Anniversary, Portraits

charielou + gabriel | SUTRO BATHS LAND’S END ANNIVERSARY SESSION

Charielou and Gabriel are absolutely the type of couple worth getting up early for. On a trademark misty San Francisco morning, long (LONG) before my typical morning alarm call, I headed out the front door to photograph a sunrise anniversary session at two of my favorite locations in the city. I definitely share this sentiment with many other locals and visitors to San Francisco, and it’s easy to see why! Both Sutro Baths and Land’s End are characterized by winding trails, staggering cliff views, and iconic pathways. Because of the popularity of these two spaces, I always advise scheduling portrait sessions there on weekdays whenever possible, towards sunset or even sunrise, for both lighting and crowd control reasons.

I definitely felt like I was still struggling to shake off the last bit of sleep when I pulled into the parking lot of the Land’s End Visitor Center, but when 6am rolled around and I saw Charielou and Gabriel step out of their car, all thoughts of napping immediately fell away. Gabriel, dressed in a sharp navy blue suit, looked as though he’d just walked out of a GQ magazine spread, and Charielou, in a Saks Fifth Avenue organza and lace jaw-dropper, was the absolute definition of elegance. Seriously, don’t just take my word for it – check out their stunning images below!

Before the session, both Charielou and Gabriel warned me that they didn’t consider themselves particularly photogenic or comfortable in front of the camera. I hear this from nearly every single one of my clients, and honestly speaking, I think it’s totally okay to feel that way! Without the right kind of direction, getting in front of the camera can make you question even the simplest of actions! Your photographer actually plays a huge role in creating easygoing, relaxed images. From the initial consultation call to the actual session itself, I place a huge emphasis on my style of direction and posing, which helps guide my couples into natural, everyday interactions. I really feel a huge sense of accomplishment when I’m able to show a couple an image of who they are together and hear “wow, we look GOOD!”.  Of course, taking a little special care and attention into how you dress up and get ready for your session can also make a huge difference in how you approach a portrait session and your resulting images.

I also love that these two really valued the idea of having an anniversary photo session. It’s so easy to forget about capturing the years after the wedding day, when really, all of the years following are just as important to document and treasure! Anniversaries are a perfect time to celebrate the enduring love between you and your significant other with a photo session and reflect on the roads where life has taken us.

I hope you all enjoy some of the magical images from this sunrise anniversary session below!

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"And when you appear all the rivers sound in my body, bells shake the sky, and a hymn fills the world."

PABLO NERUDA

@cassievalentephoto