Epic Imagery » A great way to learn more about Epic Imagery

I’ve always wanted to shoot an engagement session on UCLA’s campus in Westwood, CA. But, for some reason whenever it came time for selecting a location with my clients, I would end up in other notable locations such as Santa Monica, the South Bay or Downtown Los Angeles.

When I suggested the idea of UCLA’s campus to Dore & Chris for their own engagement session, they were thrilled! Not only was this location in their own virtual backyard, but they also have personal ties to the university as well.  All in all, everything came together perfectly! The day was gorgeous, the couple looked beautiful, and the campus was full of photographic opportunities.

In all honesty, there were so many possibilities jumping out at me that it was almost sensory overload: from the buildings, arches and columns, landscape, and so on. All of these aesthetic elements deeply appealed to me and made this a new favorite destination for engagement sessions in the future.

When shooting an engagement session or even a wedding for that matter, there are 3 things for me that need to come into alignment: lighting, location and of course the subject(s). I’m always looking for the “good light”, even when I don’t have a camera in hand, after so many years of experience, it’s just instinctual. This visual training and awareness is both a blessing and a curse! It is not uncommon for me to see the perfect light and not be on a shoot, or see someone who is not my subject standing in this amazing golden backlit sunbeam, and they have no idea! 😉

So with my eyes feasting on the newness of this place and all of the potential areas to frame this stunning couple, we made our way through this iconic Los Angeles university. Royce Hall was one of my favorite stops along the way. The light pouring through the arches was soft and warm and the brick and stone exterior provided an imposing scale and perspective. Dore & Chris added the human element and rounded out the composition with their magnetic chemistry and sweet affection.

Spending an afternoon photographing a couple really gives me a great sense of their relationship and this session was no exception.  I’m happy to say that the time spent with Dore & Chris for this session really got me excited for their big day in December!

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I have to say that this engagement session with Audrey & David is quickly becoming one of my favorites! I was really excited to get creative shooting this magnetic couple at the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano.  It’s always fun to be inspired by a new location, especially one as beautiful and interesting as this one. Braving traffic and well… more traffic, the trek down to Orange County was definitely well worth it!

There were many facets of the mission that made for the perfect setting. I personally loved the ruins of the Great Stone Church, and after having just returned from Italy a few weeks ago, it seemed fitting! The stone ruins reminded me of the various ancient monuments that I’d just visited (give or take a few thousand years of course!). In addition the church, there is also a beautiful garden bursting with color and faded brick.  What’s not to love?!

I’m a big advocate of engagement sessions, and of course there are many reasons to go about scheduling them: experience in front of the camera, the photos themselves, maybe an engagement album or guest book. Most importantly, I love shooting them because it gives me a sense of who this couple is and allows me to go deeper into their story, while they become more comfortable with me and the way I work.  There is really an important partnership that comes into play whenever a new couple chooses me to photograph their engagement and/or wedding.  It is always my utmost priority for my couples to feel at ease, and that I am not just a “hired hand,” but a friend that they have invited into their story.  Spending a couple of hours together really allows for that strong connection to be made. I’m convinced that the wedding photos themselves and the overall wedding day photography experience is greatly enhanced by having done an engagement session beforehand.

At the end of the day, these moments are also REALLY fun for me as the photographer to capture and a blast for the couples I shoot!  Often the engagement session is the first part of the planning and preparation process that really brings it all together for couples. Up until then, it’s making decisions about vendors, the venue itself and other important wedding tasks, and doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for these playful and intimate moments that allow for a much-needed exhale.

With Audrey & David, it really was an enjoyable and special afternoon! Getting to know them on a deeper level was great. I mean, how can you not after a 90 minute drive both ways! I definitely came away with a sense of their love and passion for each other, and at the end of it all, capping the day off with my favorite meal…. You guessed it: Mexican food!

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I love arriving early to any wedding I photograph. Whether I’ve worked countless times at the venue, or just a couple, walking a location and taking in the surroundings is essential. Often I scout out the ideal setting for a first look, those quiet post-ceremony moments with the couple, or the place where I know the light will be particularly stunning at a certain point of the day. It’s not just the lay of the land that I seek, but a sense of inspiration for the day ahead, as random paths, interesting textures, and unique architectural and landscape details catch my eye.

In the rolling hills of Simi Valley lies Hummingbird Nest Ranch, a sprawling rustic setting dotted with fountains, olive trees and stunning Spanish architecture. There was no shortage of inspiration here. In any direction I could envision a shot or a dramatic scene unfolding as I took in the pure beauty of this place. It was here in this serene location that I had the privilege of photographing Sarah & Micha’s lovely wedding day.

The day began with the bridal preparation at a small cottage on the venue’s grounds. I truly enjoy capturing all of the meaningful details brides take weeks and months carefully selecting; the gown, veil, shoes and of course, the bridal jewelry. Sarah was ever the timeless bride in her gorgeous blush Monique L’Huillier gown with it’s lace bodice and intricate applique. Very elegant in their own right were Sarah’s bridesmaids, turning heads in their multi-hued BHDLN dresses in varying earth tones which complimented the landscape.

From there we embarked on what is arguably my favorite part of every wedding I shoot; the first look.  So much anticipation, excitement and emotion culminates in this one breathtaking moment. For Sarah & Micha, their first moments together on their wedding day, did not disappoint. Their incredible love for one other was real, evident, and an honor to witness in such an intimate way. As a photographer who LOVES capturing real moments and emotions, this was an incredible moment to be a part of.

Sarah & Micha’s ceremony was rich in the traditions and history of their faith. The Jewish wedding customs of the Ketubah, Bedeken and Tish are some of my favorites to photograph. The significance of these portions of the day are hard to understate, with many going back thousands of years. What I really appreciate the most, is the sense of community and family that is woven so thoroughly through these cultural events. The Chuppah ceremony was equally impactful and quietly intimate.  Set amongst a grove of trees, with the backgrounds of greenery and the simplicity of nature made it nearly effortless to document such beauty.

Of course, no wedding is complete without a good party!  And party they did!  Veronique Assouline with Veronique Events fulfilled a stunning vision of warmth and romance with her event design. The reception was set in and amongst a large canopy strewn with bistro lights that bathed the hillside with an amber glow. The enclosed setting was a perfect atmosphere for the celebration, trimmed with white and blush florals and gold accents, all adding to the simple elegance of this gorgeous evening.

This truly was a memorable wedding to document, and the subjects and surroundings made my job that much easier! From the family, friends, and fellow vendors, everything came together so perfectly.  Congratulations once again to this stunning couple!

Please enjoy a few of my favorite moments throughout this magnificent day….

Danny Baker | Epic Imagery

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I had such a phenomenal time with Vivian & Klay a couple weeks ago! We started the fun at the iconic Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. Having photographed at this location several times before, I really tried to include some new perspectives while still capturing the unique aesthetic that Disney Hall offers. From there we ventured to the Broad, MOCA and then over to the L.A. Library. This session was filled with laughter, joy and the tangible expectation of an incredible wedding celebration on the near horizon! Enjoy a few of my favorites below.

Danny Baker | Epic Imagery

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There’s just something nice about finding areas in and around highly developed Los Angeles that are full of nature and open spaces. This is why walking around the Arroyo Seco vicinity of Pasadena was so refreshing! On this day I enjoyed spending time capturing images of Christina & Ryan’s fun relationship… full of laughter, friendly ribbing and a classic Volkswagen Beetle. Yep, all the ingredients for an incredibly fun time! Please enjoy a few of my favorites below…

Danny Baker | Epic Imagery

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A sparkling blue ocean and cool coastal breeze. Throw in that classic Southern California laid-back charm and you’ve got a recipe for a phenomenal engagement session. I started photographing Jill and Aidan in Santa Monica, CA on Ocean Ave., which has that sort of Art Deco/Miami look and feel. We walked through the park-like scene complete with gnarled trees and ocean vistas, while eventually making our way to the water’s edge. Along the journey our time was filled with plenty of fun, intimate and light-hearted moments. One of the reasons I really love shooting these types of sessions with my engaged couples is that I really get an opportunity to build and strengthen the natural chemistry between myself and the subjects I’m capturing. This goes a long way toward laying the groundwork for a relaxed and fun wedding day shoot. To this end I can’t wait to photograph Jill and Aidan’s bid day this October! Please enjoy a few select moments below!

Danny Baker | Epic Imagery

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