One of my very first in-person interactions with Amanda and Molly was our drive to Saylorville. They had a particular place in mind so I jump in their vehicle for the journey. That journey included the age old directions battle every couple is familiar with. Both know the best way, neither is conceding, eventually we get to where we're going. Amanda and Molly both apologized for fighting in front of me and I turned to them and said something along the lines of, "Ladies, this is the real stuff. You're a real couple. If you didn't fight over directions, I would think you were robots." When it came time to start shooting, I simply told them to turn towards each other, kiss like you like each other and forget the rest.
Photoshoots invite stress. From picking the perfect outfits, to getting proper directions, to a misbehaving dog, to realizing your favorite sunset spot is roped off for a political event. They are stressful because they reflect real life. We're not painting impressions of the evening. We're capturing the real deal. The real weather. The real uncooperative dog and that's what makes every moment risky and oh, so magical.
Here's what Amanda and Molly had to say about their engagement session:
Words from Amanda:
When Molly and I began planning for our engagement shoot, I had only two requirements: (1) at least some of the pictures had to be taken at a specific park south of Saylorville Lake, and (2) the pictures needed to be authentically “us.”
Long before I knew who would be standing next to me, I knew it was the place I wanted my engagement pictures taken. The park/campground that holds the Saylorville spillway was named for my grandpa and has always been a special place for my family. Over the years, we’ve take photos in front of the “Bob Shetler Recreation Area” sign to chart our “growth” from kids clutching teddy bears to angsty teenagers with braces and ratty converse. My grandpa passed away before I was born, but the park always felt created a personal link to him.
The second requirement - ensuring the pictures captured us authentically - would be an obvious expectation of any couple. As a gay couple, however, we knew we couldn’t truly be “us” unless we felt comfortable with our photographer and that they felt comfortable with us. Finding gay-friendly vendors in a progressive city like Des Moines didn’t seem like something we’d struggle with, but it did prove to be a realistic concern. And a photo shoot? That would put us in some pretty intimate, vulnerable positions. We needed someone who could laugh at our jokes and capture us genuinely.
Side note from Whitney: It's super important to me that every couple who walks in my door - gay or straight - experiences tons of fun, comfort and a confidence that I will take care of them. I'm so glad Amanda & Molly trusted that they were in good hands.****
Words from Molly:
Our engagement photoshoot wouldn’t be complete without our pup, Boston. She’s the center of our lives, and I thought it would be cute if she made the official “save the date” announcement. We quickly learned that she’s not the most cooperative, focused, or patient when it comes to getting her picture taken, but we were lucky enough to get one or two good pictures. (I can’t really blame her, though; there were a million new smells, people, and even wild animals roaming around to pique her curiosity.) If anything, our engagement shoot served as the perfect warm-up for our wedding day. We plan to make Boston our ringbearer/flowergal, and we are now aware of her limitations when it comes to having pictures taken. And Whitney now knows how many treats to keep in her pocket.