Yesterday I had the honor of witnessing first-hand the marriage proposal between two good friends, Tyler Willey and Carolina Castillo.
But let's rewind the story a bit!
Back in August I needed a male model for a Trash the Dress photo shoot that I had scheduled with Carolina. The scheduled male model had to cancel and so I asked Tyler if he would be willing to fill in. And that is how he and Carolina met - all dressed up in Wedding Attire on their very first photo shoot! And to think that they later started dating and fell in love, I've never been a match-maker before and this is just cool.
Tyler let me know in advance that he was thinking of marrying Carolina and he asked if I'd be willing to take pictures of the engagement. But he wanted it to be a surprise and so he suggested that I present the idea to Carolina as a "modeling session" instead of an engagement session.
And so I did. I told Carolina that I had this idea for a "romantic getaway" type of photo shoot and that I needed two models and wondered if she and Tyler would be willing to help me out. She eagerly agreed and the hook was set. The three of us then began brainstorming what the photo shoot would be like, where and how I wanted it to be like a story.
I suggested going up to my brother-in-law's cabin (Big Cottonwood Canyon) where we could shoot some scenes outdoors in the mountains leading up a scene in the cabin. I figured the coldness of the mountain air would be conducive to the "closeness" that I wanted to see between them. But even I didn't realize how cold or that there would be several inches of snow on the ground. But the idea was to spend some time outdoors and then go into the cabin for a scene in front of the fireplace.
Tyler and I set up some code words that we could use to inform each other whether he was ready to propose or whether I was set and ready to capture the event in pictures. So after moving inside the cabin, I began setting up my equipment.
Trying something new... I set up one camera, a Canon 5D Mark II, on a tripod where I could use it to capture HD quality video. Then I set up my lights so that I could use my other Canon 5D Mark II camera to capture stills.
Carolina is still thinking that this is a modeling session and so I am directing the events. I had them over by a window where I told them to simply interact with each other. We got some great expressions as they are very obviously in love with each other:
And the stage was set. Tyler broke away for a moment, during which time I instructed Carolina to look at the window so that she wouldn't see what Tyler was doing (he was retrieving the box with the wedding ring in it). He returned to embrace her and she still hadn't seen it coming. I told her to turn around and face him and that's when things got under way.
Tyler spoke lovingly to her for a moment... and then, to her surprise, he got down on one knee. I was amazed at how quickly she realized what was happening. I love her response. You can see it captured in video here:
The sheer joy in her voice and the look on Tyler's face... the video and this picture tear me up each time I see them:
When then finished the rest of the photo session that I had discussed with them - utilizing the fire place in the cabin to showcase their love and romance for each other. Such genuine emotions, it was an honor to be there and to see them and take their pictures.
Here is a video slide show that I put together comprising the images and video from the photo session:
Congratulations Tyler and Carolina! What an honor to be present at such a tender moment in your lives. Thank you for inviting me. I look forward to your wedding day when you two will be married and sealed in the Temple.