Best Wedding and Engagement Photos of 2017 by Los Angeles Wedding Photographer Brandi Potter
2017 has been a roller coaster of emotions and I’m so happy it’s almost over. My personal life may have been a complete mess this year, but my work life has thrived. I’m ending the year with 30 weddings (33 if you count second shooting), and a ton of travel opportunities. I’m grateful for the things I’ve been able to experience this year even if they weren’t the best. I guess that’s part of growing up, and just dealing with things as they happen. I’m really looking forward to comparing these photos to last years, and I’ll definitely be adding a full blog post of ALL of my favorites from the year once I shoot my NYE wedding this weekend, and finish up my editing. I think my favorite part of a new year is looking back and seeing how much I’ve grown and learned, and I’m sure doing that this year will make all of the trials completely worth it. I’ll write more about my year in the full blog post, but for now here are my Top 10 images of 2017. These are in no particular order btw.
I LOVE real emotion. I love when grooms can just be emotional without trying to hold it in. When Christine came down the aisle I had every intention of squeezing behind her as she passed me, but decided to step back instead and I’m SO HAPPY that I made that last second decision to stay. This is the perfect example of trusting your gut instincts while shooting. You can see the full wedding, here.
In February I traveled to Sedona with a group of really talented photographers. We set up two styled shoots so that we could shoot and learn from one another. This was from the first of those shoots. While I felt more of a connection for myself at Cathedral Rock, this photo really just sucks me back into the moment. When I look at this photo I think of how tiny we all are in the grand scheme of things, and how many absolutely stunning places there really are in the world. You can view the blog post from this session, here (I did re-edit this photo so that it would match my current preset).
This shot was completely unplanned, and it’s the first photo I feel like I started utilizing hazy smoke. We had set off a purple smoke bomb right before this photo and it had finally fizzled out. I started to move them to do a different pose/ location and turned around and saw the smoke lingering on the hillside with the sun coming through it. I had a bit of a OMG THIS IS AMAZING moment and snapped a couple of photos before it finally blew away. You can view this full session, here.
This definitely isn’t my favorite photo from this session, but I think this photo exemplifies how willing I am to get the shots I want. We went to the Kentucky State Fair, and I dumbly decided to ride the rides with Brittany and Cam. This ride in particular was a bit hellish. I’m sitting there with the camera smooshed against my face as we’re spinning up and down, forwards and backwards at a high speed. My brain wanted me to drop the camera and hold on, but I ended up with some really great photos from all of the rides during the session. You can view that, here.
This was literally the most unplanned/planned first look I’ve ever shot. We started with them reading letters with their backs to the wall divider, and then counted for them to turn around at the same time. Not only are they almost the exact distance away from the divider as the other, but the way the light is hitting the room throws a whole other element into this photo. I didn’t really think about Raychel being in white in the more lit space or Brooke being in darker clothing in the darker part of the room. It all just worked out so perfectly and I will always come back to this image. You can view the full blog post of this wedding, here.
I LOVE dresses that twirl. I especially love dresses that twirl in a really cool setting. Maredith and Colton fixed up a barn on a private farm for their reception space, and strung up these lights. I’ve been trying to play with light a bit more and it ended up being the perfect setting for a spinning photo. I love how dark the photo is, and I love that I was shooting at a slow enough shutter that you can see the movement in it. It’s not technically perfect, but that just adds to the greatness of the photo. You can view the full wedding here.
In November I traveled to Ireland with some of my girlfriends, and my friend Justin and his girlfriend, Zoe, decided to head across the pond at the same time. We decided to meet up in Galway and then drive down to the Cliffs of Moher together. We ended up getting there as soon as the sun was setting and were rushing to find a spot without barriers and tourists. We ended up hoping back into the car and driving a km down the road to get to this location and got out to the cliffs as the sun was dropping below the horizon. We had maybe 30-40 minutes of useable blue hour light, but honestly it’s one of my favorite set of images. It was challenging to shoot in, but I love the beauty of the cliffs and Zoe in this lovely red dress with windblown hair. You can view the full session, here.
I’ve been obsessed with celestial bodies and the universe for awhile (very obvious given that my logo has gone from the moon to planets). I’ve been wanting to put together a Sun and Moon themed styled shoot for awhile, and while I was waiting to get back my new branding I decided to go for it. When it comes to styled shoots I go all out in putting them together, and normally I don’t know exactly what I want to do until the day of. Leading up to the shoot I was kind of dreading it because I was exhausted from shooting weddings this fall and I had a double header the following couple of days. Giving Courtney the candle was a last minute decision, because the space was REALLY dark with only the candles lit on the table, and I didn’t want to push my camera to much and end up with images I hated. I love the way the candle makes her look like she’s glowing, which is fitting since she was supposed to be the Sun. View the full post, here.
I love shooting in interesting light and elements. This is the second year in a row Paige and Brandon have made this list, and that’s because they always encourage me to shoot a bit differently and try new things. I went out to their new farm last week where Paige wanted to shoot in the top of their old barn. I got their late so the light coming through the boards was quite pretty. We sprayed the atmosphere spray (you should totally get some) to make it a bit more interesting and ended up with this, an almost silhouette. I’m not done editing this session but it’s one of my favorites from the year.
I hosted my first photography workshop back in July at Warrenwood Manor. If you haven’t been there you have to go. There’s a room on the second floor that has the most beautiful rainbow speckles when the light hits the windows just right, and it’s one of the most perfect places for photos. The first time I saw it I didn’t see it throughout the whole room, but this time it made me giddy with excitement. Obviously I love shooting in really interesting light and conditions and this was one of my favorites from the year.