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Engagement: Sara and Kirby


So we met downtown Dothan, Alabama. I was standing by my car checking and testing my gear when I noticed that distinctive Hummer pull into the parking lot, joining me behind Denny Vision. Sara and Kirby are here! After a few minutes of small talk explaining the plan for the afternoon we set off for the shoot. I should take moment to offer a special thank you to Kelly for throwing her afternoon away for me, tagging along, being loaded up with light stands, gear, and most anything else I could imagine throwing on her shoulders, and having the patience to put up with my constant (deliberate!) directions of, “OK, move to the left 3 inches…nono, to the right …hm, OK, maybe back again?!”

Today we played it quick, keeping our shots within a 3 block area. I actually enjoy this part of Dothan in that you have several abandoned structures that always offer unique framing compositions—there is just so much texture here! Little nooks and tucked-away corners are scattered all around if you’re willing to look for them, and there are two green spaces within a minute’s walk to give a touch of nature to your shot list for balance.

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As the sun started to drop in the evening sky, the couple changed into a bit of formal wear—mostly, I think Sara just wanted to show off her heels.;)

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With that in mind, I decided to focus on one final shot… with Sara’s shoes as the center of attention. Believe it or not, this shot actually took quite a bit of preparation. Sara, with her cat-like balance, leaped (leaped? leapt? yeah, I actually looked it up!) up onto the nearby brick half-wall, and my assistant Kelly stood guard watching traffic while I ran out into the middle of downtown Main Street to frame the shot. Once set, I called out for Kirby to take his place in the shot and ….wait! Ethan and Emily are playing in the background!

Having already stopped traffic for the sake of this one perfect shot, I thought it safer to shoot now and edit in post within the safe confines of my home, after the fact. So that’s what I did. That’s not to say that we were done with complications though! At this point, the sun had nearly set and light was very low. At the very least, I knew there was not enough ambient to properly expose the background with the couple. Much like my final shot with Amanda and Steve in the rain, I had to improvise. I made the first shot correctly exposing the background, effectively over-exposing the couple. With only a few seconds left before drivers reached the point of frustration to actually exit their vehicles, and physically direct me off the road (with one or two wielding tire jacks), I had to take the final shot. Using my RadioPopper JrX flash triggers, I quickly turned the dial to drop the remote flash that Kelly had propped up and fired the last shot, hoping against hope for that perfect exposure of the couple before playing out Frogger’s role of being squished in the middle of the highway. Once confirming the shot on my camera’s LCD, I ran to the side of the road graciously¬† waving traffic by. I can’t say that their hand gestures were as kind.¬†;)

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Sara! Kirby! I love you guys and miss you both so very much. Thank you again for your time, and I can only wish you and your family all the very best together.


- Noel.

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