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2016 Wedding Photography Give Away!!!! Christopher Cooke Photography 10 year anniversary!



On April 16, 2005 at the Vizcaya Pavilion in Sacramento I photographed my first wedding as a Professional Photographer. Now 10 years later I want to celebrate with having a contest! I am giving away a FREE wedding photography package to one lucky couple! Not only that but I have contacted some of the amazing vendors I have met over these past 10 years and got them to sweeten the pot, and hopefully as the contest progresses I can get a few more vendors to throw some of their services in the pot!

Starting today April 16, 2015 couples can enter to win this amazing wedding package. To be eligible couples have to meet a few requirements.

  • Wedding MUST be in 2016. Couple must have a date secured at a venue.
  • Wedding venue must be in Contra Costa, Solano, Napa, Yolo or Sonoma County. (wedding in Alameda, Sacramento, Marin, Placer or San Francisco counties are eligible to win photography package but other vendors may not be available for weddings in those locations)
  • Couple must be on Facebook. Part of the contest is public voting. To give everyone a fair chance the bride and/or groom must be active on Facebook
  • Couple must be up to have some fun!! I want to make this contest engaging and fun for everyone! You might need to get creative
  • The rest of the official rules are on the entry from page!

As it stands right now the prizes are:

Make sure you “Like” all these businesses on Facebook, give them some love and make sure your friends and family give them a “like” too! ! Its because of them that I can do this amazing contest!

Ok, are you ready to enter? For this contest to happen I need at least 10 couples to enter. The more couples who enter the more prizes I may add to the contest;)
To enter fill out the entry form by clicking here: ENTER CONTEST!
Entries MUST be received by April 30, 2015 at 12 noon.

Good Luck Everyone!!!!

2012 winners


Wedding Wednesday :: The Details

Everyone has heard “Attention to detail” or “It’s in the details.” Now more than ever wedding details are in the forefront. Websites like Pinterest, Wedding Blogs, Instagram and Facebook have all become huge invaluable resources to couples looking for inspiration for their wedding. While details aren’t the reason weddings are so important to a couples life, they do help create a mood, convey a theme, add personality or add custom personal touches to what could easily become a copy of someones wedding they saw on a inspiration board. Details can also easily go from simple and elegant to over-the-top and extravagant. Whether it be small splashes of color or huge focal pieces when its all said and done the details of a wedding are what ties everything together yet sadly are the first to be forgotten after the party is over or never even seen by most of the wedding guests.


As a photographer I see details as bits of a story. Little nuances of the couples life or personality that help the wedding guests become more invested with the celebration. Couples choose details for a reason. That reason can be very obvious or very subtle, but that little decoration that you see but don’t always remember was put there for a reason. It’s because of this that I try very hard to pick up and capture these details as part of photographing a wedding. Sure some details will always be remembered, like the dress, the bouquet, the venue (yes that can be a detail too), the rings, etc but its at the wedding that they will look their best and need to be shown off all shiny and new. Many details don’t share the same fate. The programs, the accent flowers, the favors, the food, the cake, they all get thrown away, eaten, or used and forgotten. While not as significant they were still part of the wedding and still part of the couple’s vision for their big day. All of this is why my clients get images of their details. It’s not to get featured on a inspiration blog, or to see how many “pins” I can get, its to help my clients, their friends and family remember that milestone in the couples life. Its to remind them years from now what it looked like and to tell that story of the wedding over and over when the “details” get a fuzzy from years passing. Details are why books are better than movies and why movies cost so much money to make. Whens the last time you heard of a movie studio spending millions of dollars on special effects but only for the theater version? Do they keep those details off the DVD or Blu-Ray??  Those details might not be the star but they complete the picture.

Everyone knows and sees the brides details:


The groom has details too:

Don’t forget the paperwork:


Personalization is a HUGE trend in weddings right now. Adding initials and the date to more than a program has really helped couples make the details their own. Also incorporating hobbies, jobs, or family history can be a great addition to a weddings details.


Not all details are small!! Here in California the car culture has been inching its way into weddings!


Finally my favorite, adding some Disney magic to your wedding is always a good way to get this photographer excited about a wedding! Adding “Hidden Mickey’s” has become popular among Disney lovers. Sometimes even a special guest or two can become important details. How many people do you know can say Mickey and Minnie signed their wedding guestbook???


Wedding Wednesday :: The First Look

I have been photographing weddings full time for 10 years now and over those 10 years I have seen many trends come and go when it comes to photography. Sure a lot of those trends like “selective coloring” NEEDED to go and as trends do they show up for a little while then fade away. Some trends however seem to be sticking around for a while and some seem to only pick up momentum. Out of these trends the one that I have embraced the most is The First Look. When I talk to clients and they tell me they want to do a first look (or first glance, first reveal, etc) or that they want my opinion on the first look I get excited. Having the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony not only changed the timeline of the wedding but I believe it has made wedding photography better.

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Now I know there are a lot of people who believe that the groom should see the bride for the first time ONLY when she comes down the aisle. If that’s the way you feel I totally respect that and like I tell my clients; I will suggest a first look to every wedding I do but I will do my best to not press the issue with couples who are against it. Now with that being said, more often than not those couples who do NOT do a first look come back after the wedding is all over and tell me they wish they did a first look. Why? Lots of reasons. The main reason I get when couples tell me they want a first look or are thinking about a first look is more photos. Talk about a way to make your photographer happy.:)Yes, doing a first look will typically get you more photos. We don’t have to worry about wrangling family members who have slipped away to the bar, we don’t have coordinators or caterers hovering over us asking “how much longer?” “will you be done soon?” etc. It ends up being a lot less stress and a lot more carefree. Another great argument for the first look is intimacy. When I set up the first look with my clients I am very strict on having ONLY the bride and groom there. The first look needs to be intimate, the couple needs to feel like they are the only people in the world at that moment. Intimacy not only makes for a better experience for the couple but the images that I create from these moments are so much more natural and emotional.

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One of my favorite reasons for first looks and one of the reasons I require first looks at some venues is to utilize the venue in a way that is difficult or impossible after the ceremony. Some venues are awesome but small and trying to get bride and groom photos after a ceremony ends up being delayed, interrupted or limited due to having people in the background, having uncle bob trying to get photos on their iphones, or constantly having family members try to offer their congratulations right after I pose the couple. Even if the venue isn’t small it might have amazing locations that cant be utilized after the ceremony. The cocktail hour might be in that great little shady grove with the awesome light. The flower that lined the ceremony site will have been taken down to be displayed at the reception. We might not have the time to use the church or ceremony venue after the fact. The list can go on. When I have a great venue I want to use as much of it as possible. Having a first look allows me to do that! It makes me happy!

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When the first look is over I always try and get as many of the family photos done as possible. There are MANY reasons why I do this. One of those reasons is that everyone is THERE!! Like I said before, many times (MOST OF THE TIME) when I am doing photos after the ceremony I have to waste time looking for family members who have gone missing. While the most popular place to find them is the bar I have found family members in almost every place but where they need to be, which is in front of my camera! I have even had to make a father of the groom change BACK into his suit for photos even though the ceremony finished only 5 minutes before! While that was an extreme case things like that happen. Another great reason for doing the family photos before is two fold: Speed and consistency. When everyone is in one place and focused (no pun intended) I can quickly create combinations. Not only that but all the images will be in the same light and with the same background. It makes not only the individual images look better but it helps keep everything consistent when it comes time to make the album the family photo spreads look a LOT better.

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The final reason I am a big supported for the first look is the newest reason and all because of one wedding. A big trend I see picking up steam is the couple sending each other gifts right before the ceremony. At a recent wedding the bride had a very special gift for her husband to be and it was something that needed to be hand delivered. What better of a time than the first look to give the person you are about to marry the heartfelt gift you have gotten for them. This moment when the bride got to see her fiances reaction to her gift made another great case for having a first look and using that time to exchange meaningful presents.

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Elizabeth & Robert :: Married :: Firehouse Wedding Photography :: Old Sacramento Wedding Photography

I absolutely loved photographing this wedding. Not only because Robert (Robby) and not Elizabeth are very dear friends of my family but small intimate weddings are so much fun! The Firehouse Restaurant gives a very backyard wedding feel. It was almost like you were at a family BBQ and then a wedding just happened to be going on at the same time! Everyone was so engaged at this wedding and you can feel the emotions running high. All the guests were either family or friends that were pretty much family.
I was also loving the fact that I finally  got to shoot a wedding around Old Sacramento! I have only done engagement sessions down there and I have always wanted to do wedding photos around the cool buildings.
It was such a joy to watch these 2 families joined and to see Robby and Elizabeth start their journey together. I am honored to have been a part of it!