My engagement sessions are totally epic.

You may have considered a mountaintop or beach-side elopement to save trouble (and money) planning a really big wedding, but there's no way your family and friends would ever let you get away with it. So here you are - you're having a big wedding after all - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't still get to enjoy some (almost) alone time with each other on an epic adventure together.

I currently include a complimentary, totally epic, 2.5-hour adventure engagement session with any wedding package of $1250 or more. Some brides' first instinct is, "Um, I don't know if my guy will want to take pictures that long - he hates having his photo taken!" Fear not, beautiful. We won't just "take" pictures. At least, not in the conventional sense.

(Note: If you aren't a bride or marrying a guy, forgive me, because I do love you, too - I work with everyone, regardless of sex / gender.)

Now, imagine a private tour of a Lake Tahoe destination, Old Sacramento, Slacker Hill in San Francisco, a Yosemite location, Sly Park Recreation Area, the Muir Redwoods, Bodega Bay, Folsom Lake - anywhere in Northern California your hearts can imagine. Your tour guide helps you along so that you can simply enjoy this beautiful location - and each other. Along the way, she also snaps a few (well, like 3,000) photos of all the love and all the fun that ensues (and you get around 100-200 of the best of those telling your entire adventure love story, edited for download in full resolution to print and share anywhere you want in any size you want . . . but okay, back to the story). Your tour guide is your own personal photojournalist, documenting this beautiful day and your amazing love. She never forces anything, but simply throws out ideas here and there that would make for great photos. Take it or leave it, and/or bring your own ideas, too - it doesn't matter. What matters is that you enjoy yourselves. You'll also be spending the most amazing and one of the most important days of your lives so far with this person - all day long - so you might as well get used to her being there and see how easy and comfortable it is, so you know you can truly enjoy your special day with your love bug (and see how much you can 100% trust your wedding photographer).

A Few Tips

I hope that sells you on letting me (yep, I was talking about me up there) be your guide. If so, great! Here are some helpful tips to help you get the most out of our adventure together.

Timing is Everything

The reason my (free!) engagement sessions are "two-and-a-half" hours - which I know sounds like a really long time - it's not actually a long time when you're timing the sun. Golden hour and blue hour are, in my opinion, the very best times for photography - not only before the sun goes down, but sunset and just after sunset are also insanely epic. We'll take time adventuring, exploring spots. You can even change outfits halfway through! We may drive in between two locations as well - but when the sun is really about to go down, it's not going to wait for us, so we should be in the perfect place - and we won't know what that place is until we use our eyes together in the Now.

That's why I like to have us start about two hours before Google says the sun is going to set on your chosen date in your chosen location (so that should be your booking "start" time . . . right now sun is setting at about 8 pm, so 6 pm is a good time to start our adventuring). Often, the sun sets even earlier than Google says, based on trees, buildings and mountains (this always happens where I live). But don't worry - one-and-a-half hours ensures that we are going to get to that perfect sunset spot for the most epic shots during our prime shooting hour. We'll be comfortable with each other by then - best friends, really - so it's the perfect set-up.

All that said, we can shoot at any time of the day and use open shade and angles to still get awesome photos. And maybe sunset isn't really your thing? That's okay - this is about you after all. While tall forests and San Francisco fog don't satiate my sunset obsession, if you're looking for a dark and moody scene . . . oooooh, those are the places, any time of day.

Pack Light - but Bring Water!

If you want to bring a second change of outfits, a small backpack will do. Definitely bring water! But, don't bring so much that it's cumbersome to lug around, and keep in mind that I will be taking photos the entire time - I'm not a stop-here-and-only-take-photos-when-you-pose type of photographer - so don't bring five bags that you'll be carrying in your hands or having to stop every few steps so that I can capture a photo of the two of you without all the bags in your hands. Eat a good meal an hour before your session so that you aren't starving - I don't mind you bringing snacks if you want, but if you're eating, we aren't taking photos, and I want you to get the most out of your time with me!

Wear Loose-Fitting Clothing and Comfortable Shoes

We'll be moving quite a bit, often through tall grass or shrubbery to get to an epic spot, so you'll want to be comfortable and protect your feet. Tight pants and long-sleeved dress shirts just aren't so comfortable to adventure in for a couple hours. And ladies - you can bring some cute heels to change into for some pics, but also wear some sneakers or boots that you can travel in and not hurt your feet. Also, long, flowy dresses with lots of skirt fabric are amazing to wave around! But if we are having a beach session, sandals are great to be able to kick off and get your feet - or more - in the water! And a beach session for guys means = shorts! For downtown adventures, though, classy downtown attire is just great.

Enjoy Yourselves and Trust Your Photographer

Love and fear are opposites (I believe) - so let's go with Love! Let all of your fears drop to the wayside and just enjoy yourselves. When we begin, that's it - don't worry about what you look like, don't worry about what you're wearing, and don't even look at the clock - you leave that to me. Trust that I'm going to work very hard to get the best shots possible, no matter what it takes and no matter where we are. I'm going to make sure you both feel comfortable, because if you feel awkward, you'll look awkward, and that's the last thing any of us want (I like amazing portfolio photos, too!). So, before being a professional photographer, I'm a professional have-a-good-time-er. My entire mission revolves around you enjoying yourselves, with me simply capturing your love for each other from the best angles for light and composition (even if I have to wade through a stream, climb the mountain across from you, and lay in a red ant pile - I'm serious about getting those epic shots). I've been shooting for over 20 years now, and I'm going to make some great photos for you. I'll bring four lenses for four different looks at every stop, and I won't stop shooting 'til we're done. I'm going to guide your journey the entire way, always inviting you to share any ideas of your own, because this is a collaboration - from Love to Art.

I can't wait to start the journey with you! Let's go!