Barbara & Daniel’s Romantic Waterfall Day-After Session
Barbara and Daniel wanted to celebrate their marriage with a photo shoot by a waterfall in Georgia a couple of months later after their wedding (which I will feature here soon). This ravishing twosome actually has an incredible love story but I think it would be best to let the bride tell you about it in her own words (yup, you’ll get to read about it in a bit). We have Steffi Smith of Cariad Photography to thank for the beautiful photos on this page.
IMPORTANT: Also, please take note that while getting photographs taken by a waterfall makes for gorgeous photos, extreme caution has to be taken especially when wearing a heavy gown such as a bridal dress. In this light, I’ve asked Steffi to outline a few tips you should take note of if you’re daring enough to do something similar for your post-wedding session. You’ll find her tips a little later below. Meanwhile, please enjoy the lovely photography!
As I mentioned above, this couple has an incredibly epic love story and we have the lovely bride Barbara to share it with us:
Once upon a time, as all storybook romances begin, there was a girl and boy that met in ninth grade gym class. As Daniel walked in with his faded jeans, camouflage jacket, and blond, mullet hair, I was drawn instantly to him. I, however, was the tall, lanky girl with large glasses, braces and was rockin’ the very short ’80’s hair myself! Although I wasn’t much to look at, we became the best of friends. We would spend hours on the phone talking about everything from sausage cheese ball recipes to quoting Chaucer and Byron!
Daniel finally asked me out and we dated off and on for years. Through it all, we always remained friends. After graduation, Daniel entered the military service and asked me to marry him. I was so excited to marry my best friend and the love of my life! We worked hard to plan the wedding through the long distance. (He was in Germany and I was in Georgia.) Unfortunately, the war in Bosnia started just a few months before the wedding and we called everything off. It was heartbreaking for the both of us.
Through the course of time, we both met and married other people. For 12 long years, there was no contact with each other. Daniel had become a Chinook pilot in the Army and was deploying on his third tour to Afghanistan. He was in the middle of a divorce, as was I. Daniel’s sister contacted me for fear that he would not return from the war. (He was in deep depression and had begun drinking heavily.) She asked me to talk to Daniel and make him come to his senses. Unknown to her, I also had had my share of darkness in life, having married a man who promised me the world, but it was the basement of his parents home for the duration of the marriage. I suffered from a heart condition and was taking heart medication. I could barely climb one flight of stairs without being completely out of breath and on the verge of collapse. I called Daniel and talked to him after 12 years of nothing but silence from me. We exchanged pleasantries and shared some of our lives but he was not the man I had known. I hung up in tears wondering what had happened to him.
It’s amazing how one little act can change your life! The next day, I received an email from him and it was exactly what I needed. It was full of words of encouragement that I had longed to hear. Hope had once again been restored to us both! He made it back from his tour a changed man- no more drinking and his eyes full of life! We began seeing each other again and then one day I heard the words, “Barbara, you have been the love of my life. I have come close to death more times than I can count, so I know how precious life is. You challenge me to be a better man. I can’t do this thing called “life” without you by my side.” Healing had come to our hearts.
This time around, we knew we wanted an outdoor wedding. The venue we choose was Chota Falls and it was absolutely perfect! There was a large waterfall we were married in front of. You see, we had wanted to do it in Scotland as we are both of Scottish descent, but logistically, we couldn’t. Daniel had always been my “knight in shining armor” and as he stood there in his dress uniform with saber at his side, he looked every bit the part! I carried a bouquet of white roses and thistles made by Henry Luther that was incredible and we felt as if we had a piece of Scotland right there with us!
And as for the story behind this Day-After session:
Our wonderful photographer, Steffi Smith of Cariad Photography, recommended doing a “Trash the Dress Session” at a waterfall she knew of. Daniel and I were completely excited about it! Words cannot begin to describe how romantic and fun the shoot was! Steffi was concerned for our safety first and foremost, as she would give us direction to move slowly on the slick rock. Daniel was able to wear his kilt for part of the shoot in homage to our heritage. It added so much to the romanticism of the gorgeous surrounding we were in! The water was freezing cold and Steffi captured a great picture of the looks on our faces after she told us to get down in it… it is one of my personal favorites! It was exhilarating to be underneath the falls and feel as if the past was being washed away and we were being “baptized” into our future together! She captured the pure romance of our hearts that day. Amazingly, there was a shot taken by Steffi’s sweet husband Steve, that showed me in a pose before the falls, that Daniel had drawn 22 years ago in art class! It was as if we had truly come full circle.
Daniel and I laugh now at all that we have been through and overcome. The time has been redeemed and we are living an incredible adventure. We are living happily ever-after because afterall, it’s every little girl’s dream to grow up and marry her handsome helicopter pilot! (Just ask Kate Middleton!) 🙂
Thank you so much, Steffi,for sending this gorgeous shoot my way, and congratulations Barbara and Daniel! I think it’s wonderful how fate brought you back into each other’s arms. Here’s wishing you guys a lifetime of married bliss. 🙂
Regarding waterfall post-wedding/trash the dress shoots… we all know how dangerous photo shoots of this sort can be so I’ve asked Steffi for some advice on how to do a shoot and prevent untoward incidents from happening.
Accidents can and should be avoided. For instance, I would never do such a session anywhere where there is fast moving water or any depth. I actually had someone ask me to do a TDS not long ago where she wanted to jump off a tower in the middle of a deep lake and I absolutely refused to do that session because I was concerned that the dress would fill up with water and she would not be able to come back up to the surface. If a dress has a big train that train fills up with water because of the lining. The train becomes like a water filled bubble and quite heavy.
I do my TDS session mostly at the waterfall in these photos because it is safe as far as drowning. The pool of water below the fall is not deep (up to our knees, because it filled in with sand over the years) and the water moves on from there without any current through a little creek. The only danger we have is slipping and I make my couples aware of that. The rocks around a waterfall are always slick because of the moisture from the water and the moss. It is like walking on ice and we take our time when we do these sessions. You can’t hop around those rocks, you have to take little careful steps. My husband and myself are in the water with them the whole time carrying the cameras and we don’t want to fall either and loose our gear or get hurt.
Another thing I don’t do is shooting a TDS by the waterfall after a heavy rain, because it makes those rocks even slicker. I changed the date of a session this September to next year because we had nothing but heavy rains the week before her wedding and she wanted the TDS session to take place the day after her wedding. So she will be coming back up in July 2013 from Florida to let us photograph her and her husband in the waterfall. I made the call for their and our safety and they understood and appreciated my concern.
I also have each couple sign a release so they are aware that caution is very important and not to take any unnecessary risks.
Thanks for sharing that, Steffi. Just to summarize what she wrote, here’s what you need to remember when shooting near a waterfall.
1. Shoot where water is shallow to avoid risk of drowning.
2. Check the water current — if it’s fast and rough, move somewhere else where there’s very little to no current.
3. If you’re going to step on rocks which tend to be very slippery, take tiny careful steps.
4. Never shoot after heavy rains — reschedule!
5. Take your time doing the session and make sure to get a photographer who has your safety as their priority!
Photographer: Steffi Smith of Cariad Photography
Image submission via Two Bright Lights