“silence is the language of god, all else is poor translation.” - rumi
There's always a story. Sometimes that story is obvious. The bride walking down the aisle smiling as her dad sniffles his nose and chokes back tears. The flower girl spinning and dancing while the couple cuts their cake. Regardless of where you look with a camera - there's always a story. We're blessed to see so many kinds of stories that I've begun to notice how many stories are left untold. We are often hired to shoot a "lifestyle" session where we are dangerously close to being so focused on a product that we forget the life within and around it. Our industry is obsessed with perfection and yet in our attempt to make every moment flawless we leave out the stories because they are inherently flawed. This shoot has a neat story.
There's the obvious stuff. How much we love working with She Said Yes (a bridal shop in Rogers, AR owned by some friends of ours). They always show up with gorgeous gowns, perfect makeup, and the coolest stylist and essentially let me run wild where the photos are concerned. Those are the obvious stories and yet if that was the only story than this shoot would be somewhat of a lie. If the beautiful blonde that stepped out of her little white car with a big smile on her face were just another pretty girl ready to say cheese the story wouldn't be worth telling - and it would be simply another shoot. But what I love about my job, what keeps me up at night and motivates me to push myself artistically is the challenge of finding the real story. The thing that is going to take a model and turn her back into a girl. The moment that a soul is found and whether we're laughing, smiling, or saying nothing at all it's obvious to everybody present that a story just happened. So here's the story.
Forget the long dirt road out in the middle of nowhere. Forget the miscommunication that left half of our team showing up about 45 minutes late. Forget the pounding sun and the noise of the waterfall. The story is Lauren. I didn't know Lauren before this shoot but the shiny ring on her finger caught my eye in a hurry. Call it a habit but I had to know when, where and all the good stuff. Honestly at first I was making conversation but truth be told there was something almost too good about Lauren in this moment. She's engaged and coming right up on her wedding and the neatest aspect of this entire shoot with her was finding out that she had just had her "real" bridal shoot the day before. I wish I could say I would be behind the camera on her wedding day, but I won't. But to have the chance to see a girl with all of the beauty and emotion and excitement of a bride completely let go of any of the stress or pressure of this being her actual dress, or her actual bridal shoot was incredible. I could go on for ages about this team and the fun we have together. Shooting with She Said Yes is always a blast and seeing Lauren giggle and smile as I asked questions about her wedding was so genuine it stripped all of the forced moments out of this shoot completely. Pretty neat to take a complete setup, model, makeup, location, dreamy dress, and killer stylist and walk away with a real story to tell.
Of course I hope our friends at the shop love these shots. Of course I can't wait to do it again. But this one is different just because I also get to say that I sincerely hope Lauren feels beautiful in these moments. This might not have been her dress, and I might not be going to her wedding but she IS a bride and it's pretty neat to have had the chance to spend the afternoon with her. A HUGE thanks to SSY for having us at this shoot. We're always blessed by your friendship and love having the chance to create art together!