Category Archives: Uncategorized

Wedded Bliss: James and Bethni

This shoot was unique and so much fun! I’ve known Bethni for a few years now as a fellow performer at the Tennessee Renaissance Festival.  She’s not afraid to take chances and be a little crazy, and she found a beau who just compliments that beautifully. James and Bethni actually got married a bit before their photos were taken, so this one was different for me.  They got married at the Murfreesboro courthouse by a justice of the peace a couple of months ago, but the only thing missing to commemorate their big day were wedding photos. They decided that it was important enough to schedule a post-wedding wedding photoshoot!

I guess that’s one way to save some money on your wedding!

This made the shoot AWESOME because we had all the time we needed for just bride and groom (a luxury you don’t normally get on a wedding day with all that’s going on) and for me, it was especially nice because James and Bethni also agreed to come down to my stomping grounds at my house in Flintville, TN.  They came down for a housewarming party when we first moved and decided they loved the little farm enough that they’d like to come back for their photos!

Here is a selection of some of my favorites from that day:

Although the day started out gray (and I have to admit I was a little worried about the gloom), it began to brighten up as we got rolling, so it really could not have turned out any better.  I got to spend a lot of time trying out different ideas and I feel like this shoot will really help me think quickly for wedding shoots in the future (so thanks for being guinea pigs, guys!)

To James and Bethni, congratulations and best of luck in your life together. I can tell that you two are a perfect fit.

Affianced: Sara & Scott

It’s a strange feeling to watch your siblings grow up – that same little sister I shared a room with, the one who wore my hand-me-downs, the one I wrote on the walls with on multiple occasions.  *delicately wipes away a tear* Now she’s all grown up and gettin’ engaged.  I’ve always been quite the critic of her various boyfriends, but this one I approve of. Sara and Scott are the kind of couple that strengthen each other, and I might be a little biased but I think Scott kind of scored with my sister, so it’s a good thing he decided to put a ring on that.

We all knew it would happen. 🙂

2 weeks ago I took up the task of shooting my sister’s engagement photos. Since I’ll be her matron of honor(and a damn good one!), I won’t be able to do the wedding photos and was happy I was able to give her this gift instead. We took the opportunity of a by week during Auburn football season to invade their home campus for photos at the gorgeous Arboretum and the Laithe – a traditional Auburn spot for couples to seal their fate together.  Here are a few of my favorites from the shoot –

Considering it was sort of a grey day with only small glimpses of sun, I actually love how the lighting turned out.  It was soft and even – giving the final product depth without any harshness or squinting eyes.  After the shoot we went out for a much deserved milkshake in Auburn and now all that’s left is to help Sara plan the big day and make it everything she’s envisioning.

Congrats, lil’ sister. I can’t believe we’ve come this far, but you’re going to be an amazing bride. Love ya~

Paisley Mae’s 1st Birthday

Today, my one and only niece is turning one! It’s pretty unbelievable that a whole year has gone by already, but I know everyone says that when it comes to babies. What’s even more unbelievable is how incredibly photogenic this child is – honestly, I lucked out with the most adorable and cooperative niece who above all, knows how to turn on the magic in front of a camera. Not to mention she’s insanely cute, which doesn’t hurt much. 🙂

I had the honor of taking some photos for her first birthday celebration, in addition to documenting the party last Sunday! Here’s a preview of some of my favorite shots –

 See? I told you. This child is dream to photograph. Everything she does is disgustingly adorable~

You know, the last time I was regularly photographing infants/toddlers, it was in the studio with the portrait-company-who-shall-not-be-named. Since then, I’ve learned that trying to get a child this age to sit still and smile perfectly – yeah. That’s just not the way to go. That’s not who these kids are, and its not how they should be photographed.

I’m really enjoying getting back in the swing of children’s photography and I’ve learned its all about letting loose and having fun.  By using creative props and settings and letting kids express themselves however they choose, you end up with photos that have personality and are unlike anyone else’s.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always easy and it requires A LOT of energy, but if you can jump on that wild ride, you can get some great results and have a ton of fun.

To little miss Paisley Mae, who is turning one today, I’m gonna need you to start slow rollin’ your aging process because by growing up so fast, you’re making me feel a little old and that’s just not acceptable. Still, you’re growing with such a graceful and happy spirit that I almost can’t wait to see the little lady that you’ll one day become. Congratulations!

Affianced: Cody & Kira

It seems like a whole lot of folks are getting engaged lately, and I couldn’t be happier for them! My friendship with Kira began a few years ago when we sang in an opera together while I was a vocal student at MTSU.  We hadn’t seen each other since those good old college days, then last year I had a “Holy crap, it’s a small world” moment when I ran into Kira in my bellydance circle and realized she was dating Cody, who I photographed at the Dittfurth wedding as best man!

Kira and Cody are one of the most unique couples I’ve ever had the pleasure of photographing. Instead of just photographing outdoors (though we did a little of that), we also took a trip to their favorite local bookstore and the MTSU athletic dept., where the couple met in fencing class! These three different locations provided a refreshingly different backdrop for a fantastic photoshoot.

Here’s a preview of a few of my favorite shots:

There was literally no end to the ideas I had on this shoot – I really got to stretch my creative muscles and do some different things that made these photos totally personal to Cody and Kira.  I definitely think I’m going to start scouting more unlikely locations for shoots in the future. These guys really did a lot of the scouting for me on this one, choosing places that were important to them and that really meant something to their relationship. They even brought props that really represented their personalities, and it made my job so much easier because of how much I had to work with. It’s about more than what outfit you choose to wear or how you style your hair – a photograph has the opportunity to show so much more about who you are entirely!

Alright – I’ll put an end to my sappiness and save you some misery. Seriously though? These two inspired me and I know their future is chocked full of some awesome adventures. Congratulations Cody and Kira!

Affianced: Kodi & Eden

Remember The Daily Howl – that awesome band I took some photos for a couple of months ago? Well, funny story – turns out their bassist (and long-time friend of mine) just got engaged! Their wedding is coming up in October (and you guessed it, I’ll be there!) but in the meantime, the couple took the trek with me to Centennial Park in downtown Nashvegas for some swanky engagement photos.  Kodi and Eden were fun and easygoing to photograph, and after this session I have no doubt these two are going to be fantastic together.

Here’s just a small selection of their engagement photos –  

Yep – you caught that, I caved and finally took some photos at the Parthenon (or as I apparently like to refer to it – The Coliseum….if only Nashville actually had real gladiator fights, am I right?).  Still, I totally understand why it’s a favorite place for many Nashville photographers, and the photos we took there look stellar.  But Centennial Park is filled with other great spots that are photography goldmines, and I made sure not to spend our whole session in one place. The colorful little garden and the stone bridge were personal favorites of mine, and the sun (although bright and hot) seemed to play along nicely, which I appreciated given our sometimes rocky relationship.

When the shoot was over we decided to get Sno-Cones and hang out for a bit, which turned out to be a MARVELOUS decision. I left that day with a fun but slightly unprofessional blue tongue, but luckily these two are cool enough that they didn’t mind too much.

I seriously can’t wait for October 13th to photograph what is sure to be a fantastically creative wedding with tons of photographic opportunities. Thanks Eden and Kodi – and best of luck with the rest of your wedding plans!

A New Journey: Dan and Lauren

In the last few months, my younger brother Dan has been through a lot of big changes.  He joined the Marines, got married, and is at this very moment on a flight to his new home in Oahu, HI. Yeah, he really lucked out getting stationed in the most beautiful place on Earth, but I’m not at ALL jealous (I somehow get the idea that I’m not convincing anyone of that, though).

Don’t get me wrong – even with all these changes, my little brother is still the same gooftastic and somewhat destructive kid I grew up with, just with a bit more responsibility and a shorter haircut. His wedding on the 16th of June was a small affair for just him and his new bride, choosing to head down to the Justice of the Peace (and as a result, saving a lot of money compared to what I spent on my wedding). However, the couple still celebrated with a laid back outdoor reception on the 30th where both families could get together, offer their good wishes and eat some delicious food.

The following photos are from their reception and could be considered a sort of post-wedding engagement session. The location was lovely and led to a series of colorful photos that I hope they both love. Here are just a few –

This was such a unique location.  Far out on a dirt road in Wetumpka AL, the bride’s aunt’s home had so much character and was the perfect place for the reception. I let myself experiment a lot with color while editing these photos and was very happy with the result. I wanted to keep the colors soft and lovely while retaining the vividness of the surroundings, so I created an action called “Cool Water” which gave the photos a cooler hue with a vintage flare, then added a low-opacity white color overlay to some of the photos to give them a slightly faded look.  For the photos near the pool, I skipped the faded look and chose to boost the contrast and saturation juuuust a little for some extra punch.

I know I say this about most photoshoots (because I always have fun photographing) but taking these photos was really a blast. It was laid back and fun, and I got to boss my little brother around – just like the old days. 🙂

I’d like to wish my brother and his new wife the best of luck on their new journey and I truly hope that you will both be able to help each other grow and be happier with each day. As soon as I can afford the plane fare, I might be showing up on your doorstep smiling eagerly and wearing 47 leis. You will be expected to give me a mai tai upon arrival.

Fair warning.

Aloha little brother! Love you and I’m wishing you and your lady all the best!

Band Together: The Daily Howl

In case you didn’t know, I’m shifting gears a bit here with my blog and I’ll be sharing photo stories from the events and daily happenings that I photograph. I’ll share the things I’ve learned along the way and keep everyone up to date on the latest news with me (that is, assuming you’re interested).

Since the big move, I haven’t had much chance to head to the big city. I’ll admit – I miss Nashville (and for that matter, the rest of civilization).   Recently, I got the opportunity to photograph a Nashville band with some serious talent – The Daily Howl. I was excited to check out their show at The Rutledge on 4th Ave – a venue with a lot of character that used to be an old church. On the weekend of the show, The Rutledge was a haven of escape for those who were sick and tired of CMA fanfare.

Before the show, we got some great group shots with the band and wandered around the surrounding streets taking some shots before the sun went down. Then it was onto the show, where the band members shifted into BUSINESS MODE. Here’s just a small sampling of the unadulterated awesome that is The Daily Howl –

 In all seriousness, this is some of the most fun that I’ve had at a photo gig in a long time.  It was something refreshingly different and I’ll admit – the music wasn’t half bad, either. 🙂

For this show, I had to learn to adapt to many different lighting situations and adjust for intense colors and contrasting stage lights. Setting the white balance to “auto” just wasn’t going to cut it.  This meant a lot of changing settings.  For great motion effects during the show, I used a slightly slower shutter speed (but not too slow or EVERYTHING would be blurred – I tried to stick with 1/30 or 1/60).  My new camera also operated surprisingly well with higher ISOs and I was surprised at how great the quality of the photos remained even at ISO 800 and 1250.

Additionally, my 35mm f/1.8 was a lifesaver, allowing me a lot more room to adjust to the low light setting. I didn’t have to use flash (and didn’t want to) – and I love the way everything turned out. I absolutely could not be happier with the result.

For more information about The Daily Howl and to check out some of their kickass music, “like” them on Facebook and give them a shout out for me! The group is quickly gaining some steam and I would not be at all surprised to see them headlining at larger venues in the future.