Amaya + Ortiz Wedding and a Trip to Vegas

Updated: Jan 7, 2020

I traveled to Vegas a couple of weeks ago to attend my friend's wedding. Although I was not the official photographer for the event, they were happy to have me take some candid pictures pre- and post-ceremony. I got to work on my wedding photography chops a bit, and took pictures throughout the trip to chronicle the vacation. I took my Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II with an M. Zukio 17mm f1.8 lens. This post is mostly about the wedding, but I am book-ending it with a few pictures from my travels to and from Vegas.


On the way to Vegas, I stopped and took some photos of Colorado Springs and the airport. I've wanted to get a shot of this power plant from a nearby bridge for a while, so I got out of the car and walked across the bridge to do so.

Power plant taken through the links in a fence

I thought the sunset over the mountains viewed through the airport terminal made a nice composition.

Approaching sunset over the mountains from the Colorado Springs airport

Air travel is rarely a source of photographic inspiration for me, but I liked the way the lights looked behind the person in front of me as she spoke with her traveling partner across the aisle. Bokeh for the win!

Woman looking across the aisle on a plane

The bride's family was kind enough to host me for the weekend. I arrived at the tail end of a pre-wedding party with the couple-of-honor, friends, and family. I managed to get a few shots of the couple having fun before midnight came around and the groom was quickly whisked away lest he see the bride before the ceremony.

Wedding couple and friends eating dinner the night before the wedding

Wedding couple and friends sharing drinks the night before the wedding

The next morning I explored some of the best coffee that Las Vegas has to offer: Mothership. While there, I put together this website!

Interior shot of coffee shop

Then it was off to get some pictures of the wedding party as they prepared for the big evening. The bride's makeup was done by her sister while the rest of the family and wedding party got ready.

Sisters and mother doing makeup before the wedding

I also surprised the bride's sister while she was doing her own makeup.

Sister of the bride laughing into her makeup mirror

The groomsmen all looked great in their matching gray suits, although the pocket squares were a cause of some consternation (more on that in a bit).

Groomsmen watch, jacket, and pocket square detail

Groomsman tux detail in black and white

This was Ervick, another friend that enjoyed taking candid photos before and after the ceremony, along with his Canon setup. I liked his suspenders enough that I went out and bought a pair for the next wedding I attended two weeks later.

Friend of the groom smiling while getting ready

Friend of the groom and videographer equipment detail

One of the groomsmen forgot their pocket square, but some quick work with scissors and another pocket square fixed that right up!

Groomsmen cutting a pocket square in two to replace one that was lost

Most of the groomsmen (there were six in total), complete with pocket squares, ready for the ceremony to begin. I caught kind of a weird shadow in this one, I think because somebody opened a door, but I liked the way it turned out.

Groomsmen smiling at the camera before the ceremony

Finally it was time for the ceremony. I don't have any shots during the ceremony as I was not the official photographer, and did not want to be a distraction. I did, however, manage to snag a couple as the bride approached with her father, and as the newly-married couple walked back down the aisle together!

Father and bride walking down the aisle together

Bride and groom leaving the altar after the ceremony

The indoor setting and dance-floor lighting, I thought, made for an interesting challenge for shooting and post-processing images. I did a lot of these in black and white because I had difficulty getting the colors to work the way that I wanted, and because I am rather partial to black and white photography. The ceremony and reception were a lot of fun, and incorporated traditions from Peruvian and Mexican culture with which I was unfamiliar. The couple was radiant, and the guests all had a great time, despite the Vegas Knights losing one of their Stanley Cup games during the evening (lots of people were watching hockey on their phones for dinner).

The couple enjoys some dinner before all of the dancing
The couple enjoys some dinner before all of the dancing

Guests standing in a circle watching the Vegas Knights play in the Stanley Cup on a phone
Sadly, the Vegas Knights did not win this one

The sister of the bride, laughing at something the groom must have said
The sister of the bride, laughing at something the groom must have said

Groom kissing the bride on the cheek during speeches
A shared moment after the bride's speech

Bride and groom's first dance with dramatic lighting over the groom's eye
The couple shares their first dance. A lucky beam from one of the dance floor lights provided a nice highlight to the groom's eye.

Handsome little gentleman looking at the camera with wedding couples dancing in the background
Handsome little gentleman and the couple dancing con sus padres

The groom's father, smiling
The groom's father, congratulating the couple

Bride smiling at friends during a dollar dance
Some next-level dollar dancing!

Bartender looking dapper
Our bartender for the evening

The bride and friends, at the end of the night
The bride and friends, at the end of the night

Bride and groom, waiting for the bus to take the wedding party home
Bride and groom, waiting for the bus to take the wedding party home

Wedding party on the bus after the wedding
Everybody relaxing a bit on the bus before the after party

Carrying the bride across the threshold
Carrying the bride across the threshold

The next day I was treated to some of the best ceviche I've ever had at a family lunch hosted by one of the bride's aunts or cousins...they had a really big family and I'm not quite sure how everybody was related. Then it was back home early the next morning, after a stop at another excellent coffee shop and an early-morning palm tree picture.

Palm trees in the early morning sun

Plus one from the Vegas airport terminal, just to bookend the trip.

People walking through the Las Vegas airport

Overall, shooting some of my friend's wedding was a lot of fun, and I think I got a few shots in there that they might like. I enjoyed meeting the couple's family and friends, and I enjoyed attempting to chronicle my trip for the sake of this blog. I plan to do more of these in the future, as I travel and do other things with family and friends. Maybe I'll figure out how to write a not-terribly-dull narrative along the way...

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