This year has been one to include many ‘firsts’ for yours truly, and one of the most interesting happened this past week. Backstory: I had the pleasure of meeting with an amazing couple to shoot their engagement shoot in Purcellville, VA. Chris and Sarah were among the kindest, sweetest, most genuine people I’ve ever met. They’re so completely in love and down-to-earth; totally my kind of people! I arrived at their farm and was welcomed with open arms; I immediately felt right at home. We promptly began to go over some details about their Big Day next year and went through subjects like bridesmaids, colors, family members, and everything in between. Introductions and conversation aside, the ‘first’ for me (and the real fun!) started when it was time to get down to the business of the day.
I had spoken to Sarah and Chris several times prior to meeting that day and we were finally ready to get down to business. We walked around outside while I surveyed the surroundings for optimal photo-taking spots. As we were strolling, they reminded me that they wished for some of their photos to be with a prized animal of theirs; the groom-to-be then went to fetch said animal. A few minutes went by and I turned around to see Chris walking up the drive with the absolute best-looking bovine I’ve ever seen! Yes, it’s true – the model of the day was their prize-winning 9 year old cow, Maggie. Admittedly, I’ve not had many first-hand, up-close, encounters with cows, but I’m telling you, this was a very pretty cow! Obviously, I was head-over-heels excited about this opportunity... how cool?! After all, how often is it that you get to photograph a gorgeous couple with their gorgeous cow? Not often for me, like, never…this was my first!
Oh, but was I in for a surprise, though. Sarah began telling me that there is a whole field of photography dedicated specifically to photographing bovines! I honestly had no idea. They explained that to make the photos look as desired, it requires approximately 6 people to tend to the cow and make sure the cow’s shoulder blades, front legs, back legs, and even the tail are lined up properly. All that aside, there is one more very important player whose role is imperative to taking the perfect bovine photo - the attention-getter! On this day, that assignment was given to Chris’ younger sister, who did a fantastic job! Perhaps you’re wondering what, exactly, the attention-getter has to do. Allow me to enlighten you with my newfound knowledge: their sole job is to make sure that both of the cow’s ears are facing forward! Not down, not sideways...the ears should be forward and perky. To accomplish this seemingly small feat, the attention-getter needs to jump, clap, hoot, and/or holler in order to get the cow’s interest. It definitely looked like the job that was the most fun AND the most difficult, all at the same time! Getting her cooperation took a few minutes, but once we were able to get our model to play along, we were able to get some super cute, great shots.
All first time bovine models aside, this experience was just so much fun; I learned something new about photography that day (never stop learning!) and laughed out loud frequently. It was such a wonderful time being out in the open air and country…having the opportunity to get out of the city, even for a morning. I enjoyed myself so much that I took the long way home, with windows down, and WMZQ on the radio :)