San Francisco Ferry Building and Fort Mason E session

Bhavna and Emil

I had a lot of fun at this E session. Bhavna and Emil were great to work with, one of those couples who just seem to read my mind--knowing exactly what to do and when to do it to portray everything about their love for one another. In planning our session they said that they wanted to visit some SF locations that were meaningful to them as a couple, of which there were many, but after talking for awhile on email we settled on the Ferry Building and Fort Mason for their variety and placement close to some of the best views in the city.

I always ask my couples to choose an E session location that has some relevance to who they are, as opposed to just somewhere pretty or romantic, or where "everyone else" is doing it. It could be a place that is a part of their history, like where they got engaged or where they went on a first date, somewhere they used to go or have always wanted to go, or merely a place that reflects their personalities...but it has to be relevant. The reason for this is that it helps get their minds off the fact that they are being photographed.

If they've been there before, they can talk and reminisce about the last time they were there. If they've never been there but have always wanted to, they can enjoy the process of discovering the new place and everything it has to offer. Both of these activities help to get them out of the stiff, self conscious, camera-aware frame of mind that is the enemy of any documentary-style shooter looking to capture real connection. The couple gets wrapped up in the moment and in each other, they start to forget I am there (or at least they cease to care), and everything feels and looks very natural.

Its kind of like watching a good movie. Even during the best movies you don't 100% forget that you are watching something contrived, for the sake of entertainment; but you do make the choice to suspend your disbelief and to allow yourself to be sucked into the moment. That is similar to what my couples do during our E sessions, and finding a relevant location is the same thing as turning down the lights in a theater. In the dark, with the movie images and sounds filling your senses, you are able to become fully immersed--sometimes having very intense emotional reactions. It is often only when the movie is over and the lights come back up that you realize just how far gone into that other world you were.

Here are some highlights from the shoot:

out behind the FB

in the front of the FB, where the low sun made for some incredible light puring through the arches

B & E were such troopers out on the windy, freezing pier at Fort Mason
across from Greens, one of the couple's favorite vegetarian gourmet restaurants

Gay Wedding Photography Giveaway

Update post-election:

Sadly, in an unprecedented move based on bigotry and small mindedness, Prop 8 was passed this week and therefore (for the time being) gay marriage is no longer legal. I just want to let all my LGBTIQ clients from this past year know how sorry I am that we lost. I will cherish the images I have from your weddings and the memories of them, and I have every confidence that this is not the last CA or America will hear from us on this topic. Lawsuits are being filed, and as of this writing Gavin Newsom has pledged to keep issuing licenses until he is sued (Go Gavin!).

For my part, the past 48 hours have been such a mix of bitter and sweet, of sadness and hope. Even though we lost this initiative, progress is still being made and we are still moving forward.I will keep this post and link open for any gay couples getting married in defiance of the proposition, or those having commitment ceremonies or other partnership ceremonies who need a photographer in the future. I look forward to having the chance to stand with you and support you. Here's hoping that the time between now, and the day when all of us have the right to marry who we love again, is short.


"Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." MLK Jr.

same sex wedding images:

Click here to see the slideshow from Days 1 and 2 of Wedding Wednesdays, an event which was organized by the East Bay Express, in which 6 different gay couples were married over two days.
Click here to see Maryellen and Diana's City Hall elopement wedding'


View my portfolio and read more about my wedding and lifestyle photography on my main website

for posterity purposes, my old post text is below:


The background:
For the first time in my 30 years on this planet, I am beginning to feel like the good guys are winning. The legalization of gay marriage in CA is awesome, and with NYC following close behind in recognizing out of state unions...I feel giddy just thinking about it. They are predicting something like 30,000 gay marriages taking place in this first year alone-- I can't wait to meet all the GLBTQ couples who will be my clients in the next year, to hear their love stories, and to document their marriages.

So it is in celebration of this thrilling victory, and to show my gratitude toward all the couples who fought for it (especially my previous civil union couples who got married before they could even legally call it that), that I announce my first official contest! Entries will be taken via email (see below), and one lucky winning couple will win my complimentary services for a full day's coverage of their fabulous wedding.

The basics:
~ NEW extended Deadline:
December 31st, 2008

~ Requirements:
Wedding date between January 1 2009 and April 30 2009 (subject to Lauren's availability).

~ How to Enter:
send an email containing the details of your wedding plans, your unique love story, and why you feel you deserve to win to MY EMAIL ADDRESS
( Wedding plans should include such things as the location(s), guests, decor, approximate timeline or duration of events, and details on why you are doing what you are doing and what it means to you. Please don't forget to include your names, date, and a way to contact you!
At least one photo of both partners is required for entry, but feel free to submit as many photos/videos as you like to show me who you are and why your wedding is special!

~ the Winners:
Blog readers will vote for one winner from among three finalists. Check the blog after Jan 1st to see who the finalists are and vote for your favorite!

~ the Prize:
Full Day Wedding coverage by Lauren Cohn-Frankel (up to 8 hours). All images at high resolution on DVD. Plus all the usual goodies that come with all my weddings (engagement session, event cards, images posted online, etc).
Travel within the greater San Francisco Bay area is also included, entrants with weddings outside this area are welcome but they should be prepared to cover travel costs for Lauren and her assistant.

~ Where do we send our entry again?

The fine print:
No purchase necessary. Entry open to engaged couples planning a wedding which will take place between Jan 1 2009 and April 31 2009, subject to Cohn Frankel Photography's availability. Entrants whose wedding date falls on a date for which CFP is otherwise booked, as of entry closing date, will not be eligible. Current or former clients of Cohn Frankel Photography are not eligible for entry. Prizes are non-transferrable and not redeemable for cash or trade--failure to claim prize(s) within the time period specified will result in forfeiture. CFP reserves the right to substitute equivalent services and/or products in the case of illness or other circumstance beyond our control.
Cohn Frankel Photography (CFP) does not discriminate in any way on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, or any other protected status, so technically this contest is open to all engaged couples regardless of identification....however, please note that the winning couple's names, stories, and photos will be used by Cohn Frankel Photography to promote wedding photography services for same sex weddings and to advertise in local and national same sex wedding resources and to same sex wedding clients. By entering the contest, both partners hereby agree to allow the unrestricted use of their likeness, story, and images for this specific purpose, and/or for any other promotional or other purposes deemed necessary by CFP or its assigns, including editorial or promotional use by other companies, and agree to sign a release specifying same. The winning couple must also agree to the terms of my standard wedding photography contract, which can be emailed upon request.

Gay Wedding Wednesdays


I'd like to announce a really incredible event that I'll be photographing in a couple of weeks. In honor of the recent CA supreme court ruling legalizing same sex marriage, the East Bay Express is putting on an event called Wedding Wednesdays, in which they are throwing a wedding for 6 separate gay couples on two seperate Wednesdays this summer. The Express is covering the costs of the wedding and reception at Periscope Cellars in Emeryville, and sending all the couples on a honeymoon at the beautiful Stevenswood Spa and Resort in Mendocino.

The ceremonies will take place on June 25 and July 2, with 3 couples being married each day. Right after photographing the ceremony I will take each couple for a post-wedding portrait session, followed by the reception. Pictures from the shoot will be published in two issues of the Express newspaper and on their website, and hopefully be picked up by some other papers and/or online resources as well.

This is a very exciting time for many reasons, both for humanity in general and the wedding business in particular. The biggest thing is, of course, the ruling itself; what it means for this country and the future of equal rights. I am usually pretty pessimistic about this kind of thing, with little expectation of seeing the good guys win or experiencing the changes I wish for during my lifetime...but the result in CA (as well as similar news in New York and elsewhere) gives me hope.

Then there is the fact that an estimated 30,000 gay couples will be married in CA during this first year alone. I can't wait! The gay weddings I've shot in the past have been so much fun; the atmosphere of pure joy there is really something to experience. It is as much about family and personal celebration as it is about universal humanity and triumph at the end of a long, hard road.

In honor of the ruling and my desire to do more of these weddings, I am planning something special; both to celebrate the victory of the ruling and to honor the couples who have been waiting for it for so long. Stay tuned for more on that in the next week or two!

For now, the Express still has some space open for couples for their event, so if you know any gay couples who might want to participate, pass it on. You can read more about it and find the link to contact them here.

*picture above is of Robyn and LG, right after their first dance, from one of my very first gay weddings.