When Tina suggested for us to do her engagement shoot in Washington, DC...
I was so ready.
Or so I thought.
It was all fun and game until the temperature dropped to a freezing 30˚F the morning of the photoshoot. I don't know how we still managed to drag ourselves out of bed and get ready. Maybe we thought that if we just kept moving around, the cold would be manageable? Maybe if we were having enough fun, we would forget how cold we were? Maybe our sacrifice would be rewarded in the end when we see how beautiful the photos turned out? Or maybe we were just really brave souls channeling our inner Elsa, thinking the cold never bothered us anyway. But in actuality, it really did.
As fun as it was to take refuge in the information center, and make small talks with the security guard there to "warm-up" after,I was pretty disappointed in myself for how this part of the session turned out. That being said, there were two very important things that I learned from this photoshoot...
The first lesson I learned is that you can't (and shouldn't) fight against the weather— It will always win.
You must either adapt to it or be flexible enough to throw away the idea and move onto something better. When Tina and I started planning for the engagement session, we knew it would get pretty cold once December hits. One of the locations we threw on the table was Jefferson Memorial. The idea of taking engagement photos in front of the big white pillars was definitely enticing, especially when you couple it with a beautiful floral dress and suit. It was enticing enough for us to brave the cold. Or so we tried— for a good 35 minutes that morning.
I think the main reason why I'm so disappointed is because I had set up really high expectations for myself and this engagement. Throughout the weeks leading up to that morning, I had spent alot of time researching and crafting up the perfect engagement session for Tina and Jon. I had so many ideas I wanted to do. I had everything down to the T. So when everything started spinning out of control during the shoot, my priority went from shooting creatively to shooting quick and fast to get these two out of the cold.
I can definitely say I underestimated the cold temperature. For one, I didn't expect my fingers to freeze and slowed to the point where I was struggling to focus the image and click the shutter-release button. I didn't expect Tina's toes to lose circulation. I didn't expect Jon's nose to turn red. Some of these issues could have been prevented for sure, but the most important thing I failed to consider was Jon and Tina's emotional state.
Which brings me to the second lesson—
the most important thing to always consider, as a photographer, is the comfort of your client.
It was a chilly, windy 30 degrees outside. Tina was in a dress. Jon was in a suit.
On a scale of 1-5, I would have to say their comfort level was a failing 1.
If I was being optimistic and nice to myself, I would say 1.5.
Why is it important to consider your client's comfort level?
Because when they're uncomfortable, it'll show in the photos.
And that's one of the element you can't edit during post-processing.
Note to self: Comfort first, aesthetic second.
Despite the difficult condition I put Tina and Jon in, they never complained once and made the best of the situation. I know it wasn't easy so I am forever grateful to them for being so patient and understanding.
Once we realized how forbidding the weather was
(and I managed to get a couple of good shots),
we decided to move on to the next location...
Somewhere much much more warm and cozy...
Ebenezer's Coffee House
*insert coffee emoji*
Despite how rough the beginning of the photoshoot was, it was nothing a good cup of warm coffee couldn't fix.
Once Jon and Tina was out of the cold, the photoshoot became just another day at the coffee shop for them. This allowed me to (finally) capture the laid-back personality of their relationship— a characteristic that I've come to admired when I was around them.
Although things didn't pan out as well as I had hoped for at Jefferson Memorial,
I'm happy to announce that Tina was able to keep all 10 of her toes...