Wedgewood at the Retreat Wedding ~ Ruth & Sean

An elegant wedding with a gorgeous view.

Ruth & Sean are High School Sweethearts who still look at each other with sweet, giddy love in their eyes.  They were married on a bright, sunny day in July at Wedgewood at The Retreat Champions Club in Corona.

The bride started her day at The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa in Riverside.  Even though I grew up in the Inland Empire, I had never been to The Mission Inn before.  It is AMAZING!  There are so many hidden spaces and beautiful architectural elements.  I seriously could have photographed there all day.

Mission Inn Riverside BrideMission Inn Riverside BrideMission Inn Riverside BrideOnce Ruth’s hair and makeup were done, we headed over to The Retreat so she could put on her wedding dress and finally see Sean!
The Retreat Champions Club in Corona WeddingThe Retreat Champions Club in Corona Wedding

Floral Sensations is did such a lovely job on Ruth’s bouquet.  The gardenias smelled heavenly!
The Retreat Champions Club in Corona WeddingThe Retreat Champions Club in Corona WeddingThe Retreat Champions Club in Corona Wedding

While we were walking around The Retreat, Ruth mentioned a tunnel that she wanted to take pictures by.  I had never taken pictures of a Bride and Groom in a tunnel before and even though we had to watch out for golf carts, it was totally worth it!

Every wedding venue should have a tunnel for pictures.

The Retreat Champions Club in Corona WeddingThe Retreat Champions Club in Corona Wedding

The Retreat Champions Club in Corona WeddingThe Retreat Champions Club in Corona Wedding

I loved the soft, romantic look of the ceremony space. The Retreat Champions Club in Corona WeddingThe Retreat Champions Club in Corona WeddingThe Retreat Champions Club in Corona WeddingThe Retreat Champions Club in Corona WeddingThe Retreat Champions Club in Corona WeddingThe Retreat Champions Club in Corona Wedding

Seeing the ring bearer was so exciting for me! The last time I saw his mom I was photographing her maternity pictures.

Now he’s the most adorable little model on Instagram.The Retreat Champions Club in Corona WeddingThe Retreat Champions Club in Corona WeddingThe Retreat Champions Club in Corona WeddingThe Retreat Champions Club in Corona WeddingThe Retreat Champions Club in Corona WeddingThe Retreat Champions Club in Corona Wedding

Ruth and Sean, it was so fun photographing your wedding and seeing the way your eyes light up when you look at each other.  Thank you for letting me be a small part of your beautiful wedding day.

Venue: Wedgewood Champions Club at The Retreat, Corona
Photography: Kimberly April Photography
Flowers: Floral Sensations
Cake: Cucamonga Cakery
Accommodations: The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa
DJ: JC Entertainment

Hair: Cassandra Hinkle
Makeup: Lucia

5 Tips for Photographing at the Beach

Photographing at the beach has it’s own unique set of challenges.

Since the beach is my favorite place to photograph clients, I thought I would pass along 5 simple tips to make photographing at the beach just a little bit easier.

Laguna Beach Wedding Photography#1  Don’t be afraid of the sun.

It’s definitely harder to photograph in bright, hot sunshine, but that doesn’t mean you have to shy away from it.  Bright, sunny days are the perfect opportunity to create dramatic pictures with a lot of blue sky and water.  If you have a histogram on your camera, watch to make sure you’re not overexposing your highlights.  Especially a bride’s beautiful white dress!

Carlsbad Family Pictures on the Beach#2  Pay attention to the waves.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment and not notice a bigger set has just rolled in before it soaks your subject and your camera.  Quick oceanography lesson: Waves come in sets.  Some are bigger than others and the amount of waves in each set changes constantly.  However, you can usually figure out the rhythm and predict when smaller waves are coming versus bigger ones.  This way you can get closer to the water’s edge without a wave suddenly knocking you over and covering you and your subject with wet sand.

Newport Beach Mommy and Me Photography#3  Be ready for crazy hair.

In Orange County, unless you’re photographing just after sunrise or sheltered by cliffs like in Dana Point and Laguna Beach, the beach tends to be windy. Add humidity and salty air to the mix and even the best hairspray has problems holding up.  If you have longer hair, considering wearing it up to keep it out of your face and away from your camera lens.  Also, be considerate of your subject and let them know if they have a crazy hair sticking out. People are usually grateful to know you’re looking out for them so they can look their best.

Malibu Engagement Pictures on the Beach#4  Know the permit requirements.

Many beaches in Southern California require permits to do professional photography on the beach.  Some beaches are stricter than others and usually you can get away with it if you don’t have a lot of equipment or someone in a wedding dress.  However, it’s a total bummer to get a ticket or be asked to leave just when the light is perfect and your subject is starting to relax.  Know the rules before you go and apply for a permit if you need to have one.  Crystal Cove and Corona Del Mar (both State Beaches) are notorious for giving out tickets to photographers.

La Jolla Engagement Pictures#5  Relax and have fun!

I absolutely LOVE photographing at the beach!  You get to be barefoot in the sand, breathe in the salty air and maybe even see a dolphin or two.  Enjoy your time by the ocean and your subjects will too.

Newport Beach Senior Pictures

Happy People are Artists too

Growing up I was always great in science and math.

I loved art and making crafts, but when it came to school and taking myself seriously, I focused on logical subjects.  In my mind, artistic people were different.  They had deep thoughts about life and looked for hidden meanings in everything.  I excelled by seeing a problem directly in front of me, knowing the true and tested steps to solve it and then following those steps to success.

Algebra math equations were my friend.

In college my roommate (Hi Jennifer!) was a photography major and I loved seeing her art projects.  I decided to take a photography class and by the end of the first critique I felt defeated.  The students and teachers all talked about the photographs with thoughts about life and what the artists were expressing through their dark imagery.

I just liked taking pictures of pretty things.

Wedding rings on a starfishI still remember going back to our on-campus apartment and telling my roommate, “I’m not artsy-fartsy enough.”  We laughed and I continued to struggle through the class, trying to push myself to find this dark, deep side of me that must be there if I ever wanted to create powerful pictures.

Huntington Beach Wedding PhotographerThe problem was, I’m a happy person.  While everyone has a dark piece of them hiding somewhere, I love being happy.  I like to laugh and feel the sunshine on my face.  That joy for life constantly flows into my pictures and it was really messing up my attempts at creating dark images to impress my teachers.

ring bearers with sunglassesAfter finishing my first class something inside of me pushed me to take another.  I still felt like I wasn’t artistic enough to be in there and while my technical skills improved (yay science and math) my pictures were still the least talked about in class.  I graduated Chapman University with a B.A. in Communications emphasizing in Public Speaking.  Yes, the girl who was afraid to speak up in art class loved public speaking.  I continued to take photography classes at a local junior college, “Just for fun.”

Bride by waterThis month celebrates my Wedding Photography business’s 3rd birthday and I’ve learned so much about art, people and myself.  Once I let go of what I thought I was supposed to be photographing and followed what makes me happy, my photography changed.  I used my natural ability in science and math to understand the technical side of creating art with light.  I let myself pour my heart and soul into my clients to fully be present while photographing one of the most important days of their lives.

I learned that joy can be just as powerful of an emotion in art as pain.

Wedding at the Marina Village in San DiegoI help brides bustle their dresses and hug moms at the end of receptions.  It’s who I am and I’m so happy to be able to artistically record such an important life event for people to cherish for a lifetime.

I photograph pretty things for a living, I’m happy and I’m an artist.

Huntington Beach Family Photographer

Noah is 6 months old!

It has been amazing to watch one of my past brides grow her family.  Sharise is gorgeous so it’s no surprise she and her husband Juan have the most adorable little boy!

Huntington Beach Family PhotographerHuntington Beach Family Photographer

The picture below of Noah’s beautiful eyelashes and little chubby arm is my absolute favorite from the day.

Huntington Beach Family PhotographerBlue Eyes

His tummy and suspenders were too much cuteness to handle.Huntington Beach Family PhotographerHuntington Beach Family PhotographerHuntington Beach Family Photographer

I’ve been asked a lot lately if I photograph families.  While I specialize in weddings, I am available to photograph families during the week and on a few weekends in the fall and winter.  Click here to contact me about photographing your family for the holidays!

Sharise - October 1, 2014 - 7:06 pm

Aww I love it!!!

Puddingstone Wedding ~ Gina & Zach

An intimate wedding at Puddingstone Hot Tub Resort.

Gina and I frequently work together photographing weddings.  I felt so honored that as a fellow wedding photographer, she asked me to photograph her small, private wedding in July.  The day started at the Ayres Hotel in Diamond Bar, California.


Zach is a huge LA Kings fan, so he showed off his love for hockey with his cufflinks.puddingstone-wedding_0001

My heart melted as I waited with Zach for Gina.  He was so nervous so I started chatting with him to calm his nerves.  I told him how in just a few moments he would be able to see Gina, which he replied with, “And then I’ll be married to my best friend.”

I absolutely love dogs and it has been fun to see how many of my clients love dogs too.

Lily is not only Gina and Zach’s baby, she was the official Dog of Honor in their wedding!puddingstone-wedding_0005puddingstone-wedding_0006

The ceremony was short and sweet overlooking Puddingstone Lake.puddingstone-wedding_0007

After a some family pictures at Puddingstone, everyone headed over to BJ’s Brewhouse in Brea for a casual lunch.puddingstone-wedding_0008puddingstone-wedding_0009

Eager to spend some quiet time together as Husband and Wife, Zach and Gina headed back to their hotel room at the Ayres Hotel and Suites.

What Zach didn’t know was Gina had a surprise wedding cake waiting for them.  I arrived 15 minutes early and quickly decorated their room before they walked in the door.  Then, as they cut the cake, Sugar, Sugar by The Archies played from my iPhone.


The three of us enjoyed some wonderfully cold air conditioning before heading back outside for Bride and Groom portraits at sunset.puddingstone-wedding_0011puddingstone-wedding_0012puddingstone-wedding_0013puddingstone-wedding_0014puddingstone-wedding_0015puddingstone-wedding_0016

Gina, I am so happy I was able to be a part of your wedding day.  You have a beautiful soul and it was wonderful to see you on the other side of the camera enjoying your moment in the spotlight.

Ceremony Venue: Puddingstone Hot Tub Resort
Reception Venue: BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse
Photography: Kimberly April Photography
Wedding Coordination: Weddings with Insight
Flowers: A La Carte Flowers
Makeup: Jennette Pulecio
Hair: Brittany Moss

Accommodations: Ayres Hotel and Suites

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