Tender Couples Joshua Tree Engagement Session by Parallel 33 Photography

We love the tenderness and intimacy evident in this gorgeous Joshua Tree engagement sess! Photos like these really show more than the subject’s emotion- they capture the artists’ heart as well. Scroll down to get to know Parallel 33’s Artist photographer Bree Hulan.

And the couple? Says Photographer Bree: “Dave plays like 15 instruments or something and even has recorded with some bands for their albums! He also has battled some gnarly things and is still ridiculously positive and upbeat.

Tully has a super adventurous spirit and has moved all over the place. Wisconsin to Nashville to San Diego and now to Virginia. I love her no-fear attitude and go with the flow style. She has a peace about her I can’t describe!”

Bree, we think you described both of them perfectly with your artist’s eye and your camera lens.

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Hey! I'm Bree Hulan, a born and raised San Diegan photographing adventurers and people down for a freaking awesome time.  I’ve got a country and wanderlust spirit, and I’m not afraid to get a little dust on my jeans. Traveling and photographing people out in nature is my jam. I am especially in love with the ocean, warm light, the mountains, and running around in meadows with my shoes off. Also, hammocking and burritos, duh.

My purpose is to stay true to the world and people I photograph. I want the real YOU and your relationships to shine. I want to facilitate and capture the incredible outpouring of joy that happens when you’re just being you with the ones you love!

Those candid, fun, running/dancing, laughter-filled moments. Don’t worry, I’ll give ya some posing guidance too!

Bride and Groom and a Dog Named Toby - an Ocean View Engagement Session in Del Mar California

Every time wedding and engagement photographer Paul Douda was with Ariel & Jeremy, everyone was full of giggles! Says Paul, "We had the best time with them at Seagrove Park in Del Mar, California for their engagement session. We were also joined by their pup named Toby, who is VERY excited that his humans are getting married this September 2018! You can tell just by the look on their faces how happy Ariel and Jeremy are as well." It was such a special moment to close the session out on their very own stadium seats from Fenway Park. These seats are very special to Jeremy not only because they remind him so much of his life in New England attending games at Fenway Park (before the remodel) but also because Ariel proposed to him on these very seats on the balcony of their home in San Diego! Check out their "how we met" and how SHE proposed story below as told by the bride-to-be, Ariel!

How We Met by Ariel Vollero: "I (Ariel) had just moved to San Diego in late July 2016. It was my fourth day at my first real job and my co-worker Noah was taking me around to the different courthouses to become familiar with my role. That Thursday, we were in El Cajon courthouse in front of Department 4 when he stopped to talk to an attorney named Jeremy Elias, who had a client on our program. We were briefly introduced and then I stood by silently as they had a conversation. The next day, I was observing in Department 9 in the Downtown courthouse. I walked in, took a seat in the second to last row and who should be at the podium doing his thing, but Jeremy, the attorney I met the day before. I was so excited because I didn't know many people in San Diego and was excited I recognized someone after my first full week at work! And to make matters even more exciting, he recognized me and came and sat down next to me! He started asking me what I was doing, helped me with my observations, and invited me to spend Thanksgiving with him, you know, casual first conversation stuff. He then gave me his business card and said to text him. we talked for a little more and then he got up to leave and said again, 'no really, text me'. So I did just that, but from my work cellphone. That is, until I realized he was definitely (maybe?) trying to ask me on a date. I eventually gave him my personal cell phone number and we agreed to go out on Saturday night! And we have been together ever since!"

How SHE Proposed by Ariel Vollero: "It was like any other night, Jeremy and I were sitting outside on our balcony on our bleacher seats. We were talking about eloping, a conversation we had been having for awhile. He then made a comment, 'well, we can't elope yet. We aren't even engaged yet!' So I said, 'well, maybe I can change that!' And I got down on one knee, professed how deeply I was in love with him, and asked him to marry me. He was speechless and just nodding his head. He asked me (jokingly) if I had a ring for him and I, unfortunately, didn't. We found a keychain flashlight, took the key ring off, and I got down on one knee again and asked him again! Of course, he said yes again! The next day, we were going to the Barrister's Ball at his law school, so we were getting all dolled up. Early in the day, we went to Robin's Brothers The Engagement Ring store and I bought him a real engagement ring. That night, before the ball, when we were all dressed up, I got down AGAIN, with a new speech, and asked him to marry me, officially! Later on, once we selected our wedding venue (Tom Hams Lighthouse) Jeremy surprised me at the altar in front of a few of our friends and our moms and returned the proposal with an engagement ring for me as well." 

Downtown Engagement Session Shows Off San Diego's Cool Urban Side

Engagement session are so fun for showing off a couple's personal style!  As New York transplants, Ryan and Kelsey love the big city and wanted an urban setting for their engagement photos! San Diego wedding photographer Paul Douda decided to photograph their session in downtown San Diego. Ryan & Kelsey met through mutual friends 4 years ago in Atlantic City. Their chemistry was immediate and undeniable so they moved in together only 3 months later and then moved to California in 2016. One year later, while picnicking at Sunset Cliffs, Ryan proposed to Kelsey and she said yes! They plan on marrying in America's most cool and urban city....New York City! We love this shoot - who knew crossing the street could look so stylish and sweet?! 

Photographed by one of our favorites; Wedding Photographer Paul Douda, whose artist background really shows in the composition of these shots, in The San Diego Gaslamp.

Tim Otto Photography brings Beauty and Drama to your Engagement Photos

We caught up with local wedding photographer Tim Otto to get a little insight into this talented artists' aesthetic and why so many couples rave about working with him for their engagement and wedding photography! 

Q: So Tim how would you define your style?
T: I like to blend a variety of styles when I photograph weddings: everything from a photojournalistic editorial approach to a contemporary fashion edge to classic romantic style.  I am comfortable photographing grand elegant celebrations at large venues and small intimate weddings on the beach. I can give direction to make sure everyone looks great and is in the best light but also can observe and make sure I'm in the right place to capture the spontaneous moments.

Q: Tim tell us a little about you.
T: I have been photographing for over 20 years but the last 15 have been devoted to weddings, engagement sessions and family portraits. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I truly love what I do and I aspire to produce the finest photography I am capable of without compromise. Creating photographs that you love is priceless. I was drawn to wedding photography and telling the story of the day by capturing the personalities, emotions and the desire to create amazing photographs!

Q: You are clearly a creative art photographer, why weddings?
T: I always enjoyed photographing people and capturing their individual spirits; I think this is what drew me to weddings. I love weddings! I love telling the story of the entire day by capturing the many personalities and emotions on display as the events unfold.  I want to capture not only what people look like, but show what they feel like.  I want to give my clients, dynamic and beautiful photographs that they will treasure for a lifetime! I want to create an amazing and fun experience by making my couples feel comfortable in front of the camera without interfering with the flow of the day. A wedding is a celebration of love with family and friends; truly an amazing event.  I am honored and privileged be part of your day.

Q: We know you love to travel, where have you shot? 
T: I have photographed weddings through out the United States and countries around the world including Dominican Republic, Italy and Mexico. 

Q: Anything special you like to do on days off?
T: I love deep sea fishing, camping in the High Sierras, watching the Chargers and Padres, cooking, music, wine, sushi, landscape photography, road trips and traveling to exotic locations... of course with my camera. 

Thanks Tim for these lovely engagement photos! See more of Tim's photographic talent on his website and galleries

San Diego Featured Engagement Shoot: Stormie + Katie's Secret Garden Shoot

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett was the inspiration for Katie and Stormie's engagement session at the Felicita County Park in Escondido. It's also been the inspiration throughout the entire wedding planning process-- Stormie even proposed to Katie during the "Garden of Lights" Christmas celebration at the Encinitas Botanical Gardens! Lush, romantic landscapes and twinkling lights have been a staple in everything so far, so we can only imagine that they will be present at the wedding as well, keeping with the theme. What a fun way to cherish something that the couple loves so much!

Love, Laughter, and Louboutin Bring a Black and White Engagement Shoot to Life

Who doesn't love a good pair of perfect, black patent leather pumps? They are the ultimate shoe to dress up or down. We'll take it even further. Who'd doesn't love a good pair of black patent leather Louboutin pumps? You can never go wrong with Louboutins!

Talia Benzaken feels the same way and made sure these bad boys made their debut in her engagement shoot at Balboa Park. Talia and her fiancé, Jon Rapel, took full advantage of the beautiful backdrops that Balboa Park offers. From the breathtaking architecture to the jaw-dropping gardens, this couple saw it all.

All of this while in 4 inch Louboutin heels. Talk about girl power!

Photographer: Alex Bruce Photography// Venue: Balboa Park

Shooting Your Engagement Photos in a Park: Featuring Joshua Tree and Paul Douda

We just LOVE seeing engagement photos from fun and adventurous places! Only certain photographers will 'shoot outside the box' and go the extra mile [literally] to create something extra special for you  like these gorgeous photos from Joshua Tree National Park by expert San Diego area wedding photographer Paul Douda.  We asked Paul for his tips [and even his secret spots!] for shooting at Joshua Tree and then Scott Moey from Live Once Live Wild offers us some great visitors info on Joshua Tree National Park.  All images by Paul Douda.... Enjoy! 

Expert engagement, wedding and creative photographer Paul Douda shares his tips [secret spots!!] for getting everything you want out of a Joshua Tree engagement shoot:

Q: What things should one watch for to make this trek safe and fun?
A: Two things when it comes to Joshua Tree. First and foremost, the weather there should be planned for because certain times of year are extreme! (i.e. snow capped boulders are beautiful but the conditions can be cold and harsh. On the flip side it can be stunning when its warm but the sun can be blaring around 100+ degrees). However, planning for the right time of year can make for a much better experience. The best time of year, in my opinion, is late winter, mid-fall. Secondly, don't underestimate how much time could be spent to take advantage of the location. Its a long drive for most Southern Californians and the shifting light of the high desert can offers many different looks through the day. Get there early and take advantage of the time!  

Q: What are the best times of year for your Joshua Tree engagement photo shoot?
A: Late winter or mid-fall. October was perfect and late February and March is good too - the days are perfect but the evenings can get very very cold!

Q: What should one bring along?
A: For the shoot pack anything that brings in your personality. Whether it is multiple wardrobe changes (that include multiple layers) or maybe even a telescope for star sightseeing!  Oh and enough gas and water, hey you should always be prepared. 

Q: Okay spill, where are your secret spots for shooting?  [you know someone loves what they do when they share their secret spots!!] 
A: You want to know our secret spots!? Just kidding! Keys View (highest point for the best panoramic view) - the road to Keys View has multiple turn offs that have very majestic views that you can pull over to the side of the road for equally spectacular views. Everyone tends to head to the Jumbo Rocks but there is a spot before you get there that is about a half mile east on Park Blvd from the intersection of Park Blvd and Joshua Tree National Park Blvd. There is an oval lot there to park and I love that spot.  [what a guy!!]

Q: Where is the best place to park? 
A: Depends on the spot you're heading to. There are many turnouts and lots to park in for some of the popular spots in the park. However, parking is generally not an issue and it's common and acceptable to pull over on the side of the road and get out of your car for your shots. 

Q: How should one work with the light  / is there a best time of day for shooting?
A: Each season has its own best time of day and consideration should be taken differently for sunsets. Despite the season, great light can really happy at the right time of day in any month. We all get there early and work with the light as we are shooting. An engagement session or shoot should be a big deal! We always plan to be together with our couples for an afternoon and evening so we tend to start around 1 or 2 and last into the evening. Time of day totally depends on the couple and the photographer because Joshua Tree is a little more elaborate than a typical park engagement session. We tell our couples to please let us know if they want deep, dark, rich, moody shots that we capture at nighttime, or if their personalities are better suited to the bright daylight of desert, sun, sand, and lots of natural light.....we are always open to whatever the couple is going for in their session. 

Joshua Tree National Park is one of the nation´s largest desert areas that is officially protected by the U.S. government. Spanning an area that is larger than the state of Rhode Island, this desert paradise offers a whole range of outdoors activities, from desert hiking to star gazing.

In his awesome [and very complete] guide to the Joshua Tree National Park, he shares all the information you need to plan a one of a kind trip to one of our nation´s most unique ecosystems. Scott's guide is really a good read before visiting this beautiful and protected area. 

Fun facts and tidbit's from Scott's comprehensive guide to Joshua Tree:

  • The park has over 790,000 acres, making it larger than the state of Rhode Island

  • Over half of the Joshua Tree National Park is a designated wilderness area waiting to be explored by desert lovers

  • The famous band “U2” has an album named after the national park´s namesake: The Joshua Tree

  • The name “Joshua Tree” was given by early Mormon settlers who thought that the tree looked like the biblical character of Joshua who raised his hands to the heavens

  • In Spanish, the tree is called “izote del desierto”, roughly translated as desert dagger

  • Joshua trees are an indicator species that designate an area as a desert

  • The Joshua Tree National Park is unique in that it encompasses two distinct desert ecosystems: the Colorado Desert which is a lowland desert and the higher Mojave Desert which is over 3,000 feet in elevation

  • Over 2.5 million people visited the park in 2016

  • Despite officially being a desert ecosystem, the Little Bernandino Mountains run through a part of the park and can occasionally receive snow fall during the winter months

  • Geologists estimate that the rock formations in the park are well over 100 million years old

  • There are also several oases located throughout the parks where lush green vegetation contrasts sharply with the dryness of the surrounding landscape

The quintessential San Diego engagement shoot celebrate bikes, bays and beaches!

The quintessential San Diego engagement shoot celebrate bikes, bays and beaches! Happy First Day of Summer!

San Diego wedding photographer Paul Douda spent a perfect San Diego day (with a very San Diego couple) capturing the quintessential San Diego engagement shoot, starting at The Coronado Ferry Landing. Melissa & Adam decided to do their engagement session on Coronado Island because it reminded them of all the times they spent there when they were first dating.

Since Adam lived in Downtown San Diego, on the weekends they would take their bikes on the ferry over to Coronado to do some exploring, which ended up leading to a beautiful relationship- these easy going and local engagement shoot locales were the perfect fit! 

It's Marry Me Monday with a Surprise Beach Proposal [spoiler: She Said Yes!!]

Marry Me Monday starts with a surprise beachside proposal at Bird Rock La Jolla. 

Marry Me Monday!

@Bird Rock, La Jolla

Ryan had planned his proposal to Leslie for a long time. Everyone around them knew it was happening but no one knew when. Wedding photographer Johanna Kitzman of Studio Frejya (who happens to Ryan's sister-in-law) had shown up earlier to this beach, a spot that holds special meaning to the couple and to Leslie's family, to put some writing in the sand. Of course a written proposal in the sand ended up being a big attraction for everyone who arrived at the beach and everyone wanted a snap of the message!! 

Says Johanna, "Luckily, Ryan texted me as he arrived at the location and I was able to ask everyone to step away and we instantly had the beach for ourselves. Under the pretense of helping me with a family session, Ryan led Leslie down to the cliffs. Nervous as he was, he barely made it to the spot before he got down on one knee, and with shaky hands pulled out a stunning diamond ring."

It took Leslie a few moments before she realized what was going on and when he pointed at the text in the sand her hands flew up to cover her mouth as she screamed out in joy. A resounding YES and a few tears later they celebrated with some champagne at a spot that will always hold a dear place in their heart.

Congratulations Ryan and Leslie!! 

Congratulations Ryan and Leslie!! 

This Joshua Tree Engagement Session is Just What We Needed Today!

This stunning Joshua Tree engagement photography session with San Diego wedding and engagement photographer Paul Douda is just what we needed today! This shoot clearly went the extra mile [literally since Joshua Tree National Park is over 150 miles from San Diego!] resulting in breathtaking engagement photos, with lots of breathing room and nature's gifts of amazing light and views for miles... well done Paul! 

Photographer:  Paul Douda Photography//Dress Designer:Abyss by Abby//Tuxedo and Mens Attire:Hugo Boss//Other Location:Joshua Tree National Park//

Puppy Love: Engagement Photography Sessions Featuring Man's Best Friend

Everyone knows the saying that dogs are man's best friend, and we couldn't agree more! So, today we want to focus on the newer trend of featuring your best friend in your engagement and/or wedding photoshoots! The idea couldn't be any more perfect: it's a photoshoot that already features two people so in love, that they chose to spend the rest of their lives together.  So, why not include the non-humans that have been there for you throughout all of your ups and downs?  The ones who have sat beside your bedside when you weren't feeling well. The ones who are always so excited when you walk in the door from work. The ones who are just as excited for your wedding day as you are. We are saps for a good love story here at SanDiegoWedding.com, and adding dogs to the mix just makes us melt. Check out our list of top San Diego wedding and engagement photographers who would be tail waggingly happy to do your engagement session with your best furry pals! 

Photographer: MKL IMAGES

MCAS Miramar Engagement Shoot Summed up in Two Words: Elegantly Honorable

San Diego, California is proud to be home to many of our armed forces and those that serve. So today we give our military couples an idea on how to incorporate this large part of their lives into an engagement session.  Engagement sessions are where couples are able to show their true colors through photography and Luke and Regen Ward's true colors just happen to include red, white, and blue! In order to properly show the world what is important to them as a couple, the Wards wanted to have their first location during the engagement session to be where Luke works, MCAS Miramar and we are in awe over how their photos turned out.

Local wedding photographer Brit Jaye Photography  managed to perfectly capture not only the Ward's rugged and patriotic side, but also their soft and romantic side. We salute this gorgeous engagement session and as always say 'thank you for your service!' to all our armed forces and their spouses and spouses-to-be! 

Lavender Fields and Lots of Love Fill this Joyful Southern California Engagement Session

Beautiful lavender fields and dappled sunlight through oak and pine tree branches at the Highland Springs Ranch and Inn (famous for its lavender festival) make this joyful engagement session with photographer Rosanna Hanson a treat. Rosie & Israel wanted to incorporate lavender in their wedding and take advantage of these beautiful California lavender fields at the end of the season with this romantic day of love.

And our most popular Pinterest pin of 2016 was......our favorite too!

And here it is our most popular Pinterest pin from 2016....with 28,711 people loving this photo of "the doggie paw engagement shoot" by Derek Chad Photography ... see the full engagement photo session here.... we get about 38,000 viewers on our San Diego Wedding Pinterest boards each and every month so be sure to follow us here. Thanks Derek Chad it looks like tens of thousands of people love your work as much as we do! 

Adorable engagement shoot with barn cats and horses down on the farm

If you follow us you know we love dogs in engagement photos! But we are finally able to give some equal attention to cats in this charming engagement shoot captured on a beautiful farm replete with barn and yup even a horse. 

Thank you to oden + janelle wedding photography for this love and fur filled day!  

Says the photographer "We had a sweet engagement session with Jennifer and Anton at Black Star Farms - a winery and Inn where Jennifer's sister is the wedding coordinator. The little barn cat followed us around throughout the session which gave us the shot of a lifetime!" We have to agree as that cat stole the show by photobombing the couple at just the right moment.