Topanga Canyon Califiornia photo session


Golden Hour Magic | Cinematic Topanga Canyon Engagement Session

Abby and Ian had a specific vision for their Topanga Canyon engagement photos. They wanted editorial, film-forward images taken during the coveted golden hour on an idyllic Malibu beach. A couple of weather-related hiccups forced us to reschedule. But in the end, we were rewarded with a perfect sunny day. And we were just in time for that enchanting golden hour magic Abby had her heart set on.

Malibu’s Golden Hour

There’s something truly captivating about the golden hour—that brief, fleeting moment when the sun paints the sky with gold, pink, and lavender hues. As a photographer, I’ve always been drawn to the sheer beauty and romantic potential this time of day holds. The golden hour offers a unique quality of light that can transform your engagement photos into something extraordinary. Then, we can take advantage of the blue hour that follows for bold silhouettes and fun flash photography.

The location, a hidden gem I discovered in Malibu, was a stunning backdrop for Abby and Ian’s engagement shoot. It’s a place as dramatic and dynamic as ever, transforming with the seasons into a blend of vistas. From varied beaches and intriguing caves to towering cliffs and bursts of wildflowers, it offers a unique setting for your engagement photos. We shot in January, enjoying an almost private beach, courtesy of the cooler temperatures and the low tides at sunset. If an intimate beach experience is what you’re after, winter may just be the winning season, with pristine beach time and a favorable tide schedule.

Topanga Canyon Engagement Photos

Located within the Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu and Topanga Canyon boast a breathtaking variety of landscapes. From sprawling grassy inland fields to majestic mountain overlooks and gorgeous seaside bluffs and beaches, they cater to the whims of any nature enthusiast looking for a spectacular engagement photo locale. If you’re coming from Los Angeles and are looking to get away from the city for your session, Topanga Canyon offers a rural, rugged feel that I’ve fallen in love with. 
The Topanga Canyon comes alive with energy as the sun sets over the horizon. The rocky landscape and winding roads make for a romantic drive, leading to fun little spots nestled among the hills if you feel like staying and exploring for a while.

Candids or Styled Shots? Why Not Both?!

Malibu beach photos allow for playful sessions full of romping, jumping into each other’s arms, and surf-splashing for those quintessential ‘caught in the moment’ shots. At the same time, the sun-kissed beach and sea spray serve as a gorgeous backdrop for more poised, thoughtfully composed frames. A beach engagement shoot provides a beautiful mix of playful, impromptu moments and carefully curated editorial shots. I love mixing both in my sessions—the beach makes it so easy!

Film Photography for Cinematic Engagement Photos

I turned to film for Abby and Ian’s session to create a series of dreamy, nostalgic images. Film photography is an art form that requires patience, skill, and a dash of luck. But when everything aligns perfectly, the results are truly magical. Beachy golden hours were meant for film photography. The interplay of sunlight and cinematic exposure evokes an ethereal dance of light and shadow that breathes life into each frame. We had been anticipating this session for a few weeks, waiting for the weather to calm down, and I was more than ready for their sun drenched session.

Engagement Outfit Inspiration

And let’s not forget Abby’s outfits–I was completely smitten with them. If you’re looking for outfit inspiration, take a leaf from her book. White two-piece outfits with crochet detailing, vintage patterns, and satin slip dresses are all the rage this summer, and they blend seamlessly with my photographic style. These two were absolute naturals in front of the lens, outfits, smiles, connection, and all!

Savor the Experience

In the end, the moments shared between the couple are what truly bring photographs to life, and Abby and Ian had this in spades. Between the quiet moments and wave chasing, their Topanga Canyon engagement shoot was a testament to the story they’re writing together. I was thrilled to tag along on part of their journey while documenting priceless memories in the making.

A Different Kind of Engagement Session

Not sure what you want for engagement photos? For more inspiration, browse my Pinterest boardsInstagram feed, and blog posts. What speaks to you? Don’t hesitate to reach out for more guidance—I’d love to get creative with you!

Connect with Hanna





Golden Hour Magic | Cinematic Topanga Canyon Engagement Session

Comments Off on Golden Hour Magic | Cinematic Topanga Canyon Engagement Session