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 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.
My grandmother passed away when I was 16 but it wasn’t until years later that my dad brought over several albums that she had created throughout her lifetime. Yes, I said lifetime. The first ones were her as a teenager in the 1940’s, then moved on to her relationship with the man who would become my grandfather. I saw their wedding day, the pregnancy and birth of their three children, and then their lives as their children turned into teenagers, adults, and eventually parents themselves. I saw my own life through her eyes once I came into the picture and I knew that thanks to her obsession with taking and keeping photos just how important photography is.
This became even more abundantly clear when my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2011 at the age of just 59. My strong, healthy dad who loved to cook organic meals, worked out every single day, and had the energy of an 18 year old was dying. Once he passed away it fell on me to find just the right photo for his obituary which was not easy since he really wasn’t a huge fan of having his own photo taken. I searched through hundreds if not thousands of photographs and one stopped me in my tracks. It was him on Mother’s Day the year before, at my house, holding my 1 year old son (his first grandchild). The look on his face was pure radiance. There he was. There was my dad.
Although I had already opened my business a year prior to this my purpose as a photographer became crystal clear. I saw what it meant to capture someone at their happiest, when they let down their shield and showed the camera their authentic self. I now knew that we won’t always have our loved ones and someday photos might be all we have left. I realized that photography matters because PEOPLE matter. There is no greater joy to me than telling someone’s story and showing them that yes, I see them. I see their relationships, their personalities, and their worth. If I didn’t believe this with all of my heart I know that I would not still be in business after 9 years. What a privilege it is to do this job.
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. 2015 brought along a new endeavor, Blair + Thurston Retreats which she co-founded with Elena Sanchez Blair. They now travel the world hosting sold-out retreats.
Her work has been featured in People, Vogue Brasil, Cosmopolitan, Professional Photographer Magazine, E!, 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, Buzzfeed, Grace Ormond, 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.