How I Had Two Italian Vacations In One Year: Last May, I went on a vacation to Italy. By coincidence, one of my own wedding clients was in Italy at the same time for their honeymoon, so we planned a mini honeymoon session in Positano. I had been to Europe before, but had never had the opportunity to photograph a couple while there, and it lit a spark of inspiration in me. When I got back from my trip, I shared a photo from the session on my Instagram and a few weeks later received an inquiry from someone else who would be traveling to Positano soon for her wedding anniversary and wanted me to photograph her and her husband. My heart leapt with excitement and then instantly sank with doubt. I was coming off of what I thought was a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Obviously, the inquiry was for a paid gig, but one photo session would not cover the cost of a trip to Italy. There was no way I could responsibly spend the money to go again, no matter how happy it would make me to work with Positano’s cliffs as my backdrop one more time.
I’m not one to give up very easily though. I can be obsessive, and when I want something, I have a one-track mind. I decided to share my predicament online. I asked if anyone else would want to be photographed on those specific dates in Italy. If I could book a wedding or more sessions, then maybe I could make the trip happen. I hit post. Tagged a bunch of people. Then I wallowed all day, sure that it wouldn’t lead to anything. I went to sleep that night wishing for a flight deal and dreaming up another inquiry.
The next day, I opened a message request on Instagram. “My fiancé and I are trying to put an elopement together in Italy! Your pictures are beautiful and I would love to have more details on prices, exact dates, etc. I would love to hear from you.” Y’all, I about fell out. I definitely squealed. I was light-headed. Two of the most incredible inquiries two days in a row. We talked dates and locations, and although I didn’t want to get my hopes up, something felt right. They were in the very beginning planning stages so I couldn’t rush them to book. I just had to wait and hope that I’d hear back again. I wrote to the person who initially inquired about the anniversary session in Positano. I told her I might be able to make it work, if she could give me a couple of days to confirm. Antsy and nervous, I again could barely sleep, refreshing my email from my phone, my head bouncing with wishful thinking.
The next morning, I woke up to a flash sale alert. Flights from Dallas to Rome, $500. My dates were included. I could barely contain myself. This was less than half the usual cost. I wanted to book it right there. Instead, I set up a phone call with the person who initially inquired about an anniversary session. I had to make sure she was still interested. What if she decided to go elsewhere? Well, we talked and I felt like I was talking to a friend. She was so nice, so complimentary, and her vision for her session aligned exactly to my style. It was perfect. I gave her my pricing and she said yes and asked to book right away. I sent her the booking info, pulled up the flight I had been eyeing and called my husband. I told him how well my phone call went and that I was ready to buy the plane tickets, but he was nervous. “What if we buy these tickets and she doesn’t end up booking in the end?” “What if we never hear back from the elopement couple?”
Chris and I are adamant savers and worry-warts. We don’t spend frivolously. I don’t often act on leaps of faith but something in my gut was telling me to do this, that this would work out. I told him this. He said he believed in me, in my passion and in my work and he said, “let’s do it.” Minutes after we bought the tickets, I got an email. Vivi, the person who inquired with me about an anniversary session in Positano, whom I had spoken to on the phone that day, pulled through. The session was booked and paid for. After some more planning with the elopement couple, they officially booked too! And with those two bookings, Chris and I were so relieved. We were going back to Italy! Twice in one year! More beautiful sights, more delicious food, wine and gelato to enjoy.
Morning Honeymoon Session in Florence: Over the next month, I got another inquiry that didn’t work out because of scheduling, and then, just weeks before our trip, I heard from Veronica. She and her fiance were about to get married, and would be in Florence on the same days as us for their honeymoon. Up until this point, I didn’t think I could be more excited, but when this Florence honeymoon session was booked, there I was again. Googling locations, brain storming back and forth. This session would be in historic Florence, a setting I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to photograph with a couple. I’ve grown such a love for Italian architecture, and this session was the cherry on top of a perfect sundae.
On our first morning in Florence, we met Veronica and John in front of the famous Florence Cathedral, which most people refer to as the Duomo (dome). Construction of the massive structure began in 1296 and it’s one of those can’t-miss sights of Florence. We planned our session for the morning to beat the crowds and weren’t disappointed.
After some photos there, we walked across town to the Uffizi Gallery. Florence is much smaller than Rome and easier to get around by foot than Venice so it was really a nice morning stroll. The courtyard and corridors of the Ufizzi Gallery are gorgeous. The forecast said rain so I mentioned it as a backup because of the covered areas. We didn’t end up needing cover – the rain stopped by that morning, but I’m so glad we went anyway. It would have been a shame to miss it!
Next, we continued our walk to the Ponte Vecchio. It literally means “old bridge” in Italian. The famous medieval bridge over the Arno River is a very popular spot for selfies during the day. Luckily, we were there so early, we had it all to ourselves.
Veronica and John were so much fun to photograph! It can feel a little nerve-wrecking, going into a session without ever having met my client in person, but we got to talking and my nerves melted right away. I loved that they were fresh off of their wedding and how sweet they were together. They seemed relaxed and were open to my ideas and posed very naturally together. We spent a lot of the session laughing, which makes for some of my favorite photos. Leaving that session, I was on such a natural high. I remember feeling happy, thinking, “I can’t believe this is real life” and feeling so excited to see the photos. It set the tone for my next session and for our whole trip.
Veronica and John, this morning was amazing. Thank you, thank you for letting me be a small part of your Italian honeymoon memories!
**I’m going to share another post about our second trip to Italy soon. It will outline our experience getting to Florence and our adventures through Tuscany.**