March 25, 2016
I’m a big preacher of working with people with similar personalities. It makes any experience exponentially better, and usually, the results will reflect that. I’ve known Ali and Rob through mutual friends for a few years, which is one of the reasons they picked me as their photographer. But when Ali and Rob told me at the outset of their engagement session that they were really just using it as a practice session for taking photos, my heart melted a bit. I was determined to make sure they felt at ease and comfortable with me so that not only would the engagement photos come out well, but so the momentum and comfort would carry over to their wedding in October! Challenge accepted.
Every professional should constantly be trying to improve at their craft. I spend a tremendous amount of my free time reading and watching tutorials about how to be a better photographer and business person. Before this session, I picked up “Incredible Engagement Photography” with Pye Jirsa from Creative Live. I don’t care what your budget; that workshop is worth it for the first hour’s worth on posing. Like any good student, I crammed the previous night, studying before my session with Ali and Rob. Honestly, I think it made a big difference.
Ali and Rob showed up at my apartment bright and early on Saturday morning, with mounds of clothes hanging off of their arms and stressed out expressions. “We don’t know what to wear!?!?!?” Giggles aside, I told them that whatever they picked would be fine, so long as they matched level of dress and they were comfortable. After a bit of mayhem and consulting with my roommate and her fiance (mutual friends of Ali and Rob), they settled on a series of looks. The final results: snazzy outfits for Piedmont Park and casual, white & gold combinations for Georgia Tech.
We started at Piedmont Park, braced against a chilly morning, and headed to one of my favorite spots – the gazebo overlooking the lake. Before taking any pictures, I employed those Pye Jirsa lessons. Without touching my camera, I walked Ali and Rob through how to physically hold themselves and the 5 base poses we’d be working from. 10 minutes later we were all set, and the photos began.
Um, wow. Teaching Ali and Rob how to pose beforehand made going through poses easy as can be for the rest of the day. They remembered everything and my tweaks were usually small and OCD driven. The big thing was that it instilled a sense of confidence in myself; I could get these two going in any situation. From there it was up to me being a goofball to let them smile, relax, and enjoy taking great photos.
Everything was smooth sailing and went so well! The images came out fantastic and by the later half of the session, I could finally see Rob and Ali relaxing and goofing off a bit. Our biggest challenge? Working with tired muscles because they were smiling so damn much.
The highlight of the afternoon was at the end of our session at Georgia Tech. I was packing up my gear when all of a sudden, the ever elusive and lovable GT mascot, Buzz, stumbled out of the adjacent building. Commence hauling ass! We quickly ran over to Buzz and when I told them that Ali and Rob were engaged, Buzz happily obliged to take some pictures with them. Talk about lucky! For a pair of GT Alumni, it was a fantastic way to end the shoot.
As we were walking back to my car, Ali and Rob mentioned that they felt way more comfortable about doing photos now, and weren’t nearly as worried about taking pictures on their big day. SUCCESS!!! Cue the massive grin erupting from my face. I’ll never forget how two nights before hand, Ali had told me how worried she was. My response?
“It’s really easy! Basically I just tell you to go stand somewhere and be cute with Rob while I yell at my camera and take pictures.”
At which she gave me a heartfelt, “LMAO,” text.
I think my prediction came true.
Congratulations to Ali and Rob! We’re going to have a blast on your wedding day!
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