When Bonnie reached out to me about a maternity session and her first question was, "You work with lights at night, right?" I knew it was going to be interesting. As a former professional photographer herself, she knew exactly what types of images she wanted to memorialize this special time in her life. This wasn't going to be the usual light and airy beach photo session with the loving husband standing next to her. "Simple elegance with a dramatic twist" she said. This was going to be DRAMATIC, in a FOREST, channeling the Angels and a Sense of Blessings because she's been waiting 18 years for this baby boy.
As the photographer, it was both inspiring and slightly scary being asked to create and capture her dream images. We had one chance to get it right and the planning started a month before our session.
Bonnie researched and bought the gown she wanted for her session. She picked the perfect color of Periwinkle to compliment her light skin tone and we knew it would photograph well. The long split tail chiffon train was meant to be thrown into the air for creative photos. She had her hair professionally curled and makeup done.
In order for me to pull this off, I knew we needed some additional help. Mike always helps with my lighting but we got two additional assistants whose main purpose would be to throw the train. I packed four lights, two camera with two different lenses, a tripod and trigger, headlamps and flashlights for after dark, a stool for Bonnie to rest on, a monopod and light stand, an umbrella to soften the light source, and bottles of water for everyone to drink. The only thing I forgot was bug spray!
Lemon Bay Park provided the perfect environment for our shoot. It is the right combination of Old Florida forest, nature trails and very few people walking around this time of year. Bonnie and I scouted the park a couple of weeks before the session so we knew exactly where we wanted to photograph. We started at our first location about an hour before sunset and practiced throwing the train and starting capturing some images.
We then moved further into the woods along a path surrounded by trees. We wanted to create a feeling of being surrounded by nature. As the sun went down, we embraced the dark and switched into an after dark mindset.
As the night progressed, we moved back to our original location but faced a different direction so that we could capture a completely different set of images.
Our photoshoot was a complete success. Bonnie loves her images and we all had a great time.
Because this was such a unique session, I want to share some Behind The Scenes photos of us pulling this off. People often believe it's the magic of Photoshop used to create great images, but I believe that if you can get it right in the camera, that's when the real magic happens. So here are some of the Before and After images. The magic in these photos was simply removing the girls who were throwing the train when necessary, and removing the light and direction of light when needed. As we say in the photo world, SOOC-Straight out of Camera vs. Finished photo.
This session was the perfect example of my motto: "DREAM BIG, REMEMBER FOREVER". Bonnie dreamed big and we'll definitely remember this forever!