Marissa + Hayden // Newhall Mansion, Piru // Wedding Photography

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Welcome to my very first wedding of 2017!  And much like how I ended 2016 on a high note, I’m starting off 2017 on a similar note.  Meaning, with a wedding where everything from start to finish was absolutely wonderful.  From the details to the venue to the light to the couple to the moments – everything was were they should be for a perfect wedding.  If I had to nitpick anything it would be that it got a bit chilly toward reception time, which wasn’t something that you can really control, but so long as you got your blood pumping on the dance floor then that was really no problem at all!  And trust me, these guests (plus the bride and groom) knew how to get down.  I’m talking full on dance offs and fashion runway shows.  It also helped that they had a veteran disk jockey at the helm, DJ Swon, directing sick jams like a boss.

On top of it all I had this gorgeous, dare I say modelesque couple, to shoot all day.  And did I mention they were one of the most laid back couples I’ve shot in my history of shooting weddings?  Because they were.  I’ve shot at Newhall Mansion only a few times but every time I do I seem to get amazing results, hopefully that trend can continue.  Scroll on down to see all the awesomeness I’m talking about and as always, enjoy!
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Lauren + Matt // Mission Hills Country Club, Palm Springs // Wedding Photography

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Welcome to my very last wedding of 2016, and what a wedding it was!  The wedding took place at Mission Hills Country Club in beautiful Palm Springs, CA.  My first time there at Mission Hills and I must say, what an amazing venue for a wedding.  Yet, if you had asked me that question the day before the wedding I might have said otherwise.  See, they were renovating the reception hall for the past several months and when I went to scout the site the day before the wedding there must have been thirty-some workers painting, installing things, plastic covering the floor — it was a FULL ON worksite.  I just stood there in shock and thought, “There is no way in hell this will be done by tomorrow.”  But to my surprise, finish they did and in impressive fashion nonetheless (at which you will see the results in this posting!).

Yes, an amazing venue but an even more amazing couple.  Lauren (and Matt) found me through one of my Mom’s good friends who happens to be Lauren’s cousin.  We had actually met years earlier when I moved to Los Angeles but hadn’t spoken in several years.  As the fates would have it, we ended up working together when said cousin reminded Lauren that I now shoot wedding photography.  We chatted via email bonded over photography and the rest we shall say, is history!  At the wedding Lauren and Matt had some of the most touching vows I had heard in a long time and it made me smile from ear to ear.  The kind of vows that reinforces true love and fills your heart with happiness.  I felt so fortunate to be a part of their special day.  And maybe you will too as you check out this posting… enjoy 🙂
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Best Wedding Photography // 2016

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In the name of love, I present to you my favorite wedding photos from 2016.  I really should say in a labor of love because it took a lot of time to take all these shots and also a lot of time to narrow them down!  I had about 450 shots that I thought were exceptionally blog worthy this year (though it could have easily been twice that!)  And I think I finally narrowed it down to about 180.  There were so many magical moments that I was fortunate enough to be a part of this year that I think this might be the hardest “best of” post I’ve ever done!  But it was all worth it and totally paid off because as of this writing I am proud to say that I have won Best of The Knot for 2017!


That marks three straight years of making the best of list, putting me in the top 2% of vendors on The Knot.  It’s been a lot of hard work but as much as I can claim credit, it’s really all my amazing couples, giving me wonderful reviews that really tipped me over the edge.  I’m not one to gloat so I won’t say much more other than when I set out to win this award I made it a goal to win it for at least three straight years in a row.  And now that I’ve done that I’m quitting the biz… juuuuust kidding!  In honesty, it feels more like when a famous restaurant gets their 3rd Michelin Star.  The hard work finally gets you to that elite status but now you have the pressure to not just maintain your work but to create beyond what’s been expected of you.  And when you face that moment you can either pack it all in or dig creatively deeper then you have ever dug before.  I choose to dig and whether you be a someone I’ve worked with before or someone I have yet the pleasure to meet, I hope you decide to join me for the excavation.

As always, enjoy the highlights, I would love to hear what your favorite shot might be in the comments (waaay) below!
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Best Engagement Photography // 2016

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What a year.  What a year for engagements.  What a year for Danto Photography!  This year marks my 3rd straight year of winning best of The Knot, which is no small feat.  Only the top 2% of vendors on The Knot get this acclaimed award so I’m extra humbled about the win.  To kick off celebrations, I’ve put together this blog post of my favorite engagement photos from the past year.  This years crop of favorites have some of best work as of yet.

Every year I learn a trick or two that help elevate my work and this year I think my post-production editing has been the largest improvement in my set of skills.  I’ve learned how to better fine tune my editing in such a way that the photos are really jumping of the screen.  For example, the first picture below had a ton of adjustments – exposure painting, photoshop body retouching, highlight/shadow adjustments, boosts in clarity and vibrance… the list goes on.  Anyway, I won’t bore you with the details, lets just get to the results!  Scroll on down and enjoy!  Thank you to all my awesome couples this year for letting me join in your journeys, it has been an honor!

Oh and as a bonus, I threw in three non-engagement photos that I took while on engagement shoots.  Just some fun city/scenery shots, enjoy 🙂 Read More

Top Ten Wedding Ring Shots // 2016

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My goal as a wedding photographer is to get my clients the very best photos I can while being as creative as possible.  It’s a difficult balance to achieve because often enough, being creative is a race against time in the face of shot priority.  I am only at a wedding for my contracted hours, and sometimes that leaves just enough time to get the safe shots and not much more.  Yet despite my constant race against time, there is always one aspect of the day that I make a point to focus my creative juices on — the ring shot.

To me, the wedding rings are the perfect symbols of the bride and groom and I relish the opportunity to color that with my own creative flair.  Yes, you could be extra creative with almost any image you take at a wedding but most of the time the CONTROL isn’t there.  Weddings are fickle beasts and you’re at the whim of what is happening at that very moment, which can sometimes limit creativity.  But one thing I know for sure, rings are rings and will do whatever I tell them to do.  My wildest dreams can come to life in their tiny world as long as I have the patience and inspiration.

It is my love of the ring shot that has inspired this post into creation and as long as I’m a wedding photographer I’m going to do one of these every year.  So without further ado, here are my top ten ring shots of 2016. Read More

Stephanie + Jason // The Ren Cen + Garden Theater // Detroit, MI

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As much as I like to do weddings in Southern California, it’s always refreshing to fly somewhere else.  New location, new vibe.  It really helps inspire me to do great work.  It also helps when you have such an awesome couple and wedding party to boot!  I connected with Stephanie and Jason through her brother, also named Jason.  I’ve known his family for years and it was such an honor for them to entrust their daughter’s wedding to me.

I will tell you this much, Detroiters know how to throw a party as good as any.  So much laughter, joy, good food, silliness, and emotion.  It’s one of those weddings you’ll never forget.  I know I sure won’t.  It was pretty hard to cull down my favorites to this blog post as there were so many magical moments throughout the day.  I did my darndest, so enjoy!
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Stephanie + Chris // Greystone Mansion // Beverly Hills, CA

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I shoot dozens of weddings every year.  Each one has their unique flavor (style, location, what have you) but every once in a while there comes a wedding where everything just falls into place perfectly.  This means… great venue, beautiful couple, interesting details, ideal lighting, indelible moments, and on and on.  For me, Stephanie and Chris’ wedding was that wedding for 2016.  I don’t really like to play favorites but it really was my favorite one of 2016.  To make it even better, the couple work in an industry after my own heart.  Chris is a cinematographer and Stephanie a costumer and for those who might not know, I spent some seven years working in the entertainment business on films, tv shows, and at major studios.  It’s that affinity that I think really bound us together and the results of that bond helped me create a wedding photography highlight reel of classic proportions.

I need not say more, just enjoy enjoy enjoy.  I’d love to hear what your favorite one was, post a comment at the bottom of the post!
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Joelle + Nate // Carondolet House // Los Angeles, CA

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I’m really excited to share with you today a beautiful wedding shot at the Carondelet House for one of my most favorite couples I’ve ever had the pleasure to shoot – Joelle and Nate.  I’ve known Joelle for over five years now and she’s been a true and caring friend since day one, not to mention just an overall awesome human.  We’ve been through a lot together and I’m so thankful to have known her (and now Nate) through those years.  You may recall them from their amazing engagement shoot I posted on this blog last year.

Anyway, about this shoot!  The Carondelet House is pretty much a photographers dream venue.  Great architecture and beautiful decor which blend to create a really fun wedding vibe.  Despite also being a guest at this wedding I think I was able to capture the essence of Joelle and Nate’s special day without hiccup (props to my second Cliff Cooper and the team from Day of Gal for helping with all the little details).  In fact, I’m downright giddy about some of these images.  To see what I mean then simply scroll on down or hit the jump and check out all the awesomeness.  Thanks for reading and congrats to Joelle and Nate! Read More