We received a phone call from this wonderful family from Arizona vacationing at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach. They decided to have family portraits taken while they were in town on their summer vacation. They called our portrait studio and we were able to arrange a family session in Laguna Beach. After a brief phone conversation we found out what type of style they were looking for and what they were going to use the images for. We were especially pleased to find out that they planned on making beautiful wall art with their images and they would also be perfect for holiday cards to send to family and friends.
We met the Schneider family including their fur babies along with their two children in Laguna Beach on a beautiful summer morning. They were so excited to be in one of Southern California's most stunning beaches for their photo session.
We started shooting the family and their pups all together on the beach with the pacific ocean in the background. After a few minutes everyone warmed up to being in front of the camera and we captured many spontaneous and candid moments.
Some of my favorite shots were of the mother and son together, and the daughter and father together. The Laguna Beach Cliffs are so beautiful and create the perfect backdrop for family portraits, engagement sessions and bride and groom pictures.
We can't wait to see which photos the Schneiders choose to have hanging in their living room as the perfect piece of art. Canvas photos, acrylic, and wood prints make for beautiful custom art. When families cant choose one image we recommend having a custom coffee table album made of the photo shoot to go along with the printed canvas art. This way the memories will last for future generations to enjoy. We love to think of our custom books as treasure waiting to be found by grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Thank you Schneider family for letting Christopher Todd Studios capture your beautiful family. We hope your family vacation is filled with wonderful memories.
We love photographing vow renewals, they are just as sentimental and emotional as a young couples' wedding day. To honor your wedding vows after five years, ten years or decades of marriage is a true testament to one's love for their spouse. What better way to do this then in front of family, friends, but most importantly your children. They weren't there when you two first said your I do's and now you have the opportunity to celebrate your marriage in a festive atmosphere. Take your wedding anniversary to the next level with a vow renewal.
It was an honor to capture all the sweet moments at Gracie and Lee's wedding vow renewal ceremony at at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes. Celebrating eleven years of marriage they chose to have a sentimental ceremony followed by a celebratory reception in the Catalina Room.
The bridal party consisted of the couples' adult children. They exchanged renewal vows officiated by the one and only Alan Katz of Great Officiants. A beautiful moment during the ceremony was when the officiant led the couple in a sand ceremony followed by the couple exchanging new rings. Gracie and Lee participated in the traditional cord ceremony (yugal) a silk cord placed over the couples' shoulders in the sign of infinity symbolizing their mutual everlasting fidelity and that they walk the world as equals. Lee gave his wife 13 wedding coins (arras) symbolizing mutual prosperity.
The reception party was beautifully done. Full of speeches and champagne toasts. Vibrant floral center pieces decorated each table arranged by Flowers by Cina. A four course sit down dinner was served to guests. A lovely tiered cake and a bouquet toss added a nice touch to the party. Lots of festive dancing and laughter made this a wonderful evening.
Vow Renewal Etiquette
Tips for those looking to renew wedding vows or hold a vow renewal ceremony.
1. This is not a wedding ceremony so no need for a license or marriage certificate
The officiant also does not have to be licensed making the option easy to use a close family member or friend
2. You have reached a marriage milestone.
Five, ten, twenty five or fifty year anniversary. These big anniversaries are a perfect time to celebrate your love.
Treat your family and friends to a beautiful ceremony and reception.
3. You got married in a courthouse or eloped for various reasons.
Now you want a more traditional wedding experience.
Vow renewal Ceremony and reception is a perfect way for couples to have a more formal celebratory affair.
4. Have that tiered cake and eat it too.
If you missed out on a tiered cake or just want one then do it. Go crazy, guests will love it.
5. Exchange new rings at renewal ceremony
This is a great opportunity to give and receive a new ring. Keep in mind you are not replacing the original wedding band just adding to it.
You can choose your original wedding rings as well to exchange.
6. Speeches and toasts are always a great way to celebrate the couple in this new phase of their life.
It is a perfect opportunity for the married couples' children to say a few words.
Vow Renewal Do’s
Wear a vow renewal dress, any color is acceptable, its your day including a white dress if you desire
Involve your children and other family and friends during the ceremony
Write each other a love letter or custom vows
exchange new rings
Include a special bouquet
Create new elements that suit a married couple.
Have a wedding reception-like party including toasts, speeches, cake cutting, bouquet toss etc.
California is one of the best places for a destination wedding. The year round mild weather makes Los Angeles and Orange County ideal for your wedding day. Guests from all over will enjoy the beautiful coastline that California has to offer. For a rustic feel plan your wedding at any number of world renowned wineries from Napa to Temecula. If you are looking for a more remote venue off the beaten track California has many of those venues as well.
Our past wedding
We had the honor of photographing Hannah and Brian's wedding at Trump National Golf Club. One of LA's best destination wedding venues. With sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island this club is great choice for the ceremony or just the reception. The Grand Ballroom features seating for three hundred or more guests. For a more intimate celebration the Trump Room seats over one hundred guests located on the top floor of the clubhouse. The Vista Terrace is a stunning site for the ceremony with three hundred and sixty degree views of the ocean as its backdrop.
Hannah and Brian's Love story
Brian grew up in Irvine, California. He has been living in Chicago for the past 12 years where he went to college and has been working. Hannah is from Pasadena, California. She also went away to college, and ended up doing her graduate studies in Chicago. Hannah and Brian two native Californians living in Chicago met one day at a Church they both went to on a regular basis. The two hit it off right away having so much in common. And the rest is history. Although they both still live in Chicago the decision to have a destination wedding was easy since they have made friends that live all over the States. They chose California to say their "I do's" as the majority of their family still lives in Southern California.
The two exchanged wedding vows with family and friends in attendance at St. Andrews Presbyterian church in Redondo, Ca. With the help of close family and friends to arrange the flowers and bouquets every one looked stunning. The bridesmaids wore gorgeous silver gowns with sequins and the bride looked amazing in her gown with cathedral veil. Of Course, Brian was quite the dapper groom standing at the alter waiting for his bride to walk down the aisle. It was a beautiful ceremony.
The festivities carried on up the street to The Trump National Golf Club located on the bluffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula where the guests enjoyed a fine cocktail hour. Sweeping ocean views made for irresistible images. I just had to take the newlyweds on a photo shoot around the property. The sunset was absolutely amazing and the couple was again stunning.
As the couple danced their last dance of the evening guests sent the bride and groom off with well wishes as they prepared for the departure of their honeymoon adventures in Italy.
Dear Hannah and Brian,
I knew your wedding was going to be spectacular after I had the privilege to photograph your amazing engagement session in Chicago. You left no detail out and you guys were amazing.
Congratulations again to this sweet dynamic couple and thank your for letting Christopher Todd Studios be a part of your wedding day.
What a great couple Tiffany and Christopher are. They will be getting married in August at the Jonathan Club in Downtown Los Angeles a beautiful wedding venue in the LA area.
When Tiffany asked me where they should have their engagement photos taken I knew just the place. This laid back professional couple both well into their careers wanted something fun and playful yet funky and eclectic. What better place to go then Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach.
Only on Abbot Kinney
You have rich history and modernity all in a one-mile stretch. It is an up and coming attraction for tourist, but well loved and served as a local gathering place for west side residents. Fine restaurants, unique art galleries, all on this historical destination. Here we walked around the bustling streets and found some amazing funky wall art that was so colorful and bright.
Santa Monica Pier
For a picturesque sunset session we ended the day at the Santa Monica Pier. The Santa Monica Pier is a large double-jointed pier located at the foot of Colorado Avenue. This landmark that is over 100 years old is popular with residents and visitors. With the iconic Ferris wheel and antique carrousel there are so many places to take photos. Being that it was a busy summer day we dodged the crowd and I strategically placed the couple so it looked like they were the only two in all of Los Angeles. We headed to the sand where we captured the couple with the Ferris wheel in the background all lit up and colorful.
We strive to produce photos that reflect our couples unique personalities. One way we do this at Christopher Todd Studios is with a styled guide that we provide before the shoot. This helps the bride and groom to be decide what they will look good in for the pictures. These two nailed it with their classy style they chose. We recommend getting your hair and make up done for your engagement shoot. This is always a great idea. You will look your best and it doubles as a trial run with the hair and MUA vendor you will be using on your wedding day.
We are still drooling over this custom engagement album with a leather cover that Tiffany and Christopher will have to share with future generations. What a great way to start your legacy as you unit in marriage. Our photos are timeless and always priceless.
Down to earth no shortage of fun with these two. Their laughs and smiles were contagious. They had our team smiling along side with them.
Julie and James were incredibly sweet and hospitable throughout their wedding day.
We love photographing couples on their wedding day. Capturing the bride and groom in the moment is priceless and make for the best images to print or put into a custom wedding album.
Japanese rooftop ceremony Kyoto Gardens
Julie kept her groom waiting at the alter for his first look, creating an emotional moment for all. She was escorted down the aisle by her father. The four bridesmaids waited at the alter along side her soon to be husband.
Julie and James exchanged vows in the romantic rooftop Japanese Kyoto Gardens atop the double tree hotel in downtown LA. Alan Katz from Great officiants did a wonderful job officiating the ceremony. He incorporated the sentimental words that the couple wanted to share with each other. He even handled the loud helicopter that flew over the ceremony by telling the couple "when ever you hear a helicopter let that remind you of this moment on your wedding day when you exchanged vows."
The garden ceremony was followed by a live mariachi band where the guests enjoyed a fine cocktail hour. We were able to take the bride and groom on an intimate post ceremony shoot around the hotel property, department of water and power, and Disney concert hall. This is one of my favorite parts of the day when I get to take the newlywed couple out and photograph them alone. Just after the ceremony is when the excitement and adrenalin is so real for the bride and groom. Our images capture all the unrepeatable moments and emotion.
The guests found their seats in the Thousand Cranes Ballroom where they awaited the couples entrance. The bridal party entered first followed by the couples grand entrance. The sweetheart table had a beautiful floral arrange of calla lilies. Julie's maid of honor happened to be a pastry chef and created a stunning wedding cake that towered four feet high. The first dance was a beautiful moment, followed by the father daughter and mother son dance.
So much fun, good food and great company at Julie and James wedding celebration.
Get your hair and make up done by the MUA you are using for your wedding. This is a simple tip for any bride-to-be. You probably want to do a trial of the hair and make up artist before your wedding day so why not do this for the engagement session. This allows you to see how the bridal style you chose will look in professional pictures.
You also get to experience the way they work. You will feel confident with your vendor choice when it comes time for saying your "I do's"
When you look your best you feel your best. Getting hair and make up done professionally will give your photos a finished and polished look.
Use a styled guide for both you and your Fiance
Unless you are a fashionista I recommend using one of our complimentary style guides. When choosing your outfits consider what season and location you will be taking these photos in. You don't want to wear neutral colors if it is fall and you are taking pics in the park. It is also very important that the Groom-to-be follows a similar guide so you compliment each other. You will probably have to help him or her pick out their outfits. Better yet go shopping together for something new. Don't let him thumb through the closet and grab that old button down shirt he wore in college.
We also do not recommend matching outfits. Although popular in some cultures matching outfits don't make for good pictures. These make couples look like they are wearing one huge blanket or they simply blend into each other.
Be colorful and bold. You will be amazed how stunning your engagement images will look.
We prefer two outfit changes during an e-session but three is not uncommon. Having two separate looks adds variety to your photos.
Choose a location that is dramatic
The beach can be dramatic but it is so overdone. We know just the right locations for you to get that sexy ocean look. Try one of California's amazing coastal bluffs instead of being right on the sand. From Malibu to San Diego there are so many dazzling sites to choose from. Palos Verdes Abalone Cove is a favorite of ours.
An Urban look is real dramatic. Taking the street art and putting a beautiful couple in front is stunning.
An amazing stair case is a perfect spot to pose the couple. These can be found in a downtown area or a parking garage. You will be surprised how dramatic the photos turn out. Drop dead gorgeous.
City hall is a good location to photograph engaged couples. Some City Hall's have beautiful old buildings with architecture that is unique to the era it was built in.
Bring a bottle of Champagne and two flute glasses. We can do some romantic photos with the two of you toasting.
Many couples have access to one or more of the following; sports car, vintage car, boat, or motorcycle. If you don't and you have the budget for a rental this is a great options. Some of our sexiest photos were taken on a boat and motorcycle.
Umbrellas are a great prop rain or shine. Scarves or blankets can add flare and intimacy when wrapped around the couple. Blanket or picnic basket can work beautifully in the right setting. One of our favorite props to use is a vintage tandem bicycle. Although, it doesn't have to be vintage to be amazing.
Have a Cocktail (my favorite tip)
Relax, have fun and enjoy the moment. Sometimes couples are not used to being in front of the camera and one way to take the edge off is to simply have a glass of wine or your favorite cocktail. Trust me it really works. Don't worry I won't drink on the job. LOL
Like most weddings it began with two people who fell in love and decided they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. Kristina and Kyle have found that their story is similar. They found each other and true love. It shines bright in their wedding photos. The day was filled with beautiful Southern California beach theme.
What better place to celebrate their love with family and friends then at Hyatt Huntington Beach. The Red Chair Lounge was a perfect location for their rehearsal dinner, since most of the wedding guests were from out of town and stayed at the hotel.
The bride and groom exchanged wedding vows in the California Courtyard. Bride wore a stunning cathedral length veil that flowed in the wind. Her maid-of-honor and 4 brides maids looked stunning in their coral gowns. White rose petals lined the aisle. Vibrant flowers were everywhere. The suddle starfish added a beautiful touch to the decor.
As a wedding photographer we couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. The weather was great and the guests enjoyed the fresh Sea breeze throughout the ceremony.
They were treated to Hyatt's superb cocktail hour in the Vista Ballroom terrace, followed by the reception in the Vista Ballroom.
The newlywed couple and I took a few minutes to capture timeless images in the Red Chair Lounge and on the bridge. These photos will surely be passed on for generations to come.
The party began with the grand entrance of the bride and groom. First dance, cake ceremony, bouquet and garter toss had everyone on their feet.
Capturing unforgettable, unrepeatable moments is what we love to do. Thank you Kristina and Kyle for letting me be a part of your special day. Congratulations!
On June 18, 2016 I had the privilege to be part of Matt and Shana's Malibu Rocky Oaks wedding. First and foremost thank you. This wedding was unreal. Timeless, elegant, yet whimsical. From the bougainvillea that hung from the top of the lattice over the rustic dining table where the wedding guest enjoyed first class catering from Made by Meg to the handcrafted beverages. Shana's Peach Passion and Matt's Spicy Mule were a huge hit. The guests were in for a big surprise when the live band 16 Candles best 80's cover band was flown in from Chicago and played an unbelievable 2 hours set of just 80's music.
As a wedding photographer I was like a little boy in a candy store. The Father of the bride had an impromptu first look of his daughter before the ceremony and the tears flowed. The bridal party was the perfect size with two groomsmen, two bridesmaids, two flower girls and a handsome ring bearer. The couple exchange wedding vows before their close family and friends atop the helipad. The 360-degree view is unbelievable. We took heirloom photos at every nook and cranny of this estate. I must say my favorite shot of the day was when we hoisted the bride and groom up on the main rock for a stunning sunset shot.
Hilltop Vineyard, Tuscan Villa, Helipad, 360-degree view, infinity pool, and a timeless intimate wedding can only be had at Malibu Rocky Oaks. This private vineyard in the Santa Monica Mountains will leave you feeling like you just celebrated your special occasion in the clouds.
Can't wait to shoot our next couple at Malibu Rocky Oaks Private Estate Vineyards.
How/when did you meet?
fWe met in February of 2014 in passing at the Wild Goose Tavern in Costa Mesa. Matt stopped me as I walked through the room and attempted to say hello (actually: "Hi, we've met before, right?) , but I wasn't having it. LOL Two weeks later we were a match on Tinder and he texted me saying "Now I can say that we definitely have met before!" But I didn't remember him and when I told him that he probably just recognized me from another dating website he finally set the record straight - He admitted that he had been seeing me around at all of our local bars/restaurants for almost 2 years!! He said I was always with a big group of girls and he never saw an opportunity to say hi until that night at the Goose... when I blew him off. LOLLL I decided it was worth a shot and we had our first "date" (wine at my house) on February 28th. We celebrate that date as our anniversary because we ended up spending the whole weekend together and knew that we had found something special. :) The rest is history!
Matt proposed on Friday, October 2nd at 1000 steps beach in Laguna. He told me were were going down to check out a new taco place. LOL I was totally surprised when he got down on one knee and laughed hysterically for several mins before I faced him long enough to say yes! We have it on video from a random beach goer. Its adorable. :)
What's unique about your wedding?
The venue is spectacular. We're getting married on a helipad!!! We're also flying in a well-known band from Chicago that I LOVE to do a 2-hour set at the end of the night - ALL 80's!!! The majority of our guests will also be staying in well-appointed beach houses in Malibu instead of hotels.
I love his tender heart. He has so much love for his family, close friends, our dog, and of course, me. Because of that, I know he'll be an amazing dad, too! He puts his heart into his work each and every day and continually strives to be a better partner than I ever dreamed was possible. He's my absolute best friend and I can't imagine doing life without him.
I love Shana because she is a partner in the truest sense of the word. We work amazingly well together as a team. Her values are rooted in a very loving family and in a family structure that I'd never experienced which is why I know she will be an amazing mother (I sorta stole that line). She is a daily reminder of why it's ok for me to be vulnerable. I love her, I trust her, and she's just an all around good person. I think that's all anybody can hope to ask for.
When is the last time you had your photos taken by a photographer?
Maybe it was the wedding you were in last year, or at your parents 50th wedding anniversary party. Quite possible you haven't had professional pictures taken since your high school senior picture. Now you are engaged to be married and in a few short months you will be in front of the camera. All eyes on you. No pressure. LOL
We are celebrating your love story and it begins with your engagement.
Having an engagement session will be the first time you and your fiance will be in front of the camera together. It is a great way to practice and get to know your photographer. Kinda like how you have a wedding rehearsal.
Let's connect and not just on Facebook or Instagram
The connection that you will gain with your wedding vendor will be organic and the results will be beautiful wedding photos.
Engagement sessions allow the photographer to get to know all your quirks in an organic setting and this allows us to take photos that you will love and shows who you really are.
It really builds confidence in the couple.
Most likely you are not a model nor is your fiance. It may take 15-20 minutes just to feel comfortable in front of the camera. This is totally normal and to be expected. I will be directing the two of you and helping you pose. But imagine if you don't do your engagement session with your wedding photographer the day of the wedding you might only have 25 minutes together and 20 of those precious minutes are you two just getting comfortable.
After you see your engagement pictures you will see how amazing you look in your photos and know that your wedding day pics will be even better and you will look awesome.
Our job is to put couples at ease
We all know weddings can be stressful. From choosing the right color flowers to renting tuxedos. Not to mention certain family members. But when you have worked with your wedding photographer before the wedding day you will eliminate the stress of being in front of the camera which will directly lead to you looking amazing in your wedding photos.
The photographer really gets to know what works for the two of you as individuals and as a couple.
It is most beneficial to photograph the couple before the wedding this allows us to get a feeling how you interact and connect.
Maybe it takes my special techniques to make you laugh, smile and look natural and at ease. But I would much rather figure that all out at the engagement session where we have time then at your wedding day when moments are quick and I have to be ready for anything.
Getting to know your vendor before your wedding
Seeing professional pictures of the two of you before your wedding can be a huge advantage for the success of your wedding images. You can communicate to your photographer certain angles you like or dislike and they can adjust the photography accordingly. Why wait till the wedding day when it will be too late.
You get to know your photographer really well. You will learn their style of shooting and see them in action. this will create a beautiful bond between the three of you. On your wedding day you will feel so comfortable knowing you are in good hands.
Your photographer will be taking mental notes throughout the session. These will be used to capture moments on the wedding day that are unique to just the two of you.
Have your hair and makeup done on the same day, that way you get to see how it will look in your photos before the wedding.
Fun, they are simply fun. It's your style your look, your love story being told in a relaxed environment, whether we photograph couples in our studio or at your favorite park.
Choosing a location that is meaningful to you is important, maybe it is where you go engaged or where your first date was.
What can I do with the pictures:
gifts to your parents
save the date cards
a coffee table album
prints to put up in your home
signature books for wedding guests to sign (most popular)
photo to display at your wedding reception
images for the newspaper announcement (parents love this)
When it came time for Joyce and Jonathan's engagement session the location for them was an easy decision. It would decidedly be The Happiest Place on Earth... Disneyland. Being a survivor of cancer Joyce has always found comfort in Disneyland. It is truly her happy place especially when her beloved Jonathan is standing by her side. These two were over flowing with joy and giddiness during their engagement session.
We love photographing couples that can have fun, relax, and show the special connection that they share with each other. Disneyland Resort was a perfect spot for this.
Walking all around Disneyland we got amazing photos in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle where all the couple had to do was just stand there and look into each others eyes.
Then on to the Mad Tea Party teacup ride where they got so dizzy they couldn't even stand straight.
A quick kiss in front of the famous whale at Storybook land was a must stop. No time to even look for the hidden Mickey that is supposedly there.
It was like we were the only ones at the park even though it was a normal bustling day at the Magic Kingdom. We continued on to the Matterhorn Bobsleds for more beautiful pics, Buzz Lightyear, and some snapshots with the Star Tours sign.
This was such a magical place to take an engaged couple on their special photo shoot before their wedding, I would recommend this location to any of my brides who are looking for a great engagement location.
My favorite part of the day was when they were sharing an ice cream sunday in California Adventure and couldn't stop laughing completely forgetting that I was there photographing them in this special moment.
There is just something so magical about Disneyland, Walter Disney had was such a visionary artist to come up with and make his dream come true.
We continued the session on at California Adventure where we were able to take more fun and romantic engagement pics. The chemistry between Joyce and Jonathan is so apparent in these photos.
I know these photos will be cherished and loved for future generations and many years to come.