24 Hour Engagement Session San Francisco

So, you are probably curious… What on earth is a 24 hour engagement session? and we will get there… I promise. Stick around for a bit, spend some time with the images, I think you will start to understand and understand again…

It was after noon on a Tuesday in the early spring of 2024, I found myself in a meeting with a couple (Olivia & Stu) whose wedding I was scheduled to photograph in the Fall. The purpose of our call was to explore options for our scheduled engagement session. I was probably drinking a lemon seltzer. I do that on most occasions.

I felt a funny feeling, and then I said…”So, we have two options: Option A is a normal engagement session. We meet somewhere meaningful, or beautiful, or both about 90 minutes before sunset, and we make photographs in 1 or 2 locations. Option B is the 24 hour engagement session.”

Now, to be honest, I wasn’t completely clear on what a “24 hour engagement session” was at the time, but I knew it sounded fun to me.

Olivia & Stu showed immediate and universal excitement about the idea, even though they weren’t exactly sure what it was either. I think I said, “Are you sure?” multiple times.

We began by saying yes with wild eyes, and then, through a series of discussions, we formulated a plan.

In my head it always started and ended with the wisps of steam from a coffee cup. There was always a diner, there was always a convertible, there was always ice cream, there was always the beach, but there was so much more to fill in. So many more beautiful places to explore in the San Francisco Bay Area…

After the gallery below there is a list of locations and a bit more on my inspiration.

This project, in the end, is about time, about how it speeds up and slows down, about habituation, and dishabituation, the glorious surprise, days that never end, days that begin and begin again. And what it is to be young and head over heels in love in the Bay Area, one of the most spectacularly beautiful places in the world.

Enjoy! We certainly enjoyed the process of making this project.

Loop Date Itinerary:

  1. Oceanview Diner
  2. Shorebird Park
  3. Berkeley Marina
  4. Indian Rock
  5. Live Oak Park
  6. UC Berkeley Campus
  7. Elmwood
  8. Ferry Building
  9. Palace of Fine Arts
  10. Lollyland Mini golf
  11. Crissy Field
  12. Presidio Tunnel Tops
  13. Legion of Honor
  14. Seacliff
  15. Haight Ashbury
  16. Amoeba Records
  17. Escape from New York
  18. Seward Street Slides
  19. Tank Hill
  20. Toy Boat Ice Cream
  21. Green Apple Books
  22. Nopa
  23. City View Metreon
  24. SOMA
  25. North Beach
  26. Vesuvio
  27. Ina Coolbrith
  28. Bob’s Donuts
  29. The Castro
  30. Orphan Andy’s
  31. Grandview
  32. The Tiled Steps
  33. China Beach
  34. Oceanview Diner

Thank you for inspiration to Christian Marclay for his video piece, ” The clock” and to Danny Rubin & Harold Ramis for the movie, “Groundhog Day.” Thank you to Olivia & Stu for all your planning, your stalwart affability, and for staying strong all 24 hours.

Inner Richmond and China Beach Engagement Photos

Christine and Craig met and fell in love while they were living on opposite ends of country. But after getting together, moves ensued and they nurtured a life together in San Francisco.

Their engagement session started in their Inner Richmond neighborhood of San Francisco. We stopped for a stiff drink at their favorite bar and then visited their favorite bookstore – Green Apple Books. We wandered the aisles and I captured candid images of them existing in their regular spots and making each other smile and laugh like they regularly do.

We eventually made it out to China Beach where we took advantage of golden hour. Christine’s glowing red dress contrasting beautifully with the sand and rock. Craig with a sly outfit change into something more casual for beach time.

The images captured pieces of their connection and the ease of their relationship. 

Check out their beautiful Carneros Resort wedding here.

engagement photo shoot san francisco bar
engagement photo shoot san francisco bar

Ocean Beach San Francisco Engagement Photos

This is part 2 of 2 for Marie & Charlie’s Ocean Beach and Sutro Baths engagement session. For part 1 at Sutro baths, click here. After “golden hour” at Sutro Baths, Marie and Charlie changed into an elegant ensemble of a black suit and a flowy white cocktail dress for the 2nd part of their engagement session at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. The Great Highway has been closed to cars for a couple years now, and during the day the road is full of cyclists and runners and strollers, but at “blue hour” midweek, we had the Great Highway entirely to ourselves. After making a few portraits in the middle of the road, we headed up onto the dunes. The last licks of light were spectacular as Marie and Charlie explored the dunes and watched the last of the sunset.

Pacific Heights Engagement Photos – Michelle & Hayden

Michelle & Hayden’s Pacific Heights engagement session fit my ideal to the tee. It took the shape of a fun and casual date meandering through meaningful haunts. All of this in the good light of course.

We used the occasion of the engagement session as an excuse to revisit their old Pacific Heights stomping grounds. When they first met, they were both living in Pacific Heights, just a few blocks away from each other. We met up for a drink at a sidewalk cafe called Palmers, that they had visited many times in their early years of dating. From there we explored the neighborhood. We stopped in front of their old homes for portraits, and continued our walk down towards the water, eventually we made it to the Marina, and on to Crissy Field East Beach to catch the sunset. The weather and the light treated us remarkably well.

Moments that matter – a year in weddings

Here we have a year of weddings as seen through “moments.” 

2018 brought a lovely diversity of venues throughout the Bay Area and beyond, including the Sierra Mountains, Big-Sur, The Boston T and the Boston Public Library, Art Museums, Tiny Chapels and Massive Urban High Schools, Small High Schools and Redwood Theaters, a Mansion that once belonged to a general

I feel overwhelming gratefulness for all the joy and ritual that I experienced through a camera lens this past year.

But why “moments”? Because they draw us in through their storytelling power. They make us feel what exists on either side of them. They don’t just show a gorgeous dress. They show a woman in a gorgeous dress flushed with joy as she dances with her father. Her gesture shows the freedom and the fun she has shared with him. They don’t just show a marriage license sitting upon a table. They show a group hug between a bride, a groom, her sister, his brother, and the closest of friends, the marriage license gripped between the groom’s fingers.

A photograph is time frozen. Sure, etymologically speaking, it is a light-drawing…but maybe we should have called it a nontempograph… because it’s conceptual implications are: it takes something that exists in the spatiotemporal world, and strips it of time, leaving it to a solely spatial existence. It is of time and yet out of time.  A spatial representation of time at a standstill.

And in it’s spatial existence, it can only hint at temporality. It is those photographs that gesture grandly toward temporality that move me most.

Here’s to a 2019 of making wedding photographs that gesture grandly toward temporality.

Palace of Fine Arts Engagement Photos – Kristin and Nick

Palace of Fine Arts Engagement Photos – Kristin and Nick


Kristin & Nick met and fell in love when they were living in San Francisco, so it was a treat for them to have an engagement session with the splendor of the city as a backdrop. Nick actually proposed at the Palace of Fine Arts, so this was a return in another sense for the two. The weather did not disappoint. It was San Francisco through and through, toasty in the sun, and freezing cold in the shade, or when the wind blew. After exploring all the nooks and crannies of the Palace of Fine Arts, listening to accordion music, finding the good light on some large green doors, etc. we headed over to the beach at Crissy Field for a few more photos with the Golden Gate Bridge, and the San Francisco Bay. A seagull and a frisky dog made cameos. “Karl,” the fog, hung just past the bridge to remind us exactly where we were.


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