On Discretion

Ventana

We love respecting the needs of our couples and their guests above all else. It’s what makes us a trusted resource for everyone from the shy of social media, to the celebrity. One of the benefits of this is being listed as a preferred vendor with some of the most upscale venues on the West Coast, as they know that their client’s careful public representation is on the line. You wouldn’t know of some of the people we photographed, as Katherine and I keep it quiet, but you can rest assured that a few of our couples are using alias names.

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ALIASES

One of the fun things we like to suggest to our couples of high discretion, are aliases… aka fake names. It’s a good time because we give the couple the task of choosing. Often they pick from ones they wanted as a kid, or that have some endearing significance to their past, such a street name of growing up.

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KEEPING SECRET

Over the years, we have photographed many events where discretion has been key. Everyone from tech celebrities to high level politicians, including the First Lady of the United States. For the big time players, like the First Lady, Doug was asked to keep the location, person, and time of the event totally secret, as it would have been a security risk if he told anyone, even his family. In addition, there were extensive background checks done for safety. Once at the event, Doug had to wear a certain color coded pin on his front shirt pocket, to be visible at all times. Since Doug was within a few feet of the First Lady, he was told that if he didn’t have that pin showing, they would have to immediately evacuate the First Lady and Doug would be detained by the secret service.

Another time that tested our commitment to secrecy, was when US Weekly called Doug to see if he was photographing Natalie Portman’s upcoming wedding in Big Sur. After immediately hinting at piles of money, the staff at US Weekly received this response… of course Doug wouldn’t tell any details. In addition, if he knew others who had details, he would never tell the tabloid.

Some of our secret-y couples have had articles written about them in the Wall Street Journal, Spanish entertainment magazines, and The Times of India.

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BEING PUBLISHED

As we want to honor the couples’ wishes, we are always very careful when having our weddings published. If there are special details that the publication needs to know, like a breakdown of the investment, than we make sure that is cool with the couple right away. We are currently navigating a feature with Brides Magazine where the couple is having aliases, and has agreed to disclose the financials involved with the wedding celebration.

On the flip side, when our couples prefer not to be so public, than we are happy to keep their images from being published on the major streams. This happened once where out of the blue we received word from a national wedding magazine that they loved one of our shots, and wanted to use it in an article they were writing. The image tumbled down through the editing funnel and made it to the last green light, where the magazine wanted to interview the bride for the feature. The bride said she preferred not to be interviewed, and so we honored her wishes and the magazine went on with the article without us. If you’re curious about the shot that caught the eye of Brides, here it is below..

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PHOTOGRAPHING WITH INTEGRITY

As having intimate relationships with couples and their families is so important to us as people, and also getting great natural photographs, we always strive to show integrity within our profession. If a photoshoot involves something that feels wrong to us, we will pass on it. As we have humanistic documentary roots in photography, we take pride in all that we are involved in and represent.

A recent couple wanted Doug to photograph the first birthday of their son, where at the party, it was dubbed as tribal themed. Only, there was no one with Native American heritage there. With Teepees and a large backdrop of design inspired by Native American culture, we felt there would be the presence of cultural appropriation going on, and it wouldn’t feel right. Doug got in touch with the couple, and voiced his opinion and suggested inviting a Native American speaker to come and share / educate the parents and kids, and also feature a table full of reference material for the party guests to learn from.  When those ideas were turned away, Doug suggested the couple look into hiring other talent for the celebration.

We remain advocates for many social and cultural causes on social media, through petitions and in person, and will always put energy into peace, freedom, and respect between the world’s many different and beautiful ways of life.

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POSTING TO FACEBOOK AND SOCIAL MEDIA

We are the ones who won’t post a ton of photos on Facebook with your full names. We use first names, and sometimes not even that. Also, we feel our clients should have the control and voice to tag yourselves in photographs, so we let them take the wheel. Many events that we photograph are elopements that are connected to larger receptions to be held across the country in a few months. This is wonderful with us, and as it’s all about the bride and groom, then we are happy to keep the images hidden from the public until it’s okay.

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