Monday, November 30, 2009

Picture Monday - Annie and Christina

I had so much fun doing photos for Annie and her sister last Wednesday. I can't show you too much yet, but here is a sneak peak at one of my favorite series of images from the day. You can really tell how much fun these two have when they are together. Have a great Monday!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Weekly Fixations - November 27th

So much to love about this wedding at Style Me Pretty. Flowers with feathers, and that dress...I am loving colored wedding dresses more and more and I especially like the cheeky reversal putting the bridesmaids in white or baby pink and the bride in a statement color. While you are there, check out this eye candy too.

I have been seeing a lot of really creative, super colorful florals lately like these at ruffled and these at Helen Carter Weddings. Love the blues and purples. I didn't even know that blue orchids existed.

I have been wrestling with this dilemma about handwriting addresses vs. having printed labels. I want my business correspondence to have a personal touch, but I also want it to look professional. Is typed impersonal? Is handwritten unprofessional?

The first part of Scott Kelby's Gonzo gear guide is out here. I am thinking about picking up the 24" softbox myself and would love the 18-200 lens.

This is a nice article on finding your officiant from Weddingbee Pro.

These bridesmaids dresses from Two Birds are so amazingly awesome that I kinda want one for myself - just because.

This is an awesome idea featured at Green Wedding Shoes...have a photographer tag along when you propose. Love her reaction.

And because I love Etsy...awesome jewelry here and those cute little paper puffs that I really wanted for Halloween here.

There is a great guest blog on Scott Kelby's site by Austin Mann. He has such a great attitude. I especially like what he said about giving old equipment to a child rather than selling it.

Style Me Pretty does these cute features where they take an inspiration board and make it into reality. This one is very pretty (and I love the sofa) check it out here and here.

Not sold on doing an engagement session? Read this article from Helen Carter Weddings before you make up your mind.

This is a very instructional article over at Digital ProTalk about dealing with difficult lighting and background situations. I was dealing with a similar problem at Weddings for Warriors (mid-priced hotel hallways are NOT cute) and I completely agree that as a pro you are not able to just phone it in. You are being paid to get a great image NO MATTER WHAT for your client.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Weddings for Warriors, Part 2

Because it is a holiday weekend coming up I thought I would do a "Picture Wednesday" and post the rest of the weddings for Warriors photos today. This is going to be a busy weekend for me, but I plan on taking tomorrow completely off and doing nothing but eating and hanging out with my Mom.

Remember to take a moment to be thankful for all that you have and also give a thought to those who have had a hard year or who have had losses in their families this past year. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Picture Monday - Weddings for Warriors, Part 1

Here are the first round of pictures from Weddings for Warriors. We got moved inside at the last minute, which forced me to be creative to get some good shots in a mid-priced hotel hallway, but it was a great experience and I would love to go back again next year.

Congratulations Shaqwaun and Jacquelyn!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Weekly Fixations - November 20th

I really love the layout of these save the dates, I think that it would be great for a promotion flyer. I actually keep really well designed junk mail. Weird, huh?

These totes would be a totally cute bridesmaid gift or memento. Or, you can just get some to cart your groceries around. You know. Whatever.

I posted a little while back about a super cool family tree program. Now, Inspired Goodness has a fun DIY version that is a "wedding tree" and uses thumb prints of all of your guests as a guest book.

If you are crafty check out the Brooklyn Bride card swap. You make and send cards and then get back handmade cards in return.

I love pretty much everything about this inspiration board from Flights of Fancy. The color scheme, the invites, the abundance of layers and ruffles...

I also think that this post at Ruffled is great with all of these budget wedding dresses. Stylish, and still on budget? Priceless.

The Happy Book, reviewed by jomygoodness, just sounds fun.

This is a good article by Chenin at Boutwell studios about tips for travelling to weddings.

Download these free printable holiday labels from i do it yourself. Now. Then, while you are there, download this font too.

Great article at Helen Carter Wedding on choosing a caterer.

Something about these photos just make me think of a nice quiet weekend alone somewhere fabulous *sigh*

Consider this your permission

And because I am a huge dork and I like teen angst vampire movies I'm ending with the fact that I am SO excited to see the new Twilight movie tonight! Yeah!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Automated vs. Made by Hand

Sometimes I get thoughts from the absolute weirdest places. I have this tin of Burt's Bees hand salve that I carry around with me in my purse. Yesterday I was sitting at my computer procrastinating and rubbing some on when I noticed that the color was applied unevenly around the top rim of the tin. While not a giant catastrophe it did trigger a whole mental conversation with myself (only child dontcha know) about the risks and rewards of automating processes versus doing them by hand.

This may sound random but I think that it relates to photography a lot more than you may think it does at first blush. Most all photographers will agree that shooting your camera on auto or "P" is horrific and unthinkable because you are letting go of any artistic control that you may have over the final outcome of your image. Okay, I'll buy that. You are a pro and people pay you for the vision that you project onto a scene and render on (digital) film.

So, doing things by hand and having complete control must be the best way to go for all aspects of your photography, right? Not so fast. What about actions? I'll bet that you don't print all of your own prints by hand either. You can probably see where I am going with this.

We use automation to save us time and because automation is supposed to deliver us with more consistent results than if the same project was done by hand. Obviously, as was the case with my tin of Burt's Bees, automation needs to have hands on monitoring to be sure the product is still meeting standards. So, it is up to us as photographers / business owner's to come up with a system that balances the need for quality, consistency, artistic integrity, and time management.

I do not have a perfect system in place, but I was reading something on Chenin Boutwell's blog where she was talking about workflow tips. The thing that she said that was like a Eureka moment for me was that you must have your 3-5 "looks" that you use and stick to them to avoid spending massive amounts of time experimenting. Why didn't I think of that? Obviously even actions aren't a silver bullet since each photo is unique, but I am going to start being more conscious of what I want my "looks" to be and incorporate them into my workflow. I already have one in mind that I used for the Weddings for warriors photos (they are edited and ready to be posted soon!)

What are your tips and tricks for balancing the need to control vs. the need for automation? I'd love to hear what others are doing for their workflow!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Picture Monday - Sneak Peak

I used to be a summer person. When I was growing up summer was the love of my little life because it meant being outside all day, suntanning at the local pool (with fun dip), and freedom. Now that I am older, have two jobs, and live in North Carolina summer is much less about the incandescent happiness of freedom and much more - well swelteringly hot to be honest. I am now finding myself to be a fall person. Something about a perfect 70 degree day with a backdrop of yellow, red, and gold now fills me with near perfect happiness.

Yesterday was one of those perfect days. I spent yesterday evening taking some family portraits at the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens - which is lovely, but be warned they charge photographers $50 per day or $100 per year to be able to shoot there. I didn't get home from the shoot until late last night, so here are a few images from the shoot SOOC. I'll post some more once I get the edits finished. Have a great Monday!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Weekly Fixations - November 13th

Sorry for the late post today! Being gone most of the week has put me way behind on my blog reading (among other things like house cleaning, and putting my laundry away) plus, it is Friday the 13th....I personally don't mind Friday the 13th since Friday the 6th is one of my favorite days and you can't have a Friday the 6th without a Friday the 13th. Yin and yang as it were. So here we go...

This week I am going to start out with a couple who is crazy and clever. I won't tell you too much more about it but check it out here. Took some guts to pull that one off, huh?

I like Jessica Claire. I don't know her, but I like her - and I love my shootsac as well :) I like her even more for writing this post. As you all know I too have been struggling with my personal identity versus my blog/professional identity so this post is a great inspiration. I reminds me of a quote I heard that said something to the effect of "take a stand, nobody cares about neutral". It is scary to be fully yourself with a bunch of strangers who are made bolt by the anonymity of the Internet. Jessica, you rock!

I really like the idea proposed in this blog post on Ritzy Bees site about having a wine and cheese reception at a vineyard. Awesome. Wine, cheese, great photo locations...what more could you want (besides cake)?

This post has nothing to do with weddings, but the images are amazing. David Guttenfelder is a truly gifted photojournalist.

I like this idea featured on unbride. What a great way to get some really cool new images.

Over at Jim DiVitale's website he has just debuted a new way to access his tutorials. You can view the post here.

I think that I have already mentioned that I love Halloween. That said, I am still not sold on a gothesque Halloween wedding. This wedding, however, is a cute mix of sophisticated and fun with a Halloween theme. They even had a pumpkin carving contest!

Since the holidays are coming up and this is a great cause you can kill two birds with one stone! Shopping and helping out families in need. Heiffer is a great organization and I love how they are not giving handouts but helping people to become self-reliant.

First, as I have mentioned previously, I love the idea of furniture outside. Second, these photos are lovely in a dress-up sort of way. I like that it feels boudoir without being boudoir.

Crash Taylor (who is awesome) does a great interview series on his blog. The latest post interviewing Jaco Fourie is amazing. You have to see these pictures. Wow. I especially like the one in the rain. Jaco may just be my new lighting hero.

I am loving all of the outfits featured in this post and this post from All Things Lovely. This is so not helping me clothing budget stay in check.

I am intrigued by the idea that Help Portrait is putting forth. I might try looking into setting up something locally... anyone who is interested leave me a comment or send me a message on facebook.

Loving these free vintage label downloads from i do it yourself.

I had no idea that letterpress machines like this even existed, but now that I do - I want one. If you do too go enter the contest on i do it yourself.

Gasp! I have been toying with trying to find a way to watermark / border the images from my blog. The most recent incantation that you have seen was inspired by Jubilee Fine Art Photography. I ran across this one today and I LOVE it! Now I just need to find some way to merge them all together and create something awesome.

And finally, a little bit of humor for your weekend...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day 2009

The past few weeks have been incredibly busy for me (but busy is good!) and I have been having such a great time with all of the events that I have been involved with. I am so blessed to have met and become involved with so many wonderful people and causes over the past few years.
Monday so saw the photos from the Junior League of Moore County's annual wine tasting fundraiser at Elliot's on Linden - if you didn't go scroll back and check them out. As always, Elliot's did such a great job of hosting the event. The venue is great, the food is always amazing - that salmon mousse! - and there is always so much to do and see at the event. This year I donated two packages to the silent auction to help raise money for the projects of the JLMC (such as Academy for Success and the Sandhills CC scholarship) and I ended up giving away a third package as well at the event. I am excited to get to photograph all of my winners so congrats to Alison and Jason, Ava Pszenny, and Marc and Shanna. I look forward to seeing you all soon.
At the end of last month I attended and helped photograph an event for Mira USA, which is a fledgling organization here in America that is working to provide seeing eye dogs to blind children. The foundation began in Canada, but after a local man, Robert Baillie, suddenly and unexpectedly went blind as a result of surgical complications and was helped by Mira he decided to try to launch Mira Foundation USA, Inc. The event, held at the Fair Barn in Pinehurst, was to raise awareness about Mira's mission and help raise funds. Everyone involved, myself included, donated their time and services to help out this great organization, but I was most impressed by the local Outback restaurant's contribution. Not only did they donate all of the food for 250 people (and we are talking steak, chicken, the whole nine - all of which was great) every single one of the servers there had volunteered to work the event for no pay on their days off. It is really great to see so many people in the community rallying around a good cause.
As I am pretty sure you have all noticed by now, today is Veteran's Day. I feel pretty strongly about supporting the men and women in our military who all sacrifice so much for all of us, so today I am shooting at an event put on by the Savannah Wedding Tourism Council called Weddings for Warriors. The event is providing 40 free weddings to active duty service personnel. Each couple gets their own private ceremony, flowers, and photography along with a group reception following the ceremonies and a river cruise. I am really excited to be a part of this event today and I will be sure to follow up with some photos and let everyone know how it goes. I am hoping that what's left of the hurricane will blow over before the ceremonies start. Keep your fingers crossed for me! I hope that everyone has a great Wednesday.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Weekly Fixations - November 6th

I re-arranged to put this post first because it is that good and that important. The post is a guest post by Tyler Stableford on Scott Kelby's blog. Please go read the post. Doing something like this is one of the things that I would really love to do in my career. On a small scale I try to do it now with the JLMC but this post has inspired me to try a little harder and maybe loo a little more closely for ways that I can use my skills to help others.

I have always wondered how some photographers can take 4000 images at a wedding but after seeing this post from the Poser:Image blog I now know. The depth of coverage is amazing! These photos really do tell the story of the day down to the last detail. I am going to be sure to work in a lot more details at my next event as well.

Last week I talked about how cool I thought colored wedding dresses were and here is another great ORANGE dress. (I know, I thought that it would be weird too but it is lovely)

Post from Scott Kelby about some great light stands that have legs that automatically fold in when you lift them.

This post from Rock'n Roll bride is so great for anyone who either wants a vintage styled dress or is on a budget. This designer has ready made dresses from $400 and custom from $800. Can you believe? Awesome.

Also discovered this great wedding planner's website, Helen Carter Weddings, via Rock'N Roll Bride. The site is stuffed full of great articles about all aspects of planning including how to handle some tricky situations like telling people that your wedding is adults only or dealing with divorced parents.

These cake toppers from the small object are totally custom and you can even add your pets.

I absolutely love the idea of having part of your favors be a family tree like the one shown here. What a great idea! How often have you gone to an event and had no idea who anyone was or how they were all related? That happens to me with my own family! Not to mention the family trees are so beautifully made they could go on to be a keepsake. Speaking of nice paper goods check out the invites in this story and this story. Love the modern take on the invites. This must be the week for paper goods, check out this amazingly great store - Mr. Boddington's Studio- featured on Style Me Pretty.

Love this photo shoot from Stella Alesi Photography. I am especially intrigued by the flowers in her hair. I love those! Where did she get them? Note: she MADE them!

How creative is this...the couple actually hired a painter to paint a canvas of them at their wedding! She started the evening sketching a scene from the reception and by the end they had a finished custom work of art. Pretty cool.

Splendid Communications posted this article with info you need to know if you pay to advertise on a blog or website. The fine going into effect in December is a big one so be sure to read it and see if it applies to you.

These wall decals by SurfaceFlik are intriguing to me...I like them but my husband may not be such a big fan.

I am loving these postcards featured by Style me Pretty. If you go to Papeterie website you can actually see all of the possible color combos and change them at will. Very fun.

I have about fifty more blog posts to go through in my reader for this week but I had to draw the line somewhere! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday What's Up

Yes, you would be correct in assuming that I still have not thought of a proper name for this segment of the blog. I am open to suggestions, please leave me ideas in the comments!

I was planning to write this post last night after crossfit but the workout was so horrid that I just couldn't do it and pay the bills all last night. The bills won.

It's been a busy week for me with Halloween last weekend and lots coming up this week. Tommorrow is the JLMC's annual wine tasting fundraiser and has been kind enough to do a little article about it here. From what I understand they will also be attending the fundraiser and giving us a review so keep a look out for that. If you haven't heard of they are a new site dedicated to the best people, places, and things in the Sandhills area of North Carolina. Please go over there and check out the site.

Also, if you are in the Sandhills and are planning to attend the JLMC fundraiser at Elliots on Linden I am donating 2 packages for the silent auction. One package is a 60 minute family shoot with a 10 image photo book ($300 value), and the other is a 90 minute engagement / anniversary session with a 16x20 float wrap ($300 value). All of the money goes to benefit the JLMC's cause "supporting young women at risk. I will keep you posted on the winetasting and post some pictures from the event next week.

Another thing that I did this week was attend the Digital Wake Up Call tour put on by David Ziser of I went up early and helped with the set-up of the program and let me tell you David and LaDawn are the nicest people and the tour was very well organized. LaDawn manages to be both very friendly and sweet while at the same time being in control of the situation and getting everything done which I think is such a great combination to see. Very graceful under pressure.

The seminar was great (about 4.5 hours) and you walked away with lots of great information as well as some nice freebies and discounts from the vendors and tour sponsors. Over the course of the 60 city tour they are giving away $250,000 in door prizes. Not too shabby.

My favorite part of the seminar is when he gets to talking about the business part of running a photography studio. Something he said really stuck with me. He said, "I don't make money taking photos, I make money selling photos." A lot of creative people don't really like business and don't really like selling, but no matter how good a photographer you are, you won't make it very long if you aren't selling your products. I also really liked getting to see samples of some of the promotional materials that are used in his studio just to get ideas. I really like his blog and I already use quite a few of his business practice suggestions. What's more the seminar was only $59. Seriously, you get way more than that for your money so if the tour is coming near you in the last few cities be sure to go. You can view the tour schedule here.

A few images from the night (Yes, I did use my point and shoot on the high ISO setting which is why they are so noisy, but the best camera is the one you have with you right):

David demonstrated exactly what equipment he uses and his lighting techniques for both on and off camera lighting.

David gave a pretty good performance. He has quite a sense of humor and is really involved in his presentations.

And a picture of me with the man himself (Big thanks to LaDawn for taking the photo and I apologize for my point and shoot) I had a great time with a great group of people and look forward to doing something like it again soon.
That's what I have been up to this past week and lots more in store for the coming week as well. Check back on Friday for more stuff I am loving right now. Only two more days till the weekend - hold on.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Picture Monday - Shoot through something

My sliding glass doors are always a mess, no matter how often I clean them, and I genuinely feel bad for whoever owns this house after us because there are so many scratches on those things from knee level down. While this is not great for my resale value it did end up yielding some interesting pictures shooting through the dirty scuffed up glass at the pups. I gave the images a much different almost fine art feel to them which I liked. Just another way of taking the things that we see every day and looking at them in a different way.

Have a great week!