When I first talked to Chara about doing this shoot she called it a “couple shoot” and explained they would be staying at the Dream Inn in Santa Cruz and wanted to do the shoot there. I thought, sounds great! There’s beautiful beaches right outside and a gorgeous park down the street. I pictured sun rays around their heads, hand holding on the beach, bare feet in the sand. I had it all planned. Until the day came, and it was, well, the opposite of sunny. Gray clouds and rain shrouded the Santa Cruz mountains as I wound down Highway 17. It hadn’t even occurred to me that the weather could be uncooperative that day. But as I drove to Santa Cruz, I pictured a new photo shoot. And when I arrived at the Dream Inn and met Chara and Sandeep, the wet weather wasn’t the only surprise. Chara was wearing a beautiful white lace dress and Sandeep was wearing a suit and they had JUST gotten married at the court house. This was their elopement! And they were about to spend their first few hours after being married taking photos, with me. I suddenly felt even more honored to be there. In the hotel room we broke out the champagne and talked about the shoot. Chara’s bubbly personality made it so easy and everything fell into place. The Dream Inn turned out to have to lots of great spots to shoot and later it cleared up just enough for us to enjoy a cloudy pink sunset by the ocean. It was amazing to get to be there with just them, reveling in their love and new commitment, with no distractions to take them out of their experience. They said they’ll do a big wedding later, but for now, it was just about them. And I couldn’t agree with that more.
Anna (a.k.a. Louise)