Recommended by 100%
Zongwei · Married on 08/04/2018
Creative, professional, fun photographer
John is a wonderful photographer and true professional. If we had to do it over again, my wife and I would choose John again in a heartbeat.
We initially looked into John because my wife's sister was a huge fan of John's work (via Instagram). If you haven't seen John's portfolio, take a look and you'll be blown away by the epic shots he manages to create. After video chatting with him, my wife and I both felt comfortable booking him.
Throughout the months before the wedding, John was always very flexible and responsive. It's true that he becomes a friend along the way. When we finalized our day-of schedule a few weeks before the date, we realized we would need an extra half hour from what we had booked to capture all of the getting ready shots. We offered to pay for it, but John graciously came by earlier at no charge.
On the day of the wedding, John was the ultimate professional. He stayed on schedule and was able to magically come up with great shot ideas on the fly. Our entire wedding party had a lot of fun taking photos with John, and they came out *amazing*.
Thank you for doing such a phenomenal job capturing our big day!
YuanQing · Married on 06/09/2018
John was one of the very first vendors we booked (pretty much at the same time as the venue)! I've followed his work for years on his website/blog and I've always known I'd want to use John as my photographer. He is an absolute professional and captured gorgeous shots. Most importantly, he made everyone feel comfortable. My husband and I are not the camera ready type but John was able to make it work! He put everyone at ease so that the photos come out natural. John is also great with wrangling all the family members for the family shots. He speaks Chinese so that made it easier for my side of the family. My husband's family had to re-do one of the large group shots since one person had missed the first shot, and John was just super patient and accommodating. I would highly recommend him and SimplyTwo for your wedding and engagement photography!
Luke · Married on 05/19/2018
John is an awesome photographer: he produced very high quality pictures at our wedding, made our life very easy on wedding day, and was very personable with us. From our engagement shoot to wedding day photography, he made us feel very comfortable in front of the camera. Our wedding party, family members and a number of our guests raved about him throughout the night. We feel that not only did we receive good work from John, but also made a friend in the process.
We highly recommend his photography services!
Emma · Married on 03/24/2018
STOP LOOKING! John has the finesse, experience, and talent like no other photographer (evidence: his portfolio). I’ve been following John’s work since my undergraduate years because we happened to be from the same university. I loved his pictures even before he started his SimplyTwo business. I knew from the start that I wanted him to be my wedding photographer HANDS DOWN. So that was like…8-ish years ago?? I kept him in the back of my mind all those years and it was totally worth the wait. He was the first thing I booked in terms of wedding items (that’s right…even before I had a reception venue). And praise God that it all worked out. We had one meeting over video chat to talk about any ideas we wanted to use for our pictures and places to shoot. We were worried about the timing of getting all our ideas and when was the best time to take the pictures (e.g. time of day). With John’s experience, he was able to help us develop a timeline and it made things so easy. During our engagement shoot, John was totally down to take the photos my fiancé (now husband) planned with the props that we made. He even threw in his own ideas and they turned out awesome. Even for the pictures where we didn’t have props, John basically led us in positioning us and tell us to try out different poses. Everything went smoothly and we both felt comfortable during the entire time. He even would tell me when my bangs had an awkward part in them so I can fix it (you girls know what I mean...MAJOR POINTS FOR THIS!) The pictures for the wedding day were also just as awesome. We were tight on schedule but John made sure he had a good amount of pictures of my husband and myself. I can definitely tell that his priority was to spend as much time as possible with us so we could have a good library of pictures to look back on. I’m so glad that I was able to work with John and would 1000% recommend him.
Bri · Married on 03/03/2018
John is an incredible photographer. I have been following his work for over 15 years. He has always had a wonderful eye for great shots and continues to get better with time! I always thought, "It would be super cool to have him take my pictures when I get married...." When the time finally came to find a wedding photographer, I wasn't sure if it would work out, but was so happy it did.
Our engagement shoot was so much fun, and we were so at ease with John. I loved so many of our pictures! But most of all, what stood out from our engagement shoot was how kind and considerate John was in scheduling. We originally were going to have to leave CA in the evening after our shoot and get back to AZ in the middle of the night, but John graciously rearranged his schedule to get us back at a reasonable hour.
When our wedding weekend came, he was a pro and did a great job scouting out a spot to take pictures with our wedding party. John worked well with all of our friends and family. I was never worried about the quality of our pictures and knew with John that I would have great and incredible shots for us to share with our family and remember our wedding day! Without a doubt, I highly recommend John, but his photos speak for themselves!
tammy · Married on 11/18/2017
SimplyTwo should just be named SIMPLY AMAZING!!!!!
Planning a wedding, as you all might come to find, is a pretty stressful thing. You might find yourself reading review after review and visiting website after website to find THE photographer (not like finding THE ONE isn't hard enough). Well, I can assure you that you can stop your search now because you just found THE photographer, JOHN!!!!
John, John, John, where shall we start. John is just amazing. We knew from our initial email that John was our guy. We're very impatient people and need answers right away and John could not answer our questions any faster. He never left us hanging and always always ALWAYS responded within 2-3 hours, which is AMAZING since other vendors sometimes took days to respond. John made the whole process super easy and stress free.
We booked John for an engagement and full day wedding service. Due to our busy schedules, we had to reschedule our engagement session multiple times. John was super cool about the rescheduling and worked with our busy schedules. He never gave us a hard time for changing dates and times on him. Our first time meeting John was at our first engagement session location. John took the time to explain to us the whole process, which made it more comfortable and way less awkward. I loved how we were able to be ourselves in front of John. Felt like we knew him for a long time, but merely 30 minutes went by since we met.
Skipping to the BIG DAY....
As the actual wedding day started, I felt a huge relief when I saw John out of all the people that we're there. I knew John got my back and I trusted in his vision. He was a vendor that we definitely did not have to stress about that day. He made it fun for us and our bridal party during pictures. He allowed us to be us and encouraged us to go outside of the box.
We highly encourage you to email John NOW! Can't wait to see the rest of our pics! Thank you John for helping us capture our big day!
Alice · Married on 11/05/2017
John is freaking amazing. We're usually so awkward with attention and taking pictures but he made the photoshoot experience so fun and easy. We only had a location in mind for the engagement photos but had no idea what exactly we wanted to do. John was down to travel out with us to the desert and just help us capture the moments as they happened. He had a methodological approach in his photo taking that somehow still felt spontaneous. He would find inspiration in the most random things and turn it into photography magic. John was also fantastic at helping us create some artsier shots aside from the traditional cute couple poses. During the wedding, our wedding party and families had a blast working with him as well. He even handled our amateur photographer uncle like a champ (we forgot to warn John about him). We initially thought we were just getting a photographer but now we also have a friend for life! Book him early as his schedule fills up fast! Bonus: he's a dog person!
Patrice · Married on 10/21/2017
Newly engaged? Hire John Yao as your wedding photographer!
I came across John’s work since he and my brother are college buddies and he ended up shooting my brother’s wedding. Not only did I admire the artistry and quality of his photos, I was also impressed by the way he professionally and tactfully handled my photo eager (aka pushy) relatives when they tried to get their own photos in. Fast forward a year and a half, once A and I were engaged there were two things that we knew. #1: A wanted milk tea catered at the wedding. #2: I wanted John as our photographer. We had our priorities.
We first contacted John 10 months before our wedding and luckily were able to book him for our wedding date! He first initiated a video chat with us to get some input on our personal style and then would promptly respond to all of our email inquiries. Come engagement session photos, John kept A and I at ease with his fun and quirky personality…though be sure to budget extra time for dog encounters as John will greet every dog that comes his way. He does not need any micromanaging: We had a general location (Golden Gate Park and Sutro Baths in SF), and John was able to make the most random path into an artist’s set.
When it came wedding time, John was not just prompt but came AHEAD of schedule to get some extra shots. He is efficient when directing our group photos and guides us into authentic poses. Following the wedding, I asked John for a couple photos for thankyou cards and he sent over 20! We got our full wedding photo set about 4 months after the wedding and I couldn’t be happier with the product. The pictures speak for themselves – they’re clean and vibrant and capture A and I looking relaxed and joyful. I have no regrets hiring John – he’s a professional, photo nerd, artist, and friend.
Elizabeth · Married on 10/07/2017
Simply put, John from SimplyTwo Photography is beyond amazing. I'll admit I was hesitant at first because our wedding was taking place in Michigan. I imagined it would be a logistical nightmare, but my husband-to-be had worked with John before in his sister's wedding and, with his steadfast trust in John's work, convinced me to choose SimplyTwo. Our first conversation with John immediately put my fears to rest. He was charismatic, passionate about his work, and his refreshingly original personality was evident from the very beginning. We knew the added logistics of getting him to Michigan would be well worth it. After working with John for our engagement session, we couldn't imagine having any other photographer. The photos were stunning and beyond our expectations. Now, with the wedding pictures in hand, I can honestly say John from SimplyTwo Photography was the best decision we made throughout the entire wedding process. His love for weddings, photography, great lighting, and golden retrievers sets him above and beyond the rest. Thank you, John! You made a special day even more perfect!
Giang · Married on 09/23/2017
WOW! Is all I can say about John. John may seem very laid back but he is nothing but professional in his work. He is easy to talk to and his work is amazing. My wife and I were probably John's least comfortable couple in front of the camera but by the end of our engagement session shoot he had us functioning like professionals. My wife and I just had our wedding this past weekend with a few hiccups in the day but John was calm and collected and just rolled with the issues and made them work. From my mother in law not being back in time from the makeup artist to start the tea ceremony or having one of our locations being unexpected closed for renovations, John was able to fill in the lost time with meaningful pictures and was able to find the beauty of any spot work regardless of literally a moat of water blocking us from our ideal photo shoot location. Simply Two is simply the best!
Michelle · Married on 09/09/2017
I don't know where to begin with John...
From the moment we contacted him to the moment we dropped him off at the airport after our wedding, we never felt more relieved and at peace. My husband and I never had a single worry that our photos would not be "up to par". Photoshoots are definitely not in our everyday lifestyle, so we knew that we would be difficult to work with. However that didn't stop John! He definitely made us feel so comfortable that by the time the photoshoot was done, we couldn't believe how fast time had flown by. In simpler words, it wasn't a photoshoot but purely hanging out with a friend who loved to take photos :)
As a bride, you want EVERYTHING to be PERFECT! After 13 months of strenuous planning, I was determined to make sure that nothing went wrong on the day-of. Being able to have John there by our side to assist in making sure that we got all the perfect shots at the perfect locations took a HUGE burden off of our shoulders.
Not only did we get lucky with an incredible photographer, but we ended up gaining an incredible friend! John, until the next time we meet (hint: conversation about babies).
Joanna · Married on 08/26/2017
John is a master of his craft. As an amateur photographer, I wanted someone who could go beyond the "standard" shots. We hired John for both our engagement and wedding photos and he did not disappoint. He knew how to handle tricky lighting situations and was incredibly creative with his composition. I nearly had a bridezilla moment during our engagement shoot when my dream sunset shot in Malibu was threatened by a thick layer of fog. The sun never did appear, but the mysterious feel of the photos made that set one of our favorites.
Hau · Married on 08/12/2017
John is a true professional. He was punctual and communicative from the start and made the whole process very smooth and easy. My wife and I are camera shy but John's great personality helped put us at ease. I would definitely recommend his service to other couples who are looking for a wedding photographer. On a side note, his ability to speak Chinese and English really helped with my older folks. Thanks John! you did an amazing job for Dannelle and I.
Karen · Married on 06/24/2017
John Yao is literally the best thing that happened to our wedding, besides us actually getting married, no joke. He completely surpassed every expectation we had and is worth every penny and more. He is skilled and passionate about his work. We could not stop saying “wow” when he gave us a sneak peek of our photos.
Working his magic:
John is truly a master of his craft – turning ordinary trees into enchanted forests and the happy, photo-awkward couple into supermodels. He is also a photographer that puts people at ease. Hubs (a.k.a. husband) is so camera shy that we barely have any nice, normal pictures of us while we were dating. However, he had a blast taking pictures when John was behind the camera.
A true friend in him:
The best thing about working with John is that he really becomes a friend, one that you can count on having your back always. We never had to worry about him as a vendor with his timely responses (a few times past 1AM) and experienced evaluation of how to realistically accomplish our photography goals. The backstage of the wedding day felt like a hot mess, but John remained calm amongst the chaos and helped me and Hubs see past all the craziness. We did not realize how much time we would be spending with the photographer on our big day, much more than most of our friends and family. Being able to spend it with a photographer-friend who truly cares about us made it that much more special.
Ian · Married on 03/25/2017
John is a master at what he does. A true artist with a huge dedication to his craft. He is super friendly and accommodating and shot some masterful pieces for our engagement and wedding. I would definitely recommend him for his craft! He's a real stud and you won't be disappointed!
Angel · Married on 02/11/2017
Awesome quality for the value, would highly recommend him! John is really good at capturing the moments that are important and can get amazing shots out of what seems so ordinary or would be difficult to get a good photo. It shows how he is really good at his trade. Also he's very personable and great to work with!
Chris · Married on 12/16/2016
We met John at our friends wedding in Lake Tahoe back in 2015. Right off the bat, I could tell there was something pretty special about the guy and it wasn’t his fancy camera gear or good taste in watches. What captured my attention was the amount of knowledge and passion he had for photography. He truly understood that photography is not just “point and shoot” but should be more about story telling. We could have hired any photographer in the world but his easy- going personality and artistry were some of the main reasons why we hired him for our wedding in Bali.
Since we were having a destination wedding, I wanted to make sure that the photographer was someone not good, but great. He was extremely professional and fun to be around. This guy was willing to be away from family for about a week, and was willing to fly over 20 hours around the world to be our photographer. That tells you something about how dedicated he is to his clients and work. We spent 4 days with him and not once did we hear any complaints. As expected, the guy did an amazing job. His high attention to detail and relaxed personality made everything a lot easier for us. He’s definitely someone who would go above and beyond to get the job done. I would definitely hire him again.
Albert · Married on 10/09/2016
Just go with SimplyTwoPhotography! John is an absolute pleasure to work with and just plain 'ol relaxing and fun. After the first engagement session we were pleasantly surprised by his keen eye for lighting and just overall framing of every single shot. When I say every single shot... i MEAN every single shot. It was amazing. So we booked him for our wedding as well as for an additional white dress shoot the day after the wedding! His personality makes him so easy to work with. He was able to make us both feel comfortable enough to hop out of our comfort zones for some fun shots as well.. John is also a creative genius working with landscapes, wind, and even a full on night shoot (which came out crazy awesome). We love John's work!
Susan and Alex · Married on 10/08/2016
Pictures speak for themselves right....well behind every picture, there is a photographer. For my wife and I, we were very fortunate to have the most amazing photographer on board for our wedding...John of SimplyTwo Photography. I'm writing this review not only to speak about Johns eye for detail, his understanding of composition, framing and lighting, and his ability to produce stunning photos, but I'm here to speak about John's responsiveness, his organizational skills, and his ability to make the couples, families and kids that he is photographing feel comfortable. He has a way with his words and his character really comes out in the photos...Lighthearted, Fun, Natural, Cool, Composed, Intriguing, Professional...just to name a few characteristics. My wife and I enjoyed interacting with him prior to, during, and after the wedding. We enjoyed seeing him work and we really love the work he produces out of it. If his main purpose in being a photographer is to capture the most memorable moments in a very organized and easy going fashion, while still producing stunning photos, than he has accomplished that...plus some....plus some more. Thanks John.
Connie · Married on 10/01/2016
John John John... what can I say about you except that you are the funniest, more quirky yet professional photographer I've ever met? You helped keep things light-hearted and organized, despite my crazy family taking forever to get in the shot you needed. You even broke out your mandarin and I was duly impressed. Thanks for all your hard work and witty self! Can't wait to see the final products :)
Phi · Married on 09/30/2016
John Yao is more than just a guy who takes your photos. He is an artist who can work in any situation. Working with John, his philosophy seemed to be that the happier we were, the more fun we were having, the better the pictures will look - and the pictures look great! During your most stressful, chaotic times, John is a calming presence, reliable, fun, and professional. A few hours with John and he becomes one of your buddies. So many of our guests have complimented John's personable qualities and photos. He knows how to achieve the "wow" effect, which is pretty much everyone's reaction when seeing his photos. He is great at navigating through different personalities and difficult situations in order to make you feel comfortable and happy with your special day. When you go with Simply Two, you're going to have a good time, you're going to look good doing it, and when it's all said and done you'll have your most cherished memories captured by its full beauty
Jane · Married on 09/18/2016
I’ve been following photography websites/blogs for the past few years, so when time came to pick our own wedding photographer, I had a few lined up in mind already. However, my fiancé strongly recommended John because many of his friends hired John and highly recommend him. So, we went with John & I AM SO HAPPY we did. His down to earth personality quickly put us both at ease and his eye for light and beauty is amazing. At the end of our engagement session which was over 100 degrees, we both felt like a million bucks after spending a few hours with him. He is very encouraging, uplifting and you will just go wow after wow when you see the photos. On the wedding day, again, he blended right in with all our family/friends, making everyone comfortable and did an absolutely beautiful job. He got to see some of his friends/clients and i am so thankful we could become one of them! :)
Stephanie · Married on 09/17/2016
We are very happy to have had John be our photographer on our special day! John is keen to detail and really pays close attention to his clients' vision. He was able to capture the most beautiful pictures in just the right lighting. I highly recommend SimplyTwo for engagement and wedding pictures! Thanks, John!!
Liana · Married on 07/02/2016
About 5 years ago, John was the photographer for one of my best friend's wedding and I had the honor of being in it. As soon as I saw John's work from that day, I knew I would want him to be my own wedding photographer one day.
Fast forward 5 years to when we got engaged, we didn't even bother looking up other photographers because we knew immediately that we wanted to book with SimplyTwo Photography. Since we live in SF, our correspondence with John was primarily through phone and email - he was so quick with his responses and follow-up it was as if he was just down the street. Not only that, John was very flexible in working with us around scheduling and the logistics of booking his flights up to San Francisco.
Engagement photos - John worked with us on multiple locations throughout SF. He has an incredible eye for detail, depth, color, lighting and everything else in between. He made us feel comfortable through it all and we never felt awkward or forced. John could immediately envision certain types of shots upon arrival to a new location and from that point on it was smooth sailing. Once we got the engagement photos, all of our friends and family raved about how incredible they looked and it got us even more excited for what was in store for us on our actual wedding day.
Wedding day photos - John worked with us for the entire day. He made our entire wedding party, family and friends feel so comfortable and at ease. John's ability to quickly identify amazing shots in every new location resulted in the most unique, creative and memorable photos that no one else would be able to capture. The photos truly captured the magic of the day.
We are so glad we were able to have John for both our engagement and wedding photos - he is hands-down the best decision we made amongst all the craziness of wedding planning. Do yourself a favor and book him as soon as you get engaged!!
Tina · Married on 06/18/2016
I highly recommend John to be involved in your engagement/wedding photography. From the start, before we even signed our contract, he was so quick and helpful in responding to the millions of questions we had for him! We received so many compliments from our guests about how charming and friendly John was as he worked at our wedding. He arrived early, without charge, to get a head start on taking photos for us and was so easy and fun to work with throughout the entire wedding. He helped everyone relax and did an outstanding job of making everyone smile and laugh. Not only that, his photos stand out among other photographers as being simply magical. Our wedding was a fairy tale for us, and he captured it exactly like it was. We are so happy with the memories we are now able to see and have in our home forever, as well as the friendship we developed with him throughout the whole process. John is the best and if I had to go back again, I would hire him again. If he cost double of what he charged us, I would still hire him again. He is worth it!