Meeting Russell and Chantal was one of the best highlights of this year for me. Listing all the reasons why would take forever, so I’ll just talk about the story of our meeting together!
Russell first reached out to me through Instagram, saying he found me through a Facebook post I made a couple weeks prior about looking for a couple to model for me at Big Sur, since it was one of my bucket list places to shoot for the longest time. What was funny was that when he asked for my availability, he had mistaken where I was based (which was Florida at the time), so when I said I had xx dates unavailable due to travel, he asked me, “When do you plan on coming back to the Bay Area?” My initial response was huh. Turned out, he thought I was from San Fran! He said that he hasn’t yet proposed to his girlfriend yet, but he already had this elaborate plan of how everything was going to go – it involves jumping off of plane together and going down on one knee with a giant poster waiting on the ground asking him to marry her. While on this Facetime call with him, I could sense that he was the type of person who truly valued his relationships in life, from his family, his close friends, and most importantly, the love of his life – Chantal. I knew that he wasn’t one to take advantage of anyone and that he just gave off a very appreciative vibe from him, so I knew right away I didn’t want to let go of this potential relationship together. It ended up being one of the best decisions I could’ve made.
After everything was set in stone and all the accommodations were pulled together, I jumped on a plane to meet them at SFO where they graciously picked me up and were the best in letting me experience true San Francisco for the first time. They took me to Lombard Street (aka. the infamous crooked street of SF), the Palace of Fine Arts where we snapped some quick photos of the two, the renowned Golden Gate Bridge where we took even more photos, Cali-exclusive coffee shops, and much, much more. They said that they wanted to make me feel like this trip I took for them would be worth it by making it also a fun time for me, but they didn’t realize that just having me fly out to them was already a gift in and of itself. I was truly grateful for the experiences they created for me.
The next day, we finally headed to Big Sur – woo!
It ended up being just as beautiful as I’ve always dreamed it would be. I know it sounds so dramatic, but it was literally a dream come true!! Every direction you turn to was an incredibly gorgeous landscape. You want the look of rolling, lush mountains? Point this way. You want to see the water crashing against the pretty coastal cliffs? That way. Rocky cliff sides? Look that direction, boom. It was stunning all around, and we were only in one fraction of this grandiose national park! I couldn’t believe my eyes.
The whole shoot was so much fun, even with all the rough bumps in between which we laughed off. There was one point when one of Chantal’s false lashes just flew off with the wind, and another time when the back of her white dress’s zipper just broke off, leaving her back gaping open – but you wouldn’t have known that from the photos! Everything at the end just tied together and fell into place, and I was able to utilize the lanterns I bought specifically for these nighttime shots – and I couldn’t be happier with the results!
Thank you thank you thank you, Chantal and Russell for the amazing and unforgettable experiences. You two were truly wonderful, and I cannot wait to see you both again at your intimate wedding super soon!
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