Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Special Anniversary Session

Did you know that the traditional first year anniversary gift is paper?

I promise this has meaning, so please stick with me.
I've been asked by so many people what I think they should get their spouse for the "Paper" anniversary. I must confess, I'm not the most creative when coming up with truly different gift ideas for anyone outside my immediate family. And even then I sometimes have a hard time deciding on gifts that have that "wow" factor. But I have heard so many great responses - books, stationary, tickets to events, even stock certificates. But when I was asked to help create a first anniversary gift, I was so excited! I hadn't really thought of doing an anniversary session, but I was very happy to experience yet another first in my career.
She came to me with a very specific request: she wanted me to get images of her in ways that hadn't been done before. She wanted close ups of her eyes, her neck, and her lips - her husband's favorites! The idea was that the images would be framed in simple, elegant black frames with large white mattes, arranged on the wall in their bedroom closest to his side of the bed. Can you think of anything more perfect?

While I have done many "detail" images in which I do close ups of rings, flowers, details on dresses, I have never been tasked with singling out just portions of a person's face. This was definitely an area that I was unfamiliar with. But I like a challenge.

I started with the image of the eyes - I thought that would be the easiest. Come to find out - it wasn't! She has these beautiful green eyes with nice long eye lashes. I was hoping to capture not only her great lashes, but also her spirit. A person's eyes say so much about them and one thing as a photographer you cannot do is try to fake emotion where there isn't any. It took about 20 minutes to get the right angle and then another 10 minutes to work on the emotion. It was an amazing learning experience for both of us.
Here is the final image she decided on. I just love it.

I then moved to her lips. But again I was faced with the hard task of figuring out what the best angle was to fully capture her lips in the way I knew she wanted. Having been through the eye exercise, the lips were easier:

The neck proved to be as challenging as I expected. I wanted to show enough the neck to know what it is, yet not so much of her face, since it would take the focus away from the neck. Here I needed to really work on not only the angle to take the photograph from, but also the angle of the light. This image came out better than I hoped. It is my favorite of them all:

She knew she wanted to do four images to balance the collage on the wall, but hadn't decided on what to do for the fourth image. This last one happened more by accident than anything. As I was setting my camera up for one of the other images, I saw her hand laying there. I turned my camera and took this image:

I converted them to a warm sepia tone afterwards in Photoshop. They aren't a true black and white - more of a brown and white. But I love them. Now, imagine if you will, all of them together in separate, matching black frames and it was the perfect first anniversary gift. Since I didn't want to spoil the surprise, I waited until she gave them to her husband to post here, but I have been told he LOVES them.

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