My engagement shoot with Alison and Joe left me thinking on thing: there’s no excuse for any Cal State Fullerton student to not visit the Fullerton Arboretum. May as well be a portal to another world. You can’t escape the diverse vegetation, vibrant colors and immersive atmosphere. The location gave me a plethora of opportunities to capitalize on, all the while exuding a calming, romantic atmosphere.
At throughout its 26 acres, this botanical garden breathes like a living organism. To clarify, said organism is in a perpetual state of waking up from a nice nap. The arboretum’s well-placed benches lend themselves to romantic couple’s photos. Bench shots are a no brainer wherever you find them, but the backdrop really sets these shots apart. The orange and purple speckles of the flowers prove the perfect pops in the midst of a wall of forest green. The amount of texture the vegetation provides is truly immersive. You might as well be doing the shoot miles into a wilderness.
The amount of space in the arboretum is pretty incredible, considering it’s technically an extension of CSUF. You can treat it as a self-contained own scenic vista. Unlike a park or a nature center, it doesn’t feel like an overpopulated recreational spot. The shots I took by the pond reflect this isolated beauty. The spot felt tailored to our purposes, giving the shots a personal vibe. It also helped that we did the shoot right after Thanksgiving. Everyone was out Black Friday shopping, making the place even more tranquil.
Like most foresty areas, the shade provided by the trees works wonders for the lighting. The sun goes down at 4:45 in December, so we did the shoot at 2:30. This allowed us to take advantage of golden hour, which gave every color a deeper, more robust hue. It was extremely helpful to have such consistent lighting wherever I went in the arboretum. It allows the multitude of trees, bushes and ferns to blend together into an impressive tapestry. This relaxing atmosphere is hard not to get immersed in.
The arboretum leads itself to classy moments. Whether they walked down the path or through the grass, there a sense of fantasy to the environment. It reminds me of walking through the Hundred Acre Wood. It feels placid and lived in, separated from the bustle of Fullerton. This gave the engagement shoot a sense of bliss. Alison and Joe could be themselves, not focusing on anything but each other. I wasn’t worrying so much about finding the perfect angle. Instead, I poured my energy into capturing natural moments.
With under 30 acres, this place packs so much texture and beauty. No one can enter Fullerton Arboretum and not get lost in the peacefulness. The couple could simply enjoy each other’s company. I could take a step back and focus on capturing those genuine moments—the ones they’ll look back at and know were real. All that to say, if you go to CSUF and have not checked this place out, repent of your sin immediately.