Courtney + James


Courtney and James were married on October 26th, with a ceremony and reception at The 1909 in Topanga, California. 

James + Courtney’s 1909 Wedding

I had never been to The 1909 in Topanga before, and I knew it might present some wonderful challenges, what with it being tucked away in the infamous Topanga Canyons. But once I saw the light peeking through the trees, I knew right then I could capture some amazing shots. The way the light filtered down onto the ground, speckling the photos with “twinkle lights” to all the hints of October gold. It was magical. 

I enjoyed watching Courtney and James traverse in and out the their circle of friends and family. Both the groomsmen and the bridesmaids wanted to be present for the wedding day—not just sharing in the day, but really participating to make the moments memorable. The bridesmaids all wanted to be present when Courtney opened up her favorite bottle of champagne, their smiles laughter as she pulled the trigger… priceless. The groomsmen; however, were secretly present during a portrait of James, faded into the background, of course. After that shot of James looking “All that and a bag of nuts” they were more actively present—tackling him and not allowing him to get away with looking too good for his own good. I still can’t get over the custom set of bobble-head dolls of the groom and his groomsmen! I think every wedding party should be this PRESENT!


Courtney had pulled me aside shortly after I arrived to share an image she’d been drawn to on her Pinterest Board. She knew that I never shoot from a “shot list,” but she wanted to ask me for “a one-of-a-kind, signature Joey Carman” photo with her in her dress by the French doors just before she went down the aisle. I promised her that I’d keep my eyes open and that I would know when it came to me. True to form, just before she went down the aisle, I saw some amazing light coming through the doors, just outside the balcony where she would meet her father to walk down the aisle. I quickly captured an image, to date is one of my prouder “signature Joey Carman’s.” The way that Courtney was reflected in both of the glass doors with her exquisite lace gown gently cascading behind her was nothing short of breath taking. I love when I can capture just a single moment like this, something my B&G’s can cherish for a lifetime.


Wedding Photography: Capturing Moments

Of course, my favorite part of wedding photography is, almost always, the details. Every wedding is unique, and it’s the little things that make it so—like Courtney and James planting a tree during their ceremony. They can literally watch their love grow from this day forward. Moments, like the way Courtney’s veil gently trailed behind her as she walked down the stairs. The pause as Courtney took her father’s arm as she prepared to descend the steps to meet James at the altar. The quiet moment as an elder looks out to witness his Granddaughter hold her beloved. There’s beauty in these unplanned, candid moments. Of course, there were also some fun details to share, like all the different sayings they had in their decorations, from the “Let love grow” on the pot of their tree to the shot glasses that said “Take a shot; we tied the knot!” The bride and groom even had beautifully printed cards attached to their favors sharing an Italian wedding tradition. Every detail and every moment was infused with Courtney and James’ style, and it was such a privilege to capture them.

James & Courtney, thank you for inviting me to be your wedding photographer. Also, thank you for trusting me to find those moments that are uniquely yours. I’m honored I could capture your unique style and add to the many memories that was your Wedding Day.

Topanga Wedding Photography

Featured California Wedding Vendors

MUA: Caitlin Spears

Florist: Casi Cielo

Videography: Dylan Brown