Just the “Facts”

June 29, 2009

So I’ve waited a while to post about this because I wanted the storm to pass before stirring the pot.  A few months ago, we and some of our wedding colleagues were approached by a local news stations to be interviewed on how the “bad economy” has affected the wedding industry in our area.  When the day came for the crew to arrive, I decided to split at the last minute because I didn’t have any bad news to report and I got this feeling that the interviewer was looking for a specific doom and gloom angle.  Plus the camera makes me look fat.

Sadly, I was right. (on both counts)

When I returned and spoke with the other folks who were interviewed, they confirmed that the interviewer was asking questions specifically related to how bad things were.  Any time someone mentioned that in their experience and interactions with their clients, things were not as bad as the media suggests, the interviewer shrugged it off indicating that any possible good news was just not convincing right now.  So instead of going out to report the news (which wasn’t all that bad by the way) the people at the news station wrote a story that fed on the public’s fears and went out to find some convincing looking people to support that story regardless of facts.  It’s like the news was sponsored by Prozac and their job was to keep people completely depressed.

I don’t watch the news any more.  It’s just another reality show gone bad.

If it’s a big story, I’ll hear about it.  I heard about Ed, Farrah, Michael and Billy.  I’m sure I’ll hear if we go to war with Korea or Iran.  Either way I will keep doing what I’m doing and wish the best for everyone.  When mom said that everything on TV was pretend, I had no idea it meant EVERYTHING on TV was pretend.  Apparently so.

Back to School

January 6, 2009

Ahh, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils, glue sticks and white out.  School is back in!  The students are back from internship and ready to learn a bit about advertising.

Yesterday’s assignment was quite the fire drill and got them thinking and moving right out of the gate.  We talked about models, modeling and communicating expectations to your subjects.  Also about how your level of communication must be quite different between working with professional models and all of the other non model people you will photograph such as corporate types, celebs and the ever present “normal person” like you and me.

These pics are from my phone but I thought they were kinda cool.



Weddings Magazine Fashion

January 2, 2009

One thing I can say about the publisher of Weddings Magazine is that she’s not satisfied with playing it safe with her bridal fashion.  This year, instead of taking a few models and a few dozen gowns on location we opted instead for the studio and a whimsical and irreverent take on the fairy tale wedding.

This concept also allowed us to explore some techniques in mixed media that I have not worked with in many years.  We collaborated with artist Jeanie Lovell of Quinn Art who took my printed images and literally painted right on them with acrylic paint.  I then rephotographed the result.  In other words, we did this old school.

It was a lot of fun and our make up artist Sophie was able to create her biggest hair yet. There are 14 pages total, but here are a few of my favorites.

I Forgot to Mention…

November 24, 2008

…that we moved.  Yeah, it was back in May, it must have slipped my mind to say anything, so here goes.


Our new office location is 3708 Benson Dr. in Raleigh, but all of our fan mail is still going to the old address. So unless you are coming to visit, not much has changed.

Did I mention this place is cool?  We are rooming with seven other wedding related businesses which makes for a super great working environment. We have a DJ, a planner, the worlds best florist and even a spa on the top floor!  Don’t worry, you didn’t miss the W&W open house party.  We kinda haven’t had that yet, but stay tuned, it’s coming!

I’ll admit this is a snap shot of the building, but this is what you’re looking for if you want to come visit.

This is what you’ll see as you walk into our gallery.  I have a separate production office, but it’s kinda messy because that’s where the real work happens.

“It’s a Major Award!”

November 21, 2008

As the holiday season rolls around, it’s time to break out the holiday classic A Christmas Story.  Hands down my favorite Christmas film of all time.  One of the best parts of the movie is when the dad wins a prize for a crossword puzzle contest and when they deliver the big box he has no idea what it is, he just knows that it’s a “Major Award!”.  He says “Major Award!” over and over, and it’s just funny when all of the packing material is cleared, there in the crate is a lamp in the shape of a woman’s leg, complete with high heel and fishnet stocking.  Priceless!

Though much less electrical, I received a “Major Award!” last week too.  It was from the Triangle chapter of NACE which is a catering trade group.  Each member photographer had the opportunity to submit a collage depicting one wedding event.  I submitted Lauren and Will’s wedding from May and won the “Major Award!” for best photography.

They say life imitates art, so just like in the movie when the lamp breaks, I managed to break my “Major Award!” too.  I was able to glue it back together, but it will never be the same.

This is my “Major Award!” (saying that never gets old)

This is the collage that I submitted

If you would like your own “Major Award!” you can go to redriderleglamps.com

Vote Early!

October 23, 2008

Why wait for November when you can vote now?  I went down to the nearby mall, walked in and five minutes later had my “I voted” sticker and was on my way!  It was so quick and easy and there were no lines.  If you have the opportunity to vote early in your area I would highly recommend it.

Whomever you decide to vote for, it would be a good idea to make up your mind before you walk in the booth.  Meridith said she overheard one couple beside her arguing.  One of them saying “you’re really going to vote for him? go ahead if you want to, but I’m not”  I was thinking wow, don’t these people talk with each other at the dinner table?

The part of the south where we live is what I would consider very regionally mixed.  I know just as many people who relocated here from other parts of the country or world as the ones who have always called this state home, so it’s hard to predict what will happen here.  It’s funny to see the cars around town and in the parking lot at my kid’s school.  The big SUVs with McCain stickers and the Prius hybrids with Obama stickers.  Mini vans it seems can go either way.  That may sound like stereotyping, but it’s right there in front of me.  As for me, I think bumper stickers are tacky (no offense) and I don’t drive a SUV, a mini van or a hybrid.

I’m about the least political person I know.  I’ve always been registered independent and have voted for the third party more than once.  Since Ross Perot didn’t make it in the 90s I’ve decided to go more main stream, but you have to admire that Ralph Nader for not knowing the meaning of the word quit.

Seriously, go vote.  I don’t care who you vote for, I just want it to be a huge turn out so that whomever is finally elected knows that the people are watching and interested in what happens next, and that he better not *F* things up any more than they are right now.

A little 90s nostalgia from elections past.

Back to School

September 9, 2008

We’ve actually been back to school for a while now.  Yesterday was the 4th week of an 8 week workshop that I am teaching for the commercial photography students at RCC in Asheboro.  Yesterday we visited the studio where I used to work many moons ago.

It’s called Kreber and is located in High Point.  It’s a wonderland of photographic possibilities and with over six acres of studio under one roof, it’s one of the largest commercial photography facilities in the world.  How’s that for cool?

When I say that this studio is in High Point most people immediately think of furniture.  It was once true that most studios in that town were heavily into furniture photography, it’s not really the case any more.  You will see more retailers like Sears, GAP, Office Max and Macy’s.  Also, a lot of the catalogs you get in your mailbox are photographed in High Point now.

I’m sure you’re mom told you this, but it really is true that there is not much at all that you will see in television or advertising that is real.  They have an entire section of the prop room devoted to fake food.  from these eggs sunny side up, to hams, lobsters, pies, and even fake ice cubes and ice cream.  Yummy!

This is just one shelf, but over the years they have collected so much stuff.  Most of this “food” is never really seen up close, but instead incorporated into a scene to add realism.

Daniel tries a plastic cheeseburger deluxe, and he’s going for the turkey next!

It took about three and a half hours to give the full tour of the studio, but I think the students were most impressed with the prop room.  It’s two levels and has more square footage that most 2 story houses.  It’s also stocked with more stuff than you could imagine.

Unfortunately, even though all of the food was fake, this fish was real and was kinda freaky in person.

Good times were had by all.

This section of the studio is appropriately named Wall Street.  Wall Street houses several thousand different walls and windows in every conceivable style of architecture from the log cabin on the right to the more contemporary on the left.  So when they are building a set, they will come here, get the walls, doors and windows they need, clamp them all together, paint, prop and begin photography.

This is one set that was made for a home improvement store’s advertising.  The last time I was here, this set was being built and there was grass and flowers and bushes all around on the floor.  With the right lighting you cannot tell that the images were shot indoors.  The advantages of having this built indoors is that you have complete control.  No weather delays, no clouds, no moving sun, no bugs!  We took the opportunity for a group photo.

This is just one room that houses several thousand pieces of wall art from paintings to prints, from super traditional to contemporary and everything in between.  In the world of commercial and advertising photography so much time and effort is put into making things look real, natural, effortless, while at the same time having the product look perfect in every way.

Kreber not only has a huge studio, but also full ad design, pre-press and commercial printing capabilities.  This is not an ad for them by the way, I just think it’s cool.

at top speed this press can crank out 15,000 full color glossy sheets per hour.

In all, I kinda wished I had taken more photos, but since I was the one giving the tour, I spent most of the time talking.

Apparently we photographers seem to have a pretty cool looking job. It seems like everyone wants to do what we do. In fact, another husband/ wife photo couple we know has had two of their wedding client couples quit their bank jobs and go out to get a camera and start their own photography business. I’m not typically one to make a judgment call on what people do with their lives, but that’s nuts!

In the past two weeks I have received several emails from people who used a photographer that seemed like a great deal only to realize after the wedding that their pictures were crap. These were not local people or photographers and I wasn’t given any names so don’t think I’m trying to stir up anything. I just wanted to point out that it is so easy in 2008 to go get an inexpensive camera, a template web site and load up the 25 best photos from your cousin’s wedding. You can in fact look pretty legitimate without actually having to know what you are doing. This is one reason that we intentionally created our web site with over 2,000 images so that it would be obvious that we have done this a few hundred times.

Here is a cut and paste of an email I got over the weekend. I am blocking out the personal details to protect the innocent:

Hi! My name is **************. I got married in May. I loved absolutely everything about my wedding, except the photography. I unfortunately learned how important it was to shop around for an incredible photographer. I was wondering if y’all would be willing to do a newleywed shoot. My husband and I are both in law school at the university of ***************** in ***************. I looked at your pictures of Lindsay and Adam ******* pictures and was so impressed. Please let me know if you would be willing to do something for us. I was thinking maybe a shoot around Christmas . . . early enough for it to be our Christmas picture! Let me know what you think. Thank you in advance, ********

I feel really bad for her. I received a very similar email from someone who was married in Jamaica in June. Now, I haven’t seen the images from these weddings, so I don’t know how bad they are, but the bottom line is that the client did not get what they expected to get, they are bummed and that is not good.  I’m looking forward to working with them and creating some imagery that they can be very proud to show other people.

I’m Still Here

May 4, 2008

Just got back in from our tour of the western part of the state.  This weekend was spent in the fantastic town of Asheville.  We’ve been busier than usual the past few weeks with engagements, bridals, magazine shoots and of course weddings.

I just did a quick inventory and it looks like we have created a few more than 22,000 images that I will be devoting this week to editing and distributing to all our wonderful brides, couples. publishers, and designers.

Do not despair however,  I will be posting some long overdue images by Monday afternoon along with my exclusive interview with John Mayer about what’s really going on with him and Jennifer Aniston.  (Okay that last part’s not true, but I will be posting photos of other hot couples so come back soon!)

Best of 2008

April 19, 2008

It looks like we’re still cool like we were last year. We just opened the mail and discovered our 2008 best of weddings award!

If it’s anything like last year then the phones will be lighting up with interview requests from US Weekly, the Today Show and a feature on the Perez Hilton blog. Or maybe not, who knows 😉

I guess we’ll never know who voted for us (unless you confess) but we thank you!