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“I like where this is going”: a neo-noir couple shoot

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Perhaps one of the greatest skills of a photographer is the ability to adapt to the environment and lighting conditions. This shoot is a demonstration of how we can still create something gorgeous for our couples even when light is less than ideal.

Daniel and Christina had a wonderful Armenian ceremony just before Christmas 2022. It was a dark, rainy day, and the ceremony finished just as the sun was setting. I had to come up with an out-of-the ordinary plan for the couple’s photography.

Indeed, I love colour photography as well as natural light. However, there are cases where none of this is possible. When this happens creativity and storytelling take precedent. With the use of a narrative that speaks to the heart of both the couple and the photographer, we can create something out-of-the-ordinary and extraordinary.

We chose a nearby upscale bar as the setting for our photoshoot and set to create a series of photographs with a neo-noir style: moody, dramatic, contrasty and emotive. The series was photographed on a GFX camera, which proved very capable in minimum light. I paired the camera with a series of classic lenses. We put together a storyline where the couple would be enacting a short story of them meeting and flirting in a New York upscale bar. The result is narrative-rich (maybe even more so thanks to black-and-white photography’s ability to magnify focus on the subject).

For me, this photoshoot was a reminder that a photographer is not defined by the colour palette of their photography but by the intention of their work.

There is (of should be) so much more in our work than the superficial veneer of a photograph: meaning, and intention go far beyond than a specific colour palette, or even, the medium itself (e.g. film vs digital). In fact, the distinction is one of preference vs intention: I do not intent to photograph on analogue film and in available light – I simply prefer to. However, telling stories that reflect my couples’s unique personalities and encapsulate their unique connection is not a matter of choice, but of a promise. Promises are intended to be kept even when my preferred ways of bringing my vision to life are not available.

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