Lainey-10

Three years ago, when I was a relatively new Philadelphian, Paul took me to Sakura Sunday at Fairmount Park’s Horticulture Center.  It was like stepping into another world, with the most stunning display of Cherry Blossoms I’d ever seen.  For someone who always favors photographing darker and moodier images, no one was more surprised than I was at how badly I wanted to photograph a beautiful model in the cherry blossoms.  But the spring display is temperamental depending on the winter, the peak bloom time only days long, and difficult to predict in advance.   For the next 2 seasons, we tried to make it happen.  Models would flake and cancel at the last minute, and assembling a team willing to be flexible enough to shoot with only a few days notice almost impossible.  Models don’t always understand how true magic is photographed.  You have to be patient enough to wait for the perfect light, or in this case, fickle mother nature.

When makeup artist Wendie Heatherington approached us about doing a shoot, we decided to give it another try.  We reached out to dancer Lainey Johnson, who I’d wanted a chance to photograph forever.  Lainey is a true pro with a smile that conveys all the joy that we hoped to capture, as well as beautiful dancer lines that I knew would perfectly mimic the graceful arches of the trees.  We again called upon our friend and super stylist Joey Mason of Philly Aids thrift, who found some beautiful dresses from their racks for us to play in.  Danielle Harrsch rounded out the team with soft, beautiful hair styling, and my love Paul Cofield, somehow embraced my odd need to wallow in pink floral prettiness, and charted our course for several different areas around the city lined with the graceful trees.

And so we spent the next few hours, rattling around in our old truck, Lainey bravely changing dresses roadside, Paul determined to make her climb trees in gowns and pointe shoes, Wendie and Danielle on hand to primp and refresh, dropping in and out of fields of cherry blossoms, and captured Lainey as she danced throughout Philly, and it was absolutely as perfect as I could have imagined.  ‘Cause sometimes, it’s totally worth it to wait for the magic.

Click on individual photos to view full screen.  Slideshow can be viewed at Cherry Blossom Slideshow

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There are days when I wish I could record some of the phone calls I get, like when Stefanie first called me inquiring about wedding photography.  “We’re doing a Doctor Who themed wedding and want an engagement shoot in Asbury Park dressed from different Doctor Who episodes that will be used as table settings.  Could you do something like that?”  I was instantly intrigued and terrified.  Paul has been a Doctor Who fan for years, but I needed a crash course.  Over the next several weeks, we binge watched from a quite extensive list of episodes that Stef listed as their favorites.  The engagement shoot turned into one of my very favorites, where Stef and Adam came loaded with costumes and props, and we spent the next several hours climbing sand dunes and creeping through the old casino, with our future bride and groom running with sonic screwdrivers down the boardwalk from invisible enemies.  Paul couldn’t resist photoshopping armies of Daleks and Weeping Angels throughout their shoot.

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Wedding Day!  The tardis has landed!

Fast forward to wedding day!  Surrounded by Tardis blue bridemaids, Stef’s “getting ready” photos are among some of my favorite bridal portraits ever.  She absolutely radiated light and an easy elegance with sweet lace sleeves which she would remove for the reception an add a stunning drop necklace, while Adam donned his perfect bow tie.

Upon entering the lobby of the Northhampton Valley Country Club, guests were welcomed with Tardis Keys for table assignments, signed a River Song Diary guest book, selected a bag of gummy bears, engraved pencils and took a seat.  We were almost giddy with excitement when we were introduced to Al Vernacchio, the officiant perfectly attired as a Doctor, and performed a wonderfully simple ceremony complete with a unity candle lit by sonic screwdriver, and a diary.  After cocktail hour, guests found their tables, each centerpiece complete with a photo of a Doctor Who episode alongside a matching scene from our Asbury Park engagement photos.  Music by Eric Scott Gold of East Coast Event Group truly made it a party, with lighting that actually enhanced the photography rather than ruining it.

Stef and Adam, thank you for allowing us to document your amazing adventures.  It’s been an absolute joy!

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