Letter to prospective bride.
Brides often ask me how I approach photographing a wedding. My philosophy has always been to take my work seriously, but myself not so much.
In my humble opinion there are three keys to getting good wedding photos:
1. A couple that really care for each other, can be in the moment and not sweat the small stuff.
2. A location that provides good natural light.
3. A wedding party and family that are easy going and helpful.
#1 is by far the most important and where I can help couples. I’ve been photographing weddings long enough to be able to take the pressure off of the couple. I’ll be the one getting the unruly uncle to behave and get in the shot. I’ll be the bad guy when your mother is trying to have you take more posed photos when you are clearly over it. I am very good at getting to know people quickly, disarming them with my silly accent and having them follow along for the ride. In my experience, if the bride and groom are relaxed and having a good time, the wedding goes smoother and the photographs reflect that...more
The Wedding Album - the good, the bad, the leather-bound
I liken the wedding album process to a DIY project, such as tiling a bathroom. You certainly could learn how to do it yourself and save money, however like any new endeavor, there is a learning curve and a price to pay: time, quality and frustration.
Professional book binders are typically only accessible to professional photographers. So if you want a really high-end, hand-crafted album, doing it yourself is not the way to go.
Choosing Your Layout
There is no right answer to which pictures to use. However, you should decide if you want the finished product to look more like an artist's portfolio, a photo scrapbook, or a combination of the two. If you choose a portfolio-style layout, typically there will be just one image per side, giving all of the photos equal billing and focusing the viewers attention on that one image, showcasing the quality of the work and all of the emotions conveyed. The downside of this is that the goofy shots of your friends and their shenanigans may have to be omitted. On the other end of the scale, an album...more
The New Normal for Head Shots
Using a shot that you took in the photo booth at your best friend's wedding may be taking it a bit too far, but mix that degree of intimacy with good lighting (and a bit less alcohol) and you get how a head shot taken in the late '10's ought to look. Your employees are individuals, allow that to come through.
Whether or not you are bankers, plumbers, or software developers, you want those who view your social media to really see the people behind the product or service. In a world where Instagram, selfies, Bumble, and Snap Chat rule, there is no room for passing up an opportunity to capture your client's attention and stand out from the crowd.more
School photography, particularly the pre-school variety, is a unique genre all its own. I believe the key is speed, for all involved. Kids at this age are 100% genuine so more often than not the first few shots you get will be the best. I like to use as plain a background as possible so the picture is about the child's personality. I also prefer natural -shaded light because it provides a less intimidating environment for the kids. As a dad of four kids, I subscribe to the relax, have fun, and goof around method.
Let's face it, nothing spoils a nice family weekend like dragging your kids to a portrait appointment at a studio, so it's great to be able to provide quality pictures for parents and relieve them of the drama and expense. Within a week of the shoot the images will be posted online, divided by classroom, for viewing and purchase.
If they want to do a family shoot, school clients get a discounted fee.more
Johns Creek Mural Project
A pedestrian tunnel in Johns Creek that once appeared bland and ordinary was transformed over the course of the last two weeks into a unique art installation in metro Atlanta. This mural was a true collaboration with the city of Johns Creek, the local community, Atlanta-based artist William Massey, India-based artist Hanif Kureshi, and the Urban Catalyst Lab.
It is always special to photograph a wide range of subjects and documenting this project was a rare treat. In being able to interact with the artists and champions of community art, I got a real sense of the far-reaching benefits of an internationally-themed and community-created mural. Meeting other artists and hearing what inspires and motivates them is always energizing -- William and Hanif had that effect in buckets.
Johns Creek CVB (learn more)
Atlanta artist: William Massey (...more
Sweet Sweet Syria
A portrait photographer is always looking for interesting subjects with a great back story. I recently stumbled upon some homemade cookies for sale at a local coffee shop and reached out to see if I could help with a few product shots. I soon discovered the great back story behind the cookies. We arranged for me to stop by a local farmer's market to take some photographs. I started by taking pictures of the Sweet Sweet Syria cookies, product shots for their website and marketing. For cultural reasons, I was asked not to show Ruwaida's face, but when I asked her to hold out a selection of cookies, her infectious smile gave the image it's life, and thus the portrait.
Please take a moment to read their story. If you see their cookies for sale in a local coffee shop, give them a try! You can learn more by visiting their...more
Wedding of Chloé and Noele
I was a little surprised when I first met Chloé and Noele because my dyslexic brain had misread our email exchange and I was expecting Chloé and Noel. I don’t think they realized my surprise, we got on famously and in no time we were finalizing the arrangements for me to be the photographer at their wedding.
During our conversation they mentioned their cats, four of them, all rescues. So instead of starting the shoot at the hair salon, I came to their home and photographed their four legged family members. It’s these unique aspects of each couple that I feel are central to making the pictures their own.
Chloé was a grinning fool throughout, but Noele really does not like having her picture taken. But, thanks to the Manhattans they served at the reception, Noele soon added to the feline theme with her Cheshire cat grin and her obvious joy and happiness overcame any reservations. In no time they were both hamming it up for camera.
It was a fairly small wedding with around 45 guests but it was perfect for the Mary Gay House. The musician was low-key but...more
My friend has offered to shoot my wedding for $500
Real life forces us to live within a budget. Unfortunately wedding planning is no different. So when you see sites such as mine charging upwards of $3,000 to photograph a wedding it is very tempting to take up your friend on their kind offer. Obviously I want you to go the professional route, but I’ll try to be objective while we consider the pros and cons.
· It’s only $500.
· It would be nice to have someone who knows us, our friends, and our families.
· You don’t have to mess with finding a photographer, one less thing to worry about.
· The pictures you have seen your friend take of their dog are very sweet.
· I’m sure guests will be taking plenty of pictures with their nice iPhones.
· We can get all of the digital files and make our own album, saving more money.
· I can get prints made at CVS, saving more money.
· It’s only $500.
· They’re a good friend, they should be able to also enjoy the party and...more
Recommended Wedding Venues
Everyone wants the perfect wedding venue. As a photographer I am looking for lots of natural light. But as a couple you have loads more to think about. Location, price, food, entertainment options, capacity, and the list goes on. Even if all of these work, is it even available on your date? It’s a tough choice, I don’t envy you at all.
If the ceremony itself isn’t going to be outside, I love having some outdoor photo options. These don’t have to be fancy, they can be a busy street, a colorful building, or a quiet corner away from the crowds. In fact, those real-life spots give the photograph a cool geographical element, which is often lacking in generically staged photos.
The single most important factor to great photographs is you. If you are having a great time, are relaxed, and relatively stress free it really doesn’t matter where you are. After shooting weddings for the past 20 years these are some venues in and around Atlanta that give plenty of creative options. All of the weddings I have shot at these locations have been a blast. They have great photo...more
FAQ - Family Sessions
Following are some of the more common questions I hear about family sessions.
Q. When is the best time to photograph our newborn?
A. As soon as possible. They'll never look that "new" again so don't miss it. You can always reshoot later but you can't go back in time. I often come to the hospital to shoot a newborn just a couple of days old.
Q. What should we wear for a family photo shoot?
A. Whatever you want, let the kids wear what makes them feel comfortable, same for you. A few things to avoid, though, are patterns, stripes and logos. Plain colors always look best. Feel free to look as coordinated, or not, as you wish. The pictures should be about you and how you interact with each other, not about the clothing. The one shot that is most important to you, dress for that. If we still have the attention of the little ones we can shoot more clothing and/or location options. For teens, good luck, just whatever will get them in front of the camera. If you want to bring...more
FAQ - Wedding Photography
The following are the most common questions I get from clients when planning photographs for their wedding. Over the coming months I will delve into some of these topics in more detail as each of them could be a blog post all on their own.
Q. Can you shoot on film, and why would you?
A. Yes, the reason is quality. As a professional photographer it’s my job to give you the best-finished product I can and with black & white in particular you can’t beat a hand print from an old fashioned negative. That doesn’t mean that I can’t get most of the benefits of digital technology. After being processed each film is then scanned, which means the images can go online and if necessary corrections can be made. Photography, as with any art form, is not about the fancy equipment -- what matters is how it’s used.
Q. How long does the photographer usually stay at the wedding?
A. The majority of weddings I shoot have me stay until the bride & groom leave which...more
Black Box Project
I challenge you enter into this black box only to be yourself and theatrical at the same time. This unique approach is all about you, the subject, and what you bring the lens. Being constricted in your movable space creates unusual postures which is visually appealing.
Its great to include at your next Party or social gathering. Your guests will enjoy entering and exiting this apparatus as they please, with the photographer there to capture. I included it in a wedding package and the entire guest-book could not get enough of the black box. Even while I was breaking it down, I still had some guests trying to jump in for one more frame.more
The Atlantan – BRIDES – ‘Modern Romance’
Those nice people at The Atlantan heard about my Black Box version of the wedding reception photo booth and featured it in the “now!” section of their Brides fall/winter 2011 magazine. Thanks again to Leisa & Steven and Molly & Andrew for having the foresight to have it be part of their receptions. Also a thanks to Marquin & George as well as Rebecca & Benji for a perfect shooting experience.more