Victoria + Max | Editorial stylized San Francisco rooftop love shoot

May 10, 2019
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This was a creative project with my friends / then-neighbors on the roof of our apartment building in the Mission District of San Francisco! I’d been incubating the idea of using my rooftop for a creative styled shoot for a while.

Having any outdoor space in San Francisco or any major city is just such a gift, ya know? Especially when you have a great view like this of the San Francisco skyline.

Sadly, in the next few months from now we will lose this view as an 8-floor luxury apartment building will be built, completely obscuring this skyline view from our 5th floor rooftop.

The timing turned out to be fortuitous in so many ways. After I’d asked Victoria and Max to be models for this shoot, they told me the news that they were going to be moving to upstate New York! (Those two events are unrelated, so I’m told).

We are also lucky to have… no ugly railings! (pah! Railings schmailings) because you’re *technically* not supposed to be up there. It did however guarantee that we were the only ones around.

So we got cracking planning out the outfits, look and feel and date for shooting amid the intense rain we seemed to be having every day in early March when we shot this.

Finally after a few weather setbacks we got to work on an overcast day which was as good as we were going to get. I actually wanted a less sunny, more neutral weather for the editorial vibe.

Lack of sunshine is actually great because we can shoot in pretty much any direction as the light will be flattering wherever the couple is positioned.

This very elegant couple looking effortlessly stylish and somewhat moody

The way this mini shoot came about was very organic – no mood boards, no heavy concept – I just wanted a couch on the roof and this very elegant couple looking effortlessly stylish and somewhat moody.

We brainstormed outfits and combined two looks – Victoria’s beautiful black and green jumpsuit with transparent rubber boots (!!!) and a flowing pink dress from Shein I had which she paired with nude heels.

The couple’s own white loveseat turned out to be – and I hate this word but I’ll use it anyway – perfect. And it was super lightweight. Great, as it needed to go up 2 flights of stairs (thanks, Max and my husband John).

After making as sure as we could be that no-one was going to crash through the floor into the apartment below, we began shooting right before sunset.

We did a bunch of more magazine-y type, editorial poses to bring out the edgy, romantic, urban look of the shoot. Somewhere between posed and realistic – I can’t help but draw out the natural interactions between the two of them.

I almost forgot to mention, we had flowers! They were fashioned into something resembling a stylish bouquet by yours truly, tying them with the sash from the dress.

I’d bought them from FoodsCo on Folsom Street, a cut-price & not very hip Kroger supermarket chain. The colors were to die for and I couldn’t believe they had something so perfect from their small selection. Lucky!

When Victoria and Max told me they’d be moving away, I just had to offer them a more traditional and personal ‘love shoot’ (I also call them ‘just because’ shoots – you’re not getting married and it’s not your anniversary, but why not celebrate your love and the current phase of your ever-evolving relationship, and life?

the need for lasting photos is more salient than ever.

In an age where throwaway photos are so prevalent and photo updates to followers are deleted after 24 hours, the need for lasting photos is more salient than ever.

For the ‘love shoot’, we photographed at some of their favorite places in the Mission District.

It was a goodbye present and something I hope they’ll look back on while they remember ‘those crazy 6 months we lived in San Francisco’ in the years to come. Blog post to come!

I hope both these shoots will commemorate this unique time in their relationship and the personal things they have gone through, good and bad.

Thanks for shooting with me, Victoria & Max!

There doesn’t have to be a reason to take stock & enjoy your partner, get dressed up, have a fun experience & create beautiful photographs to mark where you’re at in your life. For whatever reason or no reason at all.

If San Francisco is your jam, I have a guide to my fave locations to help spark ideas. I’ve photographed love stories all over the Bay Area on beaches, in forests, ice cream parlors, formal gardens, in the middle of the road, in homes, mountains, rivers, valleys and now, windswept rooftops. Let’s chat about where your story will take us!

PS Want to read more about the whole process of booking & preparing for engagement, wedding or shoot? Before you get in touch, read a little more about the way I work and what you get, here!


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Looking for a San Francisco love photographer to document your love story, whatever stage you’re at? Whether you’re just getting to know each other, or have been married for years – whether it’s your anniversary or not, take a moment to revel in the battles won, the challenges overcome and celebrate where you’re at in your ever-changing relationship.

If you want the skills of a wedding photographer but without the wedding price tag, a love shoot (or ‘just because’ session) is for you! I travel all over the Bay Area to document love stories in all their complexity, messiness, uniqueness and beauty. We get to creatively play without the stress and pressures of a wedding day. Up to 90 minutes to capture the authentic ways that you love each other without pretense.


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Zoe Larkin is a San Francisco-based wedding & engagement photographer from London. She specializes in photographing intimate weddings for joyful, free-thinking couples. Zoe creates raw, personal images that evoke a range of emotions, combining documentary photography with a stylized edge. Her work has been published on Offbeat Bride, Equally Wed, Catalyst Wed Co, Love Inc Mag among others. She adores simplicity, kindness & Earl Grey. Zoe is an equality-minded vendor that celebrates diversity in all its forms. Read more about Zoe here