Emily Hancock Photography


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Beach Sunset Engagement Session


February 14, 2023

This stunning beach sunset engagement session is by far one of my favorite sunsets in my career! You don't wanna miss these romantic beach engagement photos at Fort Story!

Zeb & Rachel’s Fort Story & First Landing Engagement Session | Virginia Wedding Photographer

We LOVE traveling to a spot that makes sense for our couples’ story. This isn’t your average state park engagement session.. in fact this was is my all time favorite beach sunset engagement session!! We met up with Zeb and Rachel at First Landing State Park and after walking the board walks surrounded by a ton of people we decided to finish the rest of the session at Fort Story.

They fortunately had an in at Fort Story and were able to get us through security to utilize the beautiful beaches! When we first arrives at the Cape Henry Lighthouse I was blown away by the beautiful backdrops literally everywhere! We hadn’t been to Fort Story before but I can say that it is by far one of my favorite locations to shoot in all of Virginia. We utilized the boardwalk up to the beach, the dunes in front of Cape Henry Lighthouse, and ended up at the rocky beach to catch sunset.

Now if you’re reading this because you want a beach sunset engagement session like this, please know this is a rarity! Yes you can capture a sunset like this almost all the time on your phone but with professional cameras (and photographers who know what they’re doing) it is not always possible. Our professional cameras really rely on natural light to achieve a more classic and timeless style. Lighting and location is key when capturing a sunset like this!!

Since we are on the east coast, we have to be careful with lighting since the sun is in the wrong spot for these photos. So we aren’t necessarily utilizing the golden hour glow, instead we are going to quickly take advantage of that blue hour right as the sun sets and is disappearing completely. Waiting for this precise time is the key to getting this cotton candy style sky that everyone always looks for!!

This is by far my best sunset engagement photos I’ve taken and I’m so glad it happened for Zeb & Rachel! I cannot think of a more deserving couple for such iconic photos!! I could have kept these two for hours on end because they are models (& no that’s not their profession) in front of the camera. I’m beyond blessed to have the couples I do but there are always some that stand above the rest when it comes to connecting on a friendship level. Zeb & Rachel are absolutely that and I’m so sad that our time with them in front of our cameras are coming to an end…

But you’ll find me referring to this beach sunset engagement session for years to come because I am absolutely obsessed with how these turned out. Enjoy my favorite photos from this Fort Story beach engagement session!

Location: Fort Story & Cape Henry Lighthouse as well as First Landing State Park


If you are a photographer and want help with this location/s feel free to DM me on Instagram, I’d love to help!! 🙂

Until next time,


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I’m Emily! James, and I are a husband and wife wedding photography team based in Lynchburg, Virginia. We specialize in weddings & engagements and serve our EH Couples in Virginia, South Carolina, and beyond!

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