California, Couples, Engagement Session, Fall

Bay Area Engagement Photographer | Part 1 of 2

Hi, I'm Kristen!
I'm a senior portrait, family, and couples' photographer based out of Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area. I love sunshine, cacti, chocolate chips, and a great cup of tea - but most of all I love photographing joyful clients. :)
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Man and woman kissing at a torii gate  in photos by Bay Area Engagement Photographer Kristen Hazelton

I was so happy my clients chose me to be their engagement photographer when we were back in the Bay Area over Thanksgiving! We lucked out with absolutely stunning weather for late November and the location we chose, The Gardens at Lake Merritt, was gorgeous and had SO much variety! So much variety, in fact, that I’ve split their engagement photos into two blogs, so look for part two of their beautiful session headed your way in two weeks. 🙂

We met at the Torii gate, then started our tour of the gardens!

Man and woman walking in front of a torii gate in photos by Bay Area Engagement Photographer Kristen Hazelton
Man and woman kissing under a Shinto Torii gate

Engagement Photos at the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt

Engagement photos at Lake Merritt 
by Bay Area Engagement Photographer Kristen Hazelton

Next, we went into the Bonsai Garden! They were really excited by the idea of having photos inside this cool garden, and I love the fall color that we got from the foliage!

Man and woman walking in the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt
Man and woman laughing in photos by Bay Area Engagement Photographer Kristen Hazelton

I love their joy!! We all had so much fun together!

Man and woman walking in the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt
Woman hugging man at the Bonsai garden at Lake Merritt in photos by Bay Area Engagement Photographer Kristen Hazelton

One of my favorites from the day!

Man and woman laughing in the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt

The Palmetum at Lake Merritt

Woman in white dress kissing man in blue blazer in photos by Bay Area Engagement Photographer Kristen Hazelton

Can I just say, after a busy fall season in Illinois with bright orange and red leaves, it was such a fun change to photograph in California with completely different tree types and (in essence) a completely different season?

The Palmetum palm grove right next door to the Bonsai garden was another location high on my clients’ wish list!

Man hugging fiancee under palm trees

Some of my favorite portraits of the whole day!!

Engagement photos at the Palmetum at Lake Merritt by Bay Area Engagement Photographer Kristen Hazelton

My client are over there laughing while I am crouching in a bush trying to get The Pretty Foreground. 🤣 But oh!! Was it ever worth it!

Bay Area Engagement Photographer

Man and woman laughing in the Sensory Garden at Lake Merritt

It makes me positively giddy to see how happy and in love they are, and how beautiful that sunshine is! After the Palmetum we headed over to the Sensory Garden to check out the fountains, and to catch some more of that pretty glow. I found a pretty Salvia and couldn’t resist getting it in the shot for some foreground! I love that “layered” look in photos!

Woman in white dress with man in suit in photos by Bay Area Engagement Photographer Kristen Hazelton

Be sure to come back in two weeks for part two of this beautiful engagement session! We did an outfit change and headed down to the lake for some shots with the water, oak trees, redwoods, a pagoda, and the “String of Pearls” lights along the lake that Lake Merritt is known for. ❤️

Here’s what my clients had to say about their experience!

Kristen did engagement photos for me and my fiance! They came out beautifully and are all over our wedding website. Kristen was so easy and fun to work with. She (correctly) told us that the first ten minutes of the shoot would be really awkward but that then we’d get into the swing of it and have a blast–and we did! I never feel especially photogenic, but it was very easy to forget that I was having my picture taken at all and instead just have a fun, sweet afternoon with my fiance. I wholeheartedly recommend working with Kristen!

Kristen Hazelton is an Oak Park, IL (Chicago, IL metro area) and Livermore, CA (San Francisco East Bay Area) senior, family, and engagement photographer. She occasionally photographs in San Diego, CA, Tucson, AZ, and Seattle, WA. You can inquire about your own photoshoot here!

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