Mark & Vanessa at Sutro Baths, SF - August 20, 2016
There's a good reason that the Sutro Baths and Lands End on the western coast of San Francisco are among the most popular locations for wedding photographers--it's so picturesque that shooting here felt almost like cheating. Then again, working with my dear friends Mark and Vanessa (and Pollo) was so easy and fun that the whole system might as well have been rigged.
We started the morning in a dog-friendly park in San Mateo, where Pollo proceeded to steal the show for almost a full two hours (sometimes in a bowtie and custom-fitted tuxedo). We ran around a field, played on a jungle gym, and lounged under a weeping willow tree. After a quick lunch at a burger joint and costume change, we headed up the 280 to do some photos beachside.
Mark, my coworker, first floated the idea of doing engagement photos shortly after he and Vanessa got engaged in February, but I'm glad we waited for so long because the weather was perfect. While San Mateo was characteristically sunny and hot, twenty four miles away, Lands End was temperate and lovingly enveloped in fog (did you know that the fog is apparently named Karl? Never stop being weird, SF), which made it ideal for an early afternoon shoot. We started at the northern end of the trail and wound our way down towards the Baths over the course of about three hours.
My favorite thing about this shoot was about how much we laughed the entire day--I'd predict that more than half of the photos that made it into the final cut are actually candids. At one point, Mark spotted a Lapras on Poke'mon Go while I did some solo shots with Vanessa...which, unsurprisingly, sent half a dozen other eager players clambering over rocks to join us. Without missing a beat, Vanessa shouted, "Babe, can you grab my phone and catch me one too?" and went right back to posing (Mark graciously caught me one too, for the record).
Later, when I mentioned that they didn't have to smile for every photo if they didn't feel like it, Vanessa told me: "We have trouble looking stoic because we're not serious people. Like, at all." Which isn't to say that they're not serious about each other; a continual theme throughout the day was how at ease and affectionate they are with one another--they really brought their fun-loving spirit to every photo. Before heading home, we grabbed some boba and snapped a few quick shots in front of one of the row houses--incidentally, getting boba together was one of their first dates! How very Californian.
It was such a privilege to shoot two such lovely and loving people--want more M & V? Check out the gallery!