Wedding Photography Reviews, Milwaukee Wedding Photography

Dynamic and Detailed | Elise and Travis' Wedding Photography Review

"Booth Photographics is a dream team to work with. From the very first time Travis and I met Stephanie and Stephen we felt so comfortable, at ease and had so much in common with them.

They have an incredible eye for capturing the smallest details to the biggest moments. They truly captured our engagement and wedding pictures exactly how I had envisioned them and took my breath away!

I love the fact that they are a team. Stephanie was able to take pictures of us girls getting ready while Stephen was able to take pictures of the guys getting ready. They are a dynamic duo that is hard to find! I am so thankful and grateful that they were able to capture our engagement pictures and wedding pictures because after going through the whole experience there is no one else Travis and I would have rather had by our sides. My sister in law is also using Booth Photographics for her upcoming wedding in June of 2018."

—Elise and Travis

Destination Wedding, Film Photography, Travel Photography, Wedding Photography, Fine Art Wedding Photography

Intimate Catskills Lodge Upstate New York Elopement

The beauty of elopements is in the feel of intimacy they portray. So when shooting this elopement at the Jake Anderson Workshop at Foxfire mountain house in the Catskills, my goal was to see everything through that lens of intimacy.

Intimacy & Warmth

The styling from Lacy Geary and stunning floral works by Kelly Lenard lent themselves perfectly to this intimate approach, wrapping you with a sense of love and warmth.

Workshop: Jake Anderson | Stylist: Lacy Geary | Florist: Kelly Lenard | Silk: Frou Frou Chic | Paper Goods: Plume Calligraphy | Ring: Susie Saltzman | Film Lab: Photovision | Venue: Foxfire Mountain House

Wedding Planning, Wedding Inspiration, Fine Art Wedding Photography

The Best Luxury Northern California Wedding Venues

A few years ago, Stephen and I had the opportunity to spend some time in northern California, including the Bay Area, Napa and Sonoma Counties in California. Over the course of our time there, the relaxed pace and every day elegance of the lifestyle there worked it's way into my system, leaving me feeling nostalgic about leaving.

Yes, there are wineries everywhere you turn, making some of the loveliest wedding venues every. Adding in the beautiful mild climate and perennially sunny skies, and you have the ideal conditions for outdoor weddings in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Here's an ever growing list of our favorite wedding venues in Northern California. When you book one of these, do give us a call! We'd love to be a part of your wedding in Northern California!

Napa Valley

Beaulieu Garden

  • Where: 1960 St Helena Hwy Napa, California
  • Why: Beaulieu Gardens Exudes that California elegance in the most tasteful way possible. With such a beautiful outdoor setting, it's no surprise that it's become popular spot for luxury weddings in the Napa Valley.

Calistoga Ranch

  • Where: 1960 St Helena Hwy Napa, California
  • Why: For those who want to get away from it all while still having it all, Calistoga Ranch has you covered. Nestled in the very top of the Napa Valley in the foothills of Mount St. Helena, you'll find a laid back luxury in a private and unforgettable environment.

The Vintage Estate

  • Where:  6525 Washington St, Yountville, California
  • Why: In the heart of Yountville, just past French Laundry and V Marketplace, The Pavilion at The Vintage Estate and the Barrel room offer the best of both indoor and outdoor Napa Valley elegance. The central location and stunning grounds ensure a memorable experience for all guests.

V. Sattui Winery

  • Where: 1111 White Ln, St Helena, California
  • Why: V. Sattui is a staple in the Napa Valley. While they've been creating luxury experiences for some time and have been named on of the top 5 winery wedding venues in the world, their experienced, helpful staff and award winning catering team will help you provide a fresh experience for your guests that will be well worth the trip.

Sonoma Valley

Jacuzzi Family Vineyards

  • Where: 24724 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, California
  • Why: The rustic stone and vine covered central courtyard will transport your guests to the Tuscan countryside. 

Buena Vista Winery

  • Where:  18000 Old Winery Rd, Sonoma, California
  • Why: One of the oldest wineries in California, Buena Vista Winery is a beautiful blend of historic character and understated elegance. Tucked in the hills just outside the town of Sonoma, your guests will love the private setting and beautiful grounds.

Chateau St. Jean

  • Where: 24724 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, California
  • Why: Make your guests feel like their invited to the wedding of the year at this fashionable estate wedding venue. The Italian renaissance revival style is plenty elegant without being stuffy or too formal.

San Francisco

The Pearl SF

  • Where: 601 19th St San Francisco, California
  • Why: San Francisco is such a vibrant city and you'll be hard pressed to find a more bold and energetic wedding venue in the city than the Pearl. The large, open indoor space is a great canvas to work with, and the rooftop space a wonderful bonus full of potential for creative brides and grooms.

City Hall

  • Where: 1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl San Francisco, California
  • Why: If you're looking for an iconic location in the Bay Area, chances are you've already considered San Francisco City Hall. The building itself is stunning from top to bottom. And while you may need a large production team to handle setup in such a large space, the unforgettable guest experience and enduring imagery ensure you'll relive your wedding day for the years to come.

San Jose

Villa Montalvo Arts Center

  • Where: 15400 Montalvo Rd Saratoga, California
  • Why: A stunningly elegant Italian renaissance revival estate in the hills outside of San Jose, Villa Montalvo is the perfect luxury estate wedding venue to make your guests feel like they're getting away from the business of the valley while staying close to the city.


Holman Ranch

  • Where: 19 E Carmel Valley Rd C, Carmel Valley, California
  • Why: Holman Ranch provides a stunning rustic stone villa setting on a private, working ranch for a relaxed yet luxurious and exclusive outdoor wedding in the Carmel Valley. Not only is the estate practically made for beautiful photos, the ranch grounds provide unforgettable vistas and sunset views.

Bernardus Lodge & Spa

  • Where: 415 W Carmel Valley Rd, Carmel Valley, California
  • Why: If a relaxed outdoor garden wedding in a winery setting is what you're looking for, Bernardus lodge might be the wedding venue for you. 

Nicklaus Club

  • Where:  100 Pasadera Drive, Monterey, California
  • Why: This beautifully elegant Italian style golf club venue offers so many beautiful spots for you and your guests—not to mention your photographer—to enjoy it's almost not fair! All just a short drive from beautiful Carmel.


Booth Photographics is a fine art wedding photography husband & wife team serving Northern California. We are passionate about blending enduring beauty & intentional storytelling to create timeless wedding photography.

California Wedding Photography, Chicago Wedding Photography, Destination Wedding, Fine Art Wedding Photography, Wedding Planning

How To Use Ideal Lighting For Your Wedding Photos

In over 60 weddings together (plus a bunch of second shooting), there’s one thing that will truly make my heart hurt while photographing your wedding day. I’ll watch the best light of the day (sunset) used for things like seating guests or cocktail hour while the worst light of the day (12-2 pm!) is used for the most important photos, couple’s photos. 

Flashlight or Snapchat filter?

Have you sat around a campfire as someone tried to spook you while shining a flashlight up their nose? They look terrible in that light, don’t they? It exaggerates every line, eye bag and blemish. It’s harsh, contrasty, and unflattering.

Using light at noon is the sun’s equivalent of a flashlight shining up your nose (just flipped the other direction!). It’s harsh, contrasty, and unflattering. It makes you look washed out and anything that bright sunlight is bouncing off of (like the green grass) will lend a color cast to your skin.

Using sunset light, on the other hand is like using a snapchat filter that makes your skin look amazing and smooth (I call it the “pretty filter”). Because the light is softer, directional, diffused and warmer, it’s more flattering to your skin tone making it look healthy and golden.

Prioritize your lighting

So how can you take the most important photos at the best time of day? Prioritize your timeline around your photos.

Use the best light for the most enduring photos. It’s really that simple. Our opinion is that you don’t need lots and lots of mediocre photos, but rather that you need the right amount of great photos.

Putting it into Practice

Be strategic with your time for photos. We can do more with 15 min at sunset than 1 hour at high noon.

With flattering lighting, we have much more freedom with how we can use a particular location for photos and the technical limits of where we can place you or which setting will work are much more relaxed so we’re free to focus on strategic direction and authentic interaction.

I’d recommend planning your ceremony for 2-3 hours before sunset to use lovely soft light for your ceremony. Whether you choose a first look or not, plan to make time for your couple’s photos after your ceremony instead of before. Here’s an example of my process for planning best use of lighting for, say, an early June wedding:

In early June, for instance the sun sets around 8:30 CST. Your best light will be from 6:30-8:45 (weather depending, of course) while you can’t fit in everything during that lighting, here’s what I’d recommend:

  • 3:45-private first look
  • 4:00-bridal party photos
  • 5:00-photograph completed reception space
  • 6:00-Ceremony
  • 7:00-Immediate family photos (4 shots)
  • 7:30-Couple’s photos-these are so lovely because you’re freshly married and there’s a lot of joy present! It’s amazing to channel that energy into a few moments of serenity together before you head to the more high energy cocktail hour.
  • 8:20-First Dance

As photographers, light is our muse. The better the light, the better you’ll look and the more you’ll cherish your photos for years to come!


California Wedding Photography, Chicago Wedding Photography, Destination Wedding, Fine Art Wedding Photography, Wedding Inspiration, Wedding Planning

5 tips for Better Fine Art Wedding Ceremony Photography

2016 brought some of my favorite ceremony sites to photograph and after narrowing the selection to my personal loves, noticed that they all share a common recipe that made me love them (I had no choice in the matter, really). I'm sharing the simple tips I have found to create a beautiful ceremony site that’s both intimate and intentional

Natural light/outdoor weddings

If you're planning an outdoor wedding, we thank you in advance! If your day is indoors, consult with your photographer on how to make best use of your light sources. 

Ceremony floral design

We love it when couples make their ceremonies an intentional time and think it’s particularly special when you use beautiful floral design to create that intimate and romantic atmosphere for you to share your commitments to each other. Talk with your florist about how you can create something that makes a statement for your ceremony (and how they can help you enjoy that design into your reception as well!)

Ceremony time of day

I cannot communicate how important this is! My favorite ceremonies were planned for later in the day so the couples could take advantage of the softening sunlight. These couples did this after consulting with us so if you like the way your photographer has photographed weddings in similar conditions, do share with them what you like and ask how you can achieve that. They/we are the experts on utilizing the conditions available and should have some great recommendations for you.

Ceremony location

all of these ceremony spots had beautiful locations, but notice the direction? They're all facing west-ish (so technical, right?) Because our clients were aware of our shooting style and asked us how to get the look they wanted in their photos, they adjusted the time of their ceremony and the location so we could photograph backlight and in softer light

Guest experience

Your guests are making some sacrifices to be with you! When the ceremony time comes, It takes a lot patience and dedication for a guest to sit quietly amid a group of people they probably haven’t seen in a while! Show your guests your gratitude during your ceremony time with a few thoughtful touches. Choose some pretty chairs for them to sit in and pass them a champagne flute or cocktail as they enter the ceremony site to thank them for their commitment to you during that span of time.

Many thanks to the following talents:

Jina and Jae's destination wedding at Villa la Vedetta in Florence, Italy: Florals-Jardin Divers | event design-Italia Celebrations

Shelby and Tom's wedding at Artifact Events in Chicago: Florals-Stems Chicago | Event design-Shannon Gail Weddings

Elise and Travis' wedding at Horseshoe Bay Golf Club: Florals-Flora Flowershop | event design-Door County Event Planners

Ashley and Eric's wedding at Hyatt Lodge at McDonald's Campus: Florals-blossoms and branches

Franchesca and Josh's destination wedding at Walnut Grove at Tierra Rejada Farms in Moorpark California: florals-EmLily Floral | event design- Mia Bella Weddings

Adya and Brandon's wedding at the Lageret in Stoughton, WI: florals-Daffodil Parker | event design-Lavender Hill Events

Destination wedding at Villa Cimbrone: we haven't shot a wedding here yet...but we're putting it out into the universe that we want to and believing that it's going to happen! Isn't that the perfect spot for an intimate wedding ceremony?

Film Photography, Lifestyle Photography, Travel Photography

Fine Art Travel Photography | Why We Photograph While We Travel

We recently finished sharing a series of posts from our 3 week trip to Europe. I really didn't want to post the last part of our trip because I knew that meant that it was really over. I miss it and have talked non-stop about going back since we've returned. And the reality is, I know that we will! (and I hope you'll join us for a session!) 

It's not easy to take camera gear with us while we travel. In fact it's a nerve-wracking risk that could lead to loss or damage! So...why bother? Why not just enjoy the travels?

Our Why

Our cameras are our tools to reflect how we learn about our subjects, whether a bride and groom, or a new place.

We approach working with our clients by first listening, understanding, observing, and building connections with them for weeks and months before we every photograph them. It's a vital part of our creative process and helps us create original and influential work. I thrive on understanding our couples and it drives how we photograph them.

Listening and Learning

We have the same approach to our travel work! Photography has always been a tool we use to listen and learn, then express. Before we travel anywhere, we spend extensive time researching places and learning about their history, culture, and community. We strategically plan our time to immerse ourselves in these communities and natural settings to learn.

It’s likely that if you asked us about the socio-economic status of each place we visited, we could tell you the average income, cost of living, the cultural breakdown, and the neighborhood and lifestyle values. If you go back and look at our travel works with fresh eyes, you'll see that understanding in every photo.


Travel photography as a form of understanding culture

Each photo we take while traveling represents a reflection on something we’ve learned in this process of travel. Every single photo is crafted through the lens of an understanding and appreciation for a culture or history. Every travel piece you see has that thought process super-imposed on it.

"So these photos are not just pretty pictures. They are the lessons we’ve learned. "

They are the history we experienced. And they are a reflection of how we became stronger people, filled with more grace, more understanding, and more care for people who are different from us.

Each of these photos reminds us that God is an incomprehensibly creative God. It reminds us that, in his creativity, he created people and lands that are vastly different than I am as a celebration of that creativity. How inspiring is that?

May these photos also give you pause, bring you to admire that same creator God, and help you to see what we learned from this most recent trip.

See all our travel posts here: 


Film Photography, Travel Photography

Paris | Fine Art Travel Photography in the City of Love

Paris is called the city of love so often and I resisted the idea that it would charm me. I felt like it was way too cliche and I just wouldn't let it happen to me!

Why Paris really is the City of Love

But it did and here's why: The Parisian way of life lulls you into a romantic dream.  But as I type this, Paris still has a piece of my heart. Not because of the romantic architecture and chic street styles. If you're not there long enough, that will likely be all you have time to remember. No, Paris stole my heart because of it's lifestyle. 

It was here in Paris, after almost a month of travel, that we finally found a routine we loved. It was in Paris that the structured French ways made us feel relaxed and at the same time free to explore this historic city. 

We stayed in a 5th floor walk up (and herein lies the case for fitting everything into a carryon. I so wish I had done this! But what a great workout!!) in the enchanting and walkable Le Marais district. As we unpacked in our tiny but beautiful artist loft, I noticed that we were above a courtyard containing 6 cafes. 'What. We're never going to sleep," I thought. 

But our first night there, we opened the windows and the soft sounds of conversation, clanking glasses, and laughter actually lulled me to sleep. I listened to Nora Jones amid the sounds of life below me and held Stephen's hand and asked him "Could life really be any better?" It seemed perfect.

Our evening aperitif routine

Throughout our trip, we hadn't quite grasped the idea that dinner was later than in America. We were always the first ones waiting for the doors to open at a restaurant and would eat alone. We knew it in our heads, but hadn't found a way to adjust. Finally, in Paris, everything clicked! We had the happiest routine of finding fresh croissant in the morning at the nearest patisserie, then setting out for a day of wandering the winding, shop-laden streets of Le Marais, St. Germaine, and Canal St. Martin, then seeing some key attractions, like the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero, Tuilleries Gardens, and the Sacre Coeur in Montmartre

By the time early evening hit, our feet were so sore that we needed a break. We'd meander back to our Le Marais flat, stopping by our favorite fromagerie, patisserie, and boucherie for cheeses, meats, and some fresh bread for our snack. We'd go back, try new cheeses, do a little work, and take a nap, then change and go out again with the locals for dinner around 8-9 pm. 

One foot in the past, one foot in the modern world

It was this slow, meandering way of life, with one foot in the past and one foot in the modern world that won me over.  The lifestyle here is forward thinking and modern, but people know when to disconnect. They balance the frenzy of modern connectivity with the charms of a slower, disconnected life.

It was here in Paris that we looked up real estate costs. It was here where we re-evaluated what we truly valued enough to keep in life. (whyyyy do we Americans have SO much stuff??) and it was here where I told Stephen "we have to come back. I'll do whatever it takes to replenish our travel fund." 

A Parisian lifestyle of fewer, better things

Paris confirmed things that I already loved in life but didn't know where they fit into my culture. I love a less is more mindset. I love fewer, better things. I adore connecting with people over long, relaxed meals, and I love kindly helping people. All of these loves made perfect sense in the Parisian culture. 

While I know that no culture can really be fully assessed in a handful of days, I found myself in Paris. And that won't be the last time we're there. Paris, je'taime.

Destination Wedding, Fine Art Wedding Photography, Wedding Photography

Jina & Jae | Destination Fine Art Wedding Photography at Villa la Vedetta, Florence

The start of a romance in Tuscany

While planning a trip to Tuscany, Jae ran into a new girl at work and on a whim, invited her on his upcoming trip to Florence and Tuscany. Little did Jina know that when she accepted his invitation that they’d return to the place where they first fell in love in a few years for their wedding. On this trip, Jina found in Jae a supremely thoughtful man who cared for others without concern for himself. And Jae found a sweet spirited woman ready for any adventure.

Tuscan inspired fine art wedding design

Jina and Jae enlisted a skilled team to help them create an intimate and chic destination wedding for 75 of their closest loved ones in Florence. Inspired by some of their favorite memories strolling the city during the last blueish light of twilight, Jina and Jae selected a watercolor inspired palette of soft gold, blues, and lavender.

She worked closely with her planner, Italia Celebrations to create a fine art wedding that reflected both their romantic and delicate aesthetic and their intentional desire to welcome loved ones into their lives.

Creating a Tuscan destination wedding experience

They consciously wore Italian shoes brands, left a bag of Italian snacks and drinks in each room and at cocktail hours and used olive tree leaves as wedding confetti to commemorate the culture where they first fell in love.

After an emotional outdoor ceremony overlooking the tiled roofs of Florence, guests sipped Aperol Spritzes and enjoy Italian snacks as they wandered and snapped countless photos of the sunset over the city skyline.

And just as they were announced to be seated, the light caught the clouds in a spectacular wash of color, just as Jina and Jae hoped for! Twilight gave way to cafe lights and a spectacular moonrise as guests leaned in and talked over candlelight. As they ended their evening, their loved ones lit sparklers and gathered around them for an incredibly romantic first dance.

Jina and Jae, thank you for having me. Your day proved that you love others with great care and that your loved ones mean the world to you. I couldn’t have been more honored to have witnessed so many beautiful, loving moments and wish you all the best in your new life together!

Many thanks to the following talents:

Fine art Wedding Planning and Design: Italia Celebrations | Fine Art Wedding Photography: Booth Photographics | Venue and Catering:  Villa la Vedetta | Florist: Jardin Divers | Paper Suite: Bright Room Studio | Gown: Zuhair Murad | Bridal hairpiece: Twigs and Honey  | Groomswear: Practical Tailor Hong Kong | Bridal Veil: Sara Gabriel | Bride’s Ceremony shoes: Sergio Rossi  | Bride's reception shoes: Prada  | Hair and Makeup: Kim Chyung Hair Face | Event Design: Italia Celebrations | Place settings: Richard Ginori

Fine Art Wedding Photography, Wedding Planning

The Best Luxury Southern California Wedding Venues

Los Angeles Area

Malibu Rocky Oaks

  • Where: 340 Kanan Rd Malibu, California
  • Why: Make a bold statement with one of the most dramatic ceremony sites in California. Set high on a mountain in the Santa Monica Mountains, this luxurious venue is sure to provide an unforgettable experience.

Hummingbird Nest

  • Where: 2940 Kuehner Dr Santa Susana, California
  • Why: Feel the luxury of being at a beautiful Spanish style estate close to the city, but with room to roam and sweeping views of uninhabited mountains.

Oak Canyon Ranch

  • Where: 3272 Triunfo Canyon Rd Agoura Hills, California
  • Why: Nestled amid mature trees and tucked away from the busy world, Oak Canyon Ranch provides a relaxing wedding venue that's also a private escape.

Calamigos Ranch

  • Where: 327 Latigo Canyon Rd, California
  • Why: Calamigos Ranch balances a relaxing, casual environment with an understated elegance. 


  • Where: DTLA,  214 S Main St Los angeles, California
  • Why: If an urban, European experience is your goal, Vibiana provides the perfect backdrop for you as a former cathedral turned stunning luxury wedding venue.

Smog Shoppe

  • Where: 2651 S La Cienega Blvd Los Angeles, California
  • Why: Smog Shoppe proves that luxury doesn't have to mean tradition. This trendy west side venue also provides the perfect indoor/ outdoor wedding environment.

Historic Greystone Mansion and Park

  • Where: 905 Loma Vista Dr Beverly Hills, California
  • Why: No list of luxury Los Angeles wedding venues would be complete with out Greystone Mansion. This stunning building and grounds are practically made for an upscale, European estate wedding experience.

Fenyes Estate Garden at Pasadena Museum of History

  • Where: 470 W Walnut St Pasadena, California
  • Why: Art Deco grandeur meets European elegance in this beautiful estate venue nestled just outside downtown Pasadena. 

Resort at Pelican Hill

  • Where: 22701 S Pelican Hill Rd Newport Coast, California
  • Why: Pelican Hill combines the drama of the Pacific Ocean with the luxury experience of a 5 star resort.

Ponte Winery and Vineyard Inn

  • Where: 35001 Rancho California Rd Temecula, California
  • Why: Ponte Winery offers an approachable simplicity in a vineyard wedding venue just outside Los Angeles.

Villa del Sol d'Oro

  • Where: 675 W Highland Ave Sierra Madre, California
  • Why: Have you dreamed of an Italian Villa destination wedding, but don't want to ask your friends and family to fly half way around the world? You may want to consider Villa sel Sol d'Oro tucked away just northeast of Pasadena, this venue will transport you to the Tuscan countryside.

Adamson House

  • Where: 23200 Pacific Coast Hwy Malibu, California
  • Why: Situated between the storied Malibu Pier and Malibu Point, this beautiful Spanish Colonial revival estate has a waterfront location like few other venues. The stunning views, setting and grounds all ensure an unforgettable experience for you and your guests.

San Diego Area

Cal-a-Vie Health Spa

  • Where: 29402 Spa Havens Way Vista, California
  • Why: The historic European ambiance created by the 400 year old French chapel and gardens coupled with the relaxing escape of a renowned spa make this a top choice for a luxury wedding venue that also provides a break from the stress of normal life.

Twin Oaks Garden Estate

  • Where: 236 Deer Springs Rd San Marcos, California
  • Why: This secluded garden venue just outside San Diego provides an intimate, lush oasis for your guests to enjoy.

Darlington House

  • Where: 7441 Olivetas Ave La Jolla, California
  • Why: This beautiful Spanish colonial estate is just steps from the beach just outside central La Jolla. Not only is the estate itself beautiful, but the grounds include a beautiful outdoor patio that's both private and intimate.

The Prado Balboa Park

  • Where: Paseo del Prado San Diego, California
  • Why: The Iconic and historic Mission Revival style campus of Balboa park is an iconic and undeniably beautiful part of the fabric of San Diego. 

Rancho Valencia

  • Where: 5921 Valencia Circle Rancho Santa Fe, California
  • Why: With multiple options for a timelessly luxurious wedding, Rancho Valencia provides an impressive mix of outdoor and indoor settings and an upscale environment for your ceremony and reception.

Santa Barbara

Sunstone Vineyards & Winery

  • Where: 125 N Refugio Rd Santa Ynez, California
  • Why: Escape to the Italian Countryside without even leaving southern California. This rustic tuscan estate provides a stunning backdrop for the most exclusive and beautiful of wedding days.

Riviera Mansion

  • Where: 1332 Santa Barbara St Santa Barbara, California
  • Why: All the historic charm of a grand estate in old Santa Barbara with a private outdoor lawn to give your guests the chance to stretch out and relax.

San Ysidro Ranch 

  • Where: 900 San Ysidro Ln Santa Barbara, California
  • Why: Nestled in the luxurious hills just outside legendary Montecito, San Ysidro ranch offers beautiful outdoor options for wedding ceremonies with grand views of the Santa Ynez Mountains. It also boasts one of the most picturesque lavender fields in all of California, perfect for you and your groom to step away and enjoy a few private moments at golden hour.


Booth Photographics is a fine art wedding photography husband & wife team serving Southern California. We are passionate about blending enduring beauty & authentic storytelling to create timeless wedding photography.

Film Photography, Lifestyle Photography, Travel Photography

Amalfi Coast | The most beautiful (and stressful) trip

Amalfi Coast. Goodness, where should I start? This was the destination I was MOST looking forward to visiting, but I wasn't anticipating the sheer volume of tourists (you know my thing with tourist traps...) and honestly had a tough time getting over that.  Isn't that weird? But really, expectations are the enemy of travel and I hadn't let mine go. Don't be like me :)

Sorrento food tour

We drove to Sorrento, where we did the smartest thing ever and took a food tour. I'm still not over the lemon sorbet, saltimbocca, or the sweet layers of sfoliatelle. More importantly though, food tours have an amazing way of teaching you about the lifestyle and culture in a place and served as our 101 course to Life on the Amalfi Coast. 

We loved our time in Sorrento and during our stay in Nocelle, ended up changing our schedule so we could go back. It was charming and, though a bit touristy, we could easily navigate toward the more local areas.

Driving along the Amalfi Coast

From there, we drove the roads to iconic Positano. What initially reminded me of the breathtaking roads of Highway One in California, soon became a drive of panic-inducing hairpin turns on a single lane road with oncoming tour buses (don't get me started on those blasted tour buses).

As we approached Positano,  we found ourselves in a line of traffic as the Caribinieri worked to reduce the inevitable bottleneck along the winding one way drive through town. Scooters whizzed past us with abandon, waving at the Caribinieri, following an unwritten set of rules somewhere between a car and a pedestrian.

We laced our way through Positano, folding in our side view mirrors so as not to hit parked cars or tourists-really the only way vehicles can make it through the crowded streets.

Our stay in Nocelle

From Positano, we wound our way up the side of a cliff to our Bed and Breakfast in Nocelle, a teeny town just above Positano. We loved our stay there-the views were stunning, the town was quiet, and the 17 flights of stairs  to get there was a great workout! It felt like such a Mediterranean escape.

It was here, though that Stephen got sick and, as he tossed and turned with a fever and nausea, I stayed up all night researching how to drive a stick shift and how to get care in an Italian hospital. (he worked it off and was fine, thankfully!)

Path of the Gods and a beach day!

After Stephen perked up, we hiked the Path of the Gods, grabbed fresh squeezed lemonades, and hit the iconic beach for a bit. It was truly everything I had hoped for in my ideal day in Positano. As we sat at a beachside cafe after hanging out on the Spiagga Grande, I felt the relaxation sink in. 

Exploring historic Ravello and my tourist retribution

After that relaxing day, I wholeheartedly enjoyed our visit to Ravello, where we explored Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone before our client's destination anniversary session. Ravello seemed quieter and I fell in love with it's historic charms! Everywhere I looked, a patina covered every surface, lending a nostalgic feel to every turn in the path. 

After my embittered attitude toward the busloads of gawking tourists, I felt like I got my retribution in Ravello, much to my delight! As I sat in the pedestrian only town square waiting for Stephen to get something from our car, I noticed in wonder as a car zoomed through the tunnel, past the ZTL sign (uh oh...) and into the town square, where the driver stomped on his brakes upon seeing a road now filled with cafe tables, shops, signs, and pedestrians leisurely strolling. I rolled my eyes at first, but couldn't look away. I watched as the couple in the car argued over a map, gesturing wildly to each other and shaking their heads. A small crowd was starting to gather in curiosity, which seemed to stress the driver out.

Finally, the exasperated driver whipped his car into gear and began an approximately 17-point turn to get out of the crowded square. In a final act of frustration, the driver backed up forcefully...SLAMMING into the side of Villa Rufolo! With a shocked look on his face, he accelarated quickly, gunning his way back through the tunnel as a crowd of onlookers stood videoing the poor guy.

I laughed incredulously as the female passenger shielded her face with their crumpled map as they blitzed past us. I felt this teeny sense of justice at their foiled attempt to zoom thoughtlessly through the quiet town, hanging out the window snapping photos...

We explored, marveled, and made notes-to be honest, our time along the Amalfi Coast was the most beautiful but the most stressful. I created a list of tips for a trip back and would love to share those with you too! Sign up below to get our Amalfi Coast travel tips delivered to your inbox and start planning your trip.