For C&M’s San Juan Island wedding, we decided to do their first look on their favorite side of the island- the South End. The South End of San Juan Island, near American Camp and South beach, is geologically different than the rest of San Juan Island. Scraped clean by glacier that used to cover the area, it remains a more barren terrain with bare rocky cliffs and grass fields. A few hearty trees remain, but appear windswept from the wind storms that often hit the area. Photographing there is a bit like photographing on the sea cliffs in Ireland or Scotland. Whenever I can, I like to bring people out here for their wedding photos to take advantage of the terrain and ecological diversity San Juan Island has to offer.
A large piece of creating dynamic and emotional imagery is timing light in such a way to capture the beauty of the environment. C&M were open to a sunrise first look prior to their 4:30pm ceremony. This gave us the time for them to feel relaxed (though maybe a bit tired) in the morning and have some time just for them to say their vows in their favorite spot.
We did the first look at the trail head with panaromic views that included the sunrise over Mt. Baker, and included Mt. Rainier in the distance to the south, and the Olympic Mountains to the west of us. San Juan Island truly is hard to beat when it comes to having a location with both views of incredible mountains but also the wildness of the ocean at play.
After their first look, we walked down towards one of my favorite coves for them to say their vows privately together. While it’s tempting to want to be up close and person for photographs, this was the time where I stepped back and shot from a distance to respect their privacy and the intimacy of the moment. I find that some people get shutter fatigue, and find it hard to ignore the camera no matter how comfortable they feel with me. I respect that. I get awkward in front of the camera as well, so like to give people the space they need to be fully present in the moment.
After their first look and vows, we headed into town to get coffee then part ways so they could relax together for the rest of the moment before heading back to Westcott Bay to get ready for their wedding celebration with their family and friends. Stay tuned for part two!