When Noel called me for the first time he was very hesitant. First he asked if I do engagement shoots, and I told him I did. “Well”, he said “I want to make sure you are comfortable with photographing us”. I was guessing what he meant, but kept listening quietly. “We are same sex couple” he said “and many times before photographers were not comfortable photographing us”.
I felt so sad to hear that. It took me back to a phone call I received a year ago, from a transsexual who wanted new portraits made for her and her wife. As she explained it “I don’t look like the man in our photos any longer, and I want my wife and I to have new memories”. I was so honored to create these new memories for them!
As a professional photographer I’m aware there may be plenty of situations that could make me uncomfortable to capture. So far in my 17 years career I turned down only one photo shoot because it made me uncomfortable. However, I was uncomfortable because I felt this man may have intended on hurting me. Aside from that, as I told Noel over the phone, I am happy to photograph any kind of love.
We decided to do Noel & Cesar’s engagement photos at one of my favorite locations – Paradise Cove, where they will be getting married next year. We had such a great time capturing their engagement photos. When we walked back to the car, I realized we forgot to photograph the Campaign toast they wanted to capture. It was turning into a good old hot and sticky Florida day, so Noel and Cesar were almost ready to forget about it, but I wouldn’t. So we got the Campaign bottle and glasses out, and walked back to take a few more pictures. When I got the shot of Noel popping the cork off the Campaign bottle, I know we got THE shot, and the photo shoot was a wrap.
One of the things I highly recommend for couples who book me to capture their wedding day, is doing an engagement session with me. First off, it gets them comfortable in front of my camera. It also gives me time to find out about what they like and don’t like about themselves in photographs. For example – someone may dislike their smile. Someone else may have a side they consider to be their “good side” and only want that side photographed. . This in turn makes capturing the wedding day photos so much easier, as the couple and I are on the same photographic page – they know where their chin needs to be for a great composition, I know which angle they don’t like to be photographed from. And that means we can get the pictures done so much faster on their wedding day – they actually get to enjoy their cocktail hour!
As my clients indicate on the post wedding feedback form the engagement session is one thing I do that they absolutely love and value, as do I – because it increases the odds of incredible wedding day photos significantly.
So, back to Noel & Cesar’s engagement session, by the end of it session, Noel, Cesar and I were BFF’s. What can I say? In the words of the wonderful song: “what the world needs now, is love sweet love” –
Noel & Cesar sure bring plenty of that to the world!