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  • Writer's pictureLaura

Come Sail Away: Sailboat Bridal Session

I don't know about you guys, but if there is a boat involved- I'm in! (Queue Andy Sandberg's I'm on a Boat song here). When Priscilla text me some of the nautical inspired dreams for her bridal session I was more than on board. Just one small problem... I had no idea where and how to get a boat to shoot the session on. Luckily, she had a plan.

Priscilla's fiancé Jonathan is a boat guy. That is- he races sailboats semi-professionally. Where most places in the world this might be a super surprising past time, Corpus Christi is considered the real windy city. Chicago has nothing on our daily gusts. In Jonathan's daily life he works at the Corpus Christi Yacht Club. So given that being out on the water is his passion, Priscilla wanted to surprise her future husband to be with a glamorous sailboat themed bridal session!

We started the session by taking some photos of Priscilla at the dock of the Corpus Christi Marina. It was a pretty windy day (around 18mph winds) so this was the only part of the session I attempted to use her veil. I was not going to dive into the bay after it if it fell off on the water! I loved the way the veil diffused the bright afternoon light and just made her glow. I made sure to have the boat captain park the boat in the background of the dock because I like to be aware of about the story telling aspect of the session. We left the boat docked there for a while and did a series of poses on the boat before we took off.

The session was sure to be glamorous, but shooting photos on a boat is trickier than it might seem at first. To really get the photos of the bride on the boat, you need to be on another, separate boat. So you really need two boats to do a shoot of a boat. Enter Kevin, a co-worker and friend of Jonathan's that teaches children how to sail. I can't even imagine the patience Kevin must possess. I would probably toss at least one child overboard before the end of the first lesson. Patient Kevin was my captain for the small skiff that cruised along side the sailboat where the Priscilla posed pretty on the bow. Or was that the stern?

I was too busy pointing and shouting directions across the water to get a proper lesson from Kevin on technical names as we headed out into the bay at sunset. Priscilla posed like a majestic mermaid plucked right from the sea. I attempted to balance myself aboard the skiff using a handle bar that is meant to keep you from falling out. She managed to look absolutely stunning from beginning to end while I simply looked windblown and sweating on a small skiff coasting beside the regal sailboat. My assistant Brooke was doing some off camera lighting for me on the boat which was key to capturing some of the images you see here. I chose to do the off camera lighting because I knew it would help to stop the motion of my subject. With Priscilla's natural body movement, the sailboats movement, my natural body movement and the skiff's movement- that is a lot to compensate for! Flash is always a friend for controlling skin tones and for helping to freeze movement. I chose to use a round Godex AD200 for this shoot because the soft box was not practical with the amount of wind on the water. The circular head was awesome because it has a built in diffuser and didn't spray light the way the naked rectangular kit heads might.

It took some maneuvering to get the boats to be in the right spots too because the wind kept blowing them wherever it wanted, rather where I wanted. Unfortunately, the day was too windy to actually drop the sail, but we still had a beautiful shoot. By the time I got around to posting these photos, I've actually already shot Priscilla and Jonathan's wedding. You can see a sneak peek on my Instagram @PadreRyan If you like the photos below please be sure to leave a comment! I'd love hear from you!



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