El Matador State Beach // Darla + Nick’s Malibu Engagement Session

It’s not hard to see that these two are so in love, and I couldn’t wait to document their one-of-a-kind chemistry from behind the lens. Darla and Nick love the beach, so El Matador State Beach was the perfect place to capture their engagement bliss with a breathtaking sunset session. We began their session in dressy beachwear and captured some relaxed, natural poses as they settled in. Beachcombing, enjoying the scenery, or doing an activity together is a simple way to help you get comfortable in front of the camera. While they danced and played around in the waves, I took a moment to incorporate Nick’s love for photography into the shoot. I live for tailoring your shoot to include hobbies, favorite spots, etc., plus I got some seriously precious images of him taking pictures of Darla. 

Show Off the Real You

Then, it was time to spice things up. These two beach lovers changed into their swimsuits, and the energy of the shoot changed with them! The cute and flirty sunshine vibes shifted to a more sexy, golden hour feel. It is incredible what incorporating two outfits can do to diversify your gallery; I love it! Whether it’s beachwear, elegant dress, or even cozy sweatshirts, consider changing your wardrobe midway to switch it up. Just as Nick loves photography, Darla is big into fitness, so this was the perfect way to highlight that and have some fun while we were at it. These two were fire and rocked this part of the session like models—someone give them a fitness feature!

El Matador State Beach: The Most Dazzling Spot in Malibu

In general, Malibu shows off at sunset. That being said, El Matador is my favorite Malibu photo location for a few reasons. 

1. El Matador State Beachoffers stunning beach compositions & unique landscapes.

This coveted beach is insanely gorgeous! El Matador features a variety of rock formations up and down the coastline, which is a huge plus when navigating other beachgoers. If people are sitting in one area, there are tons of other interesting and photogenic spots to explore. One area worth noting is the cliffs at the top of the beach; they make for the perfect start or end to your session with breathtaking ocean views.

2. Golden Hour lasts until the sun sets completely. 

That may sound obvious, but landforms, buildings, roads, etc., can block those last precious moments of sunlight at other locations. Because the sun sets perfectly on the far side of the beach, that’s a total non-issue at El Matador State Beach! You get every last ounce of the glow. We stayed out past sunset for Nick and Darla’s shoot to play with some stunning “blue hour” pictures. Even if you think it’s gotten too dark or the lighting isn’t right, we can still make magic happen—just trust me! 

3. El Matador’s pristine sandy shorelines stand out among the rest. 

You won’t deal with dodging kelp, seaweed, or rocks that hurt your feet. The beach is beautiful and clean and easy to move and play on, something that shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to being comfortable during your beach shoot!

Things to Know Before You Go // Planning Your El Matador State Beach Session

A few things to note if you’re planning to use El Matador for your photo session:

The parking lot is very small. We need to arrive early to find a spot, or you’ll have to try your luck parking on the street. 

Expect to lose phone service. If you aren’t a Malibu local, plan your routes or save photos of your trip ahead of time. Let friends, family, or work know you’ll be out of pocket for the evening. 

Consider a weekday session. If you’re planning a summer engagement session at a popular beach (particularly at sunset), booking on a weekday (Monday through Thursday) is the way to go! There is usually so much extra traffic on the weekend. 

Check the tide schedules for the specific beach you’ll be using. Many beaches in Malibu, like El Matador, are completely covered during high tide, making them unusable for sessions. Luckily, this is an easy thing to plan for!

Capture Your Love Story at El Matador State Beach

Just a 1.5-hour drive from downtown Los Angeles (considering typical traffic), El Matador wins out over Santa Monica or Venice for dreamy beach sessions. The dramatic rocky bluffs, coupled with the gorgeous beach itself, are hard to beat. Whether this is your vibe or you’d like to get more ideas, check out my blog for inspiration!

Get in touch if you’re ready to dive in (pardon the pun).





El Matador State Beach // Darla + Nick’s Malibu Engagement Session

Comments Off on El Matador State Beach // Darla + Nick’s Malibu Engagement Session