Mel and Kory and I hit it off right away. They’re getting married at Woodend next year, and I can’t wait for the wedding! For their engagement, we strolled around Old Town Alexandria on a gorgeous fall afternoon. Check out their pictures below. Aren’t those some of the most infectious smiles you’ve ever seen, or what? If you’re just here for the pictures, scroll on down. But if you’re interested in the process, read on!
One of the hardest lessons that I have learned over the last eight years of documenting couples in love, is that the most successful portraits (in my mind) come about when I don’t relieve my subjects of the tension that they experience during a portrait session; Which is antithetical to everything that you’re taught as a portrait photographer, and everything that you would instinctually try to do as a compassionate human being. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to make you feel uncomfortable, but early on in my career I noticed something. Oftentimes, the most genuine, sincere moments occurred between a couple right after I had taken the camera away from my eye. The photos I captured were good, but the photos that could have happened one second later would have been magic!
It took me a while to figure out that all it really took for me to capture those magical moments on a more regular basis was patience. The thing is that a lot of what we do in wedding and engagement photography feels artificial or contrived. It’s become this bizarre world where no one questions the reality of the scenario, because in a lot of ways, we’re all like raccoons. SHINY! “Oh Hey, just walking around this empty field together like we always do.” “Look at us kissing on the hood of a taxi, no big deal, we’re passionate like that.” You get the idea. I’m not making fun…those are all things I’ve done. And done well. Because the secret really isn’t that the scenario is believable. The secret is that the interaction between the couple is so genuine, that the scenario becomes believable. And for me, that took learning how to be patient. Because when I put a couple in one of those less-than-believable scenarios, I want more than anything to make them feel comfortable. But what I finally realized was that that wasn’t my job. My job, in these instances, is to remove myself from the equation, and wait for the couple to turn to each other and make themselves comfortable. And the beauty of this is that every couple does this in a different way. Sometimes its laughter. Sometimes it’s by hugging, or kissing, or resting their heads on each other’s shoulders. It could be the subtle way that they place their hands, one on top of the other. I don’t always know how it’s going to happen, but when it does, it’s unmistakable, and I know right away that I’ve helped create something magical, and in the end, it’s what makes me fall in love with the job over and over again. That was a really wordy way of saying, I really like these photos of Mel and Kory, so thanks for indulging me!