Josef + Sabrina's Downtown Riverside & Mt. Rubidoux Engagement

This is the story of Josef & Sabrina, of how they met and how they fell in love. This is also the story of our time with Josef & Sabrina, getting to know each of them in an afternoon filled with laughter and hiking up a mountain to find a most spectacular sunset.

While we began our journey at and around the Mission Inn in Downtown Riverside, Josef & Sabrina's story begins at the happiest place on earth...DISNEYLAND.

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Josef recounts, "We met at a spontaneous trip to Disneyland. Neither of us had seen each other even after a whole week of student activities at our school made specifically to meet new people. Two friends had invited us separately and we went in separate cars. We got to the tram and then she introduced herself and it was love at first sight. What started out as a ''taking a break from homework" turned into, 'Hey lets go to Disneyland!' And that's how I met the love of my life."

We briefly began at the Mission Inn and quickly moved to the surrounding area, filled with shops and bustling business people hurry to and fro. Tasha spotted this sweet setting in the midst of this chaotic courtyard, where this little ironwork bridge crossed a simple, yet elegant water feature. We posed Josef and Sabrina on the bridge, told them to just be in the moment with each other, and we got the chance to capture their genuine love and interactions with one another. This perfect moment of peace and joy, isolated in the business of this downtown district.

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Joe continued to tell us their story, "Well... After we met at Disneyland I had finally gathered the courage to ask for her number that night. I didn't really expect to get that far and didn't know where to go from there. After two days a friend of ours, Michele, took my phone and finally sent the first text. From there we began to converse back and forth getting to know each other. I was trying to find an excuse to hang out with her and talk face to face so I suggested we go eat dinner one day. After some thought I decided we should go to The Habit that was close by and we basically spent the whole time talking and getting to know each other. I don't think I ate as slowly as I did as that date. It was perfect."

We could not get enough of Sabrina's ring! Josef did a fantastic job creating such a unique and elegant engagement ring for his fiancé.

We took one last walk around the Mission Inn and found this rustic fence where we stayed for a time before heading to the mountain...

Instantly, on the path that would ascend to the top of Mount Rubidoux, we found incredible light to work with. Everywhere we looked, there appeared another perfect setting to photograph this incomparably sweet couple together.

We love asking couples when and how they knew each other was "the one." And Josef & Sabrina's answers really speak to the truly sweet nature of this couple...

Joe: "From the outset I knew she was something really special. The more and more that we started talking, hanging out, and dating the more I started thinking that she was the one. I could tell when I was talking to her that she was genuine and sincere. When she looked at me I could see that she really adored me and she cared about me. I don't know if there is a singular moment I can think of where it happened but I know I never wanted to let her get away from me."

Sabrina: "The moment we met I knew there was something different about him. Something special. I can't pin point why, but whenever I'm with him, there's a sense of calmness and peace I have whenever he's around. With him I feel loved, protected, adored and cared for. I never thought I would find someone to love me back as much as I love them until I met Josef. With Josef I know I am more than enough and I will never let him go.

Okay, a brief pause from Josef and Sabrina's story to admire these incredible Han and Leia pins. They got these beauties from Disneyland (AKA their all-time favorite place) and they are INCREDIBLE. I (Jake) am a HUGE Star Wars fan, so once they pulled these out of their bag to show us, I immediately knew we had to get some great shots of these bad boys! Here's to hoping for some similarly-styled cake toppers at the wedding next year!

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Although we hadn't made it to the top of the mountain yet, we wanted to stop and enjoy the view for a bit, overlooking Riverside. Personally, I like the view of Josef & Sabrina even better...

We asked Josef & Sabrina to literally climb over boulders and hike up a mountain, but the end results were worth it!

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As you can tell, Josef & Sabrina love Disneyland. It's where they met, it's where they had some of their first dates, and yes, it's where Josef proposed!

"I had managed to get her to think that we were going to spend the day at Disneyland for the express purpose that we both were finally finished with school and needed something to do to celebrate. All day we were going on rides and hanging out, I had the ring in our bag and I was not going to let Sabrina look into it to find anything. I had a friend of ours in place at a specific time to take photos of the actual proposal but I needed to wait until she was off work. Once that happened I went and changed so that I could put my jacket on that had a pocket big enough to conceal the ring. Once that was done we made our way into a section of California Adventure where there is area is called The Beast's Library because her favorite Disney princess is Belle. I was trying to get her down there and trying to contain my excitement at the same time, it was only once we got to the room that my heart really began to race. I will never forget the look on her face when I got down on one knee and finally asked her to be my wife. It was everything I had hoped for in her reaction. Of course, she said yes."

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We made it! Now, this isn't the official peak of Mount Rubidoux, but it was our perfect location for our sunset portraits. On this mountainside, Josef & Sabrina felt like the only two people in the world, on top of it all, and looking out at God's great view.


We love to set up poses for couples and then just let them be and see what they naturally do. It's one of our favorite things to see couples interact and how they show their love towards each other in their own unique ways.

Of course we had to get the other pins in there! Heart-shaped Beauty & the Beast pins are a must for any engaged Disney-lovers.

Congratulations to Josef & Sabrina on their engagement. We cannot wait to photograph you two on your wedding day next year!

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