Ashli and Dustin's Downtown Asheville Engagement Shoot

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I offer complimentary engagement sessions with all of my wedding collections for two important reasons: because it's the best way for me to get to know each couple in order to photograph their wedding in the most characteristic way possible and because it gives them a fun breather from the wedding planning to truly enjoy being together. Ashli and Dustin's session accomplished both of those goals with ease and was honestly one of my favorite engagement shoots of the year (which is saying a lot!)

As they both love the "stay local" motto of Asheville, we chose downtown as our backdrop and spend a very warm afternoon exploring the iconic sites as well as some hidden gems. My favorite part of shooting downtown is getting to work with all of the different forms of architecture (from the original 1900s art deco facades to the more recent additions) both as framing devices and general backgrounds. By far, my favorite photo from the shoot is the one above as I think it epitomizes the whole shoot: blue skies and historic buildings, warm glowing sunshine and a couple very much in love. I actually had them climb up a few-foot-tall light post base to be able to get below them for this epic shot, showing off their sense of adventure. 

In their engagement questionnaire, Ashli said that what she loved most about Dustin was how "fun and adventurous he is and how he can make me laugh all the time." I can certainly attest to that last part as they were both constantly smiling and laughing during our shoot. As they said that what they wanted to remember most was how happy and in love with each other they are, I wanted to show off that romantic side as well, but I didn't have to do any work to pull that out of them, they just have a natural chemistry. As Dustin gently kissed Ashli's had or the two simply looked into each others' eyes, it's easy to see how deeply in love they are. 

As a part of this "fun and local" themed shoot, I also wanted to include other people since downtown was packed with people. As we were shooting in this really cool abandoned lot with the church peaking out behind, a family happened to walk by in a line right at the perfect time to frame Ashli and Dustin's kissing. With the sun highlighting the couple and the boys drawing your eye through the scene, I couldn't be happier with this storytelling shot. 

After an hour of exploring downtown, we drove down to Catawba Brewing on the South Slope to finish off these beer lovers' session. As their first date was actually at the Beir Garden and their perfect Saturday included hanging out at their favorite local breweries, it was only appropriate we capture a fun afternoon at one of their favorite spots. Of course, first, we snapped a few photos in the abandoned lot across the street. 

Perhaps because it was a weekday, we somehow lucked out and had the far side and the back room of Catawba all to ourselves. This was especially miraculous as I was able to get a few wide shots of their "date" to encapsulate the whole brewery scene. As we sipped on Peanut Butter Jelly Time pints and hopped around the back room to shoot in front of the barrels and then framed in the doorway, we chatted about their wedding and what they had left to plan (which at even that time wasn't much!)

The day is finally here and in a few hours this fun and romantic couple will make their forever vows to each other surrounded by their loved ones. As we had so much fun at the engagement shoot, I'm even more excited to capture their wedding day!