Shani Barel Wedding Photography » OffBeat. Editorial. Modern. Weddings in Los Angeles Area and Orange County

Julie and Adriann Engaged – Venice Beach

Shani Barel Photography

My first job in LA was as a waitress at Venice Beach – the restaurant no longer exists but the friends I made and lived with have stuck around – so when I waited for Julie and Adriann to arrive, I swear I recognized a regular customer – I almost said something but I think I would have some across crazier than the locals! I am sure Keren would have known…Venice bBeach is exactly like we sees in the movies – that’s what it’s like living in LA – you think you’ve been here before, but really – you’ve just seen it in the movies – but anyways – the beach was super windy, and even a little cold – (shocker) so after working out the basketball courts -(yes, right there with an ocean view…) we headed over to the Venice Canals which is a world wonder in its own right – the story goes that this millionnaire guy wanted to rebuild the Venice canals right here hence the name Venice, but ran out of funding part way through, but s few canals survived and people do live on the quays and it is a wonderful secret little spot – hiding in plain sight…OK – skimming through the Wikipedia essay the story is even more interesting ! …Anyways – it was a great fun albeit windy shoot  and I rushed home and had to get a sign in book made within two days to have it in time for the wedding, which I did – I guess years of leaving things to the last-minute finally paid off !

Shani Barel PhotographyShani Barel PhotographyShani Barel PhotographyShani Barel PhotographyShani Barel PhotographyShani Barel PhotographyShani Barel PhotographyShani Barel Photography
Shani Barel Photography

Shani Barel PhotographyShani Barel PhotographyShani Barel Photography

Shani Barel Photography

When we arrived at the canals – we looked for parking – I didn’t want to park just as we got there – instead we passed one bridge after another and I was getting  a little worried we wouldn’t have a spot to park but just at the end we managed to squeeze the car by the alley – we got out, snapped some photos in the alley and headed to the actual canal…. embarrassment avoided :)) on the way back to my car I asked them about the significance of the numbers 239 which are part of their email address and their car vanity plate – 23 is Julie’s birthday and 9 is Adrianne’s (which happens to be my son’s exact birthday 20 years apart ) but that’s not the point of the story – when I edited the photos my heart literally skipped a beat when I noticed the tiny little house number in this photo. It was just beyond coincidental.. or  not?Shani Barel Photogrpahy



Adamson House – Malibu Wedding Photography

I photographed Theresa and Peter’s wedding with Michael Segal awhile back – in the beautiful Malibu location – The Adamson House – how many times have you driven by this magical gem? Next time – stop the car, pay for the parking and take the tour. Personally for me – 5 minutes at the ocean are a cure all, and this spot just reminds me how grateful I am to live in Southern California…I remember it being a gorgeous impeccable wedding, with a caterer that truly took care of us, and that once the sun set- I was freezing…. Luckily Michael had a heavy jacket in his car – and since then – summer or winter – I have additional layers in the car… because the fanciest gear in the world is hard to oerate if you’re cold to the core! :))

leonie - September 21, 2012 - 4:14 am



When Christine and Daniel called me months ago – telling me they found me online, that they saw and loved Ben and Shelby‘s photos from the Queen Mary, and practically hired me on the spot! I was delighted to turn back time again… and had I known how far they had gone with their nautical theme I would have worn one of my striped shirts! I even have a special sailor one…. but I blended in the background in my regular all black outfit…) There’s something about this vessel that excuses elegance, jubilance and grandeur of an era long gone. Christine and Daniel were pen pals when they were teenagers, Daniel being Australian; (when I was in elementary school, we learned that Australia was so big and people lived so far a way, that kids sometimes learned at home via correspondence, or via radio… oh the days before the internet… so a pen pal seems a logical Australian thing to do!)  Years later they reconnected – so much so, that Daniel decided to board a ship, ok, it was probably a plane, but wouldn’t it have been SO ROMANTIC???  So once on dry land,  the love blossomed in real life too…..! And last week, the rest of the families crossed the big blue sea to witness and celebrate Christine and Daniel tie the knot in style! It was fun, loving and well, swell! Thank you mates for taking me on board! (pun fully intended…)


Bel-Air Bay Club Wedding – Devorah and Reid

I love second shooting for Michael Segal…I’ve worked with him for so many years, even before I got married myself, even before I took a long break to have children, even before I went Digital….so whenever he asks me to second shoot – I usually agree…It also usually means I get some time with details and some time with the guys… I love hanging out with the guys, they’re fun, loud, rowdy, and even though I am assays a little nervous as I knock on their door, by the end of the getting ready time, I know them by name and know way too much about them! So last Friday was no exception…Beach, beautiful location, wonderful wedding planner and gorgeous bride is a recipe for a fund day – Devorah and Reid got married at the Bel Air Bay Club – I have shot there before, and every tim has been a wonderful experience – and a different one. It’s a little like visiting Hogwarts, with different secret corridors revealing themselves with every wedding. Devorah’s and Reid was no exception. I am showing just a  few of them here, and what I will say, is that Devorah’s Marchesa dress was one of the most beautiful I had even seen – Devorah reminded me of Black Swan, but the white one… she was so elegant, and literally looked like she was gliding on air….

Sometimes, when I am really close to the cake, I can smell how yummy it is. I am ALWAYS afraid I’ll trip and fall smack into it!

I couldn’t get enough of this gorgeous ballerina dress… I wanted Devorah to twirl over and over again!

This wedding had a lot of speeches… I personally love the speeches – they always reveal deeper layers of the couple, and also of the speakers themselves… most of the day – The maid of Honor is just that – but during the speech she can be revealed as funny, witty and wicked… this wedding revealed a lot of history, humor and warmth. I loved how Devorah and Reid looked at each other (when they weren’t breaking out in giggles) enjoying their friends’ endless love.

One of my favorites moments is the cutting of the cake – an snot JUST because it signifies the end of the long day… :)) Mainly because over time, over decades, that is the traditional photo that was always taken, even before wedding photography was a hip profession, before there were digital cameras, before weddings were what they are today – before cakes won awards and had their own TV shows… cake cutting is a timeless classic photo of a couple taking their first act as a married couple….it’s just the quintessential wedding photo!

Ad if you ask my opinion. The cake should go nowhere near the bride’s face!



Melissa and Peter – Malibu Wedding – Bride and Groom


When Melissa called me about her wedding, the plan was to get married at the rented home in Malibu, overlooking the ocean, just before sunset….however, like almost every couple that plans to practically elope, parents on either side might object… and this is what happened here…so this is right outside the church, before and after the church ceremony, that ended up taking place the day before the Saturday night party that was originally planned…so I trekked over the canyons and hit the beach at my favorite spot to reach a little church right in the heart of Malibu and was honored to be part of their small service with their closets friends and family. The top images are from before  the ceremony, Melissa and Peter did not want to see each other before the ceremony which was totally fine since Friday was just about actually getting married… (though I insisted on photographing the family formals since the lighting was perfect and everyone was right there! So the church and party are coming up next!