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panther beach

Marriage Proposal / Engagement Photo Shoot at Panther Beach, Santa Cruz

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Marriage Proposal / Engagement Photo Shoot at Panther Beach, Santa Cruz

Aside from weddings, I probably put the most effort into helping plan surprise proposals for romantic guys who really want to make this moment special for their girls. From detailed and diagrammed satellite imagery outlining the target area for where I’ll be waiting, to making sure I receive a selfie of the couple so I don’t accidentally “stalk” the wrong couple, I go to great lengths to ensure all the randomness of nature and life don’t prevent me from capturing the moment, then expanding that moment into many moments, guided by my experience and natural feel for this sort of thing.

Even though we had a surprise river bisecting the beach, even though the tide (and waves) were so high that we couldn’t explore half the beach, even though it was a Sunday afternoon and we had a ton of partying teens cheering the couple on – everything came together in a magical way that I hope was everything Shamik imagined it could be. Here’s the highlights of our short time together, I hope you enjoy them.

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Panther Beach - Santa Cruz Engagement Session

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Panther Beach - Santa Cruz Engagement Session

Panther Beach is one of the more popular engagement photography destinations in the Santa Cruz area, mostly because it offers stunning natural features and is fairly private, as it’s challenging to access. But with great beauty, comes another natural risk – big waves! This is the only beach I or my couples have fairly routinely gotten wet at – usually by accident :) Luckily I was able to get a bunch of great photos before the risky shot at the end. A sneaker wave pummeled the rock these two were standing on and utterly drenched them. I got the shot (of course), because that would be a real bummer way to end a session if I didn’t! Luckily they were in good spirits and it wasn’t too cold (even though it’s March). Enjoy a few of my faves below:

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Panther Beach Santa Cruz Engagement Session

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Panther Beach Santa Cruz Engagement Session

We had nice soft light for Abbey and Andrew’s engagement session at Panther Beach just north of Santa Cruz, California. Just because you’re a little shy in front of the camera doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of amazing photos! By some miracle, we avoided getting soaked by the notoriously enormous waves at this beach. Here’s some of my faves from the session…

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Panther Beach, Santa Cruz Engagement Session - Kate + Ryan

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Panther Beach, Santa Cruz Engagement Session - Kate + Ryan

These guys live in Oregon, but love the beach down here and wanted their save-the-dates and engagement photos in general to capture the natural coastal beauty we have here. Thing was, this was a friday night and some kinf of epic party was happening on the beach when we arrived. Can you tell from the photos? No? Well I guess I did my job right then... enjoy my faves below!

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"Trash the Dress" Bridal Portraits @ Panther Beach, Santa Cruz, California

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"Trash the Dress" Bridal Portraits @ Panther Beach, Santa Cruz, California

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!

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