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Best Time in San Diego for Engagement Photos

Best Time in San Diego for Engagement and Photos:  How to Never Waste a Sunset

Couples always ask me about the best time of year for engagement photos, (and for family portraits for that matter) and my answer is always the same: late November to early December.

best time for sunset engagement photos san diego

stunning silhouette engagement photos in November

There is something about that change of seasons that makes for some of the most incredible photos you have ever seen. Even in sunny San Diego, there is a shift in the air that indicates autumn once November rolls around. It may be slight, but it is there.

And to a photographer’s eye, it is magical.

I have had a lot clients scoff at the idea of a winter photo shoot, mind you. They want to wear light and airy clothing, and when the temps are dipping into the 50’s and 60’s – their whole concept of engagement pic attire changes.  I’m telling you though; there is something about those late November to December sunsets that makes it all worthwhile.

I have always had a thing for sunsets. Call it an obsession, adoration, or even a predilection if you will – they have captivated me for as long as I can remember. Not just because of the Southern California fascination with witnessing the green flash either. Back in the day, I used to wait tables at Jake’s in Del Mar. Even then, it was totally normal for me to stop working for a few minutes just to catch the sun descent. I had no shame in doing so either. I figured they paid me less than minimum wage, so the sunsets were my bonus. There were plenty of days when those sunsets were better than any tip I could have received… not to mention all the guests were busy watching it also.

And in the Fall, those sunsets are more breathtaking than at any other time of year. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but the colors are different, like a muted but still beautiful rainbow.  They stand out against the sky, and the clouds come in just enough to accentuate it all; varying hues painted above our heads as the sun slips away into darkness. I love a good November sunset, and for those couples who are willing to brave the chillier temps with me; I love a good sunset engagement photo even more.

A few tips for getting  killer sunset engagement photos:

  1. Obviously having a stunning sunset the day before your scheduled session is a good indicator of what your day will bring.  If the weather doesn’t change over night, you should be pretty confident in what you are going to get.
  2. Book your session far in advance, but be ready for a date change if the sunsets are just not happening.  Try and keep a somewhat open schedule from mid November to the 1st week of Dec.
  3. Both you and I are typically slammed with holiday obligations this time of year.  Be ready to shoot on a weekday instead.
  4. We will do 90% of the photo session prior to sunset.  The actual sunset window only lasts about 10 minutes….10 AWESOME minutes!
  5. Most sunset photos will be silhouettes.  These emphasis your environment over your actual faces.

So when the time comes to plan your engagement photo session, give it some serious thought. Everyone shoots for the summer pictures, with their toes in the sand and the sun’s warmth shining down on them. But there is something far more poetic, and arguably beautiful, about a good old fashion November sunset as your backdrop.

Our San Diego weather may even bless you with temps warm enough to stick to your original light and airy wardrobe plans. This is Southern California after all; crazier things have happened.

Even if the air is crisp and the temps are low though, donning jeans and a scarf won’t take a thing away from your photos. Particularly with that sunset in the background, lighting up your love from behind.

Here are a few stunning sunset from my own roof with my iphone just last week…

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