Vintage Hotel Engagement Photoshoot
Dreamy Engagement Photoshoot in the Historic Horton Grand Hotel in San Diego, California.
When I heard that my friend Willow had gotten engaged (who I’ve created with in the past), I knew we were going to have to do something special for her engagement photos. One of my favorite questions to ask couples in order to create a meaningful shoot experience is, "What environment do you think best represents your relationship?" I presented Willow with that question, and after some thought ( + exchanging some inspiration we had both been saving), we decided that a classy hotel would be the proper scene for her and her fiancé Daniel to bring their vision of a classical Gatsby type theme to life. There in lay a challenge, because anytime you want to shoot somewhere private, you’re faced with two basic options. Option 1: Just show up and hope that either you don’t draw enough attention to be noticed by the wrong person, or that the people at the location are cool and will just let you shoot there. Option 2: Call ahead and see what their policy on photography is, asking for some kind of permission, whether it be free or paid. Often times it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission, and that’s always up to you to discern, but in this instance, we opted for the latter, and started researching aesthetic hotels to reach out to. Things were not looking promising at first, as all of the hotels we contacted in the LA area were quoting rather steep rates for an hour of shooting in their lobbies, but knowing that doors open to those who continuously knock, we carried on. Sure enough, amidst the uncertainty, I got an enthusiastic message from Willow who had just gotten off the phone with the manager of the Historic Horton Grand Hotel, who had informed her that we would be welcome to come and shoot around their beautiful hotel! I took one look at their website and knew that it was a perfect fit for our vision. Upon arriving at the hotel on the shoot day, it was just as stunning in person as it appeared online. Daniel and Willow were classily dressed up to the 9, and clear skies provided my favorite kind of lighting. We started shooting just before sunset, which is a little later than my go-to time, because we wanted to get a mix of daytime and nighttime photos. We had the idea of doing some timeless feeling flash photography on the inside of the hotel, and wanted it to be dark for the full effect. After an hour or so of shooting around and inside of the hotel, thanks to a friendly and accommodating staff, we were able to bring our vision to life, which is always the most gratifying feeling after all of the planning it takes to make something like this happen. Knowing the theme, when I got back to my editing bay, I steered the edits in two classical directions: black and white + film. I often say that shooting is only half of the art, and it really shows when you have a specific vision in mind beforehand, as you can really complete the look and feel with the edit. I'm super stoked about how these photos turned out, and want to give a huge thanks to the kind people at the Horton Grand for their hospitality. Major congratulations to Daniel & Willow on their engagement! I hope that whenever they look at these photos, they feel the timeless romance that I witnessed that day.