Mariah and Jon Engagement
GUYS! Everyone!! Seriously!
This shoot was a long time coming but so worth it! I met Mariah (and now Jon) through a giveaway I was running on Facebook. I was really looking to work with more couples at the time and DYING to do a snow session! Two things happened to stop this snow session though... 1) It never actually snowed and 2) Mariah live in Pittsburgh! So we scheduled for a warm month when Mariah would be back in town. Consequently it was the same weekend as Jon's going away party... yup. We are loosing a Philly sports fan to the worst of the worst - sorry Mariah... The date comes around and I get the warning message, "I was just wondering if you've seen the weather for this weekend... it says rain".
I have nothing against shooting in less then ideal weather, but my gear can't handle a few hours out in the rain. I was so sad! We decided on a backup location that was indoors but Historic Poole Forge was calling this couple and I wanted to do everything I could to deliver. I would like to say it was my pure determination to shoot here that made the sun come out but let's be real... I am not that lucky. I told Mariah the day before the session that the Sun Gods were on her side and I whole heartedly believe it!
What more could you ask for from a location? It has the open fields, the green trees, unique buildings, covered bridges. It's like if Pinterest took every rustic engagement session ever, jumbled them all together, and POOF! Historic Poole Forge! I love Pennsylvania and am so blessed to have all this gorgeous nature surrounding me. Not to say that I don't drool over Utah and Colorado, but we are pretty lucky!
So anyway, we get to finally meet after months of preparation and planning and this couple is wonderful! Mariah and Jon mentioned to me, "You're going to have to pose us" and sometimes that becomes the kiss of death. I like to lay out to everyone I work with that I'm a blend of Lifestyle Photography and Portrait Photography. I'm going to move you and tweak and adjust if I know it'll will respond well with the camera, but my goal is to capture everyone in their natural life. Who wants pictures that don't represent them as a couple?! Luckily for me, Mariah and Jon were 100% receptive of my direction, whether that included smelling each others breath for a few minutes or climbing up on tree stumps for a little extra height. They are wonderful! 75% of that comes from the amazing bond I can tell they have with each other and the other 25% is magic. Not everyone has it in them tor relax on command. Especially when there are a swam of carpenter bees flitzing over head!
My job as a primarily natural light photographer is to find the best light possible in any situation. I LOVE this part about what I do, even if that means leading a couple blindly into weird cave areas! At Historic Poole Forge there was this really old and cool unique stone building. Mariah and Jon also loved the look of it as well so I knew it was going to be gold. Upon getting closer we realized, hey, we can go in there!After moving some spider webs (sorry spider homes) I realized the lighting was absolutely stunning in there. The pictures felt like we were behind some waterfall in Hawaii!
AMIRIGHT?! So I have Mariah and Jon waiting for me to set my self up and I realize the glass I'm using isn't right so I take another minute so switch over lens and join them in the "cave". What so I see upon first walking into the cave?? A dead bird. I'm a vegetarian and not good with dead animals. I get that this was just an act of mother nature but it doesn't stop me from squealing like a tiny child. After a giggle I decided, f*ck it, it's so pretty in here so lets just bang out as much as we can in 5 minutes. So here we go, and directing, and adjusting and then, "I think that's poison ivy", from Jon. The above photo is such a good representation of everything in there. See that massive vine behind Mariah? At first I didn't think it was because I've NEVER seen it grow like that, but we shifted to be safe and continued. So we are shooting and tweaking and then, "I think there is something else dead in here with us", from Jon again. I died. Right behind Mariah's foot in the other picture is a caucus of sorts so mangled that we can't even tell what it is. in my head I'm like, but the lighting!, but we finish up and creep out. To our surprise, the second opening of this old building (literally right next to us) is free of dead creatures... go figure.
Knowing that other side of the cave is a little better for life in general, I head in there to take a few ring shots. I should have listened to the warning from Jon about poison ivy... I now have it all over one leg and I know exactly how I got it. When I'm shooting details I usually find myself in the strangest positions because, why not? So I had the ring on this beautiful moss covered rock which is apparently my favorite place for rings. I looked back at other Engagement Sessions and noticed I did the same thing! I digress, so I have Mariah's stunning ring placed and for some reason I feel the need to get as close as possible which means flattening myself again the wall with the ring. One day I'll have to have someone take a pull back of what I look like shooting details. Well it serves my right that I didn't head the warning because I must have pressed my leg right against some of this beautiful but wretched plant! RUDE! 2 days later I found out and a week later I'm am still suffering. Moral of the story, listen to people! Just kidding, I'm in love with the ring shot and I don't mind a little pain when creating art! I'll never learn.
When Historic Poole Forge was decided on for this Engagement Session, I googled the spot and saw this stream. It has been a dream of mind to shoot in water so I figured, hey, why not ask. Mariah was so down! I was so excited! I still have more to work on with this dream of mind, but this was a solid start for me. Thing we learned... the bottom of running water is very rocky, cray fish live everywhere, and the water is very humbling in late April! Also, small children walking by will be jealous of you in the water and want to join you... I think that's just a fact of life though.
I am so excited that I got to meet and work with Mariah and Jon. Even though they will both be living out in Penguin Land shortly, I would loooooovvveeee the opportunity to work with them again. I know they are going to have a marriage full of life, love, and laughter. I wish you both all the best with the move and the wedding planning! You two are seriously the bomb dot com! Also, I feel the need to end this post with the cheeseball shots because they are so hilariously wonderful to me.