couple kissing in water sunset e-session malibu photographer
Henry Chen

Henry Chen

El Matador Beach Engagement Session

A selection of photos from Vanessa and Alejandro’s El Matador Beach engagement session during the early spring. After capturing romantic portraits of the newly engaged couple amidst the lush greenery of Solstice Canyon, we ended the day with a sunset portrait session on the sands of Malibu’s El Matador Beach.

VANESSA & ALEJANDRO

Locations:

 

El Matador Beach engagement session photos:

I first heard from Vanessa and Alejandro back in January about capturing this El Matador Beach engagement session and after a few emails back and forth, they decided to book me. They were so easy-going from the get-go and such a sweet couple, and I was excited that they also hired me as the photographer for their upcoming wedding this May.

The couple met in 2012 through a mutual friend in New York, with both Vanessa and Alejandro there to check out potential law schools. They both ended up studying at the same school back in California, becoming roommates and best friends from their first year. Alejandro proposed to Vanessa during a trip to Italy last year while the couple was there to celebrate Vanessa’s birthday.

I met up with the couple on St. Patrick’s Day at a Starbucks in Malibu to get to know one another a little better and chat about the e-session, which was taking place at two of my favorite locations. After a nature-themed engagement session at Solstice Canyon, we planned to head to El Matador Beach to capture the gorgeous sunset light.

couple kissing in water sunset e-session malibu photographer
An off-camera flash portrait of Vanessa and Alejandro kissing the shallows waters of the ocean during their sunset e-session at El Matador Beach.

 

Solstice Canyon engagement session photos:

After all the rain we’ve had in recent weeks in Southern California, the backdrops at Solstice Canyon were lush and green – perfect for couple portraits! I captured shots of Vanessa and Alejandro embracing on the walking trails and on a rustic bridge, as well as utilizing a sprawling tree as the sunlight peeked through behind.

Vanessa and Alejandro’s chemistry was evident from the outset and they needed a little prompting from me to express their love for one another. We grabbed a playful shot of Vanessa covering Alejandro’s eyes and one of her peeking over his shoulder, then took advantage of an emerald backdrop of greenery for a “pop” of color.

playful couple portrait solstice canyon engagement session
A playful shot of Vanessa embracing Alejandro during their nature-inspired engagement session at Solstice Canyon in Malibu.
whimsical couple romantic portrait solstice canyon e-session
A whimsical portrait of Alex lifting Vanessa beneath a sprawling tree at Solstice Canyon in Malibu.
romantic couple portrait malibu engagement photographer
Capturing a tender moment between the newly engaged couple during their Solstice Canyon engagement session.
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Alejandro lifts and kisses Vanessa on a bridge at Solstice Canyon during their Malibu engagement session.
romantic couple portrait solstice canyon malibu e-session
A romantic portrait of Vanessa and Alejandro embracing during their nature-inspired e-session at Solstice Canyon in Malibu.
couple walking solstice canyon e-session malibu photographer
Vanessa and Alejandro walk hand-in-hand along a walking trail at Solstice Canyon in Malibu.
creative couple portrait malibu engagement session
A creative shot of Vanessa peeking over Alejandro’s shoulder during their e-session at Solstice Canyon in Malibu.
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Vanessa and Alejandro share a laugh backed by the leafy greenery of Solstice Canyon during their Malibu engagement session.
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A wide-angle shot of the newly engaged couple kissing in a grassy field at Solstice Canyon in Malibu.
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Alejandro dips Vanessa on a walking trail in Solstice Canyon during their Malibu nature engagement session.
couple kissing green grass malibu engagement photographer
Vanessa and Alejandro kiss amidst the long, green grasses of Solstice Canyon during their early spring engagement session in Malibu.
romantic couple embrace malibu nature engagement session
Capturing a tender embrace between the couple amidst the lush greenery of Solstice Canyon in Malibu.
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Vanessa playfully covers Alejandro’s eyes during their nature-themed engagement session at Solstice Canyon in Malibu.
tender couple moment solstice canyon malibu e-session
lejandro tenderly kisses Vanessa’s forehead backed by the emerald green plants of Solstice Canyon in Malibu.
couple portrait rustic bridge solstice canyon malibu
Vanessa and Alejandro look lovingly into one another’s eyes on a bridge at Solstice Canyon in Malibu.
couple kiss sunshine solstice canyon engagement session
Vanessa and Alejandro kiss while being illuminated by the late afternoon sun at Solstice Canyon in Malibu.
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A creative shot of the couple showcasing Vanessa’s engagement ring during their Solstice Canyon e-session.
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Vanessa and Alejandro share a moment while leaning against a brown fence at Solstice Canyon in Malibu.

 

El Matador Beach engagement session photos:

From Solstice Canyon, we made the short drive over to El Matador Beach where the couple did a quick outfit change, with Vanessa opting for a flowing, floral dress and Alejandro in a blue shirt. Before heading down onto the sands, we captured some portraits in a field at the top of the stairs that was ignited in golden flowers and beautifully backlit by the sun. I grabbed shots of the couple embracing and Vanessa leading Alejandro through the field, as well as a portrait as they looked lovingly into one another’s eyes.

As we made our way down the walking trail that leads to the beach, we paused for a whimsical shot of the couple embracing, then I stayed up high to grab a bird’s eye view shot as they kissed on the sand. Vanessa and Alejandro weren’t afraid to get wet and waded into the shallow waters for some romantic shots of them spinning together.

I captured shots of Alejandro carrying Vanessa through the shallows and another of him piggybacking her before a football-inspired portrait to celebrate his love of the Los Angeles Rams. We ended the e-session with some off-camera flash portraits as they embraced backed by the setting sun and a shot of them together on a rock while water gushed around them.

couple embrace yellow flowers el matador beach e-session
Vanessa and Alejandro look lovingly into one another’s eyes backed by a golden field at El Matador Beach in Malibu.
tender couple portrait golden flowers el matador beach e-session
Capturing a tender embrace between the newly engaged couple in a field of golden flowers at El Matador Beach.
girl leading guy through field of flowers malibu e-session
Vanessa leads Alejandro through a field of golden flowers during their El Matador Beach engagement session.
romantic couple kiss field flowers malibu e-session
The newly engaged couple kiss while being illuminated by the late afternoon sun at El Matador Beach.
romantic couple embrace el matador beach flower field
Vanessa embraces Alejandro affectionately during their late-afternoon engagement session at El Matador Beach.
whimsical couple portrait beach trail malibu e-session
A whimsical portrait of the newly engaged couple embracing on a trail leading down to El Matador Beach.
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Vanessa and Alejandro embrace backed by a rocky formation at El Matador Beach in Malibu.
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An elevated shot of Vanessa and Alejandro kissing on a rock in the shallow waters of El Matador Beach.
guy carrying girls el matador beach e-session
Alejandro carries Vanessa through the shallow waters of the Pacific Ocean during their sunset e-session in Malibu.
couple spinning in water el matador beach e-session
Vanessa and Alejandro spin one another in the shallow waters of El Matador Beach during their Malibu e-session.
romantic couple portrait malibu sunset engagement session
The newly engaged couple look lovingly into one another’s eyes backed by the setting sun at El Matador Beach.
couple watching sunset malibu e-session portrait
A romantic portrait of the couple watching sunset together during their El Matador Beach engagement session.
couple portrait at sunset el matador beach malibu
Vanessa and Alejandro illuminated by the setting sun during their El Matador Beach engagement session.
off-camera flash couple portrait romantic e-session malibu
A creative, off-camera flash portrait capturing a tender moment between the couple at El Matador Beach.
guy piggybacking girl el matador beach engagement session
Alejandro piggy backs Vanessa along the sands of El Matador Beach during their romantic Malibu e-session.
couple pretending to play football el matador beach e-session
A playful portrait of Vanessa pretending to throw a football to Alejandro, with one of El Matador Beach’s rock formations in between.
girl leading guy along el matador beach malibu e-session
Vanessa leads Alejandro along the sands of El Matador Beach during their fun-filled Malibu engagement session.
couple embrace rock pacific ocean malibu e-session
Water gushes around the couple as they embrace on a rock during their El Matador Beach engagement session.
guy carrying girl kissing el matador beach e-session
Alejandro carries and kisses Vanessa while walking along the sands of El Matador Beach in Malibu.

 

El Matador Beach engagement session photos:

It was an honor to be selected as the photographer for Vanessa and Alejandro’s engagement session at El Matador Beach and to get to work with such a wonderful couple. I wish them all the best as they make their final preparations for the upcoming wedding and look forward to capturing their big day in just two months!

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