This past weekend I had the pleasure of working with a young couple. They were among the first to respond to the initial craigslist.org offering for free engagement photos that I posted some time ago,during the last week of March when I was looking for an opportunity to build the wedding/portrait portfolio to be displayed on my website- still under construction. Lily and Scott were just about the third potential client to inquire, however, they weren’t looking for a wedding photographer, which was the main pitch of my ad. Lily still thought that I would find the opportunity worthwhile. I did in fact- trying not exclude this potential type of client- mention that I would shoot engagement photos also. The experience would serve me just as well, because making photographs in an uncontrolled environment for clientel, is about all these experiences amount to in the end. And those are valuable, so it was a deal.
They came off very pleasant…easy going, and agreeable… so I had early hopes that this wasn’t going to be next to the most difficult thing in the world, and that I could pull it off.
They plan to marry in the fall, and not here around town either. They’re heading west, like the wild west. Like Yosemite national park wild west. I’m not kidding! They’re exchanging vows in Yosemite national park. Yeah! I know, definitely begs further questions… ( Can I come??? ) Back to the shoot. It was about two weeks after our initial exchange when we took the opportunity to go out and get the deed done on Apr 10th.
In preparation for the shoot, I considered what a trial it could be for the couple to decide upon just what they were going to wear. I thought I’d help by throwing them toward three sites or blogs that I came across before photo day. The sites give couples guidelines on the best kind of attire for engagement shots. Basically, advice was to stay away from busy patterns, solid colors are better, avoid plain black and white, and don’t be TOO matchy. Lily & Scott chose clothes with these tips in mind, easy enough to tell.
The day was uncharacteristically COOL, considering the above 80 degree temps we had earlier in the week. Nevertheless, Saturday the 10th of April was a bright and sunny day, not too bad for photography.
I wanted to try to shoot during the optimal daylight hours for outdoor portraits, so I estimated that 4-5pm would be a good time to have us all meet and get out there. Turns out we’d have done better ( better light for photography )in some of my scouted locations after 6pm, than before. All that means to me is, I’ll do it in reverse the next time I go to the same location.
Meet the couple:
These two shots were officially the first shots of the couple I took. We’re on our way to a ‘cozy’ little spot i staked out a few days before. On the way there I learned some of the back story of the two. They’re both dentistry residents in their final year of the program, which ends in June. I learned that they also met one another and romanced during the course of their time in the program. That’s always kinda sweet- to me, when a couple shares a part of their professional life in common. My current bosses Michelle and Sam are a also couple that met during their post-doc days @ Rockefeller University- If I assume correctly.
I learned that they’re from Upstate NY and New Jersey, so they’re East coasters in common, which threw me off a little bit, upon reflection of their west coast wedding. I figured surely it must be reasons of family out there or something?—nope. Unique idea, eh?
Scott enjoys video games, RPG’s, as do I..and we’d probably have a bit more in common also, I thought. Then it was revealed to us later that he belong(s) or -ed to an acapella group from college or something… and well…to each their own !
They definitely injected humor very early on and I got the sense they’re a lot like Michele and I. Oh by the way I brought Michi along to be my work mule assistant. This humor, definitely eased any anxieties about the shoot- theirs and mine, along with their playful derision–err, rather Lily’s derision of Scott none of which took away from the loving and affectionate mood the shoot was supposed to foster.
On another note, when couples are comfortable enough to make fun of each other in play in front of you…I’d say you’ve been successful in disarming them- and the likelihood of getting the most natural pleasing photos is increased several million percent.
I will post a part 2 to this engagement session where I’ll go into more depth about the location and perhaps discuss a few of the shots and what I was thinking about when taking them.
Here are a few shots I clicked inbetween serious shots, I suppose they do something to show you what this couple is like too: