Every photographer has their favorite time of day to take photos. I know there are a fair number of photographers like me who LOVE taking sunset pictures. It’s such great lighting with amazing colors that gives such a romantic feel.

Mike and Jenn on Roanoke Mountain right after Mike proposed

Mike and Jenn on Roanoke Mountain right after Mike proposed

And yet the weather exists and is always changing. Clients don’t all have the same timetables. Sometimes I am just busy. The key to succeed in these situations is to:

  1. Not Panic

  2. Trust your instincts

And most importantly

3. Let the subject shine

As a photographer, the bottom line is we are hired to take photos to curate memories or deliver a message. While other factors can make this difficult, it becomes easier when you let the subject speak for itself.

Below are two couples I had an awesome time with, each presenting their own challenge to overcome.

Anthony and Lakesha

The Challenge

Anthony and Lakesha needed to get photos done for their save the date’s and really could only do the one day. It was set to be rainy and cloudy, to me that eliminated a lot of outdoor locations, and I have a hard time finding indoor ones.

Don’t Panic, Trust your Instincts, Let the Subject Shine

Anthony had the great idea about going to the Salem Fair. The fair has a ton of cool lighting and I thought it would be really cool to do it at night, that way, even if it its cloudy, we can use the lights to drive our story.

I loved working with these two. They are not only genuine people, but also genuinely in love with each other. They are so comfortable with each other, so much so, that when I said, “make sure to talk and try to laugh” I was met with a hearty laugh and “No problem.”

I had so much fun working off their personality as well as the lighting challenges! You have so many colors happening, it was the weekend and it was quite crowded so finding a spot for each shot was almost a carnival game in itself! My “strategy” was to get as close to the lights as we could to make the pictures intimate and reflective of our scenery. These are some of my favorite photos from the shoot!

Katie and Nick


The Challenge

With surprise proposals (which I LOVE doing) there are a lot of moving pieces. Communication is key, but you also don’t want to give anything away just in case the text comes up on the screen. This is the first time I have ever shot at Valhalla Vineyard, so I had no idea where the spots were going to be and even though the staff were extra-super gracious to let us stay a little past closing, the sun was still very bright and harsh!

Don’t Panic, Trust your Instincts, Let the Subject Shine

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice! I had never been to the venue and got some great insight from photographers in the area! I also showed up a bit early to the vineyard to scout out some possible spots. It’s good to know the lay of the land when the plan is that there is no plan!

The hardest part of this shoot was not the harsh sunlight as I thought, but the location of the proposal. It would be a little suspicious if a guy with a camera followed a couple into the middle of the vineyard. So I asked a local group to follow me and pretend to be subjects for a photo shoot. That helped me be close by without her being tipped off!

Nick and Katie are actually NOT from the area but Nick said Roanoke was a significant place in their relationship. So capturing the place is just as important as the couple, and I am so glad they had me along for the ride. They also had a dog! I love dogs! Nick actually had a couple of friends pick up the dog from the boarding service to surprise Katie at the photo shoot!

Whether its the stark of day or the dark of night, a photographer has to stay flexible and let their subject shine.

I hope you enjoyed these sessions as much as I did. If you are in need of Photography, I would love to chat!