Sarah and Jordan’s engagement session at First Landing.

Keeping it simple and pure when it comes to a couple’s session.

I recently met up with Sarah and Jordan at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach on a warm, breezy May day. It was cold and rainy for almost a week beforehand but it all went away on the day of the session.

I’ve known Sarah for a couple years now but never had the pleasure of meeting Jordan until our consultation day. It was apparent from the moment we all met that it was going to be an epic session. We agreed to a beach session, made plans, and counted the days until go time.

sarah-and-jordans-engagement-session 11

Now, as a photographer, I think shooting a couples session is easier than a solo session as most of my directions for the duo revolve around “get closer”, “snuggle in”, and the like. Then all I have to do is capture their pure, honest reactions to being close to each other. These two made it even easier as they just radiated their passion for each other. They were playful one moment and passionate the next. I did my best to keep up with them.

This session had the added benefit of them bringing their fur babies with them for a few images. Anyone that knows me knows I love pets and I’m all for including them. They add an additional level of energy and their responses, when captured at the right moments, are priceless. For example, there’s an image with little doxie Willie’s ears blowing in the wind. Then there’s Dudley’s, the beagle, reaction when Sarah blew him a kiss. Or all of them laughing and smiling in the same image. Magic.

If you’re a fan of this page then you know the goal is to always use the sunset for a backdrop as the grand finale. At first it wasn’t looking good for a dramatic twilight as the sky was clear but, as we did our thing, some clouds slowly moved in at the right moment to provide that extra “umph”. We took full advantage of it with a combination of silhouettes and off-camera flash.

It was a wonderful time but, as always, it had to come to an end. After hugs and handshakes we parted ways. As I was sitting in my car, I felt the welcoming glow of satisfaction brought on by the fact that I captured their spirits and their love.

I’d like to end this entry with some very kind words from Sarah:

“I was so happy that my fiancé and I chose Mark to be our photographer for our engagement shoot. Right off the back we were very comfortable with him! He met with us briefly a week out from out shoot and allowed us to run outfit ideas, posing ideas, etc, and gave us very honest feedback to ensure our pictures came out spectacular. Working with him on the beach was a breeze as well. He helped pose us in a way that did not make either of feel like we didn’t know what we were doing. I would highly recommend Mark to any couple looking to get pictures done whether for a special occasion or just for fun!!”

Me again. I’d like to take a moment to give a shout-out to Rose Benson for assisting with this session.

Mark Knopp is a Virginia-Beach-based portrait photographer and photography teacher that covers the Hampton Roads community and beyond. Contact him today at mknopp1(at) for all your photographic needs.


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