Sarah and John (engagement session)

Sarah and John’s story follows the images…

A few weeks ago I shot Sarah and John’s engagement photos. Sarah had some definite ideas for their shoot, and even pointed my toward her Pinterest board. I love when couples show me their inspiration images, and I’m happy to craft a shoot around the ideas (putting my own stamp on it of course).

Sarah and John wanted to shoot in downtown Santa Barbara, and then head out to a meadow overlooking the ocean. Molly, their dog, is an important part of their lives and so she came along too. They picked a dressier look to go with their “big city” segment, and something more casual for the meadow.

I scouted the downtown part of the shoot ahead of time, so that we had some locations that would work well. Then we just sort of wandered with a game plan in mind, but were flexible and open to possibilities as they popped up. It was Thanksgiving weekend actually, so the streets were really crowded. But with a little creativity, we found a lot of spots where we could keep pedestrians out of our shots!

I had never been to the meadow they had picked, and there was no time to scout it ahead of time. I knew I’d have to pick locations on the fly. I did look at the area with google satellite maps though, and also checked on to get a general sense of what the place looked like. I also knew we’d be starting from the north and walking south. That meant we’d be walking into the sun. One thing I’ve learned about shooting on the fly: always walk toward the sun. Scenes usually look better with the sun to the back of the subject(s). If the sun is behind me, the scene will look flat and dull. So figure out where the sun will be at that time of the day, and start in a direction that keeps you moving toward it.

It was so much fun hanging out with John and Sarah that day! I love engagement shoots because they’re relaxed and creative, and I get to really connect with people. Thanks, you two, for an awesome day.

Technical details: these images were primarily shot on my Mamiya 645AF medium format camera, using 80mm and 150mm lenses. All the color images were Fuji Pro 400H film. The black and white image mid-way through the series was on Kodak Tmax 400 black and white film. The last shot was taken with my Mamiya RB67, using Fuji FP-3000B instant film. “Polaroid” film essentially. But instead of using the positive print, I scanned and inverted the throw-away paper ‘negative’. It creates an awesome retro/vintage look.


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