N + J | SoCal Sunrise Elopement El Matador Beach

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N + J | SoCal Sunrise Elopement El Matador Beach

I was in a sleepy haze as I drove down the deserted highway. It was the pre-dawn quiet of a city that doesn’t wake up until it’s time to go to work. I gathered together my backpack of gear. For intimate sunrise elopement at El Matador Beach, I typically carry a prime 35mm, some OCF, a trigger, a stand, and a long lens, along with my trusty, beautiful Canon 5D Mark III.

Sunrise Elopement El Matador Beach

I’ve photographed several times at El Matador (see samples here). Anyone who does beach photography in California will tell you that this is one of the beaches that is always crazy busy. So when these two were scheduling their wedding portraits, I recommended sunrise. A sunrise elopement at El Matador Beach is a photographer’s dream.

As I hiked up the hill and explored down the beach, though, I wondered if they would actually show up. My photographer’s heart was aching, because the beach was deserted and the sun was rising with glorious SoCal colors. I wanted to photograph someone here.

So when they came down the path, I was incredibly grateful. Grateful for a couple who trusted me enough to take a very inconvenient recommendation. Thankful they were prioritizing the images they would pass on to their children.

And in the end it was worth it. Within a few minutes we experienced the rising of the glorious sun. We captured some of my favorite images of the year. We relaxed, laughed, and got kissed by the ocean.

All in all, the perfect morning for a photographer.

So, would I recommend doing a sunrise elopement at El Matador Beach? Yes. Waking up early is hard. I’m not a morning person. But you get rewarded with the quiet intimacy of an amazing place.

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