I had such a giggly, fun time with Ashley and Will at their engagement session a few weeks ago! These two are both in medical school, where they met and fell in love, and they are both some of the kindest, most wonderful people ever.

We were at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens in Rockford, Illinois, but because of the local high school’s homecoming, the conservatory was packed. Despite that surprise, we managed to find some hidden nooks away from the crowds, and you would never know by looking at the photos how many people were around. The gardens were absolutely stunning, and I think it may have been the most perfect golden hour of my whole life!

My goal with this session was for the photos to feel like they weren’t taken in Illinois, and the gothic gazebo helped make that possible. We also managed to climb up a little hill with some tall grass that felt almost like we were on some kind of coastal cliffside. Between the architecture, the environment, and Ashley and Will's outfits, the photos turned out so timeless and classic, and they felt like they could have been taken anywhere but a busy park in Illinois!

Ashley and Will then changed into some cozy sweaters and jeans, and they were instantly transformed into a more dark academia aesthetic. The outfit change gave the second half of our session a totally different feel, and it allowed for them to get a bit more active and fun. They were able to run around and Will gave Ashley a piggy back ride, which turned out too cute! At this point, the sun was setting rapidly, but it gave me a chance to shoot during blue hour, which I love. It allows me to get those quiet, moody photos in addition to the glowy golden hour photos. Their whole session felt like a movie to me, which I thought was so fitting for their love story.

This session was a perfect example of a few super important things to remember when planning for your session--outfits, location, and lighting! Having two very different outfits, like Ashley and Will did, allows for unique photos. The outfits you choose are a huge determining factor for the overall vibe of a photo gallery.

Mixing opposite styles--chic and casual, quirky and classy--will give you the full range to express your relationship in your photos. I also can’t overstate the importance of location and lighting! No matter the situation, I can always provide you with photos that you’ll love, but I can only control so much. So choosing an outfit and a location that fit the vibe you want, as well as a location with sufficient lighting, is an important step of the process that I try my best to help my clients to consider. 

I truly had the best time during this session! We chatted and laughed the entire time, and by the end I felt like we had been friends forever. Ashley and I both commented that if we had met earlier in life we would have been good friends, and we are so happy that we get to be friends now! We couldn’t stop giggling about how much we had in common--right down to our favorite cocktail being a gin and tonic. I just can't get over how blessed I am to get to know wonderful people like Ashley and Will for my job!