Vivian Chen Photography
All of the photos Vivian took feel genuine and natural. As my mom put it, "You have so many great photos to choose from, I don't know how you'll decide which ones to get printed." It was really important to me to have a lot of candid photos taken, and Vivian delivered. She was so unobtrusive that, when looking through our photos, I don't even remember seeing her standing where she must have been standing to get her shots. And even though she had just met us, she got so many photos that perfectly capture the essence of us and our families.
I'm located in Oakland, California but love any opportunity to explore the world. If you're getting married outside the San Francisco Bay Area, please contact me for a custom quote.
I offer special pricing for weekday city hall weddings and destination elopements.
Describe your business in 1-3 short sentences.
Documentary travel and wedding photographer focused on candid moments and natural portraits.
Why do you want to work with APW couples?
I want to photograph couples who are just like me: down-to-earth with a sense of humor. APW couples would rather spend their wedding day hanging out with their friends and family than spending an hour running around doing overly posed portraits. They embrace who they are and unapologetically let their personalities shine on their wedding day!
What is your artistic approach to weddings?
I love photographing the best light, quiet moments, and overlooked details. Give me an epic outdoor landscape or lush redwood forest and I’m in photographic heaven. And I’m very stealthy when it comes to grabbing that perfect candid moment of your sister laughing at your jokes during cocktail hour.
What are your non-work-related hobbies?
I enjoy cooking, road trips, listening to podcasts and most importantly, spending time in nature. You’ll often find me hiking around and exploring Northern California and beyond.
What's your favorite book?
I’m a pretty big book worm so it’s hard to pin down just one favorite. I love a good crime/mystery novel and have a soft spot for memoirs, especially by comedians. Here are just a few authors I’ve collected throughout the years: Anthony Bourdain, Douglas Coupland, Octavia Butler, Philip K. Dick, Richard Price, David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell and my childhood favorite, Roald Dahl.
What's your favorite movie?
My all time favorite movie that I watch over and over again is “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” (The version from the 1970s with the fabulous Gene Wilder.) I even named my first car (a purple Rav4) after Violet Beauregarde.
If you could have a one minute dance party at your desk, what song would you pick?
“PYT” by Michael Jackson. No contest. (Though anything Motown makes me happy too!)
We feel so fortunate that we chose Vivian to capture our wedding and engagement photos. She’s a true professional: communicative, experienced, while also possessing a clear sense of warmth and intuition. Before any pictures were taken, she knew the right questions to ask to gain a sense of our vision and preferences. Then as our wedding got closer, she served as a valuable sounding board, and an incredibly reassuring presence for us on the day of. After our ceremony, we had a long list of family portraits to get to with a lot of unwieldy family members, but she was equal parts patient and assertive in getting everyone in line. In fact, for most of our wedding day, we were actually ahead of schedule, and I believe we have her to thank for that! Vivian was also extremely prompt in sending us both sets of photos – we received our engagement photos within days and wedding photos within two weeks. And her work is extraordinary! We truly couldn't have asked for a more talented and capable photographer. I think my mother-in-law said it best when she called her an “inspired” choice!