Love Shoots

Illiana & Marcus: A Mountaintop Engagement Session in Hawaii

Photos By Vanessa Hicks Photography

Marcus Foster, a naval officer attached to the USS Chicago stationed in Pearl Harbor, and Illiana Tidd, a former research analyst and adjunct professor at the University of Guam, met six years ago in college. Though they attended rival universities, they didn’t need to compete for each other’s hearts. Their chemistry and compatibility came naturally. “We are both adventure addicts, and we have deep shared passion for diving, hiking, and traveling,” Illiana says. “We are truly best friends and treasure every moment we get to spend exploring together.” Held on a Hawaiian mountaintop at dusk and captured by photographer Vanessa Hicks, their romantic engagement session reflects their venturesome spirits. Fittingly, the two will tie the knot next fall at Kualoa Ranch, a 4,000-acre nature reserve, working cattle ranch, and filming location (think Jurassic Park and The Hunger Games) on the windward coast of Oahu.

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Evan & DC: An Old-Fashioned Kind of Love

Photos By Radian Photography

After getting engaged in Paris, Carolinian couple Evan and DC Ramsey shared the toast-worthy news with a celebratory photo shoot that paid tribute to their shared passion for a great Old Fashioned. “DC talks a mile a minute, while Evan is quieter and more reserved,” says Radhika McDiarmid, one half of the husband-and-wife photography duo who captured the couple. “Her heart never left France, where she studied abroad; he only considered leaving his home in Texas for her. As different as they are, they bonded over the little things, like developing and perfecting a unique Old Fashioned recipe. It’s a drink that they learned to love together, and one they like to unwind with on the porch after a long day.” Evan and DC were pleasantly surprised to discover that Radhika and her husband, Ian, were enthusiastic about their unconventional engagement session idea, even enlisting stylist Amanda Blair to help bring their mixology-inspired concept to life. “They blew it out of the water,” DC says. “We love the romantic yet laid-back vibe that they created.” Santé to that!

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Carly & Adam: A Valentine’s Day Love Shoot in Chicago

Photos By Morgan Lee Photography

In celebration of her return to blogging, Chicago-based photographer Morgan Lee recently hosted a special Valentine’s Day photo session giveaway for couples. The lucky winners, Adam and Carly Seidler, a blissfully wedded local pair, would see their real-life romance crystallized against a beautifully playful setting that included a fun flower wall, a garland of fresh greenery, tissue-paper confetti in red and pink hues, and monogrammed macarons in the shape of— what else?—hearts. As dazzling as the details are, it is the love that shines through the most. And it is of the time-tested, must-be-destined kind, as Adam and Carly go all the way back to high school, when each harbored a secret crush on the other. Years after college, the two bumped into one another at a crowded Chicago bar on Halloween night, and the stars finally aligned...

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Allison & Dennis: Romantic Wedding Portraits in Central Park

Photos By Boris Zaretsky

Dennis Tan and Allison Chan tied the knot with urban élan at the Metropolitan Building, an old factory converted into a characterful event space in Queens, New York. It was an unforgettable day, but whisked up in its beautiful whirlwind, they didn’t get the chance to take portraits outdoors in some of the meaningful locations where they spend time together as a couple. Thus, they decided to set up a day-after shoot in Central Park, one of their favorite places for strolling. They envisioned artful images with some high-fashion flair, and Brooklyn-based photographer Boris Zaretsky delivered with timeless, romantic snaps that reflect their personalities and style...

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Vanessa & Spencer: A Tangled-Themed Engagement Shoot at the Lantern Fest

Photos By Beyond the Darkroom Photography

Ever since she was a little girl, Vanessa Rasmusson has been enthralled by the character of Rapunzel. With her long golden locks, the Utah native even resembles the follically fortunate fairy-tale figure. So it’s no surprise that when Disney’s Tangled came out, the animated flick instantly took its place among Vanessa’s favorite films. And it’s also no surprise that several years later, when her real-life prince popped the question, Vanessa found herself turning to the movie for engagement photo ideas. She and her fiancé, Spencer, soon decided to create their own version of the movie’s mesmerizing lantern scene. (In Tangled, Rapunzel’s wanderlust is stirred by the sight of sky lanterns that appear each year on her birthday, set lovingly aloft, unbeknownst to her, by her parents in an annual ceremony of remembrance.) At first, it didn’t seem meant to be. “On the day of the shoot, it was so windy that we couldn’t even light a single lantern,” says Christie Gibson, the couple’s photographer. “I still hoped we could run with the Rapunzel theme, but logistics were against us, and hope fizzled out fast.” As the stars would have it, though, hope was just as quickly rekindled when the couple learned that The Lantern Fest was coming to town. The traveling festival unites revelers with an evening of live music, dancing, marshmallow roasting, and setting the darkened sky aglow with floating luminaries carrying hundreds of hopes and dreams. “We got some beautiful shots as the sun was setting over the Bonneville Salt Flats, and then after night had fallen, we sat around a campfire and waited for the lanterns to be released,” Christie says. “It was tricky because of the low-light conditions, but I was able to get a few magical shots.” Magical, indeed. Neither a storybook nor the silver screen could have rendered it more romantic...

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Waiting for Senna: An Adoption Shoot in San Francisco

Photos By Sonya Yruel

With today’s shoot, we’re focusing on some of the joys that marriage brings: deepening love and a growing family. San Franciscan couple Bojana and Paco long ago decided that they wanted to adopt internationally. Bojana is from Croatia, and Paco’s familial roots are in Peru, so they know a thing or two about transcending borders and cultures. “It has been almost two years since my husband and I embarked on this long but rewarding journey of international adoption,” Bojana says. “In January 2014, our agency sent us a photo of a cute, chubby-cheeked little boy from South Korea, and it was love at first sight. We knew he was a perfect match for us. We named him Senna. We realized that we would have to wait months and months before we could bring him home, but we were committed. More than 18 months have passed, and we are finally set to bring Senna home.” Being a photographer, Bojana naturally wanted to capture the period of anticipation and excitement prior to Senna’s arrival through photos, so she turned to Sonya Yruel, one of her colleagues and friends, to document this time in her and Paco’s life. “It was so special for me to take their expecting photos,” says Sonya, who shot the family of two, soon to be three, at some of their favorite San Francisco haunts...

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