Love letters in Paris kicked off these world-travelers’ relationship, these Gettysburg College alums re-visited campus together, stopping at Robert’s proposal spot and the beautiful countryside that was the backdrop for the start of their love story, you need to check out Natasha’s ring and custom manicure, both are seriously stunning!
A friendly, encouraging photographer who creates vibrant, unique photos that capture authentic emotion
Natasha shared, “We chose Lisa as our photographer because of the emotion that she is able to capture in her photography & her use of vivid colors. Both of us tend to gravitate towards unconventional and unique styles, so we liked the personalized nature of her work.”
She continued, “We also are going to have an interesting mix for our bridal party of 9 men and 3 women, and her vogue style photos of the bridal party really appeal to us because they are non-traditional and unique. Once meeting Lisa we found her to be personable, friendly, encouraging, and funny and we can’t wait to see what she does for our wedding.”
How cute are these two? The chemistry!!
A Gettysburg College alumni (Robert) & junior (Natasha) meet through mutual friends…
Robert explained, “Gettysburg made sense for us as a backdrop for our engagement photos because we met and graduated from Gettysburg College. I came back to visit friends as an alumnus, Natasha was a junior at the time.”
Natasha added, “Because we both chose to attend Gettysburg College, and our ‘friend groups’ happened to overlap, we are where we are today, soon to be married!”
I considered the campus almost as if it were a third person along on the engagement photography session. As you look through my work you will notice me incorporating different buildings throughout, for example, the clock tower is silhouette along with the couple in this image:
Penn Hall proposal– a meaningful symbol on Gettysburg College’s campus:
Natasha shared, “Our wedding story began by Rob proposing on the steps of Penn Hall.”
She went on, “The steps of Pennsylvania Hall signify special meaning to us both in our relationship and as alumni of Gettysburg College. On your first day at Gettysburg, you attend a Convocation Ceremony which concludes with all of the first years walking up the steps on the north side of Penn Hall and entering through the building as a symbol of entering the college. It is considered bad luck to walk up the south side steps until graduation day where you come full circle by literally and figuratively exiting the college and returning to your family and friends as a better version of yourself.”
She concluded, “Having you capture a recreation of this moment brought us full circle and was just perfect.” They were all smiles and giggles.
I used a tilt-shift effect her to allow the American flag and cupula to be in sharp focus, as well as the windows, columns, and couple, including Robert on one knee… I wanted it to look like a miniature, almost like a little scene in a snow globe, a significant moment, paused at the peak…
Robert’s passion for travel and clever, kind, loving nature drew Natasha in…
Natasha explained, “We originally connected because of a shared interest in foreign cultures and languages because at the time Rob had just returned from studying abroad in Russia and I was about to embark on my semester abroad in Paris.”
Natasha smiled, “Rob has an innate kindness that draws people to him, he is clever and curious and has a wealth of random facts tucked into his brain that fascinates me. He is also a very loving person and I feel very lucky that I am the recipient of his love and he makes me laugh.
Sometimes it’s the “little things” like a unique engagement ring and creative nail art that makes the biggest impact…
I complimented Natasha’s impressive nail art and wondered where she had it done…
She smiled, “I started doing nail art while pursuing my Masters at American University as I found for the first time I had enough downtime to let my nails dry because I would paint my nails and complete my readings for class between coats and now it has become a signature of my look.”
She continued, “I love jewelry, I first went to my family jewelers at the age of 7 where I picked out my first ring with my parents for my 7th birthday. Ever since I have loved sparkly things, evidenced by not only my jewelry, but by my shoes. Thus, it made only sense that Rob knowing me would make sure that we went ring shopping together. I wanted something that no one else has and something unique and one of a kind. I technically let Rob pick between 2 rings, but there was really only one correct answer, and he picked the right one, haha!”
I have lots of lenses in my kit and carry them around in a simple backpack as I shoot on location. Each one is specialized to do a unique job, this 100mm Canon L-series macro lens specialized in getting detail photos, and man, does it help me to really nail these ring shots. it’s worth the extra weight for sure!
Their love of adventure has taken them around the globe…
Robert smiled, “Our love of traveling has taken us all over the world to France, England, Germany, Austria, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina and we can’t wait for our next adventure, our honeymoon.”
I like to play with perspective, here I am low enough to almost stretch the columns while exposing the vibrant green of the summer leaves and the vibrant blue of the sky:
Natasha’s talent makes him feel like he’s living in his own Broadway musical…
Robert explained, “I really love Natasha’s passion, hopefulness, and bubbly personality. She views the world in such a positive way and appreciates the small things in life.”
He continued, “Natasha is a musician and sings, plays the flute and piano so life with her is never dull, but more like living in my own personal musical.”
Newsie’s, West Side Story, 42nd Street, etc if you are looking for a leading man… 😉
Mostly, they just love spending time together
Natasha added, “We both know that life is meant to be enjoyed and always strive to find something to be positive about and find humor in situations.”
She concluded, “More than anything we just like to be together and we are lucky in that we like to spend our time doing similar things and share a love of similar places.”
I loved the intense gold color of this open field in Gettysburg National Park. Robert and Natasha were game and just pulled over on our way to the top of the battlefield. It’s very subtle, but if you look closely you can see that I used a slow shutter speed to show movement as the wind blew through the field. It takes a lot of math and science to over-ride the camera’s auto settings, and I’m constantly doing those calculations in my head as I shoot.
A gift from Florence, Italy
Natasha smiled, “Rob’s belt has been a mainstay since the beginning of our relationship, as I bought it for him while we were just talking while I was on spring break at the Italian leather market in Florence, Italy. This is because previously Rob had what I deemed the ‘pilgrim belt’ which he immediately threw away after I gave him this beautiful, Italian leather belt to wear as soon as I was back in the US.”
Traditional engagement portraiture:
While My main focus is capturing authentic moments that tell a couple’s story and capture their emotions and significant places in the most beautiful light, I also make sure to capture a couple of more traditional portraits as well.
What a stunning couple, right?
‘Reflecting’ a little on the ‘perfect’ time of day for an engagement session…
For people who love vibrant colors, I often suggest shooting in mid-day where we will have bright blue sunny skies, or near the end of the day where we will have intense yellows at sunset. I know most photographers lately seem to say “overcast is best” and it is if you want flat light and specific locations, but in this instance, where we wanted campus, in general, we could push the time of day to be intense midday sun that brings high color and high contrast, that really gives the photos some pop that fit these two perfectly!
I love it when I notice a really cool reflection… look closely and you’ll see Natasha & Robert in it, along with an artistic take on one of the buildings on campus.
Natasha added, “We had gorgeous blue skies with some clouds in the mid-70s so basically perfect weather.”
Robert agreed. He brought up the way that they tend to agree on the important things in life.
Natasha agreed, “We both have similar values and backgrounds and enjoy spending time together, learning, wine, and of course, traveling.”
6 months of love letters, addressed to Natasha in Paris…
Robert shared, “We met and were initially just friends, and a few months later, Natasha left for Paris. I was determined to keep in touch and hoped to woo my friend into hopefully being something more.”
Natasha smiled and added, “My ‘friend’ sent me about twenty letters to Paris and flowers on Valentine’s Day, too. My girlfriends were like, friend(?) our boyfriends don’t even bother to do that, haha!”
Robert explained, “I have a master’s degree in history, and was working in the national archives as an archivist at the time. I was sorting through so many historical documents, and am partial to having actual letters. There is something about having that piece of paper that will last the test of time that makes it more meaningful.”
An incredible shot that had us communicating from 50 feet apart…
I know how much Natasha loves color and dramatic lighting, and I really wanted to silhouette them against the bright blue sky while seeing the vibrant greens and intense shadows of the leaves. I asked if they were game to try something different and they were 100% in.
I stood downhill and in the bushes (haha) maybe 50 feet away, and tried to explain to them the exact place to stand to be perfectly framed by the shadowy tree limbs as they swayed in the breeze. It took a few minutes for all of the stars (or leaves in this case, ha) to align and we ended up with this beautiful portrait:
Just because her engagement ring is *that stunning*
I noticed the perfectly lit, emerald green leaf with interesting lines and dark shadows and knew it was ‘the spot’ to place Natasha’s engagement ring to really show off the intricate lines and detailing and bring the vibrant greens and blues from the rest of the shoot full circle.
I pulled out my macro lens and here is the result. It might look easy, but imagine balancing this with the wind and trying to get it in sharp focus while getting the sun to catch it just right… totally worth it!
Natasha and Robert, thank you so much for sharing your story with me and trusting me to capture the emotion from such a significant time in your life. When you look at these I hope you see your personalities and favorite places shine through as well as the deep love that you share. I am over the moon excited to capture your wedding day at The Bond in York, Pennsylvania.