Cherish & Craig – Engagement Session at an Abandoned Church

I knew this engagement session would go amazingly well, if only because the couple themselves are so fantastic. Cherish and Craig have such a caring and honest relationship, and they're not afraid to show how ferociously in love with each other they are.

This lovely couple is from Victoria, my hometown, so I initially started suggesting spots for this session with places like the cute little alleys of Chinatown, sections of cobblestone streets downtown, Bastion Square, Beacon Hill Park, the Garry Oak meadows in Oak Bay...but I had a spot I was dying to shoot in, and I knew they would love the spot if they were up for the drive.

The Butter Church is a stone building built in 1870 in Duncan BC, which was consecrated and used for 10 years, subsequently deconsecrated and abandoned in 1880 in favour of another church. The church is a hollow shell now, windowless and graffitied, purported to be haunted, and sits on top of  a beautiful grassy hill with amazing views, next to native land.

We had a bit of  a panic moment as we arrived where Google was telling us to go - "No Tresspassing" and "Private Property" signs across a private road leading into the reservation. Luckily, I had a photographer friend (thanks Scott!) who had visited there before, who responded to my frenzied Facebook messages, telling me there were stairs up to the church, so we backtracked down the road a little, found the stairs, and headed up. Yes, we hauled all the stuff you see in the shots up that damn hill, and back down again.

After some outside portraits at sunset, we went inside the church where we had already set up the candles (I wanted them to have been burning for a while), persian rug, and other decor. My friend Zoe from Impressa Home supplied us with four huge candelabras and some skulls and antlers from her shop, to go with the theme for the indoor part of the shoot. The rest we gleaned from home, along with some cedar boughs and moss I grabbed from the forest behind my parents' house.

I think I kept Cherish and Craig laughing for a bunch of this shoot, just from all of the "happy photographer noises" I kept making, and I'm so glad they bought into my idea for this session! ♥

7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Beautiful photos! I’ve known Craig since he was little and nice to what a wonderful young man he’s become! Congrats to you both!

  2. Great photos! Cherish and Craig are close friends– in fact I’ll be the MC at their wedding. These photos really capture their aesthetic, their connection, and their sensuality. Beautifully done. You couldn’t have picked a better location for these two!

  3. OMG These are so GORGEOUS!!! These two people are truly a Match that I can’t find the words to describe! Cherish will understand 🙂

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