One of my favorite types of shoots is, quite honestly, a long one. I love taking time to get my friends (Clients? Subjects? Genie pigs?) to relax, sink into their experience and just have loads of fun while still creating magnificent artifacts of their time with me. We usually start out with a drink or lunch, chat and laugh a lot, then dive head first into our session together.
This was absolutely true with Liz and Grant, both of whom are newscasters at WFMY News in Greensboro, NC. I worked with Liz and Grant first for their destination wedding in Cape May NJ at Congress Hall. (I seriously want to shoot there again so let’s make that happen, folks!) We had so much fun on the wedding day and I just couldn’t get enough powerful images. I mentioned the option of an Afterglow Session and they jumped at it.
What the heck is an Afterglow Session? You throw on your dress(es) and your tux(es) and we spend the day playing together. We go to significant places, places that have a powerful backdrop, or I might tend to put you up in the sky on a windmill or a mountain top. My goal is to give your breathtaking pieces of art that will stand the test of time, that will cause future generation to go “Wow! These people were amazing!” and to give you the experience that makes you feel that you, yourself are a work of art.
Grant, Liz, Chelsea and I started at Hagan Stone Park, specifically for the little chapel on the grounds. I had ideas… From there, we meandered through woods and played with their dog Ollie. He is such a major art of their lives and he wasn’t able to come to NJ so it was important for me to have him in some of the portraits. After that, we hit up Winston-Salem’s Old Salem village which balanced beautifully with the classic modernity of Liz’s gown.
You’ll see images taken near a firewood stack. This is significant because Grant’s grandfather loves chopping firewood and takes great pride in stacking it. This is their homage to him. Knowing stories like this, their closeness to their dog Ollie, Liz’s flare for fashion – all this knowledge informs me ahead of time as to how to shoot the session. Knowing your photographer and letting your photographer know you is how to create meaningful and powerful photographs. Photography, especially portraiture, is very much a symbiotic process. You have to give to get.
Our final stop was a place I’ve only shot once and I wanted to revisit it. Artivity on the Green is a feast for the photographic senses and such a visual playground. Liz and Grant slipped into their second outfits and we went a little nuts. We climbed on walls, walked balance beams, and I had a ridiculously good time in the shelter area. There are a lot of personal favorites in this session because there was complete trust between us. They knew I was getting good stuff that truly reflected their story and they were willing to do anything I asked. It was perfect.
And am I happy with what I got? Beyond thrilled. So much so that my heart breaks a little posting this because now I have to let the story live on its own. Grant and Liz, you guys are amazing, talented, ridiculously beautiful creatures. When’s the next shoot?