Making a day trip to Bakersfield for some Engagement photos
A few weeks before deciding on plans for the memorial weekend my fiancé was contacted by an old co-worker who had recently tied the knot. She had gone through the process of planning her own wedding and didn't book any engagement photos or wedding photographer. Her Husband owned the tux worn on the wedding day and her dress was still in immaculate condition. Instead of trying to re-create the day we decided on taking very formal (dressed up) engagement photos.
One of the things I enjoy about photography is the ability to tell the story you want. The audience viewing your photos doesn't know if you took the photos before or after your wedding making an engagement session something that can happen at any time.
Before meeting up at The Park at Riverwalk in Bakersfield CA we made the day into a family road trip. With the car loaded, and all batteries charged we set out from Van Nuys on a short one hour drive north. Being the lightweight that I am when it comes to driving our first stop was McDonalds for some iced coffees. Now were off and cooking. With caffeine in my system I was charged and ready for the rest of the day. Traffic on the road was really light given that it was a Holliday weekend. Once we hit Bakersfield we took some time to stretch our legs and give our son a break from his car seat. The outlets at Tejon served that purpose for us.
After a brief break from the drive we were back in the car and off to meet our couple for their photo session. The park was packed with lots of locals all with the same idea to cool off and enjoy some BBQ and ice-cream. Taking a short time to survey the area I knew I would need to focus as much on my couple as I would on what or who is behind them. Any random person, cooler, or BBQ pit could easily take away from the focus of the photos.
To start out I had them standing in front of a stone pillar. It adds some texture to the background and we started our shoot a little early so we had a little time before the sun would be offering premium lighting conditions. This pillar was located at the front of the park and offered time for all of us to get comfortable with taking photos around such a large crowd.
From there we moved to the water. Kids were swimming in the background so again I adapted to the surroundings and positioned my couple accordingly so as to not have anyone interfering in the background. By now we were all settling in and becoming comfortable. This is the time where I break out the posing ideas. My fiancé carried her phone with a few photo poses but I find its one thing to tell people how to stand or position themselves and its another to make them look natural or comfortable. Here is where I provide the internal monologue for them as they pose. I suggest what they might be thinking or what they might be looking at off in the distance. Anything that breaks their concentration and gets a laugh or moment of relaxation.
By the end of the shoot the sun was offering some amazing light. I shot this entire session with my 85mm prime lens and got some interesting lens flare with it.