We started this engagement portrait shoot at Shelby’s parents home in Phoenix, Arizona and ended it in the desert as sunset. Shelby’s parents home is in the shadow of the mountain about two and a half hours before the sun sets, so there is a lot of great open shade around the home, which makes for fantastic images. The color and texture of the stones is quite nice to work with as well. And of course, Shelby and Nick are a good looking and cool couple, so it was a pretty nice afternoon.
The night after the engagement shoot, I posted one of the images from the shoot on my Facebook Page. The shot is below. Shelby just happen to have a card board cutout of Jacob, from the Twilight Movie series in her trunk. I remember trying to watch one of those movies on a 14 hour flight home from a wedding in Hong Kong and it was so bad, so poorly acted, that I shut the movie off and did nothing for two hours rather than watch that movie. It was a lot of fun and the shot makes me laugh, every time I look at it.
We had a lot of laughs while we were making the shot. And if there is one thing that is extremely important at an engagement portrait session, it is having a lot of good laughs. It certainly makes my job more entertaining, and the by-product is that the photos look better too.
So, here is the first photo I posted, the night of the engagement shoot.
There were so many great shots from the afternoon. I have posted a few of my very favorite shots below.
This was one of the earlier shots in the day. The huge windows behind them make for some fantastic back light and the stair case made for a great angular element to hold the top of the photo together. For those of you interested in the lighting on this shot, there is a shoot through translucent umbrella above, forward of and to the right of the Nick. This light is giving the couple some volume by side lighting them, but we are not too dramatic, because it is at a 45 degree angle on them and it is a shoot through umbrella which softens the light a bit because the direction of the light is less defined. The light was simply a 580EXII Canon Flash attached to a Radio Popper. My camera is also sporting a 580EX flash with a Radio Popper transmitter and the flash is pounding up into the ceiling to give a little fill light throughout the room. And then, of course, the window lights are providing shape of the stare case, and a little hair light for the couple.The shutter speed is at 125th of a second and the ISO is at 400. This allows me to get a good blast from the ambient light outside and the aperture is at 2.8, which gives me that soft look in the background. I am shooting on a fixed 85mm lens. The 85mm 1.8 is not a very expensive lens, but it takes a beautiful image. I love that little lens.
I love the reflection in the pool and the blue set against the yellow blooms of the desert trees.
Of all the images at the house, this has to be my favorite. The stone and the tree are fantastic and the tree frames the couple very nicely in the bottom left corner of the photo. You have to love the color in this one.
I just love the expressions on this one. Oh, and the composition.
Just behind their home, on the side of the mountain is an outcropping of rocks that was quite difficult to photograph. Once we got them up to the rocks, I had to take position on the top of a wall to get the right angle on the shot, but how can you not love this one. I was so happy with the image composition and then, Shelby put he elbow up on Nick’s shoulder and that made the photo! I told her to keep that pose and “never stop!” I think those were my actual words. Way to go with this one Shelby. Way to go.
I enjoy the quality of the light after the sun has gone down for about 15 minutes or so. There really isn’t a better light. I used to capture this kind of light on film, but I had to use a tripod, I was often shooting a 4×5 camera (those old accordion looking cameras with the dark cloths over the photographer’s head) and the exposures were 30 seconds and of landscapes. I am so happy with digital cameras today. 6400 ISO? No problem. I could enjoy shooting an entire photo shoot AFTER sunset! It really is the best light ever.
Sweet light. Sweet kiss. Sweet shot.