Hey gang! First of all.... yes, I'm still alive and kickin'. I'm so sorry for last week's absence. Life's been pretty wild as of late and sadly I've been so busy I haven't had time to sit down and write! But today's post should more than make up for my week of silence. Because today I'll be sharing some of our incredible county-fair-themed engagement photos with you!
As you may have guessed, Eric and I aren't a super "schmoopy" couple... our relationship is pretty much one big laugh fest, making stupid jokes and poking fun at each other. So we didn't really think a typical engagement shoot with lots of holding and caressing and gazing into each others' eyes in the middle of a wildflower patch was really "us" (hey, there is nothing wrong with those shoots. Personally, I think they're gorgeous for the right kind of couple!). I had the idea months and months ago to have a county-fair-themed engagement shoot, and thankfully Amber from the INCREDIBLE Look Here Photography (umm.... have you seen their work??? I'm so blessed to have the chance to work with them) was 100% on board for something different.
It's even more lucky that one of the nation's largest county fairs just happens to be the Great Darke County Fair, right in my hometown of Greenville, Ohio. So Eric and I traveled back to Ohio for the photo session before the last weekend of the fair in late August. I was nervous going in, because I'm pretty much the least photogenic person on the planet... I was completely afraid we'd shoot for hours and have no decent shots thanks to my derpiness in front of the camera. But Amber worked her magic and managed to get some great shots where I wasn't making the most awkward faces known to man (Eric, on the other hand, was calm... he's a natural).
The photos that follow are the result of nearly four hours of shooting (we probably had about 15 other poses/scenes and probably 400 more shots throughout the night that aren't pictured), some fantastic direction from Amber, a ridiculous amount of food (Fiske fries, cotton candy, kettle corn, Strawberry Lemonade Shake Up.... if you're from Darke County, you know we had to gets shots with all the perennial favorites), some of the nicest folks that let us pose (riding rides and playing games for FREE... never say carnies aren't kind people), a bunny, tip-toeing around cow patties, and about two dozen onlookers watching, cooing "Awwwwwww" every time Amber prompted us to "smooch." It was such a fun night, and I'm so happy my little pipe dream of a concept was brought to life so beautifully by such a talented photographer.
We started out at the Maid-Rite, Greenville's most famous restaurant (for good reason... it's delicious!). The Maid-Rite is also notorious for its "gum wall." That's right, its brick exterior is covered with years and years of patrons' wads of gum. It may be just a tad gross, but it's an institution! We HAD to get some photos with the gum wall while we were in Greenville... And of course, we had to add our own gum to the wall to remember the day!
The sun was perfect for some shadow pictures, too. Can you believe there just happened to be a heart-shaped piece of gum on the wall between us? It certainly wasn't planned, but worked out perfectly!
After the Maid-Rite, we high-tailed it over to the Fair. Basically the next three hours were spent buzzing around the grounds trying to squeeze in every single shot the three of us dreamed up.... which was a LOT.
When I first decided on the fair theme, I knew there were a few things I wanted photos of: the Ferris Wheel, something with animals and us enjoying some classic cotton candy. I love this shot, and not only because we got to enjoy that cotton candy while shooting!
Special thanks to the Carnie (uhh....is there a more PC term to call them?) who let us go in the fun house for free! And another special thanks to the two kids who ran by us as we were "smooching" near the fun mirrors.... they seemed partly startled, partly grossed out by our PDA.
Awwwww.... A gigantic, pig, just for me??? You shouldn't have!
Speaking of livestock, this was one of my favorite poses of the night, our own rendition of "American Gothic." The sweetest girl in the cow barn let us use her shovel and pitchfork to pose for this shot (I hope she won a ribbon that week!). She and her family watched on as we posed with their cow's behinds (are those cows not workin' it?). It was slightly difficult keeping a straight face for this one.
If you're not familiar with the Darke County Fair, you probably won't get this photo. But each year, every day of the fair, usually the more elderly patrons get to the main drag in front of the grandstand very early to claim a spot for their lawn chairs. For the next few hours (or all day/night), they sit in their chairs and just people watch as folks pass by! Thankfully, we managed to get a couple shots real quick before anyone kicked us out of their chairs!
Okay, this photo DID catch me in a derpy moment. We were tossing up kettle corn in the air and trying to catch the kernels, and I could not hit my mouth for the life of me. I blame it on the stickiness of the sugar.... Anyway, this is just a funny shot of my major fail, and Eric still manages to look good!
It was so fun to go into the cute little Lemonade Shake Up stand at night. They're one of my favorite Fair treats!
This might be my favorite shot of the night. The lighting was great, AND we got to pose while drinking our lemonade. One drink, two straws, of course :)
Of course we had to play the can toss game... and for the first time in my life I won a cane on my first toss! Eric had to make a few extra throws in order to score his, but when he did, he just happened to win the same exact style cane that I had! If that's not fate, I don't know what is....
And I'm pretty sure this ring was the ring he ended up winning with.... obviously, because of the good luck kiss (can you tell I was a little skeptical about getting my lips too close to that oft-handled ring?).
The Mike Tent is another Fair classic... the old-school way to arrange a meet-up spot with someone around the grounds ("Rachel and Eric, you're wanted at the pig barn... Rachel and Eric, you're wanted at the pig barn...")... and wouldn't you know the voice of the Mike Tent is still the SAME guy that's been manning the tent since I was a small kid. He was so nice to let us use an extra mike. And of course, our many, many nights of karaoke were the perfect practice to pull off this shot.
There's been an old photo booth in the arcade space at the Fair for ages.... this thing is truly vintage, and we just had to snap a few shots inside while we were there. The actual photo strip that we got turned out really cute! Even though we were mostly making such becoming facial expressions as we are above...
And finally, after the sun went down, we waited in a looooonnngg line in order to get some shots on the Ferris Wheel... and I guess this photo proves the wait was worth it! Major props to Amber for pulling off this shot, trying to work around flashing lights, rocking seats and, well, riding around in a huge circle moving very quickly way above the ground. And I can't forget Phoenix, Amber's son, who played the role of an awesome assistant as she swapped lenses while on the ride!
These are just a few of the hundreds of shots that were taken throughout the night. I'm so happy with how they turned out... and I haven't even seen the whole lot yet! I had such a fun time shooting with Amber of Look Here Photography.... I can't wait to do it all over again on our wedding day! The Fair was the perfect location for our shoot - full of color, great props and backdrops and just all-around fun. I hadn't been back to the Great Darke County Fair in years, and was so happy to get the chance to pay homage to my hometown and a place I loved growing up, while also getting gorgeous photos with the fella I love.