Local photographer savors couples’ special moments

Torreses at their recent nuptials

The Torreses at their recent nuptials

There are two components to photography that encapsulate the work of wedding and portrait photographer Sarah Tengan — sentimentality and artistic freedom.

“The things that I create can be inspired by anything or anyone,” she says.

It’s a hobby she always has obsessed over. She recalls taking over the family camera as a child and shooting pictures of anyone and everyone. But the turning point that changed a hobby into a profession was her cousin’s wedding in 2010.

“By observing the photographers and absorbing all the emotions from the guests and my family, I really saw the significance that photos have in our lives,” she says.

Tengan now runs Sarah Jual Photo, where she focuses her efforts on elopements, vow renewals and intimate weddings — basically everything that has to do with love.

“Smaller parties allow for more intimacy and emotions, which are the best to witness,” she explains.

Courtney Coleman poses for the camera

Courtney Coleman poses for the camera

For couple shoots, Tengan enjoys the challenge of encapsulating each duo’s unique relationship. Inside jokes and personal love stories shine through the lens in each captured moment. She strives to emphasize the moment rather than the poses.

“For instance, I could ask

them to snuggle and hold each other and then tell him to whisper something into her ear,” she explains. “It could be funny, dirty or complete nonsense. I’m there eagerly waiting to capture her reaction to what he said and his reaction to her reaction. Those reactions are moments where they forget I’m there, and their love unfolds naturally.”


A look behind the lens

Sarah Tengan

Sarah Tengan

• Did you get a degree in photography?
I actually graduated last year from the University of Hawaii-West Oahu with my bachelor’s in accounting. Completely opposite of photography.

• What gear do you use?
Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 35mm 2.0 and Sigma 85mm 1.4.

• Why do you love photography?
It serves as a constant reminder that just like in life and any other art form, we are always learning.

• Where is your favorite place to shoot?
I enjoy shooting outdoors since I shoot with natural light 99 percent of the time. It’s hard for me to say a favorite place because I love variety.

• What do you love most about couple shoots?
I especially enjoy couples portraits because you can tell how comfortable they are with each other and that there are a lot of layers to this love that they have built together.