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Ahava Studios Reviews

Ahava Studios

Ahava Studios

Brentwood, CA
4.7 out of 5 rating, 16 Reviews
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Reviews

4.7 out of 5 rating
4.7 out of 5 rating
16 Reviews
95% recommend it
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Awards

16
WeddingWire Couples' Choice Awards 2011 Winner
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    Morgan Sent on 07/09/2018
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    This is a well overdue review. We booked Ahava Studios (Stephanie), for our October Wedding in San Francisco. From the beginning, Stephanie was a joy to work with. So responsive to e-mails and once the date got closer she became more of a wedding planner to me. She asked what we wanted, and offered her professional advice and opinions which was greatly appreciated. She knew the best places for pictures in SF and kept us on track the whole day. She had the best attitude all day, rocked and swayed on our boat cruise reception and we heard nothing but amazing things from our guests. They kept asking how we got so lucky with such an amazing and down to earth photographer. She captured the entire day perfectly and it makes me so happy they we chose Ahava Studios. 10 out of 10 would recommend!
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    Emily Sent on 11/08/2010
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    Not only have I recommended Stephanie Haller Photography to many of my clients, I also chose her to shoot my own wedding last August. Stephanie is fun, laid back and easy to work with. Her style is non-invasive. She is able to capture incredible moments without making the camera the center of attention. We were beyond thrilled with the images we received of our wedding day. I have heard the same from my clients who have worked with her. Recently, I booked Stephanie Haller Photography again to shoot an engagement session for some dear friends of mine. The results were fabulous. I would highly recommend her to any bride for both wedding and engagement photography.
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  • Suzi
    Suzi Sent on 09/13/2015
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    Stephanie Haller is the most amazing wedding photographer in the Bay Area by far. Just take a stroll through her Ahava Studios website - the timeless, elegant, artistic, detailed, candid photos speak volumes alone. If that still isn't enough to convince you, let me tell you about my experience with Stephanie. We talked over the phone a few times while I was researching wedding photographers. Most of my friends and family live in Orange County, so I didn't have anyone to ask about recommendations for photographers. I stumbled upon her website somehow (it was fate!), and was instantly captivated. Over the phone, she walked me through all my questions (there were many), and even did a Facetime video chat to meet my (then) fiance (now husband!) before we signed the paperwork. Not long after that, we had another phone call to walk through exactly how the ceremony and reception would go, and her involvement. Her timeline actually helped me to plan my own timeline! She sent me a document to request ALL the shots that I wanted her to get at the wedding, which I really appreciate now because during the wedding, I did not have the presence of mind to think about all that! She is so empathetic, and just really gets it. The whole experience of being a bride and all the feelings you have. On the day of the wedding, Stephanie was all positive energy and professionalism. She herded people together for photos, made us all laugh genuine laughs for photos, and was a candid photo ninja. Looking over all the photos she took, I am just so touched and honored to have had her as our photographer. She captured the essence of every important moment. Looking back on these photos, I'm able to travel back in my mind and live each beautiful moment again. I cannot recommend her highly enough!
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    Maria Sent on 02/15/2015
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    So many great things to say about Ahava Studios with Stephanie and Ryan.... First off, our wedding was in Florida and we flew them all the way from California because we loved their eye on photography. We found them originally when we were thinking about a San Francisco wedding, then decided to take a different direction with Florida which is closer to home in Texas. When speaking to Stephanie, she makes you feel comfortable and will ask all the right questions on getting to know you and your fiance to capture the type of style that you are looking for. Stephanie will take the time to listen and understand what your vision and inspirations are. Throughout the 6 months of communication, Stephanie was well organized and accommodating. During the wedding day, Stephanie kept us on schedule and had a list of moments that she managed to ensure that were captured with our loved ones. After a couple of days after our wedding, Stephanie provided us a couple of pictures from our wedding and we were speechless. The pictures were everything we imagined them to be and more!
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    Heidi Sent on 10/23/2013
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    Stephanie is AMAZING! She has tons of experience, so she is super efficient when it comes to picture time. Not to mention her GORGEOUS pictures. I had been so in love with Stephanie's pictures and was thrilled when I got engaged and was able to hire her. My husband and I had no idea what to do with ourselves and Stephanie was able to get beautiful pictures out of us.
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    Becky Sent on 04/18/2013
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    I actually won Stephanie's services via an auction for an anti-bullying campaign. That should alert you to what type of person Stephanie is - unselfish, giving and charismatic, to name a few. She was a gem to have on our wedding day and, although we haven't received all the shots back yet, the ones we have seen have been breathtaking. She was easygoing, responsive and at the same time a fly on the wall. I hardly noticed her most of the time (believe me, that is what you want on your wedding day!). A talented gem, with a glowing personality and smile that makes you happy to be in her presence.
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    Stephanie Sent on 08/20/2012
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    Stephanie was awesome to work with. She did our engagement AND wedding photos, and was very quick to release teaser shots of the photographs after each shoot. What I love most about her style is that she really knows how to work with lighting, and all the pictures that she shoots exude a natural and fresh air about them. During our wedding day, she was sooo helpful, and we actually enjoyed taking the mandatory wedding shots we needed to take with her, instead of seeing it as a "chore" to do. She lets you be yourself, which is really important because it makes your pictures really showcase who you are.
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    Colleen Sent on 01/10/2013
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    Working with Stephanie was great…from beginning to end! Our experience was a little unique because when I booked her we were both in Seattle, then we both ended up moving a few times after that. She was so flexible with scheduling everything...especially the engagement shoot...and even ended up meeting us in New York to finally do it. Then, leading up to the wedding she was very helpful with all sorts of questions and really easy to get a hold of. I was able to e-mail and text and always got responses quickly.

    Most importantly, though, on the day of the wedding she was perfect! I got so many compliments from friends and family about how amazed they were with the fact that she was there the whole day taking photos and yet was never in the way or even noticed (in the best possible way). She got to locations early to scout them out and then was totally prepared for everything. It was so nice to not have to think or worry about anything.

    Also, I just really enjoyed Stephanie as a person! She is so fun and you can tell she really enjoys what she does. She was also great at getting people out of their shells and feeling comfortable having their picture taken.

    Finally, the pictures turned out amazing! From her blog posts, to the guest book and albums she designed, everything was over the top beautiful! I researched photographers a lot, as it was the most important thing for me, and I am really happy with how it all went!
  • Sarah
    Sarah Sent on 10/04/2011
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    Picking a wedding photographer is no small task, and it can be even tougher if you aren't willing to pay some of the astronomical prices that people are charging. Bottom line: I wanted a talented photographer who would take interesting, personal and beautiful photos and who would have fun in the process.

    Thank goodness my wedding coordinator recommended Stephanie, because it was the BEST recommendation we could've gotten. After looking at her portfolio and speaking with her on the phone, I knew we were a great fit. My husband-to-be and I were pretty camera shy and not comfortable in front of the lens, and this was no issue at all for her. We wanted a lot of photojournalism style shots, but still some family portraits as we had many generations attending our wedding. That was no issue either! Plus, her package was a fantastic value, especially since our wedding day started early and we needed a lot of photographer hours.

    That was just the beginning. When I met with Stephanie I knew that she was a real person who LOVED photography, and who was genuinely excited about our wedding day. She had great ideas for pictures at our church, promised to take some test shots so I'd be comfortable with my hair and makeup in photographs, and was so enthusiastic about the fun details Robert and I had incorporated into our celebration.

    On our wedding day, she and her second shooter Kip Beelman were phenomenal. From the beginning they were first and foremost professional and attentive, but so friendly and accommodating. They set up lots of creative shots, and when we had time after the ceremony to take photos at a few fun locations before the reception started, we had an absolute blast. They brought out our liveliness and we really had fun in front of the camera. The stop at the doughnut shop- just sitting enjoying a treat with my husband, Stephanie and Kip- was one of the most fun parts of our day.

    I am so excited to see how all the photos turn out, and I will update this review when I have more raves to share about the photographs themselves. But I could not imagine working with a more professional, friendly and fun photographer than Stephanie.
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    Jamie Sent on 11/15/2010
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    Stephanie is amazing. Not only is she sweet, fun and friendly but she is very proffesional. I was short handed and trying to set up the wedding and reception on my own and she jumped in and helped out. She helped clean up too. Her photos are beautiful and most of the time I forgot she was even there as my photographer. I highly recommend her to anyone needing a photographer.
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    Jenn Sent on 06/07/2012
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    I had been following Stephanie's photography for months, blog after blog, each wedding captured leaving me in awe.

    When I finally set my own wedding date, SHP was the clear choice, and I wasn't let down.

    Stephanie is an amazing photographer. She captured things that I didn't even know were happening! The day goes by so quickly that it's hard to remember the little details - but SHP doesn't forget to remember them for us. A bouquet delicately grasped between the hands of a bridesmaid, a kiss snuck during the first dance, a joyful tear on the cheek of a proud parent... everything.

    My wedding day was immortalized - captured beautifully, perfectly. Every time I look through my album or see other weddings that she captured so masterfully, I wish I could do it all over again. I'd recommend SHP to anyone looking for a photographer.
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    Kristen Sent on 01/06/2011
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    Hiring Stephanie to shoot our wedding was one of the best decisions we made! She was amazing from start to finish. She took extra time to do a walk-thru of our venue and was always responsive to my many emails. She was also an huge part of a surprise horse and carriage ride my husband planned and he said she was very helpful. She is amazingly talented and I feel blessed that she was able to shoot our wedding day!! We could not have asked for better than Stephanie. And not only were we pleased with her, but we received so many compliments about our delightful photographer from family and other guests. "She was such a joy to work with" was my mother's remarks. She is professional, talented and sweet. Our pictures were beautiful and she captured so many precious moments, even some we missed! We could not have asked for more!!
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    Robyn Sent on 11/19/2010
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    Stephanie is amazing. She is comfortable and flexible and photography comes so naturally to her. It's almost like you forget she is there, and then you see all of the amazing photos she shot!

    Really, we couldn't have been more pleased with our entire experience with Stephanie, we enjoyed having her as a part of our wedding and couldn't have asked for more beautiful, natural photos.
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    Katrina Sent on 01/02/2015
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    If you want truly incredible wedding photographs that are not just timeless but artistic, you won't hire anyone but Stephanie at Ahava Studios!
    I hired Stephanie to shoot our wedding, as well as to do a boudoir shoot a few months before the wedding. Stephanie made me feel so comfortable during the shoot, and even sent me a couple sneak peaks of pictures that night! She also made an incredible photo book that I gave to my husband as a wedding gift...he loved it of course!
    She captured everything, plus more than we could have hoped for on our wedding day. She really captured every detail, she was like a one woman photography wonder. I don't know how she did it all.
    Something that I really want to emphasis, is what an artistic eye Stephanie has. You can trust her judgement when it comes to backdrops, props, or angles.
    Something that I think turns a lot of people off to a photographer, is the price. You see this number that seems so outrageous to you for pictures, that you just go onto looking for the next photographer who's price seems more, "reasonable". My husband was one of those people. Totally turned off by the price. That is until we got our pictures. Not only were the services provided to us worth every penny that we paid, but after seeing how great everything turned out & how happy we were, we would have paid even more. You really get what you pay for, and Ahava Studios delivers every cent worth.

    Thank you! Zack & Katrina Wright
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    Christina Sent on 05/19/2012
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    My husband and I really regret hiring Stephanie Haller as our photographer for our wedding on September 10, 2011. At the time of our wedding, she was moving from Seattle to New York. Understandably, we expected to have a reasonable delay in getting our pictures back. Instead of the usual 8-10 week turnaround that was promised on our contract, it took several months before we even heard anything about the status of the photos. But that’s not even the main issue. Apparently she had some sort of “software corruption” and was only able to provide us with less than 25% of the pictures we were expecting to choose from. A lot of the shots she sent to us were very dark (I had my eyes closed in quite a few) and certainly did not come close to the quality of work we expected and paid for (even though she told us in our initial meeting that every single shot she took would be edited).

    Stephanie was not up front about this horrible disaster and kept us in the dark for several months. There was a long period of time where she did not return our many emails, phone calls and texts. We had to resort to posting on her Facebook page to get a response from her. We wrote messages on her wall begging her to get back to us, but that still didn’t help. She did, however, manage to find the time to remove the messages from her wall. We felt like stalkers trying to figure out if the pictures other clients’ weddings she shot in September were delivered. We contacted the 2nd photographer she had with her during our wedding, but he didn’t give us much information and played dumb. He obviously knew about what happened, but probably wanted Stephanie to give us the bad news (don’t blame him one bit). You can imagine the stress this caused us. Friends and family kept asking us about our pictures, but we had no news to tell them.

    Finally on December 5, 2011, we got an email from her saying that our “gallery will be up by the end of the week”. A month passed and we still did not get anything from her. Then on January 6, 2012, she responds to one of my texts saying that she hasn’t responded, because she took a 2 week vacation over the holidays, “but will be delivering September weddings this week, so they’re on the way. Thank you for your patience!” We didn’t end up hearing from her until 2 weeks later, which is when she finally confessed about the software corruption. This was several months after the wedding and after many messages to her that went unanswered. Our worst fear was finally confirmed. She explained that she had shipped her hard drive to Australia to a company that specialized in these sorts of issues and that there was no luck in recovering the lost files. My husband and I, along with our family and friends, were completely devastated when she told us the news. We were very disappointed in the pictures she provided. I had 1 picture of myself and my parents (from the 2nd photographer’s camera) and maybe a couple from when I was getting ready. I emailed her a list of the specific shots I wanted her to take, but only got a few acceptable pictures. A question that has yet to be answered is why there was no back up of the raw images. I assumed that she would provide due diligence by having a copy of the raw images on a separate disc(s), but apparently it is not in her process.

    In one of her emails she told me that this was one of the worst things she could go through as a photographer. True, but how much worse is it for the bride and groom? She can have several other weddings in the same month, but my husband and I intend to only have 1 wedding for the rest of our lives. We spent so much time, money, and effort into planning that one day and we barely have any pictures to show for it. Yes, we had friends and family who had their own cameras, but we specifically hired someone, because we wanted pictures that were taken professionally and in the style that we loved of Stephanie’s work. Don’t get me wrong, she has many beautiful images on her website and blog and probably had many wonderful shots of our wedding. She is a talented photographer, but that doesn’t change the fact that our images were lost.

    Though a full refund absolutely does not make us whole (it’s not like we purchased a tangible item that we could take back to a store for a refund), it’s what we expected at the very least since we didn’t get what we paid for. Again, my husband and I intend for this wedding to be the only one we have for the rest of our lives and will not have a chance to do it again. We felt like a full refund was just not enough, but Stephanie reminded us of the contract we originally signed. By signing it, we waived our right to small claims court, so we would have to go into arbitration if we wanted to settle things that way and would end up paying way more than what we did originally. It would cost Stephanie money as well, but she has Photographer’s insurance that would cover those expenses for her. She reminded us that she is only legally obligated to refund us half of what we originally paid, but she was willing to give us a full refund IF we signed a release form agreeing “not to disparage or shed one another in a negative light through any form of written or electronic communication, including the internet.” Not only did we lose out on complete pictures of our wedding, but we couldn’t say anything to anyone about it. We thought that was ridiculous and we were advised by an attorney not to sign it.

    Our attorney created a new form asking her to repay us in full and provide $200 worth of prints of the pictures that were provided and 2 large canvas prints. She agreed to the new contract, but it was hard for us to order prints given the limited number of pictures we could choose from. In fact, I had to use a picture of my dog for one the canvases, because there were so little shots to choose from. My advice to other brides is to not hire Stephanie Haller. Other than being flaky and unresponsive, we thought she was a very nice person and we got along with her very well. She obviously is capable of good work, but are you willing to take such a big chance with such an important day? I was told by Stephanie that I was not the only wedding that was affected. We had a beautiful wedding and we wish so much to have something to show for it.

    Ahava Studios's reply:

    This client's wedding images were recovered in the beginning of 2013 and delivered in full to the client upon post-processing. As we promised, we would not give up until all avenues had been explored for recovery. Gallery access can be provided upon request for proof of delivery. We politely requested an update to the reviews be made by the client a few months ago, but wanted to share the good news in the end.
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