February 27, 2024

You’re getting engaged – congrats! Now comes the fun part of planning that perfect Monterey engagement session to capture the special moment. If stunning sunsets and beautiful beaches sound ideal, then you need to check out Monterey Bay. This spot along the central California coastline offers incredible natural beauty from its sandy dunes to sparkling blue waters. Justine and Joe chose this as the backdrop for their engagement photos and couldn’t have been happier. The natural lighting at dusk provided a romantic glow as they frolicked in the sand capturing playful moments filled with laughter and love. With its incredible scenery, Monterey Bay is a top pick for an unforgettable engagement session. Keep reading to learn more about how this location made Justine and Joe’s photos magical!

“Engagement marks the end of a whirlwind romance and the beginning of an eternal love story.” — Rajeev Ranjan
couple wearing jeans and white shirts on beach in Monterey
engaged couple in monterey on sand dunes at sunset
engaged couple in monterey on sand dunes at sunset

Justine and Joe’s Magical Monterey Bay Engagement Session

Romantic Sunset Monterey Engagement session in the Sand Dunes

As the golden sun dipped below the horizon, Justine and Joe strolled hand-in-hand along the beach in the sand dunes of Marina. The secluded area provided the perfect backdrop for their romantic sunset Monterey engagement session. The way the warm glow of the setting sun illuminated Justine’s radiant smile and the joy in Joe’s eyes was pure magic.

Dramatic Natural Landscape

The scenic natural landscape of Monterey Bay acted as a peaceful setting for their special moment. Massive sand dunes, textured beach grasses and wildflowers surrounded the couple as they laughed and embraced. The beach and dunes offered a variety of stunning backdrops for their photos, from soft sand pathways to weathered driftwood. The area’s natural beauty shone through in each meaningful memory captured.

A Meaningful Experience in a Special Place

Choosing to have their engagement photos taken in such a meaningful place added a personal touch to the experience. Monterey Bay has been a special getaway spot for Justine and Joe over the years, filled with cherished memories together. To commemorate the start of their new chapter together in the location that has been so significant to their relationship story made this sunset beach engagement session all the more sentimental and impactful. The photos from their session in this place close to their hearts will be treasured for years to come.

Overall, the scenic natural setting of the Monterey Bay sand dunes was the ideal backdrop for Justine and Joe’s heartfelt beach engagement session. The area’s peaceful beauty and personal meaning to the couple resulted in emotive photos that authentically capture the joy and tenderness of their relationship and this poignant moment in their journey together.

Why We Chose the Stunning Sand Dunes: for Our Monterey Engagement Session

When we were planning the engagement session, we knew we wanted dramatic, scenic photos that captured the natural beauty of the Monterey Bay area. The sand dunes at Marina State Beach were the perfect setting.

Endless Photographic Opportunities

The massive sand dunes offer endless angles and backdrops for photos. You can get shots with the dunes towering behind you, capture photos on the crest of a dune with the ocean in the background, or get playful photos rolling down the slopes of the dunes. The options for stunning, unique photos are endless.

Gorgeous Natural Lighting

The golden light during sunset and sunrise creates a warm glow over the sand dunes. The natural lighting, combined with the amber tones of the sand, gives photos a bright, romantic feel. We timed our session for sunset and got gorgeous photos bathed in the golden hour light with a colorful sky in the background.

A Bit of Adventure

Climbing the sand dunes added a sense of adventure to our engagement photos. Scaling the slopes of the dunes and exploring the area together created fun, candid moments that our photographer captured. The experience of trekking over the dunes together made for a memorable experience that will stay with us for years to come.

Timeless Location

The massive sand dunes are a timeless natural landmark that create engagement photos you’ll cherish for years to come. The scenic seaside location gives photos a sense of place that you can’t get from a studio. We love that we’ll be able to look back on these photos decades from now and relive this special time in this beautiful setting.

Overall, the sand dunes were the perfect spot for dramatic, memorable engagement photos. We highly recommend this stunning location for any couple looking for a naturally scenic spot to capture their engagement or wedding photos. The photos we got from this session are ones we will treasure forever.

The Beauty of a Sunset Monterey Engagement Session the Beach

There’s something magical about sunset engagement sessions on the beach. The golden light during sunset creates a warm glow that is flattering and enhances the romantic ambiance. The beach also provides a stunning backdrop for photos with the ocean and sand dunes.

For Justine and Joe’s sunset engagement session, we chose the secluded sand dunes of Marina State Beach in Monterey Bay, California. The massive sand dunes and long stretches of beach offered privacy and gorgeous scenery. During sunset, the dunes were bathed in a warm glow and long shadows were cast, adding dimension to the photos.

Being on the beach for their engagement shoot was meaningful for Justine and Joe, as they had their first date walking along the beach. To incorporate personal touches, we took photos of them walking hand in hand along the shore and sitting cozily in the sand. The sounds of the crashing waves and feel of the sea breeze brought back memories of the beginning of their relationship.

As the sun dipped lower in the sky, we captured romantic silhouettes of them embracing in the dunes. The mix of golden light and long shadows resulted in striking images with a dreamy, ethereal quality. Sunset also brought out vibrant colors in the sky – oranges, pinks and purples – that served as a stunning backdrop.

An added bonus of a beach sunset session is having the opportunity to get nighttime photos under a blanket of stars. The moonlight and ambient lighting from nearby Monterey and Marina created a mysterious moody scene. Low light photos of Justine and Joe snuggling in the dunes were whimsical and intimate.

Overall, choosing the scenic Monterey Bay sand dunes for their sunset engagement photos allowed us to capture emotive and meaningful photos for this sweet couple. The combination of a sentimental location, gorgeous golden sunset light and a nighttime setting resulted in an unforgettable experience and timeless images they will cherish for years to come.

Our Favorite Moments From the Shoot

One of our favorite moments was watching the sunset over the ocean while walking along the beach. The golden hour shortly after sunset is truly magical. The warm glow of the setting sun illuminates the sky and sand with a golden tint, creating a dreamy and romantic scene. I loved photographing Justine and Joe during this time, capturing intimate moments of them embracing on the beach and stealing sweet kisses. The photos from this time of day turned out beautifully, with a soft warm tone perfect for engagement portraits.

Playful and Candid

Another favorite part of the shoot was capturing more playful and candid shots of the couple. I had them run into the waves, spin and laugh together, and at one point Joe ran towards the waves with her hand in his. Their joy and chemistry was evident, and we were able to get lots of natural smiles and laughs. Some of our favorite photos are the more casual, unposed ones—there’s nothing quite like seeing a couple’s genuine happiness and playfulness with one another.

The Sand Dunes at Sunset

As night fell, we headed to the sand dunes to get some dramatic shots with the sunset in the background. The rolling sand dunes and wispy beach grass made for a stunning backdrop. We had Justine walk through the sand dunes as Joe looked on admiringly, and got close-up portraits of them embracing with the colorful sky behind them. The contrast of the soft sand, textured dune grass and fiery sky came together beautifully. Ending the shoot here, with these epic and memorable photos, was the perfect finale to capture the beauty of their relationship and special place.

From the golden light on the beach, to their playful candid moments, to the dramatic sand dune sunset, photographing at this picturesque Monterey beach location offered many chances to capture the couple’s love and joy. We feel so lucky to have been able to share in this special time with them, and know that the photos from this shoot will be cherished for years to come.

Tips for Planning Your Monterey Beach Engagement Session

Pick the Perfect Location

The beautiful central coast of California offers so many stunning locations for your engagement photos. For a beachy, laid-back session, head to the sand dunes of Marina or Monterey State Beach. The windswept dunes surrounded by cypress trees are especially dreamy at sunset. Want a rocky shoreline backdrop instead? Check out Point Lobos State Natural Reserve or Garrapata State Park. Their secluded coves and tide pools create a dramatic scene.

Time it Right

The golden hour before sunset is ideal for engagement photos. The soft, warm light flatters skin tones and makes everything glow. If sunrises are more your thing, you’ll get those same gorgeous effects. Either way, avoid the harsh midday sun which can create unflattering shadows. During the week, the beaches tend to be less crowded, giving you more freedom to use the whole area as your backdrop without photo-bombing tourists in the background.

Dress for the Setting

A beach engagement shoot calls for carefree, casual attire. For her, a flowy sundress, jean shorts and tank top, or flirty romper is perfect. For him, khakis and a button-down or polo shirt keeps it relaxed. And don’t forget—no shoes allowed! Go barefoot or wear flip flops that you can easily slip off for photos in the sand. Make sure to also bring layers like jean jackets, cardigans or flannel shirts in case the ocean breeze picks up.

Accessorize and Bring Props

Don’t be afraid to accessorize and bring props to make your photos even more fun and personalized. A beach umbrella, picnic basket, kite or beach ball are colorful additions. A bouquet of wildflowers or succulents from a local nursery add natural beauty. And of course, don’t forget a bottle of bubbly to toast your engagement!

By following these tips, your Monterey beach engagement session is sure to result in photos as dramatic and memorable as the sea and landscapes that inspire them. Here’s to the start of your new adventure together!


So there you have it! A beach Monterey Engagement Session is the perfect way to capture the magic of your special moment. The gorgeous scenery will be the ideal backdrop for photos that you’ll treasure forever. And the endless beach provides plenty of opportunities to get creative with your poses. Justine and Joe’s sunset session on the Marina dunes beautifully encapsulates the romance and joy of their engagement. Now it’s your turn to make magical memories in this stunning location. Whether you envision a sunset session like Justine and Joe or something completely your own, Monterey Bay has everything you need to commemorate your love. Let the sound of the waves, the feel of the ocean breeze, and the beauty of the setting speak to the meaning of your commitment. An engagement shoot here is sure to result in timeless images and memories that you’ll look back on fondly.

Sounds like a dream?? Let’s talk about planning your dream engagement session now!


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Monterey Engagement Session

Welcome! I'm Shannon, a California based wedding photographer with a flair for all things timeless, bright, heirloom, and joyful.