This is a long one – but justifiably so; this is no ordinary shoot. Today we come to you with our most special engagement shoot to date. Mayu & Charan – what can we say about them? I guess we’ll start at the beginning. We met Mayu when she contacted us to shoot her brother’s wedding (see: Saravanan & Lidiana
) and instantly hit it off. Shortly after giving the wedding photos back, she and Charan contacted us to see if we were interested in shooting their engagement shoot in San Francisco. If we were interested? In shooting in SAN FRANCISCO? Sunny San Francisco? Gorgeous San Francisco?! Yes, please! They chose the location based on one of their all-time favourite movies: The Rock – which evidently they can quote from intro to credits lol. We decided to go in late April as 3 out of our 4 birthdays were within that one week (Annu and Mayu have the same birthday!). After a few planning meetings trying to narrow down which spots we we had to hit, wanted to hit, and would be nice to hit, we were set to go off on our adventure!
We made it into San Fran on April 23rd night, the eve of my birthday. After a quick unpack and a very late night dinner, Annu prepped our equipment for the long days ahead. We celebrated my birthday (and literally every other day, yes I know we’re horrible) at The Cheesecake Factory! Why we do not have one of these in Toronto is beyond me but there is still a whole bunch of items we need to order from there; but, I digress. We decided to start shooting one night early so we headed to the Legion of Honor and the Palace of Fine Arts for a night shoot. Charan was decked out in a suit but I must say Mayu stole the show with a stunning strapless, floor length, navy and gold mermaid gown. The dress was made by Alex, a very close friend of hers, who took a saree and turned it into a dress! This was her first time doing something like this and as Mayu would say it was made with “pure love” – we think it looks fantastic on her! On the very windy and cold night, Mayu was constantly reminded by Charan to not get distracted (“You don’t need to look at the bus, Mayu!”) LOL! But troopers they were! On a cold night we succeeded in capturing some dramatic and fashion-forward photos! One of the (many) great things about Charan & Mayu is their ability to take direction. Especially for poses that usually require a bit of a demonstration. Mayu was bang on from the first shot each time – try and tell me this girl ain’t the next Cover Girl!
25th morning started off with the pleating and re-pleating of Mayu’s saree before we headed off to the serene Japanese Tea Garden of San Francisco. On top of being “The Rock” enthusiasts, they are lovers of Tokyo and Japan in general. The Japanese Tea Garden is so beautiful with fragrant blooms and historical architecture. The best part of that shoot was the amount of people who’d stop to stare at and take photos of our gorgeous couple – many inquiring whether we were shooting for a Bollywood movie!
After the morning shoot and just before heading to Baker’s Beach we stopped to grab a bite. Little did we realize how difficult this would be! We drove around the beach area thinking that there would definitely be many restaurants there to choose from – but we were told otherwise! So after going back into the burbs, we found something through GPS, parked, and started to walk towards it. It was closed until dinner time! Along with many other restaurants around it! So there we were, tired, hot, and hungry, scouring the streets of San Fran and literally sniffing like dogs!
“I smell rice!”
“No! That’s bread!”
“No! It’s RICE!”
“No, That’s SUBWAY bread!”
And it WAS Subway bread! LOL… but we didn’t stop to eat at Subway. We went to a hole in the wall Indian buffet that had pretty decent food and an awesome soundtrack overhead (Annuj compared it to war trumpets blaring, and kept repeating that melody for the rest of the day!). The meal is fondly remembered with other guests requesting to take buffet food home lol…
So we eventually made it to Baker’s Beach and all i can say is “penis”. Yes, while we were there, there must have been at least four naked men on that beach (not a nude beach – FYI). And it seemed all the norm parents were walking with kids in hand and not in the slightest did they seem phased – quite different from what we experience here in Toronto. These men were out and about just tanning and stretching on the rocks as the waves crashed against the shores. We managed to frame them out of the photos and got beautiful shots of Mayu, Charan, and the amazing Golden Gate Bridge.
After a quick change we headed over to San Francisco’s GORGEOUS City Hall. Now I’m a proud Torontonian, but I’m sure you will agree that Toronto’s City Hall’s got nothing on San Fran. The pillars, the architecture, the floors – oh my! It was an absolute pleasure to work there with such friendly staff! We went thinking there would be a lot of begging and sneaking around to catch our shots but quickly learned how kind and helpful the people of San Francisco are! I adored Mayu’s royal blue love maxi skirt paired with a very simple white top. We got some great help after a helpful caretaker stopped waxing the floors just so we can get our shots! We really cannot say enough good things about the people we met in San Fran! We headed over to The Cheesecake Factory (as we had on many other nights!) and ended our first day of shooting with an ice cold IPA! LOL!
Our second day of shooting begun again at the Palace of Fine Arts and Charan repeatedly referring to Mayu (undeservingly, might i add!) as a diva. At that point, no matter how small her question or request was (and they always were actually very small), EVERYTHING was blown out of proportion by the three of us to show how much of a diva Mayu was being (lol yes, we are bullies). They are such a goofy, fun couple who love video games that we got some fun shots of piggy backs and the trendy Hadouken shot.
Mayu changed into a very cute lace dress and we drove to a high point that overlooks the bay and has a great angle of the Golden Gate bridge. We then proceeded to a forest that included bubble gum wars, stick fights, and of course more piggy backs.
We went over to Le Meridien hotel for some shots. It’s crazy how a easy going, light hearted and playful couple can go to such intensity! FEEL that PASSION!!!!!!!
Our third and final day of shooting begins at Union Square, the heart of downtown San Francisco – equivalent to Toronto’s Dundas Square. There was an art exhibition going on and we had the honour of listening to Charan’s art critiques of some pieces (alcoholism mixed with troubles with the painter’s wife, is that correct, Charan?) After clicking and shopping we went for lunch at a little bistro and shed many tears together over about old family members that are no longer with us. *Sigh*
We couldn’t leave San Francisco without some shots of the long, narrow, and hilly streets so we double parked in front of someone’s driveway and almost got hit by a few cars in order to get that shot – but we got it! We went down to their harbourfront area and we clicked away as Charan & Mayu wrestled on the grass (Mayu with the sharpshooter FTW). And we got shots on the streetcar in which we met our first not-so-nice person in San Fran – a driver who kicked us off. But then we were greeted by the next streetcar driver who basically proposed to Mayu and reminded Charan of how lucky a guy he is to be marrying a beautiful lady. It just goes to show you that sometimes you have meet a not-so-great person in your life only to be able to have the opportunity to meet some really wonderful people! Nothing screams San Francisco like the streetcars and we LOVE our photos of these two on the streetcar! 🙂
Our last destination of the night was an extremely cold and windy tour of Alcatraz. For fans of the movie The Rock – this may have been the full purpose of coming down.
Charan & Mayu, you both are such beautifully wonderful people – inside and out. We were absolutely crushed when you told us your wedding date for next year and we were already booked. But in any event, to say a friendship started in San Francisco would be an understatement. We’ve laughed together, cried together and frantically searched for wifi together (okay, maybe that was just me). We look forward to many, many more adventures together with you and our nai kutties in the future…
Annuj & Tanya
T: Hmmmm… I don’t know this song
C: I don’t care
T:… … … Well … I mean…. I guess you don’t have to… And yeah… But you don’t have to be mean and actually say it.