“I'm beginning to think that maybe
it's not just how much you love someone.
Maybe what matters is who you are
when you're with them.” ― Anne Tyler
Prior to an engagement shoot or wedding, I usually have a particular set of poses that I plan on for my couples to do. They're not poses that I must have in a shoot, but they are far from the more traditional poses and keeps me, and the couple challenged and inspired. I had this one shot in my head that I wanted them to do where I would have Amy lay on Jason's lap. The challenge would then be is how we can make it unique enough that it can catch the eyes of whoever is looking at the photo. Easy enough right? So knowing the location beforehand, I googled the place and found out that there were rocks on the other side of Rancho Palos Verdes beach. Rocks. They're always the perfect place for people to lay on. It will be cold and the rough, jagged surface will make them feel like they're just chilling on their couch at home 😁😁. I always think that when people are put in an uncomfortable place and/or situation, how they react and adapt is a good indicator of how they are as human beings. It will either bring the worst or the best out of the people I shoot. And thank God, for me, it was the latter. Amy, afflicted as she was about this particular shot, still remained poised and beautiful. Even though she had to contort her body in odd positions, while at the same time, having to endure the sharp rocks jabbing at her skin, she still managed to put trust in my vision. Which I was very grateful for. And Jason, remained the rock for her to lay on (no pun intended) whenever Amy needed that extra support. Positive reinforcements from your S/O always go a long way to make a certain shot happen. Although the shot required several takes and tweaks because of the challenge imposed by the rocky and uneven terrain, Amy and Jason still pulled it off.
There are many ways that a shoot can be successful. It could be the most beautiful location with the most awesome light. Or the prettiest couple with their perfect outfits. But none of those would matter if the couple hasn't bought into your ideas and vision. For me what makes a shoot successful is IF the couple, challenged as they are with the things that they have to do, still put their trust in you and goes through with the shoot with the same gusto. There might be other photographers that may look at the photos and might think it's too posed, or too directed and not natural. I mean, it's all about preference and which method can inspire and spark the most creativity in you. And although I prefer more editorial-style "posed" shots, during a session, I still weave in candid and more natural poses just to keep the session interesting and prevent it from going stale. Posed or candid. The goal is still the same. To showcase the love and connection between the couples in front of my lens.