Hello! My name is Justin and I am so thrilled to have you here!
I am a wedding photographer based out of Southern California with a love for San Diego and Orange Country. As a wedding photographer it has been such a privilege and honor to make new friends, geek out over the same things, and turn moments into memories. I can't wait to take this journey with you! So make yourself at home and take a look around!
Jane and Daniel are such a joy to be around. You can’t help but join in on their laughter and audibly “awwww” at their sweet affection toward one another. We shot in the beautiful trails surrounding the Huntington Beach Library. The lush and lively gardens created the perfect backdrop for Jane and Daniel’s colorful and quirky personalities. We had so much fun getting to know each other and laughing our butts off that you’d never be able tell that we were there for an engagement session if it weren’t for my camera! I love this couple so much and am so excited to document their wedding day next month.
THE LOVE STORY //
I first met Daniel at church through praise team. He played the bass, which often had the “privilege” of being placed behind the large projector screen. But Daniel didn’t mind at all and enjoyed being behind-the-scenes. I thought, “humble.”
It was pretty uneventful after that, though, because we only played a few times per month and we didn’t really hang out beyond that. There was one time we ended practice early and he treated myself and our female singer out to a meal. By then, I had learned of his “notorious” reputation as one who refused to let anyone pay and would always pay for others. I thought, “gracious.”
Haha yes I remember we went to a Carl’s Jr. nearby for a quick bite to eat before service. As Jane mentioned I had a reputation for treating other people out, and it wasn’t because I was interested in her at the time. I just felt a sense of duty as the male to treat out the sisters in our church. (cough cough)
God finally decided to start the engine in our relationship when we were both asked to serve on the college staff. As part of the OG team of 4 leaders, we all met frequently with the college pastor to create the foundation for the college ministry from the ground up. Throughout the process, Daniel would share with the team and with me (via Facebook Messenger) his eager desire to mentor students and to teach the Word. I thought, “passionate.”
Starbucks was bustling and crowded. I remember we squeezed into a tiny table and sitting next to a gentleman who was reading the paper. It was at this public space that Daniel started (in what I thought was an unusually loud voice), “I WANT TO MAKE MY INTENTIONS CLEAR…” I immediately whipped my head around and ducked a little in case anyone was staring at this man wanting to define our relationship and ask me out. In all honesty, I am so grateful that he stepped it up and was really clear about making our partnership in the college ministry a true friendship, and also clearly “defining the relationship” when he wanted to take it to the next level.
So we got all the blessings from the other pastors right away except for the college pastor. We called him the “Final Boss” because he was the last person we needed permission from, per se. Everyone was silent, he was giving us the look of like “I know what you guys are going to ask me but I’m not going to say anything,” and Jane and I were constantly looking at each other. So we finally asked him what he thought about getting together now. What do I mean by now? Well, we pretty much got the blessings from the other pastors right away but with the college pastor it was a little different. He was reluctant to say yes and pretty much had us on our toes the entire time. He explained to us his reasoning and after giving him assurance and our points of view, he gave us his blessing. From what I can remember, after giving us his blessing, Jane and I looked at each other and gave each other the biggest smile. I’m sure she was thinking the same thing, “It is done. We got through the final boss.”
One thing we discovered about ourselves is that we have a newfound love of board games. Every time we had a holiday or time off to do things, we always go to a small hole-in-the-wall café in Glendale called Game Haus Café. Whenever we go there, we would always play the classic games that we love (such as Pandemic, Flash Point, Tsuro, Uno, and Fuse), and we would try to pick up one new game. Although there was some healthy competition when we would compete against each other, our favorite types of games are those in which we can work together to win.
I am also the worst cook in existence (sorry Daniel) but we have watched Gordon Ramsay together and have cooked a few meals together and I love to be his little sous chef. Whether it was basketball, cooking, or exercising, he never laughed at me for not knowing how to do something and was always so gracious in his teaching and I really love that about him.
THE PROPOSAL //
Well, we bought the ring together last summer, so I knew it was coming… but he also knew that and wanted it to be a complete surprise. There were many weekends when I would wear a cute dress like “Hey, I’m ready to be proposed to now, just FYI,” but no proposal nor ring in sight. After a few weeks, my soul gave up and Fall semester started for my 2nd year of grad school and I decided to focus on school and get it done. I knew Daniel was going to propose so I knew I should trust him and trust the process.
On October 7 (the day he proposed), there were many things that were off, such as my parents egging me on and saying “TAKE LOTS OF PHOTOS TODAY” and advising me to wear a cute dress. But as the day went on it became clear to me that today was not the day I was going to be proposed to. My brother and sister-in-law were running late, our lunch took forever because we had to wait, my sister was late, everything was late and by the time we got to the Arboretum, it was 1 hour before closing and I thought, “there is no way that today is the day.” Plus I texted Daniel and he said he would be at work until 5pm that day because it was very busy. I sulked and pouted as we walked around the Arboretum. My brother and sister were in disagreement about where to go to make the trip last, but we finally decided on the Rose Garden.
About 10 minutes had passed and I see Jane and her family walking along the rose garden and she doesn’t seem to notice me. Once she gets to the end, she noticed me and just stood there frozen. Her brother gave her a little nudge and she began to walk towards me. I started my little speech and while I was showing her all the props, all the parties involved came out onto the field while her back was turned against them. After showing her the props, I positioned her in a way where her back was still turned and I began my speech (which I had been practicing throughout the whole day). Now, according to everyone there, my speech was really long lol. But once I got to the end (before I popped the question), I turned her around and her best friends were holding up the “Will You Marry Me?” sign with all the parties involved present there. Then, I got on one knee and popped the question!
I was wearing sunglasses but I was definitely crying. It was a beautiful moment and all VERY well done! Everyone knows I’m sharp and nosy and notice little details, but Daniel (and everyone involved) did an amazing job of keeping it a secret and I was thoroughly and happily surprised. It was an amazing day!