Emily & Justin | Carnival Engagement
Atlanta Georgia Wedding Photographer

October 3, 2016

Emily & Justin picked a date for their engagement session before we had chosen a location.  When reading my blog of rad engagement session ideas, Emily saw that I’ve always wanted to try shooting at a carnival, and she knew this was the perfect idea for her and Justin.  They have been going to the North Georgia State Fair together every year for 5 years!  And all the stars aligned perfectly, because the fair happened to be running right during the time when we scheduled their session!  I love shooting in places that have significance to my couples’ relationships, because it makes the photos even more special.

While I was PUMPED to try something new and had been dreaming of a carnival session for quite some time, I honestly had no idea what I was getting myself into (I can’t remember a time when I went to a fair).  As it turns out, photographing people on moving rides is much more difficult than I thought.  :) And dealing with crowds, an overhead sun with very little shade, and rationing tickets made the shoot a little more of a challenge than most of my other engagement sessions.  But I love challenges, I loved the entire experience, and I SUPER love the images we captured!  I enjoyed walking around and following Emily & Justin’s lead as they decided which games to play and rides to ride.  It was fun being more of a papparazi and less of a director for a change.

The most exciting part of the shoot was when Emily & Justin asked for a photo on the Ferris wheel (one of their favorite things at the fair).  I jumped at the idea of sitting in the car in front of them and shooting backwards during our trip around the circle for what would hopefully be an epic photo.  What came as a surprise was that I apparently have a fear of heights that I didn’t know about.  Fortunately God knew the following events were coming, because for the first time EVER, I brought my boyfriend to a shoot instead of a regular assistant.  And just when he was going to stay on the ground and watch while we rode the Ferris wheel (we didn’t have enough tickets for him), a random man walked up to us and handed us four tickets — the exact amount we needed for my boyfriend to ride.  Here I am still thinking “we should just save those four tickets for Emily & Justin to play another game,” but minutes later when the Ferris wheel started raising us high into the air, it was fate that he was there sitting next to me… for I went into a full blown anxiety attack.  My stomach felt like I left it on the ground, I had my camera in hand (and I don’t use a strap), and there was only one bar that was supposed to keep me from plummeting to my death?!  I immediately began hyperventilating, looked to my boyfriend with fear in my eyes, and he was just the comfort I needed.  With only minutes to “get the shot” before the ride would stop, he held his hands on my lap like a seatbelt to help me feel secure, and he encouraged me as I twisted over the seat and began shooting.  I actually don’t think Emily or Justin even know that this happened to me (I tried to play it cool), so reading this might come as a surprise to them too. :)

Ultimately, God was with me as he is on every shoot.  This carnival session will always be a great memory for me, and I seriously adore the photos we captured.  But not as much as I adore Emily & Justin, who were super sweet & such troupers throughout the session, even when I asked them to pose in front of crowds of people.  :) I can’t wait for their wedding this December at one of my favorite venues: The Wheeler House!

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Claire Diana