He popped the question on the 2nd July 2016 in Chicago, Illinois, I was visiting the USA at the time and soon after that I returned home. We were traveling so much that there was no possibility of planning a photo shoot while I was there, and I didn’t think 6 months later when we were finally reunited I would still want one, so I sort of just brushed the idea of an engagement shoot under the carpet.
I share a lot of competition posts on Facebook, probably too many in fact, but I have been so lucky and won so many prizes from wedding vendors since being engaged. You have nothing to lose by entering and who knows you may just win big. I definitely won big when Barry Bowditch Photography contacted me to let me know I had won an engagement shoot with him. All of a sudden an engagement shoot sounded like a great idea!
I spent 2 or 3 months searching high and low for something to wear, bought and returned multiple outfits, and nothing seemed quite fitting for our shoot. Close to calling the whole shoot off (yes, I’m dramatic like that) I came across Jackie Kemp on Facebook and she had her dressmaker make a beautiful, burgundy infinity dress for me.
Adam’s outfit was a whole load easier. One trip to Cotton On, a quick pop-in at Mr.Price and about 30 minutes at DueSouth and he was was looking as dashing as ever.
The day of the shoot arrived and I still hadn’t booked to get my hair or make-up done. I am queen of the last minute and definitely left that all too late as we were travelling the week before. Adam had a hair appointment booked for early in the morning with my hairdresser, Rita, who I have been going to for 9 years. She is incredible and the only one who knows how to get my blonde to the right tone and how to style Adam’s hair (which is a challenge). Luckily she could fit me for a blow wave just after Adam and before her next client. We had a few more things to get at Pavilion Shopping Centre so I decided to see if the MAC and Bobbi Brown counters at Edgars could do my make-up. Nope. They were fully booked.
We were just 3 hours away from the photo shoot, which included a 1 hour drive to the venue. The stress set in as although I’m pretty confident in my day-to-day make-up skills, I wasn’t too confident I could pull off a make-up look for an outdoor engagement shoot. Dominique Horn to the rescue! I called her and she was immediately available for me and asked if I could drive to her house. She was so welcoming and did an incredible job at giving me the natural look I wanted, even though she had zero time to prepare. I even got dressed at her house and she helped with the finishing touches on my dress.
Off to Rain Farm Game & Lodge we went. A wedding venue which is situated on a game farm in Esenembi (near Ballito). They set up a delicious picnic for us in the shade of big trees and next to the dam, topped off with champagne and strawberries. Barry, his wife Denise, and our game driver Izzy were there but they kept their distance, having their own conversation while still capturing pictures of us. I was so worried the whole thing would feel staged and posed but it really felt like we were enjoying our own private picnic only being stopped once or twice by Barry to capture some shots.
After the picnic we set out for our game drive. It felt like the hottest day of my life but we soldiered on. Stopping for pictures in front of all the animals and even taking a 4×4 drive through some rocky waters. Barry is so knowledgeable and was so clearly in his element every time he caught a good picture with us and the animals. He is so passionate and even though he has done over 40 photo shoots at this venue alone, he still made us feel like it was the first time he was able to capture shots like ours. Our game driver Izzy was much the same, not bothered to stop at every animal and also determined to find the giraffe before taking us back to the lodge. At the end of our shoot he spotted them right across the valley and drove all the way there for us to get our shots. Our hair was windblown, noses were sunburned and we were seriously sweaty (sorry for the TMI) but those turned out to be my favourite pictures of the day.
I can’t recommend all the people who were involved enough. It was the perfect day and I would do it all again in a heartbeat, which I never thought I would say about a photo shoot. I much prefer to be behind the camera than in front of it.
And finally, here are some of my favourite pics: