Vivian Chen Photography in San Francisco

If there’s one thing I love, it’s when APW readers turn into sponsors. And not just because I know that means they’ll take good care of you (which they will). It’s because I know that they are going to get you guys on that bone-deep level that always comes with having planned a practical wedding themselves. Which is exactly the case with our newest sponsor, Vivian Chen, who shoots all over San Francisco with rates starting at just $2,500 (and a special APW discount, so stay tuned!)

You may remember Vivian from her wedding grad post earlier this week as the bride who ended up in the emergency room on her wedding night while her husband underwent an emergency appendectomy. (Which, if that isn’t grace under fire, I don’t know what is.) What I learned from Vivian’s post (other than perhaps that she is super stylish) is that this lady has a real understanding of what you want to get out of your wedding photography (like preserving memories for when you really need them) and none of what you don’t, and it shows all over her work.

Honestly, I could go on for days about the clarity and emotional depth of Vivian’s photos and how obvious it is that she is someone who constantly challenges herself to make better photos (and not just her wedding work, but her personal work is. So. Good. Seriously go check out her flickr and Instagram feeds to see what I’m talking about). But I think this testimonial from a former client does such a good job of it that I don’t even need to.

Izumi and Michael said this about Vivian: The quality is amazing. You know those Time/Life books with cool black and white pics of a couple getting married, sorta fuzzy, sorta crisp and the bride is smiling just right and the groom is catching her eye just right and it is just the perfect candid picture? Vivian delivered us that type of photo over and over again. Nothing overboard, nothing posed, no silly things about let’s all put on sunglasses and let’s all jump in the air on the count of three. Just natural, candid pics. So for those of you who have been asking for more photographers whose work is classic and unfiltered, but still emotionally powerful? I think we’ve got your man (well…lady).

But I think the real reason Vivian’s work is so strong is because her artistic philosophy is about more than just making pretty pictures. For her, it’s about making authentic, real pictures. She told me, “For me, it’s about building a relationship between my couples and myself. I believe that a comfortable subject is the best subject to photograph, so I want my couples to be able to relax and enjoy their wedding day. I don’t believe in putting my couples in awkward poses or strange situations that they wouldn’t normally be in. I want my photos to capture reality. These are all lessons I’ve learned through shooting weddings for the past six years as well as planning my own wedding.”

And of course, that’s exactly why she loves working with APW couples (well that and she’s one of you, so it would be weird if she didn’t). She says, “APW couples are just like me: straight-forward with a sense of humor. (Editor’s note: Can we put that on a bumper sticker or something? Because truer words…) There are definitely aspects of the wedding industry that cause me to endlessly roll my eyes, but I have to remind myself that not everyone is like that. There are people out there that are like me, that do love weddings without all the smoke and mirrors because they are able to recognize what’s important. But being practical doesn’t mean being boring, and APW couples understand that reality is much more interesting than fantasy.” Which, that right there is the marker of someone ready to celebrate who you are and not what the wedding industry wants you to be.

But let’s talk about what you really want to know. Which is that Vivian’s packages start at just $2,500 (which is crazy affordable for the San Francisco market, and I have a feeling isn’t going to last forever if the quality of her work is any indication). Not to mention, she understands that not all budgets (or weddings for that matter) are the same, so she’s willing to work on custom pricing with you if what you need doesn’t exactly fit in a neat little box. And as if that wasn’t enough, Vivian is also offering a special APW-only discount to any couples who book a six-hour package or more with her before the end of the year. Just mention that you found her through APW and poof! You get $500 off your package price. Magic.

So if you’re in San Francisco and looking for classic, unfiltered images shot by one of your own, then I recommend heading over to Vivian’s site right now. Because with rates starting at $2,500 (plus a $500 APW only discount!), I have a feeling this lady is going to get booked up fast. Which is fine by me, because I bet that when she does, you guys are going to make some serious magic together. And I just can’t wait to see it when you do.

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