deYoung Museum and Sutro Baths Engagement Session // San Francisco, CA

I have to start this post with one of the coolest things about it: Annelise and JM’s engagement session took place on Leap Day!! How cool is that? I mean, I know Leap Day happens on a consistent basis, but still — I think it’s fun that they had such a special occasion happen on a special day! It makes it extra memorable IMO, okay?? 😂 It’s also wild now, almost a year later, looking back on that day — in a bittersweet way almost. Covid didn’t come crashing down on us (or start to, at least) until a week later, and the day of their engagement session we were all blissfully ignorant of how our lives were about to be completely turned upside down. Anyway, back to this deYoung museum and Sutro Baths engagement session!

the deyoung

Annelise and JM asked to do their session specifically at these locations. I had never photographed a couple in a museum so I was super pumped for a new experience and challenge! Especially since we were there on a Sunday and it was BUSY. They asked to go straight up to the observation deck and it was a five min wait for the elevator (which was packed — remember those days??). If at all possible, my preference (and usually the couple’s) is to photograph their session in a quiet area away from lots of people — it can be nerve-wracking to have multiple eyes on you while you’re being photographed! But these guys rocked the alternative, and were totally at ease the whole time.

Annelise said her favorite thing about the museum is the architecture, so I really tried to highlight that in my photos! Shooting in nature 99% of the time, there are abstract lines found in nature (like the tops of a tree line, a road, etc), but never anything as clean and sharp as the metal and glass in these photos. It was so much fun to play with so many leading lines at the deYoung!

the baths

After a while of wandering through the museum, we drove over to the Sutro Baths (which, if you remember from this post, was one of my bucket list spots! I’m always on board with this location) for their second location. San Francisco is notorious for having extremely unpredictable weather that often changes on a dime. It was supposed to rain all that day, until the sun came out at the last minute for us.

But as a tradeoff, this afternoon was one of the windiest days I’ve ever experienced. We were almost being blown over! The wind was biting cold, and these guys were troopers sticking it out for 20 minutes. BUT the best part is that you can’t tell that it’s cold from these photos! That’s what I love to tell my couples — “we may be having Type 2 fun, but in the photos it won’t look like it at all!” I see it as kind of a perk to look forward to, so you won’t be reminded of how freakin cold you were when you look at the photos. Okay fine, maybe this is something that just makes sense in my head. 😂 

 The small silver lining of wind (and why I hope for even a slight breeze at all my shoots) is that it adds INCREDIBLE movement to the photos! I mean, that photo of her dress flying — can you even!? Sorry to be *that* annoying bish, but for real — hands down my best photo of a clothing item caught in the wind! I love looking at it. Anyway, overall this was such a great day.

memory lane

It also was a bit of a full circle moment that I didn’t fully process til just now: I hadn’t been to the deYoung since 2009 in high school, when I used it as the subject of a couple of my school photography assignments. I was shooting film on that trip, and I can still clearly envision the photos I later printed from that day. Pretty wild that eleven years later I’d return, as a professional photographer — which had been a pipe dream in 2009. Life is wild! Anyway, if you’ve made it this far, I hope you enjoy this engagement session at the deYoung museum and the Sutro baths!

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