Valorie Darlin

It’s so nice to meet you. My professional life feels similar to that of a Nat Geo wildlife photographer, but instead of studying the plumage and behaviors of tropical birds, I’ve come to know the poetry of people, our ceremonies and the intimacies that add up to love. My craft is to capture these moments of meaning and beauty in a true and honoring light so we may return to them – be inspired by them – and pass them forward. The reward is the friendships that bloom from meeting in these moments of aliveness, friendships that evolve into something more like family in documenting this great adventure together. I shoot weddings, boudoir, fashion and lifestyle and have learned that the best shots are the real ones, the moments of presence that come from a comfort and a whole team that cares mostly about you enjoying a moment that will only exist once. I’m a hometown girl from Washington State who grew up with a hunger to experience the world and a call to the California beach life. My photography career actually bloomed from a passion for social activism. Almost a decade ago, I co-founded an arts program for foster kids in South Central LA called SoCal HeArts to offer creative activities cut from public schools to nurture well-rounded children and their dreams. A few years in, I got a camera to document the work and found my calling. Poetic justice I guess. I’ve shot nearly 150 weddings now with a team I’ve had since the beginning. The experience and trust between us makes for a comfort, creativity and track record that I couldn’t be more proud of. I am now able to live my dream of shooting a smaller number of weddings and editorial opportunities that push my artistry while continuing to creatively direct and oversee the incredible work of my team. I fell in love with my partner, Brian, after volunteering my camera in support of a travel company he founded to invest in ecosystems and communities, so it’s been a time of inspiration and adventure!
My camera became my vehicle to pursue every evolving passion. All my life I’ve been a dancer and my love for movement, composition and choreography translated not only in the imagery but is why I came to love weddings. They are these impassioned, layered dances that push me and push the art. They require me to be so many things – a timekeeper, a choreographer, a stylist, an art director, a friend and part of the family. I’m dreaming of Japan, South Africa, Iceland and a safari in October with our Kin family. I’m developing a course and workshop process for aspiring wedding photographers, so I see joy and meaning in serving the dreams of others now unfolding.

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