Category archives: Inspiration

Ashley + Kevin – Snowy Stardust Inspirational Wedding Shoot – Fort Collins, Colorado

What can I say? This styled shoot was a good reminder that Colorado offers a type of beauty and community that I’m so lucky to be a part of. The theme of this shoot was simple: space, stars, romance, and organic simplicity. Like always, I try to put together styled inspirational shoots that everyone could take elements from, and used items I found from local vendors, thrift stores, craft stores and my favorite dress site: Rent the Runway. 

Since snow + cold was in the forecast, we spent a good part of the day in a warm studio (that can be rented out for parties!) and braved the cold for a few more snow-filled portraits. Plus side of wearing a long dress? The pants and snow boots you can wear underneath.

Enjoy! And I hope this inspires you to think a little outside of the box when it comes to your wedding day.  

Styling and Photography: Candice Benjamin Photography | Location: Old Town Yoga StudioHorsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins, CO | Florals – Lace + Lilies | Makeup: Dotted with Hearts | Calligraphy: Blot & Dot | Jewelry: Jenna Koo | Dress: Rent the Runway | Cake: Whole Foods

A look back: 2014

2014…what can I say. It was a crazy good year. I became a wife, photographed 34 weddings, traveled to 2 countries, 10+ states, and packed up and moved to Colorado with my husband + two cats that I think would be much happier plotting world domination.

Thank you. Thank you for letting me into your lives and not running away when I dance like no one is watching. My favorite images this year have a theme…laughter, rad locations + love. Because if you cant laugh at the fact that you are making out in front of complete strangers with a photographer cheering you on…I’m not sure we could be friends.

It was impossible to include everything, in fear of breaking the internet. Really though, I started with over 600 images…and painfully brought it down to where my browser wouldn’t crash into a fiery death. Grab a bottle of wine, put aside 2+ hours in your calendar and enjoy.

Colorado Winter Inspirational Bridal Session – Northern Colorado Wedding Photographer

For those that may not know, snow if completely new to me. Growing up in sunny Southern California I went a whole 22+ years before seeing snow fall in person. I know, crazy. After moving to Colorado last year with my husband I knew that I was going to be running around like a 5 year old with a sugar rush come winter…and I was right. It’s just so beautiful. 

Since a few weeks ago it was warming up to a nice 25 degrees, Lace + Lilies and I came up with the idea of styling a simple bridal session in the snow. Along with the help of Candace of Dotted With Hearts Makeup Artistry, we created a look fit for a snow queen (yes, I’m that cheesy).  

Makeup: Dotted With Hearts | Flowers: Lace + Lilies | Photography: Candice Benjamin Photography | Model: Britta {you rock – thank you!} | Fax Fur Coat: Nine West | Dress: Dora Grace Bridal (Tulle Skirt) DIY (Belt) Anthropologie | Invite: Minted

Endless Summer Inspirational Wedding Shoot

Shortly after my trip to Maui for Tamara + Chris’s wedding, I was able to collaborate with a fantastic group of vendors in Southern California on a styled shoot inspired by both California’s vintage endless summer and Hawaii’s lush greenery. Let me just say that I was transported back to Maui way too many times to count while shooting this amazing inspiration.

If you want to see more be sure to check out the feature on Green Wedding Shoes!

Photography: Candice Benjamin Photography | Planning + Design: Trina Schmidt Weddings & Special Events | Venue:Hotel Seven4One Laguna Beach, California | Florals: Pixies Petals | Artwork (table numbers, dress painting, place cards): Commemory Art | Wedding dress: Robert Bullock “Whitney” from  Blush Bridal Couture | Reception dress: Kate Moss for TopShop from Nordstrom | Tux: Friar Tux | Hair + Makeup: Design Visage | Paper suite: Paper Crew | Rentals: Signature Party Rentals | Linens: Designer Specialty Linens | Accessories: Two’s Company | Photo Assistant: Pedro Jr. | Shaved Ice + Cotton Candy: Dolly’s Cotton Candy

The shaved Ice by Dolly’s Cotton Candy was SO good (and pretty), especially on a hot day!

Just a little awesome extra, Beth of Commemory Art created this beauty from pieces of the day…after hearing about it I had to make sure to photograph it! Isn’t this such a cool idea for the home after the wedding day?

Dawn + John { Santa Barbara Elings Park Pirate Themed Wedding }

To start off, I would love to quote Robert Fulghum, because I think he said it best:

“We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.”

Life is all about the adventures and stories we create with those around us. From late night game nights with friends to the unbelievable destinations we explore with our families.

Every story is unique and precious. And maybe this is why I love to capture the precious moments when a couple in love makes their wedding day truly unique to who they are as individuals and as a couple.

Dawn + John went above and beyond in creating a wedding that really meant something to them. Every detail and every aspect of their wedding had a special thought behind it to make it their own rather than copying what someone else did. First Look? No, they helped each other get ready. They let the day unfold naturally, and lucky for them they were surrounded by such a caring and talented group of people that worked their butts off to make every little detail go off without a hitch.

I am so grateful Dawn + John let me in their circle of friends to participate in such a wonderful celebration of love. Now, thanks to them I have an awesome outfit to wear to the Renaissance Faire next year!

Venue: Elings Park | Videographers: The Adventures Of | Cake Artist: Jean Fields | Hair + Makeup: Fairytale Hair and Makeup | Catering: DJ’s Catering | Outfits, Flowers, Everything else: DIY |

Hands down my FAVORITE part of there wedding was the fact that Jay and I were encouraged to dress in theme as well! Actually…I probably would of done this anyways even if we weren’t given the thumbs up – how many people can say they shot a wedding day in a full pirate getup? Our good friends and husband and wife video team, The Adventures Of,  joined in the fun as well! You can see their video here!

Natalie & Michael { Downtown LA Lot 613 Rustic Western Wedding Inspiration }

I had the pleasure of photographing a very unique styled shoot idea and since it’s been featured on Style Me Pretty …I can now share it! Everyone was a pleasure to work with and I loved seeing the mix between rustic and modern!

Event Designer + Venue: Lot 613 | Floral Design: Wedding Flowers By The Purple Iris | Dress: BCBG Max Azria | Models: Natalie Elguera & Michael Calabro | Picnic Table Rentals: Pico Party Rents | Rentals: Circa Vintage {Rentals}

Game of Thrones { Geek Chic Wedding Day Inspiration }

Last week I was featured on Green Wedding Shoes along with a handful of other talented vendors for our simple, geek chic, Game of Thrones Wedding Inspiration.

We wanted to create a simple, elegant, Game of Thrones inspired look without being too modern or ren-fair like. While planning, we quickly found out that’s a thin line to navigate. Luckily, we had some amazing people come together and create the prettiness below!

Also…don’t be scared because this isn’t like the Red Wedding…at all.

Photography: Candice Benjamin Photography | Videography: Jakfoto Films  | Florals: Pixies Petals | Hair + makeup: Serene Bridal Beauty | Cake: The Cake Mamas  | Dresses: Hope Stanley of Mary Me Bridal – | Paper goods: Moment Prive | custom rings: Blazer Arts | Men’s vest: Ann O’Lear | Lady in waiting necklace: BHLDN | Original soundtrack for video: Anthem Falls Music | Couple: Crystal + Rich | Lady in Waiting: Savannah

Leslie 0f Pixie Petals made the shoot what it is. She was also co-stylist and day of brought armful after armful of lush, rich, gorgeous, florals to dress up the already epic location. She also painstaking made custom floral jewelry for the girls…it was such a great touch!

Just LOOK at that cake. The Cake Mamas outdid themselves.

Jakfoto Films also created a great Highlight video from that day! Check it out below:


The 1st LA NotWedding: Jenna + Jonathan { Downtown LA Lot 613 Wedding }

Earlier this year, I had the fantastic opportunity to photograph the 1st NotWedding in Downtown LA! For those who don’t know, The NotWedding is a bridal show alternative in the form of a big, fake wedding. “Wedding Guests” are brides-to-be or friends who are there to watch a vow renewal, enjoy a tasty dinner and watch wedding vendors in action.  It’s a fun event and was so great to work with so many talented people!

More importantly, I connected with Jenna + Jonathan instantly. Along with their 3 adorable kids, they are warm, fun, kind sweet people so in love.

While I was photographing Jenna, this was what Jay was capturing. The vendors each had a table in the “Tunnel of Love”…and here are a few of them! The one with the gold-overload is mine…I had fun running around my office the night before grabbing all the glitter I could see. 😉

Coordination & Event Design: Couture Events | Venue: Lot 613 | Catering: Premiere Events Catering | Videography: Amari Productions | Photography: Candice Benjamin Photography | Media Sponsor: Ceremony Magazine | Florist: The Little Branch | Event Designer: Sweet Emilia Jane | Event Designer: Two B Events | Event Designer: Fabulously Wed | Stationery: Smitten on Paper | Photobooth: Magnolia Photobooth Co. | DIY Decor: Something Turquoise | Wine Sponsor: Ferrari Wines | Bridal Dress Designer: Maude Couture | Bridal Accessories: Happily Ever Borrowed | Makeup: Makeup by Shelby Wilson | Hair: Hair By Anna Brown | Rental Sponsor: Pico Party Rents | Production & DJ: SOS Entertainment | Cupcakes: Sprinkles


Getting comfortable in front of the camera

I’ve had something eat at me for some time now, and I wanted to take a little time to talk about it.

Getting comfortable in front of the camera.

It’s huge, and it can make or break a photography session. It’s about letting yourself go, and some people have a much harder time at this then others. In the past 3-4 years I’ve gotten pretty good at reading peoples emotions, and in some sort of way I mirror those emotions while I’m photographing someone. I can tell if a person lets themselves go, or if they are so tied up in over-thinking things that they are truly not there.

If someone is relaxed and carefree, I myself open up even more and get the inspiration to create even more amazing portraits. If no matter what trick I try someone is still tense and uncomfortable, I close up with them. It feels like a black hole that is slowly swallowing me up. It’s extremely rare when I can’t get someone to open up, but when that happens it feels like I’ve failed as a person and photographer.

So I just want to tell everyone…if they are having a session done by me or another fantastic photographer…just relax. A camera isn’t going to kill you, no matter how much we use the word “shoot”. 🙂

Being in front of the camera isn’t easy, don’t get me wrong…but it would be so much easier if you just let yourself go. Don’t worry about how your arm looks or if it’s your “good side”, spend all of that energy showing the person you love just how much you care for them. Take a deep breath and remember your first date, your first kiss, the first time you rolled your eyes at them.  Rest your foreheads together and think of the last time you did that naturally. Probably just after giving them a huge hug and smile because you missed them so much.  Maybe you put your hands in their back pocket when you are walking up stairs or maybe you make funny faces at each other after an inside joke. Pay attention to that during your session, not if you are going to get that perfect background or photo you saw on Pinterest the night before.

Don’t rush though a pose I might suggest, but instead cuddle like you would normally do on a random Tuesday night. If you normally kiss him on the head or pinch him on the backside, do it. Don’t let me stop you.

And while you guys are just showing each other how much you care, I’m just in the background doing what I do best. Finding the good angles and showing off how amazing you look together. That’s my secret, I just need you guys to be in love.

In 50 years you won’t look at your “not perfect” legs or your “not perfect” weight. (Actually, I will put good money on you thinking you looked pretty hot in 50 years time. ) Instead you are going to love the photo because it represented a time in your life when you were getting married to the person you love. The memories will flood back and you will remember how you used to hold hands, or rest your head on his shoulder.

Take a deep breath and just relax. I got this. I love my job when I get to photograph pure, relaxed, happy love.


The Not Wedding { LA 2013 }

Later this month I’m going to be a part of The Not Wedding in LA. If you know me, I don’t like to be like “everyone else”. I’ve never been to a bridal show, and I never feel the need to trick people into booking me. If you like me…awesome!

But when I first learned about the Not Wedding, I was extremely intrigued. I think I watched the videos on the website for 2 days straight AND was a little sad I didn’t come up with the idea. It’s a fake wedding that is put on by hand-picked vendors…and the “guests” are people planning a wedding themselves. It’s a way for vendors to have fun putting together a pretty wedding day, and for guests to see those vendors work first hand. It’s not a bridal show, but a wedding day without all the family drama.

You guys can see me look like a hot-mess photographer goddess, eat tasty food and gather cool ideas for your own wedding. And when I say gather cool ideas, I mean it. Since it’s a wedding put on by creative, awesome vendors, it’s like having a first hand look at a styled shoot. You won’t find folding chair covers with old-school balloon arches here.

I think the thing I’m most excited about is the excuse to buy a new dress. You know…because I have to find some way to distract from my socially awkward dance moves that might happen that night.

If you are interested in buying a ticket and going on February 27th (In LA), check out their website! And if you want to be a groupie for me, I pay in ring pops and hugs. 😉

Through All of Space + Time { Doctor Who Inspired Wedding Day Styled Shoot }

This project was a serious labor or love. Kiera of Jakfoto Films and I are huge fans of the BBC TV show Doctor Who…and one day was just hit with the idea of putting together a chic, Doctor Who styled inspirational shoot. It gave us a excuse to watch more of the show AND try to pack in as many show references as possible without hitting people over the head with them. We like to call them Easter-eggs. Our goal was to design a gorgeous wedding for those not familiar with the show, and for the fans let them have fun picking out Doctor Who references.

We love this idea of mixing geek with chic…something we don’t see too often sadly.

Because Kiera and I knew this shoot would become a larger production, very early on we asked Jen of First Pick Planning to come on board. With our powers combined….we created this eye candy.

We also had the honor of being featured on Green Wedding Shoes today! Feel free to check out the feature and give all the vendors involved some love.


Styled by: Jakfoto Films | Candice Benjamin Photography | First Pick Planning

Cinematography: Jakfoto Films | Photography: Candice Benjamin Photography | Coordination: First Pick Planning  | Print Design: Mintwich Design | Floral Design: Studio Ooh La La | Wedding Dress: Hope Stanley of Mary Me Bridal | Cape + Earings: BHLDN | Gold Birdcage Veil: Tessa Kim | Ceremony Venue: Big Bear Solar Observatory | Ceremony Make-up and hair: Melissa Abad Makeup | Fourth Doctor’s Scarf: NoemisKnits | TARDIS “Spoilers” Kindle Cover: mdk Studios 898 | Reception Venue: Huron Substation | Reception Make-up and hair: Evelyn Lui of Serene Bridal Beauty | Cake: A Twist of Cake | Table Number Art: Meghan Stratman | Dining Furniture and Place Settings: Classic Party Rentals | Statement Furniture & Pendant Lights: FormDecor | Lighting: Mastermind Production Group | Cocktail Bar: Night Owl Productions | Video soundtrack: Chris Bartella – Anthem Falls Music | Ceremony backdrop, seating chart, star prisms & table numbers: DIY | Eleventh Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver & The Master’s Pocket Watch: ThinkGeek

Extra Special Thanks To: Kasey McKay, Josh McKay, Jay Moore, AJ Murden, Chris Wayne, and Bree Rhoten

Jakfoto Films also created a video that included even more nerdy references and the best fake vows I’ve ever heard.

Through All of Time and Space: Wedding Inspiration from Doctor Who from Jakfoto Films on Vimeo.

Note: We put together this inspirational styled shoot because things like this make my heart happy. It’s a real couple that modeled for us, but all of the ideas and styling was put together by the vendors involved. Jakfoto Films and myself did the bulk of styling and DIY-ing (yes, we stayed up till 3am for a few weeks straight glittering balls and painting old windows), but it wouldn’t of been put together without the help of everyone. I would consider myself so lucky to photograph a real wedding like this. Lets make Geek Chic a thing. And I will be there in a double-heartbeat to photograph it.

Planning your own wedding? Want to see how we gathered our ideas for the shoot?You can see our Pinterest board here.