Recommended by 100%
14 User photos
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!!Sent on 12/10/2016
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.Sent on 08/16/2016
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!Sent on 08/11/2016
Dorothy · Married on 05/21/2016
Qualities I look for in a friend: Thoughtful. Kind. Trustworthy. Caring. Patient. Dependable. Encouraging. Supportive. Funny.Sent on 06/11/2016
Qualities I look for in a professional: Respectful. Passionate. Confident. Personable. Dedicated. Equally technical as creative.
Qualities I found in John Yao: ALL OF THE ABOVE.
First of all, it was truly amazing to watch John work; it was captivating to see the passion pouring out of him through every move he made, every word he had to say about each shot, and every time he took in a new surrounding presented to him. I could pinpoint the very moment his creativity would run wild; the moment I knew when all the images of lighting and timing, placement and angles would flash across his head like a film reel and his eyes would light up like a little boy at Christmas. I can promise you, nothing reassures your choice in a photographer than seeing the passion and dedication behind one's work unfold before your eyes.
The next thing that sealed the deal for me? Comfortability. See, there are those who love the camera; those who know how to engage the camera; those who come alive in front of the camera...and then there are those who get anxiety just thinking about ever having to be in front of a camera. Hi. Of course, John reassured me as any photographer would (even after I shamelessly told him how to do his job just to accommodate my fears) but I still had my doubts about being awkward, walking funny, and flashing a smile worth turning into a meme. Yet all these were quickly negated about five minutes into meeting John. It truly takes a lot to make someone feel comfortable in their most vulnerable moments. It's not a skill you can learn; it's not a degree you can major in...it's a characteristic you must possess. John embodies this and more in life and his work is a living testimony to it.
So keep searching for a photographer if you don't want to be disappointed...but STOP searching if you want to BLOW YOUR MIND WITH AWESOMENESS.
Ana · Married on 05/07/2016
John is so unbelievably talented that it is actually difficult to find words that fit his abilities. When we started the wedding planning process, we looked at more photographers than we can remember. A friend of ours used SimplyTwo for her engagement/wedding photography and we were blown away by the photos. Once we saw John’s work we knew our photographer search was over. We first spoke to John via Skype and he instantly reaffirmed our suspicion that he was the perfect photographer for us. John took the time to get to know us as a couple and as people and worked to incorporate our personalities into our engagement and wedding photos. It never felt like we were posing for photos or “in front of the lens.” John made us feel like we were old friends hanging out for a day. He is adventurous and even a bit daring with his attempt to get the perfect photo. If you’re willing to go for it, so is John. SimplyTwo far exceeded our wildest expectations. The photos are spectacular and the professionalism and warmth that John brings is even more spectacular. Finding John was a blessing and we are so incredibly thankful that he lent us his talented eye for our sacred day.Sent on 07/10/2016
User6521467 · 2+ years ago
John is exceptionally excellent! For anyone who has planned for any type of photoshoot (engagement, wedding, etc), it can be a wonderfully exciting, nerve-racking and blink-of-an-eye fast paced experience that we all hope can be timelessly captured in these memorable photos. And, in the midst of the hustle and bustle surrounding you and your loved ones, John Yao is that calming buoy in the sea of energy that provides steady direction and guidance. John is professional, respectful and skilled. During both our engagement and wedding shoots, it was easy to see how passionate and invested he was in us and our families. He was responsive in his communication with us during both these shoots as well as in the months in between. His empathy and understanding of our important day allowed him to anticipate our needs in such an easy-going manner. And, when the day was over and there was time to digest all the events of the day, we were so thankful for John's generosity and flexibility in his time and energy to creating such a smooth experience. John is a good man, and we are so happy to have had him be part of our special days.Sent on 03/25/2016
User5129134 · 2+ years ago
We got married on Feb 2016. There is a reason he has so many wonderful reviews. John makes taking pictures fun and relaxing. Even my husband, who didn't like taking pictures felt comfortable and had fun when we did our engagement pictures and wedding pictures. Our bridal party said that it was one of the most enjoyable bridal party photos they had ever taken. John has a wonderful way of explaining the shots he wants and have us execute them without us feeling awkward. John's editing skills are also top notch and the wedding previews we have received have gotten great responses from us and from all our friends. Lastly, both my husband and I had busy schedules and John was very accommodating in scheduling meet ups, communication, and our engagement shoot.Sent on 04/06/2016
User6632570 · 2+ years ago
John was our photographer for our wedding and it was awesome! Our photos turned out beautifully and we were able to relive the day when looking through them. It was so fun to look through the photos from a different angle than we had experienced. He was great to work with and helped everyone feel comfortable throughout the whole day. He has an upbeat and fun personality which made working with him easy and enjoyable. When we first met him, it was like we already knew him and he was a great friend! Everyone from ourselves to our families, friends and vendors all enjoyed working with him. He has a great eye for detail and capturing the perfect frame. He is also creative which resulted in a stunning last shot of the night with a glowing arch and the beautiful San Diego skyline in the back! We highly recommend John for his work! Just do it.Sent on 04/24/2016
Thank you, John! We love our photos! :)
Amy · Married on 12/12/2015
It's true what they say about weddings... "If there's one thing you splurge on, make sure you're happy with your wedding photos." Without a doubt, we knew John Yao would have us covered the moment we chose him to be our wedding photographer.Sent on 12/29/2015
John has an eye for angles, lighting and backdrops. He knows his locations well and is able to work in almost any environment. He makes pictures look flawless through a lens. He suggested a great location for us to snap some sunset shots before our reception that turned out magical. When my husband and I saw some of the highlighted pictures John featured on his blog, we couldn't stop looking at them. Each one was near perfection and our wedding party loved the photos.
John's got a positive spirit about him. He's down-to-earth, easy to work with and yes... a dog-lover. Some photographers give a unique vibe where it may be uncomfortable as you shoot photos throughout the day... But not John. He makes it feel like you've known him forever. We knew that was important and wanted to be comfortable with our photographer.
John earned our trust from the get go. He was very quick to respond to our emails, text messages and phone calls. There's something about a quick response that builds reliability and trust. He made us feel comfortable each step of the way leading up to the wedding and the day of. On the day of our wedding, John showed up earlier than the time he said he would and stayed until the very end with us. This is something I appreciate because it shows he really cares about his work and not about watching the clock. He sent us a preview photo 2 days after the wedding and we were featured on his blog 4 days after. His quick ability to develop, edit and post highlighted photos from our wedding kept us on our "wedding high" for days.
Thank you John for capturing our special day in the South Bay!
Della · Married on 12/05/2015
John Yao = A.W.E.S.O.M.E.Sent on 01/10/2016
People told us photography and videography are important for your wedding day (they are the actual artifacts you will have decades from now). We did so many comparisons before deciding that SimplyTwo (our photographer) was definitely worth it!!
What we looked for:
1. Quality and recentness of portfolio: A full time & dedicated professional who take awesome pictures.
2. Quality of pictures with people in it: Natural and recognizable faces – seeing people for who they really are (no forced smiles/poses), without any body parts (e.g. foreheads, hair, arms, feet, dress) being cut off.
3. Quality of pictures with the environment: Pictures that are proportional, balanced, aligned correctly, and centered especially with other vertical/horizontal lines.
4. Quality of pictures: Natural and real – not photoshopped. Light balanced and professional.
5. Quality of wedding portfolio: Tell the story of the whole wedding timeline and show the guests too. We want a lot of pictures. =)
6. Reference: We want to know that our vendors will not run off with our money without providing the products we paid for. Our friends had good experiences with SimplyTwo.
7. Albums: The quality of the albums (materials, quality of pages, quality of cover, longevity, actual pictures, alignment, spacing, etc.) matters.
8. Style: Our photographer has to have his style that also matches ours.
9. Personality: Someone with a great personality and who knows how to make people feel comfortable, smile, and have fun! Punctual, hard-working, and responsive.
10. Price: We spent a bit more than expected, but John Yao also went above & beyond our expectations! Worth it!!
We can’t wait to get all of our pictures and album! We know we will be WOW’ed again!! Book SimplyTwo and John Yao will WOW you too!!!!!
Tina · Married on 11/14/2015
This review is long overdue but let me start off by saying how glad we are that we had found John as our photographer. He made the whole process very easy and was able to deal with a very indecisive bride who didn't give him much to go on. John was able to give us great shots that captured our day perfectly that was also creative. I have to say that the day of the wedding goes by so quick that it is such a blur. I am so glad he was able to capture all the moments from the wedding day that I remembered and didn't remember.Sent on 10/24/2016
Ian · Married on 10/11/2015
John is simply amazing. From the interview process to now, he has been far beyond succeed our expectations. His creativity and unorthodox methods allows him to be unique and efficient. His passion speaks for itself and it provides the marrying couple with ease even when everything else goes wrong. He deserves to be applauded.Sent on 10/26/2015
Christina · Married on 10/10/2015
We <3 John. We used John for our engagement shoot and for the wedding. John's chill vibe is what you need on a crazy wedding day. He puts everyone at ease amidst the craziness. John was flexible and professional while wrangling unexpected amateur self-appointed family member videographers & photographers. Thank you so much!Sent on 10/25/2015
User5023982 · 2+ years ago
John is super flexible and easy to work with. He's really quick over email and was able to accommodate pretty much most of our needs. He makes everyone involved in the photo process feel really comfortable, which is key to great photos! He was even able to accommodate a rush request for some pictures that we needed earlier and instead of just sending us a few pictures that we asked for he sent us even more! Appreciate the extra effort he puts in!Sent on 03/07/2016
Yun and Jenny · Married on 09/12/2015
We had John from SimplyTwo Photography do our engagement photos and wedding photos. He was very professional and friendly at the same time, very easy to work with. He figured out great spots to take pictures and gave us just enough direction. At the wedding he made sure to get all the family pictures and took lead to make sure we got all the pictures we needed in a timely fashion in order to keep the flow of the wedding going. The engagement photos he took were awesome and all our friends and family loved them. We haven't received the wedding photos yet, but are sure they will turn out great too.Sent on 10/23/2015
We would definitely recommend John to anyone that is looking to have a great experience with a photographer.
Lily · Married on 08/22/2015
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). :PSent on 09/10/2015
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!
User5388055 · 2+ years ago
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!Sent on 08/28/2015
Daniel · Married on 08/01/2015
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.Sent on 05/21/2015
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.
Lynn · Married on 07/26/2015
This is such an overdue review since we got married in 2015..but finally getting around to it :0)Sent on 06/19/2017
We are so happy that John was our wedding photographer! He is so easy to get along with and made being in front of the camera a breeze! We shot our engagement photos at Disneyland and I've always hated "being center of attention" and people staring..but John was able to talk us through the shoot and basically I completely forgot about the people around us and was able to focus just on the hubs!
I would wholeheartedly recommend John to anyone who needs a photographer! He's amazing at what he does..and great company too! Can't wait to work with him again!
Loan · Married on 07/25/2015
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.Sent on 08/04/2015
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
Grace · Married on 07/05/2015
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. ***Sent on 07/23/2015
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.
Grace · Married on 06/13/2015
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?Sent on 10/02/2015
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
Alison · Married on 05/24/2015
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!!Sent on 12/25/2014
david · Married on 05/24/2015
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!!!Sent on 09/10/2015
User5305249 · 2+ years ago
Do it! You know you want him!Sent on 07/30/2015
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 :)