Zoe and Kenny are getting married down in Santa Barbara this year, and like pretty much all the other brides, she realized it’s January and she should really, seriously, think about starting that whole photographer search thing! Even though it was cold, windy, threatening to rain, and with the weather service issuing a high surf advisory, Zoe and Kenny agreed to go for a quick practice session at Seabright Beach in Santa Cruz. They’re super easy to work with, and I did my best to provide clear direction over the noise of crashing waves and gusty wind. The waves surprised us several times, dousing this couple (RUN!!), but we kept safe, had fun, and kept our hearts pumping the whole time. We were blessed with an amazing sunset once the sun lowered below the dark layer of murky clouds, and we wrapped things up so this lovely couple could thaw out back at the car. I really enjoyed my time with them, and hope to work with them again soon! Here’s a few of my faves…
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Shooting in the forest can be technically challenging, and I almost always try to bring off-camera lighting with me to help supplement and control light when the ambient situation isn't ideal (which is almost always the case in the forest). I met Amy and Lu at Henry Cowell State Park, just off Hwy 9 in Felton, California. They are a sweet, reserved couple and I enjoyed coaching them through, discovering what kind of poses did and didn't work for them. Here's a few of my faves from their engagement session:
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!
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: