Behind the Curtain: A Peek at Pete’s Photobooth Proposal

It seems to be true that good things come in threes and yesterday was proof of that little theory. When Pete came home from work, I spent a good twenty minutes rambling about how giddy I was since: 1.) I managed to land a job interview with an amazing company and 2.) I found our foster dog, Charsi a new home with a loving family. I asked him about his day and we exchanged our usual stories about each other’s latest happenings. He asked what I wanted for dinner and I told him we could make pasta since we are in need of groceries and it’s one of the only edible things in the house right now. Apparently since he made dinner last night (which consisted of scooping tuna salad I had made onto bread), it was my turn to do the cooking since we switch cooking and cleaning every other night. I cluelessly didn’t realize at the time that he was trying to lead me into the kitchen.

So, to the kitchen I went, where I asked what type of pasta he wanted. I rattled off our options and asked boring inquisitive questions like “what’s the difference between linguine and fettuccine?” When I went to grab a pot from our cabinets, just about our entire cookware set came toppling over. Typical Shannon spazzery was taking place. I started boiling a pot of water and filled our Brita water pitcher, which I put in the fridge without realizing this was waiting for me:

To give you a little backstory, during one of our first outings as a couple, we went to a restaurant and had photobooth pictures taken. Since then, we always take photos together whenever we see an old-fashioned booth and we hang the pictures on our fridge (below). Without me realizing it, he swapped the five strips of our photos with the pictures of him spelling out “Will you marry me?” across the rows.

I had no idea the photo strips were on the fridge until he said “WILL YOU PLEASE LOOK AT THE FRIDGE!” The poor ginger was nervously waiting to ask me to marry him for a good half hour and I was totally concentrated on boiling water and rambling about linguine and had no idea he had alterior motives. Once I looked at the fridge I flailed and turned around excitedly to find him on one knee. He said, “Well, will you!?” and I said “You have to ask in person to make it all official-like!” so he asked (he’ll kill me for sharing this, but I believe his words were, “Will you marry me, my poopins?”), to which I responded with a flail-filled yes and hugged him and danced in place for a good two minutes before he told me we had reservations at my favorite sushi spot. My hands were trembling and the only thing I could think to say was, “Does this mean I don’t have to make pasta!?”

We went ring shopping together in late August and chose a beautiful art deco/victorian style vintage ring from the 1915-1920s era. I had told Pete how much I loved diamonds with a subtle pop of color, so we picked out a lovely yellow diamond with the help of the fabulous jewelry designer behind the Philadelphia jewelry shop, Halloween.

I’m not very skilled in the department of taking photos of my own hand, so I photographed the ring on linens and piles of leaves around our house since I’m a photo geek (I realize rings never hang out on bushes, but bear with me anyway).

Pete had the wooden letters he held in the photobooth custom made by an Etsy shop called RivalryTime, which is why I was left in suspense, since I knew he had the ring for a few months. He even arranged to take the photos at El Vez, the restaurant where we had our first photo booth photos together. He told me he only had the exact change for five strips because he didn’t realize they were $3/piece, so he was really nervous that he was going to mess up the order of the letters. Thus him making a “oh my god, I hope I got this right” face in the last photo with him and the ring box. He said he wanted to take it again so he was smiling, but I like it better this way because he’s rarely nervous so it’s nice to have it documented for life!

I couldn’t be more thrilled with the proposal because it really suited our personalities and our backstory, plus now I have photos to look at whenever I want to relive the moment, and you all know how much I love me some photos.

Speaking of photos, I went a little crazy snapping so many ring shots, but I wanted to share them with family and friends who aren’t able to see it in person just yet.

I really love the vintage setting and would definitely recommend Halloween if you want to find rare antique pieces with a lot of character that they are willing to customize in any way you’d like.

The mister sure did a good job. I feel like the luckiest girl alive and am shocked that I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend (no offense, Betty White). He gets me and I get him. When he’s being quiet, I am full of pasta rambles. When I’m being a control freak, he helps me enjoy spontaneity. We might be the opposite in a lot of ways, but we balance each other out and at the end of the day, I couldn’t ask for anything more.

I am so thrilled (and not just because there are sushi leftovers in the fridge) and look forward to documenting our offbeat journey along the way.

Thanks again to the ginger for the best night ever (I promise I’ll actually make dinner tonight).

As a side note, my night came full circle when I saw I had a super sweet voicemail from our foster dog’s new parents, which was just another sign of how awesome they are!

I’ll ask Pete to take a photo of me being like “look at mah purty ring” while wearing my embarrassing Charlie Sheen shirt tonight per your request! Did anyone else ramble away cluelessly while your significant other was trying to propose? I love proposal stories, so feel free to comment with yours below!

Weekend Happenings!

Sorry in advance for my posts this week, I can tell already it will be a miss-mosh of randomness since I have a gazillion deadlines to tackle and don’t have much time to dedicate to my own blog.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of second shooting for the lovely Maria Mack, who I joined at Citizens Bank Park to photograph a stunning, ballpark wedding. Thank goodness the weather behaved itself and we had nothing but sunny skies. I thought it was cute how the guests were able to sit in the stands while the ceremony was held on the field. The reception took place at the Diamond Club and the Phillie Phanatic even came to bust out some fabulous dance moves. I think my favorite shot from the night was when the Phanatic got together with three pregnant women and posed while sticking his pregnant-esque belly out. I also toured around the players’ locker room with the groom, which was an absolute blast. I may or may not have flailed like an idiot when I saw Cliff Lee’s locker. We were able to sneak a peek at all of their grooming essentials, which was highly entertaining. I may or may not have found out from a little bird that the boys have their fair share of brightly-colored loofahs in the showers.

In other news, a large portion of my week is going to be dedicated to tackling this life-sized painting of a German couple and a drunk pig sporting Lederhosen. Pete’s brother is co-hosting an Oktoberfest bash this weekend, so once the painting is complete, he’s going to cut out face holes for a fun photo-op. I’m hoping to finish this up mid-day on Wednesday, so I’ll be sure to post another shot once it’s finished! It looks a bit wacky now, but I like showing progress shots of big projects, which you may or may not have figured out by now.

What were you up to this weekend?

Ham it up: Engagement Photography Tips

Whether you’re a photographer or a recently engaged couple, engagement photos can be quite a fun adventure. For couples, it can seem a bit daunting when it comes to selecting a location, outfit and potentially a few props.

For this post, I’ll be offering my advice as a wedding photographer to both photographers and couples for engagement photography sessions. These photos are from my most recent engagement shoot at Terrain with an amazing couple whose wedding I will be photographing this weekend. I couldn’t have lucked out with a more easy-going couple—they were willing to do all of the poses and ideas I brought up and they looked stunning while doing so!

For the photographers: Always arrive early. Even if you’ve already visited your location, be sure to get there before the couple to scout out beautiful backdrops. You’ll want to be able to lead the couple around with confidence, which is why being prepared is so important. It also doesn’t hurt to greet the couple as they arrive, since they will most likely be nervous and looking for a familiar face.

For the fashionable or not so fashionable couples: Dress like yourselves. I strongly recommend that my couples don’t wear black or light pants. Men tend to look best in dark-colored pants or jeans, but the gals can pull off a lot more looks. It doesn’t hurt to bring several options along, the couple can always get the photographer’s input on a certain outfit. The more the merrier!

For the self-conscious, shy couple: Don’t worry about posing. Try to ignore your gut reaction of smiling into the camera, and just enjoy simple moments with your significant other. It’s always nice to get a few formal photos for the fam, but for the most part, these photos should capture your relationship together and appear effortless.

For the gadget-friendly couples: Be sure to leave your cell phones, pagers, walkie talkies, lightsabers and all other bulky objects in the car (or I can always carry them for you). Nothing is worse than trying to Photoshop awkward cell phone bulges out of jean pockets after the fact. For the ladies, you’ll end up feeling a lot more comfortable without having to haul your purse around, so feel free to either leave it in your car or have your photographer carry it around so it doesn’t end up being something you constantly have to toss aside.

For the city-dwelling couples: Do things in public as if no one else is there. Despite the fact that there might be nearby shoppers or tourists, act as if you two are the only people in the world and everyone else is in their underwear (except for me, please).

For the fellow goofballs: You are my people. Don’t worry about looking “cool.” Like Lester Bangs said in Almost Famous, “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we’re uncool.” Don’t be afraid to be silly…the more ridiculous you are, the more personal your photos will be. My favorite engagement photos are almost always the unposed, “blooper” images, which just happen out of moments of self-conscious giggle fits.

For the photographers who can’t seem to tell a joke: Don’t worry, we’ve all been there (at least I’m telling myself that). Sometimes I’ll say something random and ridiculous, in hopes of making the couple crack a genuine smile, but it just ends up in an awkward moment of blank stares and crickets chirping. As a photographer, it’s important to remember you aren’t Richard Pryor and you don’t always have to be funny to make the couple laugh and share a smiling moment. I’ve found that all it takes is simply asking the couple to stare at the camera in a serious, GQ manner, and they will be bursting into a fit of laughter in no time.

For the not-so-natural couples: Don’t feel like you have to wait for the photographer’s directions at all times. For the most part, the photographer will direct your pose in a specific location, but you will have to fill in the gaps. Don’t be afraid to just enjoy these quiet moments with your significant other. Your movements should feel natural and not like you are reenacting those posed Glamour Shots your mom still has on her mantle.

For the couples who need an outfit change/smoke/potty break: Sometimes there are lulls during an engagement shoot when the couple will be changing their outfits or freshening up. Take this time to politely ask the bride-to-be if she would mind you photographing the engagement ring while they are away. Pinky swear not to steal it and/or drop it down a drain and she’ll give it to you in no time. It’s always nice to have several minutes to photograph the ring and place it in different artistic settings, so this is the perfect time to do so without feeling rushed.

For the indecisive photographer/couple: Can’t come up with a shoot location? Trying to figure out if an abandoned field or busy storefront would best suit your personality as a couple? Sometimes the most convincing photos are taken by following the couple around on a real date. Strolling through storefronts and admiring organic pickles or roaming through a record store together is just as romantic as being surrounded by nature. For couples who prefer to shoot in Ansel Adams-like landscapes, consider bringing props from home which sum up your interests and hobbies. A rustic quilt from your Grandmother, some of your favorite books or a picnic basket with handmade snacks can really warm up the atmosphere.

For the chatty Cathy couples: If your photographer gives you the a-ok to ramble to each other, make sure you leave moments of brief silence where they can capture you at your best. This way there’s no blinking or half-opened mouths. It’s a beautiful blend of talking about puppy dogs and rainbows, but leaving a few seconds of smiley stillness.

Hopefully these tips will be helpful to you, whether you’re engaged, a wedding photographer or as bad as I am about being in front of the camera!