Things to Know for Your SoCal Sunset Beach Engagement Session

My heart skipped a beat when Alexis and Jennings reached out about photographing their wedding. When the idea of moving to California first popped into my mind a few years ago, I offered a few free couples sessions to get a feel for the area and see if SoCal was a good fit. Alexis and Jennings had just been dating for a year or two the first time they booked with me, and they drove from Santa Monica for their Malibu session. (Needless to say, I fell in love with Southern California—the landscape is so inspiring, and it constantly blows my mind that it looks this beautiful year-round!)

We used the fields and mountains for their first session, so we wanted to do something totally different and epic for their sunset beach engagement session. It is one of my greatest honors as a photographer to have couples return, and I am beyond thrilled to be shooting Alexis and Jennings’ wedding at Tuscan Rose Ranch this summer.

Alexis and Jennings are such a power couple with busy schedules, but we finally landed on a date and time. As luck would have it, the tides were super high, so rather than doing the rocky beaches in Malibu, we opted for Zuma Beach for the vast area we had to work with and the ability to walk up to Point Dume for a few shots at sunset! I am always here to help you plan the perfect sunset beach engagement session, no matter what!

Things to Keep in Mind for Your Sunset Beach Engagement Session

Check the Tides

Time is the most important factor when planning your SoCal beach engagement session. First, look at the tide chart, especially if you choose a location with a very short beach like many of the rocky beaches in Malibu. Consider the landscape, too, because we don’t want to get stranded and have to wade back out (which is not the end of the world, but it’s something to be mindful of).

Schedule Your Session from Sunset to Dusk

Ideally, we want to take advantage of Southern California’s gorgeous sunsets. Midday has the harshest sunlight, and the direct rays can sometimes overpower or wash out your images. Instead, we’ll shoot for early evening. While it might say that the sun sets at 6 PM (Golden Hour), I would love it if you would stay a bit longer with me. Blue Hour sets in just after sunset, which is by far my favorite time to take photos at any California beach setting. The sky changes colors more dramatically, and that’s when it shows up best in photos. So, plan your engagement session from just before sunset and into dusk. Because Blue Hour changes from day to day, we may have to play our end time by ear to get those photos. But trust me, you want them—they are the most gorgeous shots from every session. 

Have Fun with It!

Sure, we can get some beautifully posed sunset beach shots, but I want to help you capture the vitality most people love about beach photos. There’s just something magical about romping around on the beach that makes us all feel like kids again. The beach offers the perfect setting to let loose and have fun together. So, with all of the logistics in place, the single most important thing about beach sessions is to have fun! I promise to guide and pose you when the situation calls for it. But in the meantime, it’s ok to forget about the camera and do your thing.

Think of me as your own personal paparazzi (except I’m there to get your best side, not your worst). Go ahead and be silly. Tall and tumble in the sand. Build a sand castle. Chase the waves and run into the ocean together. I’m here for those in-the-moment nostalgic vibes.

For Alexis and Jennings’ beach session, they ran around the beach and hiked up to Point Dume to enjoy the views. Then, we hiked back down to run around in the water some more as the sun sank below the horizon. It was so gorgeous, and these two are just so in love. 

Bring Extra Clothes

And finally, this isn’t a must, but you may want to bring extra clothes and towels, especially if you have a bit of a drive home. Sandy wet swimsuits or clothes aren’t the most fun to sit in. Bringing extra clothes can also give us a few options for photos. You could wear a breezy sundress at the top of your hike and then switch it up for fun and flirty swimsuit shots while playing in the water. Towels, sunglasses, and sunhats are all cute props!

Chase the Sunset with Hanna, SoCal Engagement Photographer

Are you ready to chase the sunset with me? Whether you’re looking for a romantic stroll along the shoreline, playful moments in the sand, or dramatic silhouettes against a vibrant sky, I know that every couple is unique. I’m here to help you create memories that are as stunning as your love story. 

Connect with Hanna

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Things to Know for Your SoCal Sunset Beach Engagement Session

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