I love when couples plan secrets for each other. The kind that they carefully anticipate will bring their significant other smiles and memories form that day forward. The kind that they know will take their breath away and make some of their dreams come true.
When I asked them both to describe the other in three words, Kathryn called Dustin hardworking, authentic, and handsome, and Dustin called Kathryn loving caring and punctual. As we went through the session, I could see them stealing glances at each other and the whispering in each others' ears instantly brought a smile to each others' faces. When words to describe your significant other come to readily to talk about, you know that there is something real and unconditional. This is exactly what these two have.
As I am continuing to learn and practice new photography techniques, I also need people to practice those things on. I had asked Kathryn and Dustin if they would be interested in being my guinea pig couple for some new things that I learned at a couples posing workshop held by Ashley Kidder and Chris Loring, two photographers whom I admire in their work and their approach to people in general. They excitedly said they would be happy to help.
Before the photo shoot, I had this idea of trying to "stylize" it a little bit. In the weeks before the shoot, I bought flowers, many flowers, to try and create my own bouquet. I molded together beautiful colors in hopes of giving Kathryn something stunning to hold, but also so that I could practice with a model holding a bouquet, just as in the workshop that I attended. I also contact A Love Tale vintage rental company, and get this deep purple vintage chair. I loved the hue and the carvings on the chair, giving some of the photos and poses flair and prestige.
During the session, it was so easy to work with Kathryn and Dustin. They were willing to try the new poses and directions that I was giving them, and they executed each with ease (way to make my job go smoothly). Both of them perfectly fit into each other's arms and held each other with love and security.
A few days before the session, Dustin discreetly contacted me and asked if we could do a surprise engagement. We exchanged a couple of texts to finalize things, and stopped all communication straight after, so that Kathryn wouldn't get suspicious. I already had a perfect spot in my head picked out that we could go to that would be a beautiful view of Pikes Peak and have the iconic red rocks around. However, when we finally reached the place, it was full, so to the next parking lot we went.
We took a few photos using my tilt shift lens, and then we crossed the street and up a little hill, as I thought if we could just get a little higher up over the hill, we should have a great view of Pikes Peak, even thought it wasn't the spot that I was thinking of; this actually turned to be better. There were beautiful pine trees, rocks and tall grasses alike, and the epic view of Pikes Peak, all to ourselves.
I quietly touched Dustin's shoulder as they passed me to go a few steps higher, after I told them I was going to take some photos with more scenery in them. This indicated it was time, this was the spot that would start the next journey in their relationship. This was the spot that would seal together their forever. This can now be "their spot."
From afar, I took image after image as things started to unfold. He got down on one knee, I could see lips moving but their professions of love were between them and the wind. He asked, she said yes, and I can only imagine the bursting of their hearts in that moment. The first words that made it to my ears was Kathryn telling Dustin that he was all she ever wanted.
In life we dream of our futures and who we will spend our lives with. We think of characteristics we want in someone and write them in our diaries. When Kathryn mentioned that he was all she ever wanted, I imagined all of her hopes for a future husband coming true. Her finding that person who fulfills her and will love her always, as is the same for her of Dustin. I was so fortunate and honored that I was asked to be a part of this important moment.
We will be meeting again this summer to take some official engagement photos. We will have more laughs and more adventures, but overall, I am looking forward to capturing the essence of their relationship into images that they can share with their family and friends, maybe even kids someday. I am thankful for our friendship and their trust in me to document this new chapter in their story together.