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Engagement Location

Engagement Location


Finding the perfect engagement location

  1. A meaningful place. Where did he propose? Where was your first kiss? These can sometimes make for great locations to take your engagement photographs. Having a thoughtful place that means something to the two of you is a great place to start. 
  2. Your first Date. Was your first date in the park? Was it a baseball game? Maybe it's the perfect location for part of your engagement session. 
  3. Your favorites places. Do you spend every weekend boating on the San Diego Bay? Do you both enjoy spending time on your beach cruisers. There's nothing more comfortable than bringing your photographer along to your favorite hang out or during your favorite activities. 
  4. Wedding theme. Some couples prefer to style their engagement sessions to be cohesive with their wedding theme. This doesn't mean we have to be literal, but if you're having an elegant rustic outdoor wedding - consider having your engagement photos in a more rural area (full of fields, etc.)

There's no shortage of beautiful places to photograph in southern California, so the possibilities are endless. If the two of you met on a hiking trail and have a common passion for the outdoors, it seems only natural to plan a session at one of your favorite outdoor locations. From mixing NFL jerseys to remote locations - I've had a wide range of requests, so let's get creative! 


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what to wear

what to wear


The Perfect Engagement Outfit

I believe you can never overdress for your engagement photographs. It is after all a time in your life worth celebrating. However, I always tell clients it's so important to feel comfortable in what you're wearing, so if you haven't worn heels since your high school prom, don't go run out to buy a new pair for this occasion. 

If you're looking for classy, timeless engagement photographs

  • I believe ladies can never go wrong with their favorite dress (cocktail style or long flowing). Add on your favorite accessory and a pair of heels (or maybe wedges are more your style) and it's instant beauty. 
  • I believe gentleman can never go wrong with a tailored short paired up with a nice dark jean or slacks. Similar to the ladies, add in an accessory such as a tie or hat to add some interest. 

Use your particular taste and personality for the shoot. If you love bright colors, go for it. If you're worried about dressing up in an outdoor location - don't. Dressy looks great at any location we photograph! 

Casual isn’t all bad if you’re not looking to go super dressy with your engagement outfit, but incorporate the same overall rules to make sure you look great. If you can’t decide what color to pick or what’s going to work with the shooting location, you can always land on black and know that you’ll be great. It's timeless. 

Still need some inspiration? Hop on over to the Pinterest board I've created where I'm always add a few things each season. 

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Best Lighting

Best Lighting


The Best Lighting for Your Portraits

Finding the best time to photograph your engagement photos goes a bit further than coordinating busy schedules. There's two ideal times for creating beautiful naturally lit photographs outdoors - Morning (roughly an hour or so after sunrise) or Evenings (roughly an hour or so before sunset). 

  • You'll often hear photographers speak to this as "golden hour" or "magic hour" and I must agree that it truly can make or break a photograph.
  • During these hours the "quality" of light is at it's best. The sun is low in the sky, producing a soft/diffused light which is most flattering, not to mention the warm glow seems to add some magic to the scene. 
  • If you're an early bird, an advantage to photographing in early morning, is simply having some public spaces all to yourself. Not an early riser? Not to worry - sunset is also perfect, just keep in mind the winter hours are typically limited. 

Wedding Tips

Wedding Tips

Tips for the bride

Plan for a Day Of Coordinator: Many venues include a "coordinator" for your wedding, however - one of the biggest misconceptions are the duties of that coordinator on the big day. Every venue is different so I can't generalize, but be sure to discuss what the venue coordinator will and will not be doing. 

  • Venue coordinators typically do not set up any personal decor, they will not confirm vendors prior to your wedding, they do not manage your timeline (or if things go array) and they typically leave after dinner is served. Hiring a day of coordinator outside of your venue ensures you have someone there to assist you all day. 

Hire a professional make-up artist: A professional makeup artist will be able to examine and give recommendations for improving your skin, so you can have the most flawless makeup application on your wedding day. They're trained in the art of highlighting your best features and contouring any imperfections. Best yet - They'll know how to cover up any last minute pimples, etc.

  • Make sure you have your make-up trial at least three weeks. If you're planning on a spray tan, have a test run before your make-up trial so that your artist can see what color your skin becomes with the tan. 
  • Hint: Be sure to wear a button up shirt or robe, so you won't mess up that pretty face or hair. 

The dress: Does your dress look amazing… as long as you’re standing still? Find a comfortable dress so you’re not fussing with a tight or loose fitting bodice. Stand, sit, and dance in the fitting room to make sure your dress stays put. Sew in a bra if needed. I can't tell you how often I see brides pulling up their unfitted strapless dress on their wedding day. The goal is to be beautiful, yet comfortable. 

Time, time, time: Give yourself plenty of time. So often I see time eaten up from all the hussle that happens during the “getting ready stage”. Give yourself ample amount of time to help accommodate the unexpected delays. 

Relax & Enjoy: Remember to take a few moments to soak it all it. Weddings are once in a lifetime so don’t allow yourself to get upset over seating charts, family drama or little misplaced items. Keep calm and enjoy. 


Tips for the groom

Choosing bouquet colors might not be a guy thing. But that doesn’t mean the groom can’t have a little fun planning the Big Day. Below are a few tips on how you can get a creative in put for your wedding day.

#1 Your Time with the Guys: Before the ceremony begins, I love to photograph the ‘getting ready’ images for both sides of the wedding party. For the groom, this is your time to relax and have a little bit of fun with the boys. Enjoy some final moments of bachelorhood. And your photographs remembering this moment should reflect who you are as an individual.

#2 Show me who you are: What do you love to do? Do you like playing a sport or enjoy spending time with your dog? However you love to express yourself, I like to capture that on camera! I will work with you to create a pre-wedding “just for guys” experience that you can truly enjoy and look forward to.

#3 Groomsmen’s Style: You’ve got the whole suit thing down. But it’s just a suit. Here are just a few ideas on how to look a little extra stylin’ with your guy-friends on your big day.

  • + SHOES I’ve seen it all – from super formal and traditional all the way down to color-pop sneakers. Whatever you choose, make sure it coordinates with your groomsmen's shoes. Fun shoes look great in photographs and add a lot of character to your suit. I’ve even had a groom and bride wear matching converse sneakers.
  • + SOCKS One of the first places groomsmen and the groom himself like to express themselves is in a choice of funky socks! Classy enough to please the parents but the perfect pinch of non-traditional, a pair of nutty socks can rock the house.
  • +BOUTONNIERE  Flowers might seem a little girly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some awesome color-pop going on in your outfit! A single flower, succulents, or greenery can complete your outfit. Just make sure to check with the bride before making a choice on the boutonniere – you want to make sure your colors coordinate or complement the colors of your bride!
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A First Look

A First Look


Benefits of having a First Look

While a First Look may not be for every couple, I wanted to share some benefits that I wish someone had shared with me around the time I was planning my wedding. 

You get to enjoy that special moment. I've witnessed some beautiful moments between couples during their First Look. Couples cry, laugh, hug, and much more - without holding back. They're able to have their instinctive reaction unfold because they don't have a large audience watching them. It's often a tender moment that I absolutely LOVE capturing. In some cases, it's really the only alone time the couple gets to have. 

Timing & Less Stress. A First Look allows much more time for your photographs without being rushed. After the First Look, I'll spend a few moments with the couple. We typically follow that with photographs of the bridal party - they usually meet us at the same location. Some couples have opted to have their family photographs at this time as well (Depending on the size of your family - I typically estimate 20-40 minutes). After the ceremony, I do family portraits if they didn't take place prior. I also take additional photographs with the couple in around the ceremony venue. 

  • Side note: Photography is often the first thing sacrificed when timelines run late. (ie. The florist ran late, someone lost directions, etc.) Rushing the photographs often creates stress on everyone. Prepare ahead with plenty of time allotted so there's no rushing.

Enjoy Cocktail Hour and Your Guests. This part is pretty simple. With the majority of your photographs taking place prior to the ceremony, couples can attend most, if not all, of the cocktail hour. This allows couples to mingle with guests before dinner and all the other activities. This extra hour before dinner, allows couples to be flexible - some opt to head to a remote location for additional photographs. 

Daylight. A First Look is great for weddings in the late fall/winter months, simply given the amount of daylight we have. Sunset during these months is typically around 5PM. Leaving all photographs post-ceremony, may mean images will require artificial lighting. A First Look allows the couple to have photographs in natural light which is obviously more favorable. This goes true for couples planning an evening ceremony.

Less jitters. It's natural to be a little nervous the day of your wedding with all the excitement and anticipation. Having a First Look tends to calm your nerves prior to walking down the aisle. A few moments with their best friend breaks the anticipation - yet it still leaves enough excitement of seeing your partner at the aisle. They're both emotional and beautiful moments in their own ways and incredible to capture. 

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Wedding Day Timeline

Often times couples wonder where to begin with their wedding day timeline. Assuming photography is an important aspect for your big day, and to ensure we're not rushing your photographs the day of the wedding - I've found the below timeline to work best for a lot of weddings.

Every photographer works differently and every couple plans their special day in unique ways, so this timeline is merely a suggestion of where to start.  

  • 2:00     Photographer Arrives
    • Details photographed (wedding dress, shoes, jewelry, invitations, bouquet, etc)
    • Last-minute hair and makeup touch-ups
    • Candid photos of the bridesmaids preparing
  • 3:00     Bride dresses
    • Candids of bride with mom and bridesmaids
  • 3:30     First Look
    • Bride and groom see each other before the ceremony for photos
  • 4:00     Bridal-party pictures
    • Bride with her bridesmaids, group and solo photos
    • Groom with his groomsmen, group and solo photos
    • Entire group
  • 4:30     Bride gets tucked away from early arriving guests
    • Photographer shoot ceremony details and cocktail hour location, if available
  • 5:00     Ceremony
  • 5:30     Ceremony Ends
  • 5:40     Family pictures
  • 6:10     Sunset photos with bride and groom
  • 6:25     Photograph reception details
  • 6:45     Grand entrance
  • 6:55     First dance
  • 7:00     Welcome and prayer, if applicable
  • 7:15     First course served
  • 7:30     Toasts
  • 7:45     Second course served
  • 8:15     Father/daughter... mother/son dance
  • 8:25     Open dancing
  • 9:30     Cake cutting
  • 9:40     Bouquet/garter toss
  • 10:00 Photography coverage concludes