What do you do when you are asked to cover a wedding where the only people present are the bride and groom? As far as photographer Clara Lu is concerned, she couldn't have asked for a better scenario while covering the nuptials of Lisa and Stefan, who had flown from Sweden to San Francisco to get married by themselves. "We met serendipitously through a mutual friend on Facebook and then they hired me and we met in my hometown," she says. "It was just perfect."
The simplicity of this tiny and unique Swedish wedding really drew me in, as it did Lu, who says she likes to capture images that are "natural, poetic, and full of love." Rather than posing her subjects, her sessions, she describes, are a combination of playing, laughing and simply hanging out together.
To get the day started, Lu met Lisa and Stefan at the Fairmont Hotel where they were getting ready. The groom then hired an Uber to take the trio to the Norwegian Seamen's Church on Hyde Street for the ceremony.
"Their wedding was incredibly romantic and intimate," says Lu, "however, I wanted to capture more than just romance. Even with no friends and family around, I still wanted to tell a story that had all the rich and beautiful elements of a wedding, including the joy, fun and celebration of it. I was able to do so by acting both as their friend and photographer."
Lu adds, "We had fun and casual conversation throughout the day, which made them feel very comfortable with me. They made me feel truly part of their wedding. In fact my signature is on their marriage certificate as the official witness. At the same time, I made sure that my presence was not too much, so I could still photograph their beautiful day in the journalistic style that I love. I was able to find a good balance between participating and observing."
"I just loved how the couple's personalities shone bright in every shot, through their expressions, emotional attachment to one another and even their attire," Lu describes." The bride, an art director in the fashion industry, wore a dress by Alexander McQueen and a coat by Eskandar. Stefan, a game designer, wore a suite by COS, and boots by Carmina.
Camera: Nikon D800
Lenses: 50mm f/1.4 and 24-70mm f/2.8