Domonique + Joshua | Intercultural & Interfaith Wedding | Beach wedding photographer

Domonique + Joshua | Intercultural & Interfaith Wedding | Beach wedding photographerI absolutely love this couple. I have known Dom since she was an Engineering student at Cal Poly. I also remember her dating Josh during this time. I was so honored to have her ask Renoda Campbell Photography to photograph their wedding. Avila Beach is a very popular and beautiful destination. There were many tourists watching the ceremony as it took place. The couple also received many congratulations as they walked to the ceremony site. During the ceremony, the couple both jumped the broom, an African-American tradition, and had  the breaking of the glass.

The reception was a lot of fun and jam packed! They played the shoe game . Instead of using shoes, they used Barbie dolls dressed in bridal attire. There was also the Hora  where the bride and groom were lifted on chairs during the Hava Nagila song.

Below is how Josh, the groom discussed their romance on the knot:

“Although the story really begins the week before Freshman year started at a fraternity house and includes many nights dancing together at parties, we are going to start our story halfway through our first year at college. Thanks to having mutual friends dating each other the couple began to spend more time together. Eventually, near the end of Winter quarter, they started spending some time alone(1). This mainly included him helping with flashcards and buying her Starbucks as a reward, as well as going on late night walks discovering the hidden parts of campus using only the moon as their light. She claims that she wasn't falling for him, but the many late night taquito meals she provided(2) and early morning smoothie/donut deliveries directly to his room beg to differ. One night they went with some friends on a night hike to Pirate’s Cove (where he later proposed) to watch the sunrise, not realizing that you cannot watch a sunrise over the Pacific. This is the agreed upon date where they started liking each other, though we can see that is not the case for her. Before the quarter ended she invited him to play on the softball team she was starting up in Spring. Even though you can take one look at him and clearly see he is athletic enough to play any sport at a high level, he was able to  convince her that she needed to come over during Spring break to give him some lessons on throwing. This was clearly supposed to take place as she somehow got lost on a two-stop BART ride, but that did not prevent this practice from happening (although he should have picked her up in his car).

When they returned to school and as the sun began to come out for Spring quarter, so did a couple of sweet and odd quirks. She began her habit of drawing him cards for different occasions; that was sweet. During down time while hanging out she would draw her made up character Dog-Boy everywhere, including his arms and legs; that was slightly odd. He was also given a very short list of foods that she was willing to eat–and a page and a half long list of foods that she would not even touch. This was perfect for him as he was planning on asking her on their first date. The date did not start well for her as she spilled yellow sunflower pollen all over his white tee. He laughed it off though and they took the bus downtown to have some Firestone and frozen yogurt. One night he gained the courage to ask her to be his girlfriend. She seemed hesitant at first, clearly pretending(3), but the answer was always going to be yes. As the year came to an end he was worried they weren’t going to see each other over the summer and things would come to an end. Even though they did not have a plan, he clearly remembers her last day on campus Freshman year in her white and yellow dress with the big bow on it with the biggest and most beautiful smile he had ever seen, and knew he would make it work. It ended up not being hard at all as they only lived 20 minutes from each other and both got jobs at the mortuary. Somehow, even though he got her the job, she got paid more. He’s still bitter to this day about that.

The rest of their time in college provided plenty more chances to grow together and experience new adventures. During their Sophomore year he broke his ankle a few hours before midnight on New Year’s Eve (thanks to one of the groomsmen) and was on crutches for a few months. She was then tasked with driving him around and helping him with his chores. They then spent that summer teaching S.T.E.M. classes to an elementary school in Oakland(4). Their Junior year they took their first big trip to Pittsburgh, PA for the Nationals conference for the National Society of Black Engineers. That summer they spent together in SLO taking online classes and working at their job in the administration building (this job she got him). Finally in their 4th year they started doing things outside of SLO, such as taking day trips down to Santa Barbara, and finding their favorite coffee shop in Morro Bay. At the end of that year he graduated and moved back to the Bay Area while she stayed in SLO to complete her final year. They spent many nights video chatting each other and split traveling to see each other every other weekend, cramming as much fun as they could in such a short amount of time.

While things seemed so promising, their path took a turn for the worst. Even a glorious trip to Brazil for the World Cup could not help them through their differences on how they wanted to live the next few years of their lives. He then moved to live in San Francisco and she lived in Pleasanton. Even though they were an hour apart and rarely spoke, the love and chemistry was never lost. Eventually he moved out of the city, quit his job, and did some traveling. Before him leaving for Europe they had dinner and feelings started to rekindle. Upon coming back, things picked up right where they were left off. She visited him in Las Vegas for New Year’s Eve and they eventually deemed themselves a couple again. After a few more months of enjoying their newfound relationship he finally decided it was time to propose. He took her down to SLO, to Pirates Cove, the place they agreed they first started liking each other, just as the sun was setting. He snuck her friends down to take pictures, but they came out too early. He then put the ring on her finger, forgetting to ask her the question. She kindly reminded him and then said “Yes!”. They then popped champagne and spent the next 10 months planning the wedding." 

The Bride’s Footnotes:

  1. "Most of these new hangouts were sparked by him “forgetting” his glasses in her dorm,  and leaving again without them.
  2. Her Costco taquito bill tripled per month due to this.
  3. She was not pretending.
  4. She enjoyed watching him play soccer with the kids during recess."

I have no doubt that this lovely couple will have a successful marriage with a lot of love, sense of humor.

Lylah | 5th Birthday Party | San Luis Obispo | Special Events Photographer

I had the pleasure to photograph this beautiful girl right after she was born. Now she is 5 years old and is even more special to me.  Lylah is smart, strong, kind, and caring. She has good friends now that she will probably be friends with for life. She was so excited to share her 5th birthday with her friends.

Her mom and dad did an amazing job organizing Lylah’s party.  I can only imagine what her Sweet 16 will look like! Balloons, cake, pizza , friends and freeze dance were the highlights of the party. Her younger sisters also seemed to have a great time at the party.

Happy birthday sweet girl! Wishing you a lifetime of love, laughter and joy!

Venue: San Luis Obispo Country Club

Birthday Girl’s dress: Amazon

Crown: Little Blue Olive

DJ: LaDell Erby - Epic Entertainment 

Photo booth: Epic Entertainment

Cake vendor: Christine's Cake Creations

Alex | San Luis Obispo High School | Class of 2018 | High School Senior Photographer

Alex was a great Senior. He has aspirations to become a mechanical engineer and after college, work in the Automobile industry. I wouldn’t be surprised if he invents and patents a new engine part or something. He also requested to be photographed with this awesome black Ford Mustang convertible. I gladly said yes.

Best of luck with Senior year Alex.

Matthew | San Luis Obispo High School | Class of 2018 | High School Senior photographer

Matthew and I went on an adventure for his senior portraits. We decided to shoot at the Pismo Beach Pier, which is under construction!

We actually went around the construction and found great locations where he could be photographed. We found lots of pillars (wood and metal) to give us different textures in the images.

In speaking with Matthew, he wants to go to university to study engineering. We are so fortunate in San Luis Obispo that our local university is in the Top 3 for Engineering and Architecture. Since he loves San Luis Obispo and Engineering, his dream school is our local university, Cal Poly (www.calpoly.edu)

Best of luck with Senior year Matthew. Let me know which college you choose. (wink, wink).

Maya | High School Senior Portrait Photographer | San Luis Obispo High School | Class of 2018

As a photographer, you never know if a high school senior is going to have a great look in front of the camera. I am always pleasantly surprised when these seniors SLAY their sessions. I have been so fortunate that each one does an amazing job!

Maya is no exception. She came dressed in a Free People "esque" dress and was amazing! So great, that I felt inspired to blog her pictures in black and white to make an even greater statement! I also loved her freckles, so kept them in each image.

Maya is regal and confident. She knows what she wants to do for her career…and she will be one of the individuals improving our society and our world.

She is my 3rd or 4th student that aspires to be a doctor! This means lots of schooling, and very challenging classes. The San Luis Obispo Class of 2018 has really impressed me so far, and school has just started!

Best of luck during your senior year Maya and please let me know which college you choose!

Amber + Red | Non-traditional wedding photographer | San Luis Obispo

Photographing intimate weddings, weddings lasting less than 5 hours and with less that 50 people is something I truly enjoy. Although I photograph many traditional weddings, my newest clients, Amber + Red had a totally different concept about their special day. Their wedding was a Faery themed wedding. The guests dressed as woodland creatures, while others dressed in really fun costumes.

Amber and Red met years ago through friends in San Luis Obispo, CA. Although they have now moved to the Pacific Northwest, San Luis Obispo is still one of their favorite places. They shared their love of this town through this special ceremony.

Wishing you both a lifetime of happiness!

Lukas | San Luis Obispo High School | Class of 2018

Lukas!!!!! I had such a great time with Lukas. As a mom, I appreciate courteous and communicative people. Lukas is one of those individuals.  During our session, we inadvertently blocked walkways and he greeted almost every person before he moved out of the way.

Lukas plans to study Pre-Med and will go out into the world to help his community. He is good at Math and Science, but also has the proper communication skills to work in the Pre-Med profession. I cannot stress the importance of bedside manner when one wants to possibly become a doctor. By the way he treated the general public during the session, he will be a great physician.

Best of luck Lukas. Let me know which university you choose and best of luck with your noble career.

Elizabeth + Ryan | 1950’s Vintage Destination Wedding | Atascadero, CA

As a wedding photographer in San Luis Obispo, each wedding is different and beautiful in its own way. I enjoy photographing non-traditional as well as traditional intimate weddings. Elizabeth and Ryan’s wedding was a 1950’s inspired destination wedding. The couple enjoy visiting San Luis Obispo county so it was perfect for them to have a casual home wedding in this area.

The happy couple met working together at a community college in Southern California. Both were sign language interpreters who interpreted a German class for a Deaf student. The rest…was history…

In addition to their love for sign language, the couple love crafting. The cactus canvas image, created by our groom Ryan, was for guests to sign in. Cacti paintings created by Ryan were all over the grounds, which were really beautiful. In lieu of traditional flowers, one of Elizabeth’s friends created her paper bouquet as well as paper flowers for Elizabeth’s veil and Ryan’s boutonniere.

The wedding ceremony and reception were emotional, and full of support and love from the couple and their guests. During the ceremony, the couple created a time capsule that was buried on the grounds and the couple would come back in 10 years to celebrate.

I also enjoy seeing the bride and groom’s culture infused into the wedding ceremony.  The couple incorporated an Indonesian tradition of joining the bride and groom’s hands, which was beautiful as well. They also included the red cord around the bride’s ring with a small sentiment of Ryan’s blessing to her.

All guests and couple had a great time. Congratulations Elizabeth and Ryan!

Caterer:

Choco's Mexican Grill

Bridal Gown:

Modcloth

 

Unkee | Pet Portrait Photography | San Luis Obispo

I was truly honored to be asked to photograph 14-year old Unkee.  Unkee is so sweet, and calm around children, adults and other dogs. Due to his age, my client asked if I would have a mini-session with him and his buddy, Danny. Although Unkee had a little difficulty getting up in some instances, he was still full of energy and spirit. Thank you for allowing me to photograph you Unkee!

Film vs Digital photography - which do you prefer?

When my father passed away, he left me one medium format film camera Mamiya 645. I had it looked over, cleaned and was ready for use; until I didn't touch it for YEARS! That beautiful camera loved by my dad stayed on my shelf. This was the time when people were putting down their film cameras and going digital all the way. I felt he would prefer for me to purchase a digital camera and use it frequently vs. using a film camera sporadically. I unfortunately sold the camera to purchase my first digital camera.

One of my former graduate students was a camera collector. When he moved from the West Coast to the Mid-West, he gave me his Mamiya 645! I cried, knowing my dad would be happy that I have the camera that he loved. I did not have it cleaned this time, and it stayed on the shelf for 3+ years before I wanted to start a relationship with it.

When I sold the first Mamiya, digital images did not have the caliber or look of a film picture. I succumbed to the digital way of life and after years of shooting digital, I am interested in using film again. There are quite a few wedding photographers in my area and in California who shoot a hybrid of half-digital/half-film and I am leaning towards that way of shooting weddings. 

I purchased my first light meter last week, so that I can make sure my lighting is correct, but it's really scary starting this new adventure. I am so excited to start this adventure! I am shooting a wedding on July 1 so please send your positive thoughts and prayers when I do this. Here are some images from my playing around with the Mamiya. My real test will be in two weeks at the wedding. I'll keep you posted. :)

Sparks family portraits | San Luis Obispo | Family Portrait photographer

“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.”  -George Santayana

As an artist, I found this quote appropriate for the San Luis Obispo portrait session that took place over the weekend. The Sparks were a wonderful family. H+D have been married for years and S,  a successful college student. S wanted to have a special holiday gift for her parents and felt that a portrait session would be a great option.

As in many sessions, there was some intimidation with this foreign object (my camera) in their faces and asking them to pose in ways that were not what one was accustomed. I was warned that dad (aka D) was NOT a smiler and not to get disappointed if he didn’t smile. I took it as a challenge! I photograph a lot of men, so I was familiar with men who didn’t like to smile. As you see from the images, his love for his wife and daughter came through so strongly, that he could’t help but smile. They bring him so much joy. It was also touching to see him become comfortable with me, being around and including me as part of the family, as the silent participant.

Another part of this masterpiece was that I didn’t just want to take photos of the three of them. I wanted to photograph them in pairs and singles.  When I photographed the parents as a pair, tears were in my eyes. Their love for each other was still so strong! When S was also in the photos, the bond and love for their family became even stronger!

The Sparks portraits were my masterpiece. I hope to participate in many more.

Monza family | Christmas Day 2016 | Avila Beach Lifestyle Photographer

Do you give your four-legged companions a Christmas gift every holiday season?

Giving gifts to family pets is a billion dollar industry. Every year, I purchase multiple pet products for our dog at Costco. She LOVES them all year long. Around November, I return to Costco to purchase next year’s gifts. This year, I waited too long and missed the dog toys! So my poor dog will not have any “physical” toys under the tree this year. Luckily, the family knows what she would prefer as a close second to her dog toys: running at the Avila Beach Dog Park! Although colder than we’d hoped, we put her in the car and once she smells the ocean smells, she starts getting excited about where we are taking her. As soon as we park, she has to get out and be free!

The “Ambassador of the Park” named by another dog lover, greets every dog long enough to know that they are welcome and then visits the next dog. I haven’t seen a dog smile so much! She runs up and down the beach, greets dogs and soaks in the smells of the area. It couldn’t have been a better present for her. If you are in the San Luis Obispo County area and want your dog to enjoy the outside to play and socialize for a little while, come to the Avila Beach Dog Park .

In addition to it being so much fun for the dog, the family bonding that we have is priceless.  My daughters don't return to San Luis Obispo county very often, so it was a treat  and honor to have them home for the Holidays. It's so cute to watch them play with the family dog and spend time with their proud parents. They are my gifts. Merry Christmas everyone!

Sabrina | Class of 2017 | Arroyo Grande High School | Senior portraits photographer |

Sabrina was special. We didn't know each other at all before we met on the beach. We got to know each other briefly. She talked about her interest in Veterinary medicine, horses, and which universities she wanted to attend...and then BAM! She was on! She was an amazing model. She didn't need much direction and was willing to climb on rocks or whatever was needed to get the shot. And thank you LOW TIDE!!! Although we still got wet, it was minimal. I could tell from her dedication, being a great listener and having a great personality, she will be an awesome Vet! Have a GREAT senior year!

 

Jose | Class of 2017 | Senior Portraits | San Luis Obispo senior portraits photographer

Jose | Class of 2017

New Tech High School

Every Senior portrait that I take, I have hope for our future. We have smart, funny young people who want to make a difference. I am excited to see Jose go to college and see how he will flourish. He says he wants to study on the Pacific Northwest. Will he go to Oregon, which he wants? go to Washington state or stay in California?

It was fun having Jose bring his baseball mitt to the session to include in his senior portraits. He has played baseball for at least his high school years and probably as a elementary/middle school guy. He says he will not continue baseball through college (we’ll see Mr. Catcher!), but you could tell his love for baseball. They way he held the mitt, I could tell his respect for the game and all that it represents.

Best of luck Jose. Have a great senior year. Let me know which university you choose.

Emma | SLOHS Class of 2017

Why are taking Senior portraits so rewarding for Renoda Campbell Photography?...because I see hope for our future, I see the seniors becoming true role models for their other classmates, and I see their physical and mental growth. It's really interesting hear from them how they envision what their next chapters will look like.

I know I say this often, but Emma was so much fun to photograph! It was a little breezy, but manageable. She was ready to work! Her facial expressions and movements were en pointe! I tend to talk a lot during my sessions. I believe this helps my seniors feel more relaxed. Emma mentioned that she wants to be a doctor. That will take a lot of perseverance, academic strength and compassion. From our conversations, I see Emma being a successful doctor. Best of luck Emma and I look forward to hearing which schools you are admitted and which one you choose!

Maya, Alpha Chi Omega/ Senior Portraits / San Diego State University

Maya received her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology in May 2016. As long as I have known her, she has always been a very active participant in Sports. She served as Cheerleading Captain for 4 years at her local high school, and on the competitive travel teams since fourth grade. She knew when she was 15 that she would be involved in helping people to stay fit. She felt honored to attend her top college choice, San Diego State University.

When she moved to San Diego for school, she never looked back. Her dorm view overlooked the swimming pool and baseball field. Athletic Training was her goal. She told me that she would work with those teams someday. Her dorm room view was the positive reinforcement that she needed.

She joined a sorority Alpha Chi Omega. I knew that would be the niche that she needed to be successful at her university. After being a new member for one year, she became President of her organization (as a Sophomore), and then Vice-President of Recruitment (as a Junior). I knew this experience for her would be memorable and life-changing.

If you are wondering why I know so much about this young lady, Maya is my daughter. I have enjoyed watching her grow as a beautiful and responsible adult. Congratulations Maya. I look forward to seeing what you will do with your life.  You have so much promise ahead of you.

I love you!

Location: Alpha Chi Omega (San Diego State University) 

San Diego State University

Hepner Hall

Alpha Chi Omega, Gamma Nu Chapter/ Sorority Senior Portraits / San Diego State University

This was a very exciting weekend. San Diego State University had its 2016 Spring Commencement ceremonies! My daughter was one of those graduates this year! In addition to taking her senior portraits, which you will see later on this week, I also had the honor of photographing her sorority graduating class. Everyone was so excited, me included! I was excited because we were going to photograph at a California monument, Hepner Hall AND I would share in the witness of such great and promising women from her organization moving forward to do great things! Congratulations ladies!

Location: Alpha Chi Omega house 

San Diego State University

Hepner Hall 

Christopher Senior Photos | San Luis Obispo Senior Photography | Class of 2016

 I work with student athletes occasionally, but Christopher was different from the rest.

Christopher is one of THE busiest persons that I know. Although he was busy everyday, he managed to stop what he was doing to say hello and give me a hug. He juggled two businesses as well as serving as starting quarterback for the Cal Poly Football team while maintaining full-time student status.

I could tell he lives, sleeps and breathes football. He worked his way up the ranks to become quarterback and #1 in many university records. All of his hard work paid off. The day after this photo shoot, he signed on as a free-agent for the Dallas Cowboys. I don’t know what that means, but it’s a big deal for him, Cal Poly football and Dallas fans.

This photo shoot was so meaningful because his love for football and his university shined through. He was closing one chapter of his football career with the hopes of starting another chapter with the NFL...which he accomplished. Best of luck Christopher! Make all of us proud!

Location: San Luis Obispo, CA