Love waits for no one...and as it turns out, that includes the photographer.
It was 2pm on a Thursday and I was jamming through edits from the recent Europe tour of September. Working in post is one of those things for me that when I begin, it's a slow process, but once I find my groove and put blinders on, I pick up speed and nearly shut the rest of the world out. It's a love-hate relationship because often times more than not, I won't stop and next thing I know it's 10pm.
But today was different. I received a phone call from a girl who said her best friend was going to be proposed to this evening. Since her friend was a model, the boyfriend had gone ahead and fabricated a photoshoot. However, the photographer cancelled last minute and they were left scrambling. With a shoot time from 4-6, it had to be a quick decision.
By 4, I had gotten ready, prepped my gear, and arrived at the fake photoshoot location: LACMA's 'Urban Lights' display on Wilshire here in Los Angeles, CA. I was greeted by Emma (soon to be fiancé) and her 2 friends in on the entire spectacle. After a quick pre-shoot briefing I took Emma out to the lights to dial in the settings.
It was magic hour, the sun was setting, and the lights were just turning on - a beautiful display of 202 restored street lamps that can only be rivaled by the magic my lens was about to capture. We ran through nearly an hour of shooting, reviewing shots, and changing out lenses - about as much as a 'single look' shoot could've extracted.
The friends had coordinated the shoot in such a way that I was to have Emma model facing a certain direction while her boyfriend would be able to sneak into frame undetected. As the blue sky faded away and let the lights take over for the evening Matt slowly and casually walked into the shot from stage right.
At first Emma looked shocked, not knowing quite what to do how to handle what she thought was her boyfriend interrupting a shoot. However, once he took a knee she was quickly able to realize exactly what was happening. However, that didn't subdue any amount of shock, joy, and love she began to show with her smile.
Snapping away, I rotated counterclockwise to get a full 360 view of the moment - from speech, to ring presentation, to 'YES!', to the kiss - all was lit up by not just the hundreds of street lamps, but by [you guessed it] love.
After the reveal of each of our parts in the big surprise, making more formal introductions, and exchanging laughs (and some tears of joy on Emma and her friends' part) I took Matt & his new fiancé through a couple shots to capture and preserve their luminosity amidst the moment.
I was thoroughly pleased with the performance of the group, the organizing of the elements for this not just proposal, but fake photoshoot preliminary to the actual one, and of course the photographs produced. The Urban Lights display creates such a well-lit, and old-world styled backdrop that is perfect for the occasion.
Gentlemen, take notes.