Andy & Rachel's Wedding at Park Tavern- Part 1 | Atlanta Wedding Photographer

I've posted before on Facebook that often when sitting at a coffee shop editing wedding photos, I find myself smiling back at Photoshop.  Not because I love the program, my computer, or my coffee.  I smile because for wedding editing, I'm looking through photographs of two people on the best day of their life.  Almost every photo has someone smiling, laughing, dancing, and sometimes crying tears of joy.  Maybe it's the dumb reflex part of my brain wanting to mimic smiling faces I see or perhaps it's that through the hectic 8 hours of photographing a wedding day, I only get to truly reflect on the event when going through the photos days later.

 As a general rule, I'm not often outwardly emotional as my wife (who cries at sad TV commercials) would note.  However, having been married and seeing Keri walk down the aisle in her dress and having family and friends there, I know what it feels like to be overcome these feelings on this occasion.  I say all of this because I smile a lot at coffee shops, but the other day I found myself tearing up.  I'm not particularly close to Andy and Rachel, though I have spend time with them prior to the wedding and think they are a wonderful couple, so it surprised me to feel the saltwater welling up in my eyes.  It was the following two photos in particular that got me.  Maybe it's because I was in that same spot a year ago and wish I looked as sharp as Andy in his tailored suit.   For me, seeing these two photos of Andy as Rachel walked down the aisle really got to me.  You can see the childlike reflex of pulling his hands from his pockets to holding onto his suit like a security blanket.  He was overcome with this inexplicable emotion of seeing Rachel for the first time in that long white wedding dress.  I'm glad I was able to capture this moment on digital film.

These two photos aren't the most photographically impressive photos, but to me they evoke more emotion than most.  These two got me.  I'll post one more that I thought was sweet, then get on to the rest of Part 1.  This next one is pretty self explanatory of the mother-son dance, and to be honest I think explains a lot about the two photos of Andy above.  (p.s.- Andy, I hope this didn't embarrass you too much). 

Alright!  Now onto the fun stuff!  I have to first give a shout out to the vendors as they pulled of a beautiful and fun wedding!  Simply Charming Socials did the day of coordination and lovely decorations, Pink Cupcake Dreams brought delectably decadent cupcakes (I took a few leftovers home to Keri!), and DJ Andrew Wrobleski lit up the dance floor (more of those photos to come in Part 2!).

Braxton is TWO and Brady is three months!

There are few families that have documented the growth of their children as well at the Romeyns.  I'm always happy to get that quarterly text message from Lexi that she needs new photos of her little ones.  Braxton turned two years old in October and Brady just hit her three month milestone.  We had a great time a couple of weeks ago enjoying/destroying all of Krister's piles of raked leaves.  All in the name of good photos, right?

Keri tells me only at this age is it a compliment to call Brady a cute little chunker.  I'll keep that in mind.  :)

 

My First Published Article: Tips for Child Photography

From time to time I get general solicitations from various photography-related groups.  Usually it's to sign up for a mailing list, join a club, or buy something.  Recently I was contacted by the Society of Professional Mexican Photographers asking if I could write an article on children photography.  After some research found out that the SMFP (they spell photo with an "f"- much easier) seems to be the Mexican version of the Professional Photographers of America- an organization that I am a member of.  Initially I was skeptical due to the broken English email, but I realized that the vast majority of my blog posts are in broken English as well.  I was happy to write the article and send a few pictures along and I just found out it was put in their online newsletter with the potential for me to have additional opportunities for their Latin American distributed print magazine.  I don't fancy myself a writer (see blog entries 1 through 156), but it helped that the limit was 300 words for the article.  Once I was rolling on it, the only hard part was keeping it to 300 words!  I realize I should do more of these when the opportunity presents itself.  You may ask why a Mexican magazine?  My answer is that I have no idea... but I'm not going to complain if it furthers my international exposure.  :)   Here is the article as it appears on their website.  I wrote the article in American English and they translated it to Mexican Spanish.  The full English version is further below.  Enjoy!

Here is the content in the original language.  I tried to avoid $100 words so it would translate a little better.  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.  :)

"Taking photos of children can be a challenge at times. We’ve all been there when a mother has asked us to photograph an unhappy, shy, or otherwise difficult child. Here are some ways to get the photos you want while helping the child become more comfortable with you and your camera.

The first thing I concentrate on is finding a good location. If the child is very young, it can often be wise to take photos at the family’s home. This way, the child will be more comfortable with his or her surroundings and doesn’t have to venture far to be comfortable. Generally, I like to shoot outdoors with children (except for newborn babies). It gives them the freedom to wander around and explore. Your job is to follow them (on your hands and knees if you have to!) to catch that perfect smile and natural pose.  The idea is to let them have fun on their own and you catch the moments that happen. There will be many disappointing photos, but the good ones are GREAT because they are natural- no posing!

Always make sure to tell the parents to dress the child in comfortable clothes and no busy patterns. Try to avoid the color white if you think the child could get dirty. Ask the parents to bring along rewards for the children in case they get upset. That way you can say, “if you stand over here, mommy will give you some juice!” Just be sure that these rewards (candy, snacks, juice) aren’t messy and could discolor teeth or get on clothes.

I generally shoot in natural light with no flash. This allows the child and I to move around a backyard or playground and give them the space they need. If the child is being good and will sit and pose, I’ll have the parent hold a reflector to supplement lighting if necessary. I typically shoot with the Canon 5d Mark II and a variety of lenses. My most used lens is the 24-70mm because it will give me a good range of close up shots for faces and smiles as well as wide angle to get playground items or helping family members. Depending on the lighting, I generally shoot between ISO 100 and 400. The idea is to shoot what will give you a high enough shutter speed in case the child is fast moving!

The bottom line is to get outside, play around, and have fun! You’re bound to get good photos if you and your subject are having fun!"

 

Hudson Bassett!

My sister's son, Hudson, just recently reached his 3-month milestone and I had the privilege of photographing him at Mom and Dad's house a few weeks ago.  He has so much personality and is just full of smiles.  I can't wait until he starts walking and talking.  :)

 

 

(Gun show)

 

He LOVED laying in the grass.  At first, he would curl up and close his eyes, unsure of what what poking him.

Then a few moments later he'd open his eyes with a big smile on his face.

Cat Island, Day Two!

Just a quick update from Cat Island!  During the day I took the Gro-Pro out snorkeling on a local island and we kayaked through the mangrove to a secret beach.  Last night was the rehearsal dinner and dancing.  Nicci, the bride, surprised everyone by hiring a local drumline, Junk-a-Noo, to bring a 45 minute conga line (without stopping the music) through the resort!  Then, between beers, I was running back and forth on the beach getting star trail photos.  Having an incredible time at the Fernandez Bay Village!  Here are a few shots from the day:

 

 

Cat Island, Bahamas Wedding

The blog will be pretty scarce this weekend as I'm in the Bahamas shooting a wedding.  I know, I know- I work too much.  Don't worry, I'll try to get to the beach this weekend to get a little sun.  :)

No wedding photos just yet, but maybe a teaser to come Sunday.  I just wanted to put something up to let all of my avid readers know I haven't forgotten about you!  When I get back, there will be plenty of photos to update you on.  Coming up, I have two beautiful summer weddings that somehow slipped away from the blog (so sorry!), more fall family portraits (call me soon if you want to book one!  The weather will turn cold soon!) and more real estate related work.  Have a great weekend!  Here are a couple of shots from day 1:

 

Double-Header + 2 Portrait Session Weekend Teaser!

My friends generally know that I often have busy weekends.  However, this weekend was my first wedding double-header in a while- one Friday and one Saturday.  On top of that I had a maternity/family session on Sunday and a 3-month baby session on Monday.  Needless to say I was a bit nervous about it all week.  My main fear, oddly enough, was that I throw my back out at the Friday wedding and was unable to shoot the Saturday wedding.  That obviously didn't happen, but I did find out for sure that I have begun getting tennis elbow from lifting about 15 pounds of camera, batteries, battery grip, flash, and wireless flash trigger over 1,000 times each day with poor form by my right arm.  Both nights I actually had to ice my elbow!  I'm getting old!

Both weddings went great.  If you were outside at all this weekend you know the weather was some of the best Atlanta has to offer.  Blue skies, warm days, cool evenings- just about everything you could ask for in a wedding- both of which were outdoors!  I'll give more dedicated posts on both weddings once I get through editing the photos, but I will say I had a ton of fun all weekend.  Rachel and Andy had such a fun group of guests and bridal party at Park Tavern that I ended up spending most of my time on the dance floor!

 

Here are a few photos from Rachel and Andy's wedding:

 

 

Lindsey and Mario had a beautiful wedding at Donaldson Bannister Farm in Dunwoody- actually the very first one that the venue has seen!  I initially thought they "just" planned the wedding (note: the word "just" is in quotations), but after the ceremony Mario told me the ceremony site- a beautiful grassy garden area on the property- was a swimming pool just about a month ago!  He laid all of the sod and did the landscaping himself!  Here are a few from their wedding:

 

 

Now here are a couple from the Sullivan family shoot followed by two from my sister's 3-month old- Hudson.  I know I know- I'm an incredibly efficient blogger!  I say that jokingly- more on these 4 events to come!

 

The Lewis Family

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of photographing the Lewis family in Piedmont Park.  Boyd works with me at my contract job in real estate and- of all places- his lovely wife, Lynn, works for a rival real estate company.  I didn't see any tension in the family, especially with the calm, cool, and collected Anderson.  I love it when energetic moms bring fun props for photos- especially when we're facing a rainy/cloudy day.  The weather held up just long enough for us to get about an hour of shooting in.  Enjoy!

 

 

And now... Anderson the raccoon, hanging out by a trash can (as raccoons do):

BEES! Killer Bees!!!

No, not really.  They're just regular bees... but they may have mean dispositions.

I'll be the first to say my nature photography is lacking.  I'm so used to taking photos of people and architecture that when I find myself in nature, I have a tough time choosing a clear subject.  I personally find it incredibly difficult to be in a beautiful natural location and take a photograph that encompasses what I see with my eyes.  It's not only in the location and the subject, but in the composition.  Framing elements, leading lines, strong subject- these are all important components to a great nature photo.  These are things I'm learning with nature photography.  One of the best things about shooting on occasion for The Nature Conservancy is meeting some of their fun and interesting people out in the field- one of them being Marc DelSantro.  He's an incredible nature and wildlife photographer.  He and I had been talking for a while about getting out and shooting sometime and when he saw one of my recent blog posts, he gave me a ring to head out to Heggie's Rock for some photography.

Unfortunately for us, our timing was a bit off and we missed most of the confederate daisies blooming.  On top of that, our schedules only allowed us to be out there after sunrise and before sunset- some of the best lighting to shoot.  However, we were able to capture about 30 minutes of foggy photos on a nearby marsh before heading to the rock.  Watching Marc work and seeing how he has mastered the aforementioned compositional  elements was very inspiring.  While I walked around and shot all sorts of different subjects in hopes of getting a couple of good ones, Marc surveyed the scene and would spend his time on only a few shots.  He could look around and see it.  Setting up his tripod, waiting for the wind to calm, or watching the fog to thicken or thin with the sunlight- he knew exactly what he wanted before even turning the camera on.  I still have a ways to go.  Here are a few from the marsh.

 

Marc in his natural habitat.

 

And then, like a light switch the sun came out.  No joke- it took all of 120 seconds.

 

From the marsh, we went on to Heggie's Rock.  Rather than explain much about its flora and/or fauna, I'll just let you click HERE and check it out.  As I mentioned before, we had a beautiful day but we were only on the rock for the harshest sunlight.  While I know Marc must have captured some great shots, I spent a lot of my time on these bees.  Again, kind of a cop out of mine to have a simple subject, but hey- it works sometimes.  :)  I hope to get out there again in the spring when the flowers and colors abound.  Meanwhile I'll keep you all posted on any other shoots with Marc!  

 

 

 

Lou and Erin Davis Wedding Preview!

He's a quick shot we pulled off just before the toasts at the wedding reception this Saturday at Wahoo Grill in Decatur, GA.  I had just a couple of moments to steal the bride and groom away for this shot that I'd had in mind all day.  I'm just glad the cars moved out of the way and the sun went down (well, that's kind of an expected outcome).  Congrats to the newly married couple!  They are off to Greece in a few days for their much anticipated honeymoon, but not before I give them an in-person photo lesson on how to take great vacation photos.  Maybe I'll start offering lessons to all my brides and grooms- what do you think??  :)

 

Where In the World is Alex the Photo Guy?

Yes, there has been a blog slowdown.  I knew you were worried, but don't be!  I've been out and about through the east coast and midwest with not enough time in the day (or sleep at night) to blog enough!

I was recently awarded an incredible photo assignment for architecture photography that has put me in Boston, New York, DC, Minneapolis, and Chicago in less than a month.  I was also able to shoot for a wedding in Hilton Head and visit my brother's family with Keri.  It's been an insane September for me so far spending less than 4 days at home between August 30th and Sept 24th.  I've been on 6 rooftops, 6 planes, in 4 rental cars, and in over 25 office buildings.  I had NYPD graciously move police cars and bomb surveillance units out of the way for one of my shoots and have also sat with my tripod for an hour and a half waiting for a shadow to move out of the way.  I've sat in rush hour in 5 cities yelling at the clouds to go away (I'm not counting Atlanta rush hour- I see that all the time).  It's been an incredible assignment, with still a few more cities to go.  Luckily I have time on the last few- the reason why I visited the cities I did when I did was to catch them before the leaves fall off the trees.  The other cities up next are southern or California.  I'm neck deep in editing for these (some of these aren't final products yet), but I'll share a few quick highlights.

...nevermind that jerk in the pic.  Someone should have stolen something out of his open camera bag.

Here's my map of August 30th to Sept 24th (click for larger):

The Growing Romeyn Family

For the avid blog readers of mine, you know the Romeyns.  We have been able to follow Braxton from birth to now and all of the progress along the way.  He is one of Keri's favorite children to babysit and now Krister and Lexi are proud to announce the arrival of their second child, Brady.  Keri and I spend some time over there a couple of weeks to meet the sweet Brady and play around with Braxton.  I was very excited to be asked to capture the latest addition to the family as well as Braxton's latest adventures.  Speaking of his latest- I'll begin with my favorite photo of the day.  He has apparently taken an interest in the potty.  No actual "productivity" yet, just sitting... and reading.

And now on to the latest cuteness.

Another of Braxton's favorite things is pushing around the wagon.  We took a risk here.  I just wish I had a video of everyone chasing him around.  The good thing is that is seemed to lull Brady to sleep.

Maine: The Way Life Should Be

Greetings from the northeast! I've been out on an architectural photo assignment for the last week and a half (hence the blog slowdown). Keri and I were still able however to go on with our planned trip to Maine/Anniversary trip. We had a great evening in Boston and a few nights with Patrick, Jennifer, Kate, and Abbey in Bangor. Below you'll see a mix of photos (many of Kate) from hiking, paddle boarding, and a sea plane ride over Moosehead lake (thanks again Pat & Jenn!). I'll start with my favorite of the week!

 

Unfortunately, Jen had to work the evening these were taken...

 

Paddleboarding!

Our sea plane was built around the time our parents were born:

 

After our flight, we hiked to the top here:

 

At the top, we climbed the fire tower for an incredible view.

 

 

You Can't Make This Stuff Up | Atlanta Braves Baseball

When my dad offered tickets to Keri and I for the Braves game last night, I was elated.  Not only have I not been to a game this year, but it was Chipper Jones bobble head giveaway night.  Keri and I rushed to the stadium as quickly as we could after work to find the Blue parking lot full of cars and my worries of missing out on the bobble heads increasing.  We rushed to the gate to find plenty to spare (at 6:15, at least).  We got our two and hopped down to our seats.  I thought the bobble heads were a great way to commemorate Chipper's final season with the Braves, though I was a little surprised that it wasn't a typical bobble head pose.  Not that I'm an expert on sports sculptures, but I was surpised that it wasn't of him hitting or fielding.  Instead it is him standing in his helmet with the sign for "I love you."  No big deal, just odd I thought.  Then as the (incredible) game progressed, I of course capured many moments of the night with my camera.  Two of which (shown further below) were Chipper's TWO home runs.  One of which was his 2,700th career hit.  However, my favorite photo was just after Justin Heyward struck his 5th inning home run.  As Heyward crossed the plate, I snapped the photo of Chipper... and the bobble head statue made MUCH more sense.

Here is his 2nd homer of the night and his 2,700th career hit.

And Heyward's 4th inning BOMB.

Another amazing part of the night was Medlen's complete game shut out!

We ended up also randomly running into one of my favorite bride and groom!  Carly and Russell. (see more photos of them HERE and HERE!)

I'll leave you with this lovely singing gem. :)

Kate & Hudson

I'm back from Guatemala and catching up on the blog!  I hope all of my avid readers (Mom) have had a great couple of weeks!  Last week my brother's family was in town and though only for a day, I was able to see them right after my trip.  It was great to spend time with my newly walking niece, Kate- even if just for a little while.  Keri and I head up to Maine at the end of the month for some more quality time with the northern Arnett family.  Though most of the pics in this post feature Kate, I wanted to start off with the newest addition to the family- Hudson Bassett!  He's only a few weeks old at the moment, but growing fast!  Last Monday I went to Hudson's house and snapped this photo.  My sister put together this amazing letter wall in his bedroom and I just HAD to showcase her creativity and talent.  She would also want me to tell you she freehand painted the UGA "G" as well as many of the other letters. :)

This is what Kate does when you ask her to love on Hudson.

Jessica and Jeff | Atlanta Wedding Photography

Jessica and Jeff's wedding was one of the most fun weddings I've been to, including many that I attend as a guest.  The two of them did a superb job of a true DIY wedding.  Take a look at the photos and see at how they turned a grassy field into a beautiful ceremony and an open part-time photography studio  into a warm party palace.  The incredible food was provided by the tastiest food truck I've ever met met- Ibiza Bites (see marshmallow fluff covered sweet potato fires below!).  There was beauty at every turn, be it the weather, the preparations, or simply the bride and groom.  I couldn't have asked for a better wedding to shoot.  Even after the bridal getaway, the DJ  (Andrew Wroblewski, featured below) spun tunes while the bridesmaids packed up the decorations and leftover beer.  I can't say I didn't end up with decorations and beer in my hatchback at the end of the night.  ;)

 

The Romeyn Family

This may be the first time I was reprimanded by someone for not doing a blog post.  Last weekend I was hanging out with the Romeyn family at BBQ that Keri and I hosted.  Lexi Romeyn turned to me and said to me "ya know, I was kind of offended that we never got a blog post for our last portrait shoot."  I apparently forgot to put these photos up!  Sorry about that Lexi!  Now that Lexi is just a few months away from delivering their second child, so she has bigger fish to fry than me.  Nevertheless, here is the Romeyn family from April in Norcross!

 

...and now for my favorite.  Braxton in a "wife beater" shirt.

 

 

Majestic Equine Shoot with Leigh and Fox

For those that know me, you know I am NOT a morning person.  I have seen the sunrise more times by staying up late than getting up early.  With that said, you simply cannot beat sunrise light quality when it comes to photography- especially in the summertime when the heat is unbearable during the day making sunset still too hot to shoot.  For this shoot with Leigh and her horse, Fox, we met up just before sunrise at the Atlanta Polo grounds in Buckhead.  Leigh has had Fox for the past 8 years and won many events in Hunting and Jumping competitions across the state.  At one point she was ranked 2nd in Georgia in her age group!  Now, as Leigh is about to head out to California for college, her family has decided to sell Fox to new owners that will continue to ride him.  Her parents asked that I get some photos of the two of them before the sale and I was happy to oblige.  These photos have turned out to be some of the best ones I've taken all year.  A few of them could only be more majestic if Fox were a unicorn.  :)

 

 

 

 

 

Carly and Russell Engagements

Last week I discovered that I never posted the engagement photos that led to booking Carly and Russell's wedding this spring.  I'd like to think it was due to my incredible artful eye and posing ability that they chose me over other talented Atlanta photographers, but really it was because they are just a darn good lookin' couple.  Carly even has modeling experience- and it shows!  I will say that they told me I made them feel pretty comfortable since Carly said Russell hates being in photos.  That was a compliment I take to heart because if you can't build trust with your clients on a shoot, then you won't have great photos and happy clients who want to come back for more!

Carly and Russell at the hand made kitchen table that they built from salvaged barn wood.

 

Sinclair / Brown Wedding!

Happy Monday everyone!  This post is long overdue, but I have the photos from Carly and Russell's wedding!  You may remember this beautiful couple from the engagement session I did with them back in 2011.  And now that I search my blog for the link to their engagements, I realize I never posted them... I'll have to fix that in the very very near future.  :)

Carly and Russell were married at the Druid Hill United Methodist Chapel and had their reception at the Atlanta Brewing Company.  I LOVE the brewery reception idea:  local beer, ping pong, darts, and catered BBQ!  We had an awesome time, the weather was perfect, and everyone danced their butts off to the Brian Wiltsey Band.  For me, this was also a great wedding as it was my first wedding with a true second shooter.  I've had an assistant before (my lovely wife, Keri), but never someone who could fetch AND shoot!  I can say he helped a ton and was integral in another wedding I shot two weekends ago in Asheville, NC.  Now, without further ado: the photos!

 

The bride walking outside the chapel with a blanket so the groom doesn't see her.  :)

 

Carly's sister played her down the aisle.

 

Carly surprised Russell with the Tech Trolley to shuttle them to the reception!

 

The bouquet toss was interesting on first attempt- Carly showed a little too much muscle!

 

... and with an hour left in the reception, Carly voluntarily decided to tip Curt off to the single girls out on the dance floor.  :)

 

Curt and I were having so much fun that one of the guests "borrowed" one of our camera for a moment to document us!