Mercedes and Tony | — Vesta Irene —

Mercedes and Tony


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We wanted to get started with Mercedes and Tony’s free shoot a little earlier than we did, but because it seemed like the only time we were free, we scheduled it a little later than I would have liked. However, it worked out okay. Photos taken late in the evening can be very romantic, especially if you’re shooting a couple who are so obviously in love. You can tell that just by looking at their photos.

Actually, we shoot a lot in the evening. We sort of haunt the downtown area with our cameras, so we weren't really worried how the photos would come out, but we were a little worried if they would like them, because there was no sunlight to speak of and most people like a little light in pictures of themselves, especially in their engagement photos.


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Looking back though, we needn’t have worried, because they liked the photos just fine, which is always a relief off my shoulders, especially if we weren’t shooting in the best of conditions.

What was really nice about this shoot is the way the camera loved both Mercedes and Tony. They are just so gosh darned photogenic and with the river in the background they seem to really pop out of the pictures.


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I love the look of Mercedes and Tony’s non smile smiles in these portraits. Tara Banks might call them smizes and I guess they are, but those smile without showing teeth have been around for a long time. And I know there are those who might say, those are not real smiles, because we’re not seeing their shining teeth.

I would argue that’s not so, even though today when someone points a camera at you, your first impulse is to smile from ear to ear, showing off as many of your pearly whites as possible, like you’re Julia Roberts.


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But it wasn’t always so. Just pick up any art history book and check out the renaissance masters. Not many teeth there. Not any teeth actually.

I was talking with a friend about this the other day and she told me that she thought we don’t find shiny white teeth in those portraits, because everybody had bad teeth back then. Well, those were paintings, portraits made on an easel with a brush, not portraits made on film or a digital sensor. Those painters coulda made teeth as white as they wanted, but they didn’t.

The Mona Lisa isn’t smiling wide, not because her teeth were bad, but because Leonardo di Vinci didn’t want her to. And Mercedes isn’t smiling wide in this photograph, because I didn’t want her to. I had Miss Mona Lisa on my mind when I made these modern day portraits.


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Throughout this engagement session, I asked her to try and give me the kind of look she’d most likely seen on a zillion actresses on the covers of movie magazines in the checkout lane of whatever supermarket she shops in.

On purpose, I didn’t mentions the words smize, squinch or smirk, because I wanted to see what kind of look she’d give me all on her own. And the neat thing is, Tony was listening and he was giving me a very similar look. And if you look at the photos, you can see they’re obviously happy as all get out and you see this is so, without all those white teeth trying to steal the show.


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In photo above, you can really see how happy and content Mercedes and Tony are with each other. Their eyes just radiate smiles and that makes them the kind of people I really like to photograph.


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Vesta Irene Wedding and Portrait Photography, 1250 Ralston Street, Reno, NV 89503 
Phone: 775 393-9529