award-winning wedding and family portrait photography blog featuring the work of photographic artist Kimberly Sayre of Mill Cottage Photography
Thanks for Stopping By . . .
I am Kimberly Sayre, and I have been a professional photographer since 2002. I photograph weddings, maternity, newborns, families and high school seniors in the Grass Valley and San Francisco Bay Areas. My photography is from my heart and my soul, and I can't wait to share some special memories with you! Studio sessions are by appointment in my Grass Valley Studio. Let's make some beautiful images together! Call me at (415) 515-6370 or (530) 830-8919 to talk about wedding or portrait photography! Special pricing for Grass Valley Weddings booking for 2013!
“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”
― Ansel Adams
Hair by Heather Sanderson, Make up by Lisa Harter of Danae Marie’s Salon, Grass Valley
and that is my commitment to all who are in front of my camera… I promise to honor you with my photography as you have honored me by choosing me to photograph you!! Grass Valley has become my home so quickly because of the amazing people I have met here! I am going to be back to post more and update my blog with all the groovy things that have been happening at Mill Cottage Photography and Catchlight Workshop Series, but had to post a quick note with Ansel’s beautiful sentiment and Lisa’s beautiful portrait… much love!
A beautiful summer day at the beach with Leslie and David!
Haven’t you ever been on a wonderful vacation with your love and really wished you had a great professional portrait of the two of you to remember the special trip by? Well, Leslie was brilliant, and booked a session with me on her wonderful baseball tourism vacation with her husband of 10 years, David! They were the kind of people I felt like I had known forever, and we had a really great time capturing some great images!! We also met some interesting people at the beach… a group of picnickers who didn’t offer to share their beer (LOL), and told us grand tales of a bucket list and frolicked in the waves nearby… The weather in San Francisco was spectacular. Unbelievable that we would have a summer day turn out like this with no fog, and beautiful amazing sweet light!! Seriously, my first July in San Francisco so many years ago all I can remember is trying to watch fireworks on someones roof in the Marina with winter coats and gloves, drinking red wine to keep from freezing to death…
Anyway, thanks to Leslie and David for their great company, and for being willing to dip their Louisiana toes in the chilly Pacific Ocean, and here is a favorite to tide you over til your previews are ready!!!
I am a sucker for black and white photography… Of course as a visual artist I love color and feel it has its place for sure, but there’s something about a dramatic black and white that just isolates the subject and commands you to look! Nothing to get distracted in but the sultry emotion… and believe me, these two have plenty of that! They wouldn’t stop kissing… all day… and night… and well, duh?? It was awesome! I am so glad they hired me to capture their memories on their beautiful wedding day! And grateful to Lynde for traveling with me to photograph it (you know I want you to shoot with me all the time now… <3) and to Amy and April for having such a wonderful family and introducing me to the whole gang in Texas!! Don’t worry… there will be many more images to come! xoxo
mmmm... you can just feel it, right through the screen!
a bit behind on my blogging… but I have been traveling and working really hard!!! Mayte and Steven’s San Antonio destination wedding was completely amazing… How could it not be with April of Petalworks at the helm of event design and florals ?! Here are just a few of the beautiful, colorful flowers that April designed for Mayte and the girls…
colorful story of individual styles for individual bridal attendants with flair!
Travel like a rock star, yes, please! I love shooting destination weddings, and have been all over in the past couple of years! In the country and out of the country, my gear and I are ready to travel!! Looking forward to Mayte and Steven’s wedding in the Spanish Governor’s Palace in San Antonio, Texas, and having photographed them last September when they came to San Francisco for their engagement session, I know it will be a blast! Flowers, design and coordination by the wonderful April of Petalworks, I am giddy at the thought of how much fun we will will have with all the details and portraits in interesting places… Ahhh… only a few more weeks to wait, and get on the big plane to Texas! Here is a sneak peek of their custom designed wedding guest book… hope you love it!!
For many of us, the road to parenthood is fraught with pitfalls and heartbreak… and nothing is more beautiful than when, at the end of a difficult process, we finally hold our child… What I have seen first hand (and blessedly so…) is that it does not matter how you become a family, your child is your child, and the blessings and joy they bring. One of my most rewarding groups of clients I work with are prospective parents who are building their families through open adoption. Ellen Roseman has been a huge force in this movement, and I am so happy to have so many clients who have come from other parents referrals in this special group! My dear friend Melissa and her husband were just blessed with their second baby, and they will have their own special blog post as soon as I get my other computer up here to my new office… and Adam and Earl are now proud papas to this adorable baby, Ethan, and you can just feel the joy that their family exudes! One of my greatest joys is to photograph portraits of new babies and families… It’s spring time here at the cottage, and the pitter patter of tiny feet is a sound most welcomed! Enjoy!
I have had the pleasure of shooting quite a few intimate weddings this year, and it is always a joy to be among a small group of people celebrating, whether it be at a hotel suite, San Francisco City Hall, or a quaint venue in the wine country. I have special coverages available for these special occasions whether it be a short coverage for the ceremony and a few portraits, or a longer coverage with photography with one photographer. I’d love to hear more about your intimate wedding, and design a coverage specifically for you! Here is a slide show for Paul and Christine! Warning… the pie images in this slide show will make you hungry!!
Oh, baby… first of all, kudos to Kelly and Kevin for being the fastest couple this season to give me their album choices, which of course means that they will be sharing this lovely wedding album full of the best images from their Big Sur River Inn wedding during the holidays!! They definitely hit the jackpot in bonus images that I included in their book to really show off how incredible their wedding weekend was… The weekend went off with hardly a hitch, due to the attention to detail and creativity of their amazing wedding coordinator, Diane Allen of Elegant Events and Big Sur Weddings! Yowza, this woman is incredibly talented, full of amazing ideas, and knows everyone in the event industry in Big Sur, Carmel, and Monterey… If you are getting married in that area, give Diane a call and save yourself any headaches…
Next, Kelly’s florist, Christine Cater, laid the scene with just the right complement to the amazing atmosphere that is the Big Sur River Inn… I especially loved the “bling” she added to the bridal and bridesmaids’ bouquets.. awesome. Kelly and Kevin chose teal and purple as their wedding colors, and with the lush green river side location, everything was really just perfect! We spent the whole weekend with them, and everything was casual and relaxed, and we were able to really capture the event well. This is one of my favorite albums I have ever designed, and I can’t wait to hold it in my hands (and place it, ever so reluctantly, in Kelly’s hands!) Don’t worry, I will be ordering multiple copies… Diane and my friends at Big Sur River Inn, and I will have to fight over the rest! ;^P
Orange and Black are everywhere! I love the crisp fall days, and changing leaves of red, green and gold!! It makes me gasp every year that it’s almost holiday time… wow.. my little boy is almost 5 now. I have been photographing him every year in the same pumpkin patch, and I love comparing the images from previous years to see how my baby has growninto such a little boy… This year we stopped by the patch with his best friend, Luci, and I was so happy to get these two active little guys to sit still for a minute so I could grab a shot! They are like brothers, and it is cool to see their relationship grow as they grow up in the same daycare. Next year they will likely be in different kindergartens, but we will work really hard to make sure these best friends see as much of each other as possible!
We have been enjoying a lot of fine weather lately, and fall is always my favorite season… Warm colors, crisp clear days, chilly nights with tea or hot cocoa around the fireplace (since we actually have one now!!) I also love it when creative brides buck tradition and have pie at their wedding instead of cake… Christine and Paul had a very lovely wedding day at the Kenwood Depot in Kenwood (Sonoma area.) Their ceremony was held under a tall redwood tree as they were hand-fasted together in a touching ceremony! An AMAZING dinner was served at one long table and Cochon Volant has my vote for the best barbeque I have ever had, especially at a wedding! Everything was done to perfection!!! I’ll share more details later, but here is my favorite part of the whole day… PIE!! Each one that I tasted took me back to family celebrations with my grandma… homemade and delicious pie! Don’t look at these pictures if you are hungry… mmmmm… pie….
As delicious as it was beautiful! Christine & Paul's Wedding Pies
Just wanted to share some details from this beautiful wedding at Wente Vineyards! The Vineyard Lawn was the perfect setting for the ceremony and celebrations! I love that Wente has a great variety of locations on their property to choose from, and have photographed weddings at all of them! The food and service is stellar, and the wine, well, award-winning wines like Morning Fog Chardonnay and my personal favorite, Riva Ranch Chardonnay (crisp, and fresh tasting without the oakey/buttery taste of the usual Chardonnay…) The team and I had a wonderful time with Nikki & Phil and their friends and family! I love this ring that was one of Nikki’s “something borrowed” – and those shoes… way to go on the blue sparklies, girlfriend!! Nikki also ordered each of her bridesmaids and herself a custom bridal clutch purse, and Nikki had personal messages to each of her girls into the purse. This is one of the coolest bridesmaid appreciation gifts I have ever seen!! The photobooth was a hoot, taking our King & Queen theme to the extreme, and everyone carried on to the afterparty back at the hotel into the wee hours!! So glad that Nikki & Phil chose me as their wedding photographer, and thanks to my team, Joerg and Carrie, for rocking out the photobooth and making the coverage such a great collection of images for Nikki & Phil to enjoy for the rest of their lives!
Ohmigosh, destination wedding weekends are really awesome! Just barely over a year ago Kevin and Kelly got engaged on Pfeiffer Beach. They knew they wanted to have their wedding in Big Sur, and immediately began planning! They chose 9/10/11 as their date (a year from the date they got engaged) and the fabulous Big Sur River Inn was THE venue!! Lucky for me, Kelly didn’t even have to think twice about a wedding photographer… She’s seen me a lot over the past few years at her best friends’ weddings, and, also lucky for me, not only loves my work, but also thinks I am pretty fun to have around on a wedding day… go figure! :^P I was completely thrilled, and we headed out to Big Sur for a site visit and their engagement session. So much fun that I can hardly call it work!
Kelly knew she would want to work with a coordinator to help organize everything, and inspire her wedding vision, and ended up finding Diane Allen of Big Sur Weddings, who would immediately become a special friend to Kelly and Kevin! Diane and her staff were a dream to work with, and the details were perfect! Makes me want to re-do our wedding, and head right back down to Big Sur myself, and everyone knows how much I loved my wedding…
Great big fun was had by all in our Photo Parlor, hosted by my friend and lighting expert, Joerg, who had just shot Stephanie and Rich’s wedding a couple of weeks ago with me at Wente, and was happy to see their familiar faces and a bunch of new party people hitting the booth… You know it’s a fun wedding when everyone gets in the booth… the friends, family, event staff and photographers… even Bob, our favorite bartender. Here’s a link to the gallery… it’s password protected to protect the semi-innocent, and the pass word is the bride’s maiden name, (just last name, all lower-case!) Here’s a little bonus… anyone who purchases prints or downloadable files can feel good too, since a portion of the proceeds will be donated in Kelly and Kevin’s honor to Susan G. Komen For The Cure, the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists, working together to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Big hugs to all of you, and I’ll have more of Kelly and Kevin’s photos ready in about 4 weeks!
To Kelly, Kevin, and all your friends and family… we had a blast. you did too. here’s proof! love, Kim, Anna & Joerg from Mill Cottage Photography
Put together a gorgeous couple, and amazing city, and a photographer who loves her job, and what do you get? Really fun engagement session images for your Save-the-Date cards and to show off to friends and family! Mayte and Steve are getting married next spring in San Antonio, Texas at the Spanish Governor’s Palace, and I can’t wait to spend the day with them! I knew from the first skype meeting with them that we would get along like family, and when they flew into San Francisco to have their engagement session with me, we had a great time playing around in downtown! Mayte is in the fashion industry, and is from Spain, and brought a great collection of outfits and accessories, and Steve spent lots of time kissing his beautiful bride to be! We had great luck with lighting, and locations (except for the one with the renegade security guards) and the result is a wide range of images from which to choose! Thanks Mayte and Steve for making the time to fly in during my busy wedding season so we could make this session happen! Can’t wait til spring comes to San Antonio!! See you soon!
spare me the details… what??? I recently read an article about things in weddings that have become passe’, and one of them was photography of the details. I was flabbergasted. I know brides (and coordinators) work tirelessly throughout the wedding planning time to conjure and craft the most amazing “visual feast” of details we see on the wedding day and to say that photographer’s should just snap a few shots, and then go looking elsewhere is ludicrous. Of course, a wedding is made up of so many things, traditions, moments, emotions, sacredness, and most of all, special people, and I consider it my duty to tell the story of the wedding using all of these amazing things. The details show us little things that might be missed – a ring passed down from generations, a photo of a loved one who is no longer with us, a charm to remember a best friend, special flowers, signature cocktails, hand-made items from crafty friends and family (or a vast genius of artists on etsy.com). Now, how I capture the details is my own special thing… I try to take something in the environment of the venue, and combine it with a crisp, sharp shot of a treasured item, and make it as unique as the event I am covering! I can shoot two weddings in the exact place, and they will never look the same… the cast and crew make it come alive, and it’s my job to capture every little detail… Viva la details!!
Fast forward a few short weeks, and again, I have the pleasure of working with a wonderful couple, Stephanie and Richard, at the beautiful Wente property, and this time on the other side, close to the wine cave, and on a lovely terraced lawn where Wente often hosts top notch entertainment names like Chris Isaac, The Beach Boys, and Tony Bennett! Speaking of entertainment, Richard is the lead guitarist with one of the top bay area bands, Livewire! It’s always fun to work with couples who have ties to the wedding and event industry because they really know how to make an event a rockin’ good time! Stephanie and Rich saw each other in a private moment before the ceremony, and we got most of the photography done before anyone even walked down the aisle! They knew they wanted to really have a great time once the flow of the event started, and seeing each other before helped calm their nerves and ensure they’d be ready to enjoy the celebration with friends and family from around the world!! Richard’s father sang the “Our Father” blessing in Basque, and Stephanie’s father, originally from Germany, gave a really sweet toast! Stephanie’s sister was her “go-to” Matron of Honor, and you could see that these sisters have a very special relationship! I was especially touched when she spoke of her daughters and how she could see them developing that magical connection that only sisters have! I also LOVED seeing my Big Sur River Inn wedding couple, Kelly & Kevin, and I know we are so excited for their wedding coming up in September. It is the most wonderful thing in my business when people become a part of the Mill Cottage family, and refer their friends and family into my loving care, entrusting me with their memories, and knowing that I am the person they want to preserve their most happy and fun moments! I am indeed very lucky!
… from two weddings at Wente! I just love wine country weddings, and Wente Vineyards, besides making some really nice wine, is just the perfect setting for a gorgeous, romantic wedding among the vineyards. July I was lucky enough to work with Nikki and Phil, who really pulled out all the stops for their amazing purple and gold wedding, complete with our super fun photo parlour, where friends and family hammed it up into the night! Nikki looked like a beautiful Italian princess in her gown, which dipped off one shoulder, and Phil’s blue eyes sparkled with his love for her every moment!! Every where you turned you could see Nikki’s loving care for the wedding details, and white flowers draped with crystals shined day and night! Every ceremony has memorable moments, but when I started seeing groomsmen leave the ceremony area, I discovered that Nikki’s ring had dropped off the ringbearer’s trusty pillow, and her ever lovely and dependable sister and Matron of Honor had quickly scooped it up safely, but somehow nobody knew she had it, and they were off to quietly look for the ring. All was well, and the ceremony was perfect as the sleuths returned to the altar, and Nikki & Phil exchanged those rings and had their first kiss as husband and wife!! Here is a favorite image from their day!!
One of the most popular coverage options these days is a custom designed photobooth where your friends and family can ham it up at the reception! It creates images of people having a blast, and shows that a good time is indeed had by all! Nikki and Phil were married at Wente Vineyards, and it was a perfect day! My team and I loved working with Nikki, who was deemed most laid back bride of the year (and my brides are all laid back, so this is an accomplishment!) and we can’t wait to share the rest of the images when they are finished!! In the meantime, click the picture and enjoy!! Special thanks to my stylist extraordinaire… Carrie Mader, who really made the styling on this booth shine and sparkle!!
I love days like this… photographing a brand new baby in the house with his family during his first two weeks on the planet… This little guy was just adorable, and we had a great time with him! Newborn first sessions are really great at home those first two weeks… since it’s hard to get everybody dressed and ready to go to the studio when all you want to do is sleep, feed, and marvel at this new amazing creature that has come into your life! I remember what it was like to be a new mom (and a mom recovering from a c-section) so I am always available to come to the house to capture those first magical moments and fingers and toes! If you or someone you know is expecting an addition to the family, please refer them to me, and you both will receive a $50 credit towards any product or session! Available in the San Francisco Bay Area and in our Grass Valley Studio by appointment. Call (415) 515-6370 or (530) 830-9189. Also makes a great baby shower gift! Gift Cards are available!
Oh my gosh… Can’t believe that this little miss is already a year old. I am so in love with her curls, her smile, and those big blue eyes!!! So glad her parents have been clients and friends through their wedding, maternity, and this lovely one’s first year!! We met in their back yard this time instead of in my studio, and the light was perfect! I always have such a sweet time photographing Lily, and her daddy even grilled us hamburgers while mommy and I chatted about the first year of parenting. I have to admit, I miss this stage, and can see why people have more babies… Aren’t I lucky that I have my Joshy, but I get to photograph such beautiful babies all the time so I get my baby “fix” often. Such sweet expressions and pure joy… from the subject AND for the photographer. Parents, don’t lose these moments. Have your babies photographed early and often!!
I had the pleasure of meeting Shelley and Alex at a portrait photography session event I did at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco when Alex was a baby. Soon after they came to my studio bringing along daddy Dustin, and we had such a fun time capturing Alex’s plentiful smiles. We made an adorable book of Alex’s baby session images, and after a couple of years I noticed on facebook that Shelley was pregnant again with another boy!! We waited just long enough til he was the same age as Alex’s session, and then they came to the studio! Seeing Alex so grown up is amazing, and meeting his little brother was just a joy! We faced adversity (it was early evening – not a good time for toddlers and babies, and something like 100 degrees at the studio…) and we jumped around, laughed, bounced and cajoled the boys into a great session!! On this Fourth of July weekend, I wanted to share a couple of my favorites so that daddy can see them too! He’s off serving our country in the reserves, and I send my gratitude to him and all the others! Here’s some family portraits!