Friday, September 6, 2013

Photography : Kurt & Kara - Engagement

In my life, there are only a couple of things that I would lay down my life for - my faith and my family.  Family is huge to me.  I have based almost every decision I have ever made (except for the unfortunate decisions in 2004 that I will not discuss on this blog) on my family.  The person I married had to pass excruciating tests that he didn't even realize he was taking at the time because their opinion of him was so vital to me.  Obviously, he passed because here we are.

Family being such a huge part of who I am, I valued my husband's family that much more.  I totally lucked out when I married Craig.  Among the amazing people that I am sure you will hear about at some point, I gained a brother, Kurt, out of the deal.  It honestly feels as though we grew up together, and we actually like each other.  It's weird because Craig doesn't have to be around for the conversation to flow or not feel forced or weird. It's  I know I have only been in this family for almost 6 years, but that is the thing about this family.  Once you are here, you are accepted and loved.  For life.

I love to see my family happy, so when Kurt first told us about Kara and I saw the twinkle in his eyes, I knew.  This was it and I was so excited!  The first time he brought her to meet us, I actually asked him when I could start planning an engagement party.  His response, understandably (I guess): "Slow down!  We are just dating!"  It's ok, I knew.  I could tell when I saw him look at her.  Their inside jokes or playful gestures.  Their tender looks when they thought no one was watching.  I totally was and I have the pictures to prove it. Even from the beginning, I knew this was it.  He was head over heels in love with this girl.

What's more, everyone loves Kara.  She is such a perfect fit into our family.  Kara is smart and beautiful and funny.  She is quick-witted and tough-skinned - a must in this clan. Even more than that though - she loves Kurt.  Heart and soul.

We all get together two to three times a year, the one constant being Thanksgiving.  We meet in Naples, FL at my father-in-law's house and have fun together for several days.  Last Thanksgiving, Kurt and Kara asked me to take engagement photos for them.  Knowing that I am not a professional (or even semi-professional) photographer, I asked them if they were sure.  Then I may or may not have screamed a little.  And freaked out a lot.  I didn't know the area well enough to scout a place and we were basically at the mercy of family time so it was going to be tricky.  Though I definitely would have gone out not at mid-day at a later time during the day, I am glad that they got at least a few shots that they could be happy with.

There are several things that I learned from this shoot.  First, to get the shots that I want I need to be more assertive about the time of day and the locations in which to photograph.  Our time was dictated by family activities.  While this was ideal for this situation, as we had only a limited amount of time to spend with everyone, it was not ideal for an engagement shoot.  Yes, I realize that a real photographer would have been able to work with the situation as is, but as I stated before, I am not a professional.  Second, I learned a lot about light.  Finding complete shade during mid-day is difficult, but essential to your photo. Otherwise, you end up with a lot of blown-out shots like I got.  Sorry, guys.  Third, I learned that posed positions are awkward for everyone.  If you want beautiful shots, allow your subjects to interact naturally and just have your camera ready at any moment to catch that candid moment.  It will likely be the most genuine and beautiful of them all.

Tomorrow my brother, Kurt, and my soon-to-be sister, Kara are getting married and I couldn't be more excited.  I can't wait for Kara to legally become a member of this family, though she has been family to us pretty much since day one.  I mean, Canon can't get enough of her, which should be the litmus test for all things anyway.

Happy wedding day, guys.  Enjoy every second and remember, at the end of the day, you are marrying your best friend.  That makes the day perfect, no matter what.  And Kara, welcome to the family.

I love you both.

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