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An epic Bay Area engagement session

A part of me wanted to blog this session immediately – because it rocks! Another part of me wanted to hold back. The girl you see in these photos, she is one of my closest and dearest friends. She and her fiance have graciously allowed me to publish this session but for privacy reasons I will only refer to them as L&K. Those of you who know them, I also ask that you respect their privacy and when commenting not to use their real names. We appreciate and thank you all in advance!

Back to the story of me and L. She’s one year ahead of me, I’ve known her since freshman year of college, and I’ve always looked up to her as my sister. We were both economics majors and worked in management consulting. She has a gift of hospitality, she is always one of the first to offer to host a visitor and cook a friend food. She has passion for social enterprise and living out God’s mission through business. We lived together for a couple years after graduating. We’ve seen each other through victories, failures, one big fight, love, and heartbreaks. L is ambitious, intelligent, well-spoken, and honest, and also feminine, beautiful, compassionate, and loves to travel and have fun. Only the most outstanding of men would deserve her. I updated my Facebook fan page status last night with the following statement: “When the world can be such a dark place, and you have someone who sacrificially supports you in pursuing your craziest, most awesome dreams, that’s so beautiful.” That is exactly what L&K are like. Their relationship did not start out easily – L was working internationally at the time. K moved out to Boston from SF when L was attending grad school here, and they’ve just recently moved back to SF so that L will complete her MBA studies at Stanford. I felt right from my first dinner with him (it was me, L, and our other roommate Christina whose wedding I blogged about 2 years ago) – that I knew this was going to be a marriage where their hearts and priorities are in the right place. The other part of me selfishly did not want to blog this because it means facing the reality that another great-friend-and-roommate is getting married (my roster of fabulous single sisters is getting so sparse!), but I could not be happier for L.

I am extremely saddened I will not be able to witness her wedding – irony of being a wedding photog, you typically miss your friends’ weddings – but I also feel extremely privileged to get to spend nearly an entire day photographing this very epic San Francisco / Norcal / Bay Area based engagement session for them.

Due to the massive scale of this session, I title this my epic Bay Area engagement session. I fell in love with this region when I first interned here in 2006, and I have every intention of making a new life out here as soon as I’m able. (K… think you can introduce me to anyone out there? hahaha) I also want to thank Jenny Tsang Photography for assisting me at night after randomly contacting me upon seeing my call for assistance on Facebook, it’s so tough finding assistance on a weekday shoot, so I really appreciate all that you did!

For its detail and grandeur, we began at the San Francisco City Hall

Love the beautiful light in these hallways

Next stop, Palace of Fine Arts

They are just a classy couple. Very, very classy. L is SO pretty. Oh and did I mention she usually wears no makeup? She had her hair and makeup professionally styled that day, I love how natural it looks

It was just such a beautiful day that day. We picked Baker Beach to get some iconic Golden Gate Bridge photos

I… also had some fun with them. Don’t kill me!

This is one of my favorites. Then again I have many favorites from this shoot

Then it was a mad dash trying to beat the traffic into the peninsula. We were able to get some super creative photos at the Shoreline Ampitheater – one of my favorite areas to photograph when I hung out in Mountain View myself. I really wanted to do another flying balloon photo but it was too windy that day

So we busted out umbrellas instead! Who cares if it wasn’t raining :P

L really likes fruit, so I suggested that after dinner we go for froyo. I’d show you the picture of what they got, except K didn’t really make it very full or fruity-looking. Instead I went for the spoons

Then began my very first night shoot. I’m still learning more creative ways to light people… and night sessions are obviously harder – each shot usually takes a longer time to set up, but I think we got some pretty cool results!

Such as these tree lights on Palo Alto’s University Ave. The light on L&K came from the headlights of a car waiting on the red light. We did a mad dash for this photo!

We ducked into a closing Borders to find some books. L grabbed a cupcake decorating kit instead because she listens to podcasts and isn’t quite a book girl anymore

We ended the session at Stanford, where K already graduated with his MBA, and L will be starting in the fall

Boom. L really wanted a fountain photo, and fountain photo she got

Some behind the scenes photos…

Jenny holding my off-camera strobe

Behind-the-scenes photo Jenny took.. at the froyo place

At Borders

And the University Avenue photo. Yep, it was pretty dark!

L&K, all of my love goes out to the two of you on your wedding day and a part of me will be there in spirit. I will see you soon, God bless!

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Shang Chen Photography has rebranded to Saavedra Photography
she takes photographs of celebrations of love and life
Based in NYC | Open for select photography commissions on Sundays only

August 12, 2011 - 2:30 pm

Lian Such a sweet story! Love L’s makeup! Very pretty!

August 12, 2011 - 10:07 pm

Jason Fan luv how you brought out their playfulness… awesome shoot!

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