So I get a call from my old friend, Nigel, asking how much I charge for weddings. He runs a local DJ business (shameless plug x2: that’s a link to his site …that I designed!), so it makes sense to cough up some info so that I can maybe get a foot in the door as I develop my wedding photography “project.” To be honest, I thought he was just curious in that he has pretty good relations with many of the other local photographers. but as it turned out he actually knew of a wedding coming up and wanted to throw my name in the hat. I gave him my info and maybe a week later I got a call from Amanda. We went over the details as to what I provide and decided to schedule an engagement shoot to use as a casual meet and greet. We agreed to spend a Saturday afternoon at the Dothan Botanical Gardens, followed by some time downtown Dothan if time permits.
Our original date was postponed due to weather. Tough stuff, that rain sometimes. But we both held out until around 1:00PM that afternoon carefully observing the clouds and weather channel until we both agreed to call it. I was both relieved and disappointed. I mean, it would have been nearly impossible to stage any serious shots without running the risk of pneumonia all around, but at the same time I’ve wanted to snag a few rain pics for some time. This could have been a perfect time, but again, in that this session would have been our first meeting, it really was best to postpone. Perhaps the next Saturday would be better.
So we meet. Amanda and Steve are awesome. Not a shy bone in their bodies. To help warm everyone up, I asked if either of them knew how to break-dance. One would assume that in this day and time break-dancing would be a given, but sadly no. You’d be surprised as to how many people can’t even moonwalk! Oh the humanity—but I digress. They were at least familiar with the robot and the wave. I caught a few shots, but it’s up to them to share those
We spent just under two hours at three locations within the gardens. They were eager to pose and listen to my ideas, and both had a wonderful playfulness that really helped me capture the shots that I wanted. I noticed that the sun was going down a bit earlier than expected due to seasonal daylight shifts (personal note: pay more attention to watches and calendars, Noel) so we agreed to hurry and meet downtown Dothan for a few last minute shots. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived the clouds had come in blocking a good bit of the sun. Too, I could feel a breeze kicking up and there was moisture in the air. I had my umbrella for the couple just in case it started to rain. Luckily I did, because on our last shot the bottom fell out. We were all three drenched and across the street from our vehicles. While they were huddled under the relative safety of the umbrella, I smiled and made a daring request. In that we were all already soaked and still had to cross the street, I asked if they would be willing to pose briefly for a shot that I have been wanting to attempt for almost a year (I must take a moment to thank a Mr. Tony Hoffer for posting this idea first on his blog. Since, many a photographer have attempted to mimic that photographic genius. Me not withstanding!). This was the time and they were happy to push through.
I set my flash at full power on a stand on the sidewalk, I then ran to the middle of the street and shouted my directions, then skipped my way—yes, I skipped—to the other side of the street to get a test exposure off. My shutter speed looked good, the flash fired, and I was ready for the shot. So there I was, standing without cover with my Canon 1d Mark III and ever faithful 70-20o L lens (soon to be replaced lens, but don’t tell the lens that), freezing in the pouring rain, and I shouted from across the road for the couple to take their positions. They dropped the umbrella, ran out, and posed. I was able to take 2 shots before my guilt forced me to call it. They grabbed the umbrella, and I took a hold of my light stand and we ran.
The day was done and so were we. Oddly enough, my favorite shot from the day is the one we set up in those last moments. The couple seemed excited despite the weather’s timing, and were eager to see the final shots.
It looks like I have a wedding in March! Thank you so much Amanda and Steve for giving me your afternoon and for being such good sports with the last shots. That was a thrill. I’ll see you both again in March, and until then? I wish you both the very best.