Cyeeta & Tony Engagement Shoot

Downtown Sacramento Engagement

Cyeeta and Tony’s engagement shoot started at the Sacramento Capitol Park World Peace Rose Garden right outside the state capitol building.  This is one of my most requested locations for both engagement shots and portraits on wedding days for downtown Sacramento weddings.  It provides a good variety of backgrounds, between the garden, capitol building, and nearby metropolitan area.  We took advantage of all of these during Cyeeta and Tony’s shoot.

The shoot started with it’s challenges, as I had forgotten the remote control for the light I was planning on using (Pro Photo B1), and had to resort to a flash instead.  This ended up working well, but it posed it’s challenges in the beginning. Cyeeta and Tony were so patient with me, which I appreciated. 

Cyeeta and Tony wanted a combination family shoot with their daughter as well as couples/engagement shoot.  Once they arrived, I quickly realized that their daughter was having some allergies that day, which the garden only made worse.  So we decided to quickly take their family shots so that their daughter could retreat to the car with her cousins and wait for her parents there.  

Sacramento Capitol Park Shoot
Sacramento Rose garden family shot.

We also took some nice shots of Cyeeta and Tony together in the park surrounding the Capitol as well as right outside the capitol building. I thought these came out great. I always like the shots that come off as natural as possible.

Capitol Rose Garden Engagement Shoot
Capitol Rose Garden Engagement Shoot
Capitol Rose Garden Engagement Shoot

Afterward, we were about the wrap up the shoot but took notice of the nice lighting with the sun setting on Sacramento’s iconic yellow bridge.  We decided to try to get a street shot with the bridge in the background.  This was challenging because we had to avoid cars as they would pose quickly and I would take the photo and then run out of the way to avoid oncoming traffic.  But it was all worth it in the end with some great photos coming out of it!

Capitol Rose Garden Engagement Shoot
Capitol Rose Garden Engagement Shoot.

Courtney & Rich Engagement

Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
Courtney and Rich are so excited to marry each other!

The months of February and March have been booming for engagement shoots. With wedding season starting to ramp up in April, these first few months of the year are ideal for engagement shoots, and is a sign of a couple that is on top of their wedding planning tasks. The shoot of Courtney and Rich happened at the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery in mid-March. This location is really a great hidden gem for taking engagement portraits. It has areas of tall green grass great for photos, landscaped walkways and striking trees, some still with yellow fall leaves on them. If you are a Sacramento or Davis area photographer or wedding planner, I would definitely recommend you keep this park I mind for engagement shoots for your couples!

On the day of the shoot, at 2:00 PM, a heavy rainy downpour was under way in the Sacramento area and the shoot was planned at 4:00 PM. But I looked down at the weather app on my phone and saw that the weather was supposed to clear up shortly, and I prayed that for once my phone would prove correct. And it did! The engagement shoot went through, on schedule with no rain!

To break the ice with Courtney and Rich, we started with a simple “V pose”. I call it a “V pose” because the couple takes a simple head on picture slightly turned towards each other forming a fat V shape. That is a pose that most people are familiar with and always helps people get in the mood of photo taking.

Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
Traditional shot in the park. Gorgeous lighting!

After that first initial shot, we began to walk through the park area. At one point I looked up towards the tree branches, and I noticed a soft light shining down through the trees hitting the yellow leaves creating a sort of glowing atmosphere. I truly believe that outdoor photoshoots are the best studio you can have if you know how to read the natural light. In my mind, I realized that this was the perfect time and place to capture my “awkward pose”. Now, I call it the “awkward pose” because I ask couples to face each other head-to-head and stare into each other’s eyes, which always feels incredibly awkward no matter who you are staring at. Then I make it fun by challenging them to see who can make the other laugh first. In this case, Richard cracked a joke and Courtney couldn’t help herself but laugh. My camera was there to capture that genuine moment of laughter.

Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
The lighting hits the couple and provides a beautiful glow as they look into each other’s eyes.
Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
The “awkward pose”. Richard cracked a joke!

There always comes that point in an engagement shoot when as a photographer you want to make sure the couple has an opportunity to show off that engagement ring. Whenever possible, I like to take three variations of a picture to make sure I get the shot and also to provide the couple with options in creating their albums or save the date cards.

Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
The engagement ring here really stands out.
Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
Showing off that ring.
Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
Hanging out on a bench, enjoying the scenery and conveniently showing off that ring.
Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
They had so much fun walking and talking.

We continued our walk through the park area and stopped every now and then to capture some of the more traditional couple poses that you typically see in engagement portraits. I like to make things casual on these shoots, allowing couples to walk together and stop where it feels natural. I and my assistant usually tag along behind them snapping pictures as we walk and evaluating where the best lighting and angles are.

Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
Great photo with the yellow leaves in the background.
Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
Another great traditional engagement shoot.

I do, however try to direct couples to areas that will provide particularly appealing background settings for photos. That is how we ended up near a tree with branches extending along the ground and providing a natural bench for Courtney and Rich to lean on and take a few shots.

Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
The branches provided such a great background for this engagement shot.

With all the walking we were doing, we were all starting to get tired and I wanted to make sure Courtney and Rich were relaxed for the final photos of the day, so I had them first lean up against the tree and take some fun casual photos.

Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
The tree was nice for Courtney to relax and lean on. And still a great casual pose for their engagement shoot.
Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
A kiss for the groom. Not the first, and surely won’t be the last from this bride!
Courtney and Rich Engagement Shoot for Loomis Wedding
A nice casual pose between two people engaged and in love.

Nearby there was an area of dry leaves that covered the grass. Courtney proposed taking a photo in the area, and I always like to encourage my couples to get involved and suggest locations/poses, etc. Plus, I thought this was an excellent idea. I posed them down on the floor, so that we could make sure we got the full effect of the dry leaves in the portrait. Rich wasn’t sure about sitting in the leaves at first, but I think he did it for Courtney. Love is a powerful thing! And I think the photo came out pretty darn good! So good call Courtney!

That’s all I got for this one, until next time everyone …

Peace out,
Philippe

Michael & Veronica Engagement

Sacramento Lodi wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.

A cloudy and rainy day was upon us as I got ready to shoot Michael and Veronica’s engagement photos. Around 12:00 I considered cancelling the shoot because I was not sure that the weather would hold out for us, but I’m glad that I didn’t. The shoot took place as scheduled at 4:00 PM at Hanford Ranch Winery Inc. in Galt, California. This is a beautiful location on a hilltop overlooking grape fields which circles the winery. This is a great venue choice for anyone in the Sacramento and Stockton area to hold their wedding. Veronica, Michael, my assistant (Ashley) and I did a lot of walking through the property on that day and I was impressed by all of the possibilities for great portraits that are there. I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of what is possible.

The property has a cute wooden bridge that is one of the highlights of the outdoor terrace area. That is where we decided to start with the photos. I first posed Michael and Veronica atop the bridge and we took several shots. One of my go-to poses is the couple touching heads and gazing into each other’s eyes. It normally takes a few poses to break the ice with couples and to get a groove going for portrait taking. But Veronica and Michael were in such an obviously good mood without a care in the world for the less than ideal weather. I could see the love in their eyes and their happiness to have found each other. Needless to say it didn’t take long for these two to feel comfortable and to start getting great shots.

Sacramento Lodi wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi Wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi Wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.

Next we moved further down the property following the main path. We used the path and surrounding landscape as the background for several other photos, focusing mainly on announcing the couples’ wedding date in October 2018.

Sacramento Lodi wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi Wedding Engagement Shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.

At this point, the Sacramento valley sky began to reveal a golden sunset that photographers always strive to capture in these kind of photos.  I was able to snap some portraits of Michael and Veronica in this golden sunlight.

Sacrament Lodi Engagement Wedding Shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.

I’ve heard people say that the way to look into the soul of a person is through their eyes. Looking through my lens into Veronica and Michael’s eyes, I could see the happiness that fills their soul as they giggled with each other. I tried to capture these candid shots so that they might always remember the excitement they felt in this moment.

Sacramento Lodi wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi engagement wedding shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.

Eventually, the sun started disappearing and the golden sky gave way to an amber tint. This was the perfect condition to take some silhouette style shots before I added my flash into the mix to fully light their faces. Michael and Veronica were great about humoring me with my different posing and lighting ideas.

Sacramento Lodi Wedding Engagement Shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi Wedding Engagement Shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi Wedding Engagement Shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi Wedding Engagement Shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.

As we were concluding our evening, I asked Michael and Veronica to sit on the top of the hill facing the sun and positioned so that I could capture this unique tree that has probably seen more than a few couples peer out on it as they celebrate their wedding day. I always like these kind of shots because it feels like they are looking into their future, imagining their lives together.

A golden sunset that lasts for over an hour is rare, and is more precious than gold to photographers. What started out as a gloomy rainy day, turned out to be the ideal conditions for capturing Veronica and Michael’s love. I like to think that it all worked out for Veronica and Michael, as a sign of the bright skies ahead for them. Can’t wait to capture their wedding day at this gorgeous venue, Hanford Ranch Winery Inc.

Lodi and Sacramento Wedding
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.
Sacramento Lodi wedding engagement shoot
Michael and Veronica engagement shoot for upcoming wedding.