Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

I love a new Year! It’s a time to for new beginnings, and we couldn’t be more excited about what 2014 has in store! A few weeks ago, I spent some time in Florida with my friend and fellow photographer Rupa and tried to dig deep about what I want. See, at some point I stopped dreaming. I had achieved all my goals already, which sounds like a good thing, but what do you do when you don’t have a vision for what’s next?

So on the retreat I dared myself to search within and figure out what it was that I wanted. To not listen to the reasons why I couldn’t do something and imagine that there were no boundaries. There were two things that stood out. One, I really want to do a shoot in Europe. Preferably Paris, but if anyone would like to do a shoot somewhere else in Europe I’m all for it! Second, and slightly more attainable, was to have a studio again. A space where I could create.

Since moving out here, I’ve searched for a studio from time to time. It was more wishful thinking than anything. But something happened while I was in Florida. The stars began to align or something, because since I dared to dream about this space the universe has sent me signals prompting me to believe. Before I left the retreat, I sent out inquiries for some of the spaces I found. No harm in looking, I thought. Most of them weren’t what we were looking for, but there was one that was a dark horse. There were no photos of the space, but it had so many of the things I was looking for. We saw it the day I got back, and the next day we sent in our application. A couple days later we were signing the lease and we were handed our keys. And then the reality of it all hit us – what just happened?

We got into the studio and started painting… and painting… and painting. It was more work than we had ever imagined. While I tried to dream about what the space would look like, it was coming together slowly (and seemed like it wasn’t coming together at all). Then the voice showed up. That horrible voice inside that told me what a stupid decision I had made and all the reasons why it would fail. And I sat on the floor as big plopping teardrops fell from my eyes. Doubt is the enemy of dreamers.

I’ve tried to silence that voice of doubt, but it’s still there. You have a choice. You can listen to it and hold yourself back, or you can listen to your heart and dream of things greater than you ever imagined.

That is my challenge to you. Dare yourself to dream this year. Dare to realize more of your potential. You can list off all the reasons in the world why things are holding you back, but in the end we only hold ourselves back. If you want something, MAKE it happen!

It’s still a work in progress (a little more painting to do, backdrops to be hung, etc) but here is my dream coming to fruition:



What does this mean for GTP moving forward?

Well, it means that things are going to look very different for us in 2014. We’ve had to put aside shooting portraits because weddings have always kept us so busy (especially being on the road so much), so we are limiting the number of weddings that we will shoot each month/year. We really want to put more focus on our other brands so that they are as successful as our wedding brand. Though our main website will continue to showcase our wedding work, we will begin using our blog and our Facebook page to show off the work we are doing under our other brands:




We are so thrilled to have a beautiful natural light studio to shoot in, along with a meeting space and (coming soon) dressing room and makeup station for boudoir photography! We also have some stunning pieces of furniture in the studio that we can’t wait to shoot with!

We are also excited to offer more to our brides and grooms. As their families continue to grow, we want to be able to document their family history. We couldn’t be more excited about offering more to our couples through our GTP Family brand! From bellies to babies and beyond, we look forward to telling your stories!

And along with shooting babies, we are happy to once again have a space to shoot furbabies! This was a huge must on our studio wish list – to have a space that allowed pets so that we could offer our Aroo! pet sessions again!

Once the studio is complete, I’ll share more photos, including some before and afters! It’s unbelievable how the space has transformed, but we saw its potential from the start! It’s located in the heart of North Park – dangerously close to many thrift stores and boutiques with a wine bar downstairs and a brewery across the parking lot! Our neighbors include a yoga studio and an arts and culture magazine. We couldn’t have imagined a better place for the studio!

With that said, we would love to invite you to come visit the new studio during our open house!

Open House

I will put the details on Facebook soon with directions, parking, and how to gain access to the building! Make sure to follow our Facebook page for more information!

I would like to thank some very special people who encouraged me to dream bigger! Thank you Rupa for the late nights listening to music and constantly inspiring me by living out your own dreams! Thank you to our bride and amazingly talented photographer Stacey for letting me bounce off crazy ideas and for lifting me up when doubt weighed me down. I can’t wait to see where your dreams will take you! And to Justin & Mary Marantz, who always challenge others to dream big. Thank you for inspiring me over the years through your work and through your words! Though it has been a year since your “What’s Next?” workshop, I’ve finally taken that next step. Ooh… big hairy audacious goals sure are scary!

And finally, thank you to my hubby Matt. Seriously, I couldn’t do anything without you beside me! When I have a crazy dream, you tell me it’s not so crazy. Well, you tell me I am crazy but to do it anyway! When I’m crying on the floor, you tell me to put on my big girl pants and get up! You tell me that you’ve never seen me fail and you encourage me to not hold myself back. You sacrifice your entire holiday vacation and spend a ridiculous amount of time painting while I struggle to finish one little section. You are always so selfless and do whatever it takes to support me. Thank you for these things and the other million things that you do! At least we can look back and say that our lives were never boring! Thank you for being beside me on all of these crazy adventures! Here’s to making 2014 the most amazing year yet! <3

Merry Christmas from GTP!

December 24, 2013

Matt and I wish everyone a blessed and Merry Christmas! We wanted to share a little bit of what Christmas is like in our home. Usually we’re traveling during the holidays, but this year we’re staying home and we decided to get a real tree (our first real one together). Even though it feels like spring here in San Diego, when we turn on our Christmas lights every night it feels like the holidays! We love watching our favorite Christmas movies and snuggling with our pets on the couch.

2013 Christmas Tree 01

2013 Christmas Tree 02

These are some special ornaments. The camera is from our friends Rachel & Justin at Fox Fotography and the little trailer ornament is because we love taking trips with our dogs and our vintage trailer! The last one is my “pet” bird that I got at a craft store years ago. It has been in my car, but I think it fits well with our woodland creature tree!

2013 Christmas Tree 03

We couldn’t resist taking a photo of our adorable dogs Peanut and Taz in front of the tree with their new scarves! From our family to yours, we hope that your Christmas is warm and fuzzy! : )

2013 Christmas Card

Business Planning Retreat

December 11, 2013

Over the weekend, we photographed Brianna & Donnie’s wedding at the Jacksonville Golf & Country Club, which was our last wedding of the 2013 season! It’s so hard to believe how fast this year has flown by!

This year was full of big changes as we went into our first full year as California photographers. We began the year living in Temecula, but as we realized most of our life was in San Diego we decided over the summer to move yet again. As we begin looking forward to 2014, it’s time to reflect on what worked over the past year and what didn’t and think about what we want our business to look like moving forward.

My friend and fellow photographer Rupa Kapoor just happened to be coming to Florida for the month of December, so I decided to join her at a beach house in St. George Island for a week. We’ve been bouncing ideas off each other, doing some work and business planning, and having a lot of fun in between! Yesterday, we took her dogs for a walk on the beach and enjoyed the most beautiful sky! I sent the cameras home with Matt, but I couldn’t resist snapping some pics of beautiful St. George Island on my phone! Sometimes you just have to go on a retreat and clear your head, and there’s something about the ocean that soothes the soul and fosters the creative spirit!

Where do you go to find inspiration?

St George Island 01

St George Island 02

St George Island 03

St George Island 04

St George Island 05

St George Island 06

St George Island 07

GTP is out of the office!

October 22, 2013

Hi everyone!

I can’t believe that we leave tomorrow for our trip to China and Japan! We are so excited to see Matt’s brother get married and meet his fiancee and her family and friends! We are excited to welcome our new sister and her family into ours! I’m sure we’ll have plenty of photos to share when we get back!

During our trip, we will not have access to email, so we look forward to talking to everyone when we return to the office on November 12th! : )


Last week, I took part in an underwater photography class, and it was the most fun and challenging photography shoot I’ve ever done! You’d think that the hardest part about shooting underwater would be getting the settings right, or maybe even being able to hold your breath, but I found the biggest challenge to be staying under water! Once I went under my body immediately wanted to come back up, so I had to find ways to push myself down and stay down. I even tried crossing my legs “Indian style” and sinking the bottom. I could only stay under for a few seconds at a time, and trying to time that with the model going under the water and framing the shot was almost impossible. Normally that would be frustrating, but honestly I can’t wait to do it again!

Thanks so much to Erika Thornes, Carrie Mundy, and Brett Lind for organizing this shoot, and to our incredible models/mermaids for being such beautiful subjects to photograph! Erika and Carrie also let us shoot on their cameras (which was already set), so I can only take partial credit for my shots. Thank you soooo much for sharing your gear and for sending out the shots!

Ah… I think I am in love with underwater photography! It’s a whole new world of possibilities!


GTP in the Anza Borrego

January 18, 2013

We take thousands and thousands of photos every year, but rarely do we get on the other side of the camera! So when we were out shooting bridal fashion in the Anza Borrego Desert we decided to updated some of our pics as well! Here we are with our two pups, Peanut and Taz! They love travel and photography as much as we do! : )

Ocitillo Wells_Small

What’s Next?

January 10, 2013

Earlier this week, I attended the What’s Next workshop in Los Angeles, hosted by my two favorite photographers on the planet, Justin & Mary Marantz! Seriously, check out their work! It’s totally classic and iconic and 100% swoon-worthy!

But this workshop wasn’t about taking pretty pictures. It was about getting down to the nitty gritty, and there were times when the ugly truth was just right there in front of you, and you just had to look it in the eye and not back down! The What’s Next Tour is about identifying and understanding your fears so that you can move past them. It’s about daring to dream, and setting goals so that the dream is within your reach!

For the past 6 months, all Matt and I have been doing is trying to survive. Trying to sell the house, pack up our lives and move across the country while still giving 100% to our couples. For the last 3 months of the year we were living a bi-coastal life, flying back and forth to complete the busiest part of our wedding season. It wasn’t more than we could handle, but it meant that all we were able to do was live in the NOW. There certainly was no time for planning what’s next.

Even on the way to Los Angeles, I thought of all the things that I needed to work on. The to do list that keeps on growing, despite this being the “slow” part of the year. I even called Matt at one point and said, “Would it be crazy if I just turned around?” It’s so easy to make excuses. But I went in and I started hearing all of the stories of other photographers who, like me, had fears. Had obstacles. Had obligations. But they, too, were there because they wanted more for themselves and for their businesses.

My first goal from the workshop was to get my business cards ordered. That sounds like a small task, but it was one of those things on the to do list that kept getting pushed back. So Mary challenged me to get them ordered yesterday. I was about to go to bed because Matt and I couldn’t decide on a design, but I got up and I was determined to complete it. I submitted my order at 11:59pm! Because if I couldn’t reach this one small goal, how was I going to finish the big ones?

We knew we put a lot on the line when we made the decision to move to California, but we felt that personally and professionally it was the right decision. Though we are starting over, it’s not completely from the beginning. We bring with us a wealth of experience and knowledge (sometimes learned the hard way). So now we are sitting down to look at what has worked over the past 5 years, and what hasn’t, and dream big for our goals for the next 5 years! I am really excited about the changes we are talking about making, and I have some crazy dreams of what I’d like to see for our business!

And while we’re dreaming, I went ahead and signed up for the test to be a contestant on Jeopardy! Maybe next I’ll audition for The Voice! : )



Justin & Mary are officially rock stars! I totally wanted to get a tour of the bus!






Matt and I had such a great time at The Wedding Exhibit Bridal Show yesterday! It was our very first time doing a bridal show, and I think we chose the right one! The producers of the show were fantastic and so were the staff! They helped us unload all of our stuff from our 14′ U-Haul truck and also helped us load it back up at the end of the show. I don’t even want to know how long that would have taken just the two of us to do! So thank you so much to The Wedding Exhibit for making the show such a great experience!

We also had a great time seeing some of our vendor friends there (though we didn’t get nearly enough time to go say hello to everyone). We also met several new wedding vendors at the show! Our booth was located across from Riverside Tours and Travel. I’m not sure if that was intentional, but it sure was an ideal match up since we travel for about 40% of our weddings and we just love to travel in general! We’re looking forward to working with them on a few things! We were also across from Kelly’s Bloom Room, which had one of the most beautiful displays at the show! So when we weren’t looking at our own booth (which we think kinda rocks) we were looking at gorgeous photos of the Caribbean and a huge display of orchids! Can’t beat that!

We also had the opportunity to interact with a lot of brides and grooms and their family and closest friends who attended the show with them! Meeting everyone was the highlight of our day, especially connecting with brides who have followed our website and Facebook page! We’re looking forward to meeting with so many of you over the next few weeks and hearing even more details about your wedding day!

We also want to thank everyone who came out to our studio Open House on Saturday! We so love and appreciate all of you, and it warmed our hearts to see some familiar faces and some new ones! We love seeing our couples’ families grow! <3 I know some of you couldn't make it to the Open House or the bridal show, but we appreciate your support! And since everyone keeps asking for photos, here they are! : ) First, we have a couple pics of us and our booth at the bridal show:

Anyone who has been to our studio will recognize the setup above, because we basically packed up part of our studio and moved it to the Prime Osborn! Here’s our meeting space at the studio:

Here’s one of the front door (forgive the mess – this was when we were still putting it all together):

When we first got the keys, the walls were light brown and it was one big open space. One day I told Matt my vision. I wanted him to build a partition wall so that the meeting space would be separate and would feel like an art gallery. Oh, and I wanted it to be portable so we could break it down and bring it to bridal shows! At first he thought I was crazy, and he was probably right, but eventually he liked the idea!

This is our shooting space, which is still a work in progress. We just received our newest backdrop, so hopefully we’ll have it set up tomorrow! We also have a wardrobe and prop area in there now with some fun accessories for Pillow Book Boudoir sessions!

In addition to building a portable partition wall, one of our biggest projects was reupholstering my antique settee, which used to be in my home office. I had never reupholstered before, but I wasn’t ready to let this adorable piece of furniture go. I’m so glad I didn’t because after much attention, patience, and time it has transformed into such a gorgeous piece! I think it makes our meeting space! You can see the old fabric vs. the new here:

And just for fun, here is the mock up that I did to show Matt what I had in mind for the wall!

It’s crazy to see it all come together the way it has, but we just love our space! It’s cute and cozy and has a ton of character. As someone put it this weekend at the open house, it looks like our website! We think it’s a reflection of our work!

We still have more exciting changes coming, including our new logo and marketing pieces. But we’re excited to share our biggest project with you! We’d love for you to stop by the studio and visit! : )

Gwen’s Favorite Songs

March 4, 2011

About two years ago, we were hanging out with our friends Paul and Becky listening to music at a bar and they had the great idea of creating a list of our all-time favorite songs. Our deadline was St. Patrick’s Day. The project sounded overwhelming, but Paul and Becky were on a mission and they made a CD of their favorite songs and gave us a copy. I just made my CD tonight. Yes, two years later I finally compiled my list of faves! It’s not that I didn’t want to do it. I really have been giving this some serious consideration. How do I rank one song over another? How do I know that it’s really a favorite song and not just something I like at the moment? Should the song be out for a certain amount of time before it can make it on “the list?” And how can I mix genres together on a favorites list? Surely, I can’t mix New Edition with Radiohead, right?

So after endless hours of deeply considering hundreds of songs that I love, I came up with a list of 15 songs that are among my favorites. It’s definitely an incomplete list. For one, if I had a definitive list of favorite songs I’d have to put “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” by Deniece Williams on it! My biggest criteria for a song making the list was whether it was a song that I ALWAYS have to listen the entire way through. Some songs I’m jamming out in the beginning, but I move on to the next song before it’s over. Each of these songs are ones that I always find myself wanting to hear until the very end (even my #1 choice, which is over 8 minutes long). Based on this criteria, I had to leave “November Rain” by Guns N Roses off. LOVE the song, but sometimes I listen to the whole thing and sometimes I cut it short. But it is worthy of an honorable mention! And I also decided not to include songs that I’ve liked less than 5 years, so artists like Adele, Marie Digby, Sara Bareilles, Bic Runga and so many more aren’t on here. I did make an exception for song #3, because this song just slays me. It’s that amazing!

Here’s my list:

1) Purple Rain – Prince
2) Creep – Radiohead
3) Falling Slowly – Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
4) You Only Hide – Something For Kate
5) A Case Of You – Jane Monheit
6) The Blower’s Daughter – Damien Rice
7) Send The Pain Below – Chevelle
8 ) Let Him Fly – Patty Griffin
9) Redemption Song – Bob Marley
10) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John
11) Good Enough – Evanescence
12) Both Sides Now – Joni Mitchell
13) Poses – Rufus Wainwright
14) Please Send Me Someone To Love – Sade
15) Bittersweet Symphony – The Verve

An observation I had when creating this list was that bands/artists with a vast collection of music and I love all of it didn’t make the list because I’d have to include so many of their songs (like The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and Selena, who would certainly make my top 5 list of favorite music artists). It’s hard for me to say, without hesitation, that there is one song that I love above all others from each of them. I just love too many of their songs to do it. Another observation is that more than half of these songs have made it on to movie soundtracks (1, 3, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15). I always feel that a great soundtrack can make a movie (and vice versa). Also, only 5 of the artists on the list are American! I’m not surprised about that, though.

I wonder what my list says about me. For the most part it’s mellow… occasionally melancholy… and then abruptly aggressive. Each song grips at my heart. I could listen to this list over and over again and not get tired of it!

If you were to create a list of your favorite songs, what would definitely make the list?

A Blast of a Birthday!

February 22, 2011

We just had the most amazing weekend hanging out with our friends Nancy & Salim this past weekend! We stayed at the quaint and cozy Creekstone Cabin outside of Asheville, NC and had such a blast! We spent time chatting, drinking wine, playing cards, cooking dinner, drinking more wine, and sharing a ton of laughs. It was the perfect getaway!

Creekside Cabin

Nancy & Salim are so awesome that they made Irish Car Bomb cupcakes for my birthday! They are the greatest cupcakes ever, and if you can believe it they taste ever BETTER than they sound! They also got me a hilarious card from Bald Guy Greetings and a Misto (everyone needs one of these!!). They also cooked an amazing dinner for us since we arrived at the cabin a few hours after they did! Ravioli with spinach and shrimp in a cream sauce… delish!

On Sunday we headed into Asheville to grab lunch at Luella’s BBQ (fall-off-the-bone yummy!) and walk around the shops.

This is Nancy & Salim! Aren't they adorable?! : )

Me & Matt (Nancy's Android takes MUCH better photos than my iPhone!)

We came back to the cabin for dinner and had the most amazing steaks topped with a blue cheese sauce! Salim & Matt took care of dinner while us girls were sitting by the fire enjoying being spoiled! The guys also cooked breakfast and dinner on Monday! They were so adorable taking care of all the preparations:

Salim and Matt cooking dinner on our last night at the cabin

The weekend went by much too fast! We were so sad to see them go, but we’re already making plans to hang out again soon! I just can’t put into words how much fun this weekend was! Nancy & Salim – you guys just ROCK! Looking forward to many more weekends like this one! Thanks for everything!! : )