5 Tips to Help You Prepare For Your Engagement Session

Fun, urban Engagement Session with Monica and Jhanisus at Angel’s Flight in Downtown Los Angeles

Fun, urban Engagement Session with Monica and Jhanisus at Angel’s Flight in Downtown Los Angeles

Engagement sessions are so much fun and we love photographing them because our couples are relaxed, they’re looking good, we’re at a fun location and the time we have together allows them to just be themselves and enjoy each other. Did I mention we get to have fun?!!

Kimi and Daniel in Switzer Falls for their adventurous, romantic engagement session

Kimi and Daniel in Switzer Falls for their adventurous, romantic engagement session

Tip #1: Why should you book your Engagement Session?

Yes, it allows you to get comfortable with us, in front of our camera and as nerve-wracking as it sounds, at the end of each session our couples always tell us how much fun they had. It’s also a really good time to test out your hair and makeup artist that you’re thinking of using for your wedding.

I may be getting ahead of myself, but if you think about it, most of our engagement sessions are finished by evening on a weekend so since your hair and makeup are done, you’re dressed fashionably casual, it usually makes for a really nice date night!

As with everything we do, whenever we photograph we look at our sessions and weddings like game days. We plan and prepare beforehand and then we rock it out and play as much as we can. We want you to look your best, feel the most joy and be blown away when we show your photos to you!

Silhouette of Sabrina and Leo for their wilderness Carbon Canyon Engagement Session

Silhouette of Sabrina and Leo for their wilderness Carbon Canyon Engagement Session

Tip #2: How should you use your engagement photos?

Sometimes couples ask us if an engagement session is necessary and I always let them know that a lot of our couples use their engagement session photos for Save the Date Cards to let their friends and family know ahead of time to set aside their wedding date. This always gets everyone really excited!

You can also use your engagement session photos for your wedding guestbook so everyone can sign in and leave their best wishes for you. This is always a good idea as you can use it as a wedding keepsake to look back on.

We’ve also had our couples create a canvas to use at the reception table and it also doubles as beautiful wall art to display in their home. If anything at all, we encourage engagement sessions to balance out their gorgeous wedding photos with some casual and fun engagement session photos.

Melissa and Adam in Santa Barbara for their romantic beach engagement session

Melissa and Adam in Santa Barbara for their romantic beach engagement session

Tip #3: When should I book my engagement session?

The best timeframe to book your engagement session is about 6 months before your wedding date. You can definitely book it earlier or later but if you’re planning on using them for Save the Dates you want to book your session at least 2 weeks ahead of when you’re planning on sending them out.

Jandy in her red dress and Wilson in Downtown LA for their urban engagement session near Vibiana

Jandy in her red dress and Wilson in Downtown LA for their urban engagement session near Vibiana

Tip #4: Where should we go for our session?

Ultimately we suggest booking your engagement session in a different season than when you’re getting married as it adds a different look to your wedding. If you prefer to use the same or similar seasons, we encourage you to think about holding your engagement session in a different location to balance your wedding day location.

Speaking of locations, if you ask us one of our favorite locations is in urban settings such as Downtown LA Art District, Downtown Fullerton, or Downtown Santa Barbara. If you love taking adventures, we can always head to the mountains or a wilderness vibe. And you can never go wrong with holding your session at the beach. Wherever you decide to hold your session we always encourage you to think about where you enjoy to hang out with your Love. Some might see us as being indecisive but ultimately, these will be your photos and we want you to be as comfortable as possible. You won’t be your best if we were to push a city vibe when you love walking barefoot in the sand. We want you to be as carefree as possible and just enjoy each other to the fullest so we can highlight your relationship in the best way!

Melissa and Adam at Arroyo Burro Beach in Santa Barbara for their beach engagement session

Melissa and Adam at Arroyo Burro Beach in Santa Barbara for their beach engagement session

Before we give you Tip #5, check out more from Melissa and Adam’s romantic engagement session in Santa Barbara

 

Tip #5: What should I wear for our engagement session?

As far as fashion is concerned, we want you to look and feel your best. Think about what you would wear if you were going out to a nice dinner date. If a cute dress and heels are your thing while your love wears some slacks with a blazer then feel free to rock that out! If you like jeans and a cute top while your love is a collared shirt and jeans type, then show us what you’re working with! Haha! I think you know what we’re trying to say here. If you need some extra help, we always provide our Style Guide, so make sure to check it out once you book.

Lawrence just proposed to Melissa at the Hollywood Bowl Overlook in Los Angeles

Lawrence just proposed to Melissa at the Hollywood Bowl Overlook in Los Angeles

How do I book our engagement session?

If these tips helped you out and want to check our availability for your engagement session, I encourage you to fill out the info below today and we can get the ball rolling for you.

We’re looking forward to highlighting your relationship and we’re excited for what’s in store!

Romantic engagement session in Pasadena with Michelle and Daniel

Romantic engagement session in Pasadena with Michelle and Daniel

 

Feel free to fill this out and get in contact with us to get the ball rollin’!

Name *
Name
Fiance's Name
Fiance's Name
Where would you like to hold your engagement session? *

Surprise Proposal in Los Olivos, CA | Sean and Gianna

Stolpman Vineyard PROPOSAL.jpg

When Sean called us to let us know he was planning to propose to his girlfriend, Gianna we couldn't be more excited to hear about his idea! When we showed him a few locations, he was so excited he wanted to go up and scout the area out. 

His general plan was to propose at a location that was pretty private as him and his girlfriend are pretty low key. Then we were planning on going into town in Los Olivos where the rest of their friends and family were waiting to celebrate the news!

After securing the location for him, we headed up and stealthily waited for him and Gianna to arrive. Usually I like to "hide" so I don't spoil the surprise, but I stepped out of my hiding spot and Gianna actually saw me! I was freaking out as I thought I ruined it for Sean! But she thought I worked at the vineyard and it didn't phase her that someone else was there! Whew!

When the time came, Sean did his part and the rest is history! As you can tell, Gianna was pretty excited and after taking some portraits around the area, we told them we were leaving and would be in touch. Since Gianna didn't know the rest of their families were waiting for them, she had no clue we actually left to go to the second winery to photograph the second surprise with their family! 

We couldn't be happier for them as their friends and family were so excited for them as emotions were running high both before and after the surprise! 

We're so excited to show you a few photos and we encourage you to show them some love in the comments below!

 
2013FEB_CH_signature.png
 

Sean + Gianna's Slideshow


Fullerton Community Center Wedding | Jessica and Johnny

When Jessica and Johnny reached out to us they let us know they were guests at another wedding we photographed a few years back. (You can check out Laura and Cory's wedding here: Laura and Cory at Malibu West Beach Club

When they told us they not only liked their photos, but also how we worked, they wanted to make sure we had their wedding date available so we could photograph their wedding at Fullerton Community Center and we couldn't be happier to be along the ride for their wedding. We teamed up with Robbie Dickinson from Dickinson Films and the wedding story that unfolded was absolutely wonderful. 

Jessica's sisters helped her get into her gown while Johnny's mom helped him get his coat on. Then their son, Jacob with his matching, wooden bowtie and wedding socks gave Johnny some last minute hugs and encouragement!

Their ceremony was unique and special to them as they got a bit of participation from the guests during the ceremony and was decorated with a nature theme with succulents in Jessica's bouquet, the boutonnières and also decorating the ceremony throughout. They definitely made it their own!

After we photographed their family portraits and romantics we started the reception off with some emotional dancing with Jessica and her dad, Johnny and his mom and of course, Jessica and Johnny as a couple for their first dance. It was truly special from beginning to end and the amount of love and warmth their families provided helped their day flow as smooth as possible. 

I encourage you to check out their wedding highlights and leave them a few words of encouragement!

Many blessings and we love you guys so much!

 
chris-holt-photography-signature.png
 

-Wedding Film-

Wedding Vendors: 

Venue: Fullerton Community Center

Videography: Dickinson Films

Photography: Chris Holt Photography


INQUIRE ABOUT OUR AVAILABILITY AND PRICING


Storrier-Stearns Japanese Garden Pasadena Wedding | Emilie and Dave

When Dave first contacted us, it was one of the most unique wedding photography inquiry calls we received. Most of the time, the conversation would go in a direction that you wouldn't expect and Dave's call definitely did. I remember it fondly as he mentioned he read our "About Us' page on our website and saw that we go out to eat quite a bit and we absolutely love ramen. And as we kept talking I mentioned something about weddings being our "game days" just as the LA Lakers play on their game days and we ended up talking about the Lakers and our hopes for a winning team sometime soon. 

As we discussed their wedding more, I could tell Dave and Emilie were our kind of people and we were going to have so much fun with. Since he mentioned they loved ramen just as much as we did, we decided to have an untraditional consultation over ramen at one of our favorite places in Downtown LA. 

We talked about their wedding plans, showed them our albums and had a really fun conversation about the next steps and how exciting their engagement session and wedding was going to be. Before I go on, I encourage you to check out their beautiful engagement session at Descanso Gardens: Dave and Emilie's Engagement Session at Descanso Gardens

We had so much fun photographing their engagement session and we just knew their wedding was going to be absolutely perfect. Leading up to their wedding we guided them on tips on how their wedding preparations were going to take place and discussed whether they wanted an intimate First Look or have their family a part of it. 

As we worked with them on how photographing their wedding story was going to unfold, we envisioned just about every part of their wedding and when their creative team joined together on their wedding everything went off flawlessly.

We couldn't be more excited to share Dave and Emilie's wedding with you and we invite you to enjoy these photos as much as we did photographing them. 

Many blessings to Dave and Emilie!

2013FEB_CH_signature.png
 

After Dave and Emilie were finished getting ready at their home, they opted to see each other before their wedding (what we casually call "The First Look") in front of the beautiful Japanese koi pond at Storrier-Stearns Japanese Garden. Dave did his best to hold his emotions back, but he was so overwhelmed, he cried a few happy tears! 

With the koi pond, Japanese plants and garden decor, we took a few moments to sneak in a few couple romantics with them!

Their wedding ceremony was against the backdrop of the Japanese garden and was absolutely perfect.

If you couldn't tell already, Emilie and Dave are influenced by Japanese culture and tradition. Emilie made origami cranes that were decorated throughout the venue. As Dave is an accomplished trumpet player and writes his own music, she incorporated his sheet music in her origami cranes for that added personal personal touch. The kamifusen (japanese paper balloons) added a very, beautiful and delicate touch to her wedding decor as well!

Emilie and Dave chose to have their desserts made by Milkfarm LA  and her beautiful florals throughout her wedding were made by Jamie Wen and her team at Wenfloral Design Studio. These two boutiques are some of the best and their artistry speaks for itself!

Dave and Emilie ended the evening in a beautiful first dance against the backdrop of their Japanese influence, the gardens and their friends and family celebrating them! It was an absolutely beautiful wedding to photograph. :)

Last but definitely not least, our dear friends at Boffo Video was part of Dave and Emilie's photo and video team and we encourage you to watch their beautiful wedding video!

Enjoy!

Emilie and Dave's Wedding Creative Team


INQUIRE ABOUT OUR AVAILABILITY AND PRICING


Maravilla Gardens Wedding | Jecel and Benedict

 Maravilla Gardens provided the most perfect backdrop for Jecel and Benedict to celebrate their wedding with their closest friends and family. The whole day was absolutely beautiful and we couldn't have scripted it to be any better. 

Jecel and Benedict's unique story began in the Philippines and they were acquaintances at school, Benedict always had an eye for her. However it wasn't until they were in the US that they were reconnected and Benedict started to pursue Jecel. 

After starting their careers and getting established in Los Angeles, Benedict couldn't resist proposing to her and we are so excited Benedict didn't give up.  They make life seem so easy with their carefree attitudes. 

When they told us they were holding their wedding at Maravilla we were so excited as it fit their personalities to the tee. From their bridal and groom preparations at local Airbnb's to their first look in front of Maravilla Garden's barn, to their intimate outdoor ceremony filled with their closest friends and family, they closed out their wedding celebrating with an open air reception filled with music and dancing. 

We wish Jecel and Benedict only the best! 

Be sure to enjoy these images! 

If you or someone you know is planning on getting married at Maravilla Gardens, please let us know how we can help photograph your wedding!

 
 

Jecel and Benedict opted to see each other before their ceremony and as you can see they could barely hold in their excitement! The rustic garden area in front of the barn provided the best location for them to sneak a few private moments to themselves! :)

Jecel and Benedict put so much effort and energy into their wedding details. The rustic look definitely added a personal touch to their wedding.

Casi Cielo Events and Flowers made the reception tables stand out with a hint of yellow to accent the centerpieces, cake and head table. 

Frost It Cakery did not disappoint with their beautiful cake topped with Jecel and Benedict's theme "Best Day Ever"!

After their first dance, we took them out to the fields behind Maravilla to catch the beautiful sunset and cap their wedding day with some intimate, couple portraits!

We hope you enjoy these as much as we did photographing them! If you're looking to get married soon, I encourage you to contact us to see how we can serve you on your wedding day!

We look forward to hearing from you. :)


INQUIRE ABOUT OUR AVAILABILITY AND PRICING


FEATURED WEDDING VENDORS:

Wedding Venue: Maravilla Gardens

Wedding Florals: Casi Cielo Events and Flowers

Photography: Chris Holt Photography

Videography: Brett Munoz Photography and Video

DJ: Elegant Event Entertainment

Wedding Cake: Frost it Cakery

Photobooth: Bouquet Sound

 

Beverly Hills Civil Ceremony | Priscilla + Alfonso

Priscilla contacted us about a week before their wedding at the Beverly Hills Courthouse and let me know that the photographer she initially hired had not followed up with her and she frantically asked if we could photograph their upcoming wedding. 

With the intimate weddings we have photographed over the years, we understood where she was coming from and I told her since we were available that we would be able to take care of her and her wedding. I asked her what these images meant to her and she expressed to me that they would mean the world to her. 

She also told me her children would be a part of their wedding and I made sure to incorporate them as much as I could into their wedding images. They also created Priscilla's beautiful bouquet, her daughter's flower crown and her son's boutonniere by hand. The extra personal touches definitely made their wedding that much more special. 

After their ceremony, we took Priscilla and Alfonso around the courthouse and the Beverly Hills City Hall area for their family and bridal portraits. They definitely rocked it out and we couldn't have asked to have more fun with them!


INQUIRE ABOUT OUR AVAILABILITY AND PRICING


El Matador State Beach Surprise Proposal | Katelyn and Andrew

It's always a surprise when we get an inquiry for a proposal and we absolutely love doing them. We don't always promote them, but we love them for the authentic emotions each one brings. 

When Andrew called us and let his know his plan, we couldn't happier for him and his soon-to-be fiance, Katelyn. They were actually visiting from the New York area and since they were out in Malibu Andrew wanted to pop the question in one of the most beautiful places in Southern California. We couldn't blame him and we absolutely loved his ideas. 

As a photographer, it's always hard to know when the question will be asked. We know how nervous the guy usually is and we're so anxious to see their reaction so we're patiently hiding and to be honest it feels a bit "stalker-ish". I mean we're running around, hiding behind rocks, bushes, etc trying not to blow our cover, yet be ready for "that moment". 

When Andrew texted me that they arrived, we waited for them to come down to the beach and since Katelyn had no idea who we were we still wanted to keep a safe distance so we didn't blow Andrew's plans. 

After about what felt like 20 minutes of running around the beach, quietly following them from a reasonable distance, we say Andrew get down on one knee and Katelyn's emotions broke through. She was so ecstatic and we couldn't be more happier for them! 

Andrew definitely knew how much his girl loves the beach and he picked the perfect spot to propose. We were so glad to be a part of their story so far and here are a few images to show how it went down. Simple, yet perfect. 

Have a wonderful day and enjoy their surprise proposal!

 
2013FEB_CH_signature.png
 
proposal, el matador, engagement, malibu, los angeles, surprise, beach, sunset, southern california, destination, wedding, photographers near me, santa barbara, new york, new jersey
proposal, el matador, engagement, malibu, los angeles, surprise, beach, sunset, southern california, destination, wedding, photographers near me, santa barbara, new york, new jersey

INQUIRE ABOUT OUR AVAILABILITY AND PRICING


California Country Club Wedding | Beverly and Sergio

Beverly and Sergio are pretty special to us as they love to enjoy every moment and take things in stride. For example, on their engagement session we ventured all over Downtown LA and they were absolute troopers to venture into some of the most unique areas in the city. Soon after they saw their engagement images, Beverly told us that the engagement session actually made them feel closer than ever! We weren't sure how to take that, but it made us feel good that not only did we have fun on their engagement session, but we had a significant impact on their relationship up to that point. 

On their wedding day, they were super excited and so comfortable with each other in front of our cameras. Their intimacy and emotions were so natural it made for a wonderful day. 

Although it rained a bit during their ceremony, California Country Club lent itself to a beautiful backdrop for their ceremony as well as romantics around the private and exclusive country club. We felt like we had the whole course to ourself and Beverly and Sergio absolutely rocked out their wedding from beginning to end. 

We can't thank them enough for giving us the honor and privilege of photographing their wedding. We hope you enjoy these highlights and please make sure to give them love in the comments!

While Beverly was getting ready at her venue, Sergio was getting ready with his dad at his nearby home.

Beverly and Sergio opted for a first look before their ceremony to spend a few intimate minutes together in the courtyard. 

Beverly and Sergio hired Plaza String Quartet to play during their ceremony. It was such a beautiful touch to begin their day. If you're looking to add live music to your ceremony, I highly recommend them!

After the ceremony, we headed out around the property for romantics and although you can't see their faces, I took this quick candid of Beverly and Sergio in the rain with her veil flowing and her parasol up. I don't know why, but it's one of my favorites from their wedding.

First dances are pretty special to us as part of the reception as it allows for some intimate and wonderful images between our couples while everyone is looking on. We also get to feature the ballroom and the details that our couples chose to have for their wedding.

We love highlighting our couple's relationships with their parents, in this case during the father-daughter and mother-son dances. The closeness our couples have with their mothers and fathers are super special and to be able to highlight this on their wedding day is absolutely priceless.

The live music Beverly and Sergio had throughout there wedding day was remarkable and definitely added a vibrant feel. Each musician played their hearts out to everyone dancing on the dance floor. They literally rocked it out all night!

Wedding Resources

Wedding Venue: California Country Club

Wedding Officiant: Rev. Rosie

Live Music: Plaza String Quartet

Live Music: Chris Murray Combo

Photography: Chris Holt Photography

 


INQUIRE ABOUT OUR AVAILABILITY AND PRICING


Descanso Gardens Engagement Session | Emilie and Dave

descanso gardens, floral, Japanese gardens, engagement session, reflection, trellis, gazebo, backlight, sunlight, sunset, couple, romantic, portraits, garden, happy, love, wedding, southern california, private

Emilie and Dave are people after our own heart!

Dave called us one day and quickly let us know he read the info on our website and he asked where our favorite ramen place was. It caught me off guard because our clients typically begin asking about photography, our style and so forth, but he really wanted to know our recommendations! I knew we were going to hit it off really well when we had a discussion on the Lakers, Japanese culture among other things and we spoke on photography for about 5 minutes out of a 2 hour conversation. 

He told us about their wedding plans and as we photographed at Storrier-Stearns Japanese Gardens he wanted us to photograph their upcoming wedding there. They happen to love Japanese culture as much as we do and they wanted to include that influence in their engagement and wedding images. 

So they opted to have their engagement session at Descanso Gardens in La Canada (right outside of Los Angeles) and we had so much fun in the different garden areas. 

We can totally see why Emilie and Dave are meant for each other. They're totally smitten with each other and if Descanso Gardens didn't close, we could have photographed them all day!

We hope you enjoy these images and look out for their wedding highlights. If their engagement session was any indication, their wedding is going to be one for the books!

Congratulations you guys and we can't wait to rock out with you guys!

 
Chris Holt, professional photography, wedding photography, signature
 
descanso gardens, floral, Japanese gardens, engagement session, reflection, trellis, gazebo, backlight, sunlight, sunset, couple, romantic, portraits, garden, happy, love
descanso gardens, floral, Japanese gardens, engagement session, reflection, trellis, gazebo, backlight, sunlight, sunset, couple, romantic, portraits, garden, happy, love
descanso gardens, floral, engagement session, reflection, trellis, gazebo, backlight, sunlight, sunset, couple, romantic, portraits, garden, happy, love
descanso gardens, floral, engagement session, reflection, trellis, gazebo, backlight, sunlight, sunset, couple, romantic, portraits, garden, happy, love
descanso gardens, floral, engagement session, reflection, trellis, gazebo, backlight, sunlight, sunset, couple, romantic, portraits, garden, happy, love
descanso gardens, floral, engagement session, reflection, trellis, gazebo, backlight, sunlight, sunset, couple, romantic, portraits, garden, happy, love