February 16, 2011
Engagement sessions can be super, like, the best to shoot. Or they can be really challenging and difficult. That’s my fault. I don’t like to do generic shoots where I drop two people in a park and tell them where to look. I think those are terribly boring, and although they may produce very pretty pictures, they don’t tell you anything about that person, or that couple. They’re stock sessions, and I don’t do stock.
In Sarah’s very first email to me, she told me that she and her fiancee, Nick, were big gamers. They play board games, thumb wars, anything that’s competitive. And they’re self-described nerds (she’s an engineer and he’s a banker). Even though I didn’t appear to have anything in common with them (I’m so not competitive, and haven’t played a board game in forever), I found them so much fun to hang with. And when they told me that they were having In-n-Out (see: my life) cater their wedding, it was like POW! “I know you!”
So setting up their e-session was a snap and so obvious. We met at the Santa Monica Pier and I had them play some games. Now, I didn’t just have them pose in front of some buildings and have them show their game faces and give me silly poses. They were going to play a series of games and actually compete for a prize (which was kept secret until the end).
Oh.my.God. I can’t even tell you how much fun we had. All in all, we spent about ten dollars and three hours getting to know one another. We started at the chess tables with the best of five in Thumb Wars, and then moved to the arcade on the pier. They each got to pick their game of choice, and we threw in some others, and then I made them play the dreaded dance game. (I’ve tried that with Jenna and it’s freakin’ hard, and bonus: you look extremely silly playing it). Nick was a great sport (even though I know he did not want to dance) and they got so into it, they attracted a crowd, and some people even took pictures of them.
Then I got them into their good clothes, put Wellies on them and took them under the pier. This part wasn’t really a game, but I love the look down there and when I’m shooting, I get to boss people and i wanted to boss them into that water. 🙂 And besides, they were really so into all their games that it was a little difficult to get anything but an action shot. Grimaces, laughing, gritting teeth and throwing arms into the air in frustration. All that made for great photos, but I know they needed some “nice” ones too and that’s where the Wellies and the dressy clothes came in.
Eventually, Nick beat Sarah (by just a few points) and she was the best loser. She offered to present him with the prize: a $50 gift card to Brookstone where they have robots! But even after the prize was awarded and the shoot was over, I spotted the argyle socks in their car and they put those on and had a sort of footsie war! Too cute.
Ok, I’m going in all kinds of directions here, so I’ll stop now and let the photos speak for themselves. Thanks Sarah! Thanks Nick! Thanks nice lady at the carousel who helped us get some great stuff