If I were forced to pick one location to take portraits for the rest of my life, the University of Virginia grounds would likely be my selection. I could spend every day photographing every little special nook without ever losing inspiration or enthusiasm. So it goes without saying I had a fantastic time creating engagement portraits up in Charlottesville with my new friends, Amy and Yongwon.
The entire “point” of engagement sessions, and why I make them “mandatory” for every couple within close proximity to me, is to help foster the relationship between the three of us. There’s always a few moments of awkwardness when you put two people together with a stranger who is sticking a camera in their faces, and I think it’s absolutely vital to power through those little ice-breaker moments months before the wedding day. Getting comfortable that far in advance takes a weight off all of our shoulders.
Amy and Yongwon were so great at jumping in with both feet, and if they ever felt awkward, I’d never have known it. From the moment we began atop the Rotunda, they were full of smiles and affection. They knew how to position themselves so well that it felt like they could read my mind. And instead of shying away from people whenever we’d stumble across a group studying on the lawn or studying in the gardens, Amy and Yongwon were brave and confident and, dare I say, in the zone. It was like working with professional models.
We split our session in half because I had to attend my Alpha Lambda Sigma Honor Society induction on the lawn – we spent our second half on the Downtown Mall the following day. On one end of the Mall, the Thomas Jefferson Center erected a First Amendment Monument, which is essentially a community chalkboard on which anybody can write anything (freedom of speech, get it?). As I waited for Amy and Yongwon to arrive, I spent some time drawing their names in big letters on the chalkboard. Once they arrived, I asked them to color in the letters, producing some pretty cool photographs. Day 2 was much hotter than the previous day, so we were all dragging a bit, but we finished up with some great action shots on the Mall, where the two manifested their complete confidence once again. (A couple people came over to ask me if they were celebrities, so of course I had to explain that they were!)
After having so much fun with Amy and Yongwon, I had to skedaddle out of Cville to get to an engagement session up in DC. I took the back roads through the country to avoid traffic, and as the sun finished its work for the day, the lighting was simply beautiful. I had to pull over to make a couple photographs so I could remember it. What a marvelous couple of days. Thanks Amy and Yongwon!