Wow, this one was a whirlwind! From Sandy Springs to Georgia Tech to Piedmont Park, we were all over the place!
Kelly and Bill are (finally!) engaged after too many years of everyone asking: “Is it ever going to happen?!” I’m pretty sure everyone’s response to hearing the good news was: “Congratulations! It’s about damn time!” Needless to say, I was thrilled to be hired for their wedding.
I went to high-school with Kelly and she started dating Bill around the time we graduated about 8 years ago. I’ve really come to enjoy shooting the weddings of friends and family. It’s an incredible privilege and offers a very unique experience from other roles on the big day.
For the engagement photos, the game plan was to start in Bill’s backyard which had a cool little shed to use as a background. We’d then go to Georgia Tech, where Bill graduated, and finish off in Piedmont Park for the sunset. Bill’s sister Brittany would be joining us to make sure Kelly always looked fantastic and to serve as my official light-stand holder. Cool.
The day went pretty darn well, except for when Brittany got distracted by Instagramming the session and left my light-stand unattended. Of course, Murphy chose that moment to produce a nice breeze that came by and knocked over my light-stand…
Welp, there goes the umbrella.
Fortunately, I managed to bend the umbrella back to a fully open position. Knowing how flimsy the metal rods were, we couldn’t close the umbrella again without the rods snapping completely, and thus we spent the rest of the shoot traveling with the umbrella open and in position. On the bright side, it helped reduce my set-up & tear-down time between locations! This happened while we were at Georgia Tech, so after overcoming her shock and guilt, Brittany remained glued to the lightstand the rest of the session.
My favorite images came from Piedmont Park when we finished shooting in a gazebo located off of a bridge. The bridge is lined with street lamps and since it was full-blown night at that point, I saw the opportunity for a really artistic image. Kelly, Bill, and Brittany thought I was having a minor panic attack when the idea struck me (I get excited easily), but they trusted my judgement and went with it. I had Kelly and Bill do some cute poses, and placed my flash directly behind them. Here’s the final result.
By placing the flash behind them and firing towards me, I created light that separated Kelly and Bill from the background, illuminated their profiles, and made them silhouettes. I love these images because the silhouettes lend to the idea that it could be any two people standing there in love. Why yes, I’m a romantic. The best photos tell stories and I think these nail that goal.
You’ll never know what random idea will pop into your mind during a shoot, and that’s why it’s incredibly important to gain your subjects’ trust, thus allowing you the freedom to try sometimes insane sounding images. After all, you’ll never know what might be if you don’t try it! That’s the best way to learn: do something different and new every chance you get.
Also, be ready to improvise and make the best of a given situation. It was not optimal to have a wonky umbrella for half my shoot, but instead of getting pissed and immediately throwing it in the trash, I just sighed and made it work. Go with the flow and believe me, your clients will think the world of you as you hold it together for the rest of the shoot. Afterwards, feel free to angrily spike that pathetically weak piece of gear into the trash, whilst feeling accomplished for not letting it ruin your images. Ahem.
Congratulations to Kelly and Bill! I can’t wait for your big day.
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