If you’re here, it means you’re looking for an engagement photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area! So, firstly, congratulations on your engagement! Such a fun time in your lives. Secondly, you’re in the right place!
I don’t know what stage of the search you’re at. Perhaps you’re just dipping your toes into figuring out your engagement photography options. Maybe you’ve been searching for a while and can’t find the one that sticks.
Either way, I’ll keep this post relatively brief and give you just the deets you really need. I hope you choose us, but ultimately it’s important to choose the engagement photographer that’s right for you. That may not be us, and that’s OK.
Oh, and if you prefer to watch a video than read a blog post, check out my awesome video linked below. You’ll get to see my face and a lot more photos than this blog post can accommodate. I put a ton of effort into this video and it took so many days of work to create – I think you’ll really love it! 😉
The best way of figuring out if it’s a good match is by of course checking out the photos you see on this page!
But there’s more to it than just the final product. It’s a collaborative process where we create something beautiful together. Personality fit is definitely a part of it! Fortunately, I’m used to working with a super varied group of clients of every age, race, cultural background, nationality, sexuality, body type, gender expression and personality type.
In short, it’s a fabulous and fun experience that you’ll get to enjoy together with your partner.
I’m going to share more with you about everything you need to know about engagement photography with Zoe Larkin Photography so you can figure out if I’m the right fit for your engagement and hopefully wedding photography too!
I was featured in Peerspace’s guide to the 9 best engagement photographers in San Francisco (yay! Go me!) 😲🎊🎉
Table of Contents
Our photography style
Our photography style is natural and real. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel or cure cancer with our photographs. 🤷🏾♀️ The goal is that you feel comfortable and have a super fun time with your boo – and as a bonus, you’ll get tons of gorgeous photos that you barely realized were being taken! 🥰
Our posing style
That said, we WILL pose you. Don’t worry. Sure, it varies for each couple we work with, so let’s talk in slight generalizations. There is a balance between capturing ‘unscripted’ moments and feeling super awkward because you have no idea what you’re supposed to be doing 🤨.
We give you a mix of prompts, poses and something just letting you lead a bit, if something really cute’s happening. All the while, filling the gaps with plenty of loving encouragement, and ‘YASSS!!!’, ‘SO PERFECT!!’, ‘KEEP DOING THAT!!!!’s. No awkward silences here.
But, at the same time, we will not treat you like you’re a model, a mannequin, or heaven forbid, a game of Twister (showing my age now).
We tailor the posing to each couple. What we do looks effortless but is the result of years of experience! 😳
In short, we vibe off of your vibes (and they’re looking pretty darn immaculate as you scroll this post while laying in bed, honey 💅🏾✨)
Are you a gay, trans or non-binary couple? I gotchu! 🏳️🌈 Read on for more about how we love, support and service our LGBTQ+ friends. 🌈
Our editing style
The editing is the icing on the cake. It can’t turn a bad photograph good, but it can really add a level of finesse and professionalism so your engagement photos don’t get mistaken for iPhone snaps.
The editing style our team does is pretty naturalistic. Just take a look through any final galleries so you see how the style actually looks on photos from a variety of scenes and lighting conditions.
So, here’s the thing. In the many years I’ve been doing this, I’ve seen so many editing styles come and go and then become super cringey.
I don’t want you cringing at your engagement photos in 5 years’ time.
Trendy editing styles have never interested me. But attention to detail, consistency and making photos look as true to life as possible, do.
That includes zapping background people (rude!) who would otherwise totally ruin your shots.
Though I stupidly named my business after myself 🤦🏾, there are actually multiple team members who work under my brand! Known as Associate Photographers, these angels from heaven work tirelessly so that more people can be blessed with our photography (kind of a joke… or was it?)
Most of my associate photographers have been with me since the program’s inception (2021!), though sometimes different folks pop in and out of our roster of awesomesauce peeps.
Need to know: They’re friendly, many of them are more experienced than me, aaaaaand they do great work. Don’t believe me? Check out the team here!
You can usually get the same photographer for the engagement + wedding combo, if that’s important to you.
Duration of shoots
I’ve perfected the art of the engagement over the years. 1.5 hours is the perfect duration. ‘But what’, you ask, ‘about those couples that want an all-day shoot?!’ Yeah no, we don’t do those 🙂
You can add on more time in half-hour increments (for example if you’re doing two locations and there isn’t quite enough time to do justice to them both), but ~2 hours is really where it maxes out!
WHY? OK I can’t imagine anyone is so deeply invested into finding out, but here goes. There’s a limit to how long you can smile and ‘perform’ for. It’s going to become very tedious and repetitive after the sweet spot when you feel fully warmed up but before you start getting bored and irritated.
I know an hours-long shoot sounds like fun (I mean, maybe? To some people?) but it’s going to be a) very expensive, b) boring as hell, and c) a waste of time and major overkill – omg was that too spicy??🌶️🌶️🌶️ you can’t say you’re not getting value over here. 🍿
Photography is all about lighting. I cannot emphasize this enough. Sure, you can get *some* super creative shots out of harsh, midday sun but why would you want to shoot at anything other than the best time for photos? We have enough of that to deal with on wedding days. 😭 (for real, I’m crying inside)
No but seriously, it’s important that we get these photos on the road at the best time!
Here’s the Super Secret Formula™ for working out when we start the engagement session.
OK. Find out the sunset time on your shoot day (Google it). Now subtract 2 hours.
Plus a half an hour for shoots on the beach.
Minus half hour or maybe a lot more where there are trees, ridges or buildings obscuring the horizon.
We could do sunrise, but I’m not a morning person so please don’t make me do that.
How it works
The first thing is that you find this page. ✅ Well, ain’t that grand, we can check that one right off the list.
Inquire with me via the contact page. It’s kind of set up for weddings, but just let me know that it’s an engagement so I can send you the right pricing guide!
Tell me about you (anything at all! Fave ice cream flavor, which one of you hogs the blanket, your cat’s name…). An idea of 1) possible dates and 2) location is also much appreciated.
You’ll receive a pricing & info guide – mull it over and tell me if you’re like, ‘yasss! Let’s do this!’ 🍑🦵 (Comment below if you get my emoji reference).
We’ll pin down a date first. I’ll set up your Photography Planning Document which sounds super scary but is in fact none other than a Google Doc 😎 (free software FTW!)
Once we have a plan in place and I’m happy, you’re happy and your mom’s happy, we’ll need to do the offish stuff of actually booking us. That involves a contract that you and your partner will sign online, and an invoice payable by credit/debit card, PayPal, e-check or lamb shish kebab.
More about our current engagement photography pricing is on this page. > Scrolly scrolly down a bit!
That’s pretty much it!
Are you looking for engagement session outfit ideas and inspiration? Check out my dedicated guide, linked here or below!
There’s lots more to dive into when it comes to preparing for your engagement session. You could say, I wrote the book (or at least the blog post. You can read more about it here or click the link below!
What are some great places to shoot?
I’m so glad you asked (I know…. you didn’t). I have a separate guide to my fave San Francisco locations as we do soooo many shoots in the City, including so many at SF City Hall.
However, we can shoot anywhere you like! The East Bay redwoods, Filoli, a beach down the coast, the Marin Headlands, Filoli (yes, I really want to shoot there!), a Napa winery, your backyard… the Bay is our oyster!
I usually recommend sticking to public places just for ease and cost-efficiency. Sometimes permits are required for private property (understandable), or they may randomly be closed or not allow ‘commercial’ photography. Yup, it’s happened to me. But I can totally pretend to be a friend with a camera if it helps.
Here are some favorites for San Francisco just as an example, and also an opportunity from here on out to show off some of my work, which I’m super proud of 🤗
My fave! Golden Gate Bridge views plus city skyline view, a fisherman’s jetty, cute huts, well-pathed paths, mature trees, beautiful berms (yes I learned a new word there) and a beach to boot! We literally have it all! 😻 More about the route I follow and more Crissy Field photos here.
Palace of Fine Arts
With its grand Beaux-Arts architecture and tranquil pond, it offers an intimate and unique setting. Varied backdrops! Lends itself really well to formal attire. More about our work at the Palace of Fine Arts here.
Laid-back, casual beachy vibes with a blank-canvas feel. Think: snuggling on a beach blanket, running barefoot into the Pacific and dancing in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. More from this Baker Beach shoot here.
SF Botanical Gardens
Incredibly diverse backdrops from redwoods to cacti, coi ponds to arboretums (arboreta?), it’s like going to 3 different continents and getting photos in front of the nicest plants from each! Such brilliant planting and the light never disappoints.
Ah, the Sutro Baths! Such an iconic SF treasure. There’s nothing quite like this place – the soft lighting at sunset, the unique and wild setting, your reflection in the still pool, the beautiful trees, perm-fog forest and prettayyy succulents nearby. It’s well worth battling the crowds (on weekdays only! Weekends you’re on your own 😂).
I LOVE to visit new places! Show me around your hood (or combine it with your home/backyard) and we’ll get creative together! Fave neighborhoods that I’ve shot at quite a bit are the Mission District, Pacific Heights and a little Nob Hill.
I’m gonna sign off here and leave you to enjoy more of my work. It was so fun going through the archives and putting all of this together! I conclude that the most popular engagement session location among my couples was actually around their neighborhood! Who knew!
Photos from Bay Area engagement sessions
Golden Gate Bridge 🌉
Redwoods & forests 🌲
Local Parks & Gardens 🏞️
Beach vibes 🌴
Monuments & Museums 🏛️
Ice Cream 🍦 or Beer 🍻
Around the neighborhood 🚶♀️
Cozy at home 🏡
Is that it?
Yup! Our journey together has come to an end for now 😔 but let’s keep the conversation going by email – just reach out over on the ol’ contact page and let’s make some magic! ✨
For further reading for all my gold-star students out there, here’s how to prepare for your engagement session.
There’s also a handy guide on what to wear for your engagement shoot! Don’t say I don’t spoil you!
If you enjoyed my emoji use on this page, I’d be honored to shoot your Bay Area engagement session! 👋🏾