As you can guess, the fellow in the photograph below is me. I live and breathe photography and storytelling. So, let me start by telling you my story.
I have known that I wanted to be a photographer since I was a 12-year-old boy on the prairies of Wisconsin. I grew up, headed off to college and upon graduation, started my amazing 19-year career in daily journalism. While working for two large newspapers I had the opportunity to photograph presidents, princesses & princes, heads of state, corporate titans, even Sir Charles Barkley and King Michael Jordan over the course of literally thousands of photographic assignments. It was also during this time that I had my work published in international magazines as a freelance photographer.
Everything changed in the year 2000. I agreed to photograph three weddings as a favor to some friends. Much to my surprise in shooting these weddings, I found a new direction to channel my love of photography. I was able to tell great photographic stories using all the skills that I had acquired working in daily journalism — capturing beautifully-real moments, working comfortably with natural and created light, producing fun portraits under any circumstances – and combined them with my ability do my job while blending into any event like an invited guest.
It was at the third wedding that I met my wife Nicki. She was a member of the wedding party and a current resident of South Africa, where she was born and raised. Before she left for home ten days later, we were engaged. Despite being separated by thousands of miles, nine time zones and an exceptionally thorough US Immigration agent, we were married a year later almost to the day.
Nicki and I then moved to Southern California, following our dreams to create a new life in a place that was new for both of us. We launched Paul F. Gero Photography and began our journey together.
Our lives changed big time in 2005 with the birth of our sassy little madam Kate and again in 2009 with our little guy Matthew, or Sparky as everyone but my Mom calls him. These two have given our life a richness of meaning that is hard to put into words. They are, without a doubt, our finest creations.
I am incredibly fortunate to do my work for clients that truly love and respect my art while living in what I consider to be the best place on earth. I get to hear the laughter (and often the shrieks!) of my children working in our residential studio halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, nestled in the idyllic hillsides of Ladera Ranch. Being able to see them coming and going throughout the course of the day is a real joy. And, not to brag or anything but I probably have the best commute in Southern California!
Being married and having children is why I do this work. They help me realize how important wedding and family portrait photography is in life. I know from my career as a photojournalist that the best photographs are often fleeting moments of emotion. You have to capture them as they happen because, if you don’t, those moments are gone forever. The ability to be ready with the right lens at the right time is the hallmark of my work. It is that quest to preserve your perfect moments that inspires me.
I simply love photography. But the truth is if you are a working photographer you HAVE to love photography or frankly why do it? I consider it the highest honor to be invited into your life to document your wedding and to photograph your family.
So that’s my story. I would love to help you tell yours. I look forward to hearing from you!