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San Francisco E-Session: Ivan & Irene [Hillside]

Updated: Aug 23, 2020

Alas!  The 3rd and last location of Ivan and Irene’s deluxe engagement session:  a San Franciscan Hillside!

As you can see, this part of the shoot was entirely different than [Vintage] and [Garden] — from the photography style and casual mood to the lighting.  Which part of their e-session is your favorite?

At the hillside, the two lovebirds got to relax and goof around.  I think it provided a perfect balance to the rest of the shoot, which was more styled and formal.

For me, this part of the shoot required quicker thinking because we needed to change plans due to the lighting and weather.  On the hill, it was very breezy.  And it got chilly at that hour of the day.  The sun was also too bright in areas, but low enough to not shine any light in other areas where we had wanted to shoot.  Since we were shooting this segment during the Golden Hour (the hour before sunset), we didn’t have enough time to drive to another location.

So we scrapped our plans of having a picnic on the top of a grassy hill, and followed the light!  This is how it all went down…

The Picnic

Since the grassy areas were completely shaded, we made due with a small patch of wood chips along a popular canine path!  No joke.  I don’t remember how many dogs (all unleashed, of course) sniffed their way past us.  Irene nearly tackled one of the dogs who got too close to her olive bread!   🙂

We had a few more fun props up our sleeves.  Ivan and Irene brought a cool antique camera.  If you look closely, you can see Irene’s eyes in the little square on the face of the camera!


Mmmmm… olive bread.


Though I really couldn’t take “a bad shot” of this couple (they were beaming with love), I’ve become a bit of a Light Connoisseur — okay, a Light Snob.  So we moved…


The Fence

One of my top 5 faves of their entire e-session!  The framing, the light, the illuminated leaves, the couple’s undeniable make-the-single-folks-sick kind of love… 🙂


FYI:  This shot is straight-out-of-the-camera!  In all of the photos, there was no flash and no reflector.  Since I am a solo shooter and I like to capture the moment, I don’t have people holding poses, which can look unnatural — so I shoot fast and don’t fiddle with gadgets.

Can anyone guess how my subjects were so well lit?


Again, straight-out-of-the-camera…


The City Below

Anyone have a tissue?  I am drooling from the tasty light!

In the bottom left, I love how the light created a glowy outline of Irene’s hair and shined through the puff of her sleeves.

In the bottom right, I love how you can see part of the San Francisco streets and how the trees and street fill the entire frame, all the way to the top!


Sweetest Couple.  Sweetest Light.

After some snuggle time at the fence and a stroll down the hillside steps, we returned to the picnic area because now the sun was lower.

Do you see the difference in light?


Chalk Talk

I won this adorable set of handmade chalkboards from Holly McCaig Creative, so I brought them along for I+I to play with during their picnic.


“What is your favorite physical part of your fiance?  Keep it clean, guys!”


“What is your favorite nickname for each other?”


My Surprise!

At one point, there was a lot of whispering among The I’s (catchy name, right?).

Then they presented me with this!  Awwwwww….  🙂


Thank you, Ivan and Irene, for giving me the honor and the pleasure of capturing images of your relationship, personality and style!  I hope to see much more of you as you begin your life together.



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