If I'm not behind my camera, I'm most likely cuddled up in my comfiest sweater with my hair in a messy bun, sippin' a cup of coffee (or hot cocoa), working on my photos or snuggling with my dog, Nala. Second to that, I'm probably playing basketball or at the gym with my husband, Pat trying to work off that donut I just ate.
I consider myself an outgoing introvert. Meaning, if you spot me at a networking event or at a party where I don't know anyone, I will probably be somewhere in the corner trying to stay out of the spotlight. But if someone strikes up a conversation with me, I can talk with them for hours and eventually we'll probably end up being BFF's.
I am half Japanese and my husband is full Filipino and we were able to go to Japan and the Philippines (along with a few other stops) for both of our first times on our unforgettable honeymoon. We travel so much for weddings, events and for fun, that I am usually just living out of my suitcase (& I'm totally okay with that)!
It was a cold December night and we were celebrating Christmas together. We were just a couple of college kids trying to figure out what we wanted to be and do in life. Little did I know, that tiny little point-and-shoot camera that Pat gifted me that night would lead me to my biggest passion in years to come. I fell in love with capturing moments, but had no professional training. My sister, who attended Brooks Institute of Photography, invited me to help her out at a wedding she was scheduled to shoot. She taught me her ways and I will always be grateful for the wisdom she shared with me. I have since then developed an undeniable passion for photography and have had the privilege of documenting weddings for joyful couples around the world.
The moment I decided to get over my fears and chase after this dream of mine with nothing but a dream, a cheap little camera, and no any professional education all those years ago is by far the craziest and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. But thankfully, it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made. Today, that dream of being a wedding photographer has brought so much fulfillment and joy to my life and I am living proof that hard work pays off, especially when you’re doing what you love in life. I have a packed schedule filled with luxury weddings and adventurous couples in love and I could have never imagined that my life would look like this. And the best part? This crazy, wonderful adventure?
It’s just getting started.
My husband is my assistant photographer for weddings and each time we show up to a new couple's wedding, we remember the joy, the bliss and the emotions we felt on our own wedding day. And because we know this day is so very special for you, just like it was for us - We promise each other and we promise you that we will do our best to capture the moments like it was our own...not just another weekend job.
Because life goes on.
And this moment is gone and that moment is gone.
But as photographers, we get to step in and say...
That is the power of what we do.
And I hope you walk away with lasting memories that feel authentic and real. So real that you get to relive your wedding day each time you look back at your photos.
“Okay – everyone ready?!”
Riss yelled as she set up her camera on her tripod. I stood in a group of over 50 of her family members as we all huddled together for a photo. She set the timer and ran back to stand next to me. It was Riss’ big family reunion and my heart was beating out of my chest. We all smiled for the first picture and she started walking back to the camera for a second take. As soon as she was far enough away, I got the big sign that was hiding behind the family and brought it to the front of the group.
I rolled it out so her family could hold it in front by the time she turned around. She was focused on her camera settings that by the time she set the timer and started running back to the group, she stopped dead in her tracks once she looked up and saw the huge sign her family was holding.
Tears started rolling down her cheeks. I got down on one knee and pulled out the ring I had been nervously carrying with me all day. I expressed my love to her and asked Charissa to spend the rest of her life with me by her side.
It was one of the best moments of my life and one that we had both been anticipating for a while. We had been dating for six years before I asked her to be my wife. I started shooting weddings with her early on in our relationship as her asst photographer. And sure enough, at almost every wedding, I would have at least one of the groomsmen ask me when I was going to pop the question! I couldn't be more proud to finally have that title of Charissa's husband now. We believe in building a strong marriage & not only documenting love but setting an example of how to live in love.
When I'm not photographing a wedding with Riss, you'll most likely find me in the gym, watching sports or at the new craft brewery in town. After losing 50 pounds and winning $100,000 through a fitness contest, I started helping others achieve their fitness goals too - all while living a balanced lifestyle and still enjoying the things you love.
I played sports all my life, but a few years after I graduated, I wound up at a job that was mentally and physically draining. I was exhausted and couldn't find the time to exercise. I had hit my lowest point. But one day, everything changed...