I was thrilled when Monica decided to have me shoot her wedding, because I actually know her family fairly well, and she'd nannied for us for about as month last summer, when Megs was on vacation, but I knew her sisters Allegra and Emilia (and her mom Yolanda), better than I knew her, , because we all go to church together (and Monica and Brandon go to Coastlands as well, but we have been going to different services, so only ran into each other once or twice. So not knowing them as well as I'd like, I was really looking forward to getting to know Monica and Brandon better, and I wasn't disappointed. We ended up having a super-long conversation after the shoot, which I'll tell you about more below. (And as always, if you want to see these photos larger, just click on them, and they'll pop open larger!).
Despite the light being rough on the beach, it was ultimately a good thing, because look at how gorgeous it made this photo!!
So we met at their house in Aptos, and went just a little ways down the road and got onto the train tracks in Aptos. I've never shot an engagement session in a location like that, so it was really fun for me to shoot in a whole new place, especially wtih Monica and Brandon, who were so fun to get to know. So we played around on the train tracks (and it was a little scary, because it was up super high, and I'm a
little afraid of heights, but it was such a neat location, that I pushed through that fear, and I think we got some great shots on that bridge. After the bridge, we decided to take the path underneath the bridge, and walk down to the beach. The only bummer about the shoot was that when we got to the beach, the sun was in this very hard spot for shooting, and because it's the beach, there's not really anywhere to go where the sun isn't, so we took some wider shots, (where they weren't required to smile into the camera, because it was SO bright that really everywehre we went, no matter if their backs were to the sun or not, that they had to squint. It was one of the harder light situations I've had in awhile). But we waited and they were so game to try other options, and move around, and we finally got to a point where they were able to 'smile for the camera' and it wasn't causing them physical pain, and once we got over that hurdle, we got some beautiful pictures (if I do say so myself). =)
And they're so cute too!!
After the photo shoot, I drove them back home, and we got into such an involving conversation that we sat outside, in my car, talking for more than a half hour. And as much as I love shooting, and composing shots in my head, and playing with couples whlie shooting, I absolutely love when I get to really know people; who they are, where they've come from, and all of those fun things. And as we talked, it became more and more evident that the three of us came from very similar situations in our background, and I felt like we really understood one another. Another thing that was also super-fun, was while talking to Brandon, we discovered that we knew TONS of the same people, (which isn't as uncommon as you might think, as Santa Cruz is really a very small town, Aptos/Mid-County in particular, and we always joke that in Santa Cruz County, it's not six degrees of separation, but 2-3, because it really does feel like everyone who's grown up here knows at least someone you know, if not more), and because Brandon and I had grown up in Aptos, (I think we even graduated high school the same year), that we both knew and had grown up with so many of the same people, which is always fun, so when I shoot their wedding, I'll not only know tons of people from church, but I'll get to see a bunch of people that I grew up with, which is always fun (especially for sentimental types like me).
So, this has turned into quite the massive post, but I really do feel so blessed to not only get the honor of being asked to be so intimately involved on one of the most important days of their lives, but that I get to know too really cool, sweet people better, and made new friends. I've said it quite a bit on this blog, but that really is one of my favorite things about my job (of many favorite things), that I get the privilege of really knowing people, (and to be fair, I get to know some couples better than others), but when I make genuine friends, I think, what could be better than that? And that's really how I feel -- I get a job to be in the midst of people's most joyful of days, and the bonus is that I often keep those same people as friends, and get to be their photographer (and friend), as they go through the different steps in their lives; first (and more) pregnancies, shooting new baby, and family portraits, and the delight of watching them grow into families and parents. It's a pretty amazing thing, and I'm incredibly blessed that people invite me into their lives like that. And as I said, in my conversations with Monica and Brandon, in particular, it was so interesting to hear their stories, and to realize just how similar our childhoods/upbringings had been, and how much we had in common...I'm really looking forward to getting to know them better, because just within the little time we had together, I grew to like them both so much, and to feel even more blessed, that they'd asked me to shoot their wedding! So Monica and Brandon, if you read this -- we'll try and schedule dinner soon, so we can get together, AND I really hope you're happy with how your engagement session turned out, I'm really happy with the photos, and I'm looking forward to shooting your gorgeous wedding in just a few months!
Also, if you'd like to see more of these fun photos, there are a lot more of my favorites after the break, just click on the 'continue reading Monica and Brandon...' link below the photo below...