Antonio and Francisco have been together for many years, but it was only recently that they were finally legally allowed to celebrate their lengthy relationship by officially tying the knot and choosing to call each other “husband" instead of “partner". We were thrilled when they asked us to take documentary portraits celebrating their love and their union when they returned to Florida from their New York City elopement (same sex weddings were not yet legal in Florida, though happily they are now), and we had a happy and delightful photo shoot with the honeymooning lovebirds from sunrise through breakfast. Because this was a summer session on Palm Beach we were all drenched with sweat; Florida summers aren’t kidding around! Exhilarated and giddy from the session we all went to Howley's, a local legend of a diner. In this portrait we simply asked them to get snuggly against the wall, but Franciso dissolved into giggles the moment his husband looked at him, giving Antonio a sweet chuckle as well. Intimate and tender portraits of couples in love are what we strive to create, and seeing such a deep and mature relationship finally realized for what it is was heartening and joyful for everyone. (Plus then we got to eat breakfast at Howley's, which cannot be underestimated. We’ve heard it described as “Hipster Denny’s”, which is a fair reference, though the food is much, much better than one usually finds at a diner.)
Often we're asked, "how will you pose us?" This image is a perfect example of how we avoid active posing and instead work with beautiful light and giving gentle suggestions to the subjects in our images. By backing away and not dictating every aspect of the pose we allow your personalities to shine through the images, capturing real smiles and real interactions with each other. (Our biggest recommendation is to relax into your relationship with your partner, and interact like you were on a fun date, ignoring the paparazzi photographers hovering nearby. It’s a bit challenging at first, but we promise, every couple eventually realizes we don’t bite.) Everything from the way Francisco naturally brings his hands up to his face when he’s laughing, to the protective stance Antonio has over his husband, to the way his sunglasses are hung casually from his shirt; all of this was already in the scene, we simply set things up so that this moment could happen with the famous Howley’s mural girl peeking in over their shoulders and the midmorning sunlight beaming from behind them instead of being too squinty with the light in their eyes. Shooting portraits during challenging times of day isn’t as much of a challenge when you have worked in South Florida for as long as we have; although bright sunlight from directly overhead is never ideal, working with backlighting, edge lighting, or even embracing the bright light and shooting for the highlights can bring a fresh and interesting perspective to romantic and natural portraits. Having the photographic skill set to work with bright summer light is necessary in Florida, but is incredibly helpful when we work in other regions as well; it actually makes shooting elsewhere feel “easy”!
Location: Howley's, West Palm Beach, Florida.1/1600; f/2.0; ISO 100; 35.0 mm.