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Getting Married in the Great Outdoors? You Want Vivian Chen Photographing Your Wedding

And the Oakland photographer is changing her travel policy to make it happen


Who: Vivian Chen Photography

Why: Because Vivian Chen shoots some of the most clean, classic wedding imagery I see on APW. With over 175 weddings under her belt, there’s no trendy filters or stiff posing here (in fact “unstuffy” is part of Vivian’s core business philosophy). Instead, Vivian’s idea of timeless is more thousand-year-old redwoods than five star venue. And this year she’s devoting a significant portion of her business to celebrating her love of the outdoors, which means if you’re getting married in the California wilderness, then you should probably already be calling Vivian right now.

Where/How Much: Free travel within two hours of Oakland, California (and almost free travel outside). Pricing begins at $4,000 for six hours of wedding day coverage (and includes a one hour engagement session), and weekday city hall and elopement pricing starts at $1,200 for two hours of coverage. All couples receive a pre-planning session, and online gallery connected with a professional print lab, and all of your edited high-resolution digital images.

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You guys already know Vivian Chen: her photos are all over APW and she’s been a sponsor for years. What you might not know is that she’s also equally adept at shooting the world outside of weddings—and I mean actually outside. Vivian is a huge fan of the outdoors—so much so that Instagram actually recommended her account as one to follow if you’re into nature walks and seeing tons of photos of California being perfect. This love for nature isn’t just happenstance—it’s rooted in a conscious effort on Vivian’s part to reconnect with the tangible:

I reconnected with nature after setting the intention to “slow down and go outside” in reaction to an unbalanced workaholic lifestyle. I started taking one day off a week and go on a hike as a way to unplug from work. Through my hikes, I began challenging myself to become a better photographer and ignited a passion for the great outdoors. Having an activity that forces me to be outside and disconnect from urban life, reconnects me with myself. Nothing is more grounding than when I spend time in nature. When day-to-day pressures of self-imposed deadlines and social media chatter overwhelms me, my world begins feel very small. But when I go outside, I’m reminded that there’s so much more to life than the virtual four walls of email correspondence and blog feeds. This personal mantra has transformed into grounding practice of mine and I hope that my outdoor lifestyle and natural landscape photography can inspire others to do the same.


A recent trip to Scandinavia and a wedding at Tenaya Lake in Yosemite National Park further cemented Vivian‘s passion for the outdoors, and now she’s looking to shoot as many gorgeous, wildly diverse outdoors wedding as possible, which is where you come in. If you’re planning a wedding that celebrates the Earth as much as it celebrates your love, Vivian’s your photographer. She says:

Nature doesn’t need any DIY decor. She’s just beautiful as is. I want to unite my two photography loves into one!

In fact, Vivian is so committed to getting out of her comfort zone this year, that she’s changing her travel policy to encourage more weddings from all over the world—instead of travel fees, she’s just asking for secure accommodations for any wedding that takes place more than two hours from Oakland.


But don’t expect all mountains and streams from your wedding photos. Vivian has years of experience with her clients, meaning she is tops in customer service and client satisfaction. Says recent client Emily:

We love the beautiful, clean engagement photos and wedding photos. And I especially love the candid photos of our guests, which somehow manage to capture their personalities in addition to making them look gorgeous.

A true professional from beginning to end, she comes thoroughly prepared and helps you to think through the photography portions of the day, too. She also has so many little touches that show how much she cares and values her work. To name just one, Vivian sent us a handful of the best photos a few days after the wedding—the perfect thing for sharing with curious colleagues or friends who weren’t able to be a part of the big day.


It has been such a pleasure getting to see Vivian Chen’s work grow and evolve these past few years at APW. And I’m thrilled to see where she’s taking it next. If her recent work is any indication, I’d guess it’s somewhere pretty magical.

The first three APW readers to GET IN TOUCh with Vivian about your outdoor wedding will get $250 off a 6 hour package. and for everyone else, Vivian is offering $100 off to any reader who references this post through the end of 2015.

P.S. If you want to get to know Vivian even better, go read about that time she got married and spent the night in the ER with her husband (because nothing says “I can roll with the punches” quite like a wedding day trip to the hospital). And for Vivian’s earthier side, check out her new photo site, Slow Down and Go Outside.

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