A few months after we moved to Alaska I flew back to Beaufort for the birth of my second nephew. While I was there I photographed my first ever couples session, and now, here I am, writing this blog post from our cozy little apartment in Old City, Philadelphia. A lot can change in a year (or, in this case, a year and a half).
For us, this time has held one cross-country move, a handful of beautiful vacations and a whole lot of growth. Exploring every corner of this city has made the months pass in what feels like only days. It’s incredible, really, not only how abruptly change can happen, but how long it can take to notice those changes. The simple habits of the day to day transform and fade away and suddenly you realize that everything has changed; the way it once was, the person you once were, may be completely different now.
Coming up on five years of marriage, I've seen a lot of this in our relationship (in a good way). We are so different than we were on that February morning when we signed our names across the bottom of that marriage certificate. In a thousand ways we are the same, yet our relationship has grown and transformed, blossoming into something more beautiful than I could have ever dreamt. This is, at the core, why I do what I do.
This is why I photograph love, in all of it's stages. This is what fuels me. Capturing those little nuances of a relationship, giving people a tangible piece of their past, a piece of their ever-changing story. It’s so much more than just the photographs though, its the session, the time spent together while we’re creating.
That's why you will never, ever hear me utter the words "say cheese" or "pretend to laugh" during a session. My couples don’t look back at a photograph and see staged smiles, they look back and they see photographs that immediately bring them back to a moment; to the whispered words falling in their ears and causing that wild laughter, to the butterflies in their stomach, to the kiss that came after that sentence. The session is about slowing down, taking the time to savor your love and soak each other in. You'll look back in thirty years on photographs that transcend time.
Since this post features my first ever couples session from over a year ago, I’m switching things up a little by sharing some insight on what goes into creating these moments. The words and questions among the following photographs are just a few samples of how we create intimacy during the session, how we craft those moments you’ll look back on, it's just one way that we put the feeling into the photos.
And the bonus? The following "prompts" aren’t just useful during your session. Think about how different your day could be if you asked yourself one of these questions as you walk through the door after a long day of work, or first thing in the morning when you see the love of your life next to you. How different would your day be if you took the time to celebrate your love, to ask yourself questions that instilled a sense of gratitude?
"Tell each other about the moment you first knew you loved each other."
"What did you think of each other the first moment that you met? How did you feel?"
"Take a minute to think about how far you’ve come together, really think about the journey."
"When was the last time that you felt overwhelmingly proud of your partner?"
"What are three things that you always promise to do for one another?"
"What qualities are you most thankful for in each other?"
"How has this love changed your life?"
That last one might be my favorite: "How has this love changed your life?" Ask yourself this question as often as you can, and more importantly, share your answer with the one you love.