Venice, California is a vibrant little beach town that holds a special place in Allison and Zak’s hearts. Since moving to California from Chicago and New Jersey, Allison and Zak met through a mutual friend (Zak’s college roommate/Allison’s co-worker). Eventually, they all became roommates and partners in crime. They lived blocks from the beach, past the Venice canals, where they threw a crap ton of awesome parties and grew their relationship to the beautiful butterfly it is today. So yeah, hello, BEST spot for their engagement sesh. I honest to goodness am over the moon with the two of them and how this session turned out. Photo evidence below, but I wanted to explain a bit more as to why everything fell into place SO perfectly.
We didn’t choose location based off of trends, cool-ness, or otherwise. I had given Allison and Zak ideas between Santa Monica (which would have been more contrived) and Venice (which was their home for YEARS) and last minute, their gut told them Venice had to be the location. Obviously, Venice Beach is badass. Not gonna lie about that. But the reason this space was their comfort zone was the history they had made for so many years. So when we were wandering through the crowds, they felt right at home. When a dude threw a football to Zak from two stories high while they were stopped for a cigarette break, it wasn’t a surprise. When the homeless guy came up to them, they treated him with such respect and kindness. This space is THEIR space and it 1000% reflected in their photos.
Allison sent over a few options and was worried her choices might be trendy. What she realized was that the options in her closet weren’t trendy, they were a reflection of who she is in life right now! Her epic vintage coat jacket was gifted to her by Zak one year and is a staple in her wardrobe. Zak dressed like himself, too, and looked dapper af. Whenever I recommend what to wear to couples, I make sure to tell them to pick something they would normally wear for date night, and another outfit that’s more casual. Allison and Zak nailed it!
I give everyone the same spiel about how I work. When I’m guiding couples into poses, I act more like a director and want you (the couple) to interpret my direction how you see fit. Engagement sessions are a two-way street. It’s my job to make you comfortable enough to make out in front of the camera, while guiding you into natural scenarios. It’s your job to loosen up, trust the process and embrace your relationship for what it is.
I mention all of this here because Allison and Zak absolutely put their trust in me, followed their guts when it came to location, outfit choices and interactions, and we had a damn good time. I’m stoked to shoot their wedding in October and share more of their so evidently beautiful relationship!