September 25, 2014

Adam + Nicole E-Session in Old Town Fort Collins

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I had spent a lot of time around Old Town Fort Collins while working at the paper but it was my first engagement session there. Going into Nicole and Adam’s e-session, I thought I would have to see differently than I used to as a photojournalist wandering the streets looking for photos. Instead, I realized I had the opportunity to make photos I never had the time to make as a photojournalist.

As a news photographer who was constrained to an ethical code for years, I wasn’t allowed to interfere with the situation I was photographing. With the exception of when I was making portraits, I couldn’t ask a subject to act a certain way or move them to a location that better suited the photo. It was up to me to work with the environment and make the best photo with what I had to work with. And, if I liked a certain composition or location but it lacked a person, I had to wait for them – even if it took several minutes or several hours.

As I walked the streets of Old Town I had this in mind. My eye scanned the streets for alcoves and backgrounds where I could put Nicole and Adam. For me shooting an engagement falls somewhere in between pure photojournalism and portraiture – probably a lot closer to the portraiture side if I’m being realistic. Nicole and Adam decided to have their shoot in Old Town so Eric and I had a lot of places to choose from. My approach to making engagement photos is to place the subject in an environment that will make them look good and let them act as they normally would – or as close to normal with a camera pointed at them. I may ask the couple to kiss or pose a little but most newly engaged couples know what to do. This is where the photojournalism comes in. I look for those little moments between the expected moments.

Eric and I traded off photographing Nicole and Adam and moved from location to location. While Eric was photographing the couple near a mosaic mural, I looked across the street and spotted a little red scooter. I knew it would fit in perfectly with the cosmopolitan small town photo shoot that was developing as we shot in Old Town.

As soon as I placed the couple in the spot near the scooter, I knew this was the photo I was looking for. Nicole and Adam made my job easy. All I had to do was press the shutter. Some photos make themselves when you have a couple as in love as these two in a scene as perfect as that. I can almost imagine them hopping aboard the scooter and zipping away from the wedding. Though I’m sure the owner of the scooter would have something to say about that.

Please let us know if you have an idea for a photo shoot. We love collaborating with our clients to come up with the perfect situation in which we can make great photos.

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Chris Stark
Wedding Photojournalist at Stark Bellamy Photography
Chris Stark is an award-winning photojournalist and former news photographer who honed his craft at several Colorado newspapers. Documentary wedding photography translates perfectly into Chris' fly-on-the-wall style. Chris lives in Longmont, Colorado with his wife and daughter and spends his free time on the bike or hiking with his family.
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