This past weekend I had the privilege to shoot some engagement photos out at Fort Foster for Jacquie Sullivan and Steve Melendy.
We planned the magic-hour shoot weeks in advance. As the day drew nearer, I grew both excited and nervous at the prospect of trying both a new location and a new lens in the same shoot. Then five days before we were set to meet, I looked at the weather report, and my heart sank.
Thundershowers—not only on the evening we’d planned, but also the two days before and the one after. It seemed that this adventure might be put on hold indefinitely. Steve would be out of town just a couple days after the day we’d coordinated.
We’d all been looking forward to it—Jacquie and Steve especially, as in their five-plus years as a couple they’d never had photos taken together on anything but a smartphone. I gave Jacquie the news. She was more optimistic than I was. Let’s stick to the plan, she said. If it rains, we’ll figure it out.
I refreshed myself on the images she’d sent me for inspiration and did a few test shots around my house with the new lens. When Saturday rolled around, all day the weather was perfect—sunny with a light breeze, less humidity than we’d had in days. It looked like all was going to work out.
Until about forty minutes before we were to meet. The skies darkened, and little rain droplets pecked the window in my kitchen.
Please hold off, please hold off, I heard myself thinking as I packed three lenses into my bag. I’d gone out earlier in the day to drive through Fort Foster and pick out spots that would translate well for the ideas Jacquie and Steve had had. It had seemed like a prime location. But even now I knew all the families I’d seen there earlier were hurriedly rolling up their picnic blankets and making their kids put their flip-flops back on and get in the car before it really started coming down.
Still, I drove to Kittery and picked up Jacquie and Steve. We crossed our fingers and turned the car in the direction of Kittery Point, all silently wondering if the attendant at the gate would laugh in our faces for entering the park as a thunderstorm threatened overhead.
The attendant didn’t laugh. She handed us the parking pass and wished us a cheerful evening.
I was right about one thing. The park was all but completely cleared out. Everyone I’d seen there early had gone home for the night.
A family with a dog was walking the pier, so we took a few shots on the rocks. The family with the dog cleared out only to be replaced by another group, but knowing we didn’t have time to wait, we lined ourselves up to keep the others out of the shot. Oddly, as Jacquie and Steve laughed and enjoyed the few moments we seemed to have, I started to feel like maybe this wasn’t going to be a waste of time.
Eager to make the most of whatever time we did have, we only took five or six photos in every spot. We moved at a nice clip from place to place, but the whole time Jacquie and Steve laughed and talked and remained relaxed, choosing to stay in the present and see the best in every opportunity given to us. We’d committed to coming out here and doing whatever we could. And we were going to follow through on it!
The overcast skies, though scary at first, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. With storms forecast, no one was in the park to work around or try to keep out of the frame. Additionally, although golden hour was the intention in our original appointment, with the sun hidden behind clouds, we enjoyed soft lighting from all angles with no fear of harsh shadows.
In the end, this was actually one of the best possible shoots we could have asked for. Jacquie and Steve are so connected, honestly we probably could have taken photos anywhere at any time and captured their chemistry—but because we were all working together to overcome the obstacle of a looming storm, we had a common silver lining (no pun intended) to keep us happy and motivated, and the photos reflect the energy of the shoot.
Plus, the camera just loves both these people. Look at Jacquie’s eyes! Look at Steve’s smile! Look how happy they are together! And the way they approached this whole ordeal—positive, and together—bodes well for a long life beside each other.
As I look over the completed images, I am enormously honored to have been included in this important part of this couple’s lives. I hope they love the photos and hold onto them for many years!
*To see more images from this shoot, visit www.alexisthegreek.com/engagements