My love affair with wedding photography began with the re-discovery of my own parents’ wedding album around the time that I bought my first professional camera and was setting out to be a fashion photographer. I had flipped through it as a child, but had been too young to fully appreciate it until I paged through it as an adult. I was blown away.
Unlike most couples who got married in 1977 who have a handful of stiff posed photographs, my parents had hired a friend who was a newspaper photographer to photograph the wedding, and the result is an amazing collection of totally documentary black & white images that capture my parents exactly as they were: Young, fun, a little wild, and a little poor, but incredibly happy and ridiculously in love.
The rest of my family is there too - My grandmother who passed away while my mother was still pregnant with me, battling cancer at the time of the wedding, but pictured laughing and having a great time, dressed up in a fabulous fur hat and looking overjoyed to be seeing her daughter getting married. My favorite uncle, every inch the young hell-raiser in his dark glasses and an altar boy’s robe on the steps of the Saint Louis Cathedral. Even my mother’s famously stoic former Navy Admiral father, caught with a tear on his cheek betraying his stern expression.
These are images that my sisters and I will cherish forever. And from looking at the expressions on my parents’ faces the next day as they flipped through the album again for the first time in years, I know that they will too. Even now, 35 years later, my parents are still one of the happiest and most in-love couples I know. I want every couple, and every daughter to have what I have – a beautiful and timeless record of an amazing time in their or their parents’ lives that they can look back on decades later with as much joy as I do.
I want to be the one to tell that story.
Although my background is in fashion, my heart is in weddings. The contrast is like is like night and day. With fashion photography, a lot of time and effort goes into making models looks as aloof and unapproachable as possible. With weddings, I get to focus on capturing something real and human, on getting to know people, and on telling an important story about their lives. I work to capture each subject’s personality and to document the day as it unfolds naturally, with minimal interference. I strive to capture the moments that will make each couple laugh and cry for years to come, and all too frequently find myself starting to tear up behind the camera, too.
True to that mission, all of my packages include full wedding coverage. I’m there to document your wedding, not to watch the clock. Whether you’re having a simple outdoor ceremony in California or a 5-day blowout in India, I’ll be one of the first ones there while you’re getting ready, and I’ll be the last one to leave at the end of night. Get in touch with me. Let me tell your story.
Grace Havlak is a Hollywood and San Francisco based wedding photographer. An Honors Graduate of The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), she has worked at places ranging from the Alexander McQueen design house in London to the MTV Wardrobe Department in New York City, before picking up a camera in 2007 and settling down in California to pursue photography full time. She has photographed happy couples everywhere from New York to New Delhi and just about everywhere in between. Her work has been featured on Style Me Pretty, one of the top blogs in the wedding world. She currently flits back and forth between San Francisco and Hollywood, where she lives in a charming old 1920’s building with her collection of vintage wedding dresses and her very cute, but very naughty cat named Sebastian, who ironically has developed a taste for tulle and lace. When she is not behind the camera (which, frankly, is her favorite place to be), she keeps busy sewing, baking, vintage shopping, thrift storing, reading 19th century Russian novels, and spending more time on planes than she does asleep.
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5 Reviews for Grace Havlak, Photographer
Recommended by 100% of couples
Nirali · Married on 07/12/2013
There are no words to describe how we felt when my fiance and I received our engagement pictures from Grace. We were floored at how many absolutely beautiful images she was able to capture. Working with her and her second photographer, Gavin, made the whole experience so much better. We were quite reserved at first but after a few minutes, Grace made us feel comfortable enough to even show some PDA (which is not like us). She made the whole process from beginning to end completely effortless. Every family member and friend we have sent our pictures to, have said nothing short of amazing things about the images. We couldn't have asked for a better photographer!!Sent on 09/12/2013
Anthony · Married on 05/18/2013
Both my new wife and I are completely and unreservedly blown away by the photos we got back from our wedding, they were beyond our highest expectations. Working with her was a true joy, especially the day of our wedding, her professionalism was exceptional and we are so very thankful we chose Grace and the end result are images that are absolutely perfect.Sent on 07/14/2013
Her images have something about them that is simply a step above even the other top wedding photographers that I investigated. She uses the highest end camera gear including mostly prime lenses as opposed to zoom lenses which I believe gives her images something special. But it's not the camera, it's the photographer that matters and when she described her approach to weddings, her photojournalistic style, and then getting to know her, we knew she was the one we wanted to document the biggest day in our lives.
Grace and her 2nd shooter were absolutely wonderful to work with the day of our wedding, I would not change one single thing. You could tell that this was more than just a gig for them, the level of focus and the professionalism and skill they demonstrated was incredible, as if the day was as important to them as it was to us.
We have received the images back (early I may add), and we are absolutely blown away. I knew that the photos would be good, but what we got back was in another universe than even the highest expectations we had, it's that simple. Looking back on the whole experience with Grace we feel so much gratitude and appreciation.This may sound over the top, but literally our wedding photos are perfect works of art and I can not recommend Grace enough.
Amy · Married on 04/06/2013
I am incredibly happy that we selected Grace as our wedding photographer. And to think that we would never have found her were it not for a Facebook ad! I remember when we were considering several different photographers and looking at their websites and portfolios. Grace's photographs were just so much more beautiful and moving than those any of the other photographers we were considering. I remember my husband saying "The choice is clear." And he was right. Grace is extremely talented and our wedding photographs are absolutely phenomenal. She was there throughout our wedding day from 11:00 am when I was getting my hair done to nearly 11:00 pm and truly captured our whole wedding story from start to finish. It has been such a pleasure to share the pictures with friends and family who were there and also with those who cannot attend. People who could not attend have said that they feel as if they were there because they were able to appreciate so many of the most poignant movements through the photographs. But you don't need to take my word for it. Check out Grace's website and blog and you will see for yourself how amazing she is.Sent on 07/17/2013