Tuesday, December 12, 2017

She thought I was there to photograph holiday photos (but it was really a wedding proposal)!

A couple of weeks ago, I got a call from our good friend's son. Dan told me that he was going to propose to his girlfriend, Brittney, and wanted to know if I could photograph this for him. As I do for all of our friends. I told him that I would be more than happy to volunteer my time for this momentous occasion.

Dan picked the location (at an estate near our home) and told Brittney that he was having me take holiday photos for them.

For this shoot, I went with just my Canon 1D X MK II, Canon 70-200 2.8 IS II lens, and one Canon 600EX-RT flash.

(Canon 1D X MK II, Canon 70-200 2.8 lens at 168mm, ISO 400, f/3.5, 1/250 sec, Canon 600EX-RT flash on camera at -1)

My wife (who was not going to miss this for the world) and I arrived and saw a great spot for holiday photos. A tree had dropped a bunch of it's yellow leaves on the grass and I wanted to start there. I had Dan, Brittney and her son Jayden, sit down on the grass. As you can see, I got down low to the grass to include the grass and leaves in the foreground. I took this photo at f/3.5 to focus on the three of them, and diffuse the estate in the background.

(Canon 1D X MK IICanon 70-200 2.8 lens at 95mm, ISO 1000, f/5, 1/500 sec, Canon 600EX-RT flash in high speed sync mode)
Keeping with the holiday theme, we had them play around with the leaves as I continued taking photos.  Knowing that there would be a lot of motion, I changed the camera settings to get a higher shutter speed. And...knowing that the shutter speed would be too fast for the flash sync speed, I changed the flash to high speed sync mode.

After they played around for a little bit (which also gave Jayden a break from posing), I had them sit down in the grass again, but this time I faced the other direction to get the tree with fall colors in the background.

(Canon 1D X MK IICanon 70-200 2.8 lens at 120mm, ISO 1000, f/4, 1/320 sec, Canon 600EX-RT flash on camera at -1)
My wife asked the three of them to stand up and walk away from us, towards the tree. I changed the camera to IO Servo focus, moved the focus point lower to stay on Jayden and fired away as they walked.

Keeping the same settings, we had them turn around and walk back towards us. They provided the extra fun for Jayden as I continued capturing photos of this awesome family to be.

It was about 20 minutes before sunset, and Dan and I wanted to make sure to get photos of the surprise before we lost our sunlight. Just as we had planned, I suggested that we get some photos of just Dan and Brittney, while Dan's sister and friends watched Jayden.  I took some nice portraits of them and then...

Dan dropped to one knee and broke out the ring. As you can see, Brittney was totally surprised!

(Canon 1D X MK IICanon 70-200 2.8 lens at 140mm, ISO 500, f/4, 1/200 sec, Canon 600EX-RT flash on camera at -1)
This is probably my favorite photo with Dan on one knee (beaming with excitement) and Brittney overwhelmed by the moment. At this moment I was even crying a little behind my camera. It was so special to capture these photos for them, and overwhelming to see this unfolding in front of me.

The first time she put the ring on and saw it on her hand.

It really does not get any better than this. I walked up a little closer and captured this loving gaze between Dan and Brittney.

(Canon 1D X MK IICanon 70-200 2.8 lens at 170mm, ISO 500, f/4, 1/160 sec, Canon 600EX-RT flash on camera at -1)
After the proposal, I had Dan and Brittney sit back down on the grass, but this time, I just let them talk. I did not want them posing at this time. I wanted them to have their own time with me capturing them exactly as they are.

Since I was lying down in the grass and the flash was very low to the ground, it threw a little too much light on the grass. For these three photos, I did a graduated filter in Adobe Photoshop to darken the grass in the foreground.

After a couple of minutes of them having their own time, I did ask them to look up at me for one posed shot.

(Canon 1D X MK IICanon 70-200 2.8 lens at 100mm, ISO 500, f/2.8, 1/250 sec, Canon 600EX-RT flash on camera at -1)

One of the last photos was this one, with Brittney's showing us her new ring. At the last second, Dan lifted his hand and pointed at it too. I loved that!

As I have said numerous times before, it is moments like this that reaffirm why I love being a photographer. Not only do I get to give these two nice images for them to keep forever (and I did send them all these retouched images within two hours of taking them), but I get to be a part of life changing moments like this one.

Congratulations to Dan and Brittney (and Jayden too)!!!!

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Unknown said...

So great , love the true loving emotions when he took one knee . These moments , proposals , first time parent holds a child , they make you appreciate so much . Congratulations to your friends , These photos and the beautiful story will be in the family for generations. Beautiful 💕

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Ryan said...

I've done a few of these (and come to think of it, all of them have been at this time of year in the very well-decorated Downtown Chicago area), and it's always great fun for me.

Creastan jack said...

So awesome , cherish the genuine adoring feelings when he took one knee . These minutes , recommendations , first time parent holds a youngster , they influence you to acknowledge so much . Congrats to your companions , These photographs and the wonderful story will be in the family for ages.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Skye Evans said...

Nice photography. Thank you for sharing wedding proposal blog post.
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