Archive for March, 2011
On a gorgeous Friday in March, I headed over to the always gorgeous Lowndes Grove Plantation to photograph Tiffany and Shel’s wedding rehearsal. I don’t usually photograph the rehearsal part, but I’m glad I was there as the landscape there is phenomenal in the Spring. Plus it was one of those hazy days where the lighting was just great. Ialso got to see the great Katherine Miller, of Katherine Miller Events, in action as she coordinated the wedding party and prepped them for the big day.
After the rehearsal, the party moved to Magnolias for dinner and drinks. Tiffany and Shel were both very excited, gracious and thankful for all their friends who had traveled to be there with them. I always say this, but you learn so much about a couple through the toasts. I learned that they have known each other for a long, long time and that they share many friends and have even played matchmaker to some of them. They have a lot of support going into this marriage and I think that says a lot about a couple.
The lovely Lowndes Grove in Spring
Tiffany & Shel
The getaway car!
The rehearsal dinner was held at Magnolias
I love this one!
Tiffany is a hard core UNC fan and Shel is an NC State graduate. So… Tiffany had a little fun with that. A friend of her made cupcakes that on the outside had an NC State theme (red and white), but when you cut them open, they were filled with Carolina blue frosting! Go Heels!
If you’ve ever walked down East Bay Street on a Saturday night, you’ve probably seen a group of girls out for a fun bachelorette party. Well CJ and her friends certainly had that on the agenda, but to start the day off right, they enjoyed a great bridal shower at Blossom first.
Blossoms has the perfect room right at the front of the restaurant with great light and a view of East Bay St. for small events. The girls arrived and the bellinis flowed!
This must have been a lingerie themed shower as Victoria’s Secrets bags abounded. There were a few red cheeks and lots of laughing. It was a fun group of girls and I only wish I could hear about the fun they got into after the shower. Congratulations, CJ, on your upcoming wedding!
The event room at Blossom
The girls arrive!
March kicks off the madness that is the wedding season here in the lowcountry. Our record breaking 85-degree March days allow for an early start! Lucky for Cameron and Chan, the weather played a perfect guest to their March wedding.
Their rehearsal dinner was held at Goldbug and you may remember seeing their photos. Their rehearsal dinner guests had the honor of hearing a little about the history of their relationship and you can definitely say that there is a lot of passion between these two!
Guests arrived to Mount Pleasant Presbyterian, a classic white wooden church in the Old Village, for their ceremony. The little church was packed and guests filled the balcony. Cameron’s sisters were her maids of honor and Chan’s twin, Corby, was his best man. As a special treat, a neighbor surprised them by bringing their dog to the church so that he could be there to help celebrate too. That was an exciting moment!
A quintessential Southern wedding, guests were invited to Magnolia Plantation for the reception. OOH! Events had the carriage house decked out, complete with Spanish moss hanging from the lighting to bring the outdoors in. For the music, Cameron and Chan had gone to see a wedding band play at a regular gig and ended up hiring their opening band instead! Needless to say, The Craig Woolard Band did not disappoint.
Guests enjoyed mingling outside under the gigantic oak trees and along the river. A late night snack of McDonalds and Wendys burgers were served on vintage silver serving trays. It was a perfect combination of class and being down to earth.
They left in the night under an arch of sparklers and chauffeured in a Rolls Royce. The honeymoon destination was a surprise for Cameron, I can’t wait to hear where they went!
I love this shot of Cameron and her sisters with their bouquets. The flowers are by OOH!
Mount Pleasant Presbyterian is one of my favorite churches for weddings as I love the white wooden facade. It’s the only church I’ve ever shot in where you have to photograph through the panes of glass in a door between the narthex and the sanctuary.
The glamorous bride!
This was a very special moment. Cameron and her dad had just seen each other for the first time on the wedding day and as soon as he got choked up, so did she. It’s moments like this that make me realize the importance of my job as a wedding photographer.
Look at these lovely ladies in their blue bridesmaid dresses!
Chan actually directed this shot, which I quite like as well!
We were under a major time constraint to photograph the men as the church wedding planner desperately wanted to whisk them away for ushering duties. That’s one of the big challenges of being a wedding photographer. You really have to work fast and think on your feet. Regardless, I love this shot of the men all heading off to usher and wait for the ceremony to begin.
The wedding party, complete with two rind bearers and a flower girl who all performed their wedding duties exceptionally well… they were adorable and they all made it down the aisle!
I’m not sure who was happier, Cameron and Chan or their beloved lab.
One of the most opportune times to catch a real moment, unbridled happiness and enthusiasm is right after the bride and groom walk out of the church. They are riding on an incredible high and I love it when I can catch a few shots of that.
The Carriage House at Magnolia Plantation at dusk.
I am always excited when I run into brides and grooms from past weddings I’ve shot! There were TWO couples at this wedding and one of them includes the very talented Cameron McCutcheon. I learned of his acrobatic abilities at his own wedding when he did a back flip on the dance floor. And now I know that when ever I see him at a wedding, that I’d better be prepared!!! Cameron did not one, but three back flips for Cameron and Chan and the guests went wild, as you’d expect!
Detail shots with the tripod are awesome. I love all the action in this one.
Sparklers always make for a dramatic exit, that’s for sure!
Do you read Seth Godin’s blog? He’s genius. As an author of 13 books, all best sellers I might add, he is on top of his game writing about the “post -industrial revolution”. What does that mean? He writes about the rapidly evolving state of mind and business frame we are in right now.
You might recognize some of his Seth’s titles, “Purple Cow”, “Tribes”, “The Dip”, “Linchpin” and his latest, “Poke The Box”. I basically take everything he says as the gospel. He’s quick, to the fact and makes you think.
Today’s post is titled, “Kraft singles“. It is about ubiquity and grade. As he says, “The challenge for an insurgent is not to try to battle the incumbent for the slot of normal. The challenge is to be edgy and remarkable and to have the market move its center to you.”
That resonates with me. Why? It’s because it makes me think of “trends”. Trends irritate me as they bring to light how unoriginal we are and how quick to conform we can be. One place where trends proliferate are on the web. The popularity of wedding and photos blogs have made photographers become homogeneous. People think nothing of emulating other artists, or in more distinct terms, copying them outright.
So, the next time you’re tempted to photograph someone holding a vintage camera in their palms, shot with a bit of sun flare and then toned “vintage” yellow… don’t. That image has been played out too many times.
Make a new image that you haven’t seen before. Lest you be a Kraft single.
The Spring wedding season kicked off for me mast weekend with a gorgeous couple who know how to treat their friends and family right! Cameron and Chan and 300 or so of their favorite people came to Charleston to help them celebrate their big weekend.
The festivities began on Friday night with an oyster roast and BBQ at Goldbug Island. Goldbug, for those of you who don’t know, is a spot right along the intracoastal waterway just before you cross the bridge to Sullivans Island. It’s really home to the East Cooper Outboard Motoring Club and their boat ramps, but it’s also a great spot for outdoor parties. Home Team BBQ was on hand steaming the oysters and serving up BBQ sandwiches with all the fixins’ while the Plantation Singers welcomed guests with their spirituals.
Later in the evening, Calvin Taylor took over with the blues. I love photographing rehearsal dinners so that I can learn about the bride and groom and their family and friends before I photograph the wedding. I especially love all the insight the toasts bring! Chan is quite the public speaker, as is his twin Corby. Neither of them were afraid of the mic and telling hilarious stories. The true testament of Chan’s love for Cameron came when he did a wardrobe change and reappeared in the classicly preppy Charleston uniform, a seersucker suit from M. Dumas with Rainbows and a Gamecock visor, when he himself is not a preppy kind of guy.
The party carried on into the night with s’mores around the fire pit and a view of the Ben Sawyer Bridge. Ahhh….
“P” is for Parker (Cameron’s maiden name), and for peanuts
Ready to shuck some oysters?
Calvin Taylor sings it like it is.
S’mores station in waiting
I love this shot of Chan and Cameron at twilight
I thought this was brilliant! A collection of koozies from random events, friends’ weddings and good times were there for guests to use.
I’ve decided that people who grow up on oysters LOVE oysters!
I’m not sure what the significance of “Point” beer is, but it must be special!
One more shot of the beautiful couple!
I use to teach Photoshop classes at the Center for Photography , here in Charleston, SC. I remember one of my students, Marty Whaley Adams, telling me that each January, she embarked on some new adventure or class to start the year off right. Every new year, I think about that, get a little introspective and find myself thinking about what class I could take.
Through the power of Twitter and my hopeless addiction to it, I found out that Holly Becker, the talented dame behind Decor8, was hosting a blogging class with Leslie Shewring called, “Blogging Your Way“. Without any hesitation, I signed right up. We are two weeks into the class and it has my wheels turning. I am outlining topics and features to come.
I want my blog to be more than just a recap of what I’ve shot in the past week because I think that gets boring for all 5 of you out there that read it. Are there more? Instead, I plan to start featuring…
1. What inspires me… artists, books, food, people, the cream of the crop.
2. The Featured Photo: a behind-the-scenes look at special photos from weddings, what the story was and the technicalities of “getting the shot”.
3. 52 Weeks: I’m 7 months in to a year long project I’ve been working on. Now it’s time to start showing you the progress, week by week.
4. Industry insider point of view: My take on the photo industry, trends and all.
5. Word to Live By… and other favorite quotes.
Lastly, because I am a visual person, I must leave you with this photo, which is all about FOCUS!
In an effort to change my perspective and see the world through fresh eyes, I decided to rent a Leica M9, the digital Leica, with a 50mm f/1.4 Summilux lens. I was very tempted to rent the $10k 50mm f/.95 Noctilux lens, the world’s fastest aspherical lens! However, I thought I better try a lens I could actually afford in case I decided I must buy the Leica.
Leica’s are known for their ultra sharp lenses and extreme quality of construction. Plus they are minimal and carry a certain “I am an artist” cache. Sign me up. I want one. Thankfully, I chose to rent the camera and not buy it as it provided me with a very good lesson in perspective (pun intended).
The thing about the Leica is, it’s all manual focus. Not only that, the little rectangle you use to line up the focus through the viewfinder is tee-tiny. It drove me nuts and gave me a headache. It was hard enough to focus on things that don’t move, but try to focus on a baby and forget it! However, I realized a few things…
1. I realized that I really rely on the power of fast sharp auto focus on my Nikons. It allows me to work really fast and catch candid action shots in a split second. I never would have been able to get this shot of a groomsman dancing at a recent wedding if it weren’t for the record-setting autofocus speed on my Nikon lens.
2. I really use my peripheral vision a lot when I am shooting. This was a revelation as I don’t usually think about the steps I take before pressing the button. I use my peripheral vision to adjust the composition a split second before setting my focal point and shooting. Having to concentrate so much on manually focusing the Leica meant I couldn’t do my peripheral vision composition thing, all at breakneck speed like I am used to.
Conclusion: There is definitely a time and a place for the Leica. If it didn’t cost close to $8k for the camera and one (yes, just one) lens, I’d love to take the time to slow down and realize it’s power in creating documentary and fine art photos.
That said, here are a few of my favorite shots from the Leica:
I originally tried to compile the many faces of Seamus into a stop-motion style video. However, it didn’t play quickly enough and was more like slideshow, blah. So I started playing around with the layout and I decided I like them this way better, where I can see all of his funny expressions at once!
I’m thinking I might order a canvas collection for the studio of these 9 shots as 10×10′s. That should fill a wall and put a smile on some faces! It would also look good in the nursery or in the living room….