Stani Photography: Blog en-us (C) Stani Photography (Stani Photography) Tue, 26 Jun 2018 16:01:00 GMT Tue, 26 Jun 2018 16:01:00 GMT Stani Photography: Blog 120 80 LGBTQ WEDDING AT UC BERKELEY BOTANICAL GARDEN [M+A] blog 2blog 2





I met Amber in 2013 while shooting  their artist portraits for their website. We clicked right away. You know that feeling when you rarely meet really spiritual and happy souls and you want to stay in touch with them after that and follow their creative career.

Four years later I get an email from Monique referred by Amber to be their wedding photographer. Honestly, I was thrilled and I knew this would be a very unique  and emotional day even for me to be a part of it.

This is how they met. Both were attending the Esalen  Retreat Center in Big Sur, CA during the Holiday Season in 2014. Monique was taking a soul motion dance retreat and Amber was taking a tai chi/sound healing retreat. Sparkles bursted right away when they met on the dance floor during the Christmas Eve dance party. It was a magical night and couldn't be more romantic and memorable for them. The first question Amber asked Monique was ‘Don’t  I know you? Haven’t we met before?’. It wouldn't be possible as Monique lived in Hawaii where she was from and Amber in San Francisco at that time. They both shared their coming out stories and dating history in the first hour they met, which they had so much in common. But, it was the first 5 minutes conversation though between two of them that they knew were meant for each other. Their love for sure has a special relationship to hot springs . On April 13, 2017 they drove to Myvatn Nature Baths in Iceland, the most beautiful hot spring they have ever visited . They were pretty much alone in a huge pool and it spontaneously came to Amber to pop the question to Monique. They  tied the knot on May 26th, 2018 in the beautiful rose garden of UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, CA.

Their ceremony was so beautiful and spiritual. The concept was to walk in the circle  and make an eye connection with everyone who came to their wedding day and acknowledge their presence. I thought this was absolutely beautiful and so personal. It made me think that every wedding ceremony should have this moment in it, a moment of presence and connection with the people who we love and appreciate.  “The rose garden was in full bloom, and roses symbolize love. You could smell their heavenly fragrance. The rose garden is also up on a hill, with a view of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. We liked the expansive view. It was Monique's dream to move to the Bay Area--being in the rose garden with the view on the hill felt like being in the heavenly realm of sacred space with wafts of roses. “

20180526_MM_000720180526_MM_0007 20180526_MM_001020180526_MM_0010 20180526_MM_006720180526_MM_0067

a personal moment

20180526_MM_007320180526_MM_0073 20180526_MM_007520180526_MM_0075

blog 2blog 2

The gorgeous bridal bouquet and the bouttenniere were by Vanessa from Bell and Trunk Flowers   Amber's suit was custom made by Thùy Custom Clothier



Monique was proud to wear on her wedding day her grandma pearls. 

20180526_MM_012320180526_MM_0123 20180526_MM_014620180526_MM_0146 20180526_MM_018220180526_MM_0182

connecting with each other though touching each other heart


Monique makes eye contact with Amber's mom. Very emotional moment for both of them. 

20180526_MM_010720180526_MM_0107 blog 2blog 2

Walking in through the little gate at the rose garden. Monique walks with her two sons. 


Gorgeous view from rose garden at UC Botanical Garden garden . Golden gate bridge in the far distance. 

blog 4blog 4

connectig with the closest family members 


 I thought their wedding rings with natural gemstones like turquoise were so meaningful and beautiful made by Thomas Carusetta

blogblog 20180526_MM_030320180526_MM_0303

As Monique is Japanese American, the Japanese garden was a very special and significant place for her. 

20180526_MM_030920180526_MM_0309 20180526_MM_032020180526_MM_0320 20180526_MM_032720180526_MM_0327 20180526_MM_033220180526_MM_0332 blog 3blog 3

Bridal Dress by Nicole Miller and  silver/grey suit with eggplant piping, white shirt and iridescent blue/pink/silver vest by Thùy Custom Clothier


cakes made by M+A friend table flowers by Good Eggs

20180526_MM_039420180526_MM_0394 20180526_MM_038820180526_MM_0388 20180526_MM_034920180526_MM_0349 20180526_MM_036020180526_MM_0360 20180526_MM_038220180526_MM_0382 20180526_MM_039920180526_MM_0399

blog 10blog 10

Catering and Wedding Coordinator by  Simon from S&S Gastro Grub Catering

blog 4blog 4

Wildflowers on the tables by Good Eggs and guest favorites by Upcountry Maui Jams and Jellies



20180526_MM_043220180526_MM_0432 20180526_MM_044120180526_MM_0441 20180526_MM_050320180526_MM_0503

free your voice 



the speeches were even more heartbreaking especially when little kids want to be a part of them


blog 2blog 2 20180526_MM_054420180526_MM_0544 20180526_MM_060220180526_MM_0602

The two moms are connecting. I believe this is a very memorable photo for the family album. 


Congratulations Amber and Monique and Thank You for believing in my work. It was more than an honor to be a part of your wedding day. 

]]> (Stani Photography) gay lesbian lgbt loveislove lovewins queer wedding Mon, 25 Jun 2018 01:35:05 GMT

When I first received an email request from Kimberly about their wedding at Bull Valley Roadhouse in Port Costa, CA  I knew this was going to be a very special and unique day. Fifteen years ago at a job training on February 1st 2003 , Kimberly and Kevin met each other and soon after that they started dating. Nine years ago, on March 20, 2009  while Kevin had been carrying the ring around in his shirt pocket he kneeled and proposed to Kimberly at Union Square in San Francisco where they have spent a lot of time together during the years they dated and with a giant smile from ear to ear she said yes.  

It is special relationship, one that not many of us have the chance to experience it, one that requires a lot of patience and care for each other. In the early years of their relationship, Kimberly would help Kevin over the weekends with some college classes. Kevin would pick her up on a sunny Saturday afternoon and go on a long drives sometimes to san Francisco other times to places that have never been before , just to talk and be together. They have been motivating each other at work and life, both having a wit sense of humor made each other laugh and enjoying life together while creating memories for a lifetime.  Kimberly and Kevin have been sharing more and more similar values while growing up in their relationship through the fifteen years of being together. Values and actions of devotion, patience and care made them realized their destiny together to share lifelong commitment and love. And on February 1st, 2018 in a beautiful sunny late afternoon they promised each other to comfort and protect each other and to love. Forever.

Their ceremony and reception took place at Bull Valley Roadhouse, settled in the historic downtown of Port Costa, CA. If you live in the Bay Area and never heard about Port Costa you know you are not the only one. But if you have a chance to go there you must visit it.

Since, Kimberly and Kevin decided to have a first look photos , we decided to do those at a location closed to Port Costa. Kevin was super nice to check Briones Regional Park in the Martinez side and he wrote me that the place was absolutely beautiful. Knowing from our conversation  that they like nature and they live in the area I thought that this will be the perfect place for their portrait session. I scouted the location before they showed up and found a magical forest with shade and sparkling sunlight coming out of the far distance behind the trees. We did have to walk about ten minutes to the location, but it was all worth it. It was a very special place I thought , so intimate and so spiritual.

Kimberly and Kevin, words can't describe how honored I was to be a part of that very special day for you and your families: THANK YOU , thank you for believing in me and  making me feel like the luckiest photographer to document the story of your love and happiness. Much Love and appreciation....Stani ! 

San Francisco wedding photographerSan Francisco wedding photographer Napa wedding photographerNapa wedding photographer


menu with the  bride and groom names on top and the date of their wedding day

pleasant hill wedding photograherpleasant hill wedding photograher martines wedding photographermartines wedding photographer

First look photos at Briones Regional Park in Martinez , CA . Emotional and excited Kimberly walked behind Kevin. Kevin, thrilled to see his bride and wife to be. 

Bay Area wedding photographerBay Area wedding photographer Walnut Creek photographerWalnut Creek photographer

magic of love and happiness in the middle of the woods 

Walnut Creek photographerWalnut Creek photographer

briones park portraitbriones park portrait Bride and groom portraitBride and groom portrait

bull valley roadhouse weddingbull valley roadhouse wedding Forest weddingForest wedding Briones regional park MartinezBriones regional park Martinez

Bride portraitBride portrait Wedding bouquetWedding bouquet

Kimberly was wearing a gorgeous  art deco kind of dress by Adrianna Papell with her hair down. Holding a beaitiful white wedding bouquet made by Anne Mendenhall 

Fine art wedding photographerFine art wedding photographer Martinez wedding photographerMartinez wedding photographer 20180201_KN_013820180201_KN_0138 20180201_KN_015320180201_KN_0153

Formal Portraits were done before the ceremony so we have some more time for the bride and groom extra photos after, plus teh timeline didn't allow much time for formal portraits after the ceremony.  

bull valley roadhouse weddingbull valley roadhouse wedding

Bull Valley Roadhouse has a permanent  knot where the wedding ceremony takes place. 

20180201_KN_016320180201_KN_0163 20180201_KN_016820180201_KN_0168

20180201_KN_016620180201_KN_0166 bull valley roadhouse weddingbull valley roadhouse wedding

A long table set for 24 guests . menu was printed at the restaurant with family shared plates and decorated with a flower on top of the plate. Simple and Elegant.


20180201_KN_017320180201_KN_0173 20180201_KN_015920180201_KN_0159

Cake was made by Alpine Pastry and Cakes and decorated by the florist Anne Mendenhall . White , navy blue and organic natural elements were the wedding decoration and accents. 

20180201_KN_016120180201_KN_0161 bull valley roadhouse weddingbull valley roadhouse wedding

bull valley roadhouse weddingbull valley roadhouse wedding bull valley roadhouse weddingbull valley roadhouse wedding

bull valley roadhouse weddingbull valley roadhouse wedding

20180201_KN_022220180201_KN_0222 20180201_KN_023020180201_KN_0230 20180201_KN_023120180201_KN_0231 20180201_KN_024120180201_KN_0241

Twenty four of the closets family and friends gathered to celebrate Kevin and Kimberly's love and marriage. 

20180201_KN_025520180201_KN_0255 20180201_KN_026720180201_KN_0267 20180201_KN_027020180201_KN_0270 20180201_KN_028120180201_KN_0281 bull valley roadhouse weddingbull valley roadhouse wedding

bull valley roadhouse weddingbull valley roadhouse wedding bull_valley_roadhouse_wedding_port_costabull_valley_roadhouse_wedding_port_costa










Many thanks to all the amazing vendors who made that celebration possible :

Venue: Bull Valley Roadhouse - Tuala Garcia-Zuazua

Florist: Anne Mendenhall Flowers

Cake: Alpine Pastry and Cakes

Officiant: Scott Gillespie

Bridal Dress: Adrianna Papeell

Shoes: Michael Kors

]]> (Stani Photography) area art bay deco florist francisco marriage planner san simple wedding Wed, 21 Feb 2018 00:08:41 GMT

[the best time of the day for a family portrait session]

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when Jen contacted me on facebook to photograph her family of four this fall. In 2013 , being pregnant myself I photographed Jen and Kevin’s wedding day. Since then, they have stayed in my heart as one of the sweetest couples I had the chance to work with. Now, I had the pleasure to really get to know them as great parents too to some of the most adorable kids I have known.


When we were discussing locations in the Walnut Creek area , the historic Old Borges Ranch came to my mind first. I know kids love farm animals and especially when they can pet them. The ranch is absolutely picturesque and is a great place to create a day with my family story like. From the rustic wooden walls, the cactus next door, the old vintage tractors  to the goats and chickens that are pasturing around the ranch. The place is a beautiful set that has everything that a family can enjoy for couple of hours. It has bathrooms too, parking lot and beautiful hiking trails to Diablo Foothills Regional Park.

Getting there is easy , just be careful that is kind of a one way mountain road, so drive slowly.

I have done session at the Old Borges Ranch before and they all turned out beautiful . The best time is in the afternoon. I prefer shooting there before the rains start in November. September and October are the ideal time if you want to get to images ready for the Holidays. After November , it might be muddy there if it has rained the day before or so. And don’t forget that the time changes with an hour back in the beginning of November. Plus, as closer we get to the holidays the place can get very crowded with other photographers shooting family portraits there last minute( once there was four other photographers there and we have to respect each others time and space of shooting too). Yes, apparently the place is pretty famous among the lifestyle photo community in the Contra Costa County. But who can you blame for it when it has everything to create beautiful portraits with pretty background. Once, we even spotted deers .

Best time to shoot: after 4pm before November and from 3pm-5pm after the Daylight Saving Time ends.

As always my goal is the family I photograph to have a great time as a whole and at the same time these authentic moments to be recorder inside the rectangular frame.

Old Borges Ranch  

1035 Castle Rock Rd, Walnut Creek, CA 94598

20171007_JS_001020171007_JS_0010 20171007_JS_001620171007_JS_0016

20171007_JS_001320171007_JS_0013 20171007_JS_002520171007_JS_0025 20171007_JS_003220171007_JS_0032 20171007_JS_003620171007_JS_0036 20171007_JS_003720171007_JS_0037 20171007_JS_004920171007_JS_0049

20171007_JS_005420171007_JS_0054 20171007_JS_006420171007_JS_0064

20171007_JS_005620171007_JS_0056 20171007_JS_005720171007_JS_0057 20171007_JS_006020171007_JS_0060 20171007_JS_007120171007_JS_0071 20171007_JS_007520171007_JS_0075 20171007_JS_008520171007_JS_0085 20171007_JS_009320171007_JS_0093 20171007_JS_009820171007_JS_0098 20171007_JS_010020171007_JS_0100

20171007_JS_010920171007_JS_0109 20171007_JS_010720171007_JS_0107 20171007_JS_011420171007_JS_0114 20171007_JS_011920171007_JS_0119 20171007_JS_012020171007_JS_0120 20171007_JS_012120171007_JS_0121 20171007_JS_012620171007_JS_0126 20171007_JS_013120171007_JS_0131

]]> (Stani Photography) Thu, 09 Nov 2017 18:38:07 GMT


Where do I begin? I know Vladi since I know my husband. He is  my sister in law’s brother, but I have heard about his charm and adventurous spirit  long before I met him in person. Both Bulgarians living in the States, Diana and Vladi are very free spirted souls. In the late spring of 2014, Vladi decides to quit his job and follow his dreams. He buys a ticket to Bogota, Colombia and begins year long exploration through  South America one country at a time, all the way to Antarctica. During that time one of Vladi’s friends who lives in Chicago introduces him to Diana and in February 2015, she joins him in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This is how it all began.  When he first saw her she captured him with her mysterious beauty of a wild child. Then they visited Uruguay and Brazil. It was just meant to happen. After  coming back to USA Diana moves from Chicago to Orange County where Vladi lives.

In the Christmas night of 2016 Vladi hides a ring in Diana’s Christmas gift box and proposes.

Knowing both of them as happy campers and travelers I can’t imagine having their wedding somewhere else, but in a forest.  They planned their wedding not just in any forest, but at the Giant Sequoias at Kings Canyon National Park. All the guests stayed at Azalea campground, which was absolutely beautiful and bonding experience. The ceremony took place at the magical Sunset Campground Amphitheater and the reception at the picnic area near the Azalea Campground under the grant sequoia trees. It was just the perfect setting for their forest wedding.

To be honest I was quite surprised when they asked me to be their main photographer at the wedding. I really didn’t expect it, as my family was one of the guests too and Nikola was invited to be the ring bearer. And to say it was an honor for me to be their wedding photographer is not enough. When someone I know invites me to photograph their wedding, it means a lot to me. It means trust and appreciation to my art. But that also means that I need to work extra hard  not to disappoint them and to separate work and personal emotions. Plus it was Nikola’s 4th Birthday at that day. So many emotional events in one day.


Diana and Vladi’s wedding was all DIY. You can see from the images how much they put from their heart in it. There were so many personal elements to it. Diana created all the centerpieces and the decorations. Well, when you have a wedding in the middle of the forest it’s also hard to have a wedding planner or a caterer either.  I think that was one of the most creative and beautiful weddings I have photographed. Sometimes, you don’t need a lot to keep it simple and elegant. Boho Chic kind of style, with Bulgarian Live Folk Music and dancing horo , all was merging so well in the enchanted environment of the big trees around.

Not very popular these days , D+V decided to have a touch of authentic Bulgarian traditions in their wedding, like the groom with his entourage  picking up the maid of honor and the best man. Then they dance horo in front of their housing , which in this case was John Muir Lodge where they stayed for the weekend . That is followed by picking up the bride from her lodging, which in this case was one of the cabins near. There the groom’s family and friends are trying to “buy’ the bride - giving money to her parents and guardians in order to let the grom  enter inside and see his bride. Of course this was done all for the entertainment purposes and it was awesome.  Once, Vladi was let inside “the bride’s  house” he had to find one of her shoe and put money in it so it fits the bride’s foot. From there they both exited ‘the house’  and the bride led the horo dance . The guests were having traditional pita bread with honey as symbol for the newlyweds sweet life together.

The wedding ceremony was another elaborate scene from Diana and Vladi’s wedding. It was  full with humor, love and beautiful mixture between western wedding traditions with Bulgarian ones, and some that I have never seen before (such as telling something on each other’s ear  while putting the rings on).

Diana and Vladi’s outfits were custom designed and sewed by their maid of honor Ivanka Georgieva.  Her wedding dress was inspired by the legends about Samodiva . And everything else looked just like a magical fairytale in the forest.  


beautiful white lace was spread in the middle of each table 

20170916_SG_046720170916_SG_0467 20170916_SG_046820170916_SG_0468

Diana made these two wooden tiles by herself. One was for the best man and the maid of honor and the other one for her and Vladi. 


The only heavy weight wooden table in the picnic area served as the newlyweds table. It was just perfect . It was decorated with pine cones and wild dry flowers.

20170916_SG_049720170916_SG_0497 20170916_SG_048720170916_SG_0487


20170916_SG_049620170916_SG_0496 20170916_SG_049420170916_SG_0494


20170916_SG_000220170916_SG_0002 20170916_SG_001020170916_SG_0010 20170916_SG_004920170916_SG_0049

Guests dancing horo in front of John Muir Lodge when picking up the best man and the maid of honor. 

20170916_SG_007120170916_SG_0071 20170916_SG_007220170916_SG_0072 20170916_SG_010920170916_SG_0109

20170916_SG_011020170916_SG_0110 20170916_SG_012120170916_SG_0121

20170916_SG_011820170916_SG_0118 20170916_SG_012820170916_SG_0128 20170916_SG_013420170916_SG_0134

Milen Varimezov plays gaida (bagpipe) when the bride exists 'her house' . 

20170916_SG_013620170916_SG_0136 20170916_SG_013820170916_SG_0138 20170916_SG_014020170916_SG_0140 20170916_SG_014220170916_SG_0142 20170916_SG_014520170916_SG_0145 20170916_SG_015120170916_SG_0151 20170916_SG_016020170916_SG_0160 20170916_SG_016120170916_SG_0161

After Vladi found the right shoe he is trying to put it on Diana's foot and inserts money on the back so the shoe can fit. 

20170916_SG_016620170916_SG_0166 20170916_SG_016820170916_SG_0168 20170916_SG_018120170916_SG_0181

The bride leads the horo dance in front of 'her house' .



And someone broke one of the champagne glasses. But as we it ' The broken brings happiness'.  



The guests are trying the pita with honey for bride and groom's sweet life together.

20170916_SG_021820170916_SG_0218 20170916_SG_022120170916_SG_0221

20170916_SG_022420170916_SG_0224 20170916_SG_024120170916_SG_0241

20170916_SG_024220170916_SG_0242 20170916_SG_024420170916_SG_0244 20170916_SG_025320170916_SG_0253 20170916_SG_025520170916_SG_0255 20170916_SG_025920170916_SG_0259 20170916_SG_026320170916_SG_0263 20170916_SG_026220170916_SG_0262 20170916_SG_028020170916_SG_0280 20170916_SG_027120170916_SG_0271

Some tourists watching the ceremony from the back.

20170916_SG_027420170916_SG_0274 20170916_SG_031220170916_SG_0312 20170916_SG_029520170916_SG_0295

20170916_SG_032220170916_SG_0322 20170916_SG_032320170916_SG_0323


20170916_SG_033120170916_SG_0331 20170916_SG_031420170916_SG_0314 20170916_SG_035420170916_SG_0354

20170916_SG_036920170916_SG_0369 20170916_SG_038220170916_SG_0382 20170916_SG_037720170916_SG_0377

20170916_SG_038520170916_SG_0385 20170916_SG_048620170916_SG_0486

20170916_SG_038920170916_SG_0389 20170916_SG_041820170916_SG_0418

Bride and Groom Photo session at the Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park. 

20170916_SG_040420170916_SG_0404 20170916_SG_040020170916_SG_0400

20170916_SG_041520170916_SG_0415 20170916_SG_042420170916_SG_0424 20170916_SG_042620170916_SG_0426 20170916_SG_043020170916_SG_0430

20170916_SG_043720170916_SG_0437 20170916_SG_043620170916_SG_0436

The bride in front of the Fallen Monarch

20170916_SG_044320170916_SG_0443 20170916_SG_048520170916_SG_0485 20170916_SG_046920170916_SG_0469

]]> (Stani Photography) after bulgarian camping canyon dancing decoration diy enchanted ever fairytale folk forest happily kings live music national park photography planning portraits rings samodiva sequoia wedding Wed, 27 Sep 2017 17:44:03 GMT
MOUNT TAMALPAIS ENGAGEMENT PORTRAIT SESSION: R+U To say I am happy for R and U ( for client's discretion)  who are getting married in a few days is an understatement.  I met R at the same time when I met my love and father of my two boys, George. It was a hot summer wedding in Clearwater Beach, FL, six years ago .  George played the bagpipe, R was the lead singer, and I was the photographer. Who would’ve  thought that one day our lives would continue to cross time and again. When I first heard her singing, she captivated me with her colorful voice. She is one of the most beautiful, multi talented person I know with a lively smile.

Ever since, R would appear in my life and disappear around the world following her dream to become a healer. She volunteered in many humanitarian missions, when she was in dental school.  When I was in my last days of pregnancy with my first son, she came in September to do a headshot portrait  she needed for a residency application.

We met again in September  two years later, when she came to my house for my son’s 2nd birthday party.   It was just before she traveled to Jamaica again to volunteer as a dentist there.

Well, by life’s serendipity all the occasions are happening in September .. she even got engaged in September last year and now she is getting married in September!



When things are meant to happen they happen even  with online dating. This is how it all started, as R and U describe:  ...”with a picture R had taken in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. It happened so that Ulf saw the picture and recognized the place which he had just gotten back from. Over the next few conversations they discovered they have similar views about the world and passions about community, family, dentistry, adventure and food. It was a miracle that their first date actually happened. Growing up in Switzerland, U showed up right on time. Growing up in Bulgaria, R also showed up right on time - about 45 min late. Regardless of the few roadblocks on the way, she drove down to meet U and was pleasantly surprised that he was still there, true to his word, with a smile on his face. Although they met just for drinks, Ulf was impressed that Radka can devour a cheeseburger and fries in record time. "Finally a girl that can eat," is all he said. “  

Then followed a year of dating, full of amazing adventures,  going places, hiking, skiing, and traveling.  “On a beautiful sunny day, R and U went on a mountain bike ride up Mount Tamalpais. They stopped for a picnic to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Little that she knew, U had it all planned out. He knew that R loves Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs. To her surprise, rather than a toy she found The Ring...she agreed on wearing forever.”

I met U for the first time when R asked me to do their engagement photo session. I was impressed by U’s personality and really flattered by their decision to pick me as the photographer.

We chose couple of locations for the engagement session: Muir Beach and Mt. Tamalpais.

Mt. Tam was the place where U proposed R, so it was very special place for them. We went there around sunset and it was mesmerizing , the fog was just showing and created a sea of puffy clouds in the horizon.  

We even found by chance a picnic bench and table where we were able to capture a lovely “ end of day and week” moment  with a glass of red wine and cherries.  It was more than beautiful and so romantic.

20170730_RV_001320170730_RV_0013 20170730_RV_001420170730_RV_0014 20170730_RV_002120170730_RV_0021 20170730_RV_004020170730_RV_0040 20170730_RV_004520170730_RV_0045 20170730_RV_005020170730_RV_0050 20170730_RV_004420170730_RV_0044 20170730_RV_007120170730_RV_0071 20170730_RV_007620170730_RV_0076 20170730_RV_008720170730_RV_0087 20170730_RV_009120170730_RV_0091 20170730_RV_010520170730_RV_0105

RADKA BLOG  2RADKA BLOG 2 20170730_RV_011820170730_RV_0118 20170730_RV_012820170730_RV_0128 20170730_RV_013220170730_RV_0132 20170730_RV_013420170730_RV_0134 20170730_RV_014520170730_RV_0145


20170730_RV_015320170730_RV_0153 20170730_RV_0157-Edit20170730_RV_0157-Edit

20170730_RV_016020170730_RV_0160 20170730_RV_016320170730_RV_0163 20170730_RV_016420170730_RV_0164 20170730_RV_016920170730_RV_0169 20170730_RV_017520170730_RV_0175 20170730_RV_018120170730_RV_0181 20170730_RV_018420170730_RV_0184 20170730_RV_018820170730_RV_0188 20170730_RV_019120170730_RV_0191

]]> (Stani Photography) Sat, 09 Sep 2017 17:47:50 GMT


June 17th, 2017

Mariachi music, salsa dancing, lots of laughing,  tears and beautiful sincere emotions at Sonia and Alex wedding day. 

Sonia and Alex are one of the matchy matchy soul mate couples I am having the chance to work with. And on of the most wonderful people I have met in my life. Both good hearts and all-around kindred spirits as they describe themselves.  When they first contacted me a year ago to book me for their wedding, things just clicked right away between us.  And I knew their wedding will be full with fiesta and tears.    

Sonia and Alex met in 2012 while working on a music together. Alex was the music producer and Sonia was the vocalist. And that's how everything began around music, fun and laugh. It just meant to happen. As Alex says: ‘ I thought Sonia was really beautiful, but not only that, she was also down to Earth and easy to talk to. I almost immediately felt like we had known each other for a long time.’  

Four years after, they both flew to the Bay Area one day where their parents live. Very well planned,  Alex made one of the most romantic proposals to Sonia at the Palace of Fine Arts . With rose petals set by their parents , guitar player playing 'Besame Mucho' and a photographer hiding behind the bushes to capture the moment. Alex got down on one knee and asked Sonia to marry him. Then both sides parents popped out from their hiding places and all drank some champagne and took photos. It was one of the most wonderful  days in their lives.

Sonia and Alex dream wedding took place at the gorgeous  historic wedding venue Mountain House Estate, located  at the rural wine country at Cloverdale. It was just the perfect venue for their wedding day, away from the traffics and hustle in Southern California where the couple lives.

They married, outdoor under the big oak tree at the Mountain House Estate property, surrounded by birds singing, wind breeze touching Sonia’s veil and the leaves of the native trees. A place that bees are buzzing and hills are rolling at sunset time.  Empty canvas to be filled with wonderful memories. Their outdoor Mexican wedding at the Mountain House Estate was just spectacular. Sonia who was born and raised inside the traditions of mexican culture and fiesta created one absolutely beautiful mix of cultural traditions and contemporary wedding inspirations.

_MGL6476-Edit_MGL6476-Edit wedding blog 2wedding blog 2

Sonia reading Alex's vows to her before putting her dress on and tears are coming out of her eyes. What a priceless moment !


One of my favorite backdrops at Mountain House Estate 

wedding blog 11wedding blog 11

 I love that moment of the bridesmaids excitement about Sonia's wedding dress by Essense of Australia design

wedding blog 17wedding blog 17


wedding blog 15wedding blog 15

Personal and elegant. Alex's custom made suit by Indochino  has embroidery inside his jacket with his and Sonia’s initials and their wedding date.


wedding blog 9wedding blog 9

wedding blog 10wedding blog 10

Having a wedding at one location that has separate bridal and groom suits like at Mountain House Estate, allowed me to capture both bride and groom getting ready. 

_MGL6739-Edit_MGL6739-Edit wedding blog 12wedding blog 12

Father and son ready for the Big Day 


Acoustic guitar player at Sonia and Alex wedding ceremony.


Sonia's father escorts her . Very emotional moment! 


It was 100 F that day , but still the big oak tree shade was cooler place to be while saying your vows. 

wedding blog 5wedding blog 5 wedding blog 6wedding blog 6

And the first kiss... 


And presenting you Mr. and Mrs. Noble 


At sunset time after dinner we went to the open field to get some romantic natural light photos of S+A . Just two of them. 

_MGL9921-Edit_MGL9921-Edit _MGL9924-Edit_MGL9924-Edit _MGL9875-Edit_MGL9875-Edit _MGL9905-Edit_MGL9905-Edit _MGL9913-Edit_MGL9913-Edit _MGL9932-Edit_MGL9932-Edit _MGL9812_MGL9812 _MGL9865-Edit_MGL9865-Edit _MGL9846-Edit_MGL9846-Edit


The beautiful flower center pieces were one of the main details of the wedding decor and a reference to the Mexican culture. 

wedding blog 14wedding blog 14 _MGL9351-Edit_MGL9351-Edit

The small sweets bites were one of the top hits of the evening. Beautifully decorated on top of a cart and served in white plates. 


wedding blog 7wedding blog 7

What is a wedding without a glass of champagne...

_MGL8073-Edit_MGL8073-Edit _MGL8162-Edit_MGL8162-Edit

Capturing the moment ... the bridesmaids fixing Sonia's gorgeous wedding dress. 

wedding blog 1wedding blog 1

Mexican inspired wedding decor ... And have you tried Noble Martini? 

wedding blog 13wedding blog 13

decorated buffet tables with beautiful Mexican ceramic pots 

wedding blog 4wedding blog 4

tablecloths were in different vivid colors - purple, yellow, blue 



_MGL8270-Edit_MGL8270-Edit _MGL8178-Edit_MGL8178-Edit

Bridesmaids were wearing grey shade long dresses that were all so beautiful and unique . The flowers by Franceska's Flower and Garden complemented them just perfect. Make up done by Soyi make-up and hair. 





_MGL8541-Edit_MGL8541-Edit _MGL8858-Edit_MGL8858-Edit _MGL8990-Edit_MGL8990-Edit

Images can't describe the emotional moments during the toasts .

wedding blog 2wedding blog 2 _MGL9295-Edit_MGL9295-Edit _MGL9266-Edit_MGL9266-Edit _MGL9421-Edit_MGL9421-Edit

and the first dance ...

IMG_3026-EditIMG_3026-Edit IMG_3185-EditIMG_3185-Edit _MGL9558-Edit_MGL9558-Edit

Dancing to Vivir Mi Vida by Marc Anthony - the perfect song to start the wedding party dancing.

_MGL9690-Edit_MGL9690-Edit IMG_3202-EditIMG_3202-Edit

and we ended up with a quick group photo with all the guests from above the balcony. 

many thanks to the amazing team of wedding vendors who brought that perfect day to life.

Many thanks to the amazing team of wedding vendors who brought that perfect day to life.

Venue: Mountain House Estate

Event Planner: Meghan Magnasco from SoEventful

Event Venue Management: Jenna Britton from theKgroup

Florist: Francesca’s Flowers and Garden

Make up and Hair: Kelly from Soyi

Caterer: Gil Vega Catering   

DJ: DJ Cody from Sutherland Entertainment

Acoustic Guitar: Matthew Fish from Sutherland Entertainment

Officiant: George Crespin



]]> (Stani Photography) boho mexican modern outdoor ranch wedding Fri, 30 Jun 2017 22:21:10 GMT
MOTHER'S DAY IS EVERYDAY [BAY AREA FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER] Confession from a mother or a letter to my mom


Mother’s Day is just around the corner and I am very happy to curate this blog post with most of my favorite images I  took throughout the last few years of my career as a lifestyle photographer of mothers including some self portraits too.  

My mom has been here since November. I don’t know what I would do without her. She has been helping me with my kids and the household, and so many other things, so I can focus more on my business, my inner balance, being a better parent and better artist. She has been my best friend and biggest support ever , and always next to me when I need her. My mom she even left her job and everything back in Bulgaria last year so she can come here temporary and help me with raising two children. Now, I realize that this wasn’t just a help , but it has been a tremendous  reconnection between us two. Getting to know each other in the last six months after all this years living apart , bonded us event deeper as mother and daughter. Now, myself as a mother of two  I realize the sacrifices my mom has made throughout the years for me and my sister. Even now, when I am a grown up woman she still does it. That makes me think how much sacrifices a mother needs to make and for how long? It is not going to be a day or two , or year or two, it’s going to be a life time for sure. But, knowing that someone out there loves us and needs us and that ‘someone’ is our own child  who we are sacrificing everything for makes us - mothers happy  and loved, and that all matters to us. Nothing else.

It took me a while to decide, which images to select to go on the blog post ( and trust me there were much more ). When I began curating them, the first thing that came to my mind was love - sacrifice for love. The look in all those women’s eyes speak about sacrifice and about love,  and about hope , and future, and something sacred, unique, all so special and inseparable from one another.  Looking at those photos I am so personally touched that all those women - some of them clients, some self portraits, and clients who became friends after all , they all allowed me to capture them so closely and intimate  in that very special moment in their life. So vulnerable, so sensitive , so emotional and still so strong and loving.

Mother’s Day is everyday, don’t forget that. I am surrounded by many mothers nowadays and I can see all the sacrifices that day do for their kids. We must respect, love and always remember that they are our best friends, out support and our strength. The mother will always love you, no matter what, where you are and what you do.



mother images  37mother images 37

mother images  40mother images 40 wedding photographer san franciscowedding photographer san francisco

concord photographerconcord photographer mother images   43mother images 43

mother images  42mother images 42 maternity photographer san farnciscomaternity photographer san farncisco

concord photographerconcord photographer mother images  1mother images 1

wedding photographer san franciscowedding photographer san francisco

bay area family photographerbay area family photographer bay area family photographerbay area family photographer bay area family photographerbay area family photographer

walnut creek wedding photographerwalnut creek wedding photographer

mother images  4mother images 4 mother images  34mother images 34

mother images  33mother images 33 mother images  31mother images 31 mother images  44mother images 44 concord photographerconcord photographer mother images  32mother images 32 mother images  23mother images 23 mother images  40mother images 40 mother images  7mother images 7 mother images  8mother images 8 walnut creek wedding photographerwalnut creek wedding photographer

mother images  16mother images 16 mother images  14mother images 14

bay area family photographerbay area family photographer mother images  29mother images 29 mother images  24mother images 24


mother images  13mother images 13 mother images  13mother images 13

walnut creek wedding photographerwalnut creek wedding photographer walnut creek wedding photographerwalnut creek wedding photographer
mother images  28mother images 28

walnut creek wedding photographerwalnut creek wedding photographer mother images  2mother images 2 bay area family photographerbay area family photographer

mother images  36mother images 36


mother images  12mother images 12 wedding photographer san franciscowedding photographer san francisco

wedding photographer san franciscowedding photographer san francisco mother images  16mother images 16 mother images  11mother images 11 mother images  19mother images 19

mini photo sessionsmini photo sessions

mother images  18mother images 18

mini photo sessionsmini photo sessions



]]> (Stani Photography) best family friend friendship kiss love mom mother photographer relationship Fri, 05 May 2017 19:36:05 GMT
BOTANICAL WEDDING NEAR SANTA CRUZ, CA [RANCHO SOQUEL] Leilani and Matt tying the knot in a beautiful fall afternoon

on October 8th, 2016 at the spectacular Rancho Soquel venue in Aptos, CA.


Leilani and Matt’s wedding was really a dream come true. Surrounded by all the close family and friends, love and happiness were all around us. Five years ago L+M met at Palapas Restaurant and Bar on the sea cliff of Aptos, CA. Those five years were filled with adventures and romance in Costa Rica, Kauai, Mendocino, Santa Barbara, Bali and in Santa Cruz where Matt is from. While living in Kauai where Leilani is from, one warm evening at sunset Matt proposed Leilani. Leilani describes it as ‘He made it all so sweet and romantic! I was totally surprised!!’ Knowing both of them for almost a year, I can say that those two lovebirds are just made for each other. The pictures show it all. Leilani - a nature beauty  inside and out and Matt - the man with the gold heart.

Leilani and Ariel who is her maid of honor, best friend and partner in crime since childhood are the owners of Botanic and Lux, a luxurious lifestyle store in the Downtown Santa Cruz . Described by them as ‘a place for dreamers, lovers and seekers of all things beautiful’. So if you are in the area of Santa Cruz or doing a highway 1 trip don't forget to stop by Botanic and Lux. Talking about their live indoor plants business and born and raised in Hawaii,  Leilani has always been surrounded by nature and flowers. No wonder, she choose Rancho Soquel for the place to say ‘I do’ .  A place in first sight that can be a botanical garden or part of an excotic island. For her wedding day they both wanted everything to be as simple as possible, but the same time to be fresh, elegant and authentic.

Leilani's hair and make-up were done by the talanted Briena Gleitsman 
20161008_LK_000320161008_LK_0003 20161008_LK_001220161008_LK_0012 20161008_LK_000420161008_LK_0004 20161008_LK_001320161008_LK_0013
20161008_LK_001520161008_LK_0015 20161008_LK_001720161008_LK_0017 20161008_LK_001820161008_LK_0018 20161008_LK_002020161008_LK_0020
lei  lei  28lei lei 28
Debbie, Lei's mother in law giving her a special gift to her - a silver necklace she got it in Macedonia for her. Very original and pretty! 
20161008_LK_002720161008_LK_0027 20161008_LK_002820161008_LK_0028
20161008_LK_001120161008_LK_0011 20161008_LK_003020161008_LK_0030
20161008_LK_003320161008_LK_0033 20161008_LK_003420161008_LK_0034 20161008_LK_003520161008_LK_0035 20161008_LK_003620161008_LK_0036
lei  lei  4lei lei 4
20161008_LK_003920161008_LK_0039 20161008_LK_004320161008_LK_0043 20161008_LK_004220161008_LK_0042 20161008_LK_004620161008_LK_0046
lei  lei  5lei lei 5
Leilani's hair and make-up were done by the talanted Briena Gleitsman 
lei  lei  6lei lei 6
Wedding dress by Stone Cold Fox , Bridal bouquet by Willi Wildflower 
lei  lei  1lei lei 1
After the first look Matt opened a bottle of champagne that he got it at the day of their engagement and kept it to the day of the wedding to open it up. This was a very special moment.
Proteas were chosen for the main accent flower of the wedding day. It is special and exotic flower. In the Hawaii culture is consider as a symbol of hospitality and grace. The beautiful bridal bouquet and the bridesmaids' proteas were done by Willi Wildflower
20161008_LK_006620161008_LK_0066 Leilani is one of those people that makes everything looks so easy and simple around her. Her smile is captivating. People wants to be around her and that explains her big bridal party of all that awesome people I had the honor to meet and photograph that day.  The bridesmaid dresses were one of my favorite accents of the wedding theme. Long dresses with flower prints on them , but all uniquely designed from one another by Show Me Your Mu Mu.
While to complement the lady’s more elaborated fashion style the groomsmen were dressed with dark grey pants and plain white shirt. 20161008_LK_007020161008_LK_0070 20161008_LK_007220161008_LK_0072 20161008_LK_007420161008_LK_0074 lei  lei  7lei lei 7 20161008_LK_008120161008_LK_0081 20161008_LK_008220161008_LK_0082 20161008_LK_008420161008_LK_0084 lei  lei  8lei lei 8 20161008_LK_009020161008_LK_0090 20161008_LK_009120161008_LK_0091 20161008_LK_009220161008_LK_0092 20161008_LK_009420161008_LK_0094 20161008_LK_009520161008_LK_0095 20161008_LK_009720161008_LK_0097 20161008_LK_010320161008_LK_0103 lei  lei  18lei lei 18
The center pieces are by Botanic and Luxe
lei  lei  19lei lei 19
Catering by Feast for a King Catering 
20161102_LK_0002-Edit20161102_LK_0002-Edit 20161102_LK_001420161102_LK_0014

The beautiful invitations were printed by Wedding Paper Divas and the Thank you card was designed and printed by me, the photographer. 

lei  lei  21lei lei 21

The guests name tags were handwritten by Matt’s talented step sister Margo. All the little, but important elements were in a botanical theme. Cake by Jennifer Fontes.  20161008_LK_012620161008_LK_0126 lei  lei  10lei lei 10

20161008_LK_011620161008_LK_0116 20161008_LK_012820161008_LK_0128 20161008_LK_012920161008_LK_0129 20161008_LK_013120161008_LK_0131 lei  lei  14lei lei 14
lei  lei  13lei lei 13 lei  lei  15lei lei 15
lei  lei  22lei lei 22 lei  lei  23lei lei 23
invitation 2invitation 2



One of the most authentic elements at the wedding were the inherited ring from Leilani’s grandma whose mom gave it to her at the day of the wedding and Matt’s cufflinks from his grandpa given to him by his mom as well.  

20161008_LK_016320161008_LK_0163 20161008_LK_016520161008_LK_0165

20161008_LK_015420161008_LK_0154 lei  lei  20lei lei 20 20161008_LK_0674-Edit20161008_LK_0674-Edit
20161008_LK_022720161008_LK_0227 20161008_LK_016020161008_LK_0160
_MGL2884_MGL2884 20161008_LK_000120161008_LK_0001
invitation 3invitation 3
20161008_LK_018220161008_LK_0182 lei  lei  11lei lei 11 lei  lei  12lei lei 12 20161008_LK_018920161008_LK_0189

One of the best parts of the party night was the father -daughter dance.

invitation 4invitation 4

Leilani’s mom dancing Hula dance, a hawaiian traditional dance. It as an ancient dancing , Aloha in action. Beautiful! 

invitation 5invitation 5 invitation 6invitation 6 invitation 8invitation 8 invitation 7invitation 7 invitation 9invitation 9 20161008_LK_022320161008_LK_0223
Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Zehnder!
]]> (Stani Photography) Sun, 20 Nov 2016 01:33:38 GMT
GETTING MARRIED IN THE COMMUNE [LA SELVA BEACH WEDDING] Cheers to love, laughter and happily ever after for

Madelaine and Scott

May 28th, 2016


I am so excited to share my experience from Madelaine and Scott’s commune wedding.  I got a call from Scott one day that they are looking for a photographer for their wedding. It’s not very common to get a request by the groom. He sounded pretty excited about it and of course he was getting married to the love of his life.

Since they live away from me in Santa Cruz we had our first face to face meeting over a skype video call.  We clicked right away. Of course we did. We all used to live on the L train line in New York and we have a lot of life experience to share with. Who knows maybe we had bumped into each other in the subway without knowing it.

S+M’s story is a destiny. Both newlyweds are from California, whose lives came across at a bar in Brooklyn, NY. However, as it says the home is where your heart is. They moved back to the ocean side of beautiful California in the city of Santa Cruz where they settled down.  Cuba was the place where Scott proposed to Madelaine at Las Jardines de la Reina. This is how their journey began with planning their wedding party at Madelaine’s family house - The Commune at La Selva Beach.  

S+M are one of the sweetest couples I have had the chance to meet and photographed. They wanted a simple outdoor wedding in a location closest to their hearts. And they wanted a big wedding where they can enjoy as much time as possible with all their family and friends. The Commune was the the perfect place for their wedding day. They chose Memorial Day Weekend for their wedding date, so the guests can fully experience the wedding weekend at La Selva Beach.

wedding signwedding sign

hippie weddinghippie wedding

bride with cellphonebride with cellphone wedding datewedding date

la selva beach weddingla selva beach wedding fine art wedding photographyfine art wedding photography

M+S decided to do have their photos and the formal photos made before the ceremony. The first look was the perfect way to start it! 

first look photos la selva beachfirst look photos la selva beach first look photos la selva beachfirst look photos la selva beach first look photos la selva beachfirst look photos la selva beach

bay area wedding photographerbay area wedding photographer walnut creek photographerwalnut creek photographer


bridal portrait with poppiesbridal portrait with poppies

bridal portrait in ranchbridal portrait in ranch la selva beach weddingla selva beach wedding

walnut creek photographerwalnut creek photographer

Can't say no to a dog in a photo especially with a name Porkchop. 

formal group wedding portraitsformal group wedding portraits

Photo of all the three families living at The Commune. 

walnut creek photographerwalnut creek photographer bridesmaids la selva beach weddingbridesmaids la selva beach wedding

outdoor weddingoutdoor wedding

DIY wedding table decoration for an outdoor reception. 

diy wedding decoration californiadiy wedding decoration california diy wedding decoration californiadiy wedding decoration california



wedding guest tag ideaswedding guest tag ideas wedding reception menuewedding reception menue

All 208 name tags were hand written.

oak and rye pizzaoak and rye pizza All the catering was handled by Oak and Rye Pizza. The woodfire pizza oven was one of the dining attractions at the wedding.  oak and rye pizzaoak and rye pizza

santa cruz wedding photographysanta cruz wedding photography While waiting for the ceremony to start Madelaine was enjoying drink and talk with her friends.  la selva beach weddingla selva beach wedding

la selva beach weddingla selva beach wedding santa cruz wedding photographysanta cruz wedding photography

santa cruz wedding photographysanta cruz wedding photography

The boys and girls houses were accross each other. Capturing lots of candid shots was the must at the wedding, so much was going on around it! 
best bay area photographersbest bay area photographers best bay area photographersbest bay area photographers california weddingscalifornia weddings 20160528_SS_000920160528_SS_0009

california weddingscalifornia weddings best bay area photographersbest bay area photographers

kids at weddingkids at wedding ...and there was plenty of fun for the kids too around The Commune!  20160528_SS_001720160528_SS_0017 california weddingscalifornia weddings california weddingscalifornia weddings And here comes the beautiful bride... walnut creek weddingswalnut creek weddings wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach I thought I was the only photographer at the wedding. I always try to capture the face of the groom when his wife to be very soon is walking the aisle. It's one of the must have photos for the wedding album. You never know who else will be inside the frame.  best bay area photographersbest bay area photographers wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach and tears are rolling over her face from happiness and emotions.. wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach 20160528_SS_002920160528_SS_0029

You know what love means when his eyes are shining so much.  wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach Funny and real stories are the best during the wedding vows! 

wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach

and sometimes some of the sweetest guests fall asleep during those speeches.. wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach 20160528_SS_003420160528_SS_0034 wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach Madelaine and Scott ceremony was under a big oak tree where she used to play there as a free spirited child surrounded by vegetable farms and the golden hour of the warm Californian sunset.  20160528_SS_003620160528_SS_0036

wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach It calls sister's love... wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach 20160528_SS_004120160528_SS_0041 non traditional weddingnon traditional wedding wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach

The ring bearers... so cute and so little and so in style...It's the image when the bride gives a kiss to the youngest at the wedding. Oh, darling.. they are so adorable!  wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach commune weddingcommune wedding commune weddingcommune wedding commune weddingcommune wedding

and the first kiss...

non traditional weddingnon traditional wedding commune weddingcommune wedding 20160528_SS_007420160528_SS_0074 commune weddingcommune wedding commune weddingcommune wedding non traditional weddingnon traditional wedding

california weddingscalifornia weddings

There were lots of wine and champagne and an oyster bar by Bill the Oyster Man. Guests were enjoying the nice outdoor weather, mingling with each other.  20160528_SS_001920160528_SS_0019

20160528_SS_012720160528_SS_0127 non traditional wedding cateringnon traditional wedding catering wedding cake bakery bay areawedding cake bakery bay area

All 20 cakes were homed backed 

cocktail hour at sunsetcocktail hour at sunset cocktail hour at early afternoon sunsetcocktail hour at early afternoon sunset cocktail hour at early afternoon sunsetcocktail hour at early afternoon sunset cocktail hour at early afternoon sunsetcocktail hour at early afternoon sunset cocktail hour at early afternoon sunsetcocktail hour at early afternoon sunset vintage weddingvintage wedding

commune weddingcommune wedding commune weddingcommune wedding

Thank you M+S for sharing this joyful day with you! Cheers! 

]]> (Stani Photography) . best ceremony champagne cheese commune couples cruz diy family friends happiness love marriage married marry oak outdoor oyster pizza rye santa smiles tree wedding wine Mon, 06 Jun 2016 22:41:55 GMT

location: Mount Diablo near Clayton, CA 

As I didn’t feel taking any photos while I was pregnant I really wanted to take photos of all the pregnant women that I know.  I had no energy to that at that time though. Well, I did that months after I gave birth. Suddenly, many of the women around me were expecting a second child. Now, a mother of two I invited them to a group maternity shot. Curious, how an image with group of pregnant women will look like. Should I do it in a studio or outdoor? Should they be naked or all dressed up? I decided outdoor and let them choose  how they want to be photographed. It wasn’t a documentary work where I could portray what really feels to be pregnant and what pregnant women have to deal with nine months in their life.  It was staged where women should look beautiful and like themselves when they the image. I only needed one image. 


flower crown from red rosesflower crown from red roses


flower crown from plum blossom treeflower crown from plum blossom tree


maternity portrait  like paintingmaternity portrait like painting

maternity group portrait with flower crownsmaternity group portrait with flower crowns

I thought that as a metaphor for beginning of  a new life,  spring was the best season of the year for the photoshoot. After, raining so much this year in the Bay Area everything was blooming, the grass was saturated green , flowers all over the hills and a nice fresh air is coming out of all the leaving flora  around after the rain. It’s a great opportunity for spring photos here.

Pregnancy is a very special time for us women. It lasts only nine months. Women are glowing during that time.  A new life will be born. We, women feel beautiful and realize that this is not going to last forever and ever. At least I felt like that when I was pregnant both times. Women are Goddesses. That’s how I envisioned that photoshoot.

pregnant women depicted as goddessespregnant women depicted as goddesses group maternity in naturegroup maternity in nature pregnant women dressed in lace dressespregnant women dressed in lace dresses maternity portrait in white dressmaternity portrait in white dress pregnant woman in her thirtiespregnant woman in her thirties maternity portrait in flower dressmaternity portrait in flower dress

happy maternity group portraithappy maternity group portrait portrait best friends pregnantportrait best friends pregnant concord maternity photographerconcord maternity photographer


]]> (Stani Photography) belly crowns diablo flower maternity mount nature pregnancy spring Thu, 05 May 2016 22:20:33 GMT
ONE DAY FAMILY TRIP TO POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE, CA [FAMILY-TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY] Where in California you can see in one place a whale, elephant seal, tule elks and a historic lighthouse? 

 At Point Reyes  of course. 


Point Reyes has been in my to do travel list destination for a quite awhile. After I gave birth to Damian  we haven't had so many opportunities for traveling with hiking and sightseeing. Now, when he is more than nine months old I felt much more confident to do such trips with the kiddos.  Plus my grandma is here from Bulgaria, which is another good excuse for such trips.

George and I visited it once when I was pregnant with our first son in the summer of 2013. But now , it was different. I felt much more energetic and enthusiastic to even make some photos there. That day we were very organized as unusual. We left the house at 8 am, stopped for a coffee at Bovine Bakery in the small town of  Point Reyes Station, CA  and got at the lighthouse parking lot at 10:15am. No traffic, just a green grass all over the road, farms and fresh spring air.

We had a plan that day. Wow, making plans with two small kids? Yes, at least I try and especially that day it worked.  Point Reyes is a very educational place and especially for kids and great outdoor activity location in Marin County for a family weekend. If you are lucky as we were that day you could see a whale swimming in the ocean,the northern elephant seals and a herd of  tule elks.

Oh and the spring. We did the trip in the first weekend of April. Let me tell you everything was so beautiful out there, the hills were covered by all kind of flowers and the air was so fresh.
What makes Point Reyes National Seashore a must see travel destination in Northern California is that  it is the second foggiest place in North America and the windiest place on the Pacific Coast. Driving to the lighthouse in the fog felt like going into the infinity . We saw few deers near the road . We didn't see any cars on the road, so I was wondering if the lighthouse is open. But we saw few deers near the road Once. Once we got to the lighthouse parking lot there were few cars there. Suddenly, after our arrival the parking lot started filling up quickly. In fifteen min the lot was almost full. If you plan a trip to the Point Reyes Lighthouse get there by 10am if you want to really enjoy what the park offers and get to the lighthouse before it closes in the afternoon ( I think 4pm).

It was quite a walk to get to the top. Once we got there at the information building  where you can buy some magnets and other souvenirs we had to go all the way down the stairs to get to the actual lighthouse historic building. Be prepared that climbing up is a harder one. My two and half year old son did it with a little help from us,  so you can do it too.  On the way back we saw whales swimming in the ocean very close to the shore. It was such an exciting moment for all of the tourists there.

The second stop was to see the elephant seals. We had to drive 5-10 min to get there.  We saw them from distance. They were all lying down on the shore. What  a free life those creatures have.

Third and last stop was the northest part of the park where the tule elks were. Although, last time we came here with George we saw them on the way to Drakes Bay. The drive to the north part was about 30 min on a curvy road. Few miles before the end of the road we saw a herd of tule elks on the left side of the road. There were many. Some of them standing up, and some of them laying down. All looking at us. We stopped to see them and take some photos. Not many cars has stopped though. I am glad we did it cause later we didn’t see any. The kids were able to see them too.

Nikola was so excited about the whole trip and he didn’t stop talking about the elks,  and the whales, and the seals in the car on the way back home. The best way for kids to learn is to take them outdoor to where real life lives and see it with their eyes.

]]> (Stani Photography) activities bay children coast costal destination elephants elks family flowers inverness kids outdoor pacific photography point reyes seals seashore station toddlers tomales tourism travel trip vacation Sat, 30 Apr 2016 05:58:05 GMT

If you are looking for a white winter and like having a good time, Lake Tahoe is one of the best places in the Sierra to spend your vacation. This winter whoever went skiing at Tahoe got lucky. White snow was everywhere. I was a bit skeptical but curious about making photos in the middle of the day when the light is strong and the whiteness amplifies it. To my delight pictures turned lovely.

It is hard to predict in the mountain at that time of the year when you will get the best lighting. The sun sets pretty early behind the snow covered hills. A long shadow falls over the ground in the very early afternoon. Winter days are short so you shoot whenever you can and your subjects are available.

Talking about snow, doesn’t snow mean fun? Of course it does, especially if you are visiting Lake Tahoe in the winter for any kind of reason, work, skiing, travel, sightseeing, getting engaged or getting your engagement photos done there. That is just what Margo and Barry did this winter. During their short holiday vacation we did their engagement photos.

engagement session in snowengagement session in snow snow engagement portraitsnow engagement portrait lake tahoe engagement portraitlake tahoe engagement portrait kings beach engagement sessionkings beach engagement session

Living in Santa Cruz Margo and Barry get plenty beautiful sunsets over the Pacific, but they don’t get to see snow there.  Being at Lake Tahoe they had the unforgettable opportunity to have their engagement photos done on a snow. That is what winter is all about - chilly weather and heartwarming memories…

Before the photoshoot I did a little location scouting as I thought I would find a better location than the center of the North Tahoe. It happened that the other places I looked were either in shade or the snow has disappeared because of the tides or the tall trees where it snowed less.  One of the best places I found at Lake Tahoe was the end of Kings Beach, it’s a little wilder than the rest of the beach especially in the winter. Ideal for photographing portraits. There are birch trees, rocks and some sand of course, and a lot of open space facing the entire lake.

happy couple at lake tahoe californiahappy couple at lake tahoe california winter portrait in californiawinter portrait in california

My intention with that photo shoot was to capture the joy of loving hearts surrounded by a beautiful landscape. If you think snow balls are only for kids, think again! Adults can have lots of fun in the snow!  It was cold, but just being under the sun with such beautiful people and a camera in my hands made me run around and trying to capture every single moment of happiness and emotions I saw through my viewfinder. We all had a lot of fun that day.​

I hope you enjoy this winter tale in pictures.



lake tahoe winter engagementlake tahoe winter engagement fun at lake tahoefun at lake tahoe kings beach, ca engagement portraitskings beach, ca engagement portraits

skiing at tahoeskiing at tahoe covered with snow portraitcovered with snow portrait lake tahoe winter weddinglake tahoe winter wedding

winter funwinter fun winter lovewinter love getting married at lake tahoegetting married at lake tahoe engaged at lake tahoeengaged at lake tahoe fine art wedding photography kings beachfine art wedding photography kings beach married at nevada california bordermarried at nevada california border tahoe wedding photographertahoe wedding photographer lake tahoe wedding photoslake tahoe wedding photos trukee wedding photographytrukee wedding photography

engagement ring at lake tahoeengagement ring at lake tahoe snowman at lake tahoe shoresnowman at lake tahoe shore documentary wedding photographydocumentary wedding photography

how to dress for a winter snow engagement sessionhow to dress for a winter snow engagement session

south lake tahoe wedding photographysouth lake tahoe wedding photography

concord wedding photographerconcord wedding photographer

bay area wedding photographerbay area wedding photographer

awesome snow engagemnet  portraitsawesome snow engagemnet portraits best engagement portraits at lake tahoebest engagement portraits at lake tahoe dressing in mountain styledressing in mountain style


]]> (Stani Photography) fun photos play playfull snow snowman winter Fri, 08 Apr 2016 21:51:14 GMT
SANTA CRUZ ENGAGEMENT PHOTO SESSION [THE FOREST OF NISENE MARKS STATE PARK] Hawaiian girl and Santa Cruz boy are tying the knot this fall season.

One of the reasons I love living and working in California is that I can shoot outdoor almost the entire year. I did that free spirited engagement shoot in the beginning of December near Santa Cruz, CA. 

engagement photography portraits inside a riverengagement photography portraits inside a river

I got introduced to Leilani and Matt by Matt’s mother whose engagement photo session I did few years ago. Actually, it wasn’t exactly an engagement session, but I would call it a Forever Love photo session. A photo session for people who got married a long time ago and want to have a record of their special relationship.

Currently, all my clients who book me for more than 4 hours of a wedding coverage have an option: either to get a complimentary engagement session or have an extra hour  at their wedding day. As most of the couples I speak for first time Leilani and Matt  weren’t very enthusiastic about an engagement photo session too. After, I explained to them how important this is going to be for us to get to know each other and that they will not have enough time at their wedding for being in front of the camera by themselves for hour or two hours, they realize how important this was for their relationship as well.

The first thing in my mind about photographing someone at the Santa Cruz area was the beach and the water, surfing and swimming, chasing and laughing. I know it may sound cliche, but the images always turn out great! However, being born and raised in Hawaii , Leilani preferred something that reminds her to the nature there and where she met Matt. The organic and spiritual style of these two beautiful people who decided to connect their lives forever took me in the middle of The Redwoods - at the magical Forest of Nisene Marks  State Park near Aptos, CA.

First we started shooting under the big redwood trees. However, our main goal was to find the little creek there where we could take some photos of them. Believe it or not finding the little creek was a quiet mystery.

couples photographed in watercouples photographed in water engagement session in riverengagement session in river wedding photography in waterwedding photography in water engagement photography inside waterengagement photography inside water couple portrait in watercouple portrait in water

portrait of a woman inside a waterportrait of a woman inside a water

It was the beginning of December and it was still quite chill out there, especially under the tall redwoods.  But that didn’t bother the beautiful Leilani who stepped inside the cold water and walked like she has been doing this since, like a fish.

The scenery was absolutely beautiful. There was this big wall covered with plants and you kind of have a feeling of being inside a botanical garden or an exotic place where all kind of different trees and plants are growing.

I really like the simplicity of the preparation for the photo shoot. A white long dress suggesting pureness brought from their vacation in Bali, a flower crown and a warm pinkish blanket. Fresh and Natural.  

This engagement photo session is another pure example where all the pieces come together as one - location, props and styling.

portrait of a beautiful woman walking in the waterportrait of a beautiful woman walking in the water engagement photography in riverengagement photography in river

engagement ring diamondengagement ring diamond bay area fine art wedding photographybay area fine art wedding photography

bay area wedding photographybay area wedding photography walnut creek corporate photographywalnut creek corporate photography


bay area organic wedding photographybay area organic wedding photography vintage engagement portraitvintage engagement portrait


santa cruz engagement portraits in white dresssanta cruz engagement portraits in white dress couple in the redwoods of californiacouple in the redwoods of california santa cruz engagement phortraitssanta cruz engagement phortraits bay area wedding photographybay area wedding photography engagement portrait in blanketengagement portrait in blanket december engagement sessiondecember engagement session

getting married in the fall in californiagetting married in the fall in california getting married outdoorgetting married outdoor getting married in californiagetting married in california pretty woman engagement portraitpretty woman engagement portrait getting married in the forestgetting married in the forest diamond wedding ringdiamond wedding ring

redwoods engagemnet portraitsredwoods engagemnet portraits

getting engaged at the redwoodsgetting engaged at the redwoods sexy engagement portraitssexy engagement portraits

redwood wedding photographyredwood wedding photography santa cruz engagement phortraitssanta cruz engagement phortraits beauty portraits in the forest muir woodsbeauty portraits in the forest muir woods

fairy tale beauty portraitsfairy tale beauty portraits santa cruzsanta cruz

santa cruz wedding photographersanta cruz wedding photographer santa cruz engagement photographysanta cruz engagement photography santa cruz engagement photographysanta cruz engagement photography santa cruz engagement phortraitssanta cruz engagement phortraits

]]> (Stani Photography) California be bride coast creek engagement exotic free hawaiian hippy hipster jungle mermaid natural nature organic outdoor planner planning redwoods ring river shore spirit to water wedding your Thu, 17 Mar 2016 06:02:56 GMT

got married in November 2015 


I didn’t have the chance to meet in person with Andrew and Fatima prior to our photo session as I usually prefer to do with all my clients. We only had exchanged few emails and had spoken on the phone. But when I met them at the day of their wedding ceremony it felt like we knew each other from years. Andrew is a pilot and he was dressed up with his official uniform. Fatima looked as if she was a Persian princess with her prince. Both were very elegant.


Getting married at San Francisco City Hall is always beautiful to photograph, especially in the  autumn.  The sun is low and creates a warm backlight when doing the bride and groom portrait session outside in the City Hall surrounding. The leaves of the trees appear in a brownish golden tones.


That day San Francisco City Hall wasn’t crowded as usual with people getting married.  The main stairway was closed for an event and we weren’t allowed to take photos there.  Despite of that we asked the planner and I was able to snap some shots of the couple there.  We had to improvise because the time and space we were allowed was very limited. In retrospective, it might’ve been a good circumstance of serendipity, because thinking on our feet in an already emotional situation sparked my imagination. I’ll let you enjoy the wedding images and decide for yourself how it turned out.

wedding ceremony at san francisco city hallwedding ceremony at san francisco city hall

wedding ceremony at san francisco city hallwedding ceremony at san francisco city hall

wedding ceremony at san francisco city hallwedding ceremony at san francisco city hall wedding ringwedding ring wedding ceremony at san francisco city hallwedding ceremony at san francisco city hall san francisco city hall wedding photographysan francisco city hall wedding photography wedding ceremony at san francisco city hallwedding ceremony at san francisco city hall

wedding ceremony at san francisco city hallwedding ceremony at san francisco city hall formal portraits at the city hallformal portraits at the city hall


getting married at san francisco city hallgetting married at san francisco city hall


candid photographycandid photography bride walking down the stairsbride walking down the stairs bride walking down the stairsbride walking down the stairs

bridal portraitbridal portrait bride looking through the windowbride looking through the window
san francisco city hall wedding photographysan francisco city hall wedding photography san francisco city hall wedding photographysan francisco city hall wedding photography
san francisco city hall wedding photographysan francisco city hall wedding photography san francisco city hall wedding photographysan francisco city hall wedding photography
bride and groom silhouette  photosbride and groom silhouette photos bay area wedding photographerbay area wedding photographer
fine art wedding photographyfine art wedding photography san francisco city hall weddingsan francisco city hall wedding
san francisco city hall weddingsan francisco city hall wedding san francisco city hall weddingsan francisco city hall wedding

san francisco city hall exitsan francisco city hall exit photojournalistic wedding photographyphotojournalistic wedding photography backlit wedding portraitsbacklit wedding portraits

bridal shoesbridal shoes wedding rings on a fall leavewedding rings on a fall leave

san francisco city hall wedding photographysan francisco city hall wedding photography

photos of bride and groom in front of city hallphotos of bride and groom in front of city hall photos of bride and groom in front of city hallphotos of bride and groom in front of city hall

catching the bouquetcatching the bouquet bridal bouquet white rosesbridal bouquet white roses wedding rings on top of flowerswedding rings on top of flowers cheers to the bride and groomcheers to the bride and groom

]]> (Stani Photography) Iranian Persian autumn brown close colors couple elopement engagement event fall family love relationships rings special wedding Tue, 01 Mar 2016 20:48:19 GMT

This cute little miracle was born on January 1st, what a great start to the New Year , isn’t it? Personally, I was expecting to hear he was born every single day during the Holidays. And here is  the call on the 1st day of the New Year. I got very excited about that.

I  shot this session an year ago, just after I found  out I was pregnant with my second child.  I didn’t know his gender at that time. As you can imagine shooting newborns at the time of being pregnant could be very personal. You have so many  thoughts in your head. Like  what’s going to be with two kids , is Nikola going to have a baby brother or baby sister..., questions without answers at that time. So The Andrews family was pretty inspiring to me to watch them so happy and thrilled with the birth of their second son and how much joy that brings to a family. It was a life-time moment to me watch and capture the older brother holding in his hands the new addition to the family - the little Coen. At that moment I was imaging Nikola holding his brother or sister in his hands and what his reaction would be.

After all I thought that was the best start of the New Year to me as a mother and a photographer. 


]]> (Stani Photography) baby breastfeeding family first four grandma grandparents love newborn nursing of parenthood siblings Mon, 11 Jan 2016 20:31:20 GMT

born on Oct 23rd at 10:46am, 6lbs, 10.9oz and 19.49in

This super sweet newborn photo session I shot last year in the fall, in the busiest photo season for photographers where is a luxury  sometimes to edit and write a blog post. So, I decided to post the images when baby Gavin turns 1 year old on Oct 23rd, 2015. Happy 1st Birthday Gavin :) !!  

With those  images I did a little bit different than I usually do with my photos. I tried different presets that I thought would look great on some of the photos. The parents photos with their newborn son were shot in a room with not a lot of light and the red sweater was reflecting a lot on the red side , so I converted the photos in black and white and sepia. At that way I am not showing the lack of color correction in the photos.  As an artist sometimes you have to be creative in order to achieve the desired perfect image. 


]]> (Stani Photography) California angel area baby bay be bumb center concord creek family francisco lafayette maternity mom moraga naked newborn orinda parents photography portraits props san the to walnut Fri, 23 Oct 2015 07:30:00 GMT




My son Nikola is 2 now! He is a real Toddler. For sure he has changed a lot in the last months. He is more serious, holds my hand when we walk on the street instead of running around, talk a lot and his favorite sentence is ‘I want’. I am still reading ‘The happiest Toddler on the blog’ by Dr. Harvey Karp  and still trying to practice all his advices in the book, some work some don’t. Well, although this age is described as ‘the terrible twos’ my experience as a mother of a toddler is that they are the cutest things on this planet. They can surprise you all the time with something new they have learned intentionally or unintentionally.   

Since, Nikola turned one he has been obsessed with the song ‘Wheels on the bus go round and round’ and all the youtube animated video clips ( we try to limit those as much as we can), plus all the buses he sees on the street. He is fascinated by all kind of buses he sees on the street. I find this amazing and so pure and  innocent. And of course compare to his First Birthday last year we have a theme for his 2nd birthday this year- a BUS theme.

For this DIY project I got very involved with it this time. And the reason was not only Nikola’s fascination about buses, but also Nikola and George( his father) are born on the same date. Yes,they share birthdays - September 16th. So, I wanted to make something special for my two boys.


I wanted ‘the cake’ to be in the shape of a bus. I did some research what the possibilities are of having something like that for Nikola’s birthday party. Instead of cake I ordered cake pops in the shape of a bus from Kristine of Scrumpoptious in Pleasant Hill. She did an excellent job with molding the school bus exactly as I wanted them to be. let me tell you those cake pops were  super delicious with very little sugar. She did them with pumpkin and vanilla flavor  and all the kids just loved and ate them. Oh, when Nikola saw them he got so excited. He was just the happiest toddler on this planet. He wanted to eat all of the cake pops or the buses as he was saying. Well, he started with the M&M wheels:)

The cake pops were the best idea for a kids; birthday party in my case as a mother of two right now. No mess, no cutting, less sugar, small as a size and designed with your kid’s favorite image. Instead of a big cake with the shape of a bus that is super sweet and most of the parents will probably not even allow their kids to eat it because has a lot of sugar. It will be lots of waste of money and cake.



kids birthday party ideaskids birthday party ideas kids birthday party ideaskids birthday party ideas
kids birthday party ideaskids birthday party ideas

kids birthday party ideaskids birthday party ideas

school bus birthday ideasschool bus birthday ideas

school bus birthday ideasschool bus birthday ideas
school bus birthday ideasschool bus birthday ideas school bus birthday ideasschool bus birthday ideas

school bus birthday ideasschool bus birthday ideas


school bus birthday ideasschool bus birthday ideas

Since Nikola has a yellow school bus, which he broke it I got him a Classic New York City Bus from Amazon for $6.76

school bus birthday ideasschool bus birthday ideas

this is the decorated birthday table where the yellow color is the leading color of the party

school bus birthday ideasschool bus birthday ideas

I got 50 clear plastic disposable cups for $14.50 and paper straws from Amazon for $6.99. The bus stickers bus stickers I ordered from Etsy Sissy’s Planner shop for $1.50 of 20pcs

school bus birthday ideasschool bus birthday ideas

For the party favorites I ordered small board books with beautiful illustrations along with the text of the song ‘wheels on the bus’  by  Jerry Smath from Amazon for $2.10 each

Plain white gift bags from Beverly’s Fabrics 13 pcs for $6, the school and the thank you stamps and inks are from Michael's

Birthday hats from 99 cents store  and birthday candles from Papyrus​

school bus birthday ideasschool bus birthday ideas

The banner was made by George. He drew the bus and the train. I only had to buy the card boards from Michael's for about $5. The idea was mine what to be written on the banner. This way we can add the number of Nikola's years every other year and draw something different and leave his name as Nikola is..., Also we can add more decorations to the name each year. It's fun! 

second birthday ideas cakesecond birthday ideas cake second birthday ideas cakesecond birthday ideas cake

For the adults we got berry and lemon tarts. They were so delicious.

second birthday ideas cakesecond birthday ideas cake

Nikola is excited about the candles and singing Happy Birthday to You

second birthday ideas cakesecond birthday ideas cake

George played Nikola's favorite song.

second birthday ideas cakesecond birthday ideas cake second birthday ideas cakesecond birthday ideas cake

Well, I think next year  the birthday party team will be Thomas the Train.. Little baby brother Damian dressed also in yellow enjoying his big brother;s birthday.

]]> (Stani Photography) bus cake even ideas pops school Wed, 30 Sep 2015 07:19:32 GMT
FAMILY PORTRAITS WITH FALL FOLIAGE IN THE EAST BAY AREA [MARKHAM REGIONAL ARBORETUM] Looking for a fall foliage colors in the East Bay? Check out these beautiful family photo session I did last year in Concord.  ​

]]> (Stani Photography) Tue, 29 Sep 2015 06:25:24 GMT


]]> (Stani Photography) Mon, 14 Sep 2015 08:18:31 GMT


]]> (Stani Photography) bride ceremony city engaged event flowers francisco groom guests hall honeymoon in love photo planning ring san session trendy venue wedding Mon, 14 Sep 2015 05:55:56 GMT