Kurty Photography Blog - Kurty Photography

Go to content

Main menu:

Th Joy of Maternity Portraits

Published by in Portraits ·
Tags: maternityportraitspregnancypregnantphotophotographer

Ever since the famous photographer Annie Lebovitz took an astonishing pregnancy portrait of celebrity Demi Moore, a new photography genre called maternity portrait was born.

Being pregnant is exciting for most parents-to-be. It is one of the most special and meaningful times in our lives. Taking maternity shows the amazing transformation of your body and what it's going through. Beautiful maternity portraits will bring back many joyous memories.

Find a professional photographer with the style you admire, and decide if you like the maternity portraits taken in-studio or take lifestyle portraits outdoors. You should schedule a photo shoot around 30 weeks pregnant to a month before the baby is due for a more obvious belly shape.

Whether you're camera shy or don't know how to pose, Kurty Photography can direct you and take timeless and artistic maternity portraits in a fun and relaxed photo session. Ask the hubby to join. And if you already have other children, it would be wonderful to have them involved in the photo shoot.

Taking maternity portraits is one of the most magical moments in life and truly worth the investment.

Dancing with the Cows

Published by in Portraits ·
Tags: engagementportraitsbarnfarm.cowslove

Born and raised in Petaluma, Joseph has been visiting his friend at a barn on the mountain since high school. After the wedding proposal to his sweet heart Joanna, Joseph called me to shoot their engagement portraits at the barn.

On the way to Petaluma's country road, I was expecting to use a horse as the prop and was trying hard to compose some ideal shots in my head. But when I arrived the barn, I quickly found out that there were no horses but rather a bunch of cows!

So we crossed over the fence and carefully walked toward the cows to include them in the background. I remembered many years ago when I was driving in a remote area in Yakima, WA, I pulled over to a cow farm to take photos of the peaceful looking cows. As I approached closer to the fence, one of the cows was surprised by my presence and ran quickly toward my left. Suddenly the rest of the cows (hundreds of them) all charged in the same direction, and I was shocked and scared for my safety.  So this time when I crossed over the fence to shoot the portrait, I was a bit hesitant.  Foruntely, the cows were calm and just gazed us with curiosity from a distant. Thanksfully, we had some great shots.

Wedding at the Westin by Sacramento River

Published by in Modeling ·
Tags: weddingwestinscottsseafoodsacramentoriverriversidereception

We always get excited to travel to unique venues that have interesting characters and charm for weddings.  When Helen and Matt hired us to photograph their wedding at the Westin Sacramento by the riverside, we were really looking forward to shooting there for the first time.

The Sacramento River is a long inland river in Northern California that flows into Suisun Bay. Tucked away from the bustling California capitol, the Westin was in a tranquil location along the river. Witnessed by around 150 guests, the wedding ceremony was held outdoors right by the river. A tent was conveniently set up by the ceremony site which made it really easy for the guests to enjoy the gorgeous river view.  Dinner was catered by Scott's Seafood Restaurant located in the hotel.

While the bride was getting ready in the hotel room, the bridesmaids asked us to be ready to capture the sparkles. Sparkles? What sparkles, I thought. When each bridesmaid came out to the living room with a paper sparkler in the hand, I immediately understood what they were about to do. I quickly zoomed out to wide angle, set my Nikon to continuous capture mode, and dropped myself to the ground as the sparkle flakes sprinkled all over the bride. And that was an awesome shot!

Top 7 Indispensable Checklist for hiring a wedding photographer

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: weddingtipscelebrationweddingplanningweddingideasphotographers

Top 7 Indispensable Checklist for hiring a wedding photographer

Finding the ideal wedding photographer isn't easy. Everything has to be right. Well, have the following and you should be just fine:

1. Communication skills

Make sure that you speak to the photographer as well as the wedding planners in detail before the day of the shoot. You need to ensure that on that day, you have as little things to do as possible. If you begin talking about your expectations on that day, it might take quite a while (and trust me, there will be quite a lot to do).

Just ensure that you're done with all the planning and that when the day of the photo shoot does come, you have everything in order and you're ready to just get on with it.
Also, make sure that you're done with the proper introductions and that you're able to discern what everything is and where everyone should be. It makes everything much easier that way, as the photographer will be able to get on with his work in earnest.

2. A sweet location

Inasmuch as the photographer might bust out some professional moves to make your picture look stunning, the venue where the pictures will be taken will also play its part. Make sure to select an awesome location and you’ll be able to see the difference.

3. A wedding planner

While worrying about your photography session going right, you will most probably have quite a lot of things on your mind as well. If you notice that you won’t be able to handle the workload, please don’t feel bad about getting a wedding planner.

4. Enough time

Whether you will be working with a photography coordinator or not, it is important that you always send a wedding day photography schedule to everyone who is going to be involved at least about a month before the big day. This schedule will contain basically everything that you expect to be done by the photographer before pictures can be taken. It lists their responsibilities and what they should be bringing to the table. This way, you are pretty sure that things are all set. There's no last-minute reparation that remains and everyone will have the ability to focus even more on the pictures. It is a practice in being flexible.

5. A second photographer

As much as everything might be in order from one end, the truth is that unforeseen circumstances might still occur. To ensure that the occurrence of these circumstances doesn’t have an effect on your wedding,  it may be wise to hire a photographer that offers a second photographer. Your main choice will most definitely need all the help they can get.

6. Enough food for the big day

For every wedding photography session, it goes without saying that a lot of time will be spent. All of this goes to say that you’ll need to be well-fed. It won’t be easy to worry about your wedding on an empty stomach.

7. A change of clothes

If you plan to have your wedding portraits taken on a different day, you might consider a change of clothing along with your wedding dress to make your pictures look more appealing and to remove the monotony. To find good quality hd sunglasses and dash cams visit Zetronix.

Acting Headshots

Published by in Headshots ·
Tags: headshotactingheadshotforactors

The sisters came in the studio for acting headshots. We started with in-studio headshots with a standard grey background and dramatic lighting for acting. Then took some outdoor shots for their social media profiles.

Every actor needs a headshot. It's like a visual business card to get gigs. What makes a headshot standout is to show the charm and personality. It needs to be eye-grabbing and establish an instant connection with the casting agent. A successful headshot should show emotion and character. It's much deeper than showing head and shoulder.

Nowadays, color headshots are more popular than black and white. Actors should have two headshots - a commercial headshot with a bright smile, and a theatrical one that's more dramatic. These should show that you're capable of acting different roles.

Modern Vintage Photo Backdrop at Fort Point

Published by in Portraits ·
Tags: engagementportraitportraitweddingfortpointgoldengatebridge

Engagement portraits are usually taken months prior to the wedding. It's a perfect opportunity to wear the favorite clothing and have romantic portraits taken professionally. San Francisco provides so many beautiful backdrops for portraits of all kinds - the beach, downtown skyscrapers, lakes, gardens,  etc. Yet the iconic Golden Gate Bridge remains the top popular location for locals and tourists.

The couple loved the architectural elements of Golden Gate Bridge and bricks at Fort Point. It's a distinguished spot that has both modern structures and vintage textures. Built in  1853, the fort was completed just before the American Civil War. Canons were mounted on the rooftop aiming toward possible enemies that might pass through the strait, where Golden Gate Bridge was built many years later. Although no battle occurred at the fort, it remains an interesting site to visit as a historic landmark. The best thing about it is that one can see Golden Gate Bridge up close directly from below. This location is one of the most unique spots for photographers.

Portrait Collage for kids

Published by in Portraits ·
Tags: kidchildrenportraitcollage

I just love photographing kids (as long as they don't come in the studio in an already bad mood). Their innocent express is priceless and would be quickly lost as they grow up fast. Photographing kids require lots of energy but rewarding when capturing shots of them smiling.

Shooting kids is a different world than shooting grown-ups. I feel like a clown when I photograph kids. Kids have short concentration timespan. The photo session needs to be done quickly before they lose interest. I find the use of props is highly effective in getting their attention. I often use a plastic hammer that emits a loud sound as I bang it on my head. That should get their laugh for a least 10 shots before they get bored. Then I reach to my next prop - a soft orange ball made of styrofoam attached to a long string. I would throw the ball at them and it would retract back just before they could grab it. The ball is a highly effective trick, especially for the boys. If I still need to take more shots, I would use a toy snake that makes noise when squeezed and wrap it around my camera lens. It probably won't make kids laugh but they would stare at my lens with curiosity.

A framed photo collage (featured above) showing kids' various expression makes an awesome wall display at home and make the parents proud.

From Russia with Love

Published by in Portraits ·
Tags: familyportraitrussiancrissyfield

This lovely Russian family lives in Alaska. They were traveling to San Francisco and wanted to take family portraits by Golden Gate Bridge. We started with some traditional portraits then ended with some unexpectedly fun shots. For this featured portrait, I arranged the family members apart from each other and asked them to strike a different pose for each count of three. The result is a natural yet lively shot portraying the personality of each family member.

Eileen and Andy Wedding at Freedom Hall Santa Clara

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: freedomhallsantaclaraweddingceremony

How to Get a Picture Perfect Headshot

Published by in Headshots ·
Tags: headshotheadshotbusinessportraitpicture.datingactingprofile

How to Get a Picture Perfect Headshot
Life is all about first impressions. Take your best friend or significant other for example; everything about that first meeting is embedded in your mind—like a story that plays over and over again. But the story of “first meetings” has greatly changed. Now we have social media, and everyone is obsessed with taking the perfect “selfie” or, in professional terms, a tell-tale headshot of themselves. You could tell a lot about the person from the picture they put up!
And just like that, a professional website would also require a professional picture! Remember the good old days where you would attach a printed picture on your CV? Well, it’s much like the same way except everything’s all digitalized now!
Getting an effective headshot
You want your headshot to mean something, it’s supposed to have an element of depth to it but how can you achieve that? If you’re new to this then don’t worry, here are a few ways you can get an excellent headshot:

Know why you need it
Here’s a thing about headshots, it can vary greatly according to its purpose. So how can your headshot vary according to the purpose?
    • If you’re getting one for a job or hiring managers then you’ll have to make sure it’s one that’s easily identifiable through profiles like LinkedIn. This will greatly increase your chance of landing a good job and gaining an interview.  
    • If you’re getting one for your business then make sure it defines you as approachable as possible. After all, you want your clients to be able to contact you without any hesitation.
    • It you’re opting for online dating then it should both be attractive and approachable. Enough to make the other person proceed with your profile.

Nailing the look
Now that you know why you’re getting a headshot, it’s time to nail the look. Don’t worry if you’re not photogenic, not everyone is! You do, however, need to know the tricks to getting the right picture. For example, smiling is beautiful but a light smile will give you a more confident yet approachable look. This is often best with business profiles! Similarly, you should find your good side and make sure it’s always directed towards the camera. Remember, headshots rarely ever have room for head tilts so keep it subtle!
It’s the selfie generation…or is it?
Selfies are great and so are candids but they can never be used for a professional account. Save your selfies for Instagram because if not, your clients will wonder if you’re even professional enough for the job. Remember your attire, background, facial expression, everything will play a role here.
Does your attire matter?
Headshots are focused on the head and shoulders but your attire does play a role here. Wear a color that brings out your eyes and it’ll greatly affect the way your picture turns out! The more solid colors you wear, the better the picture will turn out. Remember; try to wear something that contrasts your skin tone for better affects!
Retouching is a must
Retouching allows you to look fresh and removes all the blemishes and wrinkles from your face. It allows you to look more approachable to the clients. It’s definitely a must, especially if you’re looking at a professional picture.
To cut it short, the better your headshot is, the better job you’ll be getting. That’s why you should contact Kurty Photography because they’ve excelled in the area since 1992. With the benefit of retouching being included in every shoot, we leave customers satisfied with both professional and personal headshots.

Wedding Fantasia

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: starwarsgodzillapowerblastweddingfunlightsaber
Wedding portraits don't always have to be traditional, I thought. I am always trying new ideas and have some fun. One of the many ways to get creative with wedding photos is first to compose an image in the head, then ask the wedding couples to visualize what I see and pose accordingly. And finally, all the magic is done in post production.

Photoshop gives photographers unlimited possibilities to manipulate images in creative ways. The following steps are the tricks I used in creating fantasy photos:

1. Compose an image in mind.
2. Direct the subjects to act and pose according to your vision.
3. Make sure the lighting on the subjects matches the scenario.
4. Find the ideal background from Google images. For best results, click on "Tools", choose "Size" and select "Large" to find the highest resolution images.
5. In Photoshop, cut out the subjects and paste them into the background image.

Star Wars has been one of my all time favorite movies since I was a child. It's so exciting to see the saga continues after 25 years. I've been waiting for the right couple to do this shot - a bride that looks elegant like a princess, and a groom that looks handsome and courageous.

When I first saw Ashley and Jeff, I knew I've found the right couple. Ashely and Jeff are both from Madison, WI. They decided to elope and drove across the states and got married in Lake Tahoe. Right after they exchanged the vows, they drove down to San Francisco and met me at Palace of Fine Arts for their wedding portraits. During the photo shoot, I asked to imagine that they're holding a light saber and took the shot against a wall.  

What if Godzillas show up uninvited and crash the wedding? To compose this shot, I directed the wedding party to scatter around and run toward the camera as if a dinosaur was chasing them. The first shot wasn't too ideal as they all looked forward. I then asked them to look back and imagine they saw a super scary monster coming their way. It was much more realistic.

The super power shot has been done by many people across the globe. To create this shot, I added lighting effects to the image to show blasts through the force.

Kara's Modeling Portfolio

Published by in Modeling ·
Tags: brunettemodelportfoliokurtyphotographycompcardzedcard

Many people have dreamed to become a model, but it's not as easy as one would think. Besides the outer beauty and meeting the height and size requirement, a potential model has inner qualities, appealing character, and must be natural in posing in front of the camera.

Although it was her first time, Kara knew the rhythm of her body movement and was all natural during the photo shoot for her modeling portfolio. She even suggested to pose like Wonder Women, and I could see her super power within as she unleashed the energy. Funny that I had just watched the new Wonder Woman movie starring Gal Gadot, and I could see some resemblances.

Photo Shoot of FYB London Handbag for Forbes

Published by in Modeling ·
Tags: fyblondonhandbagmodelphotoshootforbes

Dani and her business partner called us when they were driving from the East Coast to the airport. They urgently needed a headshot for a feature article in the Forbes magazine, as well as some product shots of their smart and innovative handbags. Since they needed the shots in a rush, I told them I am able to deliver awesome shots in just an hour.

So they flew to San Francisco and drove to my studio as soon as they got off the plane. We communicated the type of looks for the magazine and their website, took the shots and retouched the images on the fly. They were extremely satisfied with the shots. I am looking forward to seeing my work featured in the upcoming issue of Forbes magazine.
What's so innovative about their hand bags? They are designed with smart technologies including wireless charging pocket, fingerprint lock, RFID credit card protection, and distance alerts for theft prevention. I never imagined that a handbag can have so many features. It's not just a bag. It's a spy gadget!

For those who are interested in owning a FYB London handbag, check out their website.

8 Reasons Why Attending Photo Conferences is Beneficial

Published by in News ·
Tags: photoconferenceconventionworkshopwppiimagingusaphotographyeducation

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.” This quote from Ronald E. Osborn explains why we photographers should never stop learning, and one of the quickest ways to sharpen our skills and rediscover our passion is by attending photography conferences.

We are so fortunate to live in a country that has many photography conferences to go to. There are major annual conventions for portrait and wedding photographers such as WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) and Imaging USA; PhotoPlus International Expo to discover the latest in photography, video and digital imaging; PMA International Convention and Trade Show to get a first-hand experience in the newest model of cameras, photo equipment, and digital imaging software. There are also many local conferences and workshops held by various organizations and renowned photographers by roadshows across the states to educate amateur and professional photographers.

Any photographer would agree that photography is beyond owning a nice camera and an ultra-sharp lens. It's about seeing the world through our eyes. We capture whatever that catches our attention or moves us, whether it's an extreme close-up of the blossom flower petals, the satisfying look of a child eating an ice cream bar, a majestic landscape painted in dramatic light, or intriguing patterns we encounter on the street. Photography is about our vision and passion captured on film or digitally.

There are many benefits to attend photography conferences. Below is a list of top seven reasons and tricks:

1. Attend workshops.
For those who just want to spend a day exploring the exhibits in major photo conventions, they can easily spend a day or two wandering from booth to booth to see the latest products. For the serious learners, attending the workshops is the best way to learn in short amount of time. I remember there was a time that I spent a whole semester at school to learn what I learned in two hours at a workshop.

Established professionals can learn from photography experts on the latest trends in shooting style, gain marketing insights, and tools for running a business. Amateurs can learn from renowned photographers on various topics such as choosing the right equipment, how to setup lighting by using flash and continuous light, effective ways in choosing your subject and background, etc. in short amount of time.

2. Touch and feel new toys.
Camera enthusiast can get a hand on experience with the latest photo equipment and technology, and ask representatives questions about products and features. While reading about the products online can be useful, there's nothing compared to the excitement in actually touching and playing with the new toys.

3. Get inspired (again).
Every time I attend a photography conference, I got so inspired that I wanted to try something new immediately. It could be a new marketing idea, developing a new style to shoot, or trying out a new trick to generate more income.

4. Meet new fellow photographers.
Almost all conference attendees are photographers and share the same enthusiasm. Don't be shy to introduce yourself and ask questions. Chances are the person you meet is already familiar with the camera on your bucket list and can give you honest opinions.

5. Win products from by listening to mini seminars.
Many companies reward those attendees who sat through the end of the presentation by raffle ticket drawings. I've personally won an Adobe software that worth $700 while learning some new tricks from the speaker.

6. Bring your camera and lenses to major photo conventions.
Camera makers showcase their latest products at major conventions such as Imaging USA and WPPI. They usually have onsite technicians who can fine tune your camera and lenses at no charge.

7. Do a quick walkthrough to find the best free seminars.
Many big brand companies such as Nikon, Canon, Adobe, etc. invite renowned photography leaders to speak on their specialty. The complimentary mini seminars are usually 30 minutes to an hour long throughout the entire convention. Take a quick walk through the expo hall and write down the seminars that interest you and go back when the time starts.

8. Buy stuff and save money
This is actually my biggest reason to go to a photo convention. You can always expect show specials and discounts when you buy from the exhibitors during the conventions. The savings alone usually paid for my travel expenses and considerably more.

Online Dating Dream Came True!

Published by in Headshots ·
Tags: datingonlinedatingmatch.comprofiilepictureeharmony
It was hard to believe when Damarys called me to photograph her wedding. Just ten months ago, She came in the studio for her online dating profile photos. She wanted her photos to be natural, relaxed and express her personality. We took shots in the studio and took more casual shots outdoor. She then uploaded the photos to Match.com and started to meet people. Before long, Mr. Right walked into her life.

Online dating really does work! Surveys show that having a profile photo generates more profile viewings than none. Having better, more attractive dating profile pictures are helpful to meet more people online.

Damarys success story with online dating really made me happy. It was such a wonderful feeling that my photos helped her find the true love of her life.

Comp card for a modeling career

Published by in Modeling ·
Tags: compcardmodel.modelingagencyfashionphotozedcardtalent

Kelsey came in the studio for a modeling portfolio photo shoot. We begin with headshots in the studio then went outdoor for lifestyle looks in various outfits. I always feel blessed for running a photo studio in the Dogpatch neighborhood. There are countless textures and backgrounds right by the studio for awesome photo backdrops. I love to use the metal gate across the street, the evergreen trees on the sidewalk,  the 22nd Street Caltrain station on the back, and colorful walls in every block. Each element provides a unique backdrop that can be used for high fashion photo looks.  After the photo shoot, Kesley picked out several photos for the comp card. I then designed the comp card for her upcoming audition for modeling agencies. Kelsey's got the look and talent to be an awesome model. Hope to see her on the cover of Vogue magazine soon!

Comp cards are also called composite cards or Zed Cards. They are like business cards for models. Comp cards are essential for self-promotion and provide a higher opportunity for agencies to book the models. Clients browse through comp cards at model agencies for the look they want for commercial, runway, print ads, etc. Comp cards are printed on card stocks and are double-sided. A headshot is usually featured on the front, and 3-4 shots showing a good variety are featured in the back along with model's body weight and measurement. This is an important tool to get gigs and earn money.

Oceano Hotel Wedding in Half Moon Bay

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: weddingoceanohotelhalfmoonbaychineseasianceremonyreception

Perhaps it's the cool breeze from the coastal weather, perhaps the relaxing scenic drive on highway one, or perhaps the legend of unsolved Mysteries ghost, the Blue Lady from the Moss Beach Distillery, I've always loved shooting weddings in the picturesque Half Moon Bay. Oceano is a luxury hotel nearby the Pillar Point Harbor where local fishermen sail out in search of freshly caught fish or Dungeness crabs. Visitors can buy the catch of the day directly from the fisherman on the pier, or dine at the famous restaurants like Barbara's Fly Trap, Meza Luna, or Sam’s Chowder House. Simply a walk around the harbor is worth the drive.

So glad that Lauren and Warren chose to get married in Oceano Hotel. Michael, my second shooter and I arrived early to have fish and chips and delicious veggie burger by the charming harbor. Lauren the bride's makeup was just about done when we began the photo coverage. I documented details shots of the brides' accessories while Michael photographed the groom outside which his vintage sports car. The videographers were flying a drone, which is a popular trend for weddings nowadays.

One thing that made this wedding really special - the wedding couple hired the professionals that I love to work with. I've worked with David Wong the florist, Jessie Weng the makeup artist, and John Jow the DJ for countless weddings over the course of 15 years. We sometimes call ourselves the "Fantastic Four". It's always wonderful working with vendors we know well for events and weddings. It makes our work smoother.

The weather was a little unpredictable, so the wedding coordinator suggested the ceremony indoor. That really worked out well because of the village mall setting with a glass roof for natural light. We managed to take some portraits with the bridal party by the beach just across the street from the hotel. The wind was so strong that the bridesmaids' hair had gone haywire. We quickly snapped some shots and went back to the hotel for more portraits.

Around 200 guests were seated for the reception. Juicy steak and chicken were served along with the wedding cake. DJ John Jow always had the magic in getting guests on the dance floor.  And for those who were happy dancing, the night has just begun.

Photography: Kurty and Michael, Kurty Photography
Videography: Bryant Truong, Urbaners
Makeup and Hair: Jessie Weng,
Florist: David Wong, Absolute Elegance
DJ: John Jow
Cake: B Patisserie
Event Manager: Lauren Jackowitz

When blind date turned into an Indian Christian marriage

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: indianweddingblinddatemulticulturalhinduoaklandskylinechurch
Manisha was on a blind date while studying medical program in German. She was expecting a guy named Lukas in the party but somehow her blind date didn't show up. Later that evening, a tall, handsome man walked to her and introduced himself as Lukas. It turned out to be another Lukas. and fate had it worked out the right way.

It is a lot of work for Cynthia - mother of the bride to plan for a multicultural wedding. The Christian ceremony was held at Skyline Community Church in Oakland with a splendid view of the bay through the window wall. Two cable cars charters were arranged to transport the guests from the church to the private residence on the hills for the Indian ceremony. Tasteful horderves were served during the cocktail from raw sushi to Italian antipasti as a live band performed jazz. When it was time for the Hindu ceremony, a group of Punjabi danced along the drum beats to escort the guests to the ceremony site in the backyard.

The Hindu ceremony began with the offering of flowers to the groom's family. The ceremony was colorful and contained lots of detail in rituals. One of the key rituals involved in walking around the fire seven times as a binding promise to each other.  

The sun had sunken when the long ceremony was over. Then we took family group portraits overlooking the city lights. The reception was a feast with abundant dishes followed by the cutting of the cake. The bride changed into Indian sari dress and celebrated the evening with everyone with flashy Indian dance moves as seen in Bollywood movies. What a spectacular  wedding we will always remember!

Row. row, row your love - engagement portrait at Stow Lake

Published by in Portraits ·
Tags: boatlakeloveportraitengagementstowlakegoldengatepark
Jordan is an avid boat rower and wanted something different for engagement portraits. I suggested that we go to Stow Lake in Golden Gate Parks where they could rent the boat for an hour.

It was a beautiful sunny morning on the date of the photo shoot. I arrived a bit earlier to scout out the best lighting and noticed the glare from the rising sun over the lake. I knew it would be the perfect back-lit light for dramatic effect but would have to careful with the low contrast and light spills.

Leanel, Jordan and I met at the boat rental, and I followed them around the scenic lake on foot. At first, I was a bit worried that I might not catch up with the speed of the boat. It turned out that our pace was about the same. That allowed me to take my time to compose and capture the photos. Communication wasn't an issue as I used my body language to tell them to stop or spin the boat around for the perfect angles. I used a long lens (Nikon 70mm to 200mm f2.8) to zoom in closely from the far distant on the shore, and this narrowed the perspective and highlighted the depth of the couple on the boat.

The bride and groom to be now have some awesome portraits for their Save-the-Date cards.

Tina and Jason got married at Dusmuir Estates in Oakland

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: weddingdusmuirestateseastoceanrestaurantchineseceremonybanquet
Tina and Jason fell in love while majoring in Pharmacy at the university. They would chat on the phone for hours through the night, and Jason would fall asleep during class whiling sitting in the front row. The wedding guests were laughing hard when the MCs told the story of the newly wed during the Chinese banquet at the East Ocean restaurant in Alameda.

The MCs continued, "While dating, Jason would always buy Tina meals whenever they eat out. It was a smart gesture to win her heart. Now Tina can have free meals for the rest of her life."

The weather was so pleasant in the fall season of October. Some of the leaves have turned yellow at the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate (also known as Dunsmuir House) where the outdoor wedding ceremony was held in the garden. Built in 1899 by Alexander Dunsmuir, the 50 acres wedding venue is a Neoclassical Revival Mansion. It was built as a wedding for his beloved lady Josephine. After several changes of ownership, the Dunsmuir Estates were purchased by the City of Oakland in 1960s and designated as Historic Landmark.

Every time I photograph at Dunsmuir Estates, I'd remember photographing the daughter of the famous Kung Fu master Wong Jack Man's wedding held there several years ago. At that time, I had no idea that the Northern Shaolin style Kung Fu master was the sifu that battled Bruce Lee in Oakland. It was really awesome to have met the legendary man in person and photographing his daughter's wedding.

Photography: Kurty Wong and Michael Ye, Kurty Photography
Videography: Travis Do, 8 Kinds of Smiles
Makeup Artist: Jessie Weng, Makeup by Jessie Weng
Wedding Planner: Celia Yu,   Big Day Service
Cake: Napoleon Bakery
Photo Booth: The Black Tent

A birthday present for herself

Published by in Portraits ·
Tags: birthdayportraitmotheranddaughter
Gricelia called and said, "It's my birthday today. I want a nice photo taken with my daughter as a birthday present to myself".  She said she never had a good photo taken with her daughter, and she'd be happy if I could take just one good photo. I said to her, "No worries. You will have lots of beautiful portraits to choose from." Later Gricelia came to the studio with her daughter, and we took a variety of shots. After seeing the proofs, she was so happy and thanked me for the nicest birthday present in her life. It always moved me when I hear someone feel great about themselves with their portraits, and the portraits will bring her a lifetime of joy whenever she looks at them.

Super power shot that was inspired by X-Men the movie

Published by in ss ·
Tags: weddingfunfunnysuperpowerbridalparty
Not the traditional bridal party photo you've seen. This fun shot which I called "Super power" was taken last week at the historic Dunsmuir Estates in Oakland Hill. The creative idea popped up in my head while I was watching the X-Men Apocalypse movie one day.  I thought "Wouldn't it be nice that the bride and groom hold some sort of super power?". It wasn't till several weddings later when I remembered to do something about the shot. The lightning effect was, of course, added in post-production.

Genevieve and Noah tied the knot on Mayor's Balcony at City Hall

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: weddingciyhallmayorsbalconysanfrancisco
Genevieve and Noah drove down from Sacramento to get married at the splendid San Francisco City Hall. They reserved the Mayor's Balcony for a private wedding to accommodate a large attendance of families and friends. I loved how Genevive's best friend served double duty as Maid of Honor and the wedding officiant, as she revealed the story on how the bride and groom met back in high school.

After the ceremony, we began taking family group photos with both sides of families followed by shots with friends. While the guests were celebrating on the Mayor's Balcony, the happily married wedding couple took portraits at various spots including the Fourth Floor Gallery, the huge iron window, the vintage elevator, and of course the famous grand staircase as seen in major Hollywood hits such as Dirty Harry and the first Indiana Jones movie.

Genevieve and Noah love Bi-Rite Creamy and would always wait in the line for the ice cream every time they come to San Francisco. They were so smart to use Uber-X SUV services and saved more money than hiring a Limo driver. It's always fun and stimulating for photographers to shoot something different. I loved taking photos of them ordering and eating the organic ice cream in the shop. The groom even bought the Uber driver and I a tasteful scoop!

Luckily there was no waiting line to order the ice cream, so it only took us 10 minutes to order and finish eating the ice cream while I took some candid shots. The Uber driver was happy to wait for us while he enjoyed the ice cream, and we quickly got back on the SUV for portraits at Palace of the Fine Arts.

The iconic Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most popular locations for wedding photos. Uber drove us to Crissy Field for the next location. The weather was perfect and not windy on that day. We didn't spend too much time taking photos there, as Genevieve the bride needed to head back to the Grand Hyatt Hotel to change into an evening dress for the wedding reception. We took some fun photos in Union Square as the last location and discovered a colorful "Love" sign hidden in an alley. What a lovely couple and a memorable day!

Our new video showcase

Published by in News ·
Tags: kurtyphotographyvideo
We are so excited to introduce our new video showcasing some of our latest images. This is a one-minute short video that will be used for marketing on social media platforms. We thought about showing the video on the home page of our website, but we dropped the idea in respect to some viewers privacy as the music would auto play and create some unwanted attention. so we are showing the video here on the blog instead.

When You Really Need a Good Photographer

Published by in News ·
Tags: photographerbesttop

Our first ever video ad! When Kurty Photography in 1988, there were only several professional photographers in the Bay Area. Mainly due to bulky and costly large film cameras that could only be operated in manual mode. Since it was virtually impossible to see how the shot turned out (unless you use a polaroid), a photographer really needed to learn all the technical skill in order to properly expose the film. One neglected mistake can ruin the photo shoot.

Thanks to the invention of the convenience and automatic features of the digital camera, anyone can just pick up a nice digital camera and become a professional amateur overnight. But photography is beyond just "point and click"; it's a mixture of composition and artistry,  movement and lighting. After so many years working in the field of photography, I am still learning new techniques and constantly improving the way I shoot by following the trends.

I strongly believe the qualified photographers are those with passion and eyes for visual information to capture exceptional images and the skills beyond mere point and click.

Kelly and Jimmy Wedding at St. Ignatius and Olympic Club

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: weddingstignatiusolympicclubkurtyphotographygolfclub
What a fun wedding celebration for Kelly and Jimmy who exchanged vows at St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco and danced the night away at the Olympic Club.

I began with Kelly the bride at the prestigious St. Regis in downtown. Most ladies already have their hair and makeup done, and the bride was just about ready. Heidy the second shooter began with Jimmy the groom at his condo with a gorgeous view overlooking the AT&T baseball stadium and Bay Bridge.

Jimmy the groom and I have something in common. He is the football coach for CCSF where I obtained a photography degree. It was such an honor to capture the couple as they tied the knot at the fully packed church witnessed by hundred of guests.

The Olympic Club Lakeside is one of my favorite reception venues for the open space and bright window lights. It is probably one of the largest golf club house in the nation in size.

The super friendly Olympic Club event coordinator Ava Chin took us on a golf cart and drove us to a scenic green by the ocean. We took some romantic portraits of the newly wed during the cocktail reception while the guests were happily mingling and enjoying the delicious hors d'oeuvres.

Lucky for the guests invited to the wedding, more food was brought in after the bountiful dinner of juicy steak, salmon, and shrimp. Right at 10:00 pm, the staffs pushed a cart full of buttery grill cheese sandwiches and hot dogs to the dance floor. What an exciting evening as the crowd danced along with the live band performed by Pop Fiction.

Photographers: Kurty Wong, Heidy Hernandez
Wedding Coordinator: Julie Briggs Dunn, JBD Events
Olympic Club Catering Director: Ava Chin
Hair and Makeup: Meaganne McCandess
Transportation: BSW Limo, Bauer's
Live Band: Pop Fiction
Photo Booth: Tom Foolery

Portrait of a cute dog

Published by in SometiPortraits ·
Tags: dogportrait
Sometimes people ask me, "What is the hardest subject to photograph?" Well. the answer would be babies and dogs. Darlene came prepared when she took her dog Jackie in for studio portraits. She was publishing her book and needed an eye-catching shot for the book cover. Besides several cute attires and head pieces that were a perfect fit for Jackie, she also brings in several seamless paper backdrops for the photo shoot.

Jackie was well trained. When Darlene placed her on the paper backdrop, she just quietly sat there. I adjusted the studio lighting to the proper height to define details on her hair and snapped several shots while Jackie was still paying attention to my tone. Soon enough, as I expected, Jackie was bored and just rested her head on the floor. Darlene lifted her up and gave her some treat. I had to imitate barking sound as an effective method to "communicate" with Jackie. It worked.

In an hour of the photo shoot, we took plenty of good shots in various outfits and backdrops. I look forward to reading Darlene's book when it's published.

Family Portrait Session with San Francisco Cityscapes

Published by in Portraits ·
Tags: familyportraitssanfranciscocityscapepalaceoffineartspaintedladiesgoldengatebridge
The family flew in from Texas for a vacation in San Francisco. They wanted to take some memorable family portraits with distinctive landmarks. So we met at Mark Hopkin Hotel in Nob Hill and got in a limo for a fun three-hour photo shoot around the city.

Our first stop was Palace of Fine Arts. It was crowded, as usual, so we waited for the right moment to take some clean shots without too many people in the background.

The ever popular Golden Gate Bridge was on the top of their list. We then headed to Crissy Field as the lighting would be the best in the afternoon. The weather was a bit cold and windy. However, the most challenging part was the crowd in the background. I had to do some Photoshop magic to remove people that could be distracting elements. Well, it looked better after half an hour of erasing and cloning.

The limo driver drove the long stretch limo in turtle speed (well, it was a Sunday and no one seemed to be in a hurry anyway), so it took a long while to arrive Alamo Park for the Painted Ladies. The family grew up watching the popular TV series "Full House" and told me about the new Full House episodes called "Fuller House" that's only available on Netflix. I led them to the famous postcard spot on top of the green hill of the park and took shots of the family in front of the colorful Victorian houses of the Painted Ladies.

With so many fantastic backdrops from neighborhood to neighborhood, we could spend days to shoot all of the famous landmarks. That's what's so unique about the beautiful city!

Claire and Caleb's wedding at Mill Rose Inn, Half Moon Bay

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: millroseinnhalfmoonbaywedding
Whenever I drove down to Half Moon Bay, I felt like I have come to a countryside back road that's far, far away from the bustling city.

Mill Rose Inn remains as one of my favorite wedding venues throughout the years. There's nothing quite like this old world charm English style Bed and Breakfast Inn tucked away in a small street just a couple blocks from the historic Main Street. Every time I visit Half Moon Bay, I'd stop by to say hello to the innkeepers Eve and Terry. They are old friends who always have lots of stories to tell, and always maintain the inn and garden so well. Walking around the inn's gardens, plentiful blossom flowers are everywhere regardless the change of seasons.

Strolling down the historic downtown on Main Street, one can always find something intriguing. Whether a timeless treasure in an antique shop; paintings and sculptures created by local artists in a gallery; or simply tasting a variety blend of olive oil infused with herbs. Not to mention a dozen of restaurants offering meals from sushi to pasta.

This is the place to be for a happily ever after marriage, and that's why couples like Claire and Caleb celebrated their wedding at Mill Rose Inn.

Golf lession from Hank Haney for Charles Schwab

Published by in Events ·
Tags: golfhankhaneycharlesschwabpaloaltohillsgolfkurtyphotography
Shooting Hank Haney and Charles Schwab clients at Palo Alto Hills Golf and country Club. Hank Haney is best known for coaching Tiger Woods and championship winner Mark O'Meara.

Hank was recognized as PGA's Teacher of the Year and has instructed more than 200 PGA Tour professionals. He is also the Corporate Ambassador for Charles Schwab. When Tiger Wood studied under Haney, he changed Tiger Woods' swing from an upright to a flatter golf swing and greatly improved his skill.

When Delia met Vince - the man who proposed with nine engagement rings

Published by in Headshots ·
Tags: authorbookengagementstoryfunnyweddingproposalgoodtothefog

Delia came in for headshots for her new book titled, "Good to the Fog". While we waited for the hairdresser, she told me the fascinating story of how she met her husband.

Delia was publishing a book in Romania and needed a landscape photo for her book cover. So she went on Flicker and found a perfect photo and contacted Vince the photographer who was in San Francisco for the permission to use the photo. That opened up the conversation and they both felt a strong connection with each other.

For the next two months, they exchanged emails and Vince spent $3,500 on international phone bills (that was before Skype existed). Vince decided that he should fly to Romania to meet Dalia in person. When the plane landed in Romania,  Delia has no idea the flight arrived several hours ahead of schedule. She was desperately looking for Vince at the airport but there was no sign of him. Broken hearted, Delia thought she has lost him as she wandered alone in the airport. Suddenly Vince jumped out from behind a column gave her a big warm hug.  In shock with mixed emotions, Delia got a crowded bus with Vince to downtown. Vince suddenly pulled out an engagement ring from the pocket and proposed to Delia on the bus. Delia just couldn't believe what just happened, but she said "yes"!

The next two years while they waited for the U.S. to approve the immigration, they visited nine countries in Europe. In each country, Vince would propose to Delia again with a new engagement ring. Delia has a total of nine engagement rings, and they are happily married ever since.

Wedding Portraits Around the City

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: weddingportraitsphotosanfranciscocityphotographer

Wedding portrait is a big thing in Asia and is quite different is style when compared to the U.S. Romantic wedding portraits are done way before the wedding day, and the couples would change into several attires provided by the portrait studio. The portrait studios in Asia are usually one stop shop that provides full services from makeup to flowers and outfits to transportation. For brides, it's their most beautiful moment in life and a dream come true. Hiring a portrait photographer who would bring out their beauty is often considered more important than hiring a photographer to capture the moments of the wedding day.

Queen and Jacob are getting married in Taiwan. Instead of taking their wedding portraits in Taiwan,  they wanted something different -something with a western touch. So they chose to take their wedding portraits in San Francisco as the backdrop. So we begin with a makeup session by Jessie Weng and drove to several scenic locations including Embarcadeo, City Hall, Pier 7, Palace of Fine Arts and Crissy field. Now they have some great shots with famous landmarks to display at their wedding in Taiwan.

Kimberly + Gustalvo | Paradise Cove and Roy's Oahu Hawaii

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: weddingphotosphotographerhawaiiparadisecoveroysbeachoceandestination

We are always super excited to photograph destination weddings, So far, we had the wonderful opportunities to photograph weddings on a private island only accessible by boat in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, chic weddings in Manhattan New York, lavish weddings on the flashy Las Vegas Strip, Hollywood style weddings in L.A., and the most popular of all - Hawaii.

Kimberly and Gustavo are both from the Bay Area. They wanted a wedding where the families and guests can relax and have fun. Paradise Cove in Kapolei, HI was just the right place for them. It's a secluded beach overlooking the ocean filled with coconut trees. At night, it is famous for the luau, where guests are greeted by a tropical Mai Tai and traditional Hawaiian music that set the festive mood of the evening.

For the wedding reception, the couple chose the internationally influenced, Hawaii inspired restaurant Roy's, which was just a short drive away from Paradise Cove.

The intimate yet romantic wedding was filled with laughter and joy, as no one was in the hurry to leave. There was no reason to leave, after all, they were in paradise!

Friends are Forever!

Published by in Portraits ·
Tags: friendsflowersfriendshipfunphotowreaths

Nadya had a bright idea for her baby shower. She invited her best friends over to her house to draw flowers, then make flower wreaths, and then take a photo of everyone together with their flowers to create a photo as a lasting memory.

When Nadya hired me for the photo shoot and told me about the idea, a picture was illustrated in my head, as I tried to visualize how it could be done. First, we need a tall ceiling, then a ladder, then a white background and floor large enough for seven ladies to lay down. The most challenging part was the lighting. I decided to point my flash upward to the ceiling for a soft, broad light that would evenly illuminate everyone's face without cause shadow.

The result was just as we had visioned - beautiful ladies formed a circle surrounded by colorful flowers that represent everlasting friendship.

Hollywood Effects

Published by in Events ·
Tags: hollywoodmoviephotoshopeffectstrainretouching

Ever since I was a kid, I've always wanted to be a secret agent like in James Bond movies. Now with Photoshop magic, all my dreams can come true.... well, virtually. This photo of me on the train was taken on the railroad track in Old Sacramento. I was shooting a family portrait for a friend and asked him to take a photo of me with my smart phone while I jumped on the train. My initial motive was simply taking a casual shot of me on the train. When I returned to the studio, I looked at the photo and thought, "What can I do with it to make it more interesting?" So I applied motion blur to the train track and background to make the train like it's moving. Then searched for explosion and plane crash images om Google. After combining multiple images, my fantasy was created.

Winner of 2015 Spectrum Award

Published by in News ·
Tags: awardkurtyphotography

It's always an honor to be recognized as one of the top photography studios delivering top quality services. The Spectrum Award of Excellence in Customer Satisfaction was established to spotlight companies providing exceptional service and experiences to their customers. Their research is done annually and is completely independent and unbiased. The award is only bestowed upon that fraction of companies earning their highest ratings.

We couldn't have received awards without great testimonials from our clients, and we strive to deliver exceptional photographers to keep our clients smiling.

Ge Wang Miss Singtao USA

Published by in Headshots ·
Tags: gewangmisssingtaomisschinatownusaheadshot

Ge Wang, the winner of Miss Sing Tao pageant has just entered Miss Chinatown USA beauty pageant. She needed a new headshot to enter the contest, and so she found me through former Miss Asian Global Susie Lee who I have photographed.

Ge Wang sure has a camera face, she knew her best facial angle and was extremely easy to photograph. We took around 120 headshots in three dresses, and she loved them all.

It will be exciting to see her on TV for the upcoming Miss Chinatown USA beauty pageant, and I wish her the best of luck!

Headshots 2015

Published by in Headshots ·
Tags: headshotheadshotprofessionalactormodellawyerrealestateagentonlinedatingmatch.comeharmony

Headshots are usually the first impression prior to meeting or hiring someone. Hence, a beyond good looking headshot is essential for a lasting impression. Headshot is for everyone. Whether actors, models, business professionals, lawyers, real estate agents, performers, etc. need a professional headshot to represent themselves. Other popular uses are social media profiles such as linkedin, Facebook, and online dating services such as match.com, eharmony, etc.

Call us today for your headshot for just $125. The photo shoot takes one hour, and you will have an eye-catching head shot that can be used for any purposes.

Modleing Portfolio for Paul

Published by in Modeling ·
Tags: modelingportofliomodelfashiondressstyle

Paul came by the studio to update his modeling portfolio. He asked what he should wear, and I suggested Banana Republic look - neutral color, life style and fashionable. It looks great on him.

I was often asked by aspiring models on what makes a great modeling portfolio. First the print size in the portfolio should be 8x10, 9x12 or 11x14, include a good variety of looks from various photographers, and a good mixture of color and black and white prints. 6 to 12 photos is adequate to present yourself to a new agency but no more than 20.  and of course, the most important key factor is awesome photos that make your agency and clients "wow!".

Marissa and Phillip's Wedding at St. Peter and Paul Church and Marines Memorial Club

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: stpeterandpaulmarinesmemorialclubwedding

St. Peter and Paul Church and Marines Memorial Club are both highly popular wedding venues in San Francisco. Built in 1924, the church was featured in the Clint Eastwood movies Dirty Harry. Hollywood bombshell Marilyn Monroe and famed baseball player Joe DiMaggio had their wedding photographs taken on the steps of this church.

Marines' Memorial Club is a splendid venue for wedding receptions. Located in Union Square, it is a private social club for United States Marines and other veterans of the United States Armed Forces. However, wedding couples don't necessary need to serve in the military to have wedding reception there.

On the wedding day, we begin capturing the very lovely bride Marissa at MMC's exquisite hotel room. Then got on the cable car with the bridal party to the church. It's always so much fun riding on the cable car for weddings, as we watch bystanders on the street joyfully cheer out loud for the wedding party. I feel so blessed that I have the best job in the world!

Modeling Portfolio for Alison

Published by in Modeling ·
Tags: modelmodelingportfoliofashionphotoshoot

Alison was noticed by two model scouts in separate occasions. Realizing that she has a potential to be a model, she came in our studio for a high fashion modeling portfolio.

She's amazing even as a beginner. Not at all camera shy, Alison knew her best angles and body movement. She will be meeting an agent at a modeling agency next week. I hope she get signed and paid for major gigs.

Joanne and Niko Wedding at Ascension Cathedral

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: AscensionCathedralweddingjoanneandnikogreekorthodoxoakland

Ascension Cathedral of Oakland is one of the grandest and most stunning churches in the Bay Area. The metal plates that frame the ceiling change color as the interior lighting changes. For wedding photographers, it is a dream church to photograph for all seasons.

Joanne and Niko held a big fat Greek wedding at the church. The gym next door was totally transformed into an exquisite ballroom with long drapes and chandeliers. There was always plenty of delicious food and unstoppable dancing as part of Greek's passionate culture. We celebrated and captured their precious wedding moments as they dance the night away.

Cindy & Roy Wedding at Treasure Island Chapel and Zen Peninsula

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: chapelislandchapelzenpeninsulacindyandroyweddingphotography

It was a long distance relationship for Cindy and Roy when they started dating. The magic of love sure have accumulated lots of frequent flyer miles for Roy until this perfect day.

After several raining days in a row just before the wedding, the sky became clear blue, and the temperature was just right for the winter weather. The bride and bridesmaids rose before sunrise for hair and makeup with Jessie Weng. The groom and groomsmen anxiously waited outside of the bride's parents' home for permission to enter the house to marry the bride. As a part of the Chinese tradition, the bridesmaids gave the groom an extremely hard time by making him pass a series of ridicules and hilarious games - passing seaweed mouth to mouth between all groomsmen; tasting bitter, sour, sweet and spicy food as a symbol to tasting all situations of life; singing and performing the Korean pop song Ganam Style, and giving enough money in a red envelope to make the bride happy.

Over 200 guests celebrated the wedding ceremony at Treasure Island Chapel, and attend the delicious 8 course Chinese banquet at the popular Zen Peninsula Restaurant in Millbrae. Then it was time to torture the newly wedding by playing games. The wedding party placed a balloon on the groom's lap and asked the bride to burst it by sitting on the balloon. Then asked to newly wedding to burst the balloon again on their chest

Miniature airplanes were on the cake top since travel was the theme. Even when we shot their engagement portraits, they brought along suitcases as prop. Now Roy the groom no longer need to fly hundreds of miles to meet his princess Cindy. They bought a house and live happily ever after.

Tracie and Shawn Wedding at Brownstone Gardens

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: BrownstoneGardensoakleycaweddingtracieandsean

Brownstone Gardens is a secret wedding venue tucked in the town of Oakley, CA. After an hour drive from the city, I was surprised to find such a beautiful garden full of shady trees and bountiful flowers. No wonder Tracie and Sean were so excited to have their wedding at the secret garden.

Kurty Photography Earns Esteemed 2014 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Published by in News ·
Tags: AngiesList

Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service.

Kurty Photography has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2014.

“Only about 5 percent of the photography companies in the San Francisco Bay Area have performed so consistently well enough to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s a really high standard.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2014 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality. Members can find the 2014 Super Service Certification logo next to company names in search results on AngiesList.com.

The Best Princess Parties

Published by in Events ·
Tags: MakeAWishSanMateoMarriott

Little Joysee's wish was to be a princess and meet Elsa and Anna from Disney's Frozen. With the planning of Wish-A-Wish Foundation and generosity of various vendors, Joysee celebrated her surprising 5th birthday at the San Mateo Marriott. Kurty Photography is happy to be a part of the team in making her wish come true.

Make-A-Wish grants the wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition in the United States and change the lives of the kids they serve. We first learned about the foundation from Batkid, Miles Scott, an American child and cancer survivor who is in remission. Miles wish was to be "Batkid", a sidekick to superhero Batman. The city of San Francisco kindly supported the event on November 15, 2013 for one of the largest and most elaborate Make-A-Wish projects ever staged. It was truly awarding to contribute our photography skill to make a difference for the kids.

Event sponsors: Event Planner Bridal Stop & Events, flowers Mints & Honey Dot, DJ Verducci Event Productions, Cake Kathy's Kreative Kakes, Balloons Paradise Sweets LisaMarie Sablan, Linens Napa Valley Linens, Food Round Table Pizza, Horse Carriage Fancy Ferriage by Horse & Carriage, Jump House EJ Jumpers, The Best Princess Parties, and Kurty Photography.

Kurty Photography receives WeddingWire Couples Choice Awards 2015.

Published by in News ·
Tags: weddingwirecoupleschoiceawards

We did it again! Many thanks to the brides and grooms who voted for us as the top wedding photographers. We couldn't have been honored the award without you. We will continue to provide exceptional services and satisfaction for future wedding couples for years to come.

The WeddingWire Couples' Choice Awards® recognizes the top 5 percent of local Wedding Professionals from the WeddingWire Network throughout the United States, Canada and abroad that demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. Unlike other awards in which winners are selected by the organization, the WeddingWire Couples' Choice Awards® are awarded solely based on the reviews from over 200,000 newlyweds. Awards are determined by a combination of excellence in four factors: overall rating (quality), total number of reviews (quantity), review performance from 2014 (recency), and consistency of reviews from year to year (consistency).

Kurty Photography Reviews, Best Wedding Photographers in San Francisco - 2015 Couples' Choice Award Winner


Kevin Kern Imagination's Light

Published by in Headshots ·
Tags: kevinkernimaginationslight

The international acclaimed Steinway pianist/composer Kevin Kern has recently released his latest CD "Imagination's Light", and the CD cover photo was taken by Kurty Photography at the recording studio in Berkeley.

I still remember how challenging it was to set my studio lighting - a black Steinway piano against a pitch black background with Kevin in his black Armani suit. The result was a dramatic, low key yet magical and powerful image with just minimal streaks of light to define the shapes. The spot light on Kevin was the key to the CD's theme - Imagination's Light.

The CD immediately soared to number 4 in the Billboard's top chart, and it's got great reviews.

Kevin is currently on tour in Asia, and I will post his upcoming U.S. tour dates here when I find out.

Please visit Kevin Kern's Web site at http://www.kevinkern.com. More of my photographs can also be seen there.

If you enjoy his soothing music with soft piano and warm rhythms, CDs can be purchased at any Major record stores or on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009WFFP4/102-8355386-0079356?v=glance&n=5174

Kurty Photography Receives "People Love us on Yelp!" Recognition

Published by in News ·
Tags: yelppeopleloveusreviews

When I wanted to try a new restaurant or find a professional service, I'd first check with Yelp. Since Yelp's reviews are written by real people, it's always a good idea to see what people's experiences are them.

We are so fortunate to receive the letter of recognition from Yelp. We work hard to meet customers satisfaction, and we are thankful to all the great customers who gave us 5 star reviews!

San Francisco Best Business Award 2014

Published by in News ·
Tags: bestbusinessawardsanfranciscophotographer

Kurty Photography has been selected for the 2014 San Francisco Best Businesses Award for Photographers.

The San Francisco Best Businesses Program is an annual program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the San Francisco area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

Hollywood Style Wedding in LA

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: hollywoodweddingphotographerLongBeachSanGabrielredcarpetphotos

How fun it was to travel to L.A. to photograph a Hollywood style wedding, along with special guests as George Clooney, Brad Pitts, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. The moment the wedding couple Bi and Jimmy walked on red carpet to the grand reception, they were interviewed by chatty Joan Rivers along with paparazzi (so what if they were impersonators).

The zen and intimate ceremony was held under the summer's sun at Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden. The wedding couple exchanged their wedding vows on the moon bridge as guests witnessed surrounding a peaceful pond filled with Koi fishes and white cranes.

The Hollywood theme grand reception at Hilton San Gabriel was the highlight of the night. Giant movie posters starring Bi and Jimmy as the casts prominently displayed by the reception entrance. When the newly wed entered, Robin Thicke performed "Blurred Lines" as the newly wed whirled on the dance floor for their first dance, followed by Lady Gaga shaking the entire ballroom with her greatest hits. It sure was one of the most memorable weddings we have photographed, and we could do this every weekend!

Click here to see wedding highlights sideshow.

The Union of Two Exceptional Writers - Melissa and Christopher

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: Weddingmelissagriffenchristophercaen

Known as Sweet Melissa, San Francisco Examiner columnist Melissa Griffin tied the knot with writer Christopher Caen, son of the most famous San Francisco writer of the last century Herb Caen at the history Victorian- era Haas-Lilienthal House in San Francisco, CA. The bartenders at the reception served Herb Caen’s favorite cocktail, the Vitamin V, and instead of a guest book, there was a typewriter on which friends and family were invited to type notes.

I first met Melissa when she came in the studio for her professional headshots for the San Francisco Examiner. Just like how people would call her, she was very sweet. Years later, when she told me she was getting married, I was so thrilled!

Melissa is a Georgia native and a graduate of Cornell Law School. After living in New York for several years, she moved to San Francisco, where she follows City Hall closely, and writes in her own column for the San Francisco Examiner. She's also a TV personality in CBS's show "Mornings
with Melissa".

Christopher, a San Francisco native and Herb Caen's only son, attended college at Stanford University. He is also a columnist for the San Francisco Examiner and the San Francisco Independent.

After the wedding, Melissa has written a story for the San Francisco Magazine about how they two met titled, "Herb Caen Like I Never Knew Him". Here's my favorite except, "When I finally told my mother, who now lives in Alabama, about my new boyfriend, I explained that his father was a famous writer: “Herb Caen, do you know who that is?” I asked. “Yeah, but does Christopher know who you are?” she shot back." Click on the link to read the whole enchilada: http://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/herb-caen-i-never-knew-him

Click here for the wedding highlights slideshow.

Joanne and Niko's Unforgetable Night Photo Shoot

Published by in Portraits ·
Tags: engagementportraitspier7

Engagement portrait photo shoot at night can be charming and enchanting. Thanks to the great winter weather (although California really needs water due to lack of rain in this season), Nicole wear able to put on her favorite red dress and her fancy red shoes for the shoot.

Taking portraits at the popular Pier 17 can be challenging. It's usually windy and sometimes crowded. We were fortunately enough to arrive at dusk while the velvet sky was just turning deep blue. The romantic couple Joanne and Niko will be getting married at Ascension Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Oakland. They have selected their favorite large framed portrait to be display at their wedding reception. I love their portraits so much that I also printed a colorful large portrait for my studio's back-lit LED frame display.

Online Dating Photos

Published by in Headshots ·
Tags: onlinedatingphotos

Does online dating really work? Yes, it does. Based on the stories from the wedding couples I photographed, a good number of them met online.

When it comes to online dating, what matters the most is simply one word: photo. Let's face it, first impression lasts. A photo says a lot about you. When someone browses through hundreds of profiles, it is the photo take grabs his or her attention.

I often receive calls for headshots for online dating. When asked what to bring to the photo shoot, I would tell them the tips below:

Bring clothing you are comfortable wearing, something that shows your personality. While we will work together on retouching, your photo should reveal who you really are, so your date won't be surprised when you first meet. The photos for your profile should be eye-grabbing and yet natural.

According to eHarmony’s matching team, a medium shot from waist up is the optimum choice and gets the most action. Upload blurry, poor quality or super small images will kill any chances of success.

If you are looking for a successful photo for your profile, let me help you capture the real you by bringing out your best body language and facial expression. We'll shoot both studio and outdoor shots for a variety of looks. Remember, you can always give the photos to your family and your loved ones.    

Here's a list of the top online dating websites:
and here's a great dating website for Asians: http://www.2redbeans.com

WeddingWire Couples' Choice Awards 2014

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: weddingwire

We are pleased to announce Kurty Photography won WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards™ 2014!

WeddingWire annual awards program represents the top five percent of the WeddingWire local vendor community, comprised of over 200,000 Wedding Professionals throughout the United States and Canada.

The winners are determined by recent reviews in recognition of excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism within the wedding industry.

Many thanks to our wedding couples who voted for us! We love you.

Amelia and Leon's Wedding at Piedmont Community Hall

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: PiedmontCommunityHallweddingAmeliaandLeon

It's been a while since I last photographed a wedding at the Piedmont Community Hall. So I arrived early to scout out ideal spots for portraits and lighting. I then noticed a big tree not far from the ceremony site, and a vision appeared in my head. Wouldn't it be cool if  the wedding couple both sit on the tree for a fun and out of the ordinary pose? Well, as I expected, Amelia the lovely bride didn't want to ruin her beautiful dress, so I had her standing by the tree instead. Thankfully, It still turned out to be a cool shot!

Click here to see wedding slideshow.

The Making of a Wedding Album

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: weddingalbums

Ever wondered how a custom bound wedding album is made? This video by Forbeyon albums will walk you through the entire album making process from start to finish. See how every fine detail is carefully adjusted for precision.

All of our wedding albums are custom made with a wide variety of cover materials and colors. Choose from leather, silk, acrylic, metallic, or bring your own fabric! We begin by designing the album layout page by page with color enhancements and special effects. Then we send the album layout to clients for approval. Every page is original and a piece of art. Every album we make is hand-crafted for a lifetime of memories.

Nazanin and Mehrdad - a Persian wedding at Mountain Winery in Saratoga

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: MountainWinerySaratoga

It's been a while since I last photographed a Persian wedding. Nazanin and Mehrdad are a lovely couple that well fit in the charming setting of the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA.

A funny thing happened shortly after I arrived the wedding. I greeted the groom in the room while he was in casual attire, then walked out toward the ceremony site to take shots of the ritual objects. Then there he was all dressed up in wedding suit waving and smiling at me! Good thing I was warned ahead of time that the groom has an identical twin.

Persian weddings involve many symbolic objects: Mirror (of fate) "Aayeneh-ye Bakht" and two Candelabras (representing the bride and groom and brightness in their future); poppy Seeds “Khash-Khaash” is used to break spells and witchcraft; Salt “Namak” to blind the evil eye; a basket of decorated eggs and a basket of decorated almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts in the shell to symbolize fertility; a cup of honey to sweeten life, and so on.

The Mountain Winery was completely renovated for concerts since I last photographed there. I almost couldn't recognize it at first and had to search around for a good background for portraits. It was good to be back again, and to witness the special Persian ceremony rituals.

Click here to see wedding highlights video.

Same-sex Marriage at City Hall

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: gaymarriagesamesexweddingcityhallgayweddingcivilceremony

Ever since the state of California legalized same-sex marriage on June 26, 2013, I have been photographing same-sex couples traveled from all over the United States and from other countries to be married. It is finally fair that same-sex couples may now qualify for federal benefits that were previously only available to heterosexual married couples.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in 14 U.S. states including California, the District of Columbia, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

As the official San Francisco City Hall photographer, I am honored to have the privilege to witness, capture and celebrate the diversity in marriages, and meeting wonderful couples from all over the states and the world.

A very special card from the mother of the bride.

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: thankyounote

What a pleasant surprise to receive a lovely card from the mother of the bride! Upon reading this card made me want to give a big hug their whole family! We have received many compliments from our wedding couples in the past. Knowing that even the mother of the bride was so pleased with our work is very special for us. Thank you Sheila and Brendon for your amazing wedding, and your mom who has always been so helpful and accompanied you from planning your wedding to the final production of your remarkable wedding album. Your family rock!

Below is what Jeanne, mother of the bride wrote:

Dearest Kurty,

There are not enough words to express how grateful I am for Sheila's and Brendon's beautiful wedding album. From the first day that Sheila and I met you, we knew that you were a perfect fit for this special day. Your skills and personal qualities during the year of preparations for our wedding were always very professional! You listened and interpreted our needs and kept us well organized. Your creativeness and good eye for a perfect picture no matter what was going on around you are shown throughout the album. Your motivation and determination along with your excellent technical and photographic skills are also evident with the amount of pictures that were taken.

Every time I viewed the wedding album I am reminded of all the time and energy that went into making this wedding such a perfect day for Sheila and Brendon. Knowing that you were a part of this day is something very special to me, and I will always be grateful to you for contributing in the making of their dreams come true.

Also, I would like to thank your assistant for his professionalism, motivation, determination and creativeness in capturing Brendon with his groomsmen and parents. These are also pictures that will be cherished throughout the years.


Jeanne D.

Melissa and Christian's Urban Portraits

Published by in Portraits ·
Tags: portraits

What a super fun shoot with the sweet couple Melissa and Christian. They drove all the way up to the city with their family from central valley. I loved their idea of wearing masquerade masks and how they dress in black and white. Click here to see video slideshow.

Catherine and Ian's Wedding at Vintners Inn

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: vintnersinn

For Catherine the bride, it wasn't easy to plan for a wedding in such a short amount of time - just three months after Ian proposed to her. As faithful Christians, the couple really wanted have a wedding just a day before Easter. Their challenge was finding an outdoors venue that would accommodate 250 guests. When they had found Vintners Inn in Santa Rosa, they were thankful and relieved.

As I was driving across the Golden Gate Bridge on the wedding day, tiny raindrops began to drizzle on my windshield. I was a bit worry for Catherine and Ian, as the outdoor ceremony might not work out as planned. Miraculously, a brief moment before the ceremony, the rain stopped and sunshine shimmered through the heavy cloud! I guess their prayers have been answered. As a photographer, I knew the optimal quality of light is after the rain. The scenery was so clear because the rain has washed away particles in the air. I was so happy for them that they had the picture perfect wedding they dreamed of, and was happy that my photo equipment didn't get wet.

Click here to see slideshow montage.

Kym and Jody's Same-Sex Wedding Celebration

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: gayweddinglesbiansamesexsamesexweddingcityhallcivilceremony

It was so much fun capturing Kym and Jody's same-sex wedding at San Francisco City Hall. The beautiful couple flew in from Phoenix, Arizona for their civil ceremony. Their love was celebrated by family and friends as they exchanged their wedding rings. The splendid architecture of San Francisco City Hall provides amazing backdrops with countless photo possibilities.

The Knot Best of Weddings 2013

Published by in News ·
Tags: theknotbestofweddings

Brides voted us as the the Knot's Top Wedding Photographers 2013! It's such an honor to receive the recognition from the Knot and many of our wonderful couples. Thanks to you all!

Crystal and Dan's wedding at Fairmont Hotel

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: FairmontHotelSanFrancisco

What a beautiful and lovely wedding couple! We just couldn't stop taking photos of them. Crystal looked like a goddess with her hair curled and down in a heavenly white gown. The wedding was held at the San Francisco Fairmont Hotel. We started with preparation shots with Crystal and the bridesmaids at the suite, and followed them down to the lobby by the grand staircase where Dan the price charming met his bride for the first time. The ceremony was held at the rooftop garden in the hotel, and they had an hour of cocktail at the Cirque room. Followed by a grand reception dinner at the Crown Room.

Click here to see slideshow.

Our website has a new look!

Published by in News ·

New website look

Old website look

After many days of updating our website with new images and contents, we have finally officially launched our completely re-designed website. This time, the website is completely writtend in html5 so that it's mobile/tablet friendly. To stay with the latest trends. we've also added social media buttons for Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. It's so much work to keep up by adding contents and uploading latest photos to social media! I am finding myself sleeping later at night because of this.

Hope you will enjoy our new look!

The Knot Best of Weddings 2011 Winner

Published by in News ·
Tags: theknot

Thousands of brides reviewed their wedding vendors on the Knot, and we were selected as the Best of Weddings Pick 2011!. It came to us by surprise as we didn't know about the contest until The Knot notified us as a winner.

Among so many talented wedding photographers listed on The Knot nationwide, only a few were selected as winners. We were so honored to hear the good new. Millions of thanks to our wonderful brides who recognize us as the best of the best. We will always appreciate your kindness by heart.

The Sweet Political Blogger Melissa Griffin

Published by in Headshots ·
Tags: melissagriffinpoliticalblogger

Melissa came to me for headshots a few years back and came back again for more. This time was for S.F. Gate and her blog. She hated the photographs taken by the photographer they used, and knew that I could work with her to get the shots right. Above is the photo taken from the shoot.

What a sweet, witty and charming woman! Her political blog is growing rapidly in popularity, and she has appeared on TV. As an attorney with a special interest in politic, Melissa brings a sharp analytical mind, matched with the wit and a bright smile, She utilizes the technology of video in her blog. She presents a very interesting point of view in politic. Check out her blog at www.thesweetmelissa.com.

"Top Wedding Photographer of the Year" Award

Published by in News ·
Tags: topweddingphotograper

What a surprise when I found out that I won three top awards at Professional Photographers of the Greater Bay Area (PPGBA) on February 8, 2009. When President Jorg Lehmann handed me "Top Wedding Photographer of the Year", "Wedding Album Maker of the Year", "First Place Wedding Print" awards, I was thrilled! Knowing there are tons of talented photographers in the Bay Area who also deserve to receive the awards, I felt really fortunate and humbly accepted the awards. W

Daughter of Mauritius Ambassador's wedding

Published by in Weddings ·
Tags: indianweddingJuhiChawla

What I love about Indian weddings is the vibrant colors. Vivid colors in red, green, blue, and yellow are often seen from the fancy yet elegant dress to the enchanting ceremony decoration. I've always found their sophisticated henna and ceremony fascinating. The wedding ceremony is often very long, but much shorter and simplified here than in India .

Zarika the bride is the daughter of Situ, the Ambassador of Mauritius. Their admirable wedding was held on the grand rooftop garden at the Ritz Carlton in the city. In the morning, when I arrived to capture shots of Zarika getting ready, I noticed a bridesmaid busy helping the bride. Although she didn't have any makeup on, she was very beautiful. I snapped some shots of her, and she said in a friendly joking tone, "You're dead!". Little did I know that she was Juhi Chawla - a famous Bollywood actress who appeared in over a hundred Indian movies, and she's the cousin of the bride.

Celebrity Juhi Chawla's photo can be seem on the bottom right of the wedding album layout above..

Vice President Al Gore

Published by in Events ·
Tags: algorevicepresident

Former U.S. Vice President and Nobel Laureat, author and Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Feature An Inconvenient Truth. Since his earliest days in the U.S. Congress 30 years ago, Gore has been the leading advocate for confronting the threat of global warming. His pioneering efforts were outlined in his best-selling book Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit (1992). He led the Clinton-Gore Administration's efforts to protect the environment in a way that also strengthens the economy.

I had the wonderful opportunity to have a brief conversation and photograph Al Gore at Deloitte's World Event at the San Jose Fairmont. I thanked Al Gore for elevating American's awareness of global warming and thought he made a difference in the history of mankind.

An UFO crashed into my shot!

Published by in Portraits ·
Tags: ufochinabeach

The image is from a recent engagement portrait session with a lovely couple Ashley and Jeremy. The couple had just ordered their photos, so I was pulling out the images to print. Suddenly, I noticed there was a black spot on the photo, and I thought it was a bird. After I zoomed in to retouch it out, I was surprised to see an unidentified flying object. There were just a few people on the beach, and I was certain no one was playing frisbee. It would have been a huge frisbee based on the size and distance. No one was throwing anything into the ocean, as I would have noticed it in the background. It was neither a blimp nor a balloon. I took several shots within seconds of the same scene and it only appeared on one of the images. Click on the image to enlarge. What could it be?

Lighting Workshop

Published by in News ·
Tags: photographyworkshoplightingphoto

It was rewarding to teach a basic lighting workshop to 20 photographers at my studio. What I learned back in college 20 years ago still applies today. The basic lighting techniques are so important that once you've learn the five basic ways to light your subjects, you can almost achieve any looks. The five basic lightings are broad, Rembrandt, butterfly, side, and rim.

On the top right photo, I was holding a magazine to demonstrate how the emulate the lighting from a magazine. And no, I wasn't holding a Playboy magazine.

Special thanks to Amy for being the model for the workshop. The photos above were some shots during the lighting demonstration. Click here to see the photos and notes from the workshop.

If you are interested in signing up for my next lighting workshop, please send me an email.

Photo featured on Billboard

Published by in News ·
Tags: billboard

It was cool seeing another billboard on the street featuring my work for Thunder Valley Casino. There are around 20 billboards in the Bay Area, and I've spotted 5 so far. It was quite rewarding to see my photograph in large scale format seen daily by people.

Koi Palace Restaurant Photo Shoot

Published by in News ·
Tags: koipalacefood

Food photography can be easy and difficult. Easy when the lighting was properly set, and just use my trigger happy finger to shoot one plate after another. Hard when I saw the iron chef at Koi Palace kept bringing out those mouth watering dishes, and I couldn't eat them.

The next time you dine at the Koi Palace restaurant in Sacramento or Dublin, look at the photos on the menu, and you'll see what I meant while my finger was happy triggering, but my stomach wasn't.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Captured

Published by in Events ·
Tags: ArnoldSchwarzenegge

SEPA (Solar Electric Power Association) hired me to cover a four day convention at the San Jose Hilton, and I had a wonderful opportunity to meet and capture shots of Governor Anold Schwarzenegger on the last day. The governor is a major supporter of solar energy in California, and he gave a speech that won applauds from thousands of attendees.

Followed by Germany and Japan, the U.S. is currently the third largest country in solar energy usage. During the convention, I learned that solar panels now come in a variety of colors. The technology has improved so much that some panel design were as thin as film, and some were transparent like glass for light to travel through.

Currently, it takes approximately five years for the investment in solar panel to break even. After that, one can start saving money on energy and even sell energy back to the electric company when the electric meter runs backward.

Back to content | Back to main menu