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Sarah K Chen Photography Blog bio picture

Welcome to my Blog!

I'm a simple person who loves photographing people and spending time with my husband and two little girls, Ellie (4) and Emmeline (1). My girls are my world and every day I wonder how I became so blessed to be their Mama.

When I'm not behind the camera I love to knit and sew cute things for my girls and bake cookies. My husband likes to say I'm a granny at heart, but I like to say I'm a woman of many talents. ;)

I also enjoy snowboarding, traveling and immersing myself in books. One day I will conquer Cornice and get down without snowplowing my way. I dream of traveling to Greece, Italy and Paris one day, but I have yet to convince the husband that traveling abroad with two little ones would be aweome. I'd also love to go camping and show my girls the joys of a perfectly toasted marshmallow and walking barefoot through an icy cold creek bed. And although I said it would never happen, I now read most of my books on my iPhone or iPad instead of a book. Have kids and you'll soon realize the gift of a built in light and always having your book with you.

I'm based in Orange County, California and ocassionally travel for shoots.

Phyllis & Dan : Wedding at Cranbrook House and Gardens

Phyllis and Dan flew me out to Bloomfield, Michigan to capture their wedding at the Cranbrook House and Gardens. The estate is grand, lush, and looks like it belongs in a European countryside. The forecast said rain, but when is a weather forecast ever right? In my years of photographing weddings, the rain always always cleared up at the last minute and so I didn’t worry too much about it. I flew in to Michigan and although it was hot and humid as heck, there was not a single drop of rain. See? Saturday morning, as soon as my alarm rang, I jumped out of bed and threw open the curtains to see the sun cresting over the horizon and thought, I knew it! No rain! Do you see where this is going?

I’d spoken too soon. It poured cats and dogs all day long. I couldn’t believe it and neither could anybody else. It still turned out to be a beautiful day of course, but I think we were all a bit bummed not being able to take full advantage of their gorgeous venue. So at the end of the day, I offered to do a quick after session with them before my flight the following morning and prayed for no more rain.

A big huge thank you goes out to Brandon Gresham of Simple Color Photography in Birmingham, Alabama who joined me both days to help out! You totally rock! Be sure to check his blog for his images too. Phyllis and Dan know what’s important and I love that about them. Even with the rain dampening their plans to marry on the great lawn facing the lake, the two were just so happy to be taking this step towards their forever after that they didn’t let anything phase them.

Phyllis is a graphic designer and has such amazing style. I knew her details were going to be awesome!


Phyllis’s drop dead gorgeous Vera Wang gown. It was light as air and so ethereal.



Phyllis attached a bouquet charm with a photo of her with her Dad so that he could be with her on her wedding day.




I absolutely love it when my couples send me their save the dates and wedding invitations. It gives me a glimpse of what the wedding will be like and the gesture I think to include me is just so sweet and greatly appreciated.


I shot their rings on part of their letterpress invitations that Phyllis designed. It’s so cute that I still have mine tacked to my cork board above my desk! Originally, we had planned on shooting with giant red balloons in the open fields of the venue, but well, the rain poo poo’d on that parade.


They also bought a Super 8 camera and some film and had friends take turns capturing clips of the day. How cool is that? I think a Super 8 camera is going on my Christmas list this year. I totally wanted to play with it and try my hand at motion film, but hello, working. How funny would it have been if I asked this girl to trade cameras with me for a little bit?



Phyllis and Dan’s first look moment was so sweet. I love how they melt into each other with that big hug.




We took just about all the wedding day portraits of the bride and groom and their wedding party in this one archway. You’d think a big estate would have awnings and such, but nope. Just the one, but we worked it … hard! You can’t even tell how hard it’s raining or how gloomy it was.






People always turn their noses on overcast days, but it makes for some really great soft lighting that photographers looooove.



The programs were so cute! The red and white twine was such a perfect touch.



We had a little bit of time to take some portraits inside the estate before we headed over to the Birmingham Athletic Club for the reception.




Phyllis and Dan rented this super cool 1952 Chevy Limo for transportation. I loved it!



Loved the chalkboard theme they had throughout the reception. All the signs, seating chart, table numbers, etc were done on chalkboards!











These next series of photos were taken the morning after. It still rained a bit here and there, but we were able to get some really amazing portrait time in! Thanks to Phyllis’s Mom for coming out and helping us keep dry!







Isn’t the venue just so romantic, lush, and dramatic? I really loved shooting here.






Phyllis and Dan, I hope you two enjoy these teasers as much as I do! 🙂 You two had such a gorgeous wedding with some really amazing details! I truly loved capturing you two on your wedding day!

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