time. The resulting fun was inspiring, uplifting, practical, and empowering.

Startup Stir has another event coming up May 18th at the fabulous General Assembly space in downtown SF. You can learn more about them and stay up to date on their upcoming events in San Francisco and Boston via their Facebook page here. You can also learn more about the co-working and events happening at General Assembly at their website. Here are some photos of the last event. I hope to catch you next week for another inspiring evening!

Valentine's Day wedding on Commodore Cruise Lines

A winter wedding in Northern California is a risky proposition, but the sun shone shone through an uncharacteristically rainy season for Hayley and Arthur's Valentine's Day wedding on Commodore Cruise Lines. What a sweet and loving couple! One thing I love about being a wedding photographer is seeing how couples celebrate their love and bring together their families. It's hugely inspiring. 

This couple had been together for over 7 years, but planned their whole wedding in just a few weeks. When the time is right, just go for it. A great option for accommodating a last minute wedding without sacrificing style and character is to book your wedding on Commodore Cruise Line. They have different size options to accommodate large and small wedding parties, and you can book any day of the week...a great option if your family and friends reside nearby. The wedding begins with a dockside ceremony, and then you celebrate onboard with dinner and dancing, all while enjoying stunning bay views and cruising the open water. If San Francisco's city lights and beautiful bridges weren't spectacular enough, throw in a full moon and lunar eclipse in Leo. The love and magic had everyone shining that night.

Congratulations Hayley and Arthur!


Winter Wonderland

I visited winter this week for a ski trip in Tahoe and had a romance with the landscape. So much stillness and poise demonstrated by the simplicity of frost on trees. The animal of me wanted to touch and hold all of it, to run through wildly in a demonstration of my own passion. My fingers dissolved the perfect crystals I saw on pine needles. My steps sunk many feet into soft snow. So I listened to the trees and they told me "Tread lightly. Lay still. Experience cold." I let myself lay feather light, upward gazing, teary eyed, so silent. I let my fingers turn painful and my legs wet as my heat merged with the frost. Mesmerized by the blinding white sea atop the dark and dense mountain earth, I felt the medicine of this cold and this quiet, the transmutation of heaviness and complexity to something light, clear, simple, holy.
I'm back home to Marin flowers blooming in January, but a piece of me is still dancing in white swirls of snow. Thank you, winter.

pine tree frost
winter frost

New setup and a sneak peek

I wrapped up 2016 with the final piece I needed to complete my kit, the Sigma 24-70mm 2.8. I'm loving this new glass! I used to shoot with a zoom lens as my primary, but switched to working with fixed focal lengths as I explored wider apertures and the dreamy feeling of bokeh created with my Nikon 85 1.4. After having my gear stolen last year, my wide-portrait zoom was the one I hadn't yet replaced. I don't know I did without it for so long! The versatility offered really allows for a faster shoot and more variety. 

As the year started I bought myself a very special gift...a studio background setup! I haven't done studio work since 2007, and am really excited to see how my studio work develops. 

Here's a sneak peek from my first shoot with the new gear: Jason Simms for Ratchet+Wrench magazine.


Best Wedding Photographers in Oakland List!

A big thank you to the team at Expertise for the shout out on their list of the best wedding photographers in Oakland! I love what I do and it means a lot to get some love in the local scene for what I've been dreaming together here.

Now that wedding season has wound down and the hectic holidays have passed, I'm excited to be editing more of the weddings I shot this year and will be sharing them with you soon! Stay tuned...


Best Wedding
in Oakland

Ring the bells that still can ring

Elisabeth and Sergio's wedding at San Francisco City Hall began with a swarm of friends and loved ones unexpectedly showing up to support and celebrate their last minute nuptials. What was to be a handful of family members turned out to be a few dozen glittering faces, and what was to be a quiet Monday ceremony was full of laughter and cheers.

The wedding, a week post Election Day, was just what we all needed. For the couple, it was to be reminded of the love that creates safety, support, and purpose in this ever unpredictable world. For me, to experience once again that above all that is happening, our experience is so much about where we show up and what we align to in all the big and small ways we serve the world. The smiles, the falling tears, the caring of children, the little ways they honored their ancestry and cultural traditions...it was like God was tapping me on the shoulder and saying "Look here. This is what is real right now. This is all there is for you right now. Be here now."

The officiant opened with a quote from the recently departed Leonard Cohen, my all time favorite songwriter. I met Leonard Cohen on an iconic night during arguably the most formative and memorable time in my life. It was the culmination of an era of exploration, magic, dismantling the old conditioning, and opening to endless possibility. I found myself hugging my idol on a perfect downtown Chicago night, as dizzy from the music as from the moment. Coming back to it now feels almost prayerful. These precious, sacred moments. They go by so fast. 

Thank you for having me along for the ride, and making me feel at home in the midst of all of the people passing by. Through all of the generosity I am ever moved to find myself exactly where I need to be. Photographing the ceremony is my favorite part of being a wedding photographer, so it's a pleasure to share a post focusing on those. Really, I shoot so many it is hard to choose which to share. I love the nuances of emotion that make each photo unique.

"Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That's how the light gets in."






On first looks and wedding jitters

Therese and Brian's San Ramon wedding was a beautifully classic affair. The details were so stunning for this wedding: simple, polished, and elegant touches that made the whole day shine. 

The bride was so very nervous throughout the morning as everyone quietly prepared her for her ceremony. It was beautiful to see how she melted into smiles when she got the chance to be with her groom. The nerves were met with loving support and it was beautiful to see her come out of her shell. All the stress of planning and organizing can definitely get to you, and in the end we do all of this work to celebrate the love!

If I could offer one piece of advice to someone planning their wedding it would be to find a way to connect with each other throughout the day of your ceremony. It can do so much to bring you both back to the love. The vows and commitments made on your wedding are of a life changing significance, it's true. The pressure can feel amplified with family visiting from far away, old friends coming to honor your new chapter, religious officials and the whole nine! In the end, all of these serious things are just there to anchor the sweetness, the lightness, the joy, and they harmony between two people. Some couples opt for a first look before the ceremony to see each other for the first time on their wedding day somewhere private, without the eyes of everyone on them. I have seen that this moment can do wonders for dissolving the wedding jitters, as you get a chance to laugh together and reunite with the support you have from your partner before entering into the ceremony. For those couples who want to meet their spouse-to-be on the altar for the first time that day, exchanging a wedding gift and note is a beautiful way to express your sentiments at the moment when your loved one will need to hear it most. 

Here's to Therese and Brian, and to coming to that magic moment of feeling yourself, feeling your love, and feeling the beauty of your wedding!

Venue: The Bridges Golf Club, San Ramon

Groom gets ready with his best man

Groom gets ready with his best man

Shoes by Calvin Klein

Shoes by Calvin Klein

Shoes by Badly Mischka

Shoes by Badly Mischka

Therese looking fierce and saucy

Therese looking fierce and saucy

Amazing floral cupcake tower wedding cake!

Amazing floral cupcake tower wedding cake!

©Tiana Hunter 2018