Sam & Mishi | Sole Repair Shop, Seattle

What can I say about Sam and Mishi? They have two dogs: Korra and Raleigh, and two cats: Thor and Loki. They have lots of books and lots of plants (well, as many plants as they can keep safe from the cats). They invite people to their home and cook them delicious dinners and send them away with leftovers. When I text them to say I just booked another wedding, or send photos from New Mexico or Alaska or California, they say, “Oh my goodness! That’s wonderful!” And, “We couldn’t be more proud!” They say, “If you ever need anything, call us!” And I know they mean it. They tell me over and over again, “We believe in you!”

Early in the morning, before I packed up my camera and headed off to start photographing the wedding day (I showed up for getting ready photos wearing sweatpants and bearing a dozen pumpkin spice Mighty-O Donuts) I wrote this down: “Don’t worry too much about poses, about camera settings, about what looks cool. Let the moments happen. Sam and Mishi’s caring for each other is a bright and shining light: everyone can see it. Capture that light. Don’t be afraid of missing something. You’ll capture what you’re meant to, and the feelings from all the rest will be present in the photos you take: when they see the photos, they’ll feel it. Remember to back away and see the whole picture, and remember to get right up close. Remember to take breaks. And remember: Sam and Mishi believe in me, no matter what. They’re always cheering me on, and their friendship helped carry me here. Let my work today be my gift to them.”

It was October: the sun was shining, the sky was bright blue. Everything about this day was perfect, magical, shining. It was the kind of day you never forget; the kind of day you look back on years later and still feel a warm glow.

As soon as I got home after the wedding, I started importing photos, and I stayed up past midnight waiting for the imports to finish, and then I woke up at 6 am to start editing: I wanted to get a few previews ready to show the family, while everyone was still all together. I drove across town to the Airbnb one more time, and when Sam and Mishi gathered the whole family around the kitchen table, everyone crowding close and leaning in, craning their necks to see the screen of Sam’s laptop, I thought I’d never seen anything more beautiful. I wish I’d taken a video of them seeing the previews: I wish I’d captured the roars and shouts and joy, but, honestly, I was busy trying not to cry with happiness myself. I was thinking, “Every bad day was worth it. Saving coffee shop tips for my camera was worth it, all the hours I spent learning how to photograph weddings were worth it, all the days I couldn’t afford gas or groceries were worth it. Everything was worth it to be right here, right now.”

Danielle Shull1 Comment