• Ashley Norton Photography

Gabrielle & Jordan's Surprise Proposal | San Simeon, CA | Engagement Session

Updated: Feb 11

This photoshoot was complete fate. A few months ago, I ran a giveaway that resulted in Gabrielle's name being drawn! Except, I quickly realized I had forgotten to include a few names, so I ran my number generator again and this time...Jordan won!


We let the anticipation build for a few months (thanks, COVID), and a few weeks ago Jordan reached out to me about his idea: a surprise proposal on the beach, complete with serenading, reading, and sunset.

A scene landscape portrait of a beach in San Simeon, California.

While the original idea was a gorgeous waterfall in Big Sur, some friendly rangers let us know that would not be happening (again, COVID). We quickly regrouped and came up with Plan B: San Simeon.


San Simeon is a beautiful beach along the central coast of Californiahome to stunning cliffsides, mildly aggressive cows, and somewhat indigenous zebras. AKA the perfect place for a surprise proposal.


A week before the proposal, we trekked through the coastal scenery to find the spot. And boy, did we. It had it all: a scenic view, nature to hide in, and some cliffs we could explore below. Now we just needed Gabrielle & some green flight suits to help us blend into the background.

A young man proposes marriage to a young female in San Simeon, CA. They are unaware of the camera, as the photographer is hiding.She is saying yes, and they then go through an engagement photography session.

One close call and a sprint through the beach later, we scrambled to our hiding spot behind some trees several yards away. My adrenaline didn't go down until we got some Italian food afterward to celebrate (thank you, cheese).


My hands were sweaty and my feet lost their grip a few times as I hid under some tree brush, hoping that Gabrielle would be so *caught up* in the moment that she would be completely oblivious to the click...click..........click coming from just beyond the tree line.


And she was! Although we were too far away to hear exactly what was said between the two, I'm so excited to have been there for such a special moment in their lives.


Shortly after the hug-fest following the proposal, Gabrielle & Jordan had a good laugh at our flight suits. You can't say we're not dedicated, right? Scroll to the bottom of this post to have a good laugh yourself.


We scaled down the rocks to get some quality cliff pictures, and they did not disappoint.

This session wasn't special to me just because they're a beautiful couple and they *both* won the giveaway. Gabrielle was my old roommate and co-worker at Care Fresno, an after-school and mentoring program, and her now fiancé, Jordan, also served with Care Fresno (& still does). They've both grown to be some of my closest friends. Kyle and I are so excited to continue with them on this journey!


P.S. Here's that cute photo of us in our flight suits that I promised I'd show.

A photographer and her second shooter based in Fresno, CA hold each other close for a photo.