So let’s be clear about a couple of things, I really do enjoy sharing my work and what happens in my life through my blog butttttttttttttt I also fell off the wagon when it comes to actually blogging this past year. Just because I was not sharing as much as I should have, does not mean I was sitting at home drinking egg nog all year. That was most of the past two weeks but I digress. This past year I shot a little over 130,000 photographs while shooting for my business. For this blog post, I wanted to take a moment and share with you a handful of my favorite engagement sessions photographs of 2016. I also wanted to give you a little insight to how I shot them, a little insight into the couple themselves but mostly I want to share with you WHY I took them.
I really do enjoy photographing engagement sessions but I also really enjoy just hanging out with my couples. Over the course of their shoot, we will spend more time talking and learning about each other more than we will spend shooting. This usually leads to some laughs, some ridiculous situations and hopefully by the end of it, we have some photographs that you will cherish and are authentic to you.
Rachel and Mikael
Your whole life you have been taught some REAL bad photography habits. It could be the selfie movement, it could be Glamour Shots, it could be many things. All I know is that I tell my couples I am going to break you of these habits. I have some tricks and techniques to make that happen and in every session, it just seems to click with my couples. They get what I am trying to help them though and I start to get to see who they really are. Rachel and Mikael’s session, when viewed as whole, shows this transition perfectly. This photo though, this moment, is when it started to come together for them.
Nicole and Max
Nicole and Max changed things up from the beginning by choosing to have their engagement session at sunrise. They also took me to the scene of the crime, I mean they took me to the actual place where Max proposed to Nicole. Lucky for me it was no where near my house, so after getting up at 4 in morning and meeting them, they took for me walk. Along the way we talked about their cats, their teaching and Max’s proposal. Somewhere along that walk we got a little off topic about something not very teacherish and this moment happened.
Andrea and Brady
This is another couple that understood the seriousness and importance of an engagement session. Yeah, not really. With all my couples, I try and help them with the little things that help photographs go from good to great. Sometimes it’s the guy’s hands placement, sometimes it is the ladies’ shoulder form… well with Brady I had to work with him on his “man spreading”. In fact it happened so much that Andrea jumped in on the fun and teased him a little as well. Little did she know just how quick I am with my camera. The result is this moment.
Kathleen and Matt
I have known Kathleen for a looooooong time and we have some epic workplace battles that rival Dwight and Jim. You should ask her about them, she loves sharing the stories! This is much more of a created photograph than the first few photographs that were much more captured. During the entire fall season, we get maybe 2 or 3 nights like this night a year. Nights where there is not a single cloud in the sky, a slight cool breeze makes it perfect for warm sweaters and the sun lazily makes it past the horizon. When I look at this photo from Kathleen and Matt’s session, I can almost smell the fall.
Hannah and William
Hannah and William took a chance. They booked their reception venue before it has even before it has finished construction. When they first saw photos of it, they knew they had the perfect venue for them. They were able to see what the venue could be, before it even was. When they told me we had the option to spend some time at their venue for the engagement session, I jumped at the chance. I wanted to hear what they hoped it would be. Listening to them tell me about their wedding while shooting their session, all the while being one first ones in a brand new venue was something that was just perfect.
Lindsay and Noah
Ahhh the Windy City. I get to shoot a few engagement sessions in downtown Chicago every year and while on the way there the traffic always makes me go crazy, once I am shooting I realize just how worth the drive was. I will shoot engagement sessions year round and in pretty much any weather. As long as the couple is enjoying themselves, I am happy. Lindsay and Noah’s session took place with the winter winds blowing through the downtown area. We all had jackets and gloves and kept moving to keep the blood flowing, the question though is this: Did they have fun and enjoy themselves? You tell me.
Kristin and Dave
It is weird being adult. You have a life, a job, sometimes a family, responsibilities and rules…. all boring and lame things. Sometimes getting three different people’s schedules to line up and actually photograph an engagement session can be tricky. Kristin and Dave’s session was just like that and sure enough, the day of their shoot it started to rain. Most people would call it a loss and just move on. Not Kristin and Dave though! They came for photos and they were going to have them! Kristin busted out the umbrella and we just ran with it. What happened next was wet clothes, soaked camera gear, all of us laughing at each other and an engagement session none of us would ever forget!
Joanna and Mat
This engagement session was one with a former marine and an experienced teacher who knew how to handle her students. So needless to say it was very buttoned down and serious. Er… um … or maybe they decided to just be themselves and not take a single thing serious the entire I was with them. As we were shooting a random couple showed up with an officiant and had a VERY small pop up wedding ceremony right by us. It was something that I had never experienced before and truly a little quirky. So Joanna and Mat took it in stride and we moved to a different spot to shot. I am pretty sure this moment was their opinion of the entire situation.
Courtney and Adam
Engagement sessions are my first chance to start digging into just who you two are as a couple. I do not really care where we go or what we do, I just want it to be about who you are a couple. I will sometimes ask what a typical Friday night is for you two and see where that conversation takes us. Sometimes it takes us along the skyscrapers in Chicago, sometimes it takes us to the loft of a family barn. For Courtney and Adam, it took them to a quiet spot in the back of Adam’s pickup curled up with a blanket. When your friends and family see your photos, I want them to say nothing more than “These are so you!”.
Meg and Joe
Ahhhh my dear Meg. For those of you who do not know, Meg is a great photographer (www.megdunnphotography.com) and also a great friend. She spent a good chuck of 2015 dealing with me and 2nd shooting a lot of my weddings. In 2016 she was able have to her turn being a bride and I was able to be just a guest and celebrate next to her at her wedding. For all the work and hours I put her through in 2015, I wanted to give her something special for her wedding. So I took Meg and Joe out for an adventure that fit their jet setting travel lifestyle.
Ashley and Jesse
You have seen the Chicago, hustle and bustle, Windy City engagement session and now here is the polar opposite. Nothing more than Ashley and Jesse sneaking away a little time and little kiss in the barn loft at the Horse Ranch Jesse works at. Over the years Jesse has become not just a working hand but adopted family to the property owners. It does not matter who you are, or what a Friday night is for you. Just be you, enjoy your time shooting with me and let me figure everything else out.
Meg and Russ
I am trying to think just how many engagement session photographs I have taken where the couple is not touching in some way. I do not have very many of them. This one, however, is absolutely perfect for Meg and Russ. They are pretty ridiculous and their first date story is, well, ridiculous as well. And I love that. I love that they gleefully shared with me with just how ridiculous it was. They did not try and cover it up or spin it in way that was not genuine. They told me just how it was and how they are… and the photographer in me ate up that authenticity. This moment is just them reminiscing about that first date and trying to get through the story without all of us laughing about it.
All four seasons are represented in this blog, I traveled from Downtown Chicago to a barn in the middle of cornfield to the bluffs of Devil’s Lake to Downtown Galena with all kinds of stops in between. I had rain, snow, wind, hikes, rides, walks and lots and lots of laughs. All you scrolled through these, I hope you took notice how every couple is different. Their story is unique and I can not just simply follow the pinterest checklist. Life is real and authentic, it is full of moments, not checklists.