Victoria + Max | Hip love photography in San Francisco’s Mission District

July 9, 2019
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This love session follows on from Victoria and Max’s previous shoot, a stylized rooftop shoot in our building! Hot on the heels of that one, we did this shoot which was, let’s face it, much truer to the couple.

their very different personalities complement each other so well

This sweet pair met at work in Boulder CO and have been together for 3 years. I love seeing them together and how their very different personalities complement each other so well.

They’ve always been a pair to truly support and find solace in each other. They both have a great sense of humor and love to have fun over food, a few drinks and some homemade cookies.

We started out our love shoot at their beautiful home in the Mission District of San Francisco.

They had a vision for the home shoot of capturing the clean, simple lines of their living space as they were just about to leave the West Coast in search of pastures new.

They wanted a family photo with the two of them and their lovely little gray cat, Nola!

I love Nola and I’ve looked after her while the couple was away! (I’m available for cat-sitting as well as engagement & wedding photography.)

I think this was why she was in such fine form the day of the shoot – she already knew me so wasn’t freaked out by having a stranger with a large black box in front of their face.

The other places we wanted to hit were Arinell’s Pizza on Valencia & 16th and Mission Dolores Park.

We weren’t able to spend too long in Arinell’s as it is a very no-nonsense place, but managed to grab a couple of photos along with a slice. I thought it’d be cute if they shared.

Clarion Alley was our next spot! It’s one of my favorite shoot locations, and I’ve done a bunch!

I try to steer clear of too much of the political messaging of the murals which may not mesh well with the timeless nature of a love shoot / engagement session, and also the risk of infringing on any of the artists’ intellectual rights.

However some folks love the realness of the statements and how they provide a snapshot of the world we now live in.

I like to shoot the spectacular light and the feel of the alley itself in the sunset. No parked cars, hardly any people around that day, and some of the pretty colors making their way into the photos.

From there we headed to the final location – Mission Dolores Park, where Victoria and Max have spent many an evening people-watching over beers, so it was a meaningful as well as beautiful location.

The aim at the park was to get a lot of movement in the photos

The aim at the park was to get a lot of movement in the photos, something that isn’t always possible for more formal locations and events like weddings.

For a love shoot, anniversary shoot or engagement shoot, you can wear clothing you feel comfortable in, move around way more and generally be silly.

As I’m a digital shooter, I fully support a lot of dynamism in photos, you do not need to hold poses that much. Movement, spontaneity and natural interactions are our friends!

Think: piggy backs, running up from behind and squeezing, walking and running, lifting, jumping, dancing, twirling, dipping… The possibilities are endless.

It also helps couples to feel less awkward when you know you can more interact with each other and forget I’m there, rather than smile into the lens and not feel as connected.

Sure, we’ll do what I call the ‘grandma photos’ so she has something safe to frame for her mantelpiece but don’t you already have 4,000 perfectly nice photos on your iPhone of you and your boo smiling at the camera? Just sayin’.

It was a really packed shoot (fun-packed) and we covered a lot of ground and shot for almost 2 hours.

A very diverse and authentic set of photos was the result! Enjoy and good luck Victoria and Max on the next chapter of your lives together!

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Looking for a Bay Area engagement photographer? I travel all over San Francisco and beyond for engagement shoots and would be thrilled to shoot your love story!

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

PS Want to read more about the whole process of booking & preparing for your engagement shoot? My short guide is here! Get in touch to receive my up-to-date pricing guide & full information.

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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