Before & After
Dancer, Raji G.
Hair by steve lynch.
Song by Low Leaf
I do not own the rights to this music. music by Low Leaf
I was looking back through the photos and, man, I really can’t get over the fact that these folks for real became family over the course of the days I spent with them. I’ve photographed at least 200 weddings, for real - for real which is why I’m really trippin’....I’ve definitely felt connected to the families I’ve photographed in the past but just not like this. this was like a destination wedding and so I spent 3.5 days with the bride from breakfast until bedtime. On one of the last days I was with them, they had a “wedding” but not really, more like a commitment ceremony, 12 guests. when jess was getting ready, it dawned on me that I was her “lady in waiting.” she didn’t have a bridesmaid and her mom left the room to get dressed and so it was just jess and I during this sacred moment. i remember realizing that while it was happening, like, shit, I’m helping her get ready...this is so special, should I put my camera down? should I speak? I didn’t want to taint her memories awkwardly babbling, I’m really good at that. Jess asked me for my opinion on her hair, her hair pins, crucial shit! I felt responsible! I felt connected. One of my biggest responsibilities was to help her decide if she should wear this beautiful dramatic body chain or this unique handmade necklace. We went for drama and I put my camera down for a minute and helped her put it on. At the end of the night while I was walking out jess stopped me and put her hand out and told me she wanted me to have the other necklace she decided not to wear. I bawled. i live for these moments, not the gift, but for that real-real that money can’t buy.
i want to start sharing more of these new sessions i'm offering so that you can get a better idea of what they are about. if you've been with me online for awhile then you've definitely seen traces of this session because i shot it a couple of years ago but it recently dawned on me that this session was the beginning of these type of sessions. tiffany reached out to me b/c she had recently chopped off all of her hair and wanted to have fun with the new look and so THAT we did. we went through clothes, nailed down outfits & hung out and chatted while she had make up done by Aileen.
then we created thesssssseeeeeee...
tiffany recently posted a #tbt of a photo from this shoot on insta & i was reminded of our experience and impulsively commented on her photo and basically told her how much i loved working with her and why i still love the shoot & she responded and said...
"this photo shoot was actually one of the first times I felt in control and strong, not just trying to be pretty for a photo. I always love going back and looking at these whenever I need a reminder of who the f i am hahaha"
warms my heart. her response along with the feedback & responses i've received from other women that i've photographed continue to confirm why i want to do continue doing these.
i'm officially calling these, "FEEL GOOD" sessions because that's the collective sentiment. we connect, we have a good time, we have a unique experience & the photos are bonus.
so, around this time last year i was photographing this couple.
the main reason I'm sharing this session is to share the story. I love a memorable experience. ok, so, the way I even met this couple was divine...tangent...not going to into that now, lol. I want to talk about their couple session.
we drove up to Sedona from Phoenix for the sesh. we had it loosely planned, we really didn't have any requirements but we all agreed that if we came all the way up here we have to grab some scenic portraits on top of the red rocks.
Sedona is getting busier and busier by the week and on this particular weekend that traffic was crazier than usual! As we were headed to our first destination, there was bumper to bumper traffic going in the opposite direction. so, we hung out in the direction we were headed and did what we could.
BUT before we knew it, we were chasing light. we finally made it out of the traffic and were somewhere near Bell Rock. we jetted out on the trail to reach higher ground. once we were 10 minutes into the trail the bride darted off the trail and climbed up, I MEAN LIKE, kicked off her shoes and climbed the side of the rock and made it to the top instantly, lol. (I don't mean to sound like I'm talking ish this was all very admirable in my book) we all tried to do the same and just couldn't, like, sincerely. three people tried (the bride's sisters came) (i'm still perplexed about this..) and an entire family of 5 who were on the trail with us, lol. we kept walking trying to find a way up and we finally did...
... almost 30 minutes later, lol.
we were ecstatic to be reunited because her phone was about to die. we got to the top and had a moment of silence for that view....
we snapped a few photos & then realized we needed to haul ass because the light was fading and we had a lil' hike ahead of us. we had to get off of this rock! you can't play around in these circumstances but thankfully it was a cool day and we had a few bottles of water...and we were only about 20 minutes away from the car. we DID get lost on the trail for a minute and had to use our phones as flashlights but quickly got realigned. i live for this kinda stuff here, lol. we made it!
I just appreciate these two so much for sharing this with me and introducing me to something new. driving up together allowed us to connect on another level. i find them to be beautiful inside and out. i love their lives! i admire their family dynamic and how they support each-other. it was great energy to be around. priceless. all these moments we spent together made their wedding day extra extra special. i really felt/feel like family.
I have photographed almost a hundred couple sessions (no exaggeration) but never anything like this one. the only other sessions that can compare are couples that i've photographed that i'd already knew personally. #noshade, these are just real feelings. and it's not even really about the photos, it's about the connection and being able to create from a genuine place.
we had pasta to recoup and drove back down to Phoenix with full bellies and good conversation. so good, that I'm thinking and writing about it a year later. <3