The Blog

Amber Rivas Photography blog - this is where I feature all of your sessions, write about my personal life so you can get to know me a little better, and answer questions you may have about photography, your wedding day, or your photo session!

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Bay Area Photographer specializing in weddings and portraits.

I'm a Bay Area photographer specializing in portraits and weddings. I desire to showcase God's designs and use the creative skills that I've been given to bless others. When I have good pictures of myself with those that I love, I can look back and remember what we looked like and where we were, but also the emotions that we felt. The memories that come back with a good photo are irreplaceable, and I love being able to preserve them.

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Latest Posts

On the blog

Mom and two young kids standing in front of Christmas tree

A Glam Christmas Family Shoot

December 7, 2021

Maram contacted me about doing a Christmas photoshoot of her and her family at Creative Space Studios – but with a glam twist! She couldn’t make the Christmas mini date, so we set up a session for this month instead for her glam Christmas photos. I was very excited to be back at CSS to […]

Livermore family with two dogs

Livermore Fall Family Photos

November 12, 2021

I am in no way exaggerating when I say that I pretty much smiled the whole time I was editing this session! There are many locations to choose from for Livermore fall family photos, but sometimes going simple is best! I did Jamie and Tim’s beautiful family session at the library last week, and I […]

Family at Dublin barn

Fall Barn Family Photos

November 3, 2021

I love when clients come back for more family photos, it’s so fun seeing the kids and photographing people I have met before! Andrea wanted some fall barn family photos this year, and this is the perfect season for a visit to the farm! Andrea shares my Kyte Baby obsession, so you know I was […]

Couple holding hands at Holdener Park bench at sunset

Holdener Park Engagement Photos

October 25, 2021

Cassidy and Kyle contacted me about getting some Holdener Park engagement photos done because Holdener Park has a very special meaning for them: they got engaged at a bench on the trails there! Of course we had to get some photos at the bench! 🙂 We both arrived a little early to Holdener – me […]

Bride and groom embracing with light sabers

Redwood Canyon Wedding – A Star Wars Wedding

October 19, 2021

Jazze and Ken are married! Their Redwood Canyon wedding day in Castro Valley (at a Wedgewood facility!) was gorgeous. After taking their engagement photos nearly a year ago, I couldn’t wait to photograph their big day. Now, admittedly I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan out there (I HAVE seen a lot of the movies […]

Extended family photo at the Livermore Library

Early Morning Livermore Family Photos

October 4, 2021

Another beautiful family session in Livermore, this time early morning on a slightly (unexpectedly) overcast day! With everyone gathered together for a birthday celebration, this was the perfect time to update the family photos. It started out rather chilly, but I think we still got some great photos despite the lack of sun! And everyone […]

Family walking on the bridge at Alviso Adobe in Pleasanton

Family Photos at Alviso Adobe in Pleasanton

September 14, 2021

I’ve been trying for so long to get someone to do family photos at Alviso Adobe in Pleasanton. Enter Brian and Nicole, finally someone willing to give it a shot! Brian and Nicole were our first friends at church when we moved to Livermore. Another young couple, without kids yet, and they want to get […]

Arroyo Family Photos – Three Generations

August 13, 2021

Back on the Arroyo Mocho – can you tell I have a favorite go-to spot? 🙂 Julie contacted me about last minute family photos in Livermore, so I knew this spot would be perfect. She and her husband were in town visiting the family, and when you have a new baby around, it’s important to […]

Bride and groom smiling near a barn at sunset

Napa Valley Summer Wedding

July 23, 2021

Travis and Kimberly’s Napa Valley summer wedding – the perfect day to begin a marriage! They exchanged vows in front of their families and some friends at an intimate, private residence venue. Their chosen green and yellow colors went really well with the surrounding scenery…couldn’t have planned it better! As a photographer, this Napa Valley […]

World Peace Rose Garden Anniversary in Sacramento

July 18, 2021

I can’t believe it’s been a YEAR (well, over a year now!) since Chad and Farah’s wedding! They had their wedding day all planned out, and then changed everything up due to COVID. Their backyard wedding turned out beautifully despite the last minute alterations. And we still got to take photos at Ravenswood as well! […]

Family at top of the hill Del Valle

Del Valle Family Photos – Golden Hills of Livermore

July 2, 2021

This was a special family photo shoot. My good friend (and one of my best returning clients!) is moving out of state. Khouanchy wanted some last photos done to remember their time in California, surrounded by golden hills and warm summertime weather. We went to the Top of the Hill at Del Valle to get […]

UCD seniors sitting on the Davis sign

UC Davis Seniors 2021

May 11, 2021

Remember the senior session I did last year at UC Davis? This year I got to go BACK to Davis and do another one! Ellena contacted me because she is friends with those girls from 2020, and now it’s her turn to be a UCD graduating senior, class of 2021. And of course…everything is more […]

Engagement Photos at Dublin Heritage Park

April 14, 2021

Meet my good friend Kimberly and my new friend Travis! Their engagement photos at Dublin Heritage Park are quite possibly some of my favorite ones to date. Kimberly and Travis started dating at the beginning of the pandemic (not ideal, but they got to know each other really well with lots of Zoom calls!) and […]

Robertson Park Springtime Family Photos

April 9, 2021

On Monday evening I had my first session post-maternity leave. It was the perfect one to start off the year! Andrea and Jamie brought their toddler and baby out to Livermore to meet up with me for this session. Andrea contacted me about a month ago hoping to get some family photos done, including some […]

In-Home Newborn Family Photos

November 17, 2020

Khouanchy and Josh first hired me for photos about a year and a half ago…we went to the Arroyo Mocho Trail for some fun family photos playing in the creek with their (at the time!) two children. I just love their family, and Khouanchy has become a good friend over the years. Of course I […]

Lake Merritt Engagement Photos – With Lightsabers!

October 20, 2020

Lake Merritt this time of year is all beautiful and fall-y! While summer is my FAVORITE, I do like the changing of seasons. Something about just a difference in clothing, scents, colors. Anyway, I was really excited to take Jazze and Ken’s Lake Merritt engagement photos at the start of fall in Oakland. Their wedding […]

Hailey’s Livermore Newborn Session

September 30, 2020

Another photo session for Rachel and Danny! This time including their newest addition, Hailey. 🙂 I won’t share too many details of what I know from her birth story – that’s for Rachel and Danny to do – but I will say it was a surprise to everyone when Hailey decided to make her debut […]

Holdener Park Sunset Photos – Family Session

September 22, 2020

On Saturday evening I got to explore a new place for a family photo session: Holdener Park! This is not a completely new place to me…I ride my bike through here all the time. But I have never used it for photos before. I think I like it! Beautiful sunset overlooking the vineyards in the […]

Clear wedding invitation with white script, styled with yellow ribbon

Create Your Wedding Invitation Online

August 29, 2020

I recently learned about a stationary company called Basic Invite. I’m not sure if they were around when I was creating my wedding invitations six years ago, but if they were, I’m so sad that I missed out! I’ve spent some time poking around their website in the last month and really enjoyed it. So […]

Downtown Niles Engagement Photo Session

August 17, 2020

When Caroline contacted me about her and Kyle’s engagement session, she mentioned that they preferred an “industrial look mixed with nature.” I thought of a few different options for their location. We landed on a downtown Niles engagement photo session! It really ended up being the perfect spot. The day we set for their session […]

Couple celebrating fifth anniversary during sunset at Park Winters

Sunset at Park Winters – Anniversary Session

July 18, 2020

Ever since I started photographing weddings, I have wanted to take sunset photos at Park Winters. Leave it to Katie and Peter to fulfill my photography dreams! I always tell Alex that Katie is my most loyal client. She gets mad at me when I forget to tell her there’s a new blog post up! […]

Summer Backyard Wedding in Livermore

June 25, 2020

Last weekend Chad and Farah got married in their backyard! (You might remember their golden hour engagement session from just last week!) It was the perfect day for a summer backyard wedding in Livermore…even if it wasn’t what they originally had in mind for their big day thanks to COVID-19, they were able to celebrate […]

Livermore Golden Hour Engagement Photos

June 18, 2020

Meet Chad and Farah – soon to be husband and wife (as in a few days from now!) but for now, the latest engaged couple on the blog. We took these Livermore golden hour engagement photos less than a week before the wedding due to special circumstances…namely COVID-19. When I first started talking with Farah […]

Golden Hour Maternity Photos in Livermore

June 9, 2020

You might remember Rachel’s first photo session when I did her graduation photos last March (before the pandemic was ever a thought in our minds!). Fast forward to this year…when Rachel told me she was pregnant and she wanted to have maternity photos done, I was so excited for her and Danny! Unfortunately we had […]

UC Davis seniors at the UCD sign

Senior Photos at UC Davis

May 19, 2020

Last Saturday I finally got to shoot an outdoor session for the first time since the coronavirus shutdown happened! It has been a long three months of cancellations and staying home, but since things are slowly starting to open back up again I headed up north on Saturday evening to take some senior photos at […]

Guest Post: Planning Your Wedding Day with a Planner – by Jenna

May 18, 2020

Today I want to feature another vendor who has some great thoughts on planning your wedding day. (Of course she does, she’s a wedding planner!) The goal is to give you some answers to questions you might have about the role of a wedding planner. I’ve teamed up today with Jenna from Heart and Arrow […]

Arizona Cactus Garden Styled Shoot at Stanford

May 4, 2020

I have been dreaming about doing a shoot at the Arizona Cactus Garden at Stanford University ever since I learned it existed! Also I would just like to put out a disclaimer: I’ve loved cactuses and yuccas and agaves since before they were cool and I can’t decide if I love the fact that everyone […]

Top Bridal Hairstyle Tips by Kirstin at Orion's Grace

Guest Post: Top Bridal Hairstyle Tips by Kirstin

April 27, 2020

Part of the purpose of this blog is not only to showcase your photography sessions, but also to include planning resources for your wedding day or photo shoot. The goal of this post is to give you some of the top bridal hairstyle tips. I’ve teamed up today with my favorite hair stylist in the […]

50mm lens from Canon's RF line

Can I have the RAW files?

April 22, 2020

Something that potential clients ask me about a lot is delivery of RAW files. I don’t provide RAW files, nor do I sell them for a premium price. Let’s go through some of the basics about RAW files and why I handle this question the way I do. What are RAW files? Simply put, a […]

Husband and wife against blue wall wearing cloth masks

My Life of Social Distancing

April 20, 2020

Around the House On the first official day of shelter in place, it hailed. It looked like snow and I took tons of photos because if you’re going to be stuck inside at least it’s hailing outside. Then these super fragrant flowers popped up in our wine barrels and we had NO idea what they […]

Bride and groom share a first dance in front of purple uplighting and a giant LOVE sign

Double Tree Hotel Wedding in Fremont, CA

April 7, 2020

Last November I got to experience shooting a wedding at the Double Tree Hotel in Fremont, CA. I take lots of getting ready photos in hotel rooms and group photos in lobbies, but this was the first ceremony at a hotel event center! (Fun fact: my high school senior prom night was at a Double […]

Bride and groom hugging at Lake Merritt

The Terrace Room Wedding Reception in Oakland, CA

March 30, 2020

I recently had the opportunity to second shoot a ceremony at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden and then head over to Oakland for a Terrace Room wedding reception just a few minutes down the road. As I mentioned in the Botanical Garden blog post, I was shooting with Victoria from Victoria Noelle Photography, based in […]

Newly married bride and groom holding hands at their Berkeley Botanical Garden ceremony

Berkeley Botanical Garden Wedding Ceremony

March 24, 2020

Last summer I had the opportunity to second shoot for Victoria of Victoria Noelle Photography at a UC Berkeley Botanical Garden wedding ceremony. She is such a kind person and I had a wonderful time working alongside her. If you’re looking for a photographer in the Mendocino area, do yourself a favor and check out […]

What’s in my camera bag?

March 19, 2020

For those that are curious, here’s a breakdown of my favorite lenses and cameras! This is not an exhaustive list of all the equipment that is used during Amber Rivas Photography sessions, but it gives you an idea of the kind of gear I like to use. Please remember that by no means does “the […]

Eagle Ridge Golf Course Wedding

February 27, 2020

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to second shoot an Eagle Ridge Golf Course Wedgewood wedding. Luis and Kenna married at the golf course in early February, but it was a surprisingly warm day out. It was slightly overcast, except for a bit of sun during the ceremony, which is why you see […]

Bride and groom at the Ravenswood Historic Site gazebo on their wedding day.

Peach and Coral Winter Ravenswood Wedding

February 8, 2020

Winter Ravenswood Wedding Another wedding in Livermore – this time a beautiful peach and coral winter Ravenswood wedding. Ravenswood is a pretty simple venue – house for the reception, couple of places on the property for a ceremony. But it has a lot of hidden gems of pathways and walls and shrubbery for portrait sessions. […]

Livermore Library Couples Session

January 15, 2020

This Livermore library couples session is probably one of my favorites to date. Couple of reasons: 1. I LOVE the library! 2. Did you know the library has some really pretty wisteria blooms behind it, and a bunch of landscaped pathways? Kevin and Rachel had their second date at the library where they played Azul […]

Del Valle Engagement Photos in Livermore, CA

January 7, 2020

When Jonathan and Amber contacted me a little over a week ago about shooting their wedding in May and said they wanted winter morning engagement photos done as soon as possible (as in THAT weekend!), I suggested Del Valle in Livermore as the perfect spot to meet up for their session. Del Valle engagement photos […]

On Christmas Trees and Traditions

December 20, 2019

I love Christmas trees and traditions at Christmas time. I’m all for creating new family traditions, doing them year after year, and I look forward to the day after Thanksgiving every November. On Black Friday we opted outside (like an REI ad!) and went to Four Winds Christmas Tree Farm in Los Gatos to get […]

New mom and dad holding baby in the hospital

Newborn Hospital Session

December 11, 2019

Let me start off by saying that this isn’t my normal kind of photography session…I don’t usually do newborn hospital shoots! But Katie is one of my favorite people in the world, and I was not going to miss the opportunity to meet my new favorite baby (as of last August) when he was a […]

Mt. Diablo Engagement Photos at Sunset

December 3, 2019

I love ALL of the photos from this beautiful Mt Diablo engagement photo shoot. We had such a fun time during this engagement session, and it really shows in these photos. Brian and Cheryl love the Mt Diablo area and chose it as the location for their engagement session…I had never been, so it was […]

Arroyo Mocho Couples Photos in Livermore, CA

November 18, 2019

Another session on the Arroyo Mocho! I love it there! Eric and Veronica are two of our favorite people to hang out with here in Livermore. Our friendship started at a 9pm post-worship-practice round of video games. Eric invited Alex over by saying, “Hey, you want to come over and play a game?” Alex said […]

Bride and groom kissing in apple orchard

Fall Wedding at The Orchard in Watsonville

October 11, 2019

Let me be the first to admit that I may have overdone it (just a little!) with the photos in this post. I just couldn’t choose…there are so many good ones! Especially the second set of portraits in the apple orchard – beautiful sunset lighting, beautiful apples, beautiful people. This fall wedding at The Orchard […]

Laid-Back Church Wedding in the Central Valley

October 2, 2019

Jesse and Nicole had a simple laid-back church wedding celebration, and it actually felt a lot like my own wedding day. For example: lawn ceremony, simple reception, and even a Hispanic buffet for dinner! I loved being able to reminisce because of all the similarities. They had their ceremony in the back courtyard of the […]

Indian bride and groom embrace during golden hour

Indian Wedding in Napa Valley at the Silverado Resort

September 23, 2019

I had the opportunity on September 7 to photograph an Indian wedding at the Napa Silverado Resort in Napa Valley, CA. This was my first experience with an Indian wedding, shooting with Claire Barrett of Claire Barrett Photo. Her photography is amazing, and she puts a lot of thought and detail into her photos. It […]

East Bay Parks #3: Brushy Peak

September 9, 2019

Finally putting the parks pass to use again! This time I went to Brushy Peak in Livermore with Rachel. We left a little after dinner so that we’d have plenty of time for hiking around, but we got a little lost on the drive there, ended up in some rush hour traffic on a divided […]

Husband and wife newly married at Palm Event Center, standing under the junipers

Summer Wedding at Palm Event Center

June 29, 2019

Back at the Palm Event Center in Pleasanton! I have to say, aside from its beautiful location and the fact that it’s five minutes away from home, I love shooting here because the staff is SO helpful. I walked into the “vendor area” to find it stocked with water bottles, Cliff bars, printed timelines of […]

Ravenswood Summer Wedding Day in Livermore, CA

May 22, 2019

Monica and Kevin’s Ravenswood summer wedding day in May reminded me a lot of my own wedding day. It was a laid back, relaxed park setting, and just a fun time of being with your favorite people. My favorite part of weddings like this is that the celebration doesn’t have to be super fancy to […]

Rummikub to Rivas, Part Three | Amber Rivas Photography

May 11, 2019

In case you missed it:Rummikub to Rivas Part OneRummikub to Rivas Part Two Finally at Part Three! After our first date, Alex didn’t waste any time. Probably partially because we didn’t HAVE much time. As I mentioned at the end of Part Two, we had approximately eight weeks until graduation, at which point neither of […]

Family photo session on the Arroyo Mocho Trail in Livermore, CA

Arroyo Mocho Trail Family Photos

April 30, 2019

As a Livermore photographer, I love doing sessions that are right here in town. I love finding new beautiful places even just 10 minutes away from home. The Arroyo Mocho Trail has become one of my favorite spots to take photos. Alex and I used to walk this trail when we were dating, and we […]