As promised, more from the west coast.  We started out at Stanford where Nikki is finishing up her studies, then on to misty, foggy San Francisco where the weather changed about every five minutes and kept things interesting.  From there we went over the mountain to the coolest little beach town and shot a little more before stopping for dinner.  All in all it was a great day!

I don’t typically write blog posts like this, but I just can’t keep it to myself.

I happened to be in a local camera shop last Friday looking for a camera part.  It was taking me a while to find what I was looking for and there were several other people being helped so I walked around a bit.  One of the customers was a lady who brought her camera in to have the sales person help her with the settings.  She explained that she had a photo shoot the next day and it was going to be in a dark place.  So I’m thinking OK, her kid is having a birthday party or something and she wants good snap shots, that’s cool.  Then she said the thing that made my blood go cold.  She said:  “The place is dark and the ceilings are high, and I’m sure I’ll have to get really close to the bride and groom during the ceremony so that they show up.”

Say what?  Can she be serious?  Is this for real?  As the sales guy explains what color settings she should use for good skin tones and that she could just point her flash and that “should be fine” (his words), I’m over there freaking out on the inside.  Knowing full well that this lady was going to leave her house the next day and go screw up someone’s wedding photos.

I kind of had to leave at that point.  I felt weird, like I was an accessory or witness to something bad that was about to go down.  Most of all though, I was completely offended that this person had such a casual attitude about the major event that she had been hired to photograph.  I felt bad for the bride and groom for about a minute until I realized that they hired her for some reason.  Maybe it was a good deal, maybe she’s a friend, maybe their standards are low, whatever the case, I’m sure they got what they paid for.

Then a few other things ran through my head that got me even more annoyed.

First of all, weddings don’t just come up all of the sudden.  No one calls you on a Thursday and says “hey our wedding is Saturday are you available?”  This person probably had months to work out her technical issues, shoot tests under similar lighting conditions and get it right, but she chose to think about it the day before the shoot.

Second, why would you go to the place that sold you the camera to get photography lessons?  Nothing against the sales people, they are cool people, but while they might know a fair amount about the equipment itself, they don’t shoot weddings for a living and can’t really speak to that experience.

Third, I know what we do is not rocket science, but it does take hard work, dedication and several years of experience before you’re even kind of good at it.  This mentality I see of getting a fancy camera, a template web site and being a wedding photographer in three easy steps is bringing me down.  We don’t compete with those people, so I’m not worried about that, but it’s sad to see the profession that you’ve poured your entire adult life into cheapened like that.

Fourth, can I even list a fourth? After three points it kind of seems like maybe there really is no point and that I’m just rambling.  So what’s the point of me ranting like this?  Well, it makes me feel a little better, and hopefully you are wiser than you were a few paragraphs ago, and if you are looking for a wedding photographer please interview the crap out of them to be sure they are competent before putting your wedding day in their hands.

Talk about fun, Shelley really loves photographs and Jonathan is up for anything.  We had such a great time photographing their wedding.  The reception was at Ballantyne Resort which never fails to have amazing scenery, and two of our past wedding couples were there too!  It was like a reunion. (photos of that later)

I love it when people bring out their phones for pictures.  Though the quality is not amazing, it makes sense because you always have your phone with you, you can always have those photos with you too.

Back Home

March 19, 2009

It’s been a busy week. Monday found me in San Francisco for an *E* Session. It was rainy weather but fun. I haven’t had a chance to check out all of the images yet, but here is one that caught my eye. With Alcatraz behind me, and the Golden Gate Bridge in front of me, plus all the rain, it was a memorable experience. Check back in to see more soon.

Caroline’s Bridal

March 11, 2009

Before portrait sessions I often get the question “What happens if it rains?”   If it rains, then we either work around it or work with it.  In this case, Caroline had chosen a really cool abandoned chapel that was on a farm.  We couldn’t get inside, so we worked with it as background.  When I arrived at the location the storm clouds were brewing and made for dramatic scenery.  Of course it rained, but not for very long.

More From the Theater

February 25, 2009

So I didn’t get to shoot a lot during the workshop because I was kinda there to help the students.  (who got some really cool stuff by the way.)  Whenever I did get the chance to shoot it was with very quick setups and I spent most of my time working on interesting compositions rather than technically spectacular lighting.

Since this was also a portfolio building exercise for the models, I set up some regular ‘ol head shots too.

I got a little carried away with exploring compositions that create tension at the edges of the frame like the two below.  If you follow the “rules” of composition, the images below are crap, but if you don’t believe in “rules” then you either think it works as an image or not.

Workshop Images

February 24, 2009

Last week’s lighting workshop took us on location to a vintage theater. The diversity of the scenery and the models were great! I am just getting a chance to look at the images, but here is one that caught my eye.

Come back tomorrow to see more.

Shelby & Joe- Hilton Head, SC

February 11, 2009

Back in the low country with its big mossy Oak trees and amazing scenery.  We had the great fortune to be working with Lisa Manning of Southern Weddings With Style for Shelby and Joe’s wedding.  The location was Honey Horn Plantation which provided an amazing backdrop for the day’s events.  I look forward to being back to this part of the world for another wedding very soon.

Nancy & Will

January 27, 2009

What can I say but that Nancy, Will and their families are warm, wonderful people!  The thing I remember most about the day was Nancy’s calm, and her bright smile.  It was a beautiful day at Fearrington Village, and even though the threat of rain put us under a tent for the garden ceremony, it was an absolutely beautiful and meaningful ceremony for this great couple.

Not sure why I love this shot by Meridith, but I so do!

Nancy and Will had their favorite drinks out for guests to enjoy.  Will’s favorite was the Mountain Dew which I LOVE!

OH Yeah…..

January 19, 2009

It’s my birfday, that’s right, it’s my birfday (normally spelled birthday, but not in the song)

Hell yeah, I made it to 29 again! What an accomplishment. I’m not usually a big celebrator of birthdays, but I have deemed 2009 as the year that everything gets really good again. I am determined to celebrate everything positive and so far, I am still alive and healthy and that’s pretty good. I’m determined to keep the drama low and the energy high this year, and if anyone tries to get in the way of that it will not be pretty.

2008 was a year of intense drama around our family with two births, three deaths, two cancer diagnoses, and nearly 40 fabulous weddings. We managed to hold it all together, BUT this year….2009….you will find me throwing my hands in the air every day screaming “hell yeah!” because it’s going to be that good!