Van and Monica are Engaged! Candid Photography Session

If I were to choose only one subject to photograph for the rest of my life – it would probably be people in their natural setting. I find people so visually interesting – their facial expressions that convey emotion, their movement and their dress.

On my daily commute to work I encounter so many different people, I often wonder what their story is. I’ve had thoughts about approaching strangers and asking to photograph them because I thought they looked really interesting – but I never had the guts to go through with it. I wonder if they’d take it as a compliment or be weirded out?

Two of my friends, Van and Monica, got engaged earlier this year and I was really keen to photograph them. Besides trying to use my camera every chance I get, I also thought it would be a good challenge to photograph for someone else, rather than myself.

We swapped ideas and I had a good understanding of what they might like. Some of my favourite photos, that I’ve taken in the past, is from photographing people when they didn’t know they were being photographed. I wanted to mimic that style and capture Van and Monica’s relationship in its truest form, however this proved impossible because the photography session is in essence an artificial circumstance. Can they really be themselves in an unnatural setting?

Early on in the day I had a bit of difficulty. I didn’t provide much direction because I wanted them to be as natural as possible, but at the same time I wasn’t getting any good shots – perhaps from the lack of direction from my end. I was conflicted – how am I to photograph them in their truest form when I’m telling them to pose for photos?

As the day progressed, we all became more comfortable and had more fun. I was able to provide more direction but mostly let them do their own thing – which is a good middle ground to what I wanted. Despite sweating bucket loads (still not used to the unseasonably warm winter in Sydney) and being a third wheel, I still had an awesome time photographing Van and Monica. When we finished, they even shouted me delicious charcoal chicken. Score!

Here are the photos from that day.

Engagement Photo in Sydney - Van and Monica

Van and Monica are incredibly playful. Throughout the whole session they were making jokes at each other, laughing and making faces.

Engagement Photo in Sydney - Van and Monica

I asked Van to pick-up Monica, which he was a bit hesitant about, but I’m so glad he did because it resulted in this shot. They are both so happy together and I think this shot definitely shows that.

Engagement Photo in Sydney - Van and Monica

Engagement Photo in Sydney - Van and Monica

Engagement Photo in Sydney - Van and Monica

Engagement Photo in Sydney - Van and Monica

During this time, I was hiding behind the thick grass and let them do their own thing. I actually started feeling a bit awkward behind the camera (almost like a stalker behind the bushes) because I was documenting a really personal and intimate moment. I asked them earlier if they were tired (because I definitely was!) from posing but they said they didn’t really notice me around which was a great compliment.

Engagement Photo in Sydney - Van and Monica

Engagement Photo in Sydney - Van and Monica

Van and Monica, thanks for letting me capture your intimate moments together, also for letting me post it up on my blog and especially thanks for the charcoal chicken! 😀

2 thoughts on “Van and Monica are Engaged! Candid Photography Session

  1. Great photos!

    I think it would be a great idea to ask strangers if you can take a photo of them. So long as you can put it in the same way you did here. “I’d like to know more about your story and want to capture it for you with photos to go with your story” or something like that.

    You will get rejected, but who cares it is a good conversation starter and you might make some great friends from it. :)

    Great learnings with the photo shoot about having to apply some direction for them. Just probably more so at the start it is important to set the tone and expectation, but nothing is more critical than creating the rapport with the ‘subject/s’ to put them at ease.

    Keep it up!!

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