We are a wedding photography studio based in the San Francisco Bay Area and specialize in joyful, emotive, documentary-style wedding photography.
Bre Thurston ('like-the-cheese')
Born and raised in California I am completely in love with our rolling golden hills, warm days, and welcoming culture. I've been married for 13 years and have two amazing children, Reid (10) and Sloane (5) plus a little rescue mutt dog named Essie. I am an extrovert and a leo, if you believe in that kind of thing. While initially an extremely shy child I started to surprise my parents by doing things like running for student government at 9 and trying out for cheerleading at 13. By adulthood I found a confidence that I believe led me to where I am today.
I actually never thought I wanted to be a professional photographer. I didn't even know that was a potential career path. At the age of 19 I dropped out of college and got my real estate license. I sold one home and realized it wasn't for me, but did land a job for a luxury real estate magazine. 5 years later, with tons of sales skills under my belt and a deep knowledge of how to run a small business, I quit. That's a long and interesting story that I can share with you over coffee someday. Trust me, something crazy happened ;) But anyway...
I had just began to dabble in photography with friends offering me a couple hundred bucks to shoot their families. My first wedding was for an ex co-worker and I was IN LOVE. Being an extroverted people person I adored the energy and relationships that played out in front of my camera. I was totally obsessed and began to learn and shoot as much as possible. Around this same time my husband decided to go back to school to get his degrees in economics and computer science. We moved from Sacramento to LA and it was make it or break it time for my brand new photography business. I was now our sole income provider. I truly believe that adversity makes you stronger and boy, was there adversity. Shortly after our move my 59 year old dad was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. 9 months later he was gone and photography took on a heightened meaning. I sought out joy and real moments with a vigor that eventually became the foundation of my brand.
10 years later, here I am. I am completely in love with my gift of photography because it allows me to meet the most amazing people and travel to the most amazing places. I believe in the power of a small business and breaking down barriers. I believe that hard work and a passion can fuel a successful, fulfilling career. I believe that photography matters because people matter. Thank you in advance for allowing me to freeze just a small part of your life story.
Bre Thurston is an award winning photographer, educator, speaker, and author. She began her professional photography journey in 2010 after working five years in publishing. She was able to use her skills from the business world to create a business and a brand that she is extremely proud of. In 2014 she published her first book, For the Love of Weddings: A Photographers Guide to Starting a Wedding Photography Business. She quickly realized that she had as much of a passion for teaching as she did shooting and has since taught at several successful conferences and events as well as online workshops. She is sponsored by Miller's Professional Imaging, the industry's leading print lab. 2015 brought along a new endeavor, Blair + Thurston Retreats which she co-founded with Elena Sanchez Blair.
Her work has been featured in Vogue Brasil, Cosmopolitan, Professional Photographer Magazine, Click Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Bride Magazine, Dear Photographer Magazine, and several online blogs/platforms including The Huffington Post, The Knot, Style Me Pretty, Lookslikefilm, and Grey Likes Weddings. Her clients have ranged from Olympians and fitness sensations to Forbes 30 under 30 honorees and tech start-up founders.
Nicola Butler ('Nic-uh-la')
I was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa and moved to England at the age of ten. While living in England, I picked up wakeboarding and started competing at an amateur level. At a competition in Spain, I was scouted by an American coach and began traveling back and forth to Florida to train. At fifteen, my parents applied for a greencard for me so I could move to the states to pursue wakeboarding full-time.
After a decade of competing on the professional tour, I was ready to retire and turn my other passion into a career. I’ve had a fascination with cameras from a young age and could always be found making silly homemade videos with my friends. Growing up in the action sports industry, I was constantly surrounded by talented photographers. I asked questions nonstop and was like a sponge, soaking up any bit of advice they were willing to give me. With lots of online research, and some very patient friends, I taught myself everything I know about photography.
While visiting my family in England a few years ago, I shadowed my cousin at a wedding with her photography company and from then on I was hooked. I’ve always been drawn to love stories and I feel like there’s no better showcase of love than a wedding.
A few years ago, I met my boyfriend while traveling in the Philippines. With a flip of a coin, Broc decided to travel with me and some friends to Bali and we have been pretty inseparable since. Once we were back stateside, Broc moved to Florida for me so I could finish out my wakeboarding season. When that was done, we packed up our sassy lil pup (Loki), bought a van, and slowly headed west, eventually ending up in his hometown of Pleasanton, CA.
I love the ocean, mountains, and anything active, so California immediately felt like home. If I’m not out hiking with my pup, you can either find me with a camera or a book in my hand. I would describe my photography style as relaxed yet attentive, letting the beautiful candid moments unfold naturally.
Nicola joined the Bre Thurston team in 2018. They met for coffee one morning and realized that not only did they live just a couple of blocks away from one another (crazy, since the Bay Area is huge!) but that they shared the exact same philisophy when it came to photography.