Engagement Photos at Salt Point State Park – Elizabeth & Derek
Planning Their Engagement Photoshoot
When I first met Elizabeth and Derek during their consultation, it was like meeting up with old friends. We chatted so much about life. They told me about their love story—how they’re both engineers, and they met when she was his tutor, but they waited until after they were done with school to pursue a relationship.
Then I learned about how Derek proposed. They would often camp out in their van at Gerstle Cove, part of Salt Point State Park in Jenner, California. So in the morning, while Elizabeth was still sleeping, Derek drove them over to a lookout point by the ledge and backed up the van to look out onto this spectacular view. Then they popped open the back of the van and had a romantic breakfast with this beautiful backdrop, and that’s where he proposed.
When they told me that story, I immediately knew we HAD to do their engagement session there. They were surprised that I was so willing and eager to make the trip since it’s a bit out of the way. They didn’t think any photographer would want to go with them there, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I gave them an enthusiastic YES, absolutely, because it’s so meaningful to you guys. And it didn’t take much to convince them from there—they were instantly sold.
Engagement Session at Gerstle Cove
Gerstle Cove is a little stretch of rocky beach that borders marine-protected waters on the coast of Salt Point State Park. It’s situated right by Highway 1 in Jenner, California and offers plenty of great spots for camping. The day of the session, we got to go to the exact place Derek proposed, which was super romantic. Then we just wandered around from there. Elizabeth and Derek showed me their favorite secret spots and the hikes they’ve enjoyed on past visits. It’s an absolutely gorgeous area—I can’t tell you how much I love this place!
During the drive there, it was so foggy and overcast, so I was a little nervous. But shortly after we met up, it got sunny! There was still a thick layer of fog over the water, so not exactly great for sunset, but we were feeling good. It was still really beautiful. We were thankful for the weather we got—sunny, a little chilly with a light breeze, but not too bad. You really couldn’t have asked for better summer weather in the bay area. But then unexpectedly, when we were sitting there hanging out taking photos, the sun popped out last minute for an amazing sunset! I still can’t believe our luck with the quality of the sunset photos. It was just magical.
Elizabeth and Derek made sure to make a whole adventure day out of this trip. It wasn’t just about the photos but spending quality time together on the journey. On the way there, they treated it like a mini road trip, focused mainly on food destinations. Something I had learned about them during our consultation is that they both happen to be big time foodies! Luckily for us, Jenner, California has some great food destinations, so they made sure to add them to their itinerary for the engagement shoot.
When they were telling me about their past camping trips to Gerstle Cove, they said they always have to stop by the creamery get a cheese plate. So naturally that was their first stop. I had also told them I have a place in Jenner that I love called Café Aquatica that has these giant chocolate chip cookies (which coincidentally are Elizabeth’s self-proclaimed weakness!!) So it was perfect, they ended up stopping there after the creamery. They sat on the patio and enjoyed some clam chowder. They just slowly made their way down the coast doing what they love, enjoying food and each other’s company. I really loved that they made a whole trip out of it.
While I was shooting Elizabeth and Derek’s engagement photos, I could really sense the love between them. They were a little nervous at first, but they were giggling and so playful the whole time. They had all these little inside jokes they would chat and laugh about. And every time I had them look at each other, they couldn’t help but snuggle and kiss. It was so endearing, and you could just tell they have such an authentic connection.
I’m so excited for their wedding and so excited they chose me as their photographer! I love everything they stand for and I just can’t wait to celebrate with them.
For More Epic California Locations
Check out my blog on Top 5 Places to Elope in California. From desert vibes to mountain views, we cover them all!
More Coastal Engagement Photoshoot Inspirations
Check out Gayle and Nick’s adventurous engagement session for breathtaking cliffside views, crashing waves, and some beach fun.