Celebrity & TV Personality Mario Lopez & Courtney Mazza Los Angeles home engagement pictures
Two weeks from tomorrow the gang and I will be in sunny, warm Mexico to photograph the two-day wedding celebration of TV personality and celebrity Mario Lopez to Broadway actress Courtney Mazza. A two-hour reality documentary TV special called Mario and Courtney's Wedding Fiesta will air on TLC Saturday, December 8th, 2012.
Last January, just one week after the two were engaged, I was introduced to Mario's wedding planner while out in LA for a party. The talks and negotiations immediately began, and in August I got the call that I was hired.
Two days later Ricky, my studio manager, and I flew back out to Los Angles and spent the morning and afternoon at Mario and Courtney's home photographing around the house and property. It was definitely a lot different than roaming the streets here in Chicago. Normally, I have my 15 or so spots I like to visit, know exactly how to work those situations and get my clients comfortable.
While neither Mario nor Courtney needed any time getting used to a camera in their face, I was out of my element. Knowing I needed to pull out about 25-30 images to build into a full 15 x 12 album to display at the wedding, I had to make a conscious decision not focus on the constraints of only working within the confines of their property.
I spent the first hour photographing Courtney alone, which helped calm me down quite a bit. She is so incredibly beautiful, and at ease in front of the lens. I didn't have to tell her to do anything. All I had to focus on was composition and the moment. By the time Mario entered the picture, I continued with the same approach and found myself buzzing away for nearly 5 hours.
At the end of the session, I asked Courtney for her engagement ring to photograph a detail of it. She handed it to me and walked out the door with Mario. When I finished photographing it, Ricky and I found ourselves alone in their home with Courtney's mother, who graciously asked us to stay and have a few beers. Clearly, we said yes.
After 26 years of photographing, I am so thrilled to be hired for Mario and Courtney's wedding. Over the past several years I had some very difficult choices to make about where to steer my business. I often listened to my gut (and my mother, who has spent many hours on the phone with me about "Do I, or don't I do XYZ."). Running a business requires constant focus while trying to push it forward and upward. While that does get exhausting, it is always nice to receive a gift like this.
This wedding is dedicated to my parents, who put a camera in my hand at the age of 15; who did not force me to follow the social tradition of becoming a doctor or lawyer when I said I wanted to make a living with the little black box with the lens attached. Mom and Dad, thank you for your support even when none of us knew how I would pave that path.
And to Mario and Courtney: thank you for hiring me. I am truly touched and honored.
See you in 2 weeks.