Lea & Frank are ENGAGED!!!

Frank has been a fantastic friend, a fabulous neighbor (4 doors down from us), and a fun colleague (he’s an awesome wedding videographer that I frequently get the privilege of working with). Yesterday, it was my distinct honor to help Frank capture this secret proposal to his beautiful girlfriend, Lea!!!

May 8th has special meaning to Frank & Lea. It’s Lea’s son’s birthday. It’s Mother’s Day. And it’s the day Frank’s beloved father passed away. Knowing how special this day already was in their lives, Frank wanted to make it even MORE meaningful to the two of them! So we came up with a mischievous ruse together…

Frank told Lea that he booked me to photograph a special “Mother & Son” photo shoot for her on Mother’s Day. We even had Cami print out a fake gift certificate for him to put in her Mother’s Day card. When I met up with them at the picturesque Stono River Park that morning, I pretended to follow along, photographing a variety of portraits of just Josiah and his mom as we walked along the path.

Arriving at the entrance to the boardwalk, I told Leah “Hey, we should get a few shots of you and Frank while we’re here!” This was Frank’s cue to lead her out onto the boardwalk, overlooking the peaceful marsh. When he got to the middle, he pretended to tie his shoe, and then surprised her with a beautiful diamond ring! Lea’s expression speaks for itself!!!  🙂

CONGRATULATIONS Lea & Frank! We wish you all the best as you begin this new journey together!!!

Ben Proposes to Paulina at the Holiday Festival of Lights

I had so much fun photographing Frank and Sommer’s wedding last year. The Kordonis’ and Peterman’s are such wonderful families! So when Ben called to ask if I would photograph his Surprise Proposal to Frank’s sister, Paulina, I was ECSTATIC!!!

Ben had come up with a really unique but challenging idea for his proposal. He wanted to do it at the James Island County Park Holiday Festival of Lights. There were two major obstacles against us…there is no light…and there is no privacy! However, I loved the idea and went out to the park on a scouting trip. Soon a plan began to take shape.

I reached out to my friend, Gary Coleman, who is a good friend and has been Santa’s private photographer at James Island County Park for 13 years. Since Santa doesn’t make appearances after Christmas Eve, Gary was free to come with me and help out. He was able to let the park staff know what was going on, and ask Laura, one of the kind staff members, to help us with “crowd control”.

Arriving early to set up, we mounted a flash on a Manfrotto Magic Arm on one side of the “Tunnel of Lights”, and a second flash on a light-stand in the forest on the other side. Both were dialed way down to 1/128th power so as not to over-ride the beautiful ambiance of the festival lighting. I hid a Nikon Z6II with a 24-70 f2.8 under the “mushroom” display, which I triggered with a WR-R10 remote control. And I hid back behind the “woodpecker” display with a Nikon D5 using a 70-200 f2.8. Both cameras were set to ISO 2500, f2.8, and 1/60th sec.

After a nice dinner together, Ben & Paulina arrived at the Festival of Lights for what she thought was just part of their date night. Secretly staying in touch with Ben via text, he let me know when they were approaching the “Tunnel of Light” that we had selected as the spot to do his thing. Once I got the word, Laura helped me ask the crowd on my side of the tunnel to wait a moment for him to have a little privacy (and a clear shot from my cameras). Meanwhile, Gary, who was stationed at the far end of the tunnel, asked everyone on that end to wait a moment for them. By the time the tunnel was clear, there were probably 30 people all hiding behind me and holding their breath in anticipation of the big moment!

Ben rounded the corner exactly as planned, took to his knee, and asked Paulina to be his wife. Of course SHE SAID YES!!! And the crowd of people that had silently assembled all broke out in thunderous applause and loud cheers of encouragement for the happy couple! 🙂 Following this special moment, Gary and I took Ben & Paulina on a fun little mini-shoot throughout the Festival of Lights, before leaving them to enjoy their roasted marshmallows and celebrate this special moment in their lives.

CONGRATULATIONS Ben & Paulina! We wish you all the best as you begin this beautiful journey together…