A few months after we moved to Alaska I flew back to Beaufort for the birth of my second nephew. While there I photographed my first 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, it's also 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 your session. My couples don’t look at their photographs and see staged smiles, they see moments of wild laughter, whispered words and crashing waves; they see their love exactly as it was in those moments. The session is about slowing down, taking the time to savor your love and soak each other in, and because of that, you get to look back in thirty years on photographs that transcend time.
Since this post features my first ever couples session, I want to share with you a bit more about what goes into creating these photographs. Many of the best moments during a session will happen naturally, but often, it's asking the right questions that create those intense moments of intimacy. It's one of the ways we put feeling into your pictures.
I'll often set you up in a pose that either has you in a close embrace or has you wrapped up together in the sand, and I'll ask a question - "How has this love changed your life?" and then ask that you just be with each other for a moment and think about the answer; silently reflect. Prompts like this are so amazing at creating emotion in a session, and that question is one of my favorites because it isn't just useful during your session, but after, too. Think about how different your day would be if you asked yourself that question as you walked 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 and to ask yourself questions that instilled a sense of gratitude for your partner? Ask yourself questions like this as often as you can, and more importantly, share your answers with the one you love!
"How has this love changed your life?"