This past Sunday I had the pleasure of meeting up with Allie and Jonathan for the second time. The first time was several months back to discuss wedding packages and let them suss me out and see if they wanted me as their photographer for their wedding in July.
Happily, they did choose me and I am so very excited for their special day!
As part of their wedding package, they had an engagement session. Allie and Jonathan already had a beautiful engagement session at Disneyland where Jonathan proposed, but I thought it would be a great opportunity for them to get in front of my camera and do a "practice" so to speak, before their wedding day.
Allie and Jonathan are such sweet and down to earth people. They let me know that they felt awkward having photos taken and that they would prefer doing it somewhere not too public ( I completely empathized, I as the photographer don't like being the center of attention!).
I did a few scouting missions leading up to the day. Allie had mentioned a few wineries, but when I directly inquired with one of them they shot me down immediately. I knew that rules and regulations for weddings in the Napa Valley are strict, but was shocked to learn that it even extended to professional photography related to weddings. Very disappointing.
Luckily, in a previous scouting mission for mustard fields, I'd found a great public access space in St. Helena. No fear of being shut down and a relatively quiet place with the occasional dog owner taking their pooch for a walk. It ended up being perfect because Allie wanted their dog Zoe in a few shots and it was a great environment for her.
The day started off overcast and rainy. In fact, both Allie and I had been monitoring the weather all week and the forecast stubbornly insisted it would be nothing but gray. I arrived at the site a half hour early to scout and figure out how to light for a dreary day. I even had a prop umbrella and plans to do some rainy day shots. But literally, just before Jonathan and Allie pulled up, the sun burst out from behind the clouds. Gorgeous. However, I now had another set of challenges with light. Because of the sun's intensity, I decided to find shaded locations while we waited for the golden hour glow. We started under some redwood trees and then did a small walk-about, stopping at various locations that suited the ever changing light. By the end, Jonathan and Allie seemed totally in their element. When Allie's mom arrived mid session with their dog Zoe, everyone was instantly even more relaxed (should have started with her!), I caught some of my favorite images of the day right around then, at the end of the shoot.
Being very aware of how Jonathan had expressed his discomfort with being photographed, I tried to be better about explaining how it would go, give some tips on posing etc, and remind them both to just have fun and enjoy being with each other. This was good practice for me as I can sometimes be so excited to get shooting that I don't give enough of a preamble. Always learning!
Well, I think Allie and Jonathan nailed it. Going over the photos to edit I was laughing at their interactions and feeling all warm and fuzzy looking at how much they love each other, so visible in the images. What a gorgeous couple, I can't wait for their nuptials in July!