So, having been at this a year there’s so much I’ve learned about myself and photography that I never would have guessed to be the case. Going into the business I thought I knew exactly what parts I’d love the most, I thought I knew who I wanted to photograph, and I thought I knew what would be easy.
My first paid shoot was an engagement shoot. I stumbled my way into that job with a facade of confidence. I put on my most self-assured face and told my friends, “I’d love to photograph you guys! It will be AMAZING!” I was T-E-R-R-I-F-I-E-D. I’m a shy soul, horribly shy, and my experience up until that point had only once extended beyond people I call family. Soon after we set a date for their shoot I enlisted one of my dearest friends to play model for me. She and I both realized quicker than quick that I needed to work on three things: directing a shot, staying calm when EVERYONE around stops to watch what’s going on, and instilling a sense of confidence into the person I am shooting.
I thought about these things, strategized, researched and went into that engagement shoot more prepared than anything I’d ever done in my life. It was an hour & half ride to the location the couple had picked out (A location I had never been to! Reason #10834 to freak out.) and there was so much knee shaking and lip biting going on through that car ride my husband, my assistant <3, thought for sure I was going to take off running for home the moment the car went into park.
The shoot was a smashing success. The couple, Neal & Sarah, were incredibly happy with the results, the internet was all a buzz about it, I didn’t fail. There were a few things that helped me that day with Neal & Sarah. Neal, was, and still is, one of the most encouraging people I’ve come across since the beginning of my endeavor. I wouldn’t be able to make the cut without verbal encouragement and that guy gives it freely (High-five, Neal!) and Sarah, well, she happens to be the most photogenic person I’ve had the opportunity to photograph, the fact that I don’t think it’s possible to catch an unflattering angle of her relieved an incredible amount of stress (Thanks for having an incredible smile, Sarah.)
In all, after being lucky enough to shoot a few more engagement sessions last summer I was really surprised to come to the realization that engagement sessions are without question my absolute favorite thing to do.
There’s so much to love about them:
- I’m an absolute sucker for love. The excitement in the air when two people are coming into the beginning of their forever is infectious.
- Happy people look amazing. This same excitement that’s making passerby’s glance at them suspiciously is making them glow. Engaged couples smile, they smile so much.
- The cuddles, snuggles, and kisses need hardly any direction at all from my part. It comes to a point when it stops feeling like a photoshoot and instead just feels like I’m documenting their date. Their date at what will probably be one of the happiest periods of their lives. I always walk away feeling like I got to write a love story with photographs. I LOVE IT.
Somehow, going into this I thought for sure my favorite subject matter would be children, I’d spent a couple years chasing around my own kids, I knew I was good at it, I knew I was comfortable with it. You can’t pose a child, it’s mostly about having a conversation with them and trying to convince them you’re a good guy not a bad guy, or letting them know you have candy. 🙂 I know how to work with kids, and I enjoy it, I love it! But to my surprise, my biggest professional thrill is getting to freeze the love between two people who’ve promised themselves to each other, before the hustle & bustle of wedding planning has gotten to the best of them, before the wedding day, when it’s still just the two of them. The quiet of being ‘us’.