Hi there! I’m Courtney McManaway, Temecula wedding photographer, wife of 15 years, daughter of Pam and Gary, sister to 4 brothers, quoter of Stepbrothers and Zoolander, and…mother of dragons. 🐉
If you’re here, you’re probably looking for a wedding photographer. And you’ve probably looked at a few websites and are starting to see commonly-used photography words in your dreams.
“Authentic…natural light…timeless…light and airy…candid…dark and moody…wildly in love…”
Not gonna lie, I’m going to use some of those words because they are good words. But when I think about describing my work, style and experience with clients, I want to root it in how you FEEL.
There’s nervous awkwardness when you’re in front of the camera for the first time (every client I work with says, “We’re not models!”). There’s the excitement when slipping onto your dress, or putting on your custom-made socks. There’s the exaltation you feel when walking down the aisle with your NEW (!!!) spouse. There’s the tears when your dad toasts the newlyweds, the laughter when your grandma brings the photobooth props on the wedding floor, the sweet closeness you feel when dancing to your first song.
The question for you is how do you want that captured? If you want to work with a photographer that’s emotion-centered, that helps to take the awkwardness out of photos, that streamlines your day so it’s stress-free, that edits in a timeless way so you feel your memories instead of cringing at obvious editing, all while dropping Zoolander and Stepbrothers and Talladega Nights references…well, I might very well be YOUR wedding photographer.
My photography career started in Orange County in 2010, and in 2013 my husband and I moved to the Temecula Valley. I’ve been photographing weddings here locally ever since! I frequently work with out-of-area couples as Temecula has flourished into a destination market over the past decade, and I’m fortunate to have a wealth of knowledge to pass along!
In my decade-plus experience as a wedding photographer, I’ve photographed over 200 weddings. I often say the most important asset you’re hiring on a wedding day is experience. I may have photographed at your venue 20 times, but YOUR wedding day will be unique, from the weather, to time of year, to how you choose to decorate your venue, and the timeline we put together that prioritizes your needs! The experience of working in rain or shine, summer or winter, 2 person elopement or 300 guest wedding, means I approach each day with the perfect marriage (sorry couldn’t pass that up) of your priorities and the skills to make the hundreds of quick decisions on a wedding day to get you the very best memories in your photos.
100% of my client reviews over my career have been 5-star reviews! Listen, what good are great photos if your experience is frustrating or sucks? Well, I mean I guess you’ll still have good photos, but really, that’s no way to be! I aim to be your most helpful vendor and get to better know you to not just deliver those amazing photos, but create an amazing wedding day experience too!
This review below (from amazing groom Tim!) is some of the best feedback I can receive! I work with so many clients who are nervous about getting their photos taken and are thrilled with the end result – like I know you will be as well!
Then we saw our photos and were absolutely blown away by how perfect they were. She really captured my beautiful wife and even me who generally doesn’t like to take photos.
With Courtney, the whole process was easy and streamlined. The wedding was fun and easy. And the photos fantastic. We both highly recommend Courtney and next time we need a professional photographer or someone to show us how to giggle-laugh we know who to call. – Tim + Stephanie
Temecula is one of Southern California’s most popular wedding destinations! That means a majority of couples are coming from other areas in California or outside of the state. As a local wedding photographer and member of Creative Pro Temecula, I’m part of the close-knit local vendor and venue network. I frequently help my clients with my personal recommendations of the best wedding vendors to not only pull together your wedding vision but ensure a stress-free day! For couples who want their engagement portraits in the Temecula area, I’m familiar with the best spots to get the pictures you want!
I’ve put together a handy-dandy article for those looking for complete information on getting married in Temecula!
I favor bright colorful images for bright colorful couples! My work is first and foremost about the emotion of your day – the first time you see each other, your mom as she helps to get you in your wedding finery, the laughter, and tears during your reception toasts.
All those magical, wonderful, and fuzzy moments won’t matter to you…if the lighting sucks. My ten-plus years of experience means I can help on your wedding day to capture those priceless moments in the best light – whether that’s window light, sunset light, or flash during an outdoor wedding reception.
My dad was the picture of seventies fashion with a pair of bell-bottoms! While I’m extremely happy as his daughter that this photographic proof exists, I wouldn’t call that look “timeless.”
I look at your wedding photos the same way and take a timeless approach to my editing. I adjust images for vivid, true-to-life colors, exposure, and contrast. Twenty years from now, I want you to look back at your wedding photos and feel the joy and love of the day, not, “Maaaaan…was that the editing style in the 2020s?”
Is the personality of your photographer really important? It really is!
As the person on your wedding day who will be working intimately with you, your closest friends and family, you’ll want someone with a positive attitude that can corral a sometimes over-exuberant wedding party! When things run behind, you’ll want to turn to me and I’ll tell you how we can make up time so you can get the photos you want. I tend to work with joyful, exuberant, and sometimes silly couples – which are also ways I’d describe myself! Imagine that 🙂
If you’ve seen the comedy classic Talladega Nights, you’ll remember the scene where Ricky Bobby is being interviewed and he says, “I don’t know what to do with my hands.”
Well, when you’re working with me, you won’t have the Ricky Bobby experience! Nobody wants to be posed – but since we’re not professional models, my job is to help get you set up in natural, flattering interactions that show your personalities and affection for one another! The process is interactive, engaging and you’ll definitely feel weird or like, “This is ridiculous!” at times. And that’s how I get those natural laughs from you!
While I’m not a wedding planner, I am an expert on how much time you’ll need to dedicate to areas of your day to ensure you get great photos AND have a stress-free experience. I’ll also be honest and tell you what you don’t need.
For instance, I rarely stay through the end of a wedding reception. Why? Because after about an hour of coverage, dancing photos get monotonous. Most couples prefer to front-load their timeline because they prioritize capturing getting-ready photos and wedding party photos earlier in the day. This helps save you money if you’re not paying for 10 hours of wedding day coverage, when 8 is perfectly sufficient.
The thing that really stuck out to us about Courtney is her personality, she is so down to earth and go with the flow to make you feel comfortable. She is a great hype woman and makes you smile while taking photos which was great because we never felt awkward once during our time with her and that was key for us. – Lindsey + Torin
I’ve been married for over 15 years now. And when I was planning my wedding (I mean…our wedding) I was very excited about all the wedding day DETAILS! Colors, cakes, florals, dresses, oh my!
Years later, when I look through my photos, the ones that pull at my heartstrings are of our family and friends. My husband and I have had several people pass away since then, and the candid memories our photographers captured on our wedding day are priceless.
Your wedding day is likely the only time in your lives that you will get these family and friends together to celebrate YOU. My work is from that perspective. I will capture your beautiful bouquets and to-die-for wedding shoes – but more importantly, I will capture the images of your family and friends in moments of joy, laughter, and tenderness, and those are the moments you will treasure when you look back on your day.
You can view a curated selection of some of my favorite wedding day moments here. You’ll see I favor laughter, tender moments, vivid naturally-lit portraits, dramatic black-and-white photos, and authentic emotion.
We cannot begin to express how wonderful our experience was with Courtney. We felt cared about, prioritized, and part of the photography process. Courtney helped us capture absolutely stunning moments that we will be able to look back at time and time again! – Marlene + Michael