Stephanie & John engagement

When I go into a photo shoot, I have an idea in my head of how things should work out. I picture the best possible outcome: perfect weather, beautiful settings, great light.

For Stephanie and John’s Big Sur engagement photos, things didn’t work out exactly as I had hoped. They worked out better.

Let’s start with the location: We chose Garrapata State Park in Big Sur, one of my favorite places on earth. It’s close to where Stephanie and John originally planned to have their wedding, a home on the coast of Big Sur. That was one of the many things Steph, John and I bonded over: I got married in Big Sur, too. (Their plans changed and they’re opting for a Monterey wedding at a beautiful venue, but we stuck with Big Sur for the engagement session.)

Garrapata was doing us a lot of favors when we visited: Lots of sun, no fog, flowers in bloom. We took advantage of all of it, going from the beach to a field to the coast to a rocky grove of trees overlooking the ocean, the sun peeking through behind. We ended the day with the sun dipping below the horizon as we stood on a rocky outcropping above the crashing waves.

Our buddy Conner Jay was getting quite a workout by holding my flash-on-a-stick — which is appropriate, since John is a fitness trainer and the owner of the gym where Conner works out (I just joined!).

Stephanie and John were great subjects, with natural smiles and good moods, putting up with my goofy ideas (like the shot through the sunglasses) and suggesting cool ideas of their own (like Steph peering at John around the cliffside). Stephanie later admitted that she had some experience modeling, and we weren’t at all surprised.

We ended the fun day back in Salinas with more fun: Pizza and beers. I’m really looking forward to their wedding later this year, where rumor has it that someone wearing a wedding dress is going to try a keg stand.

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