Wow, these engagement photos at El Matador State Beach are stunning! I can’t wait for you to see this gorgeous couple and to dive into everything you need to know before your session.
It’s no wonder that this location is a hit for weddings photos. The smooth sand dunes are gorgeous and make for the perfect, simple backdrop for you and your love. Keep reading for all the info you need to achieve stunning wedding photos at Glamis Sand Dunes!
El Matador State Beach is one of the most popular and iconic beaches in Malibu. It’s a small beach nestled off a cliff that can be found about 25 miles north of Santa Monica, California. With views like these, it’s not surprising that many couples decide to take their engagement photos at El Matador State Beach every year. I’ve seen and shot proposals, graduation photos, elopements, and maternity photos along this stunning shore.
These photos of Audrina and Akshay were an incredibly special to photograph. They got married in Huntington Beach and wanted to keep with the beach-y vibes for their engagement photos. So we all headed up the coast to El Matador! Their wedding was one of the most beautiful days I’ve ever photographed, so you’ll see their wedding photos on the blog soon!
Let’s talk about what you need to know before your engagement photos at El Matador State Beach.
This is probably the single location that I shoot at the most, so I hope this blog post can serve not only my own clients, but those looking to shoot at El Matador!
When planning for engagement photos (or any type of photoshoot really!), sometimes you feel like you don’t even know what questions to ask. So don’t worry! I’m about to cover everything you need to know before this beach engagement shoot.
Let’s talk about the parking situation.
There’s a small lot at the top of the cliff that fits maybe 30 cars, so it fills up quickly. Parking is about $10 and there’s a machine that will need your license plate number. I can never remember my license plate number so I take a picture of my license plate to save a little bit of time.
If your shoot is during the weekend there’s a high likelihood that you’ll need to park on the street. Pay attention to the no parking signs. Oftentimes I see people ignore those signs and park on the street but 9 times out of 10 they’ll have a ticket by the time they come back to their car!
If big crowds and tough parking stress you out, try for a weeknight shoot! A Monday, Tuesday, or a Wednesday will always have less people than on the weekends.
Stressed about what to wear? Don’t fret.
My clients will typically wear a fancier dress and then a casual outfit. It doesn’t really matter which one you want to wear first! Just know that you’ll probably want to change in your car. The beach has porto-potties but they’re definitely not ideal for changing.
Note that the beach will likely be windy. So be sure what you’re wearing is…
1 – Easy to move in. I’ll have you moving around quite a bit and if you can’t walk a few steps without readjusting, then that’s going to be a problem. Try walking back and forth in your living room. Did your shirt ride up? Or did your pants come down? I’d definitely change.
2 – Not going to flash anyone. I’m looking at you, wrap dresses. Sometimes certain dress styles pick up wind easily and next thing you know, moms are covering their kids’ eyes.
3 – Easy to slip on and off. This goes for changing in the car, as well as your shoes! I’d suggest everyone go barefoot. Yep, that includes the guys! So definitely bring shoes that are easy to take off and on. We’ll be walking up and down a rocky cliff, so your preferred flip flip is a must.
The hair situation!
Let go of expectations of perfectly-set hair because this beach is typically pretty windy. Opt for a hairstyle that can roll with the wind rather than fight against it. This is the type of hairstyle I’d say to stray away from, but something like this or this or this works perfectly.
The wind definitely adds a romantic element to your photos, so I’m a big lover of the wind!
People, people everywhere
Here’s the thing – El Matador is one of the most popular beaches in Southern California for photoshoots. And for good reason! It’s absolutely gorgeous. And about 10 million people in the area know it, too 😂 So there will very likely be lots of people in the background that we’ll need to work around. If you’re extremely shy and hate PDA, this might not be the spot for you. And that’s okay! We can find another location that will be deserted and so your shoot can just be the three of us.
And that’s it! Thank you for enjoying all my tips and tricks on how to get stunning engagement photos at El Matador State Beach!
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You’ve got this,