• Aloha and welcome to the blog

    This is supposed to be where you can keep up with some of my latest work and see images and projects I am working on. However, I need to improve on keeping this blog somewhat current. Sometimes it looks like my blog is withering off to Never Never Land. Posting images and writing blog content is NOT one of my strengths, so please forgive me for not keeping you all up to date. I am often in Honolulu and Los Angeles shooting for some amazing people, pets and organizations. Feel free to shoot me an email at 105,110,102,111,64,103,97,121,108,97,101,108,105,122,97,98,101,116,104,46,99,111,109,46.moc.htebazilealyag@ofni

    I love the artistry of photography and am ridiculously attracted to images that speak volumes with no text. I've photographed celebrities, entrepreneurs, artists, products, food, real estate, moms, dads, brides, grooms, babies, pets and more. If it exists, I will shoot it. Follow this blog for a mix of everything and feel free to visit my portfolio on the "official" photography site www.GaylaElizabeth.com.

Destination weddings are increasingly popular and becoming very common amongst newly engaged couples. Often when planning the perfect getaway wedding, there are many questions about photography and how the whole process works. Wedding photography is a very personal profession and there should be a lot to consider when choosing the photographer for your special day.  There are no re-shoots, it’s a once in a lifetime event…right?  To see a post I wrote about wedding pricing, click here.

Your wedding is coming…you will spend countless hours planning and coordinating your special day. Once you set the date and pick the perfect venue, you’ll put a lot of time and thought in the little details.  The picking of the dress, what kind of floral arrangements, the color and theme, the decor, the menu, the music, etc… When it’s all said and done,  the linens will be soiled, the flowers will have died, the cake eaten and the party over. The only thing you will have left to remember your special day is your images that were captured by your photographer. Remember, the photography will serve as a little time capsule for generations to come. That is why you should pay special attention when picking your wedding photographer. Destination or local.  If you love photos and memories… invest in a quality professional photographer. Trust me on this one.

Now, this post is about destination weddings in particular, so let’s focus on that. Find a photographer you love. Maybe it’s images you’ve seen on a wedding website such as: The Knot or Wedding Wire . Perhaps you’ve seen a feature in a magazine like Martha Stewart or Grace Ormonde.  Do NOT let the home location of the photographer deter you. Many photographers, including myself will do destination weddings and travel to your dream city. And, maybe it’s not a question about a destination city… in fact, maybe it’s YOUR city and the photographer lives somewhere else.  Whichever the case, ignore the home location of the photographer. It’s best that you find a photographer that has a style you like and is someone that you can trust on your big day. Referrals are big in the wedding industry. I met a few bridesmaids that lived in another state that asked if I would come to them for their wedding. My answer. Of course!  With Skype being so easy to use, phone conversations are a little more personal with the added video. I often do my consultations over Skpe with clients, even the local ones! It’s great. And, for those that don’t have Skype, you can always sign up… it’s free. Click here to sign up. If you are not that technical, then we always have the good old fashion telephone.:-)

Now the big question is: ” How much does it cost to get a destination photographer?”.  The truth is destination pricing will vary from photographer to photographer, so there is no universal answer for it. Some photographers primarily do destination weddings and it’s incorporated into their wedding collections or packages. Others are primarily local photographers and charge extra for destination weddings. Some do an equal mix of both.  It really depends.  The best thing to do is inquire more with a photographer you are interested in.  A general rule of thumb is the couple is responsible for airfare, hotel, rental car and meals. And with great travel prices and packages nowadays, it’s really not as expensive as one would think.

Some advice for those brides looking for a wedding photographer:

  • Ask friends or relatives for referrals and how their experience was. This a personal referral that will go a long way.
  • Look at wedding websites, blogs and magazines for inspiration and a style you like. Take note of the photographer.
  • Check out some of the reviews by past clients.
  • Do all your “window” shopping online… Visit photographers websites and blogs. See their work and read a little about them. Of course, find photographers whose images you love. But, try to find out a little more about them. What they like to do, hobbies, etc… Maybe they are a dog fanatic or love Modern Family.  Anything you can find out is always a plus.
  • Pick 3 photographers to call. C*A*L*L. You know, as in telephone! :-). I’m so big on this, just because I think it’s crucial to speak to the photographer. It’s more about the relationship…the connection. Set up an in person consultation. If they do not live near you… hop on Skype. Bottom line….speak to them.
  • Pick a photographer you love as a photographer AND as a person.

While I am based out of Los Angeles, CA, I am available to shoot in the city of your choice. I have a special bonus for my Hawaii brides.  Being that I am from Honolulu, I only charge for airfare and rental car for my Honolulu destination weddings. I stay with my family and always get fed with some great home cooked meals, which means Hawaii brides can save some extra $.  In fact, I’ll be heading to Hawaii tomorrow to shoot a wedding this weekend. Yay!  Well, I guess that’s my cue to start packing! Aloha…


  • J - Great information!

  • mommy - Well said….You are tops ….

  • lisa - This was a very interesting blog post. I didn’t think people used paper maps anymore. : ) Just kidding….

Since finding out about Life Rolls On earlier this year, I have been trying to incorporate a way to help this amazing organization. Their biggest event of the year, Night By The Ocean (NBTO), will be held  this Sunday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. The Gala event will be led by Honorary Chairs Brooke Burns, Scott Caan, Jane Seymour and Robin Williams.  To read more about the event click here.  I was invited to attend as a guest, however, I’m not able to attend since I have a destination wedding to photograph in Hawaii this weekend. Bummer.  I would’ve loved, loved, loved to attend.

While I have yet to come up with a solid plan of how I can help raise awareness about SCI and funds for LRO, I did decide to participate in the silent auction.I have donated $2500.00 in my services to be auctioned off which includes the following:

  • A 2 hour photography session with Gayla Elizabeth (valid on any family, baby or portrait session)
  • 1 leather custom fine art coffee table album
  • 1 DVD cinematic slideshow

There will be live entertainment, inspirational stories, dining and a cool auction; (including an autographed Jack Johnson surfboard. WOOT). I absolutely L*O*V*E Jack Johnson, so had to give him props for that. hee-hee.  If you want to participate or donate please contact Life Rolls On by clicking here. Seriously, this is one totally rad organization. The programs they put on for those with spinal cord injuries is beyond amazing. You can see a post from They Will Surf Again by clicking here.  My brother and his family will be in attendance, including the little star herself, Maile. Since I won’t be able to attend, I’ll have to rely on photos taken by my brother…yikes.


  • mommy - How wonderful, just reading about LRO makes me want to be there. Your donation is fabulous and generous. God Bless You….I luv u

  • Lisa - Sounds like an awesome event. Too bad you’re going to be in Hawaii this weekend. : ) At least you were able to contribute something that will bring some money to this great organization.

  • Irene - They are such an awesome organization and I am so thankful for all that they have done and will do for Maile. Thank you for the donation. I am sad that you can’t be there…so much for good photos! I will tell you all about it. We are all so excited about the event.

We’ve had some bizarre weather this week. Within one week, we went from 90º to 60º, sunny & humid to thunderstorms and today, back to 93º. Crazy. Well, since this is my personal day to get caught with things around the house, it was a perfect day to give the babies a bath. Actually, it wasn’t perfect… it was in fact toooo hot.  But, Bailey and Rambo needed a bath. As much as they hate it, they know the procedure. I get the hose running, call them over…they droop their eyes and hang their faces as cold water drips over their faces.  Bailey is much better, she will stay there and sulk, but she will stay. Rambo will make the occasional dash to avoid the water. Ultimately, he stops and gives in to the hose.

It was so hot that you would think they would’ve loved the cool down. Nope. They didn’t. They wanted it to be over , but I had to grab some pics…. Here are my babies getting all cleaned up.:-)Once they are done, Rambo is pretty much over it and all smiles. Bailey gives a bit of an attitude for a while. Kinda funny….Keep note of the last pic… Ms. Bailey looks a bit upset with me! hee-hee



  • Camille Edwards - Nice pictures…looks like Bailey is giving you the eye….

  • michelle - Your dogs are so cute and well behaved. My little one would be hiding under the bed where I can’t reach her. : )

  • lisa - haha. Bailey doesn’t look too happy. : )

  • mommy - Poor things…..they looked so sad, fantastic pictures though, however the outlook shows them cool and clean (Bailey looks nu’ha) PS – about time…….

  • J - All nice and clean :-)

  • Lucia - LOVE the pictures! Bailey and Rambo are so cute!! I want to hug them. :)

She’s a writer and he’s into computers. She graduated from USC and he is a faithful UCLA fan. Two completely different worlds, yet together; these two go together better than milk and cookies.:-)  I arrived at Porter Valley Country Club on Saturday, hoping mother nature would prove the local weatherman wrong, who had forecasted thunderstorms. Yes, THUNDERSTORMS. I can deal with clouds. In fact, I  actually love clouds since they make for some awesome photos, but rain and lightning…not so much. (At least with wedding photography.)

I admire the love in Jessica’s life.  And, not just from Luis…but, from her entire family.  Parents, siblings, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and fellow church members. I always believed that there are 3 key things you need in life: trust, love and family. Those 3 simple things will get you through anything and it was apparent that Jessica has an abundance of all. To see how happy she was to marry Luis and vice versa was wonderful. Sometimes, it’s just the simple things in life that make it all worth living.

While the morning posed some threats with some serious clouds, about 20 minutes before the ceremony started, the clouds started to part…and in came the sun, shining brightly as they exchanged their vows. No thunderstorms…just pure light shining from above.  It was wonderful to be apart of a great union and I wish both of them a very happy life, filled with many laughs and tons of love. And of course many Trojan victories. Go USC!:-)

I did some engagement photos of Jessica and Luis earlier this year at Union Station. You can see their engagement pics by clicking here.



To see more photos from the wedding, see the slideshow below by clicking play…

Jessica + Luis | Wedding Photography | Porter Valley Ranch Country Club from Gayla Elizabeth on Vimeo.

  • lisa - You did such a great job on this wedding. I just love all the emotion you captured.

  • Camille Edwards - Your pictures captured the love and happiness they share. Just beautiful!!!

  • mommy - Absolutely gorgeous, it looks like an overflow of happiness and love everywhere. One can actually see the letter the bride was reading, that was an awesome picture. As usual, fantastic photos.

  • Debbie Selva - Gayla,
    I knew for sure that you were the photographer I wanted for my daughter’s wedding. I did go with Jessica and Luis to meet other photographers because they didn’t know you and what miracles you’d deliver. Of course, the inevitable, was that no one could hold a candle to you. Why? Because most photographers who take pride in their work put their hearts into their work to deliver the best memory package to the wedding couple. You, Gayla, do something unique. You actually take the pictures with your heart and deliver captured “life” in it’s full essence. The camera and lens are only secondary in your craft. No feeling goes without first filtering through your heart, mind, soul, and finally through your lens. How do you do that? I guess you were just born with that kind of heart. Now that’s what I call a true gift from God. That’s just how good He is. He made what He sees come through you and then directly to the receiver. Nice. I can never thank you enough, so you’ll just have to guess how thankful I am and multiply it by infinity! My prayers will always be that your light continue to shine! Love, Debbie

  • Ashley - Ditto to mama Debbie’s comment above! Perfectly said :)

  • Jessica Vernabe - Gayla, I absolutely LOVE the photos of our wedding! You did such a fabulous job, and I can’t imagine having chosen anyone else to document this special day. I love how you really captured the feel and the excitement of the day. And you did it all so naturally, so it was effortless for me and Luis. Thank you for your great work!
    Mrs. Jessica Vernabe

October 2010? Really? I had filled this month with so many projects that I was trying to prepare myself accordingly for weeks. Now that it is finally here, I have to buckle myself in tight and get ready for the ride. You see, I have 3 weddings to photograph this month, one of which is back in Hawaii. And, while if it was just that, I would be fine. However, I am expanding my photography services to incorporate some great products for the holidays, designing some new products for clients, editing a ton of shoots, getting a blogging schedule in order, editing and consulting with past clients on their orders,  writing an article for the Christopher Reeve Foundation, meeting with new suppliers for albums and products to offer, finishing up some construction on my home, decorating the new office in Hollywood, printing new samples for the studio, meeting clients, networking with a few wedding professionals and of course, getting ready for Halloween! Yes, I’m a Halloween lover, so don’t hate!:-)I want to be a better blogger, so I am going to try to keep everyone up to date with what’s going on. This first weekend started off with Wedding 1 of Jessica and Luis, whose wedding took place this past Saturday. I hope to have those images edited and blogged within a couple days, so stay tuned for that. While I was supposed to work and get a head start on some of my projects yesterday, I managed to get my hair done, followed by a nice dinner with Cody at my favorite sushi restaurant.  Managing a personal life while juggling a busy career is always tough. You throw in some personal things and it can really slow you down. So, I’m gonna focus on my to do list. Yes, I’m a list person. And, it’s very old school. I write everything I have to do on a sheet of paper that I carry around with me, so when a thought comes in to mind, I make sure I write it down. Otherwise, I may just forget about it and it will never get done. (A sure sign of getting old! ). Once it’s completed, it gets checked off. It’s such a great feeling to check something off that list, just love it!  I usually enter things in my ical that are planned ahead of time, but my daily list is just a plain old piece of paper, folded in quarters, categorized accordingly. And those significant things on the paper will eventually be entered in iCal for documentation.  So, as I sit here, ready to start off this official first week of October, I look out at the gray skies and take a deep breath and remind myself to stay focused. I hope this week can be as productive as I plan it to be. First thing I have to do, is write an article…


  • Jessica S. - I feel like this picture defines my life right now! I’ve never had so many lists in my life. Wedding planning = hard work! But I can’t wait!

  • gayla - Jessica, yup, there is a lot that goes on with planning a wedding! I’m excited too and can’t wait to capture your special day. Your wedding day is part of my busy October! :-)

  • josh - I hate TO DO lists. Good luck on getting every thing finished.

  • michelle - Oh boy…. that list looks pretty scary. Hope you have enough time to complete every thing and have a little spare time to do something fun.

  • Lucia - Busy is good! But make sure you get enough rest too, and enjoy Halloween! Will you dress up? =D