Tag Archives: engagement photographer

Happy New Year!

The new year is here! While I understand it’s simply another Wednesday and nothing has truly changed since yesterday, it feels like a very transformative time; even more so that years past because of the changing of the decade. It’s time to transcend to the next version of ourselves. Today marks the pinnacle of a time of renewal. A time to affirm goals and envision our brightest future.


For me, that future includes growing my client base as well as my family. (I’ll settle for a small dog or a small human, they will be equally loved.)


It includes improving my work, challenging myself, and thinking outside the box more often. (I plan on doing lots of personal creative work this year!)


It includes finding my ideal client and giving them exactly what they want as an artist. (POWER TO THE PEOPLE!)


It also includes solidifying my personal relationships as well as professional ones and carving out paths that lead in positive directions I haven’t even figured out yet. (2020 includes a LOT of love and adventure!)


As cheesy as it sounds, today is the first day of the rest of our lives! I strive to remember that this year and treated every waking moment with the respect and focus it deserves. Cheers to a ridiculous growth spurt in 2020!


Laurel and Mike: Out on the Town Engagement Session

 For Laurel and Mike’s unique engagement session, we decided to mix Chinese tradition and modern SF culture to create some epic shots that celebrate San Fran city culture along side Laurel’s Chinese heritage. These bought me empanadas, taught me Chinese, and flashed they style all over SF with reckless abandon. (Basically my photoshoot dream!) We went from the San Francisco Ferry Building to Chinatown to Russian Hill and back down again. I could do celebratory multicultural shoots like this every day!


It’s Engagement Season!

Let me guess, it was Christmas morning/New Year’s Eve/Valentine’s Day/the one sunny day in January and your finance was acting…. strange. Why were they dressed nicer than usual? What was with all the sweating? You didn’t understand why you had to be facing north at exactly 5:07pm until you saw them get down on one knee and open that box. “HOLY SH*T, THIS IS HAPPENING”, your brain thought as you burst into hysterical joyous tears. You were engaged, and you had the bling and the 3 hour long, 20 person cell phone call list to prove it. You dove head first into Pinterest and nearly drown in all the stylized shoots, insane floral arrangements, and amazing hair and makeup combinations. It was a glorious time, one filled with whimsey and magic. But now? Now we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty. Where? When? HOW? Basically all you’ve got is the WHO (which is great, by the way) and we’re really starting to plan things now.

Luckily, I’m going to make it infinitely easier for you in regards to one major choice, PHOTOGRAPHY! 8 months to a year in advance you should be thinking about engagement photos, and Spring is the perfect season to get them done! A new step in your relationship can be so perfectly reflected in the fresh Spring foliage, the beautiful clear days, and the romantic golden sunsets. I’m here to give you a few options and ideas to set up your very own personalized engagement session!

WHEN AND WHERE DO YOU WANT PHOTOS DONE? If you’re an active early riser, a morning session will give you the crisp clean colors you want. If you’re feeling lovey and romantic, a golden hours session might be right for you. Are you flirty and energetic? Are you snuggly and PDA friendly? There’s a time and a place for everything!

Ashley and Kat – Ocean Beach and Sutro Baths


Jim and Lesteen – Treasure Island


Grace and Chad – San Francisco Pier (at night!)


WHAT DO YOU LOVE? Are you HUGE snow boarders? Do you under water cross stitch? Do you both love cats so much you could cry? Let your personalities shine through in images tailored specifically to your interests!

Moriah and Ben – Both Teachers!


Cassie and Cameron – Adventure Buddies!


Bree and Brandon – Dog Lovers

WHO ARE YOU GUYS? This is SO important! You don’t want to look like everyone else, you want to look like you! Whatever brought you two together, make sure that shines through in your images.

Ryan and Osha – SF City Dwellers


Audrey and Jesse – Young and Modern

Lisette and Chris – Princess and Prince Charming


Brian and Danielle – Romantic Outdoorsy Fools 


All in all, you want your engagement to reflect the unique love and beauty that you two share. Every couple is different and every kind of weird, quirky, wild love deserves photos to match.

Shoot me an email at katherineelysephotography@gmail.com or give me a call at 916-812-5475 to set up your perfect engagement session today!


Ken and Jessica {2016}

As we roll into 2017 I am so excited about all the fun and modern weddings I’m going to be shooting this year. I just love personalized cocktails, live bands, sweeping landscapes, and (obviously) couples who are sweet, playful, and deeply in love. For the next few months, I’m going to be taking a look back at some of my 2016 weddings to provide you with inspiration, excitement, and tons of joy!

First up is Jessica and Ken. I was lucky enough to do both their engagement and their wedding photos and I’ve got to say, they are one darn good looking couple! With them both being SF city people, they decided to bring their amazing (and fluffy!) dog Microwave out to Marin for some crisp Spring photos with views of the Golden Gate and the gorgeous ocean playing in the background.


Their second look took on a more formal style and juxtaposed really nicely with the old run down army barracks we played around in. Touches of graffiti and lots of robust age and personality gave their shoot a lot of unique flare!



After months of anticipation, I finally got to shoot their big day! Their wedding was held at Carmel Valley Ranch in Carmel, CA. A beautifully clear and sunny day awaited them both as they readied themselves to walk down the aisle.


In order to spare themselves the heavy tears in front of friends and family, Ken and Jessica opted for a first look. (I love the look on the groom’s face before he sees his bride for the first time!)





After passing around some tissues, we headed off to take their bridal portraits. These two are so in love, I was absolutely giddy over how sweet they were!



After couples photos, it was onward to the ceremony site! Their set up needed no embellishment with flowers or arbors, being furnished instead by views of the gorgeous bucolic valley behind them.



Once wed, it was on to a cozy cocktail hour on the deck followed by formal dances, cake cutting, speeches, and a TON of rowdy dancing inside!






I had such a wonderful time working with and getting to know Ken and Jessica over the past year. There was so much love and joy between the two of them, it was honestly one of the classiest yet relaxed events I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. Humongous hugs to these two for a lifetime of sassyness and happiness!

**Massive thanks to my assistant James from A Moment to Remember Photography for all of his help!***

First Blog Post: A Brief History of Me

Well, it’s happened. I’ve finally started an official Katherine Elyse Photography blog! Now, I’ve done this in the past, started writing with no rhyme, reason, or plan. But now, NOW I am doing it the right way. I’ve got a list and everything. With this fool proof plan I can’t possibly fail! (Knock on SO much wood.)

So. Here we are. Here…. we… are…… I wasn’t sure what I wanted to talk about in my first post. I toyed with the idea of just jumping right into advice for brides or my favorite gear or talking about the business aspects of photography, but I figured that might come off a little but strong, a lot-a-bit pretentious, and pretty darn impersonal. After all, the common thread holding all of my business aspects together isn’t really any of that stuff, it’s just me! So, here I am, ready to talk about myself.

I guess I’ve been lifting lenses and shifting shutters for the past 6 or 7 years. To be honest, I have always been a musician, not a physical artist. But when I snagged my first film camera from an ex in college something happened inside of me. It felt like magic in my hands. I felt cool just holding it! I had one goal at my families Thanksgiving extravaganza at my Grandma’s house: get that little pointer thing inside the camera into the middle and snap away! (You can see how formal and technical my excruciatingly humble beginnings were…) I managed to change the film without exposing it to the light and was able to take some photos over the weekend. I remember being so excited to take them to Walgreens to get them developed. In the end about half of my images were pitch black. A discouraging start, to say the least. But some of them, somehow, were magical and perfect (to my eyes, at least)! What had I done to accomplish this?? To pull the shapes from the darkness and balance light?? I had no clue. But I knew that I was going to love figuring it out.

I’m pretty sure I swindled my parents into buying me my first camera soon after as a joint Christmas/birthday present. It was expensive for something so small that I had never shown any interest in before. Their act of faith in me and their willingness to help me to expand my passion is something I’m thankful for on a daily basis. That is the type of people they have always been. Always pushing me forward, always keeping an open mind to my fickle and ever changing interests. Long story short: They. Are. Wonderful.

Anyway, after I got my first camera is was months of photoshoots with my friends, taking pictures of my roommate’s reggae band, going to the skate park with my Zumiez co-workers, and wandering around trying to be deep and taking pictures of single flowers on lonely vines. I was every inch and artist at heart, I just didn’t have ANY technical skills. I was figuring it out the long way; experience first, explanation later. I find I still do this and it really makes me laugh. I could have learned SO much quicker had I walked to the library and read a darn book, but where’s the adventure in that?

I’ve always been a pretty speedy learner and I seemed to constantly have a creative thought in the back of my mind so I’m happy to say I got better quickly. I practiced all the time (HINT: PRACTICE IS KEY) and I was having so much fun! From candid shots to portrait sessions to themed shoots, I was working hard to get better and that is exactly what happened. Then I remember having a few friends inquire about doing their senior sessions and it stopped me in my tracks. These were photos that were going to be shown to family; photos to commemorate a huge step in their life; photos that would be around FOREVER. I was terrified. So I agreed, but I was adamant that we go shoot with low expectations and then see how they turned out. No way was I going to guarantee good photos. I mean, they could potentially end up being absolute garbage! No guarantees, I said over and over. But in the back of my head… in the back of my head I thought maybe. Maybe I could do it. Maybe I could pull it off.

HUZZA! A small taste of success! Are they perfect? Is my editing on point? Not quite. (Looking back at them I do cringe a little bit.) But were they useable? Did they capture personalities? Were they at the very least acceptable? Yes! I had never been so thankful to have friends who loved me. Friends who trusted me to do this. Even if they didn’t know it then, this first round of sessions helped me break a barrier I had within myself. Maybe photography was not just for my personal pleasure anymore. Maybe this art form wasn’t just for kicks and giggles. Maybe I could get GOOD at it!

After those sets of grad photos everything was a whirlwind. I kept practicing at shows and in fields. I co-led a project that I am still proud of that centered around word play and tastefully nude women (yes, you read that right). I graduated from college, I moved to the Bay Area to follow my heart, and through it all I managed to get hired to take photos of people I hadn’t previously met. I was ecstatic! I don’t think I realized it then, but the path photography took me down has continued to make me happy in ways I never expected. Life was (and continues to be) good.

                             2009               2010                2011                             2013


Fast forward slightly to 2016 and here I am writing a blog about myself to a handful of friends and fans. 2015 and 2016 have been the most incredible years for me as an artist and as a person. I’m receiving consistent requests for wedding photos, family photos, maternity shoots, and everything in between. I’ve grown into a human being that I can honestly say I would want to be friends with. Together with my boyfriend we’ve built up a beautiful world to exist within and I’ve fallen more deeply in love with him than I could have ever imagined. I’ve begun to focus heavily on and nurture the relationships that are most important to me. And, of course, I have developed a deep strong passion for photography and grown my little business into a (nearly) full time venture. I’m always out capturing engagement kisses, meeting big crazy families, rubbing pregnant bellies, and watching people marry the person they love most. I’m feel lucky and proud that a simple interest in photography has sparked something this incredible. It’s a wonderful art form with an incredible community of people to be a part of.

Oh! And to all you dear readers who are struggling to find purpose in their photo work, the take away here is that I never knew I’d ever be standing here, owner of my own business, building my little empire. But I’m here now, and I wouldn’t change a damn thing. 🙂


                                                                      2016 (So Far!)