Sometimes it is the photos you didn't plan on taking that become your favorite. I had been in the country of Scotland, for about one hour when I saw Adama and Kathleen sitting in the same cafe as me. They were dressed perfectly, talking in French accents and enjoying their breakfast. I texted my sister in law, saying "there is a gorgeous couple sitting in front of me at the cafe, do I ask them if I can take their photos?" and I believe her response was somewhere alongt he lines of YOLO.
Grassmarket is the area of Edinburgh I know best. I got off the plane, ordered an uber straight to my usual Kick Ass hostel, locked up my bags and walked to a cafe while I waited hours for my retreat attendees to trickle in from around the country and globe. Grassmarket is the street that has the best views of Edinburgh castle, some of the most popular pubs in Edinburgh, and stops at the base of the Royal Mile, which we all know as the real Diagon Alley. It was raining, hard, as ever. Which made me very happy. The streets were empty but for kegs being delivered in the early hours. I felt like I was absolutely fucking home. Grassmarket was the first sip of Tennents I ever had, Grassmarket was my first experience in a foreign country in 2017. Grassmarket is where I always go back to. So to find a sweet couple enjoying breakfast with an empty Edinburgh outside the cafe doors; I couldn't resist.
Americans are brash and loud. I am an extrovert (part of my job I think), so I walked up to Adama and Kathleen whilst they were mid sip on their lattes. "Hi, I'm a photographer and you are going to think this is really strange but; would you be open to being photographed around this street? You guys are so beautiful."
In the back of my mind, I was freaking out because what if they were friends? What if they were breaking up? What if this was a first date?! Kathleen just looked at me surprised and said, " how much?" Which made me laugh. Some people would pay hundreds to photograph THEM. I reassured them it was free. They agreed and my jet lagged self RAN to Kick Ass to grab a camera while they finished their breakfast.
I did end up asking if they were together, and they said yes; they were married. Visiting from France, their first time in Scotland. I said; what a souvenir! Then we frolicked in the empty streets; Adama's glasses fogging up and Kathleen's jacket being soaked. I tried to give them a little tour of my favorite places, while also trying to find cover from the rain; even if it was just for a second.
Kathleen and I are still in touch on social media and I hope to meet up with her and Adama next summer in France; maybe for a dryer weather photoshoot. But the moral of this story is; photographers: you miss one hundred percent of the shots you dont take (Michael Scott/Wayne Gretsky). If you are inspired by something; make it happen. The worst someone can do is say no.
Mandie is a photographer based in the United Kingdom, now booking elopements and weddings through 2025. Travel fees waived when already within the country. Reach out for inclusive elopement planning and photography through her inquiry form or firstname.lastname@example.org