Sailboat Engagement Session | Newport Beach, CA

A man and woman sit on a sailboat smiling and embracing during an engagement photo session in Newport California by wedding photographer Kim Branagan

This Newport Beach sailboat engagement session was a total adventure with an amazing couple! I couldn’t keep these gorgeous photos to myself, so I shared the shoot with Magnolia Rouge, and they were kind enough to feature the session on their blog. I’m so excited to show off this lovely couple here, too!  

Starting the engagement shoot at Newport Beach Harbor 

I first met up with Janelle and Stephen at the Newport Beach Harbor to shoot their engagement session. As we stood looking out on the harbor, we could see an intense storm was rolling in. It was covering the entire area to the east of us with dark clouds, thunder, and sheets of rain.

However, looking to the west and out to sea, we saw this amazing golden light that we prayed wouldn’t disappear. We didn’t even hesitate: we immediately knew we wanted to stick to our original vision for the day. We quickly boarded Captain Chad’s sailboat and headed out onto the water. 

Why this couple chose a Newport Beach sailboat engagement shoot

The captain of the sailboat, Chad, is a close friend of Janelle & Stephen’s. When Janelle and Stephen got engaged, they knew they wanted their engagement photos taken on Chad’s sailboat. Janelle and Stephen told me about how, over the course of their relationship, they have made so many amazing memories with friends and each other while out at sea. This was the space that their relationship grew from friendship to love, a place where they felt free to be themselves with each other. As such, it was the absolute perfect place for their engagement photos!  

The perfect golden hour engagement photoshoot at sea

Listening to our intuition about the weather paid off and we were rewarded with an absolutely gorgeous sunset and not a drop of rain! The golden hour hues made for the dreamiest photos and most romantic lighting.

Also, I was so impressed with Janelle and Stephen. The knowledge that a wild storm was looming could have easily created a stressful atmosphere for this shoot, but they stayed so peaceful and connected the whole time.

What I loved about this engagement session

These two are an amazing partnership of love and support, each bolstering the other in their endeavors, of which Janelle has many. As the owner of both LAVENDERS FLOWERS and TONO & CO., Janelle has an incredibly creative and discerning eye when it comes to color, design, and aesthetics. From the decor in their 1970’s inspired home to their enviable hat collection, Janelle & Stephen have a style that is uniquely their own in the best way possible!

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The wonderful vendors featured in this shoot

Photography: Kim Branagan Photography
Sailboat: Mess At Sea
Ring: The Moon Stoned
Scarves: Tono & Co.
Makeup: Noto Botanics
Her Hat: #1 Clyde


Her Hat: #2 Goorin Bros.
His Hat: #1 Goorin Bros.
Her Sweaters: Babaa
Boots: Blundstone
His Jacket: Flint & Tinder

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