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Creative Live | Brett Florens | My Awakening

I usually don’t blog about these things. I mainly use this blog to speak about my clients and their weddings, but I’m entering a new place in my life and I want to record this for me. Do you remember your first kiss or the first person you fell head over heals for? I feel like that. I feel happy, numb, full of optimism and ready. I feel like I finally reached the mountain top and the secrets of life will be revealing themselves to me. Things became real for me when I walked through the doors of Creative Live and weeks later at the JuneBug Wedding Workshop at the Vibiana in Los Angeles. Seattle was good to me, a warm shout goes out to Brett FlorensSean HoytLaRae LobdellJim Catechi and Eva Blanchard.

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In Seattle | Creative Live | Brett Florens

I don’t  normally add these types of entires, but I’m a little excited. Here I am in Seattle Washington the night before Brett Florens High Fashion, High End Wedding Photography Workshop at Creative Live and I can’t sleep. To be invited to this workshop is really REALLY cool. I have to admit staying focused this week was tough. I was photographing Rosio and Aaron at Baker Beach in San Francisco last night and tonight I’m across the street of Creative Live. Brett Florens is an international wedding photographer from South Africa and to be able to ask him questions about the thing I most love is awesome. I feel honored to be part of this educational movement. A big shout out to Sunny & Mark for their love and support. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram, I’ll be posting images through out the day.

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St. Linus | Cilantro’s Salon | Leticia & Eduardo

Wedding Photography is fun and working with a happy couple is the best. Leticia & Eduardo exchanged their vows at the St. Linus Church in Stockton and they had their reception at the Cilantro’s Salon. It was my first wedding in Stockton and I know it won’t be my last. I’ve met with Leticia & Eduardo several times throughout this year and they were always smiling. Their smiles and giggles were so refreshing that I was alway end up in a better mood after our meeting. The same was true on their wedding day. We laughed as Leticia was getting ready, we laughed on the way to the church and they laughed on the alter. I wish them many years of joy and happiness.

Wedding Photography Carlos Valentino Leticia & Eduardo Photo
Wedding Photography Carlos Valentino Leticia & Eduardo Photo
Wedding Photography Carlos Valentino Leticia & Eduardo Photo

For more images please click HERE

Saint Linus Church

2620 South B St, Stockton CA

Cilantro’s Salon

428 J St. 100 Sacramento, CA

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Capitol Plaza Ballroom | Wedding | Rosio & Aaron

Wedding Hyatt Regency Grand Plaza Ballroom Carlos Valentino PhotoWedding Hyatt Regency Grand Plaza Ballroom Carlos Valentino PhotoWedding Hyatt Regency Grand Plaza Ballroom Carlos Valentino PhotoWedding Hyatt Regency Grand Plaza Ballroom Carlos Valentino PhotoWedding Hyatt Regency Grand Plaza Ballroom Carlos Valentino PhotoDealing with hot gorgeous couples is never an issue for me, however dealing with a heat wave on the day of the wedding, is a different story. Rosio and Aaron‘s wedding took place on one of the hottest day of the year, it was 106! On any given wedding day, I would typically meet the Groom and the Groomsmen for photographs, before I see the Bride. Usually we’ll go outside, take a few fun photos of the fellas while they tell jokes, have a drink and a cigar, however that didn’t happen. To make sure that none of the men had heat stroke, we shot must of the session inside. Could you image wearing a suit and tie on a day like this? The only suit that is bearable on a 100+ day would be a Speedo! In retrospect, that would have made for a great picture! Later that afternoon, I met Rosio and the Bridesmaids at the Hyatt Regency. The plan was to photograph the Bridal party at Capitol Park but instead of going outside and melting, the fantastic staff of the Hyatt Regency saved the day by allowing us a few minutes for portraits up at the Capitol View Room, what a fantastic view. After the (“I’Do’s) we snuck out of the Capitol Plaza BallRoom and made our way to Cesar Chavez Park hoping for a few quiet Bridal Portraits. Instead the park was hosting “Fiesta en La Calle” and when we walked into the park people cheered and congratulated Rosio and Aaron.  The Groom even had the good fortune to do the money dance with a lady what was enjoying the music at the park, she gave him $20!!!. I love weddings!!

Click to see a slide show

Shout Out:

Hyatt Regency

1209 L Street, Sacramento


Capitol Plaza Ballroom

1025 Ninth Street, Sacramento


Fiesta en La Calle

Cesar Chavez Park

910 I Street, Sacramento


Make Up Artist Ernesto Robledo of


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Capitol Park | Engagement Session | Leticia & Eduardo

Capitol Park Engagement Wedding Carlos Valentino Blog PhotoCapitol Park Engagement Wedding Carlos Valentino PhotoCapitol Park Engagement Wedding Carlos Valentino PhotoCapitol Park Engagement Wedding Carlos Valentino PhotoCapitol Park Engagement Wedding Carlos Valentino PhotoCapitol Park Engagement Wedding Carlos Valentino Photo

I smiled so much at this engagement session, in fact I’m smiling right now! I met Leticia & Eduardo through Amalia & Jorge and I can’t wait to photograph their wedding in August. Their love for one another just radiates and when they smiled I smiled and believe me they smile a lot. I asked Leticia if she could tell me their story and this is what she had to say.

“I could write a book about the things Eduardo and I have done together, the things we have in common, and don’t but we complement each other, etc., etc. but to keep this short, I’ll keep most to myself. Alicia (his sister) and I became really good friends our first year in college and she was the one who introduced us for the very first time. I remember that day when she pointed out her brother at a party, it was back in November of 2004.  He doesn’t believe me, but since I saw him I thought he was very handsome, never really thought about dating one of my friends’ brothers, but here I am about to marry him:) We both attended Sac State at the time and I started to bump into him more often (he doesn’t know this, but it was on purpose because I knew where he worked LOL). About 2 years after being introduced, we were both hanging out at a friend’s apartment that’s when my magical potion FINALLY started giving results:) After that we started dating, who saw that one coming?  I knew he was “THE ONE”.  He is romantic and funny and not only makes me laugh all the time until my stomach hurts, but he makes me happy.  I can’t explain how grateful I am with God for putting him in my life.”

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F.I.T. Drop Out | Wedding Photographer | NYC

Carlos Valentino | New York CityCarlos Valentino | New York City Sky LineCarlos Valentino | The Bird - Will Ryman | New York City-03Carlos Valentino | Taxi | New York City-04Carlos Valentino | Times Square | New York CityCarlos Valentino | Times Square | New York City-06Carlos Valentino | Times Square | New York City-07A potential client asked if I could tell her my story and her request inspired me to right the following. For as long as I could remember I've had big dreams of being a fashion photographer. As a young adult I enrolled in Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC to study Window Design and Photography only to drop out when my son Kevin was born. I have a caring family and my Mom was heavily involved in my life back then and she convinced me that I couldn't make a living as a photographer, so I put away my Nikon F3 and I dropped out of F.I.T. and enrolled in a local community college to pursue a BS degree in Information Technology. In 2006, I, like thousands of other Americans, found myself laid off and in financial crisis. Those days were really hard on my family and the fear of losing my home was very real. The house bubbled when bust, the economy tanked and I saw friends lose their jobs, their business, some their homes and others even lost their marriages. Sunny and I made a pact that we could lose everything, but we would not lose our marriage. In between looking for work, I returned to photography and gambled on a new Nikon D70 and spent my free time reading everything I could find related to photography and on the weekends I assisted wedding photographers for free just for the experience. Learning how to run a business is hard and at one point I was going to quit, but I had the good fortune of reconnecting with a photographer who became my mentor and friend. Today I'm a wedding photographer and I'm loving every minute. I have Brides that like my work, my wife keeps me grounded and my friend Mark keeps me focused and growing with his no nonsense critique which I am ever so grateful for.

PS – Shout out to Richie, Kevin, Joey & Ray for hanging out with me this year in NYC.

PSS – I’m photographing Rosio and Aaron this weekend and the forecast is 106. Their hot but..YIKES!!!!

PSSS – Thank you Sue Bryce for your inspiration.

PSSSS –:)Want to know more about The Bird

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Vizcaya Wedding | Engagement | Nallely & Higinio

I met Higinio over a year ago. He was the best man at Daniel and Alyssa’s wedding. A few months after, I bumped into Higinio again at a local restaurant and he told me that he was engaged and wanted to meet for a consultation. At the meeting I was taken by surprise when he said that he noticed how much I ran around at Daniel and Alyssa’s wedding and he was impressed by the finished product and he liked that I am fluent in Spanish which is something that they were looking for in a photographer. I am honored to say that I will be photographing their wedding later this year. Nallely and Higinio’s engagement session happen to fall on 2nd Saturday and they had a blast dancing in the street to a local band while I photographed them. I asked Nallely if she could tell me their story and here it is in her own words.

“I still remember the first time I saw Higinio. It was at a gas station, even though I knew nothing about him there was something about him that made me go around the parking lot twice. After that day I saw him again at a school party, and coincidently we had a friend in common. That day we talked and this helped us to break the ice a little. In a different occasion we saw each other and we discovered we shared a passion for dancing specially to bachata. Some months after we saw each other again, I was going through a difficult time; I was finishing up school and was going to start looking for a job. I did not know what direction to take in my life, I felt lost and nothing seem to help me figure out what to do with my life. Higinio came along to save me, to show how beautiful life can be when you have someone next to you that will love, support and protect you at all times. Higinio and I complement each other, he is everything I’m not. He is ambitious, considerate, decisive, determined, dynamic, hard-working, honest and a little messy. J Sac State marked my life; this institution not only gave a career but also gave me the opportunity to meet my other half.”

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Bay Area & Folsom Bridal Show | Clos LaChance Winery

Last week I spent my Sunday at the Parc 55 Wyndham Hotel participating in the Bay Area Bridal Fair. My family and I spent the entire day in San Francisco. I spent my day meeting new vendors and talking to potential clients and my wife and little one rode the trolly and had lunch in Chinatown, a win win. A met a bride that was so excited about her wedding venue that I had to look it up when I got home that evening. The venue is Clos LaChance Winery and from the looks of the images it looks heavenly, they even have a Youtube channel. I would really love to photograph a wedding in this venue. If you are free this weekend and you’re looking to hire a photographer to photograph your wedding at the Clos LaChance Winery, I’ll be presenting my work at the Folsom Bridal Show in the Lake Natomas Inn; see you there.

Clos LaChance Winey Photo



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Drive By Kiss | Vizcaya Wedding | Erica & Patrick

Vizcaya Wedding Carlos Valentino Erica & Patrick PhotoVizcaya Wedding Carlos Valentino Erica & Patrick PhotoVizcaya Wedding Carlos Valentino Erica & Patrick PhotoVizcaya Wedding Carlos Valentino Erica & Patrick PhotoVizcaya Wedding Carlos Valentino Erica & Patrick PhotoVizcaya Wedding Carlos Valentino Erica & Patrick PhotoVizcaya Wedding Carlos Valentino Erica & Patrick PhotoVizcaya Wedding Carlos Valentino Erica & Patrick PhotoI few weeks ago I met Erica and Patrick in Old Folsom for their engagement session. In the middle of the session they began to tell me the story about how they met and the 3 second kiss. I enjoyed their story so much that I asked if they would allow me to add it to the blog and they agreed.

“Patrick and I met through eHarmony in 2009. Emails, phone calls, and text messaging continued on for weeks before we finally met on a Monday in June at El Dorado Hills. I thought “WOW! He’s cuter in person!” the weeks that followed we met at Old Folsom for date nights. Gold panning, ice cream at Snook’s, farmers markets, and live music events. A lot of fond memories happened there. Even our first kiss? I drove Patrick to his Jeep and I parked my car and we stared at each other and talked. Then he leaned in and gave me a “drive by Kiss” the kiss lasted maybe 3 seconds. I said, “Hey!!!! Can we try that again? That was too fast!!” My mom and girlfriends explained, “Patrick, is a slow smoldering fire. Those fires will provide warmth longer then the fast blazes.”

In January 2011, I started an intense extensive Respiratory Therapy program for 18 months. Talk about a relationship challenger. Patrick was there every step. Even to pick me up after 12 hour night rotations at 6 A.M. I graduated August 2012.  November 9, 2012, I went to Patrick’s home and walked into candles, flowers, and the sound of Louis Armstrong’s “What a wonderful world” playing in the living room. My hands were full with books to study for my new job in respiratory therapy at a subacute. “Oh, we are celebrating and having a date night!” He threw the books to the ground and got down on one knee and propose. I was in shock!! He got off one knee and kissed me. And no it was not a drive by Kiss. I said, “yes!!” After 3 years of meeting we were engaged. Now the work was ahead of us.

My mom found Carlos Valentino. You know what they say, “mom knows best!” I am so grateful that she found Carlos!! Our engagement photo session was made easy with the help of Carlos! Patrick and I can both tell you we do not take great photos someone is always blinking or not smiling. Patrick was relaxed and I was having fun who knew taking photos would be so much fun and so memorable. Everyone should have a Carlos Valentino in their lives. Some of my friends said, “there’s a lot of kissing Erica!” “I’m just making up for lost time.” Carlos Valentino has a great eye for color and attention to detail. In some shots we forgot Carlos was there. He was able to capture moments in time that were filled with love.

The next day after our engagement photo session I got a text from Patrick “it was one of the best days of my life. I love ya.” We chose to take our engagement photo session at old Folsom because in 2009 on our 3rd date we were holding hands when a little boy came up to us and asked, “are you getting MARRIED today!!”  On September 14, 2013 we can say “YES”. Thank you Carlos! You have given us so much. My family loves the recreation photo of my great grandparents photo of their wedding day. The next day he was shipped out to fight in WW2. I think my GG and papa are smiling down on us. Such a great way to keep their memory alive.”

With a Happy heart,
Patrick McCuiston and Erica Hinds

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