Dreamy Big Sur Adventure Engagement in Alluring Pfeiffer Beach

December 5, 2022

Coastal California Engagement Photoshoot in Big Sur

Jessica and Brian are from the Ohio’s Cleveland area but moved to the San Francisco Bay area with their dog Lily in 2018. The two are total adventurers, they love hiking, camping, exploring the mountains (especially Yosemite), but also spend their weekends wine tasting in Napa Valley.

california wedding photographer
big sur adventure engagement

When they decided to leave the Midwest, they did a cross country road trip to California starting from the East Coast. It was along the way that Brian proposed. They hiked up to the top of Mt. Pemigewasset in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. When they got to the top, he said something like “look at this view” and reached for his hiking binoculars which were hooked to his belt. Instead of pulling binoculars out of the case, he pulled out a ring box. She had no idea he was planning to propose! She was so tired, that it was the last thing she was thinking about when they got to the top. 

big sur engagement

Big Sur Adventure Engagement Locations

We chose Big Sur for their adventure engagement session because of the dramatic coastline that creates a beautiful backdrop for any shoot. The entire day was structured into 2 main locations in Big Sur, that gave us the opportunity to photograph two completely different looks. We wanted to shoot at a rugged coastline at China Lookout near Garrapata State Park and at the most quintessential location in Big Sur – Pfeiffer Beach.

Jessica wore a short dark dress at the beginning of the session and then changed to a long boho dress for the beach sunset shoot. She was a trooper the entire time, hiking down the rocky formations barefoot and in high heels and I secretly whispered to myself “holy moly, she is a badass!”

big sur engagement

Their dog Lily was a part of the beach shoot and kept collecting sticks and digging holes in the sand. When I prompted Brian to chase Jess for some fun shots in the waves of the ocean, Lily obviously wanted to be a part of it. She was a riot. Jessica and Brian love a good bottle of bubbly, so we planned to pop some sparkling wine from Napa around sunset. I love when a photo session feels like you just met your best friends for a chat, because it definitely felt like it with these two. We talked about life, best hikes and exciting travels.


big sur engagement

Big Sur Photography Permits

If you are planning for a Big Sur adventure engagement photoshoot in a national or state park in Big Sur, you will most likely need a permit. Processing can get lengthy and expensive, so I suggest you make sure that your request gets approved before you move forward with planning anything else. Permits vary depending on the scope of your photoshoot/elopement, number of guests (if any), and the specific location. 

Luckily, one of the most quintessential locations – Pfeiffer Beach – currently doesn’t require a photo permit.

To read about how you can elope to California from Michigan, click here.

intimate wedding photographer

Hi lovely, I am Yana, a Michigan based destination and elopement photographer. I used to live in San Francisco and I will gladly guide you through your exciting photo journey. When you book me as your California engagement photographer, you’re also booking my knowledge of stunning locations in the area. But that’s not all. I spend hours scouting new locations, researching activities and vetting vendors to be able to provide my expertise for a unique experience. I will also become your sounding board to consult ideas about your dream elopement adventure. Through all of this, we will most likely become friends and I will silently shed a tear hiding behind my camera when I witness you exchange your vows with your one and only. To book your complimentary consultation and chat about your plans, fill out the form below.