Elopement in Big Sur at Post Ranch Inn

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About Peer

For 30 years Peer Johnson has been a professional photographer. he has photographed over 400 weddings from pebble beach to the cayucos community center & beyond.

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Homework

Attitude

Experience

Philosophy

I have photographed over 400 weddings. I started long ago with 2 years of College level commercial photography at Santa Monica College, 2 years as an assistant wedding planner to Mindy Weiss & 20 years photographing an array of assignments for demanding clients across the U.S. I have honed my creative process in order to expedite the photos of your big day while keeping them fun, loose & you!

Preparedness is paramount to photographing a wedding. Communication with clients is right up there with being prepared. By utilizing those 2 elements & getting to root of what's important for you I can quickly get you images that will last a lifetime. I may go a little off script when I think it's necessary, but I'm usually right on that:)

Being professional is #1. Many of my clients have coworkers, business partners & important family members attending their wedding. I take it very seriously that I am a reflection of you as you chose me for the big day. I always treat your beloved, family & guests with the utmost courtesy & respect. I may get a little bossy with your wedding party - but hey that's only if you want me to:)

I have worked in commercial photography for 2 decades before I photographed my first wedding. This experience has taught me to have everything lined up as it should be, before I take the first pic. I try know who will be there, and why they are important to you. If you have a guest that has flown across continents, and you haven't seen them in a decade, it's my job to know their name before they walk through the door.

Q: What do you find most gratifying about photographing weddings?

A: Definitely people’s stories. I’ve had clients that have life stories that are beyond inspirational. Clients that have lost a parent - watching a bride come down the aisle with her mother or brother on her arm, it’s a really awesome thing. It says, “ok we lost someone we love, but your brothers here for you, let’s go forward”. It’s never lost on me.

I had a bride & groom that were in the service, officers. The groom had lost both his parents young, but he still managed to graduate college, become an officer & was headed toward law school. He did all this himself, AND he had a lot of great friends. His bride made a special batch of cookies with the same recipe his mom used to make for him, she gave it to him before the wedding & told him they were from his mom. We all started crying, even me:) It was a beautiful moment that I’ll never forget.

People want to share their stories, and guests want to share their love for their friends. I’m there to document that, BUT I’ve learned that I can influence that & help to bring it out. I do it by attempting to guide moments throughout the day. You can tell who is really there for the couple & bringing them along for some of those moments can be beneficial.

Q: You’re wife is a Hair Stylist & Makeup Artist, do you work together?

A: We do but we don’t market ourselves together much. We’ve been married for 16 years & we met working on an advertising shoot in L.A. Our careers parallel in terms of starting in commercial work, and then we added weddings to our work. Although she still regularly works in Los Angeles for clients such as Disney & others - the money is just too good. Me however, I only shoot weddings & elopements, nothing else. Chances are anything published in print by Disney in the last 20 years she has done. She also did agency work which had her doing celebrities for the Academy Awards 6 years in a row. She has a laser-like focus when it comes to her craft, a decade of professional level training as well as over 25 years experience doing makeup for photography-film. She’s better than anyone in the county hands down. She also incredible at makeup on different ethnicities. A lot of advertising today is multi-ethnic, so she has it nailed. She’s done over 600 weddings. We both feel that our commercial backgrounds are a huge asset for wedding work. Her name is Rhonda Johnson.

Q: What’s the story behind your name?

A: I’m Norwegian American I guess you would say. It’s a literary name from Henrik Ibsens’ Peer Gynt.

Q: What’s something people may be surprised to learn about you?

A: I was on track for law school at one point in my life. I had segued from photography & went to Pepperdine University Malibu. I had a knack for legal study, so I received my undergrad degree in Poly Sci-Pre Law. During my final year I decided Iit wasn't for me. I finished my degree but went back to photography. The love business is way better than the law business.

Q: What’s do you do for fun?

A: My wife & I have a 14 year old Australian Cattle Dog that is nonstop entertainment. The dog can still run 5 miles or more. We go to the beach, enjoy local wineries & do a lot of sports. I’ve been surfing, kitesurfing, running & swimming for 20+ years. And we travel when we can. We’ve spent a lot of time on Maui, in L.A (where we're from), S.F. & some in NYC. Great food & fun.

Q: What inspires you, professionally & personally?

A: I work with some vendors that are really, really good. There’s also an officiant in Big Sur/Carmel that I was fortunate to do dozens of weddings with over the years. The way he talks to everyone is incredible. He realizes that everyone has something to share during the ceremony, he’ll stop the nuptials & ask the mom if she’s can see everything & if she’s happy - in the middle of the ceremony! It’s so organic & important that it elevates the emotion, it’s makes the climax of the day that much more intense. The ceremony is the peak of the day, if that peak is low due to a lackluster officiant, then the bar for emotion is low. The reverse is also true. If people see others expressing their feelings, they’re more comfortable doing the same. I’ve seen this man make everyone cry & express their emotion, it changes the vibe of the entire day.

Q: Anything else you think brides should know about you?

A: I keep costs low because I don't do extensive advertising or bridal shows. I don't spend any time doing "stylized" photoshoots and all that fluff. Every single image you see on my site or blog was taken at a REAL wedding. I just focus on shooting great images & bringing my "A" game every time. I keep it simple, do my homework on every couple & things work out well always. I won The Knot's Best of Weddings 8 years in a row for a reason.

Fun Facts...

I think dumb comedy is actually funny. Movies like Elf, Caddy Shack & Anchorman are absolutely awesome! Bridesmaids the movie is beyond words, I think I cried laughing after it.

Having 60% of the pictures on my "About" page being either my dog or me surfing should tell you something!

I am a huge fan of the Irish band The Pogues. I must have been Irish in a past life. I totally love their lyrics & music, they're incredible. Saw them twice, never forget it!

I am a big kayak-fisherman. I've hooked 5 sharks by kayak & landed 3. One was 8' & 200+ lbs. but I lost him. The others were under 100 lbs. Many people think I'm crazy for going offshore where I do but I'm careful & prepared.

My wife & I have dressed up our dog before. More than once to be honest. We have also dressed up our cat years back.

I have had a lot of good wine over the years. Favorites include, a 2015 Halter Ranch CDP, Thacher reds & some French wines believe it or not. I got my hands on a case SF Chronicle Sweepstakes winner someone sold me for 50% off. It was awesome. It helps to have some connections in the wine industry & Paso Robles is right over the hill.

I have been to Maui 14 times (10 times with my wife). I have spent over a year & half on island. I totally love the Hawaiian culture & system of Aloha, Pono & respect. It just makes so much sense to live your life based on those principles. And, once you begin practicing them, you see them in others.

Call 805.395.0175 or fill out the contact form here.

Knot Best Of Peer Johnson