Stephanie and Armando Engagement Session in Tucson, Arizona
Stephanie and Armando are friends of mine and I’ve seen them often over the last few years, never without the other. There union is eagerly anticipated among our circle of friends and it is such an honor that they’ve entrusted me as their photographer for their wedding at the Skyline Country Club this September.
Engagement sessions are a lot of fun for me. There isn’t a tight schedule to keep and I really get to spin my wheels on interesting ways to light and compose a scene. Couples are dressed comfortably and there is lots of laughter and lighthearted banter as they slowly warm-up to being photographed while in the throws of an intimate moment. It’s a great primer for couples to see how they look in photos before their wedding day and it really helps build on the rapport that we’ve developed starting with the initial consultation. This isn’t a requisite for easing into a photo session, but it doesn’t hurt to meet for a cocktail or local craft beer before the session begins. I hope I didn’t just give away a guarded trade secret!
We met at Thunder Canyon Brewery in downtown Tucson before the shoot and made a short walk to the TEP Corporate Headquarters building a few blocks away. I’ve had my eye on the row of windows and columns of the first floor bordering the sidewalk on Broadway for some time now. After a few portraits it was clear we were going to be fighting the wind that was funneling itself alongside the building so we packed it up and changed locations to the 4th Avenue underpass. Along the way we spotted a vibrant mural painted on the side of the Access Tucson Community Media building and we had to stop for some fun portraits.
Soon after we made it to the water feature at the top of the stairway that leads to the new student housing and parking structure. We made our way to the top of the parking structure and caught the sunset before it dipped below the horizon. Stephanie and Armando made the trip back down to the first floor and I remained on top of the garage to try some photos from my high vantage point while they posed and kissed from the ground level. After some portraits by the water feature, we made our way into the tunnel to wrap the session.
With a lot of foot traffic coming through the underpass, I had to find a creative way to photograph them without having any pedestrians in the frame. I put my camera on a tripod and waited for the right moment to snap a photo free of anyone in the underpass. Once I had this base backdrop photo I positioned Stephanie and Armando in the shot and photographed a series of photos while they posed, keeping my camera in the same position on the tripod for every photo. When I brought the images into Photoshop later, I was able to erase away any pedestrians in the photo by masking them out over the background layer I initially photographed with no one in the frame. I was also able to position small flashes on lightstands within the image and mask them out of the photo in post production by using this method.
This shoot ran a little longer than usual, but I was happy with the results and excited to see Stephanie and Armando’s favorite photo printed on their save the date cards for their wedding in September.