Santa Ynez Hills Engagement | Jennifer + Andrew

Santa Ynez Hills Engagement

Jen and Andrew braved the rain and wind with me last week to capture their beautiful Santa Ynez Hills engagement. It’s quite a rarity, but we’ve been experiencing consistent rainstorms throughout Southern California for the past few weeks. Fortunately, the skies cleared and the rain ceased just long enough for us to head up to the mountains.

I especially love this engagement session because Jen and Andrew wanted to include their three dogs in the photos. Couples are always encouraged to bring something special with them to our portrait session because it makes the photos that much more meaningful. I was overjoyed when they told me their pups would be tagging along!

We met in downtown Los Olivos and caravaned up to the mountains to visit one of my favorite lookout points. The last time I visited for a Santa Ynez Hills engagement, the area was enduring a heatwave and the landscape was golden. Thanks to all of the recent rain, we got to enjoy lush, green hills. As we photographed, we chatted about their wedding later this year at Switzer Farm with the talented team at Two Roads Event Co.

Andrew brought along a bottle of champagne so we could celebrate the end of a successful evening. The two toasted one another and ended the evening sipping on bubbly while watching the sunset.

Lab | Richard Photo Lab

Sunstone Villa Engagement in Santa Ynez| Melissa + Michael

Sunstone Villa Engagement in Santa Ynez

When Melissa and Michael told me they wanted their portraits taken somewhere private and in a beautiful outdoor location, I knew right away that a Sunstone Villa engagement session would be absolutely perfect for them.

The three of us first met last Summer at their friend’s destination wedding in Tuscany. We were seated next to each other during the rehearsal dinner and we hit it off immediately. We soon discovered that even though the groom lives in SF and the bride lives in Boston that the three of us live 10min from one another in Los Angeles. Talk about a small world!

Don’t let the Sunstone Villa fool you. Even though it’s located in California it looks like it belongs in the foothills of Italy. This is in part due to the original owners importing the architectural remains from buildings located in Marseille and Provence. The villa incorporates everything from French limestone, hand-formed roof tiles, and a fireplace from the Bordeaux region of France to pine beams from Queen Victoria’s lavender factory and a thousand-year-old limestone kitchen sink. It is truly a remarkable sight to behold and made for the most beautiful backdrop for the day’s engagement shoot.

As we chatted and chased the sunlight we slowly made our way around the property. We made sure to visit all of the corridors, nooks, and open spaces that Sunstone had to offer us. As the sun began to set we headed over to a pair of oak trees for some dusk romantics.

What made this Sunstone Villa engagement session so wonderful was the natural chemistry between Melissa and Michael. When you have a couple that naturally interacts so naturally (not to mention dresses well) making them look good is easy!

Melissa and Michael ended the session slow dancing together while watching the last few moments of sunset. The day was perfect and I can’t wait to see them later this year for their wedding!

Venue | Sunstone Winery

Lab | Richard Photo Lab