Graceless Captures: Wedding Photography Woes

I’ve been helping my friend photograph weddings. I like doing them, they are fun, challenging, and excellent practice. But bless my OWN heart, I am about as physically coordinated as a beached Blobfish. They are a lot of hard work, and physically demanding. I remember someone said, “But you’re just taking pictures, how is that tiring?” Yes, you are. And to take those pictures, you have to MOVE. You don’t just stand there and press a button. You are carrying heavy, expensive equipment in a bag, on your shoulder, in your pockets, around your neck, and running around, sometimes crawling/crouching/sitting everywhere, following the party like paparazzi… And moving FAST, because if you don’t, you might miss something. Your job is to capture it… ALL of it. After all, these are someone’s memories.

I’ve done some weddings solo in the past when I was a starving student, but I had to give it up. It was just about more than I could handle by myself. Too much stress, not enough money. I’ve quoted people absolute steals of prices for weddings and they have refused, saying it’s “too much money”. I want to scream at them… You have NO IDEA how hard they are… how much skill, patience, stamina, physical exertion, stress, and talent it takes to shoot one.

It’s a nerve-racking experience, and from what I’ve noticed, most of the wedding parties are all about the same:

1. The bride’s Mom is running around going crazy

2. The groom’s Mom is running around going crazy

3. The bride’s Dad is laughing and joking 

4. The groom’s Dad is laughing and joking

5. The groomsmen are all sweaty, uncomfortable and complaining

6. The bridesmaids are all sweaty, uncomfortable and complaining

7. The flower girl is no where to be found/asleep/pouting/uncooperative

8. The ring bearer is no where to be found/asleep/pouting/uncooperative

9. The groom is a nervous wreck

10. The bride is exhausted and is about one more demand from her breaking point

As a photographer, you don’t just wear one hat. In a perfect world, you think you are just going to take pictures. You’re not. You serve as a psychologist, therapist, server, carrier, mover, locator, teacher, conductor, hand maiden, bringer of things, taker of things, organizer and planner. You are the person who is beside the bride generally from start-to-finish, so you see it all go down. ALL of it. These are people you may have never met in your life, and you hear the dirty details backstage, and witness all of the drama first-hand.

There are 3 things we always wish for before a wedding ceremony:

1) good light!!!! — we PRAY For this…

2) a pretty wedding — for pretty pictures


Usually you can get 2 of your wishes, if you’re lucky. But you’re bound to get 1 that goes awry.

I can say that the last wedding we shot was beautiful. I loved all of it, the colors, the flowers, the clothes, the setup, the photogenic and cooperative wedding party, the location. The light could have been more desirable (it was FULL sun during ceremony), but hey, you can’t have it all.BUT… after running around for a couple hours, your legs start feeling rubbery and you’re concentration is fading… and that is where things go wrong.

The wedding was set up with a large tent with guest tables and chairs under it for supper. The buffet was located inside a building right next to the tent, and it backed up to a porch. A porch with uneven terrain (i.e., steps). In my haste to run and take pictures of the food before it was picked over, I failed to notice a step and put one foot forward off of the edge and fell at a 90 degree angle, directly to the ground, in front of everyone sitting under the tent.

Two thing went through my mind: OMG MY CAMERA and OMG WHO SAW ME. The camera was fine, luckily the lens hood took the brunt of the impact. I got up quickly, dusted myself off. No one could be seen laughing hysterically, so I assumed they didn’t notice. But maybe they aren’t as rude as I am… cause I know I would have damn sure laughed if I had seen it.

Artist’s rendition of the event:


Luckily the only thing that was severely damaged was my ego… my knees escaped with bad bruising and minor skin abrasions.

Don’t worry, I won’t quit weddings, and despite my injury, I don’t regret helping Victoria shoot that one at all. In hindsight, it was a ton of fun… and at least not now, as long as I am working with a partner I will continue to shoot. Weddings keep you on your toes (and sometimes on your ass)… and it’s all about the art, anyway… right?

Old Sheldon Church Ruins {{ Yemassee, South Carolina }}

Well, it’s been a while. But have I got a great photo essay for you! I was able to visit somewhere I’ve always wanted to see this Saturday, and it did not disappoint! Old Sheldon Church was originally built around the 1740’s, but was subsequently burned down by the British. It was rebuilt (new roof, interior) in the early 1800’s, but then the Yankees gutted it during the time of Sherman’s march. Now all that is left is the nearly 300 year old ruins, and it is a special place here on Earth. I can’t really tell you why, but there really is something amazing about it. I’m not sure if it is a reminder of what once was, all the emotions that have been felt on those grounds… the numerous weddings, funerals, services, tears, laughter, pain… or the sense of feeling just a tad bit closer to something or someone much larger than yourself. Or maybe, it’s both. Go visit. Then you decide.

















Fun Fact: Occasionally services are still held (Easter and Christmas) and weddings are also booked here because it is still considered a church!

All photos taken with Canon 6D and 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens, enhanced in LR5.

1 Year Anniversary Session

People get Engagement photos before they are married, so why not get Anniversary photos, AFTER they are married? I think surviving a year of marriage is a bigger achievement than just planning to get married. So do Robin and Wes, the happy couple I had the opportunity to photograph last weekend for their 1 year anniversary. They were even happier than many engaged couples I know, which speaks highly about their relationship. Thanks for being so adorably smitten with each other, y’all!












1yr-youngs copy

All photos taken with Canon 6D and 50mm f/1.2L, RAW format, processed in Lightroom and finished in Photoshop

First Maternity Session!

I haven’t done much “human” photography lately, but one of my best friends in the world is about to become an Aunt and her brother and sister-in-law let me use them as guinea pigs for my very first maternity session. I was super excited to see how these turned out… talk about an adorable couple!

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All photos were taken with the Canon 6D and 50mm f/1.2L lens.

Fuzzy Puppies and Fluffy Stuff

These are the beautiful little monsters we’ve been fostering over the past two months… God knows I love them to pieces but can’t wait for my sanity to return. We’re down to 2… the deaf babies, of course. They aren’t so bad. They sleep like a rock and have tons of fun playing together. Luckily we have experience with deaf dogs (Buckley) so they aren’t hard at all. Love these babies… and they are SUPER photogenic. My gosh!







A Few Furry Faces {May}

I’ve been so busy lately, I haven’t had a lot of free time to sneak down to the shelter, but I managed to go a week ago. With the help of another volunteer, Chuck (thanks so much!), I was able to catch these guys (and gals) at their best…


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My parents gave us a lovely wooden bench to sit on our back porch. It has a nifty little area that opens up and allows you to put junk and whatnots inside. We generally use it to keep our shoes in, but its most prominent occupant is an array of dog toys… and Thor knows it. So, every day, we let him outside to do his biz, and next thing I know, he’s sitting on the box, barking at us to open it for him and get out a tennis ball or frisbee and play. I’ve never met a dog more obsessed with toys.

Anyway, today he decided to stick his whole upper body in the box and Ryan just so happened to help his back end in the box too. So, there he sat. In his little toybox, staring at me like, “where did all the toys go?”

Pretty boy…


Thor in a Box


My pretty red boy


These photos were taken with my Canon 6D and 50mm f/1.2L lens in mid to late evening light. Adjusted in Lightroom.


Something strange has happened.

One of my favorite images has been “stolen” and reused. When I say reused, I mean hundreds of wallpaper websites are using it. Literally, hundreds of hits came up when I did a reverse image search on it. Everything from demotivational posters to Facebook pages to bar advertisements to music pages, there it was. Here’s a snippit of what came up (with many more from where this came from):

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 10.08.36 PM

The image is about 4 years old. I took it during my 2nd year of pharmacy school, with my very first DLSR, the Canon Rebel XS and a “nifty fifty” 50mm f/1.8, nonetheless. It is of my friend in pharmacy school. He asked me if I would go out and take some photos with him and his guitar, and being an ambitious little wannabe photographer, I happily obliged as a birthday gift for him. It was a blast! One of the best photo shoots I’ve ever had, and one of the most successful shoots I ever had… or at least I thought it was great. Toward the end of our venture around Savannah, he told me about this mechanic shop nearby that had some old junk classic cars out back. We stopped by, checked out the cars in the back and I positioned him in front of an old Cadillac. I took his whole body first, but then I realized that the guitar aligned with the Cadillac’s grill and I knelt to take a photo up close, without his upper body in the photo. About that time, the owner of the shop came out, and I apologized for disturbing him. He laughed and said, “Oh hell, I don’t know why anyone would want a picture of that junk, but take all you want!”

Turned out to produce one of my best images, even to this day it is one of my favorites of all time.

This is it:


^ Notice I added a watermark? Yeah.


So, you might be wondering… Does it bother me that someone stole my image? Yes and no.

#1. It’s my image. I took it, it is my work. Stealing is stealing.

BUT… at the same time…

#2. I posted it on the internet (on my Smugmug) without a watermark. Oops. This pretty much gives anyone access to it. If I post it out there, well, it’s a risk.

So, if I hadn’t, then we might not even be discussing it, or talking about what a cool picture it must be… which brings me to…

#3. If someone has “stolen” the image, it is because it was good enough that someone wanted it. That is flattering. It tells me that if people want to use it. They like it. They want to put it on their Facebook page to promote their business, or on their blog because it looks good.

This tells me that it is good enough to get on iStockphoto or something of the like. So, in the end, I guess I am flattered. And of course, I can always hire DMCA to do a takedown.

Really, though, I wonder if it bothers my friend… it’s MY image, of course… but after all, it’s HIS crotch that is all over the internet. 😉

Miss Livi {Pet Photography}

Miss Livi tends to get overshadowed by my dogs often in my work… but she is beautiful and deserves some attention as well. She got some catnip for Christmas in the stocking from her “Grandma”, so I took a cute picture of her rolling around under the bed the other day after playing in it.



Canon 6D with 50mm f/1.2L in low light room, no flash (under the bed) 🙂