There are no words! 😱 This will go down as the most EPIC session ever! From the 118 degree heat, to being kicked out of a casino, to chocolate Kisses and the most EPIC night shots of all time! 🤩
Gina and Chris are getting married next April at the University of Notre Dame and they wanted to do something unique for the engagement session. After hearing about how much they love Las Vegas, I blurted out, “Let’s go to Vegas for your session!” I honestly thought they were going to think I was crazy but then they immediately said yes! I’m not too proud to say that I may jumped around my living room once I got home. 🤣 And so it began… Vegas, here we come!
Our trip started Wednesday (the 4th) as we crossed 3 time zones and landed in Las Vegas at 11pm pacific time. By the time we all got to our hotel rooms, it was 12:30am which for Micky and I was 3:30am. 😴 To say that we were tired was definitely an understatement.
The next morning, Micky and I were up by 6am and decided to get breakfast and walk around the strip. Once Gina and Chris finished at their hair appointments, it was time to start the session. As the temperature climbed to a record 118, we realized that shooting outside all day was not going to be possible. It was time to get creative.
Gina and Chris’ first outfit was a dresser look so we decided to start inside the casino first. As we walked around the main floor, I was looking for a unique place that had character but also the least amount of people. Las Vegas casinos are packed with tourists almost 24 hours a day. As we walked towards the far south corner, I saw this beautiful chandelier and iron banister that would be the perfect starting place. The banister was one floor up so we found a very nice bell man to take us up the private elevator to the second floor. As we rode the elevator, the bell man informed us that this was actually one of the locations that the movie Ocean’s Eleven was shot in. The staircase was removed during a casino ownership change but the rest of the location was perfectly preserved. (We would later find out that we weren’t supposed to be up there but oh well!)
I mean come on… how perfect is that! 😍
We headed back down the elevator to this beautiful garden in the center of the casino. The bold colors made for the perfect backdrop against Gina and Chris’ neutral color pallet.
Most of the tourists realized what we were doing and actually got out of the way. I was pretty surprised and definitely pleased. 😀
I’m obsessed with this shot! It was caught totally off the cuff (meaning it happened naturally) and you can literally feel the love these two have for one another just by looking at it. 😍 Did I mention… Obsessed!
As we made our way through the casino floor, I really wanted a photo of Gina and Chris with all the slot machines around them, or maybe even at a gaming table. I had the shot all lined up and then security stopped us. What we didn’t know was it’s actually illegal for a professional photographer to take photos inside a Las Vegas casino. Oops! I tried to explain the situation but he quickly told us to leave.
Annoyed by this, I did what any good photographer would do… we went to a different casino. 🤣 I clearly don’t follow rules. It’s my job to give Gina and Chris an unforgettable experience and rules were made to be broken. 😉
We walked across the street to the Paris hotel where there was a lot less people and security. I had Gina, Chris and Micky stay by the door as I scoped out a good location. I knew I’d only get about 1-2 minutes to pull this off before the eyes in the sky (the 9,000+ security cameras on the ceiling of every casino), spotted me and would again throw us out. I found a small place towards the back that had plenty of color and was decorated with street lamps and painted ceiling to mimic the Paris downtown scene. I took several ‘safety shots’ so I can later Photoshop out people in the background. I called them over and 2 minutes later, we got it! A romantic and super cool shot on the casino floor that is illegal! 😉🥳
On our way back to the Bellagio for an outfit change, I noticed how picturesque the walkway was. The beautiful light and ornate details made this must-shoot location!
A quick wardrobe change and a short drive later, we arrived at the iconic Las Vegas sign. The line was pretty long, especially for the extreme heat, so we used the reflector to shade the 4 of us while we waited. When it was our turn at the sign, I had Micky hold the reflector above them so Gina and Chris could have amazing photos without the blinding sun! ☀️
We jumped back in the car (thank God for A/C) and headed back to the strip. Gina really wanted photos at the Hershey’s store and since it wasn’t technically part of the casino, we were able to explore and have fun all around the store. When she first told me this idea, I knew I wanted to photograph her ring in a pile of Kisses. My first attempt was with the traditional Kisses but the silver took away from the bling. A simple move to the gold Kisses and boom… perfection! 💍
Gina wanted a fun photo with the giant Kiss! How cute! ☺️
As we walked around, I noticed this wall of candy in every color. I knew I wanted to do something in this spot. So I thought, let’s tell a story and have fun doing so. Gina and Chris went to several candy machines and pretend (although some did fall out) to get their favorite candies. I love Gina’s expressions! True chocoholic! 🍫🍬🍭
And what Hershey’s store trip would be complete without chocolate ice cream!? 🍦 Yummy! 😍
Couldn’t resist another ring shot. Her ring deserves a parade! 😍😍😍 This bush reminded me of 4 leaf clovers so I brought a little Irish spirit to Las Vegas!
It was now dinner time so the 4 of us split off to eat. I wasn’t about to leave Vegas without trying In-N-Out so Micky and I took our equipment back to the hotel and then hopped in a cab. As you might expect, the food did not disappoint but my obsession with french fries is not why you’re reading this blog post, so we’ll move on. 🤣
Back to the good stuff… We met back up at the Bellagio and took the car to a far location off the strip. I had heard from a photographer that lives in Las Vegas that you can see the whole strip from a location 6 miles west of there. Sounds strange I know but she was actually right. The location is at a higher elevation so you could, indeed, see the whole strip. However, recent construction in that area had left it with a giant fence around it and no where to take the photo. So we drove down Flamingo Blvd, towards the strip, and found this awesome location that offered us a unique perspective and would also be safe.
We parked the car across the street, ran to the middle and boom, EPIC! 😱
Gina and Chris really wanted a photo in front of the Bellagio during its iconic fountain show. You also may remember this from the movie Ocean’s Eleven. What the movie doesn’t show you is that the sidewalk surrounding the fountain is normally flooded with 200+ people at any given time. However, I wasn’t going to let this stop me from getting the shot. It was just 3 minutes till the next show, so the 4 of us ran down to the very middle of the sidewalk where luck would have it, there was only 2 people standing there, and using my extrovert voice, kindly made them move just in time for this… 😱😍🤩
On our way to Caesar’s Palace, Chris spotted this overlook of the strip that might work for a great night shot. After a few close up shots, I was hooked! These are my favorite photos of the day! EPIC doesn’t even begin to describe it! 🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩
As we walked down to Caesar’s Palace, we noticed that the front entrance was riddled with construction too big to Photoshop out. However, all was not lost as we spotted Hell’s Kitchen, the famous Gordon Ramsey restaurant from the tv show and (more importantly) Gina and Chris’ first date. As the last shot of the day, I knew I wanted to shoot it differently from the rest. Since it was their first dance location, I thought we’d pay homage to that story and have them act like they’re walking out of that same first date all over again. It gave context and meaning to the photos. The perfect ending to a once-in-a-lifetime experience! 😱
To Gina and Chris – Where do I even begin my friends. Micky and I will never forget this trip with you. We’ve gained lifelong friends and tan lines. LOL. Thank you for putting up with my many ideas and pushing the envelope in order to get these shots that no one else on earth has. You two are now legends! I am so blessed to have clients like you that will take me with you as you build lasting memories and once in a lifetime experiences. I hope this trip, session and photos are everything you dreamed of! I literally can not wit till April! All my love – S
To see their full session, click here.
Photography: Sarah Sage Photography LLC
Restaurant: Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen