Engagement sessions are worth it. Here’s why.

Engagement sessions are worth it. Here’s why.

It’s an announcement and a memory rolled into one.

Ask any of my engagement photo shoot clients, and they will all tell you the same thing: engagement photo shoots are worth it. Getting engaged is, no doubt, a huge moment for you and your partner. It is a milestone in your relationship as well as a first step towards a new chapter together. But how do you best announce your engagement? Some couples just take a selfie or two and run with it. Some grab a dated picture of them when they weren’t so far in their relationship, or have a friend snap a semi-decent picture on a phone. If it works for you, then great. But some couples want their engagement announcement to truly reflect their happiness together, with professional photos that capture the excitement, warmth, and unbreakable connection between them. 

An engagement photo shoot opens big opportunities for you and your fiance/fiancee. 

First and foremost, it allows you to invite everyone you know to be a part of your biggest life event yet, getting married, with a personal and accurate visual of you both. Show friends and family how much they mean to you with a stunning image that they can hang up on their fridges, remind themselves of when your big day is, and be proud to say they know you. 

It gives you the chance to celebrate in the picture-perfect way you dreamed about.

Remember when the love of your life got down on one knee and you started blubbering? Well now you can reenact that with a little more control of your emotions. In all seriousness, now you and your future bride/groom-to-be can take planned, heartfelt pictures that describe the love you two have for each other. You can capture the perfect photo that you want your future wedding guests to think of when they think of you two.

An engagement photo shoot lets you test out your photographer.

An engagement session is actually a great way to see if your engagement photographer would be a good fit as your wedding photographer. You can have a test run of sorts by feeling out the chemistry between you two and your photographer, as well as seeing if the way he/she takes pictures is what you’re looking for on your wedding day.

You can practice your picture-perfect smiles and poses.

Many people have never been in front of a professional camera before. Whether it’s a head-on smile or a candid laugh with your partner, taking professional photos can come very difficult to some. Practice how to “act natural” in front of the lens with an engagement photo shoot, so that you are 110% ready for your wedding photos.

You’re able to try out hair and makeup ideas.

Some of my clients use their engagement sessions as an opportunity to try out potential wedding makeup and hairstyles. You can see how long your hair/makeup will take to prepare and how your hair/makeup will appear with different light and from different angles. You can also test how it will hold up after an hour or two of picture taking. Play with any makeup ideas you are considering for your wedding day, and see how they turn out in your photos. You will either confirm how much you liked that style, or you’ll have plenty of time experimenting with different looks!

Why telling your photographer everything makes for an amazing wedding

Why telling your photographer everything makes for an amazing wedding

Laurel and Michael had a perfect wedding photo shoot.

No awkward encounters, uncomfortable pictures, or unwanted reunions. All the most important people in their lives were captured together on camera. Every image meant something to every member of their bridal party. And it’s because Laurel and Michael gave me extensive details on how to best photograph their family, friends, and guests on their big day.

Couples that provide me extensive information about the special relationships they have with their guests set themselves up for a better experience. Laurel and Michael let me know that they specifically wanted a few fun pictures on a carousel and listed the guests they especially wanted pictures with. They also told me about a few locations where they hoped to get some funky shots in with their bridesmaids and groomsmen as well.

However, being honest with your wedding photographer can come as a challenge to some couples. I get it–privacy is important, and I’m just the guy taking pictures. But keep in mind that giving me extensive details on the photos you want is in both yours and my best interests. It’s my life’s goal to give you great pictures, and great pictures come from great experiences, which are almost always free of conflicts.

On a personal note with these matters, confidentiality is a key element in my business. Every family or friend group has its secrets, but every family or friend group has its sweetness too. My passion in my work is to capture the good and memorable moments that make your wedding one of your most cherished memories.

Giving me backgrounds on (sometimes sensitive) family/friend issues leverages my abilities to execute group photos and give my clients exactly what they ask for. That honesty and openness sets the stage for smoother, quicker group formals that make way for the more important and fun parts of the wedding. Telling me about your vision for some of your pictures helps me help you capture your relationship with your bride/groom and lets you focus on your wedding, instead of potential drama or missed picture opportunities.


Four tips on capturing the perfect proposal

Four tips on capturing the perfect proposal

It needs to be perfect.

Proposing to your significant other (SO) needs to be flawless. It is a tender and defining moment solidifying your resolution to spend your lives together. To freeze that moment on camera is definitely worth the time and effort of set up and planning; every client I have taken proposal pictures for instinctively reacts to their photos with overwhelming sentimentality and warm recollection. In fact, proposal pictures serve as outstanding wedding announcements to friends and family–often better than any planned or timed photos taken together before or after the big moment.

Capturing the big question can be tricky, but it is definitely doable, and may be the most honest picture of emotion you two ever take together. Here are four proposal tips to keep in the back of your mind as you craft that ultimate, intimate moment:

1. Find a spacious spot.

Look for an area that not only means something special to the both of you, but that also has a decent amount of space for your photographer(s) to snap that ideal picture angle. The more room you give yourself to pop the question, the more perspective your hired help can collect.

2. Make sure there’s light.

There’s no picture without light, and a flash in the middle of a very personal question can interrupt the magic of it all. Make sure your selected area has adequate light, whether inside or outside. If you are considering asking outside, keep in mind that the time of day determines the light’s angle. Afternoon provides a bright and sunny background, while sunset creates twilight rays in between you both.

3. Get multiple angles.

Every standpoint is worth capturing, especially with all the emotion from your SO. Make sure you snap that knee-dropping moment and the unforgettable gasp/smile from the front, sides, and above.

4. Keep clicking that button before, during, and after.

Do not miss a second of your invaluable moment together. The picture taking does not start when you get down on one knee, nor does it stop after you hear “yes.” From the moment you two find the spot to the repeated review of that rock on the left ring finger, keep that camera rolling.

Winery or beach? …San Diego problems

Winery or beach? …San Diego problems

Living the San Diego life is not for the faint of heart.

As a professional photographer in the San Diego area, I work with clients embracing all that the county has to offer, day in and day out. It’s no easy job, but someone’s got to document life’s beautiful moments in the most gorgeous county in California!

I help many clients decide where to take their pictures, be it a company event, a wedding, baby announcements, grad photos, or something else. Many choose to meet me for pictures in La Jolla, Hotel Del Coronado, and other beach-y hot spots. However, the wineries in the county are as high quality as they are breathtaking, making them stifling competition.

Making the choice of where you want to have your photo shoot is no easy feat, so I have laid out a few pros and cons of each to help you in your next San Diego’s photo shoot location decision.

Grape Power

  • It’s unique. Everyone does the beach, especially when thinking of what to do in San Diego. Don’t forget the stunning visuals that places like the Bernardo Winery provide.
  • Weather usually permits. Unlike the beach, weather is more controllable and predictable when closer towards the mainland. Your hair will mostly stay in the same place, but a nice breeze generally blows too. If weather is overcast, the colors of a winery still pop in your photo shoot.
  • Different sides of you. At a winery, you get to take a few pictures of the actual winery building, maybe get a few in front of the vines, some next to their quaint barrels, tractors, willow trees…you get the picture.
  • Appear more mature. Wine is for people with class and taste. Pictures at a winery make you seem like you have your life together! Or at least more than others.

Sand for the Win

  • The classic choice. The beach is so popular with clients because it is so beautiful. San Diego has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Head my words–pick a picture day and time that won’t be extremely crowded, odds are everyone will be trying to enjoy the same thing, eliminating a privacy factor!
  • It sparkles. When the sunlight hits the shore just right, my camera picks up gold flecks of sand in between your toes in the water. The coastline is truly magical, bringing to life the most remarkable elements that make SoCal’s beaches a bucket list item.
  • One beach, a million angles. While staying in the same location, your photo shoot can use many different looks by using natural light or what your background is. Choosing the ocean as your background adds depth, while standing in front of the coast adds a future plan feel to your images.
  • Stay young and vibrant. Beaches bring people to life, young and old. The sand and surf will no doubt bring organic smiles to whatever your photo shoot is about.
These engagement photos show the BEST of California’s coast

These engagement photos show the BEST of California’s coast

Recently, I teamed up with a very-in-love, extremely photogenic couple for the ultimate California coast engagement photo shoot. Colin and Amanda took their engagement announcement to a picture-perfect level, using their honest love for each other, their color choices, and the ocean’s waves as well as its golden sand.

Amanda and Colin, along with their beyond-adorable dog, Minnie, hit the edge of our continent with me right before the sun sank behind the Pacific. This California coast engagement embodied everything the couple lived for: each other, their pup, and the California dream.

The setting was the backdrop to their future together.

The waves were subtle, but rolling in just enough to create movement and flow in Colin’s and Amanda’s pictures together. With every kiss or smile, a small splash of cold saltwater enveloped the two’s feet, keeping them cemented for a few picture-worthy seconds.

The sunset cast long shadows behind the glimmering couple. As the light faded behind the clouds and sea, the blues and purples of the sky brought out the soft, cottons of Amanda’s outfit and the dark jeans Colin wore. The falling sun also illuminated their sun-kissed skin, especially towards the end of the photo shoot.

The sun shined on them that day.

It seemed that the sunlight followed Amanda and Colin the day of their engagement shoot. And when they walked towards the distant cliff-houses together, I captured the intense symbolism that stood in front of them. I snapped two people, so excited and ready to begin a life together, heading towards glowing villas that overlook an endless ocean and endless possibilities.

It was a true pleasure collecting snap shots of Amanda and Colin’s exciting news to be sent to loved ones. Their California coast engagement captured the best of San Diego’s golden beaches. While some of us already see that beauty every day, it’s even more treasurable to see a beautiful couple fall deeper in love with each other while announcing their engagement on those sands.

Tune in for an update on how great their wedding will go; they will be wed at Hotel Del Coronado in March of 2018. In the meantime, keep your mailboxes empty in case there’s room for Colin and Amanda’s dazzling engagement announcement cards!

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