A hand dyed dress and the California coast line | Destination Wedding Photographer

If you follow along with us regularly, you’ve already seen that we were adventuring on the west coast a few weeks ago! Part of the reason we visited San Diego was to do a shoot on the coast with all the beautiful cliffs, deep blue water, and rocks on the beaches. The model we had lined up was unable to make it when we needed her, so I (Michele) stepped into my modeling shoes, which are actually no shoes at all – literally and figuratively. The dress we used for the shoot was a one of a kind, hand-dyed dress from Coastal Knot Bridal (locations in Raleigh, Wilmington and Shallotte, NC). The bouquet, was a large air plant that we named Andre, from Pigment, the cutest boutique everrrr. After the shoot, Andre made a cross country trip via the United States Postal Service to North Carolina and now permanently resides in my house.

The day we arrived in San Diego, we scouted the location, La Jolla Beach, and found the areas we wanted to shoot in the following day and got a feel for the wave and tide activity (this all becomes important later on, I promise). The morning of the shoot before we left the hotel I found my inner hair stylist and then packed all the makeup I own, the dress and veil, and off we went to do some touristy things, which included eating a giant lunch (that didn’t help me fit into the dress). Once we arrived a La Jolla, I found my inner makeup artist and did a quick makeover inside Markquel the Minivan (more on Markquel here) and donned this beauty of a dress right there in the parking lot and off we went (me, sans-shoes for easier walking on the beach).

First, we used the amazing trees, where I learned exactly how uncomfortable models actually are in pretty much every photo you see, but it looked amazing, so it was worth it. Next, we walked on down to the beach where we had to get our timing just right to get to the spot we wanted to go without getting hit by a wave. This went perfectly fine and we arrived dry and happy to a rocky beach along a cliff, which housed very large birds sitting on nests. We had a few close calls with large amounts of bird poop being dropped near us as the birds took off or landed, but no major mishaps. That is until I was over by the cliff fairly far away from everyone else with us, with the veil over my head, posing and being all model-y and suddenly all within the exact same millisecond, I heard a loud bird screech, was splattered in poop and was immediately hit by a wave. We had planned to get the dress wet, so that wasn’t a problem. The problem was that when that large wave came, everyone was paying attention to staying dry and not the fact that I was now covered in bird feces and having a miniature melt down. So, not knowing any differently, they kept yelling at me from a distance to keep posing which I attempted to do, but eventually had to take a break, explain the situation and clean the poop off of me. (Again, props to all you models out there).

Since the dress was already wet, we decided to do some photos in/near the water and standing on the rocks. This is where the tide/wave observation comes in. We knew which rocks I should be able to stand on and get wet, but not powerfully washed off the rocks. It worked phenomenally, until I got brave and went to a rock we hadn’t really “researched”. The last photo in the post was taken within 2 seconds of me getting hit by a 10 foot wall of water, effectively ending the shoot, because no models look good soaked from head to toe in sand, salt water and bird poop.

Fortunately or unfortunately, this is how our adventures always go. There is always a hilarious story to tell and also exactly why we love traveling and doing what we’re doing. Exploring new places, photographing new people and living it up. Shooting more destination weddings and portrait sessions are on our bucket list for the next few years and we’re ready to put that out into the universe. Hopefully, the next trip I can keep my modeling shoes in the suitcase. ‘Til then, cheers!


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