Illinois Love Story

June 14, 2017



Iryna and Nikolai are from two different countries. Russia and Ukraine, if my memory serves me correctly (probably not though, due to pregnancy brain).  They met and fell in love in Norway whilst both on vacation, from the aforementioned countries, and now they live together in Illinois. Get all that? Took me a second too. I don't know about you but I call that fate. 


I had only spoken to Iryna over the phone before we met so when I showed up to our session I had no idea what to expect as I am sure they didn't either. Iryna had told me that she and her husband had never had a photo session done before to which I replied "not even at your wedding?!". Iryna explained that since both their families are from countries other than the US they decided to just get married at the courthouse, nothing fancy. Well, that included not having photographs. So when Iryna asked me to re-enact their wedding day I was over the moon. 


I spotted them from a mile away waiting for me on the beach and I could see them kissing and holding hands before they even noticed me. I thought to myself - this is going to be an easy session! 


Up until about a month ago, Florida was in a drought. I think she listened when people were complaining about how much we needed rain because she gave it to us....and now she won't stop. Luckily, on this day there was a short break in the rain but not so much in the wind. Which actually made for awesome opportunities to get Iryna's veil and flowing dress being swept up in the most beautiful ways. I lost count of how many times we had to chase the veil down the beach because the wind pulled it from her hair!





Their chemistry was so powerful. Nikolai was constantly staring at her in awe of how beautiful she looked. I almost dropped my camera when these two told me they'd already been married for 2 years, together for 6. They were brimming with that "new couple spark". IT's not too often you meet couples that are still in their honeymoon stage after 2 years.


The great thing about photographing true love is you barely need to give any direction. You can see the connection, love, security. This leads to raw, real moments.


People often ask me if I tell my clients to close their eyes or say "fake laugh now!" -- and the answer is never! It almost always happens naturally. 



Sometimes during a session I'll randomly ask a silly questions to see what kind of natural reaction I can capture (so "fake laugh now" doesn't come into play). I asked Iryna who her celebrity crush was and immediately she said Vin Diesel. I started laughing and said well....I guess you got your wish! I mean look at Nikolai...he's a spitting image of Vin! Nikolai said his was Angelina Jolie and I told him he scored big time -- he got even better (In my humble opinion).


Here's the shot I got when I asked that question and they replied:



I asked a few more questions including what is Nikolai's worst habit and they were literally too cute for my questions. They both had nothing but positive things to say about each other. Well, except when Nikolai told me he likes to play tank video games a lot and Iryna expressed how she still wants him to download The Sims onto their computer for her.


The Sims...remember that?? He promised her he would when they got home ha!


I have so many favorites from this session. Nikolai and Iryna were an amazing couple to photograph and hopefully next year I can document a belly or even a baby (Iryna's words -- not mine!) 


Here are some extras that  I couldn't resist posting. Enjoy and as always, thanks for reading!









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