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My name is Zai, and I live with my loves in a little Key West-style house by the South East Coast of Florida. It's in this home that I work many days of the week, snuggled up on my couch with our dog, Lady Bird, and binge-watching something on Netflix while I edit.

My heart is happiest when I'm exploring a new place, camera in hand. I get the most joy out of hiking, gardening, traveling, eating different foods, exploring new cultures, the outdoors, being wonderfully weird and gathering with the humans I love.

I've been photographing love since 2010, and to be honest, this all happened by chance. I had moved to a new town to pursue a career in journalism, and as I was unpacking, I found a dusty old film camera I'd bought on eBay some time back. Knowing no one in my new town, that camera became my only friend. What a wonderful journey it has been since then.

In 2015, I took the leap and quit my job as a newspaper writer to be a full-time photographer. I believe my prior work as a journalist is so very closely related to my work now as a photographer. Journalism is a profoundly intimate career - to be great at it, you must make people feel instantly comfortable with you and build a deeply trusting relationship in a short amount of time. That's what I found always got me the best interviews. That's 100 percent transferable to the kind of photography I do. Making people feel like friends allows me to capture genuine connections and those messy, real love kinda moments that are so authentically beautiful, and sometimes awesomely awkward and funny. To me, that is everything. Laughter, quirkiness, ugly crying, bear hugs - I want it all.

WHAT'S IT LIKE WORKING WITH ME?

My client/photographer relationships often feel like friendships. I hug you when I see you and I talk to you like we've known each other for years. That helps make you comfortable and open around me, which is so important.
With brides and grooms, I am as involved as they want me to be during the planning process. I'm happy to help make timelines, suggest vendors and I'm here for you if you need help choosing the right dress or veil. I love helping with these details even if it's beyond my duties, so never be shy to ask me. Seriously - text me a picture of your gown options. I got you.
On wedding days, I like to arrive at the tail end of the bride and groom getting ready. I'll photograph the details that, when put together, make up the story of your day. During the ceremony, I'm capturing images of the two of you as you exchange vows, but also of the emotions happening in the crowd.
While I do direct for portraits, my heart is happiest when I get to capture the non-scripted moments. The stolen kisses, the inside jokes - all of that. I guide you with questions and cues to allow these moments to naturally happen. And I joke around a lot, so there's that.
For the reception part of the day, I'm a fly on the wall, kinda. I like to let the day play out and just be a documenter of it all. I'm not on the sidelines, though, I'm all up in the dance circle, getting up close and personal with the fun moments. That's how I get the best expressions and dance moves!
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