Elyse and Bryan’s Adventurous Canyon Engagement Session

When Elyse shared with me how they had gotten engaged while hiking on a camping trip, I just knew we had to plan an awesomely-adventurous engagement session. When they requested somewhere nearer to their home in San Diego, I knew just the spot! Annie’s Canyon Trail in Solana Beach! We got together Saturday evening for an adventurous canyon engagement session, followed by a romantic walk back along the lagoon, and everything about it was sheer perfection!

Annie’s Canyon Trail starts with a half-mile walk, followed by a single-file canyon climb to reach a gorgeous lookout point, then down the switchbacks on the far side, and then another half-mile walk back to the start of the trail. It is strikingly beautiful, and worth every step of the canyon climb!

When Bryan popped the question, the first words out of Elyse’s mouth were “Are you fucking joking me?!” (quickly followed by an enthusiastic yes, of course!). Our session had all of the same energy and fun, and we all left with our cheeks aching because we’d been smiling and laughing so much!

Elyse and Bryan, thank you so much for inviting us to be a part of your special day! We can’t wait to help celebrate your love for each other, and have just as much fun on your wedding day! Watching you two interact with each other is like watching the sun rise: you light up around each other, and that light spreads to everything and everyone else around. I couldn’t help catching you staring at one another when the other wasn’t looking – with these looks of amazement and disbelief that this other amazing human being loved you as much as you love them. It was so beautiful and special to watch you together, and an absolute honor to be able to take photos celebrating this magical time in your lives. Thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing us to be a (small) part of your love story!

 

 

    

   

   

        

 

Romantic Woodsy Engagement Session

“Oh my gosh, he’s so cute! I’m gunna keep him!” Janine giggled to me during their romantic woodsy engagement session as she pulled Derek in for a kiss. They were so cute, and so clearly in love! Every pose I coached them into ended with Derek giving her the sweetest little kisses and snuggles because they just couldn’t keep their hands off each other. When you hear about puppy love, or the honeymoon phase, you always think about people in their first year or so together – not 8 years down the road! But these guys? 8 years, true ups and downs that would stress any relationship, and still they show up giggling and cuddly and adorably cute together, just insanely happy to be spending an evening together at the park!

Janine and I have known each other since high school, and it was so great getting to catch up with her and getting to meet Derek! She was so excited to tell me all about the wedding details they have planned (And I loved hearing all about them! I LOVE weddings, haha!). A girl after my own heart, she is doing a bunch of the details herself, including building geometric centerpieces and doing all of her own calligraphy and signage for their wedding!

I’m a total craft nut myself, and hearing her get so excited about the different projects she had planned made me itch to start working on something myself, so of course I had to start something too! I decided to keep working on my Pokemon cross stitch hoops (my kids are REALLY into Pokemon right now, so they got super excited when I pulled all of my finished ones out of storage to hang on the wall this week, and have been bugging me every day to see the progress I’ve made on new ones, haha). Thanks, Janine for inspiring me to get crafting again! It’s been WAY too long since I’ve done anything, and this was just the kick in the pants I needed!

Janine and Derek, thank you so much for inviting me to help document your love story! It was such a pleasure getting together with you guys for a great couple of hours taking photos, reminiscing, and watching baby skunks explore the park as the sun went down! Seeing you two together gives me hope for the future – together for 8 years and still in that crazy puppy love, honeymoon phase like it’s your first month! It is truly great to see, and I really hope you continue to remember how crazy you are about each other!

 

         

Pretty Hiking Engagement Session

30 minutes from the nearest grocery store, 15 minutes from the nearest gas station, and about three quarters of a mile down a dirt road in unincorporated Snohomish, Washington lies a modest house on 19 acres named Camp Awesome. The first week of July, most of my mom’s side of the family descended on Camp Awesome for a week of fun, games, and, yes, photos!

There was badminton, archery, shooting, corn hole, water skiing, tubing, karaoke, relay races (ok, just ONE relay race, and I almost died!), and of course fireworks for the 4th of July! In between barbeque dinners and rounds of croquet, I managed to squeeze in two mini photo shoots with my aunts and uncles.

This was such a special trip for us, because we don’t get to see that side of the family much since we live on the other side of California from most of them, and two whole states away from my parents. So as soon as we booked the trip, I knew I had to bring our camera gear with us!

Lisa and Jeremy have been together for years now, but they recently got ENGAGED, and this was such a great way to help them celebrate their engagement (especially since we haven’t seen them since Jeremy popped the question!). We all took a walk together on the hiking trails that loop around Camp Awesome, and took pictures while picking salmonberries and listening to the two Jeremys repeat their “Excuse me, Jeremy” – “Oh no, pardon me, Jeremy” bit for the thousandth time. (Ok, it actually was kind of funny, if I’m being honest!)

Lisa and Jeremy, thank you so much for letting us help you celebrate your engagement, and for so many fun memories on our trip! Watching you two with each other, it’s clear to see how well you compliment each other in the best ways. And even more incredible is watching how you both care for each other’s child as much as you do your own! Jordan and Brooke are so incredibly lucky to have you – and that you found each other! Lisa, you’re smart, strong, and so selfless. Jeremy, you are sweet, thoughtful, and loving. We hope that your love and the family you are building together just grows stronger and stronger with each passing year! Congratulations, you guys! We are so happy for you!

   

         

Dreamy Lakeside Anniversary Session

Thirteen years ago, right around the time Elle was picking up her very first point of shoot camera, Disneyland was preparing to release a brand new parade in Disney’s California Adventure: Block Party Bash. What Courtney and Devin didn’t know as they went through the audition process and were selected to be a part of it was that their lives were about to change forever. They didn’t know that they were about to embark on the first chapter of a beautiful love story featuring a family and marriage built on trust, love, and devotion that brings inspiration to those who know them.

Elle has known Courtney since they were kids (they are second cousins after all), but because they didn’t live near each other, visits were few and far between. Since growing up and starting families in neighboring cities, we now see each other almost every week, and have gotten to know them, their kids, and their three adorable dogs so well! One of the things that stands out to us in this day and age of technology and drive-thrus, where we are used to having everything delivered to us, immediately, at the touch of a button, is how they continue to do things the old-fashioned way. Home cooked meals, playdates at the house, a swing set in the backyard, and monthly date nights to keep the romance alive! A true Christian with an amazing heart and compassion for all life, Courtney continues to awe us and push us to continue trying to be the best versions of ourselves.

We’ve gotten to watch them raise two amazing daughters who remind us that with a little polish, a precious gem truly sparkles. And these two girls absolutely sparkle under the polish and guidance of Courtney and Devin’s loving encouragement. They have so much compassion for others, coupled with a pure joy that is truly magical to watch. These girls love our kids so much, and one of Elle’s favorite things is walking into Courtney’s house to the chorus of “Hey!! Charlotte!! Baby Teddy!!” followed by a traffic jam in the doorway as Courtney and the girls all come to greet us and get their first hugs of the day in before the play can start. And when we leave, it’s basically the same in reverse: all the kids piling into the car to give last hugs and kisses while Elle straps the kids into their car seats.

Courtney and Devin, we just want you to know that we see you, your inspiring marriage, your beautiful family that is just bursting forth with love, and we aspire to that too. We have gained so much by friendship with you, and you touch lives everywhere you go. We have loved watching your family and love for each other grow these past few years, and count ourselves so blessed to be a part of your extended family! We know that whatever the future holds, you will face it with grace, gratitude, love, and compassion, together. We love you both so very much!

Happy 7th anniversary! Here’s to many, many more!

Courtney and Devin's 7th Wedding Anniversary Session

Courtney and Devin's 7th Wedding Anniversary Session

Why Should I Do An Engagement Session?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions from brides-to-be, and one that I feel so passionate about as a photographer!

There are several reasons to have an engagement session, and some may resonate more strongly with you than others, and that’s ok. But I feel that all of them are important to consider, especially as you are choosing your wedding photographer who may or may not offer an engagement session as part of your wedding package (by the way, I include an engagement session in ALL of my wedding packages, because THAT’S how important I think they are!).

Courtney and Devin's 7th Wedding Anniversary Session

You’re Planning a Marriage

When you are planning engaged, it is so easy to get caught up in the details of planning the wedding itself, but in reality, you aren’t just planning a wedding. You are planning a marriage. And in service to your future spouse and marriage, I think it is so SO important to set time aside to be yourselves, to take yourselves out of the planning scrambling frantic rush to the aisle and just breathe. An engagement session is the perfect opportunity to do this! It’s a chance to stop worrying for an hour or two, and spend some time just celebrating how crazy in love you are! It’s an opportunity to start setting the stage for how this marriage is going to celebrate and honor you (as individuals, and as a cohesive unit).

Have you ever heard the phrase “date your spouse?” I think it’s a fantastic concept, and one that I want to get into the habit of doing NOW, before the wedding even happens! Keep making time for each other, to celebrate each other, to love each other, and to honor the special, magical bond you share!

You Can’t Turn Back the Clock

Humans have this amazing habit of convincing themselves that “this phase” will last forever, and I’m here to burst your bubble! This wonderful, crazy, fun, challenging phase of being engaged and planning a wedding is NOT going to last forever. And once the wedding bells are done ringing, you can’t turn back the clock. You will never be engaged to this amazing, adorable person ever again! Some engagements last longer than others, but that doesn’t change the fact that one day you will no longer be engaged. You’ll be married. Photos taken during this magical little bubble of time can be so precious to look back on, especially years down the road when you’ve been married for years and want to look back and see how crazy and wonderfully in love you were! These photos are also fantastic to show children as they grow up. You can look back and say, “Look how in love we were. We still are!”

They Make Great Save the Date Cards

One of the most common reasons you’ll hear for doing an engagement session is that the images from this session make great Save the Date cards! I couldn’t agree more! A Save the Date card is the first glimpse your guests will get of your wedding day, and seeing a beautiful picture of you and your sweetheart on the front, ready to celebrate your love, is the best way to get your guests excited and eager to reply back with an enthusiastic “Will Attend!”

Get to Know Your Wedding Photographer

I may be a little biased (ok, I am probably a lot biased), but I think this is the NUMBER ONE REASON to have an engagement session! An engagement session is like a rehearsal for your wedding photos! You only get one shot at wedding day photos, and you want to make sure that both you and your wedding photographer are on exactly the same page as to what types of images they produce, and what kinds of images you are expecting on your wedding day. (This is also why it’s important to chose a photographer based on what you see in their portfolio and their past work. If you don’t like their past work, you probably won’t like what they offer you! On the other hand, if you love everything they’ve shown, you’re much more likely to be blown away on your wedding day!)

The other half of this equation is getting to know how your photographer directs you (or doesn’t!). I am the type of photographer that is talking, reassuring, directing, and praising almost constantly, but there are definitely other photographers who give little to no direction or reassurance at all. You want to make sure that whatever type of photographer you choose, you know how they run the actual session, and you are comfortable with their type of direction. That way, when the wedding day rolls around, you will be so much more comfortable going in knowing exactly what to expect from your photographer.

For me, I see engagement sessions as the time to start building a warm and trusting relationship with you so that on your wedding day, you are already comfortable and at ease before I even lift my camera to my face! You already know exactly what to expect from me, what kinds of directions I give, and what kinds of images I will produce for you.

So are you ready to book your engagement session? I’d love to chat!

Model Call

I am opening up a model call! I am seeking several models to help build my portfolio! The model call is got seniors, engagement/couples, maternity, and newborns. If you (or someone you know) is interested, please fill out one of the attached applications below and email them to me at elle.kennedy.photography@gmail.com

Senior Model Call

Senior Model Call:

The transition from high school to college is a huge milestone in a young adult’s life, and is a great chance to capture your young adult’s personality, likes, and hobbies as they make this transition and discover who they want to be as adults. We will work together to personalize your senior’s session to suit them – giving you beautiful heirloom images to cherish, and also giving them professional photos that can be used as headshots as they transition to making their way into the working world.

Download, fill out, and email this application to elle.kennedy.photography@gmail.com to apply for a free senior session for your high school senior! (Note: This is open for current high school seniors, and juniors going into their senior year in the fall)

Senior Model Call Application

Elle Kennedy Photography is having a Model Call for high school seniors, engagement/couples sessions, maternity, and newborns. To apply, please email elle.kennedy.photography@gmail.com

Engagement Model Call:

Congratulations on your engagement! Being engaged can be a whirlwind of activity, decisions, and chaos as you prepare to merge two individuals into a family unit with the bash of a lifetime, celebrating your love with those closest to you! As you prepare, I want to help you take a step back, breathe deep, and just enjoy this fleeting time in your lives. Engagement photos are a great way to step outside of the chaos of planning a wedding and just be with your partner for moment, while creating beautiful images to cherish for the rest of your lives.

Download, fill out, and email this application to elle.kennedy.photography@gmail.com to apply for a free engagement session!

Engagement Model Call Application

Maternity Model Call

Maternity Model Call:

Pregnancy is such a fleeting but momentous time in a woman’s life. The transition from womanhood to motherhood is such a beautiful transition, and being able to honor that with gorgeous photos that celebrate both you and your baby is a perfect way to memorialize this phase of your life!

Download, fill out, and email this application to elle.kennedy.photography@gmail.com to apply for a free maternity session!

Maternity Model Call Application

Newborn Model Call

Newborn Model Call:

Babies are only little for such a little while. Soon, it’ll be hard to remember just how tiny those little fingers, toes, and lips were. As they grow, and you encounter each new exciting milestone, the newborn phase will seem simultaneously like it was only yesterday, and like it was forever ago. Let’s memorialize these special, fleeting days with a newborn session designed to remind you of your first days with your new little snuggle bug, and just how amazingly tiny they were and how wonderful you felt during those first few kisses and cuddles!

Download, fill out, and email this application to elle.kennedy.photography@gmail.com to apply for a free newborn session!

Newborn Model Call Application

General Information:

I will only be selecting 2 or 3 models for each style. Senior, engagement/couple, and maternity sessions are 1 hour long. Newborn sessions are typically 2-4 hours (depending on how cooperative the baby is).

In order to be selected for the model call, you must be willing to sign a model release (allowing me to use photos from the session on my website, social media platforms, and in future advertising). You will receive 10 digital images from your session. Additional images will be available for purchase, if desired. Photo shoot will take place in either Orange or Los Angeles County.

Please feel free to share this with your friends and family who might be interested, too!

Great Locations for Photo Shoots in Southern California

Every photographer I know has a list of dream locations they would love to shoot a session at. Of course I would love to shoot in Paris, London, and Ireland, but there are also plenty of places closer to home that I’d love to explore with a photo shoot.

If you are scheduling a photo shoot with me, keep these locations in mind, as I think they would make wonderful backdrops, and they could be a lot of fun! I’ve included links so you can get a little more information about the location, if it interests you.

In no particular order:

La Tour in Laguna Beach: A castle tower built into the side of a cliff right on the beach in Laguna Beach. It reminds me of Rapunzel’s tower, and other photo shoots I’ve seen done there are just fabulous!

Huntington Gardens in San Marino: 12 distinct gardens spread over 120 acres, including a California garden, a Japanese garden, a desert garden, a conservatory, and a rose garden, this would make an AMAZING backdrop for engagement photos especially.

Corona del Mar Tide Pools: The first time we ever did a family photo shoot done, we had them taken at the Corona del Mar Tide Pools, and I love them so much! I would love to do a session here as a photographer, too!

Huntington Beach Pier: I grew up in Huntington Beach, so I have a rather strong attachment to this particular pier. In fact, my first real job was at the Ruby’s at the end of the pier! But is also makes a wonderful photography backdrop!

The Lighthouse in Long Beach: I’ve done a photo shoot in downtown Long Beach, which turned out beautiful, but we didn’t make it down to the lighthouse for photos. I’d love to go back for another session and make sure to include the lighthouse!

Walker Canyon Poppy Fields: The poppies only bloom for a couple of months each year, but they are absolutely spectacular!

Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach: I love the aquarium – it’s one of my favorite places to go, and shooting an engagement session there would be so much fun!

Huntington Beach Central Park: I have done a family photo shoot here before, which was great! But I love how big Central Park is, and there are so many more areas to explore and shoot! I’d love to do another one!

Griffith Park in Los Angeles: Griffith Park is so beautiful, and how have I lived my life in California and never been!?! And to do a photo shoot there would be amazing!

Los Angeles County Museum of Art: The iconic light posts are absolutely sublime, and I love them for a great funky urban photo shoot!

Los Angeles Arboretum: The arboretum is beautiful and would make such a fantastic backdrop for an engagement shoot.

Disneyland: With plenty of options for fun, funky, silly, sweet, and adorable photos at Disneyland and lots of different backdrops to take advantage of all over the park, engagement sessions at Disneyland are awesome!

Crystal Cove State Park: Beautiful beaches with tide pools, and also hiking trails that include wooded areas, desert areas, and spectacular ocean views along the bluff trail.

Quail Hill Trailhead: Give me all the meadows with hill and mountain backdrops!

These are the ones that I can think of off the top of my head, but I will update this list as I think of more or if I get to shoot at any of these locations. They all seem like so much fun, and are so beautiful!