“Take my hand. We will walk. We will enjoy our walk without thinking of arriving anywhere.”

Hi, Rachel here!

As a photojournalist, I tell authentic stories - especially love stories. So, an engagement "session" with me is less about "the photos" and more about the experience: where you'll go, what you'll do, and the love you'll feel for each other.

And - I'm not in charge! I'm just there to capture it from the best angles for light and composition! (And if you ask, yes, I will provide suggestions during shooting - but remember, this is your story, not mine!)

That all being said, I did want to write something than could help you plan . . . because planning is hard work!

So without further ado . . . let's get to it!

Where to Go

We have a lot of amazing spots right here where we live in Pollock Pines and in the surrounding El Dorado National Forest, good at any time of the year, with evergreen pines, lakes, rivers, trails, meadows and mountains. Some of these spots include: our backyard (literally), Park Creek Meadow, Fresh Pond, Pyramid Creek Trailhead, North Fork American River, Strawberry Lodge, Caples Lake, Silver Lake East, South Fork American River, the Sly Park Recreation Area, and more.

Below is a list of some of the other locations we have photographed all over Northern California, as well, if any of them call to you. I categorized them by "ideal" season - but many of these places are great in more than one season, too. You can also search our Galleries by location to see sessions at most of the locations below.


Carson Pass (early to mid-May)

High Sierra Iris Gardens in Apple Hill (early to mid-May)

Cool Hills Ranch


El Dorado Trail


Sacramento Area:

Austin B. Carroll Heritage Oak Grove

Tower Bridge and Old Sacramento

Capitol Park

McKinley Rose Garden

Sacramento Zoo

Land Park

Lake Natoma Waterfront and Trail

Folsom Lake

UC Davis Arboretum

Crystal Hermitage Gardens

Yosemite National Park (any time)


Lake Tahoe:

Emerald Bay

Fallen Leaf Lake

Upper Truckee Marsh

Taylor Creek

Baldwin Beach

Edgewood Tahoe Resort

Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe

Zephyr Cove

Sand Harbor

Logan Shoals Vista Point

Spooner Lake

Chimney Beach

Sunflower Fields in Dixon (early to mid-July)

El Dorado County Vineyards:

Saluti Cellars

Cielo Estate Winery

Too Good Winery

San Francisco:

Baker Beach

Lands End Trail

Seal Rocks Beach

Sutro Baths

Palace of Fine Arts

Torpedo Wharf

Golden Gate Bridge Viewpoint(s)

Slackers Hill

Bay Area:

Bolinas Point

Bodega Bay

Paradise Ridge Winery

Stinson Beach

Oakland Redwoods

Alameda Beach

Monterey Bay Aquarium & Lovers Point Park

Mt. Tamalpais State Park

Mokelumne River

Sardine Lake

Humboldt Redwoods State Park


Hope Valley (mid- to late October, early November)

Apple Hill / Camino:

Silverthorn Meadows

Madrone Tree Hill

Boa Vista Orchards

High Hill Ranch

Larsen Apple Farm

El Dorado County Vineyards:

Saluti Cellars

Cielo Estate Winery

Too Good Winery


Almond Orchards in Woodland (late January - early February for blossoms)

El Dorado National Forest (December - January for snow)

What To Wear

I get asked a lot, "What should I wear?" As a photojournalist, I'm there to capture authenticity, so I want you to wear something you feel comfortable in (consider the weather and the terrain), and something you love wearing. If you FEEL great - GREAT!

As far as colors, again, I don't know what you're into, so I'm not too fond of making suggestions. But, I do know seasonal colors are "nice", I guess, so, here:

Fall - Darker yellows, deep oranges, dark reds, maroons and browns (think maple trees in Autumn on the East Coast?)

Summer - Light blues, yellows, pinks, corals, oranges, tans, white (think Lake Tahoe beach sunset?)

Spring - Light greens, yellows, pinks, purples, lavenders, reds, oranges, blues, white (think wildflower meadows / flower gardens?)

Winter - Greens, white, blacks, blues, purples, reds, browns (think snow, fire, ice, pines, maybe?)

Kids & Pets

If you want to bring dogs and/or kids, then do! I recommend also bringing treats and toys to keep them attentive and happy. We have four kids, three dogs and two cats - and a turtle - so yes, they are part of your family, part of you story - but also part of your stress, let's be real. So, it's also helpful to bring a third person who can take your dogs and/or kids for a portion of the session so I can also work with just the two of you here and there.

When it comes to cats, by the way, we can always begin our shoot at your home (because - cats . . . am I right?). That goes with your other pets & kids, too, if you want to get them in some shots with you at home before heading out on your own.

Activities & Props

If you aren't sure what to "do" during your session (unless you just want to walk around and look at each other and kiss and hold hands all over the place, which is also totally fine), we can go somewhere that offers a specific experience, like a zoo, ranch, farm, winery, brewery, museum, etc., or we can go somewhere like a beach, river or waterfall for that little extra "stuff to do" thing, and/or, you can bring activity items like a blanket for a picnic, champagne or wine & glasses, or anything else. For save-the-dates, you can bring signs with your date on them or we can display your date in other fun ways.

Our sessions are never about posing or "making" you do anything you don't want to do - but if there are things you do want to do, let's do them!

I really just want you to enjoy yourselves, whatever that looks like and feels like to you, while I capture everything that unfolds.

When to Shoot

Lastly, one recommendation I do have - pretty strongly, is, unless it's a sunrise session, we should start shooting an hour before sunset and shoot all the way through sunset, for the best light.

And that's a wrap!

Here are some fun engagement photos from sessions past. These clients knew exactly where they wanted to go and what they wanted to do. Our kind of people!