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Wedding – Lilia & Mike

Mike and Lilia Monson

Congratulations to my good friend Mike Monson and his beautiful bride, Lilia.  A scorcher of a wedding in Fresno, CA, it was a hot one at 109 degrees.  This outdoor wedding really put my planning to the test with instant frozen ice packs, finding suitable indoor shooting locations and making sure the gear stayed operational in the heat. 

The cake actually *melted*

Here’s a link to the PASS Gallery…  

I love doing destination weddings and with this being just outside of five hours from my office, all the planning I did while buying gear with a focus on portability and mobility paid dividends that weekend.  The Pelican 1510 and 1560 kept my cameras, lenses, lighting equipment and cords easily organized and protected traveling to Fresno.  

Some of my favorite images from the day…

I want to thank all the awesome vendors that made the wedding such a blast to shoot…

Toca Madera Winery

Expo Party Rental

Fresno Event Group, with an extra helping of THANK YOU to Barbara Tanimoto

The Linen Shoppe


Light Up the Walls, Erik Hess, Uplighting

Below Ice Sales

DJ Juice

Chiffonos Bakery

Sugar Shack

Dog House Grill

Black Executive Car Services

Sugar Plums Photobooths


Toca Madera Winery

Toca Madera Winery

Barbara Tanimoto of Fresno Event Group in action!

Dog House Grill

Sugar Plums Photo Booths

For my photo dorks, here are some things about the wedding that I would like to share:

Second shooters:

Considering one of my favorite second shooters to work with had moved out of state (F@#$%^ PORTLAND?!?), I had to find a second shooter for the day.  Logistically, it did not make sense to try to fly Rich out to my wedding, so my search had two options: Find a shooter closer to Fresno or find a shooter closer to me that would be willing to travel.  Finding a shooter in Fresno seemed like a good idea, but most of the responses I was getting were from the saturated Los Angeles market.  As soon as they realized that it would include travel close to 5 hours north, most balked.  

After 2 shooters canceled on me the week before (one, the day before my trip), the first person to actually respond to one of my posts came through.  At first glance, I must say that I was not impressed with his portfolio at all.  Little did I know what I was getting.  This second shooter has shot video for MTV, specializes in Quinceañeras and was geared to the teeth.  He was also acclimated to the heat.  After seeing his shots, I asked why his portfolio didn’t reflect his work and his response made sense.  

“I’m not allowed to use my shots for other people in my own portfolio.”


I told him that I was more than happy to let him use his own shots for his portfolio with the stipulation that he waits until I post the images from the wedding first.  Anything I can do to help a fellow shooter succeed…

After all the headaches and disappointments in searching for a second shooter, I walked away from the wedding with a great new friend and peer.  After the wedding, we ended up talking shop and arguing the merits of Nikon, Canon and the ever tempting Godox wireless flash units with battery packs, TTL and HSS.  I ended up forgiving him for being a Canon shooter by the end of the night.

That brings me to…:

Godox flashes:

Holy moly.  

I own AlienBees and love them.  I’ve heard them referred to as the Corolla of strobes, which is not a bad thing.  They are reliable and get consistent results every time.  My only issue is going wireless with them.

My second shooter yanked out his Godox unit and I went…

“Uhh…Where’s the cords?”  

He proceeded to pull out the controller and show me the battery AND shoot through remote.  I thought I was on top of the tech game, but apparently, nursing has pulled me out a little too far.  

These units at their price and capabilities are too tempting to at least not to give a serious look at with consideration of switching my system up.  I may keep an AlienBee for backup, but I have a feeling I’ll be switching soon.  


Keeping cool was obviously a big concern of mine knowing that it would be 109 degrees.  Aside from knowing to stay as hydrated as possible, I went to the store to load up on instant ice packs.  Not only did they come in handy, but I had one ready for the groom as he’s wearing a full suit and coat.  Just like the opposite when riding motorcycles in the freezing cold, you’ll take relief in any shape and form.  A little foresight goes a long way with wedding and event photography, so be a little greedy when it comes to comfort.   

Last, but not least…

I’ve never really been a fan of using DSLR for video.  In my personal opinion, I feel that camera makers are packing too much video into camera bodies and as a photographer, I really don’t use video.  I’d rather see all the advances and upgrades in the newer camera bodies be put into the still images rather than going to up the frame count in 4K video.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s neat-o, but if cutting all the video function out of a body dropped the cost of a body by $500 bucks, guess which body I’d rather get?  

I ate my words this wedding when I realized I would not be able to capture the moment with images, as only video would do this moment justice.  

I present to you, the flower girls…

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