Bay Area Wedding Photography: 2017 Done!

Our wedding photography season for 2017 has come to an end, and we’re now gearing up for 2018.

For many people, this year brought some challenges but it didn’t stop us or our wonderful brides and grooms from having a blast and celebrating their new lives together. Here are just a few examples:


Crow Canyon Country Club, Danville - Clay Lancaster Wedding Photography

Shannon & David found me through his daughter – for whom I shot wedding photos in 2014, in San Francisco at the General’s Residence of Fort Mason.

This time around, we found ourselves at the Crow Canyon Country Club in Danville. Not only do they have beautiful landscaping and a great facility for weddings and events, but the bride and groom happened to be avid golfers as well. So much, in fact, that we got some fun tee-off photos in the wedding dress and tuxedo just after the ceremony.

Crow Canyon Country Club, Danville - Clay Lancaster Wedding Photography

Lots of dancing followed into the night, while the golf section of the crowd gathered on the upper balcony for a late night putting contest (off the balcony, one bounce off the pavement below, onto the putting green and into the hole, which was lit with glow sticks).

Crow Canyon Country Club, Danville - Clay Lancaster Wedding Photography

Crow Canyon Country Club, Danville - Clay Lancaster Wedding Photography



Stonetree Golf Club, Novato - Clay Lancaster Wedding Photography

Following a fun engagement photo session earlier in the year, it was time for Mariel & Jesus’ wedding. The ceremony was at a church in Walnut Creek, with reception following at Stonetree Golf Club in Novato.

I was at the bride’s house bright and early to document the getting-ready process. Her family and bridesmaids were awesome and welcoming; happy to be on camera, and happy to keep offering me coffee and breakfast. Meanwhile, my 2nd shooter George was already onsite at the church, hanging out and getting photos of the groom and groomsmen.

After a lovely ceremony at the church, we braved the warm Saturday traffic past Sonoma/Napa and into Novato, where Stonetree was ready and waiting. The crowd was all smiles, tons of laughter, and very engaged in the couple’s happiness. It was really something special to watch the family and friends interact. Such a tight knit group of people.

Stonetree Golf Club, Novato - Clay Lancaster Wedding Photography

Stonetree Golf Club, Novato - Clay Lancaster Wedding Photography

Stonetree Golf Club, Novato - Clay Lancaster Wedding Photography



Station 1 Sacramento - Clay Lancaster Wedding Photography

On the opposite end of the wedding spectrum, Lauren & Zac sure showed us a rockin’ good time up in Sacramento at Station 1.

These two met on the front rail (front row) at a concert years back, and made a habit of continuing that tradition throughout their relationship. Not wanting anything resembling a traditional wedding, this event was held in an upstairs jazz club, decorated with rock n’ roll memorabilia, electric guitar wedding cake, drum heads for guests to sign, a rockin’ playlist, and even custom guitar picks for the guests to take home with them (I snagged a few, being a guitar player).

The happy couple got married on the stage while their guests held their drinks up high in cheers, and the rest of the day was full of food, drinks, hugs, conversation, and rock. George and I showed up in suits as usual (especially because I had another wedding to attend as a guest after we were finished here), and we were immediately encouraged by the bride and groom to strip down to just T shirts and get comfortable along with everyone else. It was a blast, and such a welcoming crowd.

Station 1 Sacramento - Clay Lancaster Wedding Photography

Station 1 Sacramento - Clay Lancaster Wedding Photography

Station 1 Sacramento - Clay Lancaster Wedding Photography



Indigeny Reserve- Clay Lancaster Wedding Photography

This time with Tyler as my second shooter, we met early in the morning and headed out to Sonora (about a 2.5 hour drive each way for us – plenty of time to catch up with each other in the car) to Indigeny Reserve, known for their awesome hard cider. Today’s wedding was that of Matt & Joy.

Once again, we were lucky to have such a laid back and friendly couple to work with. After the long drive, we arrived to find that last minute preparations were still under way. The groom wasn’t dressed up yet, helping lift boxes out of cars and set up decorations.

But with the snap of a finger, everything fell into place and everyone was ready to go for a pleasantly warm (but shaded) outdoor ceremony and reception in the foothills, near a creek.

Similar to the Sacramento wedding, very little of this one was traditional either… minus the clothing and the beautiful ceremony. The rest of the day was spent eating and drinking, mingling and laughing. At the groom’s request, we had some of Indigeny’s organic cider. Man, was that tasty on a warm day! Highly recommended.

Indigeny Reserve- Clay Lancaster Wedding Photography

Watching this small group of family and 30-year friends have so much fun with each other was completely worth the trek out to Sonora, and Tyler and I talked about how much fun we had with them the whole way back.

Indigeny Reserve- Clay Lancaster Wedding Photography


I could write paragraphs about every event we had in 2017, but you get the gist. We had a blast with so many people this year, and we can’t wait to do it again in 2018. If you’re thinking about meeting with me or having us handle your wedding photography (or event/engagement/etc.), please get a hold of me soon!

We wish you all a Happy New Year!

Engagement Photos and Family Photos | East Bay

As wedding season 2017 approaches, I’ve been keeping busy doing some different types of photography – family, engagement photos, musicians, concerts, etc. It’s always entertaining to look back at my calendar and see a family shoot scheduled one day, and a punk rock show in Berkeley the next. Keeps life interesting!

Recently, I went out to Danville with a new family. The parents were celebrating their daughter turning 1 year old and wanted to document the milestone, so we spent some time at Osage park. Beautiful day, and an adorable kid. Here are a few of my favorites, and find us on Facebook to see more current work:


Before taking a week-long vacation in Pennsylvania, I made some time with a really sweet couple to do their engagement photos. We hit the legendary Fenton’s Creamery (as seen in the Pixar movie Up) in Oakland/Piedmont and then walked around Lake Temescal. I don’t know what I’m doing right, but I keep getting ridiculously lucky with the weather lately! Maybe it’s reward for having to shoot a wedding in the pouring rain last December.

Be our next session! Contact us!

Mount Diablo Engagement Shoot. Green!

Recently, I hopped in the car with Cameron & Holley and headed up the steep winding roads of Mount Diablo here in the East Bay Area (the Danville side). The torrential, drought-relieving rains had subsided for a few days so we figured it was the best time to get their engagement photos done while we had a few hours of sunshine.

Man, was it a nice day to head up the hill! The sheer amount of the color green was almost overwhelming. I mean look at this! The grass looks like it would be straight out of Breath of the Wild (that new Legend of Zelda game for the Nintendo Switch, if you hadn’t heard of it):

Just a quick landscape shot on Mount Diablo while doing an engagement shoot. Look at that green!

We had a fun couple of hours just snaking the hills and finding some good spots to snap some images, eventually coming down the other side of the mountain into Walnut Creek. I keep forgetting all this awesome open space is right in my own backyard. I hadn’t been up there in years.

Cameron & Holley.
Cameron & Holley.
Cameron & Holley.
Cameron & Holley.

Europe Vacation and Photography Trip: Venice, Prague, Edinburgh, London

Once the 2016 wedding season was wrapped up, I focused my time and energy on family and the holidays. Once New Year’s Eve was done, I hopped a plane in San Francisco and headed off to Venice, Italy. The first stop on our Venice – Prague – Edinburgh – London trip.

Naturally I had some photo work to do while I was out there, and came back with some pretty great images. Have a look!

Venice evening.
St. Mark’s Square flooded during high tide.
Snowy St. Mark’s Square in Venice. January 2017.
This wedding shoot was happening in the melting snow, so naturally I jumped in for a few shots.
This father and son with a seaside rollercoaster to themselves, overlooking the islands near Venice.
Late afternoon.
The flooded crypt below San Zaccaria church.

After a few days, we grabbed a water taxi back to the airport (as my wedding assistant George is demonstrating in this photo):

…and we jetted off to Prague, in the Czech Republic. It was quite chilly there, and I spent most of my photography time with a scarf wrapped over my face so I could keep the feeling in it.

Old Town Square, Prague.
Prague Sunset.
The view from our Apartment balcony.
Prague’s Astronomical Clock. 600 years old and still ticking. With 80% of its original parts.
Basilica of St. Peter in Vyšehrad
Old Jewish Cemetery. Pretty sobering place.
St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle.

A handful of cold days here and next stop was up to Edinburgh in Scotland. Castles galore! And fog. Lots of fog.

Edinburgh, Scotland at night.
Edinburgh night traffic.
Blackness Castle in Linlithgow. Our GPS said we had arrived at our destination, but our eyes said otherwise.
Blackness Castle on the sea. Linlithgow, Scotland.
My cinematographer brother, enjoying the beautiful view from Stirling Castle. No, I didn’t photoshop anything out. That was the view.
Craigmillar Castle was our favorite. Easy to get lost in, and reminded us of Legend of Zelda. Lots of floors, lots of rooms, and lots of bombable-looking walls and doors.
Craigmillar Castle
…and lots of tight windy staircases to make you claustrophobic.

That evening, after much castle-ing, we headed to Glasgow to catch my buddy Kevin singing with his band Candlebox. You might know them best from their 1993 hit “Far Behind”. Great show… snapped some photos there and met up for a drink afterword:

Candlebox performing at G2 (The Garage) in Glasgow, Scotland.

On our last day we hit Edinburgh Castle, and I think it was the right choice. The fog lifted a bit and we got some great sunset opportunities while up on the hill.

Edinburgh Castle

One more quick EasyJet flight and we were in London. I think this was my 4th time there, but I always love coming back. I didn’t bother with as many photos this time.

Marching. Buckingham Palace, London.
Tower of London at night.
Tower Bridge at night
London Financial Skyline
This bird. I think this was before I slipped and fell through the ice in Hyde Park.

That was a long post! If you made it this far, congratulations. Just a glimpse of what I like to do when I’m not seeing you wonderful people at weddings. Looking forward to meeting you guys (or seeing some of you again) very soon! Shoot me a message.


It’s 2017! And the Rain has Taken a Break! Photography time.

Hi guys! Don’t get me wrong… I personally love the rain, and here in California (especially the Bay Area) we needed it. Badly. But it does make taking photos more difficult. Not impossible, though! As I shall demonstrate:

Just before Christmas, we got to shoot a holiday-themed wedding at Dublin Heritage Park out in, well, Dublin. It was pouring rain, and everyone was huddled inside this small wooden chapel or in the reception room with the fireplace and Christmas tree.

Everyone stayed in good spirits (and relatively dry), and it turned into a cozy festive event with close friends and family. Here are a couple of shots we took out in the rain after the ceremony:

So there you have it! Don’t worry about rain on your wedding day. It can make it even more fun!

Before this, in the opposite sort of weather, my assistant and I had gone out to Sequoyah Country Club in the Oakland hills. Extremely bright and sunny, but we made it work. Everyone in the crowd was fantastic and we had a blast here too.

Summer Weddings, Fall Weddings, Bookings Starting!

It’s been an interesting year, weather-wise. Now on the downhill slope toward October, it’s been hotter than it was all summer. I think brides and grooms have noticed that here in California, which would make sense why more and more of my couples book me for weddings in the Fall months. It’s still warm!

What have you guys been up to? We’ve been having a ton of fun this year, snapping away and making a bunch of fun stuff happen. Here are a few of our favorite photos since we last talked:

Elliston Vineyards in Sunol, CA. Photo by Clay Lancaster.
Elliston Vineyards in Sunol, CA. Photo by Clay Lancaster.
Elliston Vineyards in Sunol, CA. Photo by Clay Lancaster.
Elliston Vineyards in Sunol, CA. Photo by Clay Lancaster.
The Gardens at Heather Farms. Walnut Creek, CA.
The Gardens at Heather Farms. Walnut Creek, CA.
img_95Private Residence. Walnut Creek, CA.04
Private Residence. Walnut Creek, CA.
Wente Vineyards. Livermore, CA.
Wente Vineyards. Livermore, CA.
Wente Vineyards. Livermore, CA.
Wente Vineyards. Livermore, CA.

On a non-wedding note, I got to spend some time shooting photos with the band We Are Scientists while they were hot on the heels of a Jimmy Kimmel performance. Then I headed down to Mountain View to get some shots of Heart at Shoreline. Nancy and Ann Wilson were nothing short of amazing. As always:

Catching Up! Weddings and the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa

Hey guys! It’s been a busy summer wedding season, and I’m trying hard to keep up with the blog. But between shooting, editing, and other forms of social media, it just gets a bit difficult sometimes.

This week begins the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa, featuring artists like Billy Idol, Duran Duran, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Red Hot Chili Peppers, AWOLNATION, and more. I wish I could be there (flights are expensive). But One of my photos of Billy Idol was commissioned for this year’s poster!

Billy Idol - Grand Sierra Resort. Reno, NV.
Billy Idol. Photo by Clay Lancaster (
RBC Bluesfest 2016 Promo Poster by Dave O’Malley

I also worked with a very talented songwriter/composer based out of Oakland, CA. His name is Hamilton Ulmer, and he fronts a group called Makeunder.

Hamilton Ulmer / Makeunder. Photo by Clay Lancaster.

As for weddings, we’ve had some great ones! Very fortunate (again) to have such awesome clients year after year. Here are juts a few of my favorites so far:

Super cute kids makin’ faces as me. Wedding at Heather Farms Gardens in Walnut Creek, CA.


Daddy/Daughter Dance Time. Wedding at Firehouse 8 in San Francisco.


Probably my favorite photo of the year. From a wedding at Firehouse 8 in San Francisco.


Clay Lancaster & George Woods
Lancaster Photography Team at Wente Vineyards in Livermore, CA. Clay Lancaster and George Woods.


Wedding at The Gardens at Heather Farms. Walnut Creek, CA.


Engagement Shoots, Music Videos, and Metallica: 2016 Has Begun!

My job is cyclical, as you might have assumed. Life of a photographer… and since wedding season doesn’t kick in quite yet, I’ve been working on some other non-wedding photo/video projects. The last couple of weeks have been especially active.

I got to spend the day with a lovely, funny couple in the Dogpatch area of San Francisco for an engagement shoot. The weather turned out perfect (minus some hefty wind), and the session was more of a “hey, let’s hang out with a camera” kind of thing… which I love.  Here’s one of my favorite photos:

Engagement shoot in the Dogpatch area of San Francisco. Clay Lancaster photography.
Engagement shoot in the Dogpatch area of San Francisco. Clay Lancaster photography.

I was then commissioned to work on a music video for a band called Rare Futures, which is headed by Matt Fazzi (formerly of Facing New York, Taking Back Sunday, Atlas Genius). With an older lineup, the band used to go by Happy Body Slow Brain (wiki), with whom I’ve done many photo and video sessions over the years.

I can’t say much about the video yet, but you should be seeing it some time in March. It will follow their debut record (that was not made by me) for “The Pressure”, which will have it’s premier on The Nerdist on February 17th. Here are a couple of production shots:

Two days after the video shoot, I trucked into San Francisco to AT&T park to shoot photos at CBS Radio’s “The Night Before” featuring Metallica and Cage the Elephant. I’ve shot many different live acts, from Eric Clapton to Peter Gabriel to Megadeth, but this was my first time getting Metallica on camera. And being the night before Super Bowl 50… what a first time it was!

Metallica at AT&T park, San Francisco. CBS Radio's "The Night Before". Photo by Clay Lancaster.
Metallica at AT&T park, San Francisco. CBS Radio’s “The Night Before”. Photo by Clay Lancaster.
Metallica at AT&T park, San Francisco. CBS Radio's "The Night Before". Photo by Clay Lancaster.
Metallica at AT&T park, San Francisco. CBS Radio’s “The Night Before”. Photo by Clay Lancaster.

Rain, Rain, Go Away… Never Mind, Come Back. Weddings in the Rain.

The rain has eased off for the week. Personally, I miss it. I love stormy weather. Until it ruins my scheduled shoots like last weekend.

I’ve only done one wedding in the rain, surprisingly. It was a blast, and everyone banded together and rolled with the punches. It poured for like 14 or 16 hours straight or something like that! But all it took was family, food, and a fireplace to get people cozied up and laughing.

 That super windy road up to Stinson Beach was a little dicey in the dark on the way home though.
Rainy day wedding photography in Stinson Beach, CA

Lancaster Photography on Social Media!

Happy New Year everyone! We at Lancaster Photography are excited to get rolling, and we’re very much looking forward to photographing all your weddings, engagement shoots, family sessions, and various events in 2016.

It’s rainy here in Walnut Creek (which I love), so I figured I’d use the indoor time to call some attention to our two main social media outlets.

You can find our wedding photography work and updates on Facebook and our new wedding-only Instagram account.

And, of course, our regular website home page: Lancaster Photography | San Francisco Bay Area | Walnut Creek

…oh and we have a couple of January discounts going on! Book soon and save some money.

LP Engagement Ad1 LP Wedding Ad1









Wishing everyone a happy 2016, and we can’t wait to see you guys in the coming year!