Borrowed & Blue Interview

Wedding party cheering

Bride and groom portrait - intimate moment

Fun engagement photos at Chine Beach in San Francisco. Couple riding bikes on the beach.

Closeup of emotion

Colorado wedding - portrait of bride and groom walking in the mountains

We recently teamed up with Borrowed and Blue, a locally-focused online wedding resource, to share more of our story. Here’s our Q&A with Borrowed & Blue:

  1. What photo sums up your aesthetic?

With every image we make, we try to include light, emotion and fun. We look for good light that is visually appealing and flattering on our clients. We are either capturing genuine emotion within a candid moment or we will coach our clients in a way to draw out different emotions so their expressions are honest in their portraits. And lastly, our goal is to have a lot of fun in the process. I would say the majority of our clients are nervous or dreading the photographic process. We take it upon ourselves to not only provide them beautiful photos of a very special time of life, but we also seek to surprise them by how much fun they can have during a photoshoot with us. Obviously, the fun leads to great emotion in the photos!

  1. What is your favorite moment to photograph at a wedding?

Hands down, my favorite moment to photograph at every wedding is the recessional. There is nothing quite like that feeling of being announced as husband and wife. All the planning, all the stress, all the nerves culminate in this very moment. There is such a sense of relief to have reached this point and so much joy to finally now be married. All of these emotions are evident as the couple walks back down the aisle, hand in hand, finally as one. It’s the most authentic moment on a wedding day.

  1. What are some of the most photogenic spots for engagement shoots?

Good light is key. We recommend our clients schedule their engagement session about 2 hours before sunset for the most flattering light. On top of that, I recommend choosing a secluded location, if possible. It can be intimidating to have your picture taken and having onlookers during the process usually only intensifies people’s insecurities. Lastly, we recommend our couples approach their engagement session as a double date instead of a photoshoot. We’ve started sessions at a couple’s favorite coffee shop, we’ve had a picnic at the beach, and we’ve even played in the snow. Adding a little activity can help them forget about the camera and focus on each other.

  1. Where else do you love to photograph?

I think shooting at a location that has sentimental value to a client is nice because the images will mean that much more to them. But honestly, location is not a primary concern for us and I often encourage our clients not to stress too much about the location. We definitely have locations where we love to shoot or would like to shoot and I offer those to clients when they ask for suggestions. But my primary concern is for our clients to focus on each other. This shoot is not about the location, the clothes or the props they might bring along. Our engagement sessions are simply another opportunity for our couples to make a new memory together during one of the most special times of their lives. And we’re there to document it for them – no selfies necessary!

  1. What’s your favorite photograph you’ve ever taken?

That is an impossible question to answer, but I do have a photo that comes to mind as a contender. When we approach the wedding day, the service and care we provide is not only focused on the bride and groom, but also extends to their wedding party, family and friends. This day means just as much to them and we want the photo taking process and any interaction they have with us to be a fun and pleasant experience. With that being said, it can obviously be a challenge at times. Take the wedding party for example. I’d say an average wedding party is about 10 people. That is 10 people, plus the bride and groom, with unique personalities, insecurities, and emotions about the day. And it’s our job to try and form enough of a connection to get the emotion we hope to capture while also providing a fun experience. I feel like this image perfectly captures what we set out to achieve at each wedding.

  1. What’s your favorite out of all the San Francisco wedding venues to shoot at?

As natural light photographers, our favorite venues to shoot at cater to outdoor weddings. Clos La Chance and Kohl Mansion are two that come to mind from the Borrowed & Blue list of San Francisco locations. For an indoor San Francisco wedding, I think the Bentley Reserve is a beautiful location and you can’t go wrong with City Hall which has so much window light it’s like shooting outdoors. My top recommendation when selecting your venue is to choose a location that can host your ceremony and your reception. Having everything at one location, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area where traffic and parking is challenging, will reduce your wedding day stress astronomically.

  1. What is the first thing you ask couples when they approach you?

Besides the general information about their wedding (i.e. wedding date, ceremony location, reception location, etc), I ask them what they want to remember when they look back at their wedding day. This gives me a better sense of their priorities and personalities. It’s not only important that you connect with your photographer, but it’s equally important that they connect with you. Pretty weddings are visually appealing for a photographer and nice for getting published in magazines, but what’s most important to us and what keeps us coming back year after year, are the people we get to work with.

  1. What’s the biggest mistake the couples make when choosing their photographer?

I’d say the biggest mistake people make when choosing a photographer is selecting them solely based on their work. Not only do you need to love their work, but you also need to love their personality and feel safe and comfortable with them. When I say safe, I don’t mean as if they’d harm you. I mean safe in the sense that you trust them to be present and a part of some of the most personal moments of your life knowing they have your best interest in mind as they work. There is nobody with you more on a wedding day then your wedding photographer so they hold a lot of potential to make or break a wedding day and your memory of it. Your photographer should be able to help you plan a realistic timeline for your wedding day and assist in keeping things moving efficiently once the day has finally arrived.

  1. What makes you different from other wedding photographers?

We are a husband and wife team who care about marriage. We really hope to stay in touch with our couples even after the wedding day with the hopes of not just photographing their growing families, but encouraging them on this journey of marriage that we’re both on. This may happen while taking their photos, grabbing a meal together, on our blog, or through social media.

  1. What tips do you have for couples who have never been photographed before?   

Make a personal connection with your photographer either over social media or in person. The more you know each other, the better your experience will be and the more genuine the photos will turn out. Invest in having your hair or makeup done, or both. You are paying for professional photos so it’s worth arriving to the shoot looking and feeling your best. Lastly, trust your photographer. They are the professional and the one with the experience, I recommend listening to any advice they offer you.

Inspired yet? Contact us today to book your wedding! A special thanks to Borrowed & Blue for the Q&A.

Another Big Announcement!

Another one!

I looked weathered. I joked that the bags underneath my eyes looked like they were packed for a European adventure.

I knew I was tired. Really tired. I could count on one hand how many times Rose had slept through the night her first year of life. But somewhere around 14/15 months, she finally started sleeping. But I was still tired.

I told Vitaliy, I just can’t seem to get myself together. I thought when she started sleeping through the night I’d finally start to feel like myself again. Albeit, a new version of myself. But I started to wonder if this was simply motherhood, a constant feeling of exhaustion and inadequacy.

It turns out, those are just symptoms of the first trimester in pregnancy.

My exhaustion and weathered appearance led Vitaliy to start predicting I was pregnant. I didn’t believe it until one afternoon while finishing up my Wild & Free book, I was moved to tears. And then I wanted to throw up. And the only other time I wanted to throw up while crying was when I was pregnant with Rose. I texted Vitaliy, go ahead and buy that pregnancy test.

Sure enough, we’re having another baby! Rose is going to be a big sister. And I’m going to stay tired for at least another year.

Baby Prokopets is due to arrive on January 7, which is actually Ukrainian Christmas according to the Orthodox calendar. So we’re hoping to continue with our holiday birthdays around here. We won’t know if we’re having a boy or girl until he or she arrives into this world so we look forward to one day introducing you to our son or daughter.

Thank you for all of your love and support! When we announced our first pregnancy, I wrote, “With this being our first child, there are so many unknowns. But there is one thing we are certain of, that we will be loved and supported by our friends and family every step of the way.” And we continue to be! There have been many days when fear has tried to settle in, but then I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness and the amazing community we have and then joy and excitement replace the fear. So thank YOU!

This birth announcement photo is an homage to the one we took for Rose, before we even knew she was Rose. 




Darling Backyard Wedding in
San Francisco

Mike & Alison

I’m so excited to share Mike and Alison’s wedding with you today.

They had a beautiful backyard wedding followed by the biggest dance party we’ve ever seen. Mike and Alison met during a dance class so dancing was a huge part of their celebration. You’ll see that in the photos! I love what Alison shared about planning her wedding. For all the couples out there beginning their planning process, go grab a pen and paper. You’ll want to take notes!

From Alison the bride…

One of the things we did really well was making sure that our ceremony was highly personal and told the story of our relationship and what marriage means to Mike and I. I tell other couples that are getting married that a wedding is a chance to get an intimate glimpse into a couple’s relationship. There is a quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery about love: “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” Well, your wedding is your chance to share that direction, that shared vision of yourselves and your future with the people you care most about.

For us that narrative was all about family. What it means to us, who family is, and what it means to have one. It’s why the wedding was in my parent’s backyard. It’s why both our Dad’s married us and talked about family and marriage in the ceremony. It’s why we picked a menu that was an upscale version of Sunday dinner (every Sunday is family day, where the whole family gets together sits outside and has wine and dinner). It’s why we invited only the people we believe will be part of our life ten to twenty to thirty years from now. And it’s also why that list is 115 people. Mike and I collect families and family members. We are the gathering place and the glue. And we are home to each other.

So my advice to people is make sure they know their own narrative and don’t lose it as they build out all the parts and pieces of a wedding. The details that matter are the ones that are personal to the story of your marriage, not marriage in general. Spend your time and energy planning and detailing those things out. Then simplify or offload everything else. Let those be someone else’s problem.

Mike and Alison it was a joy and pleasure to serve at your wedding! It was memorable and special in so many ways. I will never forget the dance floor! Thank you so much for having us! We wish you a marriage filled with love and laughter.

You can see even more of Mike and Alison’s wedding over on Borrowed & Blue!

Here is the team that brought everything together.

Photographer: Pictilio
Planner: Caitlin Arnold Weddings & Events
Florist: Sweetness and Light Floral Design
Officiants: Fathers of the bride and groom
Caterer: Weir and Associates
Bakery: Icing On The Cake
Music: MK Mobile Sound
Rentals: Unica Party Rentals
Hair: Lux Image Agency

California backyard wedding, first dance of bride and groomWedding details: invitation, RSVP, etc.Wedding detail of bridesmaid flowersWedding gown detailReal emotions, bride and groom laughingGetting ready portrait of groom by pianoIntimate nuptials in a private residenceGetting ready photo of the brideWedding reception details: Table, glasses, plates and centerpiece with lemons and yellow flowersRelaxed portrat of bride and groom in a private California backyard weddingBride and groom at their first lookWedding details: table setup at an intimate backyard weddingBride and groom dancing down the aisleGetting read detail: bride looking at her shoesSan Francisco backyard wedding reception at duskBackyard Nuptials in San Francisco at Private residence