6 Observations from A Very Special Event

by | Apr 22, 2022 | Tips & Tricks | 13 comments

A special event just happened last week that made me appreciate portrait photographers a whole lot more. Their experience. Their patience. Their expertise.

You see, instead of being the portrait photographer, this event found myself on the other side of the lens.

I wasn’t the photographer. Instead, I was in the photos.

I wasn’t in charge of anything. I was just blithely following whatever the photographer told me to do.

It was quite a novel experience. As a portrait photographer myself, the one normally behind the lens, I learned a whole lot from this event.

And, what exactly was that event?

Well, last week I proposed to my very best friend, the most joyful, thoughtful, energy-giving, patient, beautiful girl in the world! Open-mouthed smile It’s high time you met Julianna, everyone!

But as hard as it may be, I promise this blog post will still be about photography. Smile Here are some things I observed as a photographer on the other side of the lens.

1. The Importance of Photographing a Proposal

Having lived as a bachelor all my life, I’ve never really thought much about the different types of portrait photography. I suppose you could say that when I asked Julianna’s sister Lydia to take pictures of the proposal, it was mostly because that was protocol. It’s what everybody says is important so yeah, let’s definitely do it.

But it wasn’t until a couple hours after I proposed, and when I started looking at the pictures that Lydia had taken, that it began to sink in how immensely invaluable those photos are!

And not just that photos were taken. There were beautiful photos taken. Lydia is a professional photographer. And the photos she captured of that incredible moment will be treasured for many, many years. If not generations.

2. The Value of an Engagement Photo Shoot

The same was true with the idea of an engagement photo shoot. “Well, that’s just what people do.” It almost sounds blasphemous now, looking back. But seriously, since I had never experienced something quite this monumental in all my life, I really underestimated the value of having an official photo shoot to highlight the two of us being together for the first time.

And again, it wasn’t till afterwards, looking at the pictures on my phone and knowing that I had beautiful photos of just the two of us, that the value of an engagement photo shoot really started to sink in.

Also, I was surprised that, during the engagement photo shoot, I didn’t mind going to location after location. I was enjoying myself (us-self?)! Before that day, I think I would have thought going to more than 4 or 5 different spots in the park was overkill. But spending way over an hour being photographed was not overkill. In fact, the day before I left, I found myself asking Lydia if she had more photos of us than what she delivered the day after the photoshoot!

The value of an engagement photo shoot has skyrocketed in my mind. And I think that’s important as I grow in my experience as a portrait photographer.

3. Quick Delivery is Really Nice

Lydia is a great photographer. The best proposal photos were delivered within hours after the proposal. And the best engagement photos were ready the morning after the afternoon of the engagement shoot. The fact that Lydia had them to us so soon is something I really appreciate more than I thought I would!

4. People Like Looking at Pictures of People

After getting the photos, Julianna and I just pored over them. And I really can’t explain why. The two of us were right there, together. Why did we want to see pictures of ourselves again? But I guess that’s another discussion. The point is, people just like to look at pictures of special events and special people! They are treasures. And I hadn’t really thought about that too much before. Or, at least to the same extent.

5. Subjects’ Expressions Are Paramount

I remember Julianna and I sorting through Lydia’s photos to decide which ones to send to friends and family to announce our relationship. All of Lydia’s photos are great, but the ones we chose were the ones that had the genuine, heart-felt, happy, good expressions. We really wouldn’t use an artistic photo if our expressions weren’t very nice. Having almost never flipped through more than one or two photos of myself in the past, this whole event was a great reminder of this concept.

6. Artistic Perspective Boosts Enjoyment

If a photo has great expressions, but is not composed or photographed well, it’s like biscuits and gravy without salt or an unmarinated steak. Nourishing yes, but enjoyable? Not as much. Don’t forget the salt in your special event and special people photos!

There’s so much more I could say. But let me close with this. It’s worth it to be patient! Patience isn’t waiting for a deadline to finally arrive. Patience is taking action toward God’s will without giving Him a deadline to fulfil it. And resting in that! That’s what the abiding life is all about. “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:4

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  1. Esther Frazer

    Such priceless pictures!!! Great take away from being on the other side of the lens, James. I love your definition of patience. “Patience is taking action toward God’s will without giving Him a deadline to fulfil it. And resting in that!” Amen! I’m so happy for you. ❤️

    • James Staddon

      Appreciate your example of patience too, Esther! And I’m so grateful that Lydia was willing and available to do the photos for us. She does an amazing job!

  2. Christian H.

    I loved this post James! Lydia did an incredible job with all those wonderful pictures, and I really liked the six observations as well, as portrait photos are some of my favorite to do but the hardest and least-often done for me! 🙂
    Also loved your conclusion about patience being a “taking action toward God’s will without giving Him a deadline to fulfil it.” Well said.
    Congratulations to you! So glad for you! 😄

    • James Staddon

      Amen! Thank you, Christian. I always enjoy hearing your perspective on things!

    • James Staddon

      Thank you, William! It’s been a lot of fun “growing up together” in photography with you and your family over the years! 🙂

  3. Jacqueline

    Neat to hear this perspective. Congratulations to you and Julianna!

  4. Blessings Captured

    Congratulations! Our whole family was excited to hear the news!

    I noticed that there were extra trips to Connecticut. 😉

    • James Staddon

      Haha, yup. 🙂 Something you might find interesting…. I don’t know if you remember, the day we left the Buffalo River Field Day, I asked for prayer for an important phone call I was planning to make that day? Well, that was my first phone call to Mr. Bennett. 🙂

  5. Owen Crew

    The Owen Crew is delighted about this exciting post on …..photography.
    Congratulations. May the Lord bless you two as you daily get closer to being one.

    • James Staddon

      Thank you. 🙂 It was great to see you all in North Carolina last weekend!


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