Monday, February 13, 2017

The Love Challenge

The Love Challenge

The last time we got together to do a challenge was for Christmas, and we both created an image that could be used on a Christmas card. Your votes were tallied and the winning photographer was.....


With her stunning rendition of Madonna and Child

This means the losing photographer (Melissa) has to buy one of you lucky voters an Amazon gift card. This time around, the recipient of that card was Myriah Shay!

And now... the burning question everyone wants to know.... 

Well, if this this blog's title didn't give it away, this time the challenge is all about...

Or, more specifically, "What Is Love". 

Don't pretend like you weren't thinking it.



Now, there are some great loves throughout history:

  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Mark Antony and Cleopatra
  • Lancelot and Guinevere
  • Napoleon and Josephine
and of course, my (Melissa's) personal favorite...


In the spirit of Valentine's Day, it seemed fitting to showcase two couples in love. Two couples who could give us all a little insight as to what it really means to love one another. 

In today's world, we are seeing so much hate and animosity toward each other. Perhaps if we focused a bit more on what truly matters, we would all be living in a much happier place.


"I love you."
"I know."
It wouldn't be me if I didn't throw a movie quote in.
(And come ON....don't tell me y'all don't know which movie that came from)

We all love love.
And I love the story of this couple.
Josh and Melissa met while they were teenagers, and they'll be celebrating their 23rd wedding anniversary this year.
They are about the same ages as my husband and I, so yeah, I guess you could say they're pretty young.

I remember these two from high school. Josh was an upperclassman when I was a freshman, and so of course seemed to be 30-something, like all the other juniors and seniors. Melissa graduated a year after me, and I remember seeing her at school and thinking she was so incredibly stunning.
She had the best ninety's hair.
Not. Fair.
I've photographed her a few times since then, and as I've gotten to her know, I am as much in awe of her inner beauty as I am the fact that she still looks just as beautiful now as she did back then. And her hair is still gorgeous.
Still. Not. Fair.

But what really drew me to them, was their love for each other.
Facebook (and social media in general) can get a little crazy/political/depressing/aggravating/etc, but every once in awhile, something will pop up that makes you take notice:
"Hey! That's some true love right there!"
I remember seeing a video that Josh had put together for Melissa, of all her favorite things.
Or all the things that makes him think of her.
Or something like that.


But it was one of those moments, and I won't ruin it by remembering it exactly.
Not only is their love for each other strong, but there is a special love between them and Josh's parents, which Melissa has touched on before. Melissa (the other Melissa---Photographer Melissa) and I decided that these two couples were perfect for this project.
Thankfully everyone agreed and we had a great time with them!

Here are Josh and Melissa Robinette:

 For the final image, I've been wanting to do a Vanity Fair-inspired couple's shoot for awhile, and this was the perfect opportunity.
I love the posing, the lighting, the post-processing.
Confidence and class.

We shot at Melissa's (Photographer Melissa's) studio. That's her awesome vintage chest. I used one light with my photek soft lighter. Took us a little while to figure out how to make a pretzel with Melissa's legs. Josh mainly just had to sit there. I try to pose girls for curves, guys for lines.
Editing, I played with highlights and shadows, tones and levels, I used a little Portraiture, a little Alien Skin.

Sarah's Final Image:

By the (Feb 13) is Josh's birthday!
Happy birthday!



Love is what makes the world go round! Sounds cliche, but without it, where would we be? I personally feel that there is not enough deep, real, and true love. And I don't mean love that is felt wildly and passionately like a romance novel, full of roses and floating hearts. A love that is represented by flowers, gifts and sweeping gestures. I mean love that takes sacrifice, understanding and compromise. A love that does the dishes and chops the wood. ;)

Admittedly, I copied this from a site online, but man.... it sure says it perfectly.

"Real love demands sacrifice that can’t be found in self-centeredness. You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. Sacrificial love requires that we give what we value most: our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. Real love does not always follow our natural inclinations; it is not an impulse from feelings."

I cringe a little inside when I see people post "relationship goals" on facebook. Those goals are generally so superficial, and it really makes me wonder if there is any hope left, or have we actually forgotten how to navigate the tricky waters of relationships, love, and marriage?

One thing that is missing today is LONGEVITY. 

When I'm shooting a wedding, I well up with tears every.single.time. during the anniversary dance. To see a couple holding each other, dancing to the music with so many years together is just so valuable and precious. Not to mention, inspiring. 

Which is why I chose to celebrate the love between a couple who has weathered a few storms together. A couple who have been each other's constant, year after year after year. A couple who knows when to put the petty stuff aside, and focus on what is actually important.

A couple who "gets it".

Enter Roxie & Dick. 

Married for 54 years, and they have such a sweet story. A story that deserves to be told! 

I wasn't exactly sure what image I wanted to create from this session. I had a general idea, but it wasn't until after I was done interviewing Dick and Roxie that I knew what I wanted to capture.

I decided to highlight Dick's devotion and tenderness toward Roxie, and I wanted to highlight Roxie's absolute adoration of him. I also wanted to highlight time. The years matter, and to hide them would do a disservice to this remarkable couple. 

Technical Details (a.k.a. the boring stuff unless you're a photographer ha ha!) 

I used a strobe and an 86" plm positioned camera right. I chose to light Dick and Roxie from behind Dick's back as I didn't want full frontal light. I really wanted the light to skim over his hands, highlighting the years those hands worked so hard for his family and for the life he and Roxie share.

I first processed the image in Camera Raw doing minimal adjustments like profile correction. Then I used Exposure X to do a black and white conversion, added grain, and hand painted on some shadows and highlights.  My goal was to have a final image that was dramatic and gritty that put all the focus on the emotion between the 2 subjects. 

Melissa's Final Image



Well.... you don't this time.

We decided we weren't going to challenge each other, but rather challenge YOU to comment on either Sarah's image on her facebook page or Melissa's image on her facebook page. All you have to do is tag someone you love, and tell them why you love them.

This time around, we just want you to spread the love and make this world we live in a little happier... even for just a day.

Of course, we also want to show our love and adoration for you, so we will be choose TWO of you to each receive that Amazon gift card!

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