June 27, 2017
It’s been a crazy few months for me recently: changing jobs, rehearsing as the lead for a musical I was supposed to stage manage, watching my photography business slow down from afar, and learning what it means to be in a solid relationship. To say I’ve been stressed is a bit of an understatement, but there are silver linings, if not wonderful perks to each of these. Amidst all of this madness, my girlfriend and I decided that we desperately needed a weekend getaway, but also a fun way to celebrate 6 months of dating, my birthday, and her birthday all at once (the three events are spread among 7 days on the calendar). We decided to go to Savannah, GA with one major condition: neither of us could talk about our day jobs; and if we did, only with positive connotations. I was luckily allowed to talk about my photography work if necessary.
For one, the vacation was definitely the perfect medicine. Savannah is an incredibly gorgeous city with history just pouring off of the sidewalks. I loved seeing the colonial architecture and the abundance of Spanish Moss covered trees. We managed to enjoy plenty of shops (Savannah Bee has made my daily tea drinking even more wonderful and Nourish saved my life with some kickass bug spray; I think I attracted every damn gnat in a 5 mile radius), visit Tybee Island Beach for a morning and earn the corresponding sunburn, and satisfy multiple requirements with a ghost tour pub crawl.
Arguably my favorite moment though was when my girlfriend and I walked Forsyth Park. It’s absolutely stunning with lots of tree shade, walkways, a gorgeous fountain (that was acting as a backdrop for a wedding that afternoon), and your standard statues and monuments. Naturally, I brought my camera with me on the trip and was using my girlfriend as a model on numerous occasions. At one spot in the park I had a great idea for a landscape portrait of her, so I asked her to pose while I lined up the shot. As I finished, a couple walked over and offered to take a picture of my girlfriend and I together if we’d get a picture of them in return.
After making my camera as simple to use as possible for a typical user (I have weird custom button setups compared to other photographers), told the girl the framing I wanted, and posed with my girlfriend, I then walked back to get their image. Maria (the stranger) pulled out her phone for me to take their picture with and I immediately stopped that notion. I held up my camera and said I’d email her the shots. She was floored that she and Cam (her other half) would get a “legit” photo taken. Once I had them in the right spot, I couldn’t help myself and immediately ran them through a quick posing tutorial (which elicited hysterical laughter from my girlfriend), to which Maria stated, “Oh my god, these are going to look better than our engagement photos!”
A couple frames later and I ended up with these two images:
After saying thanks and talking about why we were all in Savannah, I gave Cam and Maria my business card and we proceeded along on our separate paths. While my girlfriend teased me afterward for not being able to turn off my photography brain as we walked to dinner at the Crystal Beer Parlor (which HOLY S&*T that Salmon Burger), I had a moment to realize how great it was to reciprocate the kindness Maria and Cam showed us. They clearly didn’t expect to randomly stumble upon a semi-professional wedding photographer, and I certainly didn’t expect to get more than iPhone selfies of my girlfriend and me together. I love these images, both of Maria and Cam and of myself and my girlfriend (how often does a working photographer get in front of the lens?) because of the story that surrounds them. I can’t wait to look back years from now at these pictures and tell friends and family about how we got them.
These images represent so much about why I love being a photographer: spontaneous, candid moments, true happiness and smiles, and working with giving, kind people. It was wonderful being reminded of that, especially at a time when I needed it most.
Congratulations to Cam on finishing Business School! I hope he and Maria enjoy the rest of their 10-day Southeast tour!
And of course, me and my amazing girlfriend! Photos courtesy of Maria 😉