another engagement session in and around laguna

I’m shooting Monique and Steven’s wedding in three weeks, but did their engagement session just last Sunday with one of my favorite concepts: “In & Around Laguna.” Strolling around, we stop where I see an opportunity for photography that expresses who they are as a couple. For example, the locations I chose have some harmony with the clothing my subjects are wearing. Some couples opt for shorts, sandals and t-shirts. That leads to a entirely different session than Monique and Steven, for example.

There are just so many nooks, crannies, and special spots that only locals know. And, after living in LB for so long, I’d like to think I’ve discovered them all!

Monique looked like a gorgeous porcelain doll, and her Chinese red and gold dress was stunning. Really looking forward to the wedding!

Looks like we traveled to Asia or Morocco, doesn't it?

Looks like we traveled to Asia or Morocco, doesn’t it?

Looks like we traveled to Asia, or Morocco, doesn't it?


Loving this luscious cocoa-colored treatment.

Loving this luscious cocoa-colored treatment. Much cooler than your typical sepia. More like a black and white… but brown.


Oh, yeah!

A most amazing and romantic proposal

Ladies, this is a spoiler alert…you’re going to have a serious case of Boyfriend Envy if you read further about the proposal I had the great pleasure of photographing over the weekend by the amazingly romantic Jake, to the sweet and beautiful Pauline! Yes, I’m an Orange County wedding photographer, but proposal opportunities are not nearly as frequent as I’d like.

Not the typical rotunda photo. Yes, you'll see those also :-)

Not the typical rotunda photo. Yes, you’ll see those also 🙂

They were on a weekend getaway from L.A., and Jake had reserved a 1400 square foot ocean view suite. Of course, there were flower arrangements of her faves waiting in the suite. He’d told Pauline that he’d contracted with a photographer to shoot with them on the property (yours truly) for about an hour, which we did.

A truly pampered pooch with his own monogramed hotel pillow.

A truly pampered pooch with his own monogramed hotel pillow.

Considering Jake was just recovering from ankle surgery, we did a great job hitting some of the iconic spots in the hotel in a mere 60 minutes.

Stairs at the spectacular rotunda.

Stairs at the spectacular rotunda.

How can you not love the spectacular ceiling?

How can you not love the spectacular ceiling?

A quick stop off at the lobby bar. No time for a beverage!

A quick stop off at the lobby bar. No time for a beverage!

Fave shot o' the day.

Fave shot o’ the day.

A little less intense.

A little less intense.

Another favorite.

Another favorite.


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I was crazy about them both immediately, and could totally feel their HUGE love for one another. Upon my “fake” departure, I suggested they visit the serene Botanical Garden for a sunset glass of champagne.

Immediately after bidding adieu, I hightailed it over there myself, where the proposal was to take place. There were four St. Regis staff members, including a butler to pour the chilled Dom Perignon, plus a guitarist, vocalist, and the incredible Gundula, Chef Concierge of the hotel, making sure everything was top notch. Which, of course, it was. No less would be expected of the St. Regis, right?st_regis_hotel_propsal_photos_18

The gazebo was strung with lights, heaters were provided lest Pauline get a chill, and a car to deliver them to the site. Outside the gazebo were votive candles spelling out “MARRY ME?”, and red and white rose petals along the votive lined pathway.

We were behind the rosemary hedge when they arrived at this magical spot, and I do believe it took Pauline a minute to realize that this was all for her.

The look on both of their faces was indescribable and actually, such an intimate moment, I don’t feel comfortable sharing the actual proposal  😦

But you’ll get the idea.


I do believe she said "YES!"

I do believe she said “YES!”

Gorgeous, yes?

Gorgeous, yes?


And a lifetime of magic is just beginning.

And a lifetime of magic is just beginning.

An engagement session in Laguna Beach…sort of…


Hard to pick a favorite, but this MIGHT be it.


This was quite like a Laguna Beach engagement photo session.  BUT…this cute couple actually got married two years ago on the sand, right here in Laguna. They’re from Michigan and were so happy to have a chance to come back for a little va-cay. Sadly, they weren’t happy with their actual wedding photos, so they asked me to do a “do-over” session. What could I say but…”YES! I’d LOVE to!”. We did a Laguna Beach tour…from my favorite “urban alley”, to my favorite brick wall, the Main Beach lifeguard tower, and the beach at gorgeous Montage Hotel.

Meghan and Dave turned into supermodels right before my eyes :-). We had so much fun, and I’m thrilled with the results.

I LOVE shooting into the sun and creating a lens flare. To me, it just adds to the "story value" and creates a more romantic image.

I LOVE shooting into the sun and creating a lens flare. To me, it just adds to the “story value” and creates a more romantic image.


Sweet sweet love.


Favorite brick wall! The black iron window makes it!


This is where Meghan and Dave turned into supermodels. The colors in the background play perfectly off their black/blue tops.


Meghan is exactly a foot shorter than Dave. 6’1 to 5’1. Cute way to emphasize their height difference.

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Rock and Roll engagement shoot … how fun!

Okay, so rock drummer extraordinaire, Englishman Daniel Barnes, and his beloved — Faith Darling — the best and most adorable hair stylist in Laguna Beach! … wanted to do a photo shoot. His family in England haven’t met Faith yet, so I wanted to show their personalities and how darned cute they are together.

Think I did it!

Of course, I had to do a shot featuring Daniel's new tattoo. Faith's name ... but so much more.

Anita + Emanuel’s engagement shoot … rock on rockabilly!

Sometimes I almost feel guilty for having so much fun with my ‘job’! What an amazing evening last night with this incredible couple. Anita is the owner of the fabulous English Garden florals in Laguna Beach, and her fiance Emanuel is as sweet as she is!

They are totally into the rockabilly and vintage vibe and dress (and drive!) the part.  In and around the train station in San Juan Capistrano (where they live) provided the perfect setting for our shoot.


Their 1957(?) Cadillac was the perfect prop!

Couldn't resist applying an old-time Polaroid feeling to this shot.