How To Get Weddings Photos That Will Make You Cry Happy Tears

Hayley Anne Photography captures that golden California light

Y’all, I am knee-deep in planning a quasi-last-minute getaway to Northern California for a milestone birthday this May (don’t ask which one 🙊), so I have been spending a lot of time scrolling through gorgeous Instagrams of the California coastline. It’ll be my first trip to the area with my husband, and my first that’s purely vacay-related, and I am getting super excited about how freaking beautiful it is.

And if I had to pick a photographer to get me even more excited, it would be Santa Cruz–based Hayley Anne Photography, who works regularly throughout the Greater Bay Area, Big Sur, Yosemite, and farther afield in the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii, and Upstate New York. Hayley is a longtime APW sponsor, and a master at weaving that golden Northern California light around her couples and their families in genuinely emotional portraits and candids. Just see for yourself.

Couple hugging at the oceanwedding couple posing for photos in forest two men under a blanket in the snowy woods

The reason Hayley Anne has worked with so many APW couples over the years is how deeply she gets what’s important to you (and how easy she makes it to relax and just hang out together to get super natural photos):

What I love best about working with APW readers is that they are true to themselves and have the guts to do what they want, when they want, regardless of any outside pressures to do things “the normal way.” Being comfortable and celebrating in your own way is so incredible and powerful. It’s a really inspiring thing to see, and my couples often tell me they hired me because I capture people as they really are. I’m able to capture their crazy, funny, weird, true selves, in a totally easy and painless way. During a shoot I’m usually talking about how cute our cats are, or the best burrito joint in the area, focusing on genuine interactions rather than stiff poses.

a smiling couple walking through a door being showered with confetti

And it’s not just couples portraits that Hayley Anne is a pro at, but at capturing the entire day—from big moments to small ones and everything in between. And also, you know, having your back for everything from a spare bobby pin to a boatload of emotional support:

It’s important to me to capture the complete dynamic of the day in a very artistic documentary way, which means a lot of photos of not only the couple getting married, but also of their community as a whole. Between the ceremony, couples portraits, speeches, and first dances there are also lots of little moments. Capturing the unexpected and being present for these moments, being able to tell this story, means everything to me.
I also make sure all my couples know I have their backs: If they need a minute of stillness away from all the crazy, I am there to make that happen. I do water, food, and booze runs for them when they need it. I have extra safety pins and band-aid tape on me at all times, and I have given the sweater off my back to keep them from freezing in a wind storm before the ceremony. I’ve actually had brides come up to me in near tears thanking me for being “so calm, happy, and on top of everything” on the wedding day, and I’m so glad my relaxed and helping energy is able to support them on such an emotional day.

This wedding is my favorite example of how she effortlessly captures all the details that make it so cool (that dress! brick oven pizza! vintage getaway car!) and so family-filled and fun and emotional. (I usually hate cake-eating photos, but these are 👌👌👌.)

people standing around a table watching woman in a wedding dress drink champagne from the bottlea man carrying a woman on his back on the beacha man touching his face to a woman's face; both smile in the wind

Hayley Anne Photography’s rates start at $3,500, which includes up to 6 hours coverage, edited digital images in 30 days, an online gallery, a sneak peek, travel, and taxes, but the best bet is to email her for a custom quote (especially if you’re outside Northern California because travel is always included)! As Hayley told us, “I’m a no-bullshit business. Everything is totally transparent from the beginning of the photo process to the end, rates and packages are clear-cut, and there are no hidden surprises. Communication is open and prompt. Send me an email, and you’ll hear back within twenty-four hours tops, unless I’m traveling or shooting a three-day weekend, but a lot of the time you’ll get a reply within a few hours.”

waves at a sunny beach with a happy couple standing around

PLUS: Hayley is offering 15% off wedding coverage to all APW readers who book by April 30—just mention this post when you reach out. (And get excited if you are an animal lover, because a portion of all her proceeds goes to support local cat rescue, foster, and adoption programs like Tailchaser Rescue, Project Purr, and Animal Shelter Relief. Hayley is the kind of good soul who rescues abandoned baby possums found sneezing in a winter storm.)

a woman in a wedding dress laughs at a joke by a man in a suit inside San Francisco City Hallwedding ceremony at a windy beach with a driftwood archtwo people in the woods, holding hands, smiling at eachother

If Hayley Anne’s prices sound too reasonable to be true, take if from client Gigi that you shouldn’t let that sway you:

Don’t let Hayley’s affordability fool you— she is worth so much more. If a picture is worth a thousand words, THESE pictures are worth thousands. Book her now before she starts charging like the rockstar she is! Our photos are everything we were hoping for, and we couldn’t be happier. From the moment Hayley responded to my first email, I knew she was the right choice. She’s warm, kind, passionate about her art, and so incredibly talented. We are not particularly photogenic people (I am part Sasquatch and tend to be a little blurry and awkward in photos), but Hayley put us both at ease. She totally captured our love and our energy and matched it beautifully against the settings we chose. Hayley. Is. Magic.

a woman touches a man's face at the beacha woman and man underneath a veil, smilinga woman pulls a man to walk with her on a beach

So if you’re looking for a photographer who will not only make you look good but will make you feel good and have a ton of fun and the warm golden photos to prove it, then Hayley Anne Photography is it. You know what to do, go follow her Instagram, check out even more beautiful weddings, and send Hayley an email.



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