Weddings + Elopements
Hannah + David
Yosemite National Park
"Trust me, Dawn is the right choice. You don't even need to keep reading.
My husband and I were planning a traditional wedding, and neither of us were enjoying any part of it. I had an "aha!" moment one day when I wanted to rip someone's head off for asking me about wedding planning. I knew I shouldn't be feeling that way. That same night, I was knee deep in Yosemite elopement research (it's our favorite place, so that's why the research started there). I was sifting through dozens of websites for officiants, photographers, people who offer the whole package. You name it. Nothing stood out. I was just as overwhelmed as I was before. Then I landed on Dawn's website. I shot her an email, and she called me back in less than a day. I knew as soon as I talked to her that I didn't need to talk to a single other photographer. She was the one.
Dawn has a passion and enthusiasm for what she does. She makes you feel like your event is her only priority. What you see is what you get with Dawn. You can read her Yosemite Elopement guild and FAQs and blogs and get an amazing feel for who she is and what she's about. She's got an artistic eye and knows what she's doing. She says that she shoots documentary style, and I freaking LOVE that. My husband is a very mild mannered and soft spoken guy. We would have never gotten such genuine and beautiful photos with any other photographer. Dawn didn't force us to pose or replicate every other "adventure" elopement you've seen on Instagram. She photographed us interacting with each other naturally, and it delivered amazing results. She was so easy to work with and made us both so comfortable. We were both so relaxed and able to enjoy our day. I spent months before booking Dawn being worried that our photos wouldn't be great because my husband would never possibly relax enough to look like he actually liked me in a professional photo. Dawn alleviated that worry instantly. Every single person comments about how in love we look in our photos. I am so grateful that Dawn was able to help my husband be comfortable and really show how we feel for each other on film!
In addition to our photos, Dawn also planned the timeline of our day because she is the expert on Yosemite traffic and lighting. She knew exactly where to go and when. We hopped in her car and she drove us all around the park to take photos in both planned and unplanned places. Anywhere that struck her eye, we stopped, and it really paid off! We have so many fun and unique photos unlike anything I've ever seen.
Lastly, Dawn's assistant Lindsey married us. She was so adorable and wrote the most insanely perfect ceremony you could ever imagine. I could not have asked for a better ceremony or sweeter officiant.
If you are even slightly considering eloping or ditching your current wedding plans to elope, DO IT. You will not be sorry. Better yet, do it with Dawn!
Even if you're looking for a photographer for a traditional wedding, I cannot imagine getting any better than Dawn. She's the sweetest soul with an insane dedication and passion for what she does."
Chanda + Nate
The Lair at Camp Blue, Pinecrest
"After searching for a photographer for weeks, we finally found several that were worth interviewing. What stood out about Dawn was her enthusiasm for our event, our goals for photography and her palpable excitement to work with us. Also, she shoots great photos.
We were attracted to her look and style; her photos are artistic but aren't "artsy" or cliche. That she shoots on film, delivering both negatives, archival proofs, and lab-scanned digital photos communicated her dedication to the craft but also the needs of her clients.
After we booked her services, she reached out several times before the wedding to get our ideas, must-have shots, and gather information about the venue since she hadn't worked there prior. On the big day, she arrived on time assisted by her husband, who also shoots other angles and lenses on B&W film. After getting her bearings, she started shooting, getting great photos of us getting ready, despite some awful lighting. We got married at a camp, so the venue wasn't traditional, to say the least. This didn't deter Dawn, who found light, shadow, color, and contrast among the tent cabins and surrounding forest.
She guided us through the posed photos, as neither of us had any prior experience being professionally photographed yet still captured candid moments where we were laughing or being playful. Weddings are stressful enough, so it was a real pleasure to have fun and relax with the photographer before the ceremony.
During the ceremony, she took close-ups while her husband took wide shots. Neither of them interfered or distracted us or guests which really made a difference to the whole experience. When it was time to assemble the three-dozen odd family members for the post ceremony group pictures, she helped wrangle everyone, get the right people in the photo, and get the shot quickly and efficiently. As a result, we had extra time to spare for additional photos in different attire that we hadn't initially budgeted for.
She captured our reception speeches and subsequent dance party staying longer to make sure we got the photos we hoped for.
A couple weeks after the wedding, she put some shots on her blog and on Instagram, and wrote about the event and how she was honored to have been part of our wedding. In addition to the blog, she presented us with an online gallery of all the photos, but the big surprise was on it's way to us.
We were overjoyed to receive a keepsake proof box with over six hundred photos, a flash drive with high-res digital scans, and the archival negatives. We truly loved how the photos turned out and how she captured us that day.
Despite the hundreds of mobile phone pictures our friends and family took, Dawn and her husband found unique moments, and composed shots that stand out and are some of our favorites. Dawn worked hard before, during, and after the wedding making sure we got the pictures we hoped we would get; so we thank her for helping create lasting memories of the day."
Dani + Chris
Yosemite National Park
"Dawn is truly amazing in everything that she does. My (now) husband and I were over the whole wedding planning idea and started researching destination elopements. We came across Dawn, checked out her website and Yosemite Elopement Guide and immediately knew she was what we needed.
We got lucky, as she usually books far in advanced, and booked an October elopement in August. Dawn replied to all emails almost immediately and we finally set up our phone consult, and then video consult.
Dawn created a timeline for our elopement with all of the best spots in Yosemite, making sure that we hit each spot that was important to us. She also handled the flowers and has a hair and makeup team, so as the bride you really don't have to worry about ANYTHING!
Finally, the day came and we met with Dawn and her assistant/officiant, Lindsay. We already felt like they were part of our family from the first second of meeting them. Both Dawn and Lindsay are extremely professional and amazing at what they do.
We had our ceremony, and Dawn and Lindsay made the best effort to include our family in everything (they even allowed us to include our dog and treated her no different than our human family members! Hello, what is better than your pup at your wedding?!)
We could not be happier with our pictures and the overall experience with Dawn and her team. It seriously doesn't get any better than Dawn Kelly Photography."
Alicia + Cody
Yosemite National Park
"Dawn Kelly is the ONLY choice if you're eloping to Yosemite. She is absolutely amazing to work with. My now Husband and I were so beyond happy we found her.
My Husband and I knew from the start we wanted to elope to Yosemite and started to feel very overwhelmed upon trying to find a photographer. We're based about 8 hours from Yosemite and didn't know where to begin. Should we get someone near us to meet them and pay for their travel to Yosemite? Or should we find someone near Yosemite we couldn't easily meet and save on travel costs for the photographer? That was our most difficult decision with the entire elopement.
We started doing some research and came across Dawn's elopement guide. I was sold from that moment on, it was so detailed and thorough. I knew if that was all the information she was willing to post for free, she must have all the best secrets as well! And she absolutely does!! She was very communicative from start to finish. Always available for questions/concerns/comments, etc. It was wonderful!! We were able to enjoy our entire engagement, instead of stress about the wedding!
My Husband is a little camera shy, so I knew our photographer had to be great to make him feel at ease. As soon as we connected with Dawn the day of it felt like we had known her forever! She was so relaxed and calm, yet organized!! We had a concise, logical, schedule, with some room for impromptu shoots! We also opted for the officiant to be provided and Lindsey was fantastic!! She made our service very relaxed, intimate, and fun!
Overall, it was the best day of my life, and I'm ecstatic with how our photos and more importantly our memories turned out!! I could not recommend Dawn more!!"
Natalie + Charlie
"Dawn is a true professional and great photographer! As soon as she is on site, you know you're in good hands. Communication before, during and post-wedding was second to none. She's available by phone, text, emails and her response time is fast! Dawn and her team made sure everything photography related at our wedding was perfect. She worked great with our wedding coordinator, videographer, dj, and many others to capture beautiful images. Along with her service, we love that she uses film and her shooting style (just take a look at her website or Instagram). She offers many options for prints, lookbooks and albums too. We would definitely recommend Dawn and her team to friends, family, and anyone reading this review."
Chandler + Jaedy
Yosemite National Park
"Dawn is incredible! My husband and I knew we wanted to elope, but didn't really know where to start. Once we found Dawn she made the entire process a breeze. Having the officiant, flowers, and photographer all in one package relieved so much stress. Our actual wedding day was amazing. You hear couples who had traditional weddings say that the day was a blur, well not with Dawn. My husband and I remember every kiss, every 'I love you', and every joke. There's no experience like it. Thank you Dawn for making our wedding day truly memorable!"
Megan + David
Yosemite National Park
"If you're reading this...GO WITH Dawn. My husband and I decided on an elopement and had never been to Yosemite, but it was on our bucket list (avid nature lovers and hikers.) Dawn was there from the beginning to the end helping and answering all the questions we had (even when she was on an amazing Euro trip with her hubby.) She's one-of-a-kind and has a great energy about her. She'll make your day even more special than you could ever imagine and then when you see the photos you'll literally cry tears of joy. Thank you so much Dawn, we couldn't be happier and couldn't recommend you more."
Monique + Miguel
Vintage Gardens, Modesto
"Dawn Kelly is phenomenal! Once I saw her work and talent all the rest didn't matter; I knew I had to hire her. I arrived to my appointment and she was very welcoming and professional. She took the time to get to know me and a little about my hubby. She was interested in my wants and what was important to me. I literally had a list of at least 15 to 20 questions and she answered them no problem. Hands down Dawn slayed the competition I had lined up.
Our wedding day had some hiccups and didn't go as planned but I'm glad Dawn took care of the photography side. We had our engagement pictures, a photo booth, and our wedding pictures done by Dawn and couldn't be happier. We are so pleased with Dawn's flawless work. She captured so many great memories and timeless photos. I will always be thankful for her amazing talent & hard work. Every time I look at my pictures I'm in awe literally. She truly outdid herself. My husband and I are not photo people and she made us feel relaxed and comfortable. That was a huge plus.
Last but not least our wedding album was so beautiful. Every time I look at it I get teary eyed. It takes me back to the day I married the MAN of my dreams. The moments captured are so timeless. Our parent albums came out awesome! Our parents were so excited they had so many favorite pictures they couldn't choose. Dawn's work is flawless and I would recommend her to anyone I know. Dawn you are truly amazing!"
Alma + Joe
Whitmore Mansion, Ceres
“My husband and I came across Dawn’s webpage by chance. We had been looking for a photographer for our wedding for a while, but just couldn’t find the perfect match! At our first meeting with Dawn we just clicked. She has such a warm, bubbly, and welcoming personality. Dawn’s talent caught our eye, as she captures special moments with film and using natural light. When people ask me how my wedding went I always say, “Well, just about everything that could go wrong did, except our photographer(Dawn); she was the only thing that went right.” Dawn was early at our venue and she picked the best rooms to take pictures. She was just so calm and helped me relax as I was stressing out. Our agenda did not go as plan as our car broke down the day of the wedding, but Dawn was so helpful as she went above and beyond her call as a photographer by being my therapist and partly even a wedding coordinator! We had over 30+ pictures of our wedding within three days and had all our pictures about three weeks later! I am in love with my pictures and I get teary every time I see them because I can see the joy and happiness of our special day. She captured not only the moments, but the memories that will last a lifetime. I admire her work ethic and how astonishing she is as person and as a photographer. None of our pictures where edited, but all of them were breathtaking! No one I know is that cool or talented anymore! My husband and I are so happy to know that we have found our family photographer!”
Jessica + Taylor
Yosemite National Park
"My husband and I wanted to elope, which seems easy, but it actually can be a lot of work. When we found Dawn, it instantly got a thousand times easier. She hooked us up with our officiant, she brought us our flowers, and she is just full of helpful information. Our photos turned out beautifully, and she is amazing to work with. She was very relaxed and easy going, which was especially impressive under some of the unexpected circumstances we encountered that day! This woman put in so much time and care into what she does, I could not recommend her more! We are looking forward to going back to her for anniversary photos one day!"
Kayla + Robert
Chapel on the Hill, Los Gatos
"Dawn and her team are truly talented! She should charge extra for 'wedding coordinator'. We didn't have one for our wedding but Dawn made sure we hit everything that we wanted and had discussed in our time line. The weeks that led up to the wedding we stressful because we did pretty much everything our selfs, but Dawn had a time line for us to fill out which really locked everything else in for us and our other vendors. Once the wedding day came she stuck true to that. At one point even pulled us aside to make sure we got some very important pictures because our time with her was almost up. She even played along with our silly first look pictures, where my dad came out as the bride instead of me. She's personable, talented and all around amazing. I've only gotten teasers so far but man are they good!! When you book Dawn your not booking just a photographer, your booking a true artist!"
Michelle + Dean
Leal Vineyards, Hollister
"I found Dawn Kelly through my maid of honor and I am so happy she recommended her! I was searching for a photographer to shoot mine and my husbands wedding and not only did Dawn have very reasonable prices, but she was extremely easy to work with! She was always easy to get a hold of if I had any questions day or night, she even helped out with the timeline of the wedding. Her main concern was daylight and wanted to ensure we got as many photos as we could before the sun set. Her and her husband Mark were extremely friendly and she has an amazing and unique talent! She made me feel comfortable when taking the photos and made it FUN! It was an incredible experience and I will definitely go back to her for future events."
Jodi + Matthew
DoubleTree by Hilton, Modesto
"The best way to describe Dawn is determination! She will do whatever it takes to achieve gorgeous pictures that capture your style, even if she has to kneel in the street in her brand new cocktail dress! She has photographed weddings at our venue numerous times, and yet she still found a way to keep our photos so unique. Dawn is also incredibly resourceful! She managed to get a ladder so my wedding gown could be hung amongst beautiful drapes in a lobby. She made extra special use of mirrors, elevator ceiling reflections, and even glassware. It was so great to be able to work with someone who was extremely experienced and knew how to keep everything flowing throughout the evening. I live in Seattle and Dawn was so easy to coordinate and communicate with during the planning process, she really made our experience stress free. Dawn is such a well-rounded photographer and her artistic eye is so timeless."
Cortney + Craig
"I love the blog! Your words captured Craig and I perfectly! My mom said it made her cry! The pictures also capture exactly how we are with each other and look like US! I am overjoyed with how they turned out. Even knowing your work, they exceeded my expectations! You made us feel so comfortable and that showed. Thank you so much!"
Mary + James
The Century, Modesto
"Dawn is an amazing artist! She took our wedding photos to a whole new level and we love every one of her pictures! She is very unique and creative! She put 110% into making our photos special. And she captured the most charishable moments in great film! We love her work and are excited for her to capture our future moments!!!"
Ali + Luke
"Dawn is truly wonderful! My now husband and I adored getting to work with her - both for engagement and wedding photos. She knows her art backwards and forwards, is creative and spunky, and tons of fun to work with! We felt extremely comfortable working with her and ALL the photos turned out great! She isn't your "typical" photographer (not cheesy poses, etc.), which is exactly what we wanted. Her work speaks for itself. She is super easy to work with, I definitely recommend her to anyone who wants great photos! We plan on going back to her in the future."
Shoshana + Travis
The Hascienda, Don Pedro
"We picked Dawn Kelly Photography for our wedding initially because of the unique look Dawn's film photography. We couldn't have asked for a better experience! Dawn and Mark were fantastic, made us feel comfortable, and even when it unexpectedly rained on my wedding day, were flexible and made the best of the situation. When the photos were done, I was amazed at how beautifully they turned out. My wedding album and metallic prints came out gorgeous and my friends and family could not stop talking about what an amazing photographer we had. Not only were the final products more than we could've asked for, Dawn and Mark were wonderful throughout the entire process and have superb customer service. We will definitely be using Dawn Kelly Photography in the future."
Monica + Ricardo
Vintage Gardens, Modesto
"My Husband and I were more than happy with our experience with Dawn Kelly Photography. We had previous photographers who we felt didn’t go above and beyond for the perfect shot. When we met with Dawn and saw her work we wore truly amazed with her talent in capturing moments. She was a little more than we had budgeted for and we almost couldn’t book her but she was willing to work with us a bit and saw how much we appreciated her work. The day of the wedding both she and her husband Mark were just awesome. They kept us on schedule and dealt with the chaos that come with weddings perfectly. My husband and I appreciated their patience with our family and guests. All of our pictures were absolutely amazing, they were able to capture a lot of great moments. I would recommend her to others any day."
Melissa + John
Harmony Winelands, Lodi
"We wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for doing our wedding pictures! They turned out absolutely fabulous! You and your partner were wonderful to work with as well! We got so many compliments on the pictures! I will definitely recommend you to friends and family! We also would like you to do our family pictures in the future! Thank you again for making our experience so wonderful!! The pictures tell our story of our special day just perfectly!"
Marsha + Kevin
Vintage Gardens, Modesto
"My husband and I were looking for a wedding photographer and Dawn was recommended by our venue. We could not have gotten any luckier. We wanted someone who would capture the genuine... us. We are goobers, we love to laugh and have fun, and Dawn captured it all and made us look like movie stars. Our photos are absolutely perfect, and working with her and her husband was an absolute pleasure.
I love Dawn so much that I went back for a boudoir session. Completely out of my comfort zone, I must admit. I wanted something special to give my husband for our first anniversary together, something he'd never expect. I am incredibly awkward and Dawn made me feel so special and confident. The photos turned out spectacular and my husband was thrilled when he opened his gift. I will absolutely be going back to her in the future."
"I had spent my entire adult life (had my 1st child when I was 19) making sure others' needs were met, while my needs were put on hold.
Fast forward to January 2017. At 53 years old, 30 years of marriage, and 40lbs of weight loss, I find myself in the middle of a divorce. I take a deep breath and tell myself "It's my turn now!" I wanted to feel pretty. I wanted to feel sexy. If not for anyone else but me. It's my turn now!
I found Dawn on the internet and browsed through her pictures. I saw a lot of young, beautiful women and I thought, "I'm 53 years old, I've got scars all over my body and wrinkles on my face, what am I thinking?" Then I saw a picture of Dawn. Her red hair is what got my attention. I loved it! I got the instant feeling, or "vibe" if you will, of a free spirit. After I met Dawn, that is exactly what she is..... A wonderful, warm, nonjudgmental free spirit!
I emailed her and started slowly. I was scared to death.I told her about my scars, my tummy, my hands, and several more of my flaws. She asked what I LIKED about myself. Wow, that was a tough one. I hadn't really thought about the things I liked about my body so it was a pretty hard question to answer. I said my eyes, my legs and my hair.
The day came for my appointment with Dawn. Oh my! I was a nervous wreck!! After about 5 minutes, Dawn's warm and loving personality had me at ease. It was one of the most beautiful, uplifting experiences of my life. For 3 hours I wasn't a wife, mother, or grandmother, I was a vibrant, sexy woman. Something I don't EVER remember feeling before.
Working with Dawn gave me a confidence in myself I thought I never had, a strength I thought I never had, power I thought I never had. To this day I feel empowered. I conquered a fear, and with the help of Dawn Kelly, conquered it successfully! It has literally changed my life!
Thank You Dawn, for everything. Thank You."
"Dawn is AMAZING. I had a boudoir shoot done with her and it was the best thing I ever did. I was such an insecure person and deciding to do this shoot was so challenging, but I'm forever grateful I did. She made me feel so beautiful and comfortable and was constantly uplifting. I can't thank this girl enough, her work is amazing as well as her as a person. I'm absolutely in love with my pictures and so glad I chose her to do this shoot with."
"Dawn was absolutely amazing! I had a boudoir session done to give to my husband for his birthday. I was extremely nervous about having the photos done, but she talked me through the whole thing and made me feel very comfortable. She worked with me to make the session have a more personal touch by incorporating some of my husband's stuff in the photos. My husband LOVED his gift and we were extremely pleased with how well the photos turned out!"
RJ (Katie's Hubby)
"I don't know where to start. My wife worked with Dawn to create a boudoir book. The book came out just phenomenal. The composition of the images is spot on. I have shot digitally before and know how hard it can be. Her ability to do it on film is mind boggling. Since receiving her her book I have worked with Dawn on a shoot and hopefully get the opportunity again."
"Dawn Kelly is amazing. The first meeting didn't even feel like a meeting. It felt more like two girlfriends laughing and having a fun conversation. That is exactly how the photo shoot was, FUN! It took me awhile to get out of my awkward shell but dawn helped me get out of that quick. She takes amazing photos and none of them are photoshopped. Dawn was able to make me feel great and comfortable in my own skin. Love her!!!"
"Dawn is AMAZING! I reached out to her to have some boudoir pictures taken for my fiancé who is in the military. It was his 40th birthday so I wanted to do something extra special for him. Dawn was very professional and open from everything about cost to what to wear. The day of my shoot she was very patient with me as I was not very comfortable posing in such pictures. End Result! A_M_A_Z_I_N_G_! The album and pictures were beautiful and he flipped when he opened it. In fact, I caught him a few times since peeking it through it ;) I look forward to setting a date and having Dawn travel with us to our destination wedding."
"Wow I don't even know how to start this testimonial. Dawn was amazingly fun, easy, and most of all she made it comfortable to shoot. I was extremely nervous about getting dressed sexy in front of a camera and in front of a stranger; except Dawn did not make me feel like she was a stranger once she started giving me tips and tricks. When she started sharing her experience and talking to me like a friend rather than a client it took down my guard. I'm a huge believer in, "everything happens for a reason" and after sharing personal experiences with each other I realized Dawn and I were supposed to meet. Dawn helped me become a more confident woman. Thank you for everything you've done Dawn!"
"I recently did a boudoir session with Dawn as an anniversary gift to my husband. She made me feel so prepared and comfortable. She helped me choose my outfits, which I was so impressed with. The fact that she took the time to make sure I had everything that coordinated from stockings to shoes, to a special outfit that suited my husbands taste, was something that not very many other photographers will help with. She also scheduled (upon my request) her hair and makeup girl, who did a phenomenal job! The session was a lot of fun and a real eye opener for me. As a mother, this wasn't something I had ever considered doing, but now that I have I would tell every woman and mother to do it because it's an awesome and empowering feeling to see yourself as beautiful and sexy! I would highly recommend Dawn for a boudoir session. We are having her do our family photos in the fall as well!"
"Dawn Kelly is one of the most amazing photographers. I met her when I was getting married in 2007, and I instantly hired her based on a previous wedding I had been to where she was the photographer. My wedding photos turned out amazing, as I knew they would. Then years later I have seen so many photos that Dawn has taken and how her business has changed.
When my husband asked me to take boudoir photos, I told him he was crazy. At the time I was 256lbs and had just had my second baby. I knew that my body wasn't beautiful and that it needed work. After hours in the gym I lost over 130lbs and still had a negative body image but decided that I was going to do those photos for my husband.
I contacted the only photographer I knew I could trust - Dawn Kelly. Dawn made me feel beautiful even with all my imperfections. She helped me to relax and see that I am a beautiful person and I should let that show. Dawn, I can not thank u enough for the experience I had with you. I don't think you could possibly know how much doing these photos have changed my views of myself. I am a beautiful mother of two and shouldn't hide that! Thank you for giving me the confidence to show off what I have worked so hard on!"
"OMG! I had an amazing time shooting my boudoir photos! Dawn posed and guided me to look my most stunning. Throughout my photo shoot I was calm, shared a few laughs, and gained confidence in my body! It's clear I'm no size two, and I love it! Dawn you are amazing at what you do, not just as a photographer, but as a person. You have helped me capture my inner beauty and sex goddess. Thank you!"
"Dawn of Dawn Kelly Photography was an amazing person to work with! I am a curvy plus size woman, and doing a Boudoir session with Dawn in my sexy nighty and corsets for me was a very personal and vulnerable position to be in! However, I was surprised at how at ease she made me feel. Immediately upon meeting her and during our photo session... from beginning to end it was a freaking BLAST!! I recommend Dawn Kelly Photography to all women of all sizes! This is a wonderful experience to feel like a super sexy model at any size!! 5 STARS FROM ME!!! xoxo"