Sneak Peek: Kyle & Ryan

Just wanted to share a little peek of a wedding I've been working on took place in San Luis Opispo. I had never been there and it was so gorgeous! It felt so nice to get away from Los Angeles for a bit and soak up the wide open space and fresh air. Enjoy the long weekend everyone, it holds special meaning to me since I was married on the Sunday before Memorial Day. Spend time with loved ones and relax!

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Darling Magazine, Issue 3

I recently had the opportunity to shoot for Darling Magazine. My photos accompanied an article written by Amber Davies about fostering the community around you. This idea has been especially pertinent in my life this past year as I was more involved with my community group from church. It's tough (terrifying, actually) to allow yourself to be vulnerable in front of others and with others, but I'm learning how rich the experience can be. Special thanks to the talented and delightful Ruthi Auda, for art directing and having me shoot. *Cover photo by Nicole Hill.

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Engagement Session ::: Aaron & Janell

These two get married next month and I can't wait! For their engagement session we went up into the mountains and were surrounded by giant trees, quiet spaces and a breathtaking view of the island with the shared company of low clouds. Aaron and Janell have been together for years, but their excitement for one another was so sweet to observe. I'm looking forward to being a part of their big day, surrounded by family and celebration!

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Portraits at Griffith, my favorite place

If you asked my husband what my favorite place in LA would be, he'd immediately say Griffith Park. We live about 2 minutes from the park and I tend to go there when I'm feeling a little down and want to catch my breath for a second. Something about it moves me, there's a little magic floating around in that air.

Eva is a fellow designer and friend from my undergrad. Her work is fun and full of whimsy and her blog is filled with consistently great imagery. She and her husband modeled for me a while back and in turn I gave them a portrait session. We weren't sure where to shoot, but it had been a while since I visited some beloved spots of mine at Griffith Park and it felt like it'd be the perfect setting close to sundown. Please enjoy and visit this park of mine soon, it'll do good for your soul.

Trials & Triumphs: A Year of Growing Pains

All throughout elementary school, I was the tallest girl in my class. I remember lying in bed wondering why my legs were hurting. My mom told me they were growing pains. Once the 6th grade hit my classmates experienced their own growth spurts, surpassing me for the most part. To this day I remain at the same height that I was in 7th grade, a very intimidating 5' 2".

2012 has been a "growing pains" kind of year. I've experienced heartbreak, doubt and regret. I've also experienced an abundance of grace, reminders of hope and a place in a community.

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions but this year I do hope for certain things - to have courage and perseverance to work towards my dreams, to continue to seek truth and spend time with the people and things I value. Above all I hope to love others, especially my sweet husband who has been an example of selflessness to me in all the little and incomprehsible ways. Thank you David, for choosing to spend not just this year, but your life with me.

Happy New Year everyone, may you be blessed with hope, grace and love. Thank you to all of my clients for being part of my dream, wishing you a wonderful year ahead.

XO,
Lehua 

Just Some Words

You know that moment when you come to the realization that something's different and it won't ever be the same again? Is there a word for that? Perhaps there's not because it's such a full feeling that can't be explained with something so simple as a single word. A word would be too easy, almost a cop-out from the vulnerability and bravery it takes to face the fear of change and all that it brings.

I was never really one to be scared of change or committment and now that I'm confronted head on with these emotions I feel like I'm in new territory that I haven't a map to. I know this is all vague and the point isn't ambiguity, but to share that sometimes we all need a little pocket of space to catch our breath, validate our feelings (if we're lucky enough to identify them), and count on our friends and loved ones to guide us as we take steps to move on in this newfound land.

Napa Wedding ::: Under the Oak Tree

The weather has finally changed, at least temporarily here in LA and there's a much welcomed chill in the air. The leaves don't quite turn into rich fall colors, but the wind blows and I love how my face feels cold and my nose resembles a beloved reindeer we all know. Seth and Megan's wedding was gorgeous, up in northern California at Megan's parents house, where in fact, seasons do exist.

One of my favorite things about weddings is that no matter what kind of positive impression I have of the bride and groom before the wedding, more often than not, my admiration for the couple grows after being a part of their big day. This was especially true of Seth and Megan. They both share a spirit of quiet confidence and show genuine concern and care for those around them. It was beautiful to be a part of such a special day for them, their family, and friends. Happy upcoming Anniversary Seth & Megan, I hope it's one to remember!

Lucky We Live Hawaii

Wait, what? So I may not live in Hawaii anymore and it's really weird to come to terms with the fact that I've lived on the mainland for the past 7 years. It makes me feel old and the feeling is intensified by the fact that my birthday is tomorrow. I'll be a quarter of a century old and the rite of passage of renting a car without the inevitable underage fee is on my side and quite frankly, nothing else except that I am definitely in my mid-twenties. Aside from my ill-placed insecurities of getting older, for those of you who don't know, "lucky we live Hawaii" is a phrase that we say when we see the sunset or the daily dose of rainbows, when we get to swim with honus, where the ocean gives us comfort and the sun gives us life. Though I may not be able to say "lucky we live Hawaii" anymore for now, I am very lucky that I get to visit so often. I'm grateful and humbled that my friends are supporting my craft and hiring me as their wedding photographer.

I was in Hawaii this past weekend for my third wedding this year on Oahu. It's been such a treat and, to be honest, somewhat of a necessity to be able to see my family this much. It's been a difficult year for my family back home and I'm thankful that friends have seen something special enough in my work to fly me out for their biggest day yet.

Here's to Jon & Hope, may you have the best honeymoon in Maui, getting lucky in our beautiful Hawaii ;) 

Pineapple Fields Forever

A few of my favorite shots from a shoot we did months ago on the North Shore of Oahu. We didn't have time to do a day after session, so we opted for a "day after session" a few months later the next time I was in town. Don't these make you want to skip work and book the next plane to Honolulu? It sure does for me. It's true what they say, the older you become the more you appreciate where you came from. It's obvious my love for Hawaii grows each year, isn't it?

Thank you to Chris and Mel for traipsing through the red dirt with me, I had a wonderful time. I'm looking forward to being in Hawaii at the end of the month to shoot Chris' brother's wedding at the same location I was married at! I think it's safe to say it will be an emotional day for me :)

If you'd like to see more photos, this session was featured on Style Me Pretty a couple months ago, enjoy!

Little Islands

I was born with an unusual birthmark on my left arm. It begins on the top of my hand, travels its way up my arm in sporadic splotches, and if I crane my neck far enough I can just see the last little mark on the back of my shoulder. It's one of those things that never really bothered me though. As a kid I would tell people they were the Hawaiian Islands because there are eight little "islands" on my arm.

I have a memory from when I was seven or eight playing at a friends house. I could feel her eyes staring at my left arm and could tell she was trying to figure out what it was. I responded to her looks with, "no, I didn't get burned, it's just a birthmark." Caught off-guard, she mustered up some wit and courage and said "it looks really good on you."

Don't be ashamed of those little physical inconsistencies or "islands", allow them to take on a little role of what makes you, you. Don't hide those birth marks, freckles, beauty marks or whatever your "something different" is, because honestly, it looks really good on you.

Fell in love yesterday with Kate's freckles

Let Go

This was one of the best moments I've had at a wedding, as simple as it was. The flower girls just decided to go for it. They giggled together and with a burst of adrenaline started running down the aisle in a full sprint. The crowd started laughing and I wondered if anyone or everyone was thinking and feeling my same emotions as we witnessed this joyful and unplanned dash or escape from the pressure of petal tossing.

 When's the last time you've done something spontaneous? I definitely wish I had more of a carefree outlook towards life. I wish I had the guts to grab my pal and hop on a plane, or get in the car and drive 2,000 miles to who knows where. Spontaniety has never been my strong suite. I'm careful, I plan, I make pro/con lists, I do my research, while relying on structure to help me complete my tasks since my artist brain doesn't naturally lend itself to organization. I hold on to the what if's, always wanting to be responsible and being fearful of letting people down. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the responsibilty jacket that I wear so often, it's a part of me and I'm proud of that fact that I'm reliable, and can be counted on when it matters and even when it doesn't, but sometimes, much of the time, I wish I could just let it go, take off the heavy coat of "mulling over the consequences of my actions" and just take a risk. I want that rush of adrenaline, I want to feel my hair blowing in the wind as I take a chance. I know I'll get there one day, I plan on it.

P.S. I may or may not have been listening to Frou Frou's "Let Go" while writing this :)

On blogging, or the lack thereof...

So, it's true...

I'm not very good at blogging, especially weddings. And by "good" I mean, I don't update frequently and I take forever to blog a full wedding. I feel this pressure when posting photos of a wedding that the goal is story-telling. It almost becomes more of a slideshow, a chronological approach to documenting the day. If it were up to me (who is it up to, btw?) I'd just post my favorites, in any order. But instead of sharing the images that move me, the ones that give me that quiet excitement in my chest, I end up taking months to post because the pressure of "perfect story-telling" has become the finish line. If photographers really wanted to be great story-tellers, wouldn't video be a better medium anyway?

I read the artist statement of my photo professor at Biola and it resonated with me in my approach to blogging.

"Photography is not good at very many things- it is a poor storyteller if what you want is a didactic or linear narrative. You can read a book for that. Rather, photography is uniquely suited for addressing the 'ever-passing present moment' - which really means it's more akin to poetry. It is good at emphasizing certain notes, tones, elements, and emotions - and lingering on them in time and space long enough to feel awkward, compelled, agitated, soothed, or simply paused... even struck... urged to reconcile with the moment that you are viewing." - Kurt Simonson

I realize this isn't that best business tactic and it's probably on a no-no list for ways to get more followers, nor is it a good tip to share with other photographers, but at the end of the day I have to enjoy what I do and I want to share those things, even if the order is non-sensical and it takes a few more moments to understand what's going on.

As Sam says in Moonrise Kingdom, "Poems don't always have to rhyme, you know. They're just supposed to be creative." With that said, enjoy a few snippets, a poem with no rhymes.

Morten & Tanya. Los Angeles, CA. April 2012

Josham & Ali. Vero Beach, FL. March 2012

Ed & Jesse. Canyon Lake, CA. June 2012

John & Alex. Highland Springs Resort, CA. April 2012.

Starry Night, Starry Kitchen

I know I've been a bit MIA, but rest assured, I have lots to share in the next few weeks!

But today, I was able to attend Creative Mornings and the guest speaker was none other than Nguyen Tran of Starry Kitchen! If you haven't been to SK and you live in LA - SHAME ON YOU! It's one of our favorite places to eat and my husband, David, even ate there when it was still operating "illegally" back in 2009. The talk today was honest, hilarious, and inspiring with the message essentially being work hard, play hard, take risks, and do what you love. The thing that tied it all together for me as a "creative morning session" was that Nguyen doesn't do things the most conventional way and typically, a more complicated way, but by doing that he's able to connect with more people to build relationships. He loves people and food and has found a way to marry the two in a fun and surprising space, Starry Kitchen.

Back in March, I was scheming up a plan for David's birthday. Since it's our first year of marriage I felt some sort of unspoken added pressure to make it special. It's tough because David can be a bit reserved and doesn't like the spotlight and as an introvert myself, I understand. I thought of doing something just the two of us, but I really wanted others to celebrate with us. I decided we should go to SK with two of our food-loving friends. Then, I got a little creative. I emailed SK and asked if they'd be up for making a special dinner for us. I gave them a budget and said, create whatever you want, I trust you completely! Sure enough, they took on the challenge and made us an amazing feast. David still talks about the pork belly, I rant on about the dessert and our friends always bring up that "subtle, yet full of flavor" soup. I emailed David the day of, telling him to meet me there and that Phil (his boss) said it was okay. Since David works in the film industry he tends to work long hours and I always tease that Phil said he could leave early :)

It was such a special birthday to remember for David and myself. The Kitchen Ninja was amazing, we were in awe each time a new course came out. They even brought in their special Zojirushi rice maker from home just for us! Of course Nguyen took the time to explain the process and ingredients of each dish and made sure we were lovin' it all. Everything was so so so good, I don't know if I've even been that full!

Thanks again to SK for making our night one to remember, we love ya'll, balls and all! (If you don't know what I'm talking about, just go visit SK for yourself!) 

 

Engagement Session ::: Jesse & Ed

Jesse & Ed - - - they're stunning right?!? I gave them the least amount of direction I've ever given couples and they were so great! Jesse is also a photographer so she knows how it is. ;) We traipsed around the LA river, went to a park in Pasadena and spent time admiring bridges. Perfect shoot, perfect hair, perfect outfits.... They were so natural with one another, it really made my job easy. So excited to see the magic that their wedding will be! If only a labradoodle would stop by again, he made our day!

No Monday Blues Here

It was a difficult weekend, not the one I thought I'd have or hoped for, but His mercies are new every morning and that's something I can hold on to. I have a hopeful heart.

On a lighter note, my husband just sent me an email telling me he updated one of our Google calendars, it brought a smile to my face :::

Looking forward to our 1 year anniversary next month and every year after. Love him.

MaeMae Paperie Launch Party ::: Rainy Day Parade

Hello All :) 

I mentioned last week that my friend Megan was having a launch party to celebrate her newest wedding stationery collection. I had the honor of shooting the event for Megan along with my second shooter and company keeper, Jenna. The party was hosted by Urbanic in Venice and it was such a success! I'm so glad I was able to be part of such a big day for a friend. Please, please, check out her work - - it's amazing! All the hard work has definitely paid off Megan, everything is superbly gorgeous! You're such an inspiration to myself and many others! I wish you and Jason the best on your new adventure to the Mini Apple!!!

Much much Love, L

Mark Your Calendars Paper Enthusiasts! ::: MaeMae Launch Party on March 17th

Hello Everyone + Happy Friday!

I wanted to let you know about a super stellar event coming your way! Next week Saturday, March 17th, MaeMae Paperie is launching their latest wedding collection. Don't fret if you aren't a bride or a bride to be, this is a celebration of paper, type, pattern, color and illustrations! I'll be there shooting the event, drop by and say hi and pick up some gorgeous stationery! Hope to see you there!

Engagement Session ::: John & Alex

As the weather starts to heat up here in LA I look back on this engagement session with envy. This was my first time shooting in colder weather, I'm from Hawaii and haven't been in/near/around snow too many times in my life so this was definitely a treat for me! And there were dogs. You all should know how I feel about dogs (love love love).

John and Alex found this little cabin to shoot their engagement photos and it was an idyllic setting to say the least. John is a fellow designer at Biola and I've really enjoyed getting to know him this past year, he's very down to earth, clever and hilarious (which is great when you're working next to someone 8 hours a day!) And if that wasn't enough, Alex is also a talented designer and a baker of sweet treats. I'm so looking forward to their wedding and can't wait to see all the little details they've been working on to make their day superbly unique. I'm so lucky to be a part of it all :)

P.S. The black & white photo is my fav!

Design ::: Art Symposium Brochure

I thought I'd share this brochure with you, while promoting the department I graduated from at Biola University. This brochure is for their annual Arts Symposium which is held every spring -- and is FREE. This year the topic is Sacred Space and the visionary-in-residence is Roberta Ahmanson. I enjoyed redesigning this brochure and switching up the layout from the previous year. It's nothing fancy print-wise, but the lines of color and elegant type while working with the different artists' imagery was a fun challenge.

Happy Weekend all! I'm looking forward to an engagement session tomorrow, puppy training with Maps, an Oscar party at a friend's studio and then closing the weekend out with a birthday celebration for a dear one :)