Amanda & Chris
The Quabbin Reservoir, Belchertown, Massachusetts
July 2nd, 2016
Whenever I have a wedding shoot coming up, it takes a lot of mental preparation as the days are typically some of the longest I ever work and documenting every moment in front of me takes quite a bit of time, patience and persistence.
For many of my weddings, the shoots may start in the morning during extended bridal prep periods and not end until the last person leaves the reception hall. In these instances, it can be a 10, 12 or even 17-hour day.
I know how to shoot those types of weddings though. I know the beats to look out for, when to take a five-minute break to recharge and what not to miss.
And that's why Amanda and Chris' July wedding at the Quabbin Reservoir in Belchertown, Massachusetts was one of the most unique weddings I've ever shot. Literally a two-hour shoot, Amanda and Chris had a small and private ceremony on a stunningly beautiful day and then formal photos. And that ... was ... it. But that's the fun thing about weddings. Sometimes, you don't need all the bells and whistles to have a shoot you'll remember forever. Sometimes, all you need is a bride, a groom and a stunning location.
My coverage of Amanda and Chris' big day started with the most abbreviated bridal prep session I've ever seen. Amanda took the two-hour drive from her house in Belchertown and showed up with her hair and makeup done and her dress already on.
Aside from a couple of loose odds and ends, like jewelry, her flowers and her veil, she was as ready to go as any bride I've ever seen which meant as soon as she arrived, we were getting ready to get started.
Still, I adore some of the pre-ceremony shots I was able to get of her as her dress, necklace and flowers were beautiful and complimented each other perfectly.
Amanda and Chris had initially come to me to ask if I'd shoot their 2017 wedding but, after thinking over the logistics and thinking of their needs as a couple, they decided a small and intimate ceremony was much more their style. And I love them for it.
Amanda and Chris had a ceremony attended by perhaps 15 people but they were all their closest friends and family and a setting that intimate makes the moment you're witnessing that much more special and meaningful.
After a touching ceremony overlooking the breathtaking Quabbin Reservoir, it was time for me to figure out how we were going to spend the final 90 minutes of our two-hour day together.
At first, I worried that would be far too much time to photograph two people but what I didn't know at the time was just how beautiful the location this bride and groom chose was. I mean, seriously, I've been to a lot of weddings in a lot of stunning locations but this was one of the few that gave me pause and made me say "Wow." Top it off with a perfect summer day and wispy clouds that made every photo that much better and you can see how that 90 minutes flew right by.
The first location Amanda, Chris and I chose was in the tower itself. We began at the bottom of the massive staircase as I loved the way the bricks looked in contrast to your standard tux and wedding dress and those photos made for some of my favorites of the whole day.
The trip upstairs, though, is where the sheer size and scope of our location came to life. It took a while to get to the top of the observation deck but once we did, it was worth every grueling step. (Which is easy for me to say as I wasn't the one wearing a giant wedding dress.)
I loved the photos from the top of the observation deck but what I think I liked the most about this part of the shoot was how comfortable Amanda and Chris got in front of the camera.
Their expressions felt much more relaxed the further we went on and that only helped encourage me to find even nicer locations as we walked the grounds. We didn't get far from their ceremony site when we saw this beautiful spot in the grass though ...
Man. That location was a LOT of fun.
By the time we got done with the tall grass, we had time for one more spot and I left it to the newlyweds to choose where we would go.
Thankfully, Amanda and Chris were familiar with the area and suggested we go to the local police station (Yes, for real) as there was a nice view that would be a perfect way to end the day.
I'll be honest. I expected we'd be taking photos from inside a prison cell but they were right. Tucked away in front of this station was a lovely spot right on the water that put the perfect cap on an already awesome day.
By the end of our time together, I knew Amanda and Chris had gotten PLENTY of photos to chose from from their session.
As a two-hour wedding assignment, I may have been initially concerned about how much I could deliver for the bride and groom but thanks to an amazing location, a wonderful couple and a day to kill for, Amanda and Chris' wedding photos deliver exactly what I hoped they would and much, much more.
Pound for pound, I feel like we hit the spirit of their day perfectly and created lasting images they'll cherish for a lifetime.
I know I certainly will.