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John is such a talented photographer, plus our dog Patches loved him! We had both our engagement photos and wedding photos taken by John. Kudos to him because we were probably one of the more difficult couples to work with in regards to not having a single clue as to what we wanted. Both my husband and I are not what we would call photo people. We both don't like getting our photos taken and are super camera shy. We had no idea what we wanted out of our engagement nor wedding photos. Luckily, John was able to guide us through the photo shoots and get us more comfortable in front of the camera (or at least as comfortable as it'll ever get for my husband). :P
We received so many compliments from our engagement photos! All of our friends and family loved the photos, especially the ones with Patches. John was very patient in working with Patches during the engagement shoot too, because he isn't always the most obedient dog. But somehow John made it work and captured some of the most amazing shots ever that we will cherish forever.
It was also extremely easy to work with John. He is super flexible in multiple areas:
- The day before the engagement shoot, we decided to not drive down so far to Palos Verdes and so we changed the location up on John last-minute. Luckily John was ready with recommendations on the day of the shoot and was able to guide us through the location for some amazing photos.
- John was very flexible when traveling to San Jose, CA for the wedding. He ended up staying at our place with my husband's family.
- John was very flexible in allowing us to remove the slot for a dedicated couple photo shoot leading up to the reception in order to get some much-needed R&R after the tea ceremony. Despite that, he still encouraged us to take some couple photos at the venue during set up, which I'm really glad he did.
John is amazing and I wouldn't hesitate to work with him again. I can't wait to see the wedding photos!
John is the best! Talented and professional! I enjoyed every pictures that he took! He is definitely the one you shall have to be your wedding photographer!
We recommend John Yao of SimplyTwo for the fantastic experience he fashions and the memorable photos he creates. We scheduled an engagement session with John in early March of 2015. The planning process was extremely fun and John was on board from the start with all our hare-brained ideas. When a rainy day threatened to jeopardize our shoot, John showed himself as the man with a plan in any situation! He strategized to move the majority of our shoot indoors, and once the rain let up, he took us outside to some spectacular spots.
Throughout the session, John is your best fressional = best friend + professional. He keeps the mood fun and his mind in constant motion, resulting in no dull moments. We were impressed with his ability to direct our movements and poses, all the while keeping us feeling very natural. Additionally, John possesses a (metaphorical) 3rd eye in seeing the beautiful in something incredibly mundane. For example, as we were driving to the airport for a shoot, John asked us to pull over to a seemingly random gravel and grass patch. We looked at our surroundings and thought, "We look like we're in a dump!" But lo and behold, as John clicked away on his camera, he turned the scene from drab to fab when he gave us a peek what was on his camera screen. We enjoyed watching a master work his craft.
When deciding on a photographer, we wanted to choose someone who would produce photos we would be proud to show to our grandchildren. We can confidently say John's work fulfilled this hope. Thank you John for a wonderful day and many precious memories.
John Yao of Simply Two Photography is a true visionary in the realm of wedding photography. He is passionate, focused and imaginative. He can capture amazingly beautiful photos in any setting. He has unlimited ideas and is always open to suggestions. We wanted to shoot with a motorcycle as our prop and John jumped into the idea with full excitement. He even somehow got us jumping into a refreshing water fountain and then splashing in the ocean waves at night.
The pictures came out beyond what I expected and I was in awe at his talent.
He is so easygoing, funny and has a great ability to bring out happiness and love in all his photos. Even if you are nervous in front of the camera, John has the ability to make you feel at ease. You will actually sometimes forget that there’s a huge camera in front of you and instead embrace the feeling of being in love.
He truly cares about his clients, and takes his time to get to know them on a personal level. He is so likeable that you just want to give him hugs and feed him Boba.
I have been a long time admirer of John’s work for years since we knew each other through mutual friends. Even before we were engaged, I dreamed that one day John would be our photographer. John and my now husband definitely made that dream came true and made me the happiest bride ever.
We were so fortunate to have John shoot both of our engagement session and our wedding day. Every time I look at the photos, it still takes my breath away and puts a huge smile on my face. Thank you John for the everlasting memories and friendship, which we will cherish forever.
Loan & Eric
NUTSHELL: HIRE JOHN!! *** This is coming from someone who does a lot of her own photography and was tempted to clone herself and shoot her own wedding. ***
I have been following John's work closely for the last ten years. Being a photographer and artist myself, I have seen a lot of different styles out there, and John's is the only one that stuck with me this long. This is the essence of John's work that truly makes it special: it's clean, elegant, and timeless. You will love his work the first time you see it, but you will love it even more over the coming weeks, months, and years. Some photographers' work dazzles you at first glance but fades away in memory; not so with John's. You will want to look at his photos over and over again for their flawlessly bright colors, brilliant creativity, and authenticity of emotion.
John is a true Artist in every sense of the word, and he knows his craft so well that he accomplishes nothing short of magic. We had the pleasure of doing an all-day engagement shoot with John, and he somehow made a pitch-dark park look like a fairy tale kingdom, just to name one example. John is a wizard with his camera, and my single piece of advice is to trust his vision completely. We printed many of our engagement shoot photos to use at our wedding reception, and our guests loved them so much that a few even stole our photos to take home without our permission! In this age when everyone seems to have nice engagement photos, it really attests to the unique quality of John's work that people so desperately wanted to keep those prints.
John is a ninja on the day of the wedding. I seriously can't remember seeing him once during the entire ceremony, but later in our guests' photos, I saw John in practically all of them, working to get the best shots from every corner and angle. He blends seamlessly into your day and makes everything as stress-free as possible. He was worth every penny.
Don't worry about the money. You won't regret it.
You've already seen the his work; it's elegant, unique, and downright awesome. Now you're trying to decide, can my photos come out like that, and what's the experience going to be like?
1) I'm awkward and am not a model, what can John possibly do to make it look natural?
This is his kicker and what makes him special, divulged early just in case you don't read-on. It's his personality. He's the type of guy that anyone can get along with and act natural around. He uses what the couple enjoys most and their individual chemistry to capture moments that are fun, intimate, and crazy all at once. While you're hanging out with your boo, doing what you do everyday...enjoying each others company, he's shooting like mad giving guidance here and there to maximize the shot. This, in addition the care he shows towards his couples and passion he has for the craft will give you photos that are straight up FIRE.
2) I don't like pictures and have no ideas
He's as hands on or off as you'd like. Come with a slew of ideas and he'll refine them and execute it to make it work. Come with nothing and you'll feel safe and secure knowing he has the experience to exceed your expectations. A completely tailored experience.
3) Is John going to be all up in our face the day of the wedding obstructing everyone's view?
No, he's definitely very respectful of personal space and incognito. Someone else said he's a ninja. I would also agree and probably add Sasquatch.
4) Creative people like to play it by ear, is he going to be hard to plan and communicate with?
John is laid back and flexible but he's an excellent planner and on point when it comes to communication and response time.
Do yourself a favor and book SimplyTwo. It's the best wedding gift you could give yourself and will take away so much unneeded stress prior to, and the day of your wedding.
Love, Ryan + Grace
We first heard about John and SimplyTwo Photography from our friends. Many of whom had worked with John for their engagement shoots, and absolutely loved his work! We followed his blog for months, and couldn't agree more! John's attention to detail, and focus on natural lighting really brings out the fullness in everyone's expressions. John was amazing to work with, and his patience knows no bounds. He literally spent the entire day with us as we drove from LA to San Diego, and he went along with all of our ideas (and we had a LOT of ideas!). Always open to new locations and various poses, John is extremely flexible, providing great feedback and coordination. My fiance and I aren't typically photogenic, but John really made us feel comfortable and be ourselves in front of the camera. John is a true professional, and knows how to capture the magic of every moment. These are by far, the best pictures I have ever had the privilege of owning, and I will definitely recommend SimplyTwo to everyone I know. We can't wait to share these pictures with all of our family, friends, and wedding guests! You will not be disappointed!!
Our experience with John Yao/SimplyTwo Photography was fantastic. We really appreciated all his effort and time he dedicated for our engagement and wedding photos. Whenever my wife and I had questions leading up to our engagement session and wedding, he was very responsive both by phone and email. I tend to ask a lot of questions and he was kind enough to answer everything. For us, we noticed that he responded to emails in the middle of the night which I found very amusing. As we got to know him, we understood why as he logs many hours personally editing photos for his clients. On the day of our wedding, we didn't have to worry about John and his colleague, Chris, as they arrived to our hotel early. With everything going on the day of, you really don't want to worry about your vendors so it was great that he was professional, courteous and spontaneous to every moment. As we are not the most natural in front of the camera, John guided us during our engagement session and wedding day so that we are in the right position, light, etc...We really appreciated John taking the time to get to know us as well. For the wedding day, we hired a videographer and John worked seamlessly with him throughout the day capturing the days events. John, we want to thank you for everything!!!
Do it! You know you want him!
Despite the drought here in California, all the momentous events of our relationship seem to be associated with a little sprinkle, starting from our very first date. This has been quite unfortunate for 2 people who hate getting wet. After all, who doesn't enjoy blue skies and sunshine?
That being said, I am so glad John Yao talked us into doing our engagement session in the rain. We had such a great experience with John and his flip flops, yes, flip flops, out hiking Eaton Canyon and downtown LA through an intermittent down pour. He was personable and made us feel at ease the entire time. Our photos turned out even better than we expected. It was exactly as he said, the rain brings out all the colors and reflections that you can't capture otherwise.
The day of the wedding was also wonderful. John was so professional and prompt. He kept shooting even though some of his camera lenses were stolen halfway through the day. All my friends and family were impressed with the photos. I could not be happier with him as our photographer and would recommend him 100%.
Yvonne and Martin :)
I am extremely picky when it comes to photography due to my profession, so naturally I had a difficult time deciding on a photographer. I reviewed dozens of portfolios, but somehow I kept coming back to John's website. His work is not only clean, sharp, and vibrant with amazing lighting, but the couples' important emotional moments and fun times are well captured through John's lenses as well. Every photo is well composed with perfect skin tone.
Communication with John was prompt and easy throughout the whole process. When we met up with him, he was like a long lost friend - very easy going, funny and patient. I was surprised that he remembered all of his clients' names when I randomly mentioned a few of his previous shoots. His personality reflects in his work. He made us very comfortable in front of the camera during both our engagement shoot and wedding day. He came early and stayed late for our wedding just because he wanted to try out a few creative night shots. He is a true ARTIST! We had numerous compliments on our engagement photos from our family and friends. We've seen part of the wedding photos so far, and all we can say is "WOW! AMAZING!" We can't wait to see the rest!
Hire John for your big day! You won't regret it!
SimplyTwo is A.W.E.S.O.M.E. Planning for the biggest and most expensive party of your lifetime is soooo stressful, but John takes away that aspect for you. Photographs are arguably the most important part of the wedding, though you can argue with me whether the dress or the flowers are ;) But think about it – the whole day/night passes by very quickly as you are caught up in the moment. As well, you may be obsessing over every detail of the logistics, and you can miss seeing some people or certain parts of the party. I actually didn’t get to see my guestbook/escort card table setup because we were on a time crunch! Having these photos helped me relive it all from my guests’ point of view. Even better, John edits each photo “by hand” (none of those fancy photoshop filters “applied to all” or whatever). Plus, communication is prompt and easy – he is willing to communicate by any method you prefer.
Bonus! - He's featured in magazines! Who wouldn't want the bragging rights associated with that?
Another bonus! - Since dealing with vendors is primarily about "business", there is often a lack of a personal touch to it. Not with John - by the end of it all, you may just want to make him part of your wedding party!
How John Amazed Us:
1) Mastering light - John can see the unseen and shoot beyond the world in front of us. It was 10pm, so dark we couldn’t see our feet, but John assured us that the brown building behind us will look great in the crappy street lights. I gave him my crazy person eye stare, but secretly trusted him. Yup, it mysteriously lit up like the white house. I soon realized that John was so one with his camera, he had the darkness under control. Despite horrible lighting conditions, our night photos were incredible. What you see is not what you get, it’s better. I once made the mistake of asking him why he didn't have a fancy umbrella thingy, to which he politely answered that as long as you understand the science of light, you don't need tools to manipulate it. The force is strong with this one.
2) Committing to his work - Speaking of late night photos, John spent ALL DAY with us on our engagement shoot. I greedily wanted to hit up 6 locations but was ready to give up on at least 2. Nope. Got all 6! Our wedding venue was a challenge, it was a yacht at noon; harsh sun, moving vessel, constant changes, confined spaces, yay! My wedding coordinator suggested that John meet up with her to go over scenic places and the nooks and crannies of the yacht. He got on the next appointment and knew the yacht inside & out. WHO DOES THAT!?!? This is going beyond the call of duty.
3) Capturing real moments - My wedding day went by so fast I felt like I missed out on the important details. Thank God John was there because he caught what we missed. John was also the reason why we did not get a videographer because there would have been split seconds of awesomeness that the video would have zoomed past; tiny, stolen glances, awkward and crazy poses of the garter catch, and the way your sweet old dad looks at you from afar as you embrace your husband. I missed those moments, and i even missed them on the home videos, but I found them in John's photos.
John is the epitome of a professional photographer. From initial communication to finished product (pictures turned out awesome), he was always helpful and flexible. The great thing about John isn't that he just takes great pictures for you, but you really get to know him as a friend and brother.
We highly recommend Simply Two Photography. You can trust John Yao to produce unique and beautiful photographs for you. You can also look forward to a photography experience full of laughter and joy- qualities that will not only come out in your pictures, but will help to make your engagement/wedding day unforgettable.
A few things that made John Yao stand out:
1) He addresses all concerns in a timely and detailed manner: After the initial email contact, John Yao continued to answer my questions over emails and phone calls (75+ correspondences). I appreciated just how friendly and encouraging he was whenever I brought up a concern.
2) He is personable, and listens to your needs/wants: Once we got to meet for our creative engagement session, John Yao took charge by giving us specific instructions with how to stand, where to look, etc. To help us relax, he would give us feedback so we knew what worked. Once Sam and I got the hang out if, the creative session began to flow naturally. Like a team, we all came up with ideas for poses, and managed to create some on-the-spot ideas to make the shots unique and fun.
3) He believes in creating beautiful photos, and is open to trying new/inventive things to make it happen: In addition to having strong technical skills and a strong work ethic, it was clear that John Yao had a lot of fun with this work. We were both willing to try new ideas, and this made both sessions (engagement and wedding day) enjoyable and exciting.
The final products blew away our expectations! Aside from great technique, we believe the distinguishing quality that made the photos stand out is John's ability to capture our emotions of joy and love. John understands how uncomfortable taking photos can be (just as we were in the beginning). He works with you so that you can relax and ultimately have fun. The results are priceless.
5 star rating, no regrets! Thank you John for memories that we will treasure for a lifetime!
I first fell in love with SimplyTwo Photography 3 years ago when one of my friends shared her engagement pictures with us online. The pictures were vibrant with color (but not so overdone that they came out tacky), focused on the couple (at times and on objects when it was appropriate) and just overall gorgeous. In the three years after I was exposed to those pictures, there were no other engagement/wedding pictures from others (in magazines and from friends) whose pictures even caught my eye. I knew John's work was special and exactly what I wanted as my keepsake for my once-in-a-lifetime life event.
When we started planning our wedding, we made sure to have SimplyTwo as our first vendor (even before choosing our venue and picking our wedding date--weird, right?). John is super responsive (he'll even respond when you're brainstorming late at night), incredibly easy to work with (it felt like we were having pictures taken by a friend), and he made sure he got EVERY shot I wanted and as well as the ones he wanted. I have no complaints. Even my parents were very impressed with his work (and it's not easy to impress them). If I could compensate him more for his work, I would.
Wedding photography is not cheap, but it's what you get to keep forever so you should definitely invest in a photographer whose work is to your liking. SimplyTwo Photography is simply the easiest decision to make for your photography needs. You won't regret it.
Thank you for everything, John!
John Yao of SimplyTwo Photography is a man of respectable talent. Having been an avid follower of his work for many years, I knew that his calendar fills up quickly so I booked him months before I even got engaged (without telling my fiancé!).
My fiancé and I were very nervous for our engagement session but with John’s guidance, we warmed up and started to feel more comfortable and at ease so our shots became more natural. We spent the whole day shooting in different locations and we were both amazed at how much fun we were having. It felt like we were hanging out with an old-time friend. One thing I've learned during the shoot is that John possesses an ability to capture raw, brilliant shots. He'd show us the most recent shot on his camera screen and it would blow our minds. He has a keen eye that can find beauty in the most ordinary spaces (like making a playground look like a backdrop in Napa) and his composition skills are exceptional. As an artist, he is always pushing his limits and continually experimenting. That's mainly the reason why all of his sets are unique to his clients no matter how many times he's shot those same locations.
John has a very relaxed personality about him and his motto is that not only is he your photographer, but also your friend, and I couldn't agree more. On our wedding day, John arrived early to scout the area for the best locations (something I had not expected but nevertheless appreciated!). He brought with him a kind and lighthearted demeanor that made our wedding party feel very relaxed. But he also had a sense of professionalism that kept us on schedule. He was on top of everything!
Our family and friends have complimented us tremendously on our photos. We know that hiring John was the best decision we made for our wedding. Without hesitation, we give John our highest regard and recommendation. You will not be disappointed!