Elle Jae recently teamed up with Borrowed and Blue, a locally-focused online wedding resource, to give couples everything they need to know about our photography services.

Here’s our Q&A with Borrowed & Blue:  

What single photo sums up your aesthetic?

Oh my, such a huge question right out of the gate!  I think this shot from the Vine Hill House in Sonoma sums up a lot of what we do. It’s a moment of genuine joy, great light and turning a ‘challenging’ moment (this shot was taken in the very few moments between thunderstorm cells passing through) into a wonderful one. bride and groom vine hill houseAs a storyteller, what draws you to a particular subject?

Like any good story, we want our collection of wedding photos to have an arc.  Starting with an excited energy while getting ready through the sweet moment of a first look to the crazy end of the night, or however your wedding flows, we want to catch-all of the various aspects of the day. We see our job as createing a whole body of work that goes well together, not just a series of great single images so, we want to follow the emotional threads that are true to our clients.  To achieve this, we need to fall in love with our clients just a little. I hope that doesn’t sound too creepy!  We need to see what your fiancée sees in you, what your parent’s see in you…; and there is no way to do that without diving in emotionally.

What is your favorite moment to photograph at a wedding?

By far, our favorite time at a wedding is the first look.  All of the nervous energy and excitement leading up to it and then the emotional release when a bride and groom see each other… it’s just the best.  Really I think that the first look encompasses all the feelings associated with the more traditional ‘wait until the bride walks down the aisle’ idea.  The key differences are that the first look is private so there is no holding back on the tears and we can do a first look in a beautiful spot with perfect light for photos.

What are some of the most photogenic spots for engagement shoots?

We are based in the San Francisco Bay Area and there is no shortage of drop dead gorgeous beauty around here.  Most of our engagement sessions are done in the city of San Francisco and when shooting there, I love, love, love the Presidio, Baker Beach and the Embarcadero.  Beyond the City, Pt Reyes National Seashore & Mt. Tamalpais are tops on my list.

san francisco engagement

What’s your favorite photograph you’ve ever taken?

Can I cheat on this one?  I mean does it have to be work related? Of course, my favorite photo ever will be one of a personal nature.  Here are our kids after a hike up Mt Lassen where we found a tiny bit of snow left and made the tiniest snowman ever.


What’s your favorite out of all the Napa wedding venues to shoot at?

Wow, that’s tough! Pretty much every corner of the Napa Valley is beautiful. If forced to pick one venue, I would say Beaulieu Garden in Rutherford. If I could sneak in a few more places, I’d say Beringer St Helena, CIA in St Helena and Calistoga Ranch. Here are a couple of photos from a Beaulieu Garden wedding. You can see why we love this place so much!

beaulieu garden wedding

What’s your favorite out of all the San Francisco wedding venues to shoot at?

The City’s best venues, to me, are architectural beauties. My favorite single venue is the Fairmont Hotel.  It has amazing views from its hilltop perch in Knob Hill, beautiful interior and exterior architecture and wedding guests are always swept away by the venue.

Fairmont San Francisco Wedding     

What is the first thing you ask couples when they approach you?

Well, my first question is about why they chose their venue. Not too exciting, I know, but it drives a great conversation about what is beautiful to them, how much they want their family’s and guests to enjoy themselves, what the vibe for their wedding will be and so much more. That’s the conversation that tells us if these people are quirky, thoughtful, wild, introverted…  once we start to understand their personality, we can shape a vision together.

What’s the biggest mistake the couples make when choosing their photographer?

The biggest mistake is not making sure they have great chemistry with their photographer.   We will be very close to you all day long on your wedding day, it’s important that we have a friendly relationship, good rapport, clear communication, etc…  To be candid, the technical aspects photography can be learned quickly, but the true skill of a wedding photographer is the much more subtle skill of working well with people.  In order for us to get great photos of your guests, we need them to not shut us out or turn away from the camera, and that only happens when we can make a very quick, warm connection with them.

What makes you different from other wedding photographers?

We focus on the what makes your wedding true to you.  While we have a bag of tricks (poses, lighting, etc…) to call upon when needed, our goal is to find the best aspects of YOUR wedding and not rely on what worked for someone else a few weddings ago.  When you see your love’s awkward smile, you will recognize that smile as real.  When you see the photo of mom tearing up when she puts her mom’s necklace on you, that will connect to so much of your life. This is what we strive for, images that will ring true to you for years to come.  Photos that will take you back and carry you forward.

Ready to book your photographer? Contact Elle Jae today. And thanks again to Borrowed & Blue for the Q&A!