Post filled under : Weddings

Happily Ever After – Christine and Christian

Modesto Wedding Photography

Christine and Christian we’re married on January 4th in a beautiful ceremony at Christine’s church in Ripon, California (a beautiful place for a wedding).  Christine and Christian decided to have a “first look” prior to the actual wedding ceremony and did something pretty cool to commemorate the first time they saw each other, they wrote they’re own vows and exchanged them right there in front of their family, a mini ceremony before the main event.  For the formal wedding portraits we had a chance to use a family friends walnut orchard and the awesome old barn next to it. We had a wonderful time meeting all of Christine and Christian’s friends and family while creating the beautiful images of their wedding day.  The happy couple is back from their Hawaiian honeymoon and jumped right back into finishing their degrees. Here’s a preview of some the images from the wedding of Christian and Christine Smith.  Enjoy!

Happily Ever After…Christine + Christian – Edward Mendes Photography from Edward Mendes on Vimeo.

 A big thanks to:
Charles over at Rumble Cinematography
Jason at Sounds In Motion
Shayla from Shay’s Cakes
for a wonderful event.

Are you or someone you know getting married soon?  Give me a call, (209) 541-1815 or email me.  I’d love to meet with you for a consultation and have the opportunity to capture the memories of your wedding day.

Wedding Photography and Engagement Portraits. Senior Pictures, Family Portraits, Newborn Portraits, Children. Modesto, Turlock, Oakdale.
The art of Your story!


Filled Under : Uncategorized , Weddings

Happily Ever After – Erica and Candido

Modesto Wedding Photography by Edward Mendes

I met Erica a couple years ago when I took her senior portraits and was thrilled to be able to create the images of her wedding day as well.  Erica and Candido are a wonderful couple; you can see the joy they bring to one another when they’re together and that’s a wonderful thing.  The wedding took place at the lovely Rancho Canada Country Club in beautiful Carmel Valley and while the ceremony didn’t exactly play out the way it was originally planned (a bit of weather caused a change in direction) Kim and Christina at Cordially Invited Planners did a fabulous job of rolling with the punches and creating a wonderful event.  With Erica and Candido nothing could dampen the sprite of the day.

We had a blast hanging out with all of Erica and Candido’s friends and family, they’re a truly wonderful group and creating the stunning images of their day was a pleasure.  Candido is back severing our country so I hope he has the opportunity to see these images too.  Here’s a preview of some the images from the wedding of Erica and Candido Cruz.  Enjoy!

Check out Erica and Candido’s Slideshow too

Happily Ever After…Erica + Candido – Edward Mendes Photography from Edward Mendes on Vimeo.

Are you or someone you know getting married soon?  Give me a call, (209) 541-1815 or email me.  I’d love to meet with you for a consultation and have the opportunity to capture the memories of your wedding day.

Wedding Photography and Engagement Portraits. Senior Pictures, Family Portraits, Newborn Portraits, Children. Modesto, Turlock, Oakdale.
The art of Your story!

Filled Under : Carmel , Locations , Weddings

Mr. and Mrs. {Almost} Session – Engagement Portraits with Christian and Christine

Modesto Engagement Portrait Session - Christian and Christine Smith

Meet Christian and Christine, one of my newer couples who will be getting married just after the new year.  Both go to school out-of-state so this summer is a busy one as Christine is finishing up as much wedding planning as possible before she has to leave again for school.  Christian is in the middle of a summer internship in Texas and headed to California for the July 4th holiday, a short family vacation and as it turns out their engagement portraits too.  The engagement session is usually my first opportunity to work with my couples but in this instance it was also my first chance to meet Christian as well.

We headed out to one of my favorite “local” spots in the greater Modesto area as the location seemed to fit their wedding theme and Christine’s vision perfectly.  Both Christine and Christian were wonderful to work with and fun to hang out with during their engagement portraits.  They have a very natural and comfortable way about about them in front of the camera, always a big plus.  We had some great light and made good use of it.  The images from the session turned out wonderfully and I’m looking forward to their wedding in January.

Here’s a few more of Christian and Christine’s engagement portraits.

Wedding Photography and Engagement Portraits. Senior Pictures, Family Portraits, Newborn Portraits, Children. Modesto, Turlock, Oakdale.
The art of Your story!

Are you getting married soon and looking for someone to create the memories of your day?  Engagement portraits are fun and more importantly allows you to work with your photographer before your big day.  In addition, all those amazing images we create are ideal for Save the Dates, Invitations, Custom Signing Books, Display prints and more.   Check out some of our awesome images at or give me a call, (209) 541-1815 or drop me an email to ask questions or schedule your consultation.

Filled Under : Engagement , Engagement , Knights Ferry , Locations , Outdoor , Portraits , Weddings

 What to look for when choosing a professional photographer

choosing a professional photographer

When I was a kid having your family’s portrait made or your senior pictures taken was a fairly straight forward endeavor.  You’d pick up the phone book (remember those?) look up photographers and give a call to the 6 or 7 professional studios in your area.  How times have changed, do an online search for photographers in your area now and be prepared for the seemingly endless number of results you get back.    It seems like everyone with a camera or cell phone today is calling him or herself a photographer and diving into the portrait and wedding market as a side job.  As a consumer these increased number of choices may seem ideal however with all the choices how to you go about choosing a professional photographer that’s right for you?  Well, it just so happens that I have a few thoughts on that exact subject.  Here’s a few things to consider when choosing a professional photographer.

Does the photographer’s style match your own?

Photography’s an art form and photographers, regardless of the subject, are artists.  As with any form of art each individual artist has their specialty style within the medium, such as Picasso with cubism or Monet as an impressionist.  The same is true with photographers.  There are many different styles of photography within the portrait and wedding fields that you may be familiar with such as classically posed images (usually taken in a studio setting), non-posed photo-journalistic images, environmental portraits (taken outdoors), lifestyle portraits and a few others.   It’s important to choose a photographer that creates images in a style that you enjoy.  So, if you’d really like a beautiful tradition indoor family portrait to hang in your formal living room it’s probably better to work with a photographer that has an indoor studio and a strong portfolio of studio images.

Do they have a large portfolio of great images.

After you have an idea of the style of portrait you may want it’s time to start looking at each photographer’s portfolio with a more discerning eye.   This is where the internet has made our lives so much easier.  Today virtually everyone has a website, blog or at least a Facebook page and most photographers have all of the above and more, I know I do.  Before contacting any photographer you should make a point to visit their website in order to get a feel for the quality of images they create.  Look at as many images as possible and pay special attention to things such as the quality of light within the image, the poses used, the background within the images and the uniqueness of their pictures.  You’ll probably soon realize that a small group of photographers stand out from the pack and before you know it that endless list of photographers will be cut down to just a handful.  Not sure what exactly to look for when viewing images? Here’s a few tips.

  • Lighting:  Photography is all about light and a good photographer should understand how to use it well.  A well lit portrait shouldn’t look like you took it yourself (no offense) with your little on-camera flash.  Harsh, straight on light and washed out skins tones that may have a blue/cyan tint to them are a sign that the person taking the images likes to use the flash right on their camera in complete auto mode, which is something you can do so why pay someone else?  Another big no-no are deep, dark shadows where a person’s eyes should be.  This is a sign that the person with the camera doesn’t understand fill lighting.  I personally like to use warm, soft, directional light in my portraits as it give a beautiful warm glow and a sense of dimension to the images helping to create a portrait that allows the people within it to look their best.
  • Posing:  Posing is itself an art form, with countless books, articles, seminars and workshops devoted to posing individuals, couples, groups, babies, even pets.  I think the best poses  allow the person being photographed to look comfortable and natural in their surroundings.  When viewing a photographer’s portfolio ask yourself if the people within the images look natural for the given situation, do they look comfortable and loose or are they stiff with strange expressions on their faces? If so you can bet your pictures will look stiff and awkward too. Also, pay attention to hands and feet, are they cut off or are they positioned naturally.  A cropped hand can make the person look like their an amputee and goes against most sound posing ideals.
  • Backgrounds:  I’m not necessarily talking about a studio background here however those can be something to think about as well, I’ll get back to that.  What I’m really referring to is what’s in the background of outdoor portraits.  Are there distracting elements like people walking in the background or does it look like branches or poles are sticking out of people’s heads?  Many of these things can be fixed at the time the image is made by simply waiting a few seconds for someone to walk through the scene or by moving a couple feet to the left or right in order to get a slightly different angle.  At the very least they can be fixed back at the studio with a bit of image editing.  If you notice these things in a photographer’s sample images it may be a sign that they aren’t paying much attention to the image as a whole and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll see similar distractions in your pictures.
  • Regarding backgrounds in studio portraits remember that backgrounds should appear smooth and seamless.  If it looks like the photographer used an old wrinkled bed sheet, they probably did.
  • Uniqueness:  This one’s pretty self explanatory.  Is the photographer’s work fresh and unique or does it look like something you’d see hanging in your grandparent’s house?  Not to slight grandma but styles change and while some type of images do remain timeless even those “classic” images that stand the test of time can be updated to set themselves apart from the crowd a bit.
  • This sense of uniqueness however can also go to the extreme as many photographers today try to be so “trendy” that their images will look extremely dated in just a few years. #hipsterfingermustache

Above all remember you should really like the images your seeing from other sessions as those are the type of images you’ll be receiving from your session.

Personality Match

Once you’ve picked a photographer with a strong portfolio of images that match the style you’d like for your portrait session you should ask to meet for a consultation.  Consultations are an important part of building a relationship between you and your photographer and are something I do with each new client to my studio.  The consultation not only gives me an opportunity to discuss portrait styles, clothing, locations and investment with someone but it also gives us an opportunity to get to know each other a little bit.  I feel having this opportunity to meet during the consultation goes a long way in building a friendly and successful relationship with each one of my clients, many of whom I consider friends and continue to work with for years.  This is important because I think the best images are made when you feel comfortable with someone, enjoy being around them and feel a bit more free to be yourself.  The fact is, through no fault of your own or the other person, you just don’t “click” (pun intended) with everyone you meet and without a consultation there’s no way to know how you get along with your photographer until you realize it (for better or worse) during the session.  It’s important to note that many, if not most, photographers don’t do consultations for portrait sessions I think this is a disservice to both you and them.  If they don’t offer a consultation don’t be afraid to ask for one.


I’m not going to dwell of this but it really is something to consider.  You’re investing your hard earned dollars to have beautiful professional portraits made, the least you should ask is that you’re not paying to help someone “learn on the job”.  Just as in most professionals, more goes into being a professional photographer than most people realize, and having a “nice” camera has virtually nothing to do with how well your final images look.   Knowledge of natural and artificial lighting, posing, shooting angles, exposure, aperture and much more are all major aspects of creating images you’ll be happy with.  When a photographer has a formal education and degree in photography you can be sure they understand all of the above which allows them to focus on creating the best images possible of you and your family while also giving them the knowledge to adapt to unexpected situations when they occur (which is pretty much all the time).  Just something to consider.


It’s important to realize that not all photographers are created equal, far from it in fact.  Choosing someone to photograph your wedding or newborn baby isn’t like shopping for a sweater where you find a brand and style you like at Macy’s and then head over to Wal-Mart to see if you can find the exact same sweater for less.  Photography is a creative process that requires both technical and aesthetic expertise.  Your portraits are a custom product that a particular artist is creating specifically for you and your home and no two photographers are going to create that product the same.  For the most part the old adage “You get what you pay for” is very true when it comes to photography.  If you notice a photographer or photographers that are much less expensive than others it’s probably for a reason.

I’d encourage you to not let price be the deciding factor when choosing a photographer as a beautifully crafted portrait that you love and will hang in your home for decades is worth much more in the long run than the poorly lit and badly printed portrait you received on a disk and had printed at Costco when it starts to fade in a few years.  At my studio I want each person that comes in to have pictures, prints and albums that they’ll absolutely love and cherish for the rest of their lives so I do everything I can to make them as affordable as possible.  To that end myself and many professional studios offer ways to make having the images you want possible.  Some of these include monthly or quarterly payment plans, wedding and portrait registries, gift cards, occasional sales and much more.  I try to work with every client to make sure they can have the portrait or wedding images they want and if there’s an options I don’t offer I’m always open to new ideas, all you have to do is ask.

Choosing a professional photographer in a nutshell.

There you have it, some of the more important things I think you should be looking at when choosing a professional photographer that’s right for you.  Whether it’s for your wedding photography, newborn or children portraits, high school senior pictures or family portraits choosing the right professional photographer will be a decision you’ll be happy with for a very long time and following the tips above will make the decision a much simpler one.

 Wedding Photography and Engagement Portraits. Senior Pictures, Family Portraits, Newborn Portraits, Children. Modesto, Turlock, Oakdale.
The art of Your story!

Are you looking for a professional photographer?  Great, I just so happen to be a one.  Check out some of our awesome images at or give me a call, (209) 541-1815 or drop me an email to ask questions or schedule your consultation.

Filled Under : Hints & Tips , Portraits , Weddings

Pretty Clever – Couture Signing Canvas – Canvas signing board

Canvas signing board - Modesto Wedding and Portrait photography by Edward Mendes

Pretty Clever is a portion of the blog where I’ll show you a cool way to use or display your pictures that you may have never thought of.  First up, Canvas Signing Boards.  I was sitting around a while back thinking about those traditional signing boards a lot of couples have at their weddings, you know what I’m talking about, the 8×10 print surrounded by a huge white mat that guests sign or write little message on.  It’s a nice thought but boy is that a boring presentation and not something that really fits with the contemporary style of the studio.  My clients (You) are cool, modern and trendy and  I wanted to offer something with a bit more style that reflected their (your) good taste.  Along came Couture Signing Canvases.

These chic and stylish canvas signing boards are gallery wrapped canvases custom designed specially for you and your event and allows friends and family to write special messages directly on the image.  Afterwards it becomes a cherished piece of art for the home.

Above is the Couture Signing Canvas I made for a recent client, Whitney.  She’ll be having the guests at her baby shower sign it instead of a boring signing book.  Afterwards it’s going to be hung in the baby’s nursery.  Pretty Clever!

Wedding Photography and Engagement Portraits. Senior Pictures, Family Portraits, Newborn Portraits, Children. Modesto, Turlock, Oakdale.
The art of Your story!


Filled Under : Hints & Tips , Portraits , Pretty Cleaver , Weddings

Engagement Sessions – Why I Love them.

San Francisco engagement session by Edward Mendes


What is the first thing you should do once you’ve booked the photographer for your wedding?  Schedule your engagement session of course.  Engagement portraits have not only become trendy over the last number of years but they serve a purpose beyond just having some beautiful pictures of you and your sweetheart.  In my studio I consider an engagement session so important that I actually include it in all my wedding packages.  Why do I place such an importance on great engagement images?  I’m glad you asked.

Great images!

The most important reason for having engagement portraits is to have beautiful images of you and your husband or wife-to-be.  Engagement portraits are a chance to capture you at one of the happiest times in your lives, to showcase the love you have for each other and the excitement of getting to start your life together.  After the session the images from the engagement session can be used in your home, to give as gifts to friends, parents or grandparents or featured as part of your wedding in a slideshow, a really cool signing book, save-the-date cards or so much more.

Getting to know you.

It’s soooo important for a bride and groom to fill comfortable with their photographer, after all we will be spending a lot of time together during your wedding day.  Creating images that look natural and fun start with being relaxed and trusting that I’m going to make you look your best.  The engagement session gives us a chance to work together before the wedding, it gives you the opportunity to start to feel comfortable in front of the camera and it allows me to see how you and your fiance interact with each other and what poses are more natural for you.  It’s during the engagement session that we really get a chance to chat, joke around and start to become friends which will show in the images.

Wedding day perfection!

When your wedding day finally comes having the experience of the engagement session will make everything run much more smoothly as you’ll know what to expect and have a much better understanding of posing.  In fact by the time we start to create the formal images many of my couples are acting like professional models, tilting their heads in just the right position and always remember to have a smile on their face just in case I see the perfect moment to create an image.

I think the engagement session is an important part of every wedding.  When your big day is finally over the months of planning seems to have gone by in an instant.  When a couple comes by the studio to view there proofs or album for the first time it’s great to get to see the joy of there face as they relive the entire day through the images I’ve made.  The story of your wedding day is told through the images, the images in your album, within your signing book or displayed in your home and it all starts with the engagement session.

Check out some of my engagement pictures.

Wedding Photography and Engagement Portraits. Senior Pictures, Family Portraits, Newborn Portraits, Children. Modesto, Turlock, Oakdale.

The art of Your story!


Filled Under : Engagement , Engagement , Hints & Tips , Locations , Portraits , San Francisco