Welcome

Dakota

A Showit 5 website by The Buffalo Collective. Featuring photography by Nicole Mason.

Dakota

More about me >

In her book, Rising Strong, Dr. Brene Brown writes, “We're wired for story. In a culture of scarcity and perfectionism, there's a surprisingly simple reason we want to own, integrate, and share our stories of struggle. We do this because we feel the most alive when we're connecting with others and being brave with our stories.” 

This is why I love photography. It has allowed me to connect with others in such a profound way. I'm passionate about getting to know the "real" you, and sharing stories of friendship, strength and love of people with histories that are rarely told, but need to be told; specifically LGBTQ identified folks and people of color... People like me. 

About CRISTAL

Things I Love >

Photos of me by Stephanie Court Photography

I am not your typical wedding photographer who grew up with a camera always in hand, dreaming of my wedding day. Nope, not me. In fact, I fell into wedding photography long after getting two higher education degrees, when I started seeing images of non-traditional couples doing things their own way. Folks making decisions about what love looks like to them, and not compromising their values for societal standards. That is when I realized I could create art with rad people seeking a photographer with a unique perspective.

I am a proud Queer Chicana feminist whose life is defined by connecting with others. My soul craves relationships that are imperfectly authentic and vulnerable. 

In my life, family comes first; every day begins with coffee; and music fuels my soul - Bob Marley calms my nerves, 90's Hip-Hop makes me feel like a badass, and Pepe Aguilar feels like home. I'm inspired by folks with fierce personal style. I'm obsessed with cats, but live with an overly excited Boston Terrier named Jasper who thinks he's everyone's BFF. I'm in a long-standing love affair with my city of San Francisco, yet daydream of traveling the world. 

I'm married to an amazing woman who makes me laugh every single day. We had a nontraditional wedding at SF City Hall on a Monday, complete with a backyard BBQ celebration and cupcakes. Because there must always be cupcakes. Or donuts. We spend a lot of time working out so we can enjoy all the amazing bay area restaurants. We are all about experiences, and choose adventure over gifts any day.

more about cristal

She's the most charming person you'll meet, and always up for an adventure, even if it's a last minute decision to get ice cream at Mitchell's at 8:30pm on a week night. To love her is to have cheeks sore from smiling and laughing together. 

MY WIFE

They're the most perfect duo and I often wonder how I got so lucky to be theirs. They've always encouraged us to be who we were meant to be, see the world, and lead with love.

MY PARENTS

I'm blessed to have visited 3 of the Hawaiian islands, and it didn't take me long to realize that #HawaiiIsMySpiritAnimal. What's better than warm ocean water, island music and poke? 

Anyone need a photographer for your Hawaiian wedding? #pickme

HAWAII

Tattoos are the art I take with me everywhere I go, and each one holds a strong meaning. I have 5 tattoos and plenty of future tattoo ideas just waiting to be realized.

TATTOOS

In November 2015 I fulfilled a dream to travel to a far-away country. I went to India to participate in a photo field trip, and even though I have the photos to prove it, that trip to India still feels like a dream. I'm praying for more passport stamps in my future.

TRAVEL

And Stumptown Coffee in particular. Starting my day with coffee is like having a little cup of happiness every day. It's even better when I can share my coffee love with others. 

COFFEE

Nothing beats live music. 
Some of my all time favorite concerts include: Beyoncé, Mumford & Sons, John Legend, Alabama Shakes, Radiohead, Adele, Ozomatli, Sleater Kinney and India Arie.

LIVE MUSIC

WEDDING details

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WE DO

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LOVE & fAMILY

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view the Portfolio

"Baby it's you
You're the one I love
You're the one I need
You're the only one I see
Come on baby it's you
You're the one that gives your all
You're the one I can always call
When I need to make everything stop
Finally you put my love on top"

-Beyoncé

LOVE & FAMILY

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Next Gallery

"Love is a gamble and I'm so glad that I am winnin'
We've come a long way and yet this is only the beginnin'
Oh, my love
A thousand kisses from you is never too much
(Never too much, never too much, never too much)
I just don't wanna stop"

-Luther Vandross

we do

View next gallery >

Next Gallery

"Do you remember the
21st night of September?
Love was changing the minds of pretenders
While chasing the clouds away
Our hearts were ringing
In the key that our souls were singing 
As we danced in the night
Remember how the stars stole the night away
Ba de ya - say do you remember
Ba de ya - dancing in September
Ba de ya - never was a cloudy day"

-Earth, Wind & Fire

WEDDING DETAILS

Return to portfolio >

Back to Portfolio

As a wedding and lifestyle photographer, I want to create images that tell your story and show your connections to family, love, life. I want you to see how beautiful your laugh is when your love whispers a joke in your ear, and how your child holds your hand when walking to the beach. I want you to stand in your authentic self and feel seen/loved. Mostly, I want to deliver images that make you laugh or cry of happiness.

I photograph a very limited number of weddings each year and make it a priority to choose couples I mesh well with.

For questions or inquiries regarding other services, please contact me. I'm looking forward to meeting you & learning about the connections in your life.

Info


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Invest

Investment >

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INVESTMENT

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For sessions outside of the 
San Francisco 
Bay Area, 
extra fees may apply

FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY
begins at $500

High Resolution  
Digital Files

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY
begins at $3,400

Complimentary Engagement Session 
& High Resolution 
Digital Files

FAQs >

1 // Where are you located & do you travel?

I live in San Francisco & love that there are so many fun, beautiful, quirky places around the bay area that beg for a photo shoot. But I'm always up to visit new places. Traveling is something I can't get enough of.

2 // Do you offer online galleries?

Yes, all galleries are online and easily accessible via your computer, tablet, or phone. 

3 // Where will we take our photos?

Anywhere your heart desires. Is there a place that holds a special memory? Do you have a favorite date night spot, or love walking around your neighborhood? Let's go there. 

4 // We like your style. How do we book you?

Fill out the "Contact" form below or send me an email explaining a little about who you are. Brownie points if you mention your favorite coffee shop!

Info


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faq

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Zoe & Lil, 2014

"Cristal captured so many beautiful moments that we learn new wonderful details about that day every time we look through the photos. It was so important to us to have a photographer that understood our wedding values and how we wanted them reflected in our images. Every interaction with Cristal was professional, easy, and reassuring. when we look at the photos of our guests, we feel like she saw our family and friends as we see them. The images are intimate and depict the stories behind the relationships we cherish. We couldn't have asked for a better experience or a more beautiful end result. We're grateful for the photographs and for the happiness they will inspire for years to come."

Gary & Michael, 2015

"The photos are just starting to sink in. Your work is amazing. We are so happy with the final product. You really outdid yourself and we are raving fans. Simply put, the photos are a small reflection of you as a person and you are wonderful."

Paul & Jocelyn, 2015

"Thank you again for doing such an excellent job of capturing our special day. We love love love the photos and gave a bunch as gifts to our families for Christmas - they were a big hit with them, too. They are exactly what we were hoping for and all the moments we hoped to see are there, beautifully. We know we'll treasure these photos for years to come; they are timeless. You were a breeze to work with."

"Hiring a wedding photographer is part how good the photos are, part how well the personalities mesh. And we couldn't have asked for a better photographer for our intimate, 12-person wedding. Cristal was professional and courteous, while also being fun and easy to work with. She put everyone at ease, never once making anyone feel awkward by placing them in a weird pose. She shoots with a purpose, and it shows. Pictures from the wedding, as well as our engagement session, now adorn our house, not just because they're gorgeous — which they are — but also because it feels like our friend took them. Which she did."

Kate & Karyne, 2016

"She's a true story teller.  She lifts the stories of couples like us and through her beautiful captures, she makes you feel and transports  you to those intimate moments... cristal was there to capture it all, and i got to live that experience she so beautifully showcases through her photos. I cannot be more grateful for her time, professionalism, and genuine commitment to being present with us on this amazing day."

Adriana & Karla, 2016

Thank You

Cristal will be in touch with you shortly!

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