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I was the one man in a one-man photography studio. I was just getting started in the business and had recently rented a small space in a downtown building. It was nothing fancy. It had a small reception area that I used as a gallery for my prints, two offices and a large storage area that I converted to studio space. Even subletting the other office, the portrait business barely covered the rent. Youth sports and weddings, of course, were the glue that kept things together.
I wasn’t the most expensive photographer in town, and I wasn’t the cheapest either. However you looked at it, I could not afford to lose any of my wedding or sports business. I was in my upper 20’s so I had time to build it up.
I had loved photography since the day I had picked up a camera for the first time. I really committed myself to it when I started processing and printing my images. But the digital era had hit like a ton of bricks and I would have to make money to justify the expense of changing formats. The surest, most consistent means to do that as a photographer is to shoot weddings. Though it was not my first choice as a specialty, I grew to enjoy shooting weddings despite the pressure to get everything right. The trappings of a wedding such as the flowers, the nice venues, the happy people, and of course, the lovely brides, made for a pleasant day.
Let’s face it, most brides are attractive, at least when they have their dress on, and make up and hair done. It’s their big day and they spare no expense to look just right. And they want good pictures to remember the big day. That can mean a nice payday for me.
I was especially looking forward to this weekend’s event. The bride, Kathy, came from one of the local ranch families in the area. She was a stunning 22-year-old with gorgeous green eyes and long dark red hair. She had a lean, busty figure. Her lightly freckled face was vaguely similar to a young Jennifer Aniston. To quote song lyrics, she was a 5-9 beautiful tall.
She would make a wonderful bride, the kind that made a good photographer look like a great one.
Even when she and her fiancé came by for an initial consultation, there was something special about her. Very poised and mature, more than I could say about her fiancé, Dave. He was an arrogant ass. He sat back in his chair, totally absorbed in his cell phone. Still, we made a deal and she put up a deposit for the wedding and we set a date for her bridal portraits.
If she was stunning in casual clothes and regular make up she was off the charts beautiful when she was dressed in her wedding gown with her hair and make up done. The full-length portraits were some of my best work ever. She ordered a large framed print to display at the wedding registration table, plus a few prints for grandma and others. She was to pick it up the Monday before the Saturday wedding.
The girl that came through the door, was nothing like the beautiful girl that I knew. Her hair was a mess and she wore little or no make up. Her eyes looked as if she had been crying for days. She was extremely upset.
“I’m so sorry, Mister Wallace, but the wedding is off.”
She burst into tears again saying that her fiancé called it off. It seems he had been stringing Kathy along until he decided to run off with an other woman, leaving Kathy at the altar so to speak. And sticking her family with lots of wedding expenses. And sticking me with a hole in my schedule and income stream.
Still crying, she was able to croak out that she hated to ask, but would I consider refunding at least part of her deposit.
“You know my policy is not to refund deposits. But I usually make an exception if I can re-book something else for that time. This late, that’s not very likely.”
“That would be so good if you can. He didn’t give me much time.” More tears. My heart melted.
“Let me look at my schedule book.”
“Oh wow, I accidentally booked a sports gig on Saturday. How awkward. You saved me some embarrassment. It seems I can swing a refund after all.”
It took her a moment to realize her good fortune and to see through my bullshit. When she did, she ran over and gave me a huge hug. The hug alone made up for the money I would be paying back. Though she looked a mess it was heavenly. She melted into my 6-3 frame. Her perfume reached my nose, sweet with a hint of an unknown spice. Her warm body felt great; it had been too long since I had held a woman. She looked up, aiming a kiss toward my cheek. I felt my face blush. I was tempted to return the kiss, but decided that would be grossly inappropriate.
When we broke the embrace we were both somewhat embarrassed. But neither of us apologized.
“That is great. We got stuck with so many deposits because of that asshole. I really appreciate it.”
“His loss, you are easily the prettiest woman I have photographed.”
That drew out what may have been her first smile in days.
“Thanks, you have been very kind to me.”
“I suppose that you don’t want the portrait. Whatever tuzla escort you decide I still have to charge you at least my cost.”
“Keep it. You can use it as a sample if you want. I don’t want it.”
“I can’t deny that I had hoped you would say that. When other brides see how gorgeous I made you look, they will sign up immediately.”
Another smile spread across her tear stained face.
“Oh so YOU made me look good. So the $5,000 gown, the $200 hairstyle, the 1 1/2 hours of make up had nothing to do with it?”
‘You would look good without any of that. No wait I didn’t mean without the gown like, um, um…I didn’t mean…”
“Naked? Mister Wallace! Shame on you!”
It was good to hear her laugh again even if it was to my detriment.
“You know what I meant. And call me Bobby. Keep me in mind for you next wedding!”
“There won’t be a next one.”
“Don’t let one jerk make you give up. There are a few of us good ones around. You know, the ones that always finish last.”
“If there is a Mrs. Wallace, tell her she is lucky!”
“There isn’t, but thank you.”
She winked as she turned to leave. “I have lots of friends who will be getting married.”
With that she was gone. True to her word, she sent some prospective brides my way.
Months went by, and I was shooting a lot of weddings and increased my prices accordingly. I still did some portrait work, and hired another photographer to shoot most of my sports. I was feeling good about the future of the business.
I admit that I sometimes looked at Kathy’s portrait while passing by it. And several prospective brides had asked if they could see samples from her wedding. But, otherwise. I didn’t dwell on her. At least not obsessively.
“Hey there, handsome!”
I almost jumped out of my skin. I didn’t realize anyone was there. When I saw her I was immediately calmed.
“Kathy! Great to see you! I’m guessing you want to book a wedding? I knew you would be back!” Her smile faded. “I am sorry, I just presumed…”
“That’s OK. It brought up some memories. Actually, I am here to get a bid for headshots of the employees where I work. We need them for PR releases and the like. I know you are busy and you may not want to bid.”
“Never too busy for you! Give me the specs. I will work up some numbers.”
“It asks for samples. So, I thought I could volunteer for that.”
‘Great, that will help me out. And a pretty model is always best!”
“I also need some, uh, personal, shots.”
Kathy stared at the ground. “I need a few shots for a dating site. Just something flirty but not vulgar.”
“I can do flirty and I can certainly do vulgar. But why do you, of all people, need a dating site. None of my business. Forget I asked. I can do it. It’s a freebie.”
“Thursday, okay? I can have your bid and we can do your, uh, personal work.”
After she left, I was pumped up. What did she mean by flirty but not vulgar? Flirty was evident but her idea of vulgar and mine were probably miles apart. I suppose I would find out. But I would have some work to do before then.
I found out the pantone color of her company logo and ordered a paper seamless to match. That would make a positive impression one the persons making the decision. With 300+ employees, this was a nice little job that would not interfere with my other work. When I shot yearbook photos in a previous life, it was not out the question to average 4-500 students a day. So this was a two day project plus another day for retakes. Easy.
Kathy arrived right on time. She was dressed in a business suit, very professional. She also carried small garment bag.
“I have the bid for you.”
She cut me off. “You have the job. The decision was mine all along. I got you to bid just to keep you honest. I still have to get it by my boss, but he trusts me.”
I was a little upset that she felt a ruse was necessary. But I suppose business is business, after all. She had opened the bid and was reading it.
“You under valued yourself. Let’s add two dollars a head, and increase your hourly rate for the retakes.”
“Wow. Thanks. I assume you are ready to shoot the sample photos.”
“Yes I am.”
And let’s do some of the personal shots with this outfit on.”
“You are the boss.”
I had already hung the background and placed the flashes where I wanted them. I had a posing stool for her to sit on,
“I’m keeping the shots simple so that the shoot will go quickly and your people will not have to be away from work any longer than necessary. If I work fast, I can do it in a day, but from experience we should figure on two. We will treat this as an actual employee shot. ‘Hello, ma’am, can I get you to have a seat on the stool? Good, Angle your feet to your right. Good. Now turn a bit to your left and move your chin down slightly. Give me a serious look, now a little smile.'”
I was able to fire off 4 shots during that sequence. Maybe 30 seconds.
“Wow tuzla escort bayan that went fast and smooth. You are good.”
“I photographed over 600 kids a day on several occasions. 800 one time. Fast and smooth came with the territory.”
“We can do some ‘other shots’ with this set-up? I want some on the website that say, business woman!” She reached up and undid a button on her blouse.
Not exactly the ‘girls gone wild’ look, but it was a start. After a couple of shots, she unbuttoned one more. More of her cleavage came visible. Very nice.
“Hold on, I have an idea ” I stepped over to my prop area and dug out a fedora I had used in a previous session. Kathy giggled, and put the hat on. A clip on bowtie and an unlit cigar completed the outfit. The images were great. They showed a woman with a marvelous sense of humor.
“I have another outfit, if you have time?”
“I always have time for you.”
When she came back, I was taken aback by her transformation. She had on a sheer white blouse and if she had a bra on earlier, it was gone now. Her business length skirt was gone, replaced by a black mini and black stockings. I made a note to check this website out.
With this outfit, Kathy started out with the blouse halfway unbuttoned. I hoped she didn’t see the slight shake in my hands as I lined up the shots. She then opened the last two buttons on the blouse and pulled the skirt up enough to show the tops of her stockings and a strip of bare flesh. I got several shots before I went back to the prop area and pulled out an electric guitar for her to hold. I had to to reach around her from the rear to show her how to hold it. In those close quarters, her perfume had a narcotic effect. She moved her ass back ever so slightly, brushing it into my crotch.
“Don’t be sorry. I will get you back one day when you least expect it.”
For the ‘rock star’ look I brought out my smoke machine and hair fan. We had fun with that series of shots. I even had her pull hair back to imitate the women playing guitars on the Robert Palmer “Addicted To Love” video but without the pancake make-up. We were having too much fun.
Kathy had one more surprise. She unbuttoned her blouse all the way, exposing her cleavage all he way to her navel.
“Are you sure you want the guys that these shots will attract?”
“Ha ha. These last shots aren’t for the website.”
“I am guessing they are not for your grandmother?”
“No, these are for you!”
“Me? Kathy, you don’t have to do anything for me.”
“You have done a lot for me. I want to give you something to remember me by.”
“Let’s get it done, then.”
When we got the pictures she wanted, she went back to change. I sent the images to my computer and opened the shots on the large monitor. Even without tweaking they were spectacular. Kathy walked up behind me.
“They are wonderful. Exactly what I was looking for!”
“May I ask you. Why does a beautiful woman need a dating site?”
“I don’t need it. I want some qualities in a man that may not be visible when you meet someone by chance. I already made that mistake.”
“How much do I owe you, for the ‘special’ shots?”
“I think we are even. It was my pleasure. I’ll make enough on the corporate shoot to even it out.”
“I still need to refer some brides to you. Since it will be awhile until I need a wedding photographer!”
“That may change once you post your ‘special shots.’ I’m sure they will get attention.”
“I’m not sure if I have the courage to put them online.
“Well, good luck.”
I saw her again at the company shoot, but I was working too hard to talk to her. Several more months passed before our paths crossed again. This time, appropriately enough, at a wedding. She had referred a couple of brides to me and I booked both for of them.
The first of her friend’s weddings was at a local venue, a private chapel and reception area. It was a popular place for the more up-scale weddings. It was one of my favorite places to shoot a wedding, having beautiful settings no matter which way you looked. That made my job that much easier.
I arrived early to get some shots of the decorations and other establishing photos. Boring, but they helped tell the story when you need to put an album together.
The bride, Kathy’s sorority sister. was Jeanna, a short feisty blonde with a pleasant demeanor. Her fiancé, Trevor, was an arrogant bastard. Where did this sorority find their men? Oh well, the deposit check had cleared, and Jeanna had ordered a lot of prints from her portrait session.
While doing the decoration shots, I heard a familiar voice.
“Bobby! I didn’t know for sure if you got the job. I recommended you to Jeanna.”
It was Kathy looking cool in a black dress.
“Hi, Kathy, good to see you again. Can’t talk right now. Maybe if there is a lull after the ceremony. that is, unless your date objects.”
“I don’t have a date. I finally quit escort tuzla the dating site. The guys on there were just a creepy as the ones in the bars.”
“So sorry. I’m sure that you will find someone. Your time will come, I promise you.”
“Aww, thanks. You always make me feel better.”
“Maybe one of the groomsmen.”
“Heck no. I know them all and they are assholes like Dave and Trevor. I am through with frat boys.”
“That’s understandable. I need to finish up here. We can chat later.”
“Okay. I have a secret to tell you later.”
“Can’t wait to see you in a bridesmaid dress.”
“Ugh. Although these aren’t too hideous.”
“I’m sure you will wear it well.”
Every bride tells me a variation of the statement: You have never seen a wedding like mine. Yes I have, believe me. Every single one of them is pretty much exactly like the one you shot last week, last year. The place is different, the guests are not the same, but when you take an unbiased look, you will see.
Bride arrives, gets dressed. Groom arrives hung over and recounting the bachelor party with the groomsmen. Guests arrive, ceremony starts. Reception begins, cake cut, toasts given and everyone goes home. Except the bride and groom who start their honeymoon, exhausted from the wedding, It takes a lot to make one memorable.
It’s the ones where the water sprinklers go off during the ceremony. Or the groom faints. Where the Justice of the Peace has to rush off to pronounce someone dead before returning to pronounce another cadaver as ‘husband.’ Where a freaky wind storm lifts the decorated gazebo off to parts unknown the night before.
Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, I have never had a memorable wedding.
This one would be, but not in the catastrophic way. It was Kathy’s secret that made it memorable.
After the ceremony, I was shooting the bridal formals in the chapel. I was almost done, with the shots of the individual bridesmaids to go. It was a relatively small wedding with only four bridesmaids and groomsmen. Kathy wanted to be the first to get her separate shot.
As I posed her, she whispered, “Feel my ass!”
“What?” I whispered.
“Just do it.”
Now the last thing I needed was to get the reputation as the photographer who fondles bridesmaids! There was only a very few people left and their attention was on a groomsman telling stories about the bachelor party. I surreptitiously lowered my hand down her back for a quick feel.
“Did you feel any panties? The bridesmaids and Jeanna are all commando.”
I admit that wasn’t earth shattering news, but having a beautiful woman ask you to feel her ass sticks out in your memory. However the memory would only get better.
The fact of the women not wearing panties was a turn-on. I had been to a friend’s wedding in Vegas a couple of years earlier and while waiting for a cab at the chapel, another wedding party and their photographer came out in front. The ladies turned and hiked their skirts to moon the camera sans panties. While that may be standard for Las Vegas, it would scandalous in this town.
For the rest of the day, I gave more than a little attention to the bridesmaid’s tight dresses, looking for pantie lines to test whether Kathy was kidding me. After my inspections, I was sure she was telling the truth. Whenever I had to interact with the bride, I couldn’t help but imagine her bare bottom under the voluminous bridal gown. The best photo I got of Trevor, the groom, was while he knelt before Jeanna to remove the garter high up on her leg. The expression on his face as his fingers simultaneously found the garter and her nakedness was priceless.
Shortly thereafter the (probably) soon to be divorced couple left. I was packing my gear to leave when I caught a whiff of a familiar perfume! I turned to find Kathy. She had changed back into her navy minidress.
“On your way to the after party? It sounds like fun.”
‘Bachelorette party was enough for me. I already sent my regrets.”
She quickly changed the topic. “Need some help? That stuff looks heavy.”
“You have no idea. My back is shot after every wedding I do. Two heavy cameras around my neck all day kills me. At least it’s over.”
“AWW. I bet a nice massage would feel good.”
“Don’t tease me. Where will I find one this late?”
“Are you volunteering? Because I will hold you to it.”
“Your place or mine?”
“Wow, I didn’t expect that! It will have to be mine. I need to get my gear put up.”
I gave her my home address and we headed out. As I drove, I contemplated what might happen. It would be easy to say just go for it. But things are rarely that simple. Besides, maybe a massage is just a massage.
After we arrived, I unpacked my stuff while Kathy made herself at home. She found the beer in the fridge and had one ready for me when I finished as well as one for herself. She was curled up on the sofa so I sat down next to her. After two more beers, the conversation began to get more personal.
“So the photos didn’t work on the dating site?”
“Just the opposite. I got too many responses. I finally deleted my account. If I wanted an asshole, then I would have stayed with Dave..
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