This San Gregorio beach engagement shoot was a sweet and special one! I love the opportunity to travel a little further from the Bay Area and hitting some off-the-beaten-path beachy locations.
It’s easy to end up shooting in the same locations close to home. Visiting San Gregorio was a real eye-opener. I got to spend some lovely time with this couple, Lisa and Nick. I visited locations that were meaningful to them and their story.
Drive a little further afield and there are some truly amazing beach locations that are actually quite warm too! We were shooting at San Gregorio beach in March and the weather was pretty amazing.
About the engaged couple
Lisa and Nick are a magical outdoorsy California couple, more at home up a mountain than on the couch. Though they do love snuggling on said couch with their sweet pit bull Smokey, they live for exploring all the beautiful nature spots that California has to offer.
When we first met, they told me all about their love for road trips and discovering new and random places together. Since meeting in 2013 the nature-loving couple has explored mountain, beach, field and forest together. Honestly, they know so much about everything outdoorsy.
Lisa is the person who will reply to my Instagram story, informing me what kind of tree I’ve just cluelessly snapped a picture of. #citygirl
The craziest thing was that they both lived at the same time in Hollister, CA – the town where they both grew up. Completely independently of each other, they moved to Santa Cruz. They both moved around the same time, too!
Ironically they eventually met… online.
Fast forward a few years later and they got engaged in Joshua Tree National Park on New Year’s Eve. Nick took Lisa to the top of a rock formation and popped the question there.
It was only fitting that they combined the forest, a field of yellow flowers we chanced upon while driving, and San Gregorio beach for engagement photos. It also happened to be the most perfect sunset.
I can’t wait to shoot their upcoming wedding at the Monte Verde Inn, Foresthill! It was truly the best working with the chill couple for this fun, candid engagement shoot which really brought out their personalities and unique love story.
The wedding is a beacon in their lives right now, having spent the last few months caring for a sick parent and both getting new jobs. They are accustomed to living with chaos and flux, but always return to each other at times of uncertainty and change.
Why San Gregorio beach as their engagement photo location?
The forest spot where we started our engagement shoot was actually on the edge of Sam McDonald County Park in nearby La Honda. That spot is infused with meaning for this sweet couple. Nick had found the spot one day while out driving around, and they at a point in their relationship when they weren’t sure what was going to happen next.
The day they first stumbled upon this beautiful, sacred place was a make-or-break time in their relationship. Understandably, the spot holds important memories for them – happy, bittersweet, full of so much emotion.
The special spot also happened to be a photographer’s dream! Beautiful sunshine streamed through the redwood trees behind the couple at the exact time we were shooting. It was totally deserted, too! It’s a few minutes’ walk from a turn-out in the beautiful windy redwood road.
I encourage couples to incorporate locations that are meaningful to them. And it doesn’t have to be in the most obvious ways, either.
It can also be the unique spots that hold the deepest and most meaningful shared memories. Even if you haven’t been there for years. After some photos in the redwoods we made our way to San Gregorio State Beach.
San Gregorio beach is a beautiful and tranquil sandy beach about 12 miles south of Half Moon Bay. It’s a perfect location for your Northern California coastal engagement shoot. Also, it’s not as crowded as Half Moon Bay (also a beautiful engagement photo spot!)
The field of blooms we passed serendipitously was too good an opportunity to miss, so we hopped out and took some photos. Finally the beach and the prettiest light of all. We arrived there just as the sun was getting close to the horizon.
Something about the tones of the beach at sunset really speaks to me. Bonus finding a fairly warm beach, San Gregorio Beach had it all for this engagement session, and we took our time until the light faded.
Resources to help you prepare for your engagement shoot