To be engaged.

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.

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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.)

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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’.

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