As we planned for a trip to the Dominican Republic last fall, I stumbled upon a local photographer on instagram whose photos made me swoon. I began stalking, as one does, and became enamored with this idea of doing an anniversary session on the beach. Brandon and I rarely have photos of ourselves. Beyond quick cell phone snaps, we have only had two photo sessions done of us. With each one, I learned what I liked and didn’t but still didn’t feel entirely comfortable in the role of “subject.”
Since we were traveling in a foreign country, we were at the mercy of others for nearly everything. Gaston with Punta Cana Photographer picked us up from the makeup artist’s home and as we arrived to the first location, we hit a snag. Even having called three times to plan for shooting at a lovely resort and paying additional fees, they wouldn’t allow us in. Gaston rescued the day by quickly thinking of a secondary location that fit with the style I had hoped for, and we sped there as the clouds began to form. I’m not going to lie, I was panicking in the back seat: the clouds meant rain was likely, sunset would be less spectacular, and that our session could be cut short. Already off to a late start and not being able to shoot at the luxury hotel we planned on, I was setting myself up to be disappointed.
But as we arrived to the beach that Gaston chose for us, we found that not only was it more beautiful than any other we’d been on, but there was no one else to be found. We had it all to ourselves. Shooting on the beach really has one downfall: the wind. So, while my hair is not as perfect as I had hoped, Gaston and Brandon constantly reassured me that it was looking great.
Brandon and I aren’t a very PDA type of couple. We are lovey but generally don’t get that way in public. So as we began posing and holding each other tight, Gaston encouraged kisses, snuggles and hand holding. As he shuffled along the beach finding new angles so we wouldn’t have to move much, he constantly shouted out words of encouragement and praise for how well we were doing. Whether it was a flat out lie or not, it helped me to relax and trust that the images were actually working (looking back now I can see that he was loving the composition and background of these shots too.) Though he didn’t show us any back-of-the-camera shots (this control freak was not in love with that), I could tell he was loving his time creating these images and that made me at least have hope that I wasn’t screwing them up.At one point, he asked us to get in the water. The ocean. In this expensive suit and skirt we’d purchased. Slightly hesitant but trusting he knew the effects of salt-water more than we did, we waded in and faced a beautiful sunset bursting through the clouds. As Brandon snuggled me tight and we simmered in the romantic moment, he joked about how all we needed was some fish jumping. Gaston was squatting to get our reflection in a small water pool when all of the sudden……FISH JUMP!!! I couldn’t help my reaction and the squeal just came out. I mean, what are the odds! And that he pressed the button in time to catch them in the air! So lucky!That sunset was magic, but as quickly as it came, it left and with it rolled in the rain. Gaston wasn’t phased, and as we made our way back to the car, he came up with a plan to extend the session. He broke out his flash, positioned us near a palm tree, and lit up the raindrops around us. Now I’ll tell you, we’ve never had a drama shot like that before, and it was so fun to be the ones “up for the challenge” of shooting in the rain. All I could think was my hair was a wet mess and I had to look awful, but I had to trust our precious photographer who hadn’t let us down yet. He knew I was worried about my looks, so he shot wide and the result was perfect.
Overall the experience was a really great one and we couldn’t be happier with the photos! Even considering some hair issues, Gaston did an amazing job and we plan on a really big canvas, or two or three, for our home! Being on the other side of the lens provided us with a lot of insight into how our couples feel during our sessions. I’m excited to share what we learned and how it impacts our business in an upcoming post.