The sun decided to hide behind the marine layer for this quirky, fun engagement session at Natural Bridges in Santa Cruz. Even though we didn't get a sunset, the soft light bathed Veronica and John with lovely attention and helped us create some amazing photos. I love how many shots they're totally cracking up, not taking this whole engagement shoot thing too seriously! Here's a few of my faves:
So yes, trash-the-dress bridal portrait sessions ARE a thing – albeit not too frequent (for me at least). The most common way to "trash" the dress here along the coast is to get wet. In the ocean. Safety is always top-of-mind, and we save the wet part for the very end of an otherwise normal bridal session at the beach. I found a rock outcropping that was making for some pretty good splashes, and of course once I positioned the couple in front of it we had to wait like FIVE MINUTES for a decent wave – but man was our patience rewarded with an epic splash! Alicia and Dylan, thanks so much for trusting me with this special shoot, I had a blast with you both!
Monarch Cove Inn is the perfect venue for a daytime wedding with a stunning view and beautiful landscaped grounds. The bride gets a generous suite in the middle of the property, where she can check out the setup progress with clandestine peeps through her upstairs window. I arrived early for Mandy and Dave's wedding so I could capture the details of this beautiful spot – as well as check in with this adorable couple and meet the friends and family surrounding and supporting them for the day.
I've interacted with this family several times over the years – mostly with the groom's brother (I shot his marriage proposal as well as family photos later on at this same location). Everyone is from Texas, so this is a special spot along the Bay that the family enjoys to come together at.
Today, Matt and Pamela held an emotional, intimate wedding on , a grass-covered clearing on Ribera Beach in Carmel, with a large rock outcrop standing firm as backdrop. A beautiful location, to be sure, and a stone's throw from where Matt's father was married years before – but the view was nothing compared to the beautiful bride walking down the makeshift aisle with her father. In no time, everyone was sniffling and dabbing at their eyes, soaking up the pure joy of the moment on this beautiful day.
I love Panther Beach in the winter - it tends to be calmer (and often warmer) than the summer. However, one thing is pretty much a guarantee – the waves will be large and unpredictable. Even though we arrived at LOW tide, we got surprised several times by waves – the cameras managed to stay dry but my couple, well... let's just say they now know the exact temperature of the ocean here. They were super easy to work with and had a positive attitude while both dry and wet. I'm looking forward to their wedding later this summer. Enjoy a few of my faves from their beach engagement session below: