Welcome

Dakota

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

Dakota

WELCOME

WEDDING & LIFESTYLE 
PHOTOGRAPHER

Photography that celebrates your story

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA & BEYOND

This is why I love photography. It has allowed me to connect with others in such a profound way. My goal is to capture moments as they become memories, as a way to honor the past, present and future. I'm passionate about getting to know the "real" you, and sharing stories of friendship, strength, grief and love of people with histories that are rarely told, but need to be told; specifically LGBTQ+ identified folks and BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color)... People like me. 

About CRISTAL

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.” 

More about me 

My Core Beliefs 

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 (she/her/hers pronouns) whose life is defined by my connections 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 a dog mama to a rescue pup named Magdalena, who is just the sweetest girl. 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 with family. Through our 14 years together, we've learned how hard marriage can be, as well as how to grow into better versions of ourselves for us individually, and each other. 

I am not your typical wedding photographer who grew up with a camera always in hand, dreaming of my wedding day. 

more about cristal

Black Lives Matter. 

Love is Love is Love. 

No Human is Illegal.

Stop AAPI Hate.

Gender is a Construct. 

Everyone is Deserving of Love & Belonging.

CORE BELIEFS

what i love

Photo by Yan Palmer

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 (IYKYK) at 8:30pm on a week night. To love her is to have cheeks sore from smiling and laughing together. 

MY WIFE

They've always encouraged my sisters & I to be who we were meant to be, see the world, and lead with love. My Mom may no longer be physically with us, but she remains the reason behind my "why". Photographs are proof of our existence. We hold onto them when a loved one leaves us, and our future generations will hold tight to the photographs we capture today.

MY PARENTS

I'm blessed to have visited 3 of the Hawaiian islands, and it didn't take me long to realize that Hawaii is my favorite place on earth. 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 9 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. Since then, my wife & I have visited Thailand, South Korea & Europe and are always looking to add more stamps to our passports.

TRAVEL

 Starting my day with coffee is like having a little cup of happiness every day. It's always better when I'm sharing it with a friend. 

COFFEE

"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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"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

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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

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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 connect 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.

Investment

As a wedding and lifestyle photographer, I want to create images that tell your story and show your connections to family, love, life.

INFORMATION

01

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Begins at $4,500

02

elopements

Begins at $2,250

03

FAMILY
phOTOGRAPHY

Begins at $850

FAQs

INVESTMENT

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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? Does your home feel like a sacred nest you've created together? Let's go there. 

4. Are you booking weddings during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes, with everyone's health & safety as my top priority. I'm adhering to all CDC, state and local guidelines including wearing a mask and social distancing.

FAQs

5. 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!) Next, we'll meet via Google Hangout to get to know each other a bit. If we're a good fit,  you'll sign a contract, submit the retainer & I'll put your date on my calendar.

SARAH & MARIANNE, 2019

You captured the day beautifully, and looking through the photos makes me tear up in the best way. I’m so glad we had you on board, you were wonderful to work with and we’ll always treasure these pictures. We’d absolutely recommend both you and your work!

The photos are amazing!! We've gone through them multiple times (as have our families), and we're so happy with them!!

raquel & kimara, 2019

and we felt very honored she agreed to work with us. We found her to be easy, organized, approachable, like an old friend even though we just met her. She worked with us and helped us get clear about what mattered, and since this was the biggest investment for us money-wise in our wedding... we felt like she delivered above and beyond our expectations. She made us feel beautiful and fine the way we were and her photos captured all that we had hoped for and beyond. She "got us" and that gave us the greatest gift to hold on to; a wedding typically is just one day but what she created for us in our photos is something we cherish for the rest of our lives. Thank you and deep bows of gratitude.


Cristal was such a pleasure to work with and given how clueless we were starting out about all things "wedding", she met us where we were...

ANDY & JADEN, 2019

She’s skilled at making the whole experience both fun and comfortable for the couple. The photos we love the most are the ones where we were relaxed and being ourselves, something she encouraged and helped us do. Not only is she a talented photographer, she understands and showcases LGBTQ folks through her photos. 


We cannot say enough positive things about Cristal. 

MEAGHAN & BRITTANY, 2019

At our first meeting with Cristal, we were nervous as we had just begun discussing changing our entire plan - from a ceremony and reception for about 100 to having a private elopement. Cristal was so understanding and open to our evolving plans. She gave us advice and encouraged us to go with a wedding plan that felt best to us and reflected our relationship, not what other people wanted. My wife and I are not terribly comfortable being in front of the camera, but Cristal knew all the best ways to help us get comfortable and relaxed. Our wedding photos are beautiful and reflect who we are. There are simply not enough great things we can say about Cristal. Her passion, attention to detail, and energy combine to bring about amazing photos that tell a beautiful story. 

The entire experience with Cristal was amazing.

manuel & raul, 2018

You are beautiful. 

And we couldn’t be more in love with your work. 

Gracias from the bottom of our corazoncitos. 

So glad you were there to share in our special moment. 

The fotos are beautiful.

Kate & Tory, 2018

Finding a photographer whose style we not only loved, but also who we felt comfortable having around us all day on our wedding day was a challenge, and we couldn't have been happier. As a queer couple, we felt like Cristal understood our vibe and our concerns, no translations or awkward conversations necessary. We felt totally ourselves on our wedding day, and that shines through so beautifully in the photos.

We loved working with Cristal from our first meeting.

CONNECT WITH ME

cristal@cristalveronicaphotos.com

I am excited to receive your inquiry & will be in touch with you shortly!

Thank You