Erica & Nate's Wedding (Placerville, Ca). by Luke Cheng

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I met Erica and Nathan early this year when they contacted me regarding wedding photography. After meeting with them at a local cafe, they decided that I was a good fit for their needs. This past month was their big wedding day, and I was on hand to capture all their moments - big and small! The wedding took place in Placerville, Ca at Davies Inn and Ranch. I had never been there before, and was excited to check out the location. Turns out it was a gorgeous venue for a wedding. Rustic buildings, beautiful trees, and a spacious lawn were just a few of the stunning backdrops that were available to create photographs with.

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I arrived during Erica's make-up session. The venue had a lodge for her to stay in and get ready. As I usually do, I took photos of Erica as the make-up artist was applying the make-up. The bridesmaids were on hand getting ready as well and the general excitement was definitely building.

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I took the time at the beginning to also take photos of the important clothes, shoes, and jewelry Erica would be wearing today. My favorite thing of hers were these blinged out Converse shoes. They were certainly unique, but also functional as they made getting around very comfortable for Erica. This was such a smart move by Erica! 

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Before long the ceremony began with the bridal party walking towards the ceremony location. Erica a small party of just two bridesmaids, but they were her sisters, and of course, very important to her. They were beautiful as they came down in their maroon dresses.

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Erica arrived shortly after. It was getting later on in the afternoon which was very nice for taking photos. Though having many trees around can make the lighting uneven, the parts that do get even lighting look really great. I love this photo of Erica as the sun in the back is kissing the back of her hair just right giving it a nice glow.

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There was no lack of emotion at this ceremony. The vows made were personally written by Erica and Nathan, and each were very impactful. There were very few dry eyes in the audience after the vows were said. As I try to do, I was looking to capture those emotions as best as I could.

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Of course the first kiss is a MUST for any wedding shoot. Sometimes this moment lasts for only a split second. It was nice for Erica and Nathan to let their smootch linger on for a little longer. You only get one of these first kisses... so might as well make it last!

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The centerpiece of the reception was the simple, yet elegant and gorgeous wedding cake. I thought that this cake fit the newlyweds perfectly. Quite a few people were clamoring to take a photo with it before Erica and Nathan got to cutting it up. By the way... I did end up getting a slice... it was delish!

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As the sun began to set Erica, Nathan, and I went off to do a sunset photoshoot while the light was about to disappear. This golden hour is one of the best times to shoot as the light is warm and flattering. Some couples don't do a sunset shoot as they are busy with the reception. It was awesome that Erica and Nathan wanted this done!

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As the night came in, the food came out. The reception was full of joy! The speeches made were memorable, the dancing was epic, and all good time was had by all who were here. It was a great pleasure to shoot this wedding for Erica and Nathan. I wish them the absolute best as they spend the rest of their lives together!

Kings Dancer Auditions. by Luke Cheng

Last week the Sacramento Kings held auditions for their on-court dance team. Nearly 200 dancers came to audition for a spot on the roster to dance this upcoming season. The audition process is a rigorous and demanding experience for everyone who comes out. The Kings only pick the best of the best when it comes to the dance team, so these dancers would have to really give it their all in order to obtain one of the coveted positions.

It's always an excited time for me when auditions come around because I enjoy the shooting dance photography. I love the movement involved in dance - it's graceful, powerful, and elegant all at the same time. I am amazed at the talent that all the dancers have; there was some high level skill on display!

The audition process consists of a few different stages. The dancers have to learn both a jazz and hip-hop routine on the fly. These routines are performed in a large group and in smaller groups. The dancers are judged at different points during the audition process, and cuts are made periodically. If dancers make it through the two routines, they still have to come back and perform a solo dance showcasing their own unique skill set. 

Throughout the day the judges carefully watch each auditioner. Every little thing is noticed - from dance techniques to whether or not the dancer is engaging the audience. The dancers have to be 'on' the entire time they are at the audition. There really isn't a time to rest save for the quick water breaks. It's really intense!

Because there is so much talent to choose from, the judges have to think very carefully about each dancer. The judges discuss each dancer's attributes in great detail. Included in discussions are whether or not a dancer will be a good ambassador for the Kings basketball team. Yes, dancers need to be flawless dancing on the court, but the dancers must also have the ability to interact well with fans and represent the organization with class. They are looking for the complete package.

The few dancers who are chosen to make the 2017/18 Sacramento Kings Dancers squad were given flowers when their number was announced. Those who made it onto the team were overcome with happiness and joy. The hard work and effort paid off! 

Congrats to all the dancers who made the final cut! I'll be looking forward to seeing everyone out on the court during the Kings games! This will be an extremely exciting time, especially for the first year dancers. Becoming an NBA dancer is certainly life changing. Big things are to come!

A special thank you goes out to the judges led by Jenn Santich. Each year they spend the time to get all of this together in order to build the best team possible. I'm looking forward to a great season of dance!

Mike's Surprise Proposal. by Luke Cheng

Mike contacted me about taking photos of his surprise proposal and I was more than happy to oblige! I've done a few of these now, and they are always a blast for me to do. Often times these surprise proposals have me hiding out somewhere and being inconspicuous, but not this time! Mike set up a cover story saying that I needed shots for a magazine story. What a great idea!

I had the opportunity to pose the couple in the best light. So often in these surprise proposals the proposal happens in a place that isn't the best for a picture. That was definitely the case this evening as the sun was quickly setting behind the trees in the park. There was one little patch left of good light for them to be in. We were definitely lucky to have that spot.

I gave Mike a nod so he knew I was absolutely ready to go and he took out the box containing the engagement ring and got on his knee to propose. It was an beautiful moment to witness and capture. 

The best part? She said 'yes'! And of course Mike was overjoyed! I took the opportunity to get in some fun shots of Mike celebrating this huge moment in his life. Congrats to this beautiful couple. Now comes the wedding planning!

Maternity Photos with Cassie. by Luke Cheng

This past weekend I was out shooting maternity photos with Cassie. Maternity photos have become increasingly popular in recent years as people desire to capture this special time before their child is born. This is Cassie's very first child, so I know that this part of her life has been filled with both challenges and great joy. Having a professional photoshoot to capture portraits of this stage in her life will give Cassie something to look back on, remember, and share!

Cassie came to me ready to shoot! She told me she didn't really have any idea what she was going for, but her flowing pink dress and flower crown were exactly the elements that fit this type of shoot perfectly. Our location was filled with lush greens and yellows, so the pink really stood out nicely. Cassie looked absolutely gorgeous!

Cassie and I met at 6pm - the perfect time to capture some gorgeous natural light. This is what photographers call the 'golden hour'. It's a very narrow window to shoot in, but when we do the photos we end up getting are stunning.

I loved shooting with Cassie that early evening. In about an hour we were able to get lots and lots of beautiful photos. I was able to process the images very quickly and got her the entire set by the very next day! I pride myself of getting photos back to my clients as soon as possible.

As an expecting father myself, I know how important and special these 9 months before the baby comes is. I have a few more maternity shoots coming up soon so be on the lookout for some posts on them! If you or someone you know is looking to do a maternity photoshoot, please let me know! 

Shaq in Sac. by Luke Cheng

Oh man! My third sports camp in the last few weeks. This time it was with Shaq Thompson of the Carolina Panthers. He was at Sacramento's Grant High School hosting a football camp for the youth. He was in it for the long haul as there were two sessions of the camp spanning the entire day. This would most likely be the final sports camp I shoot this summer so I wanted to get as many pictures as I could.

Unsurprisingly, Shaq was every bit as hands on as DeMarus and Arik were during their camps. He was right in amongst the kids as they were working on their football skills. He had a great rapport with everyone and was willing to mentor and teach. I could tell that the kids in attendance were having a blast. They really put out a great effort in everything I saw them do.

Every youth that came out got a sweet Shaq Thompson camp shirt that they got to wear and keep. The color scheme was definitely in line with the Panthers motif. Everyone looked great on the field in them as they competed with each other.

There was no shortage of exercise happening at the camp. The kids were running, jumping, and racing with each other. I like this shot I got of the kids as they were doing one of their races. You can really see the desire to be first in their faces as they go!

Shaq spoke with the kids at the camp and gave everyone an encouraging word. It has been awesome seeing pro athletes like Shaq, DeMarcus, and Arik giving their off time to the community. I definitely was encouraged by seeing what they did.

That's a wrap for the sports summer camps. I hope you enjoyed seeing the photos that I took. I'd love to do this all again next year!