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  • Writer's pictureDerrick Heydon

Anna Brace Photography: Framing Our Love Story

When it comes to commemorating special milestones in our lives, few things compare to the magic of capturing the essence of love through photographs.

Recently, my lovely fiancé Lee Ann and I had the incredible opportunity to work with the talented Anna Brace Photography and every step of our engagement photo shoot experience was a testament to her professionalism and artistry.

Join me as I share the story of this wonderful evening and express our heartfelt gratitude to Anna for her exceptional work.

Wardrobe Challenges and Triumphs

Before we started planning our wedding, Lee Ann decided that we should consult with a color expert from the House of Colour. I had no idea such a thing existed until she dropped the bomb on me one lazy Sunday afternoon. Little did I know that this color analysis was going to reveal two hilarious truths: First, our most flattering colors were basically polar opposites. Second, I would have to ditch my flattering colors for the engagement photo shoot and our wedding day.

Then we secured Anna as our wedding photographer in February, asking to hold off until April or May for our engagement photos. We longed for that perfect backdrop of blossoming trees and vibrant flowers. Then, like a burst of joy, came Anna's email in early April, overflowing with enthusiasm and excitement to schedule our much-anticipated engagement photo shoot.

We settled on a date that was creeping up faster than we realized, and it wasn't until a mere two weeks before that we finally decided to tackle the topic. Picture this: clueless and cluelesser, we had absolutely no clue what to do, where to go, or even what to wear. So, like any respectable couple facing a mounting stress level, we made a bold move. We hopped into the car, looked at each other with equal parts determination and desperation, and drove straight to the one place that seemed to hold all the answers... Kohl's. Because nothing spells "engagement photoshoot success" quite like a shopping spree through the aisles of affordable fashion!

Regrettably, the only tangible memory I have of our Kohl's outing that afternoon is the striking blue blazer that graced my wardrobe for the photoshoot (see picture). And yet, the afternoon was not a complete waste. We bravely ventured forth to other retail hotspots such as Target, American Eagle, and even Five Guys (hey, a man's gotta eat!). Through sheer grit and determination (and a whole lot of ketchup), we finally conquered our wardrobe crisis and emerged victorious. Needless to say, our engagement photoshoot was going to be a fashion statement for the ages!

Location, Location, Location

Little did we know that our search for the ideal photoshoot location would surpass the amount of time we spent picking out our wardrobes. Let's just say, many parts of Southeastern Nebraska didn't exactly leave us feeling speechless. I even looked up flights to Florida for a more exotic location, but apparently, my wallet wasn't feeling the same excitement. So, we were back to square one, scouring the local area for anything that wasn't a cornfield.

Living in Lincoln, we figured we'd hit up a few spots that I've heard photographers love to shoot at, like the Sunken Gardens and Pioneers Park. But they either had way too much foot traffic going through there or missed a certain vibe we were looking for. In dire need of caffeinated clarity, we spent the next 25 minutes in the drive-thru at Starbucks frantically looking up state parks that were out of town.

For hours on end, we embarked on a journey through various state parks to the east of town, including Mahoney, Pawnee, and Platte River. As we turned onto the road leading to Platte River State Park that we instantly knew we had stumbled upon the perfect setting for our engagement photos.

The road leading into Platte River State Park immediately captivated us, and we felt a surge of relief wash over us knowing that our tireless search had finally paid off.

We both agreed that Platte River State Park was exactly what we were looking for. Its expansive landscapes offered a perfect blend of rustic charm and natural beauty. By the time we parked our car and stepped out, Lee Ann was already enthusiastically texting Anna about the perfect spot for our engagement photos.

It's Showtime!

A week later, as we arrived at Platte River State Park for our much-anticipated engagement photoshoot, we were met with a heartwarming sight. Anna stood there, her backpack securely fastened, wearing a beaming smile that stretched from ear to ear. With her camera at the ready, she exuded an infectious enthusiasm that instantly put us at ease. It was hard to believe that this was our first in-person meeting, as the connection between us felt as if we had been friends for a longtime.

We took a short hike down a wooded trail, completely unaware of the hidden gem that awaited us. As we approached a bend, our eyes widened at this breathtaking waterfall before us. Anna quickly found the perfect spot for us to stand. Her infectious personality made us (especially myself) feel less awkward about getting our picture taken as she coached us through a series of cute poses, capturing our genuine joy in each shot which made us feel like characters in a fairytale.

As we ventured further along the hiking trail, Anna took the opportunity to learn more about us. Her genuine curiosity led her to ask questions about our journey as a couple, our families, and even our wedding plans. It was a touching experience, getting to share our stories with someone who felt like an old friend.

During our conversation, we stumbled upon a remarkable connection. It turns out that, just like me, Anna had ties to the United States Marine Corps. Her brother-in-law is currently stationed in Okinawa, Japan, a place where I was stationed with 9th Engineer Support Battalion in 2005-06.

In that moment, the hike became more than just a backdrop for our engagement photos; it became a setting for the creation of new friendships. Anna's genuine interest in our lives, coupled with our mutual ties to the Marines, created a sense of kinship that added an extra layer of warmth to our time together. It was a reminder of the incredible connections that can be forged when paths intersect unexpectedly.

Leaving the park, Lee Ann and I talked about how much fun we had - the laughter, shared stories, and genuine camaraderie. It was a reminder that sometimes, the most extraordinary moments are found in the simplest of encounters. Our engagement photoshoot had turned into an unforgettable experience, filled with not only the beauty of nature but also the warmth of human connection.

You've Got Mail 📧

A few days later, Anna sent us over the link to our engagement photo album while Lee Ann and I were at work. Even though I suggested going through the pictures for the first time together, I should've known that my lovely fiancé would've already gone through it all without me because her excitement knows no bounds.

As I walked through the door, I couldn't help but playfully express my mock disappointment. "You couldn't wait for me, could you? You just couldn't resist looking at the pictures on your own!"

Lee Ann's mischievous smile danced across her face as she said, "Well, I didn't think you were serious about waiting!"

We both laughed, realizing how our eagerness had gotten the better of us. But in that moment, we understood that it was not a matter of impatience but a testament to just how excited we were to see our engagement photos.

Together, we sat down and bonded over our overwhelming cuteness, gushing at the sheer joy radiating from the frames. And yes, my questionable haircut provided a healthy dose of comic relief, prompting laughter and playful teasing.

In that shared experience, we found ourselves drawn even closer, reveling in the love and laughter that permeated every snapshot. It was a reminder that the true beauty of these pictures lay not only in the artistry and composition but in the memories they held—the memories of our shared journey and the excitement of what lies ahead.

As we scrolled through the album, we marveled at the genuine moments of connection and the raw emotions that Anna had captured so skillfully. It was a reminder of the love that brought us together, and the love that will continue to grow as we journey through life as partners.

On behalf of Lee Ann and myself, I wanted to thank Anna by sharing our experience of working with her for our engagement photos. Amidst the whirlwind of wedding preparations, Anna's expertise ensured that our time together went beyond mere snapshots. It became a cherished moment of connection, like a mini couples therapy session, rekindling our love and laughter. We owe it all to Anna's incredible artistry and unwavering dedication.

We are so honored to have her as our photographer at our wedding on November 4th!

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