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Big Sur Elopement | Carla and Nathan

Big Sur elopement….shoot

Carla and Nathan’s Big Sur elopement….ish! I want to be really transparent here and say – Carla and Nathan aren’t married. They didn’t run off and elope in Big Sur. This is what we in the wedding industry would call a “styled shoot”. I like to call it a “fauxlopement”. What that means is that it’s a collaboration between several wedding professionals to show you what working with them on your wedding might look like.

So often we as photographers think that our style is self-evident. We think that if we show weddings we’ve photographed in the past, any future potential client will be able to imagine how *their* photos in *their* location will look with our help. This is not always the case. And so, sometimes we put together styled shoots to be a sort of imaginary wedding – to show you what it could be like in a particular place, with a particular set of circumstances. So you don’t have to imagine quite as much. 

Often for these shoots photographers will work with models, and include tons of decor and details with the help of other wedding pros. If you know me, you know that while I love decor and details (and especially FLOWERS) – that’s not really what my work is about. It’s all about the people and all about the emotions. So even for styled shoots, I keep it pretty pared down and I always work with real in-love couples (even if they are models also). Because you just can’t fake that kind of thing unless you’re an actor I can’t afford. 

the crew

Carla and Nathan are a real couple – Carla is a model , student and fellow ‘tog here in San Jose, and Nathan is a musician. They’ve been together through enough years to know it’s real, and it shows in the way they interact with each other. I bought Carla’s dress at a boutique in Willow Glen called Ibiss (a spot I use for a lot of my photo shoot wardrobe). OB Floral provided the beautiful flowers (because I had to have flowers regardless) and the talented Nicole Rich did Carla’s makeup.

the day

Carla, Nathan and I hopped in a car after Nicole’s stellar makeup work and drove down to Big Sur. It was a stormy day and kept threatening to rain, but! We lucked out and instead got the most amazing light for the whole shoot – we even got a rainbow! We went all the way down to the southern edge of Big Sur and worked our way up. From Limklink State park we drove to Garrapata State Beach. I directed the portraits a little as necessary, but just like with real weddings and elopements I was really aiming to capture their connection as a couple. The looks, the interactions, the simple ways people reach for each other when they’re used to finding the other person at their fingertips – that’s what I love. It just gets to me. The redwoods, the bluffs, and love – the whole day was beautiful.

And so, if you decide to get married in this neck of the woods on a blustery winter day and you hire me to be your photographer – here’s what your Big Sur elopement might look like. 

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