In the wake of COVID-19, countless couples have had their engagement and marriage plans turned upside down. No one could have prepared for these times, which left one option: get creative. For Johnny and Moriah, the plan became an elope—well, kind of, as their approving parents were in attendace. Like their engagement shoot, the couple’s intimate elopement at Crystal Cove captured the couples chemistry with a spectacular backdrop.
Call it a silver lining, but the present time of self-isolation made Crystal Cove a much easier location to shoot. All of a sudden, the spot felt like it was ours for the taking. This made it easier for us to follow health regulations, and illuminated the problems that come with trying to pull off a personal shoot in a heavily-trafficked area. With far less people on the trails, one of California’s most legendary beach felt like a sandbox (pun intended). We could let the moments flow naturally, and center the shoot on Johnny and Moriah.
Arriving at a nearly-unpopulated Crystal cove was a miracle, but the challenge became finding moments where no one aren’t squinting in the afternoon sun. Mind you, there was no need to force scenes of genuine happiness because everyone involved was happy to be there. It’s just a matter of reflecting that joy in the shots I took. Overall, the weather was perfect for a day at the beach, so it was easy to give the shots an appropriate aesthetic for what’s essentially a wedding shoot.
Having just Johnny and Moriah’s parents with them for the shoot worked out perfectly. Obviously, not being able to celebrate with friends is a bummer. But there was something special about the newly-weds being limited to the people people most integral to who they are. The simple setup and minimal subjects made the shoot fun and easy, and they had the most reasons to be happy. This made the more traditional shot composition much more endearing.
This session showed me how rewarding it can be to think outside the box. Johnny and Moriah had no way to foresee our present times. We could have chosen to wait. But we made the best of what remained available. How many times is Crystal Cove that empty? All of the world-famous scenery waited for us to use as we wanted. The moments I captured reflect the enduring commitment of marriage. Sometimes, things don’t go as planned, but those moments of improvisation made for a perfect elopement at Crystal Cove.