About a year and a half ago, Rob came up with a crazy idea. An idea so crazy that I thought he was straight up out of his mind. Having just recently re-watched the movie Amelie, he wanted to head back to Paris and do a full photo shoot inspired by the film. I told him that he was nuts. There were so many logistical things to consider - how would we get a model? How would we shoot on the streets of Paris? It seemed like an impossible task to me. But not to Rob. To Rob, nothing is impossible. When he gets an idea in his head, he goes with it and he finds a way to make it happen. It's one of the things I love most about him - his complete drive and determination to make his dreams come true. So he set out on two tasks, finding out if it was in fact possible and then convincing me that it was. I'm not sure which one was the easier of those two tasks, but with both he did eventually get the answer he was looking for. And the plan for the shoot began.
What started out as a simple idea for one photo shoot in Paris ultimately turned into our very first workshop, the Taking Off Seminar we did last March in Paris. For our workshop attendees we opted to do a more classic Paris shoot - complete with over-the-top gorgeous styling done by Beth from The White Dress by the Shore and a stunning tablescape on a Paris rooftop designed by Candice Coppola from Jubilee Events. Of course, it was all made possible by Kim Petyt of Parisian Events, the American-born wedding planner who helped us track down all of the local vendors and locations we would need to make it all come together.
Knowing that shooting on the incredibly windy cobblestone streets of Montmartre would be a bit of challenge, we decided to save the Amelie-inspired shoot for the day after our seminar. With help from Kim, we were even able to secure a vintage French car that was a prop for the shoot AND helped us get around in Paris. Kim even donated some vintage umbrellas from her personal collection for use in the shoot. Of course, we still had the fabulous team of Candice, who helped bring our inspiration to design reality, and Beth who had selected dresses an accessories with Amelie inspiration in mind. We had the local make-up genius, Masafumi Matsuda on hand as well, even doing touch-ups throughout the day. If you have seen the movie Amelie, you know that there are two things we definitely needed to incorporate into this shoot - a Parisian cafe and the Metro. Getting into the Metros would be easy enough, but getting into a restaurant could be more of a challenge. Thankfully, we happen to have friends in Paris, Kelly and Marco, who were able to get us access to a fabulous vintage-looking cafe right down the street from their apartment right near Montmartre. Not only did the restaurant look fantastic for the shoot, it also happened to have delicious food (one of the many reasons we are sad that it has since closed.)
For this shoot, Rob and I were the only ones shooting - a mix of digital and film (the film images are the square ones you will see below). We drew from the vision we had in our minds, the inspiration board we had created before the shoot (the first image you will see below - a mix of still from the movie and our own shots of Paris from previous trips) and let the streets of Paris inspire us in the moment. The result blew us away. It reaffirmed our belief that it's crucial as an artist to do personal projects to keep our creative juices flowing and spark even more ideas that we could incorporate into our regular work. This shoot did that and more. We couldn't be prouder of the images below, so I'll stop talking now so you can enjoy them.
* Just as a side note, it is always incredibly important for us to give the best possible experience in all we do. As you will see below, we have changed the size of the photos we post on our blog so that it will load faster and be a better viewing experience across all devices, both computers and mobile. We hope you enjoy the looking through all of our photos on whatever you are using to view our blog! :) *
Based on the beautiful weather we have had the last couple of days it's pretty hard to believe that about two weeks ago it was snowing at JFK as we boarded the plane to head out to California to meet Saryn & Dave. We were hoping that we'd get a little dose of that famous California sunshine when we arrived but we didn't have our hopes up since the forecast was predicting a soggy weekend for the LA area. Not exactly the dream scenario for a destination engagement session, but we would make it work. We gathered together our rain gear and planned to shoot in the rain if need be and Saryn & Dave scouted out indoor locations in case it did indeed turn into quite a downpour. When we landed we were delighted to notice that the sun was indeed shining as we walked down the stairs off the plane (at the Burbank airport they have you exit right on the tarmac, climbing down the airplane stairs - feels so Hollywood).
Hoping that the sunshine would carry over to the next morning, we headed down the Pacific Coast Highway toward Santa Monica stopping occasionally to take some pictures. During one of the stops we were right near the Santa Monica pier, admiring the colorful backdrops and many, many lights around it. We thought what better way to start Saryn & Dave's session than with a night shoot at the pier?! The weather was cooperating, their was plenty of lights and a fun atmosphere - it was perfect. (Plus, we don't get to do night shoots too often, so we were excited at the idea.) So we got in touch with Dave, calling him immediately from the beach. And they were up for it!
We met up at around 9:30pm PST (really about 12:30 EST for us, since our bodies hadn't adjusted to the time difference yet, so it was truly a night shoot for us!). But we had a blast, talking to Saryn & Dave, exploring the pier together and capturing the vibe of California beach night life. And we got some shots in without any fear of a downpour, which was a total bonus. The next morning we met at the Venice canals (as you've seen from Part I of their session), and finished up literally minutes before the rain started to fall. Someone was pulling for us somewhere - after all those weather predictions we somehow managed to have a rain-free session and got a touch of that California sunshine.
So without any further ado, here are some of the night session photos we captured!
A night shoot is something we always have wanted to do and the Santa Monica Pier was such a perfect place to do our first night session. We also want to point out that all of these photos were shot using only available light, no flashes or video lights were used to capture any of these! We really love natural and timeless photos and shooting without any additional light sources helped us capture the true essence of the Santa Monica Pier at night.
We love the emotion in this one. This is Kathleen's shot...
...and this is mine just a second later.
We headed into the amusement park part of the park where we got to have fun with the rides, the lights and the crowds which all added such great energy.
How much fun is this?!!
Thank you again Saryn & Dave for being up for anything. We had such a great time with you both and can't wait until July for your wedding!! ~Rob & Kathleen~
It's possible that Saryn and Dave could have gone their entire lives and never crossed paths. They lived thousands of miles apart. She was in NYC, he was in California. Luckily, they did happen to have one very important thing in common: a friend. A smart friend, at that. A friend that saw something in each of them that he knew the other would like. So he talked to each of them. He told Dave about the gorgeous girl he knew back in NYC that was totally his type, he told Saryn about his handsome friend out in California that would definitely make her laugh. It worked. And with those simple conversations and the exchange of contact information their friend started them on a path that would end up changing their lives.
It started with e-mails. Over the course of several weeks they slowly got to know each other in written messages - a modern day story of love that began through the written word. Love letters sent through cyperspace. What a romantic idea, getting to know one another slowly and steadily through the things you chose to share in each message. Big things, little things, the ins and outs of your daily life - the e-mails serving as not just simple chit chat, but as a glimpse inside. This is me, this is what I like, this is what I do. Tell me about you. You can almost picture each of them, sitting at their respective computers, excitedly checking their inbox to see if there was another message.
The e-mails turned into phone calls and not long after Saryn found an excuse to head out to the West coast, conveniently giving her the opportunity to finally meet Dave in person. After a very successful first date they made plans to see each other again the next night. That night ended much the same way, with plans to see each other again the next night. And the night after that. By the end of the week they had seen each other every single night that she had been in town. After that whirlwind week, it was hard to say goodbye and go back to life on separate coasts. But they texted each other regularly. Short, sweet, romantic little messages - reminders that they were thinking of one another.
When Dave sent her flowers just a few days after she had returned home, all of Saryn's thoughts and feelings were confirmed. He was different. This relationship was different. They didn't have to wait too long to see each other again. Dave made the trip to her coast just a few weeks later for a fourth of July family barbeque. He invited Saryn to join him and introduced her to all his friends and family. It was that weekend confirmed it for both of them. Over the course of that one weekend, they realized that in one another they had found something that had never know before. They knew that this was the beginning of something big.
For two years they made the long distance work with a steady flow of e-mails, calls, texts and bi-costal visits. Finally, Saryn moved out West to join Dave and they were officially living in the same state for the first time. From then, it didn't take long for Dave to ask the one question they had both known was coming. Dave had been planning it for a while. He picked out the ring and planned out the afternoon. While she was at work, he filled their apartment with balloons, candles and flowers. He picked her up from work, drove her home and led her inside. Confused by all the stuff in the apartment, she looked at him to find out what was going on. He got down on knee, smiled, and asked her to be his wife. Overcome with emotion, she said many, many words (mostly "oh my god!"s) but no official yes. Dave asked again, looking for the definitive answer. She laughed, shouted "Yes!", and hugged him as tightly as she could. She laughed because there was no question. She had known that she would wanted to marry Dave since that fourth of July weekend three years before.
This fourth of July, she'll do just that.
* * *
We have been very lucky to have many couples that happen to live on the West Coast but are getting married in Connecticut. We always give them a lot of credit because it can not be easy to plan a wedding from halfway across the country (we know it was no picnic to plan one just two hours away). But Saryn and Dave are smart - they got some professional help and they chose wisely. They'll be working with our friend Candice from Jubilee Events and we can't wait to see what she comes up with for their wedding, no doubt it will be gorgeous.
It could be a challenge, living on one coast and having your photographs on the other, but it can be a total bonus. We love it because it gives us the chance to give them the best of both coasts with their photos (engagement on the West, wedding on the East). It seemed even more appropriate for Saryn & Dave since a lot of their relationship had involved both coasts - making the long distance work for nearly two years. Of course, we loved the idea too. Not only because we love going out to California but also because we love taking pictures in new places. We love the challenge of it - going to a place that we don't know, jumping in and going for it. As you have seen from our own little photo adventure trips to NYC and just recently to Nevada, we love discovering the colors, textures and people in a new place and capturing it all through images. Destination engagement sessions give us the chance to do those exploration journeys with a couple, uncovering what a place has to offer together and getting some fabulous engagement pictures in the process.
We were very lucky that Dave and Saryn just happen to live in one of the most beautiful places in California, Santa Monica. To have a bit of variety in their session, Dave suggested we included not only Santa Monica but also the nearby town of Venice. With a large bohemian population filling the streets with art, canals styled after the Italian Venice, and tons of VW buses, Venice, California was pretty much a photographers dream. And the perfect fit for Saryn & Dave - the whimsical quirky vibe of the community totally matched the dynamic between the two of them. It also happens to be one of their favorite places to spend a Saturday afternoon.
I know what's you're thinking...how do we go to Santa Monica and not photograph around the famed pier? Well don't worry... we did. We actually went there the night we arrived, doing a night session incorporating the many lights on the pier. We'll be posting that as Part II of their session - check back soon!
Before we boarded our plane out to Burbank we checked the weather from our iPhones one more time. It was calling for 100% rain throughout the day on Saturday, the only day Saryn & Dave had available for their session. They really wanted a dry outside session to really show off the unique areas around the Venice CA canals as well as Venice Beach, and of course we really wanted to give it to them. Since we arrived the night before we decided to suggest to them that they meet with us late at night 9:30pm their time, 12:30am (the time we were on) for a night shoot on the Santa Monica Pier just in case the weather didn't cooperate on Saturday and we had to find some indoor locations. We were very excited when they were all about it because a night engagement session is something we always wanted to do. We will be sharing that part of their session (a little out of order) after this post, you don't want to miss it, it is really fun! The morning after the night shoot we met up with Saryn & Dave really early 7:45am as to shoot outside before the rain came. We had a good two hours so it was completely worth getting up early!
Ahhhh, our couples are really incredible!
This is one of our personal favorites from their session! I mean seriously look at how great they are, they are such a sweet couple and the way they feel about each other just radiates through these photos!! We feel SO lucky to be able to spend our time with really wonderful people!
Can you say model?!!
The reflections of the Palm trees in the canal... it doesn't get much better than this.
Southern California neighbor hoods with their perfectly manicured lawns, little streets and palm trees really are all like little movie sets.
We really loved all of the small bridges crossing the the canals, it is such a unique and fun location... and seriously look how sweet Saryn & Dave are.
Many parts of Southern California are filled with VW Buses from all years. We LOVE VW and always wanted to own a bus, preferably from the 70s. Something about a VW Bus shouts California to us so it only seemed fitting to incorporate one on the side of a street. I think their might have been someone sleeping in this one! :)
After spending part of the morning around the Venice Canals we went over to Venice Beach where we got to take advantage of the really cool storm clouds rolling in. There is always such an amazing energy right before a storm comes in, it is one of our favorite times to photograph a session.
It is one of the most amazing feelings being able to shoot on the beach bare feet! :)
One of the many things that is so great about Saryn & Dave is how they interact with each other, it's like they have their own language filled with smiles, little laughs and sweet looks.
While I was capturing this shot of Saryn & Dave under the pier...
...Kathleen was capturing this one at the same moment. It's one of the great thing about shooting everything together!
Did you know that most palm trees are not actually native to California. They were imported back in the 1920's and 1930's. Either way, we love them and love that they are all over California.
Here is one of my shots...
...and this is Kathleen's at the same moment.
Saryn & Dave - thank you for an awesome two days! Can't wait to see you both again in July.
We consider ourselves extremely fortunate that we get to do what we love everyday. Photography is something very special; it allows us to meet really wonderful people and brings us to some really incredible places.
As many of you already know, we just got back from Paris. This city is by far is one of our favorite places (that we have seen so far) in the world. It is a city filled with beautiful architecture, delicious food, such interesting history and of course all the art you can handle; it is certainly a photographer's dream. (We were lucky enough to also visit Paris last, you can view some of the photos from that trip by clicking HERE.)
Before heading overseas we reached out to a couple of photographers out in France who like us are part of The [b] School. For those of you who don't know, The [b] School is a really fantastic networking group for photographers headed up by the one and only [b]ecker. This group has been an invaluable resource for us, allowing us to meet photographers from all over the world. Last Thursday we met up with three French photographers that came into Paris so we could all get to know each other a little better. The extremely talented Hoppy Kindanda (who took an 8 hour train ride to meet us - how amazing is that?!) and equally as talented Matthieu Vanhille joined us at a French Bistro where we talked about photography, our businesses and life in general. It was really wonderful to see how similar we all are even though there is an ocean between us.
After we enjoyed a couple hours of great conversation we had had an impromptu photo shoot with the beautiful Ségolène who had joined Hoppy on the long train journey earlier into Paris to model for us. Since we didn't know for sure that we would have the opportunity for a photo shoot, we had only two lenses with us, our 50 f/1.2 and our 24 f/1.4. It was interesting because it forced us out of our comfort zones. Normally I use the 24 (and our 85 f/1.2) and Kathleen is a big fan of the 50. This time I used the 50 and Kathleen used the 24, it was a great exercise that made us think differently about how we shoot and ultimately we think this kind of exercise really adds to us becoming better photographers.
We suggested that the Louvre would be a great place for us to photograph Ségolène. In addition to having awesome architecture, the Louvre has great indoor areas and courtyards. We also shot at the Tuileries right by the Louvre where David Huitorel, a Parisian Photographer joined us for the rest of the shoot.
To say that this experience was amazing would be a complete understatement. We had to pinch ourselves often to see if it was actually happening. Photographing a beautiful model in one of our favorite world cities with three incredible photographers that we are so happy to now call our friends was one of the highlights of our trip.
Here are just a few of the many photos we took during this shoot. Please check back soon, we have a TON more things to share including recent weddings and more things from this trip to Paris and London. We photographed a ton of the architecture in these two amazing cities so definitely be on the lookout for that. We hope you are all having a great week!
We started our photo shoot with Ségolène in the main courtyard at the Louvre...
...where we immediately found out that she was a complete natural.
The fountains and buildings really provided the perfect backdrops.
It started to rain out so we headed under one of the enormous archways to take advantage of some the textures that the building had to offer while we all stayed dry.
This photo is one of my personal favorites. Although very simple, I love the feel and the wind blowing Ségolène's hair couldn't have been better!
Matthieu taking his shot from outside the gates while I was grabbing the shot above.
We really loved all of the columns. The one on the left is my view and the photo on the right is Kathleen's view at the exact same moment.
Despite the fact that Ségolène did not speak English and our French is not very good we were able to give Ségolène some direction.
Kathleen captured this shot of me photographing the photo above.
After the rain stopped, we headed back outside.
Love this one!
If you have ever been to the Louvre, you probably know that some people absolutely love the modern glass pyramids in the courtyard and some really dislike them. There really isn't much in between. We personally love them, the contrast between the modern and the old is really great in our opinion. Despite what you feel there is no denying that they have become quite a reconginzable icon of this great museum. We did more night photography (one of our all time favorite things) at the Louvre so make sure you look out for that in a future post. In the meantime this shot is Kathleen's view of Ségolène by the largest pyarmid...
...and this is my closeup at the same moment.
We love her gentle smile as she took a seat on the stairs. Again this is my view...
...and this is Kathleen's view a moment later. I love how she incorportated the architecture surrounding the stairs.
Most of the afternoon was cloudy with moments of rain. We did however have a small window of time where the sun actually came out which provided the soft, warm light in this photo.
As we headed over to the Tuileries we spent time in a grassy area for a little while.
The sun didn't stay out very long and before we knew it the clouds had rolled back in. This was actually a very wonderful tihng as the clouds added some seriously awesome texture and of course perfect even light.
I really love the serious look on her face in this photo.
The clouds had such intense colors and let me tell you Ségolène was a seriously awesome model.
Kathleen captured this shot while I was photographing the two above.
Lastly we gave one of our cameras to a random person nearby (and prayed they woudn't run away with it) so we could all get a photo together.
Thank you so much to Hoppy, Matthieu, David and most importantly to Ségolène for such a great afternoon and for traveling from both near and far for us. We can't wait to catch up with you all again soon. ~Rob & Kathleen~
She grew up up loving planes. From air shows with her Dad, to taking up flying herself, aviation has always been a passion for her. When it came to finding someone to spend the rest of her life with, it goes without saying that he had to love flying too. That was one of the things eHarmony searched for when looking for her perfect match.
And there he was. An Army pilot, who loved flying (both helicopters and planes) just as much as he does. They hit it off right away. He's always willing to do anything to make her laugh, and it's clear she's just crazy about him. They just fit together.
He knew she was the one, and he knew the perfect way to ask her to marry him. Dinner would follow the proposal, but the real magic would happen on the way there. What better way to get to dinner than for him to fly them both there? That was really the whole point of it all, of course, because up at 5,500 feet, with him flying he asked her to spend the rest of her life with him.
- DAGNEY & MICHAEL -
Dagney & Michael live in California, but are getting married in Connecticut where her parent's live. We met them in Santa Barbara as well, so they could have their engagement pictures in the state they call home. The session along the beach and in the courthouse is the perfect compliment to their wedding, which will take place at an airport hanger here in Connecticut.
After a really wonderful Sunday morning drive up Highway 101 from the Malibu area we met Dagney and Michael in downtown Santa Barbara. The weather report was calling for clouds and possible rain as the day went on, so we thought it would be best to start by the beach while we had the beautiful sky and weather. The pier was the perfect place to start. Immediately we saw how connected these two are.
We found this little shady spot on the pier that was just the right place for a nice portrait.
They fit together so perfectly, we really love Dagney's smile in this one.
The simplicity and feel of this photo is nice to us, it is very relaxing and comfortable.
Kathleen captured this shot and I love it! As many of you know we love seeing emotion conveyed through a lot of different ways. Hands and hugging is one of those ways. To us there is so much emotion flowing in this photo.
This is another one of Kathleen's photos. It always amazes me how the simplest photos are the ones that make me the most happy.
After spending some time on the pier we went down to take a run on the beach. The water was really cool but Dagney and Michael didn't seem to mind. It just made them smile even more! :)
While we were under the pier with Dagney and Michael the water splashed up on their legs and was colder than expected. This was their reaction to that cool water that Kathleen captured, it makes me laugh everytime.
Michael flies planes for the military and thought it would be fun to do a couple of pushups with Dagney on his back. He got quite a few in and didn't even break a sweat.
We headed over to the Santa Barbara Courthouse where we spent some time on the grounds surrounding the building. We wanted to photograph our other couple (Meredith & Craig) the day before on the grounds but since it was Valentine's Day there were numerous weddings happening. While on the grounds with Dagney and Michael, we started with a quick portrait...
...and then a nice kiss on the steps.
We love shooting photos from above, it gives such a unique view. The titles made for a really nice backdrop and gave an interesting feel to the photo.
Dagney and Michael then joined us on the balcony (where we just shot the last photo from). We really love palm trees and wanted to incorporate them into some of their photos. This is my one of mine...
This is Kathleen's view from just a moment later and one of my absolute favorites from the entire sesion. I LOVE IT!!
There was this construction worker who had asked me if I wanted to go on an hydraulic lift for some more shots from above... obviously I jumped right up there.
Kathleen photographed this really nice moment on one of the staircases of the courthouse.
One of my favorite things to do with photography is to create really artistc silhouettes. All of the hallways in the building were open-air and I couldn't resist shooting a silhouette in one of the archways looking out onto the beautiful grounds. I have to say that Dagney and Michael were very brave jumping up to this archway considering we were a couple of stories up. This is also one of my absolute favorites from their session.
We went into one of the courtrooms while walking around the building. The window added some nice light to this photo.
We finished their session with a simple portrait as we were walking off the grounds of the courthouse.
Dagney & Michael, we had a great day with you both! It was so great to finally meet you in person. We can't wait till your big day - it'll definitely be one-of-a kind, like the two of you!!
~Rob & Kathleen~