Spending time with your photographer on an engagement session is so important. For me, I like watching how the couple interacts on a session; how they laugh, how they touch, how they kiss. It is a time for me to study what makes them bring out the desired emotion I need for a photo. It's a time for the couple to learn how I give direction and how they take direction. Every couple is different. This particular shoot is probably my favorite of my entire career. Not only because of how beautiful the images were, but because of the bond the couple and I formed in a whirlwind 36 hours. That beautiful bond created a trust and friendship and a year later I flew to Los Angeles to capture their spectacular wedding. Click here to see their mansion wedding in the mountains of California. Here's the story of Jane & Jay and our magical trip to Oz.
I am so thrilled to be able to share this story with everyone. This kind of opportunity doesn't happen everyday. I've been a professional photographer for over 2 decades and this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is what dreams are made of. It was a whirlwind 6 days! It started with a old friend from high school giving me a call to see if I was available to be in North Carolina in 1 week because her best friend was flying out from California to have her engagement photos taken at an abandoned Wizard of Oz theme park. She knew I would be the perfect fit for them and that the photographer they originally hired was not the right person for the job. For those that know me well, that movie is my absolute favorite and I had no idea such a place existed. I immediately researched it and it looked all run down and abandoned, but had a lot of potential for some great images. I started planning out the images I wanted to create based on what I was able to research online.
As you can imagine, my adrenaline was flowing and I was getting extremely excited. In the next 24 hours, I was put in touch with Jane and her fiance Jay and we collaborated and talked about our vision for the shoot, and the next thing I knew, 6 days later, I was on my way to the mountains of North Carolina to meet some strangers who were crazier than I was, and I was going to spend the weekend in a house in the woods with them! How often does that happen?
Our flights both landed within 10 minutes from each other and they met me at my gate, we said our hellos, grabbed our rental car and spent the next 2.5 hours driving into the mountains to meet the woman who maintained the property. It was a great opportunity to get to know each other, and get excited. Once we reached the very top of the mountain, we were given the only set of keys to this very magical place. So around this winding path we drove until we reached the gates of OZ. We all had butterflies as we saw the gates and knew we were about to enter this special place. Oz certainly didn't disappoint! It was more magical than I could have imagined! I'd be lying if I didn't admit to shedding a tear or two as my childhood fantasy was coming to life! We spent an hour running around all excited like children and of course I began to prep how and where I wanted to photograph. Just seeing it in person now I knew we had to recreate some scenes and tell our tale of “The Journey to Oz.” So I immediately changed my mind on how I wanted to photograph the session and Jane and Jay were in total agreement.
My only concern was that I was traveling without an assistant. So getting the kinds of images I wanted was going to be a challenge without an extra pair of hands. We knew the temps were going to be at or just below freezing and the couple would not be dressed properly so we had to work as quickly as possible. Thankfully Alyssa, our hair and makeup artist, Check her out here decided to stay on location to be my assistant and to help holding my lights and reflectors and lugging my equipment uphill. She was a huge help!
I think the decision to recreate scenes from the movie instead of just make photos in the location, gave it such a nostalgic and personal feel. The next morning Alyssa arrived from South Carolina (a three hour ride) and began to transform Jane into our modern day Dorothy. We were running about 2 hours behind because prep took longer than expected (although so worth it) and we still had to drive to the location which was 45 mins from our little cottage in the middle of nowhere! There was no heat on the property so we needed to prepare for the very cold temps, no working water, and we had to be sure we had food and drink with us. Of course, the day before when we were scouting the location we didn’t see another person or animal on the property, and wouldn’t you know it, a black cat, who we affectionately called Toto, walked right up to Jane and became her BFF and followed us the entire day! You can spot Toto in most of the images. We didn’t plan to take 4 hours shooting and prepping but we ended up shooting into sunset which was spectacular. My goal was to process the images like the movie; first in a black and white tone and then when Dorothy entered OZ, the color would come alive. Our Journey to Oz was truly magical!
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Here are some behind the scenes images...
For more information on me or my sessions, please feel free to visit my site
COMPANY: VeroLuce Photography