Confessions

Confession. Most of what you’ve seen lately on the blog…. is film.

When I started my career as a wedding photographer almost six years ago I had come from a background in black and white film photography. As a senior in high school, I learned the basics in Ms. Wescott’s classroom with a pinhole camera made from a shoe-box. It was trial and error, but so much fun to watch images appear in the developer tray from a piece of white paper, magic it seemed. We progressed on to real, manufactured cameras and I was really hooked. At eighteen I had committed to UNCG to pursue a career in recreation, parks and tourism. I loved my classes, my professors and especially my adviser, Dr. Gladwell. As I was nearing the end of college, she was sitting with me to look at my class schedule for my second semester of junior year…. I needed an elective. I’d plowed through college taking everything “required” but not much for fun. I was probably the only rising senior still needing electives. I piped up and said I wanted to take photography if their was a class available, their was.

film photographer giveaway charlotte nc

The spring semester of 2005 arrived and I was giddy to walk into the classroom. During the semester I think we spent one day in class and one day in the lab (T/Th schedule), but you could sign up for darkroom time outside of regular class. My name was on that sign up constantly. I had my favorite enlarger picked out and many nights you could find me there. I went on to graduate, become a real person and earn a living. My college degree didn’t get me too far at first. I worked five part-time jobs in the year and a half following graduation, living in Wilmington. While I worked there, I met a co-worker who asked me if I could do any job what would it be? Photography, I answered. A few weeks later he showed up at work with an old camera he’d found. It sparked me to grab a roll from the drugstore and run it through the Minolta I still had from college. I didn’t have access to a lab to produce black and white, so I took it to the local shop and had it developed. It was less than stellar, as it was color and I had no experience with that…. but never the less, it got me thinking about photography again. With 5 part-time jobs, I was struggling to make ends meat much less have funds to pursue photography.

Fast-forward, Jeremy and I got married in 2009 and with some left over wedding money I purchased my first DSLR and fell in love all over again. I then began to realize the look I loved so much wasn’t coming from a digital camera, but instead a film camera. I still had my Minolta, but wanted to experiment with medium format film, so I purchased my Bronica.

I love that camera. Period. It’s my favorite to shoot when the conditions are right. Color film requires a hefty amount of light, so it doesn’t always make the best option… but when it’s right…. it’s right! The images are velvet, and  I feel like I can really get a sense of true textures in the prints.

film photographer giveaway

OK…. so WHY am I telling all this? Simple. I want to shoot more and more film. In an effort to hone skill I am going to offer 3 free sessions… here’s what I’m looking for….

  1. A couple. (like an engagement/anniversary/maternity session)
  2. A bride. You will likely need to provide your own dress, but we can work to find you one if needed.  I will provide a bouquet.
  3. A wedding (not a real wedding, but a couple willing to dress up as a bride/groom). You’ll likely need to provide your own attire. I will provide a bouquet and boutonniere.

Sessions will take place in the Charlotte or Carolina Beach areas. I will be shooting 2-4 rolls of film per session and will supply you with the digital files for your participation.

If you’re interested in participating in one of these sessions, please apply here! Applications will close on September 3 and those selected will be notified. Thank you!

*All images in this post are film!

Wedding | The other questions….

If you’ve gotten married and hired a vendor chances are you googled “Questions to ask wedding photographers/videographers/caterers/venues” and tidy little lists appeared… all ready for you to print out and take to your meeting with that particular professional. It usually includes a few ludicrous questions, but we’re all used to it, and happily answer and move along…. but it usually leaves some off. Having attending and photographed over 100 weddings, there are always things that get overlooked and make you wish you’d known about them earlier. Here are a few of the things I think should be on those tidy little lists you print. other questions to ask wedding photographers videographers venues

Photographers:

1. I’m getting married at sunset (or later), are you equipped to do formal photos at night?

For me, this is a loaded question. If you asked me this, you’d get a 2 part answer. Part 1 would be, yes! I can manipulate lighting to give you lovely, well-lit portraits after dark. Part 2 would be, however, I do prefer natural light when making portraits, this is what I display on my website. If you would like images like these, I highly recommend you do a first look, while the sun is still up.  Really consider your ceremony time if a natural light photographer is a must-have for you. Study their style and ask yourself if your wedding will match their style. Don’t forget about the time change too! Remember it gets dark VERY early in the winter. Photographers want to provide you the service you think you’ve signed up to get! So make sure you have an honest conversation about your timeline if natural light photographs are important to you. The flip-side of this is equally important…. if you want dramatic night-time portraits, ask the photographer your interviewing to see some of their night work.

 

2. What kind of products do you offer?

If you think you may want to purchase a professional album (you should!!) ask to see samples of what they offer. No one wants you to have the day of your dreams only to find out you cannot display the images how you envisioned. Don’t think we all offer the same type of products, their are so many different options out there! I personally love offering lay-flat heirloom albums that I know will last a lifetime.

 

3. I’m getting married at a huge, dark cathedral that doesn’t allow photography except from the balcony or behind the last pew and no flashes… can you hande this?

Any photographer with professional gear, should say yes and tell you how. It may be helpful for you to bring a photo of the inside for the photographer to see.

 

Videographers

1. Will you be bringing any lighting?

I shot a wedding a few years ago and the reception was outdoor, under the stars at night. The videographer had brought NO LIGHTS. We saved his butt by letting him use a video light we bring to weddings. Even if you’re getting married mid-day and your party will wrap before the sun sets… there will likely be a time in that day when extra light is needed. Make sure they are well equipped!

2. Will you be using any stationary cameras during the ceremony?

I’ve seen videographers park a camera on a tri-pod IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AISLE for the entire ceremony. This is really intrusive and a photographer’s nightmare. Also, I’ve seen them park one behind the couple… and it’s in every.single.photograph. I take. Stationary cameras are FINE…. but let’s put them in less intrusive spots, please!

 

DJs/Bands

1. Will you be setting up any party lights?

I mean disco balls, strobe lights, laser lights…. not stage lights (for a band). Sometimes these can be really intrusive depending on the style and intimacy of your reception. No one wants to walk in and see a discotheque happening at their party if they didn’t expect it.

2. Will you be talking?

This sounds really silly, but nothing can kill a party faster than a DJ who WON’T.STOP.TALKING. I’ve seen it happen too often the DJ gets cocky, leaves his booth to “entertain” us on the dance floor… or teach us how to cupid shuffle…. If you don’t want them doing this, make it clear. You really don’t want to halt him in his tracks during your party, so make sure your expectations are known prior! I personally think they can talk for 2 reasons…. 1. Introduce people and 2. Inform me of something noteworthy…. cake cutting, first dance, last call and to line up for the exit… that’s IT.

3. Will they be photographing/video/go-pro-ing?

You already hired a photographer and videographer…. let’s don’t confuse guests when the DJ decides to whip out a device. The coverage is likely amatur, and when aunt Susie goes hunting for that hilarious photo “the photographer” took of her on the dancefloor doesn’t exist in the gallery the photographer supplied, she might get testy and want to know where it is. If they want shots of the party just have them ask the photographer or videographer in a POLITE email after the event. We are glad to supply them, usually!

 

Venues

1. I see you’re providing a coordinator, will they also do setup/take-down/bring me cocktails/ect.?

99% of the time venues provide a “coordinator” that’s there for the venue…. not you. They make sure the food gets out, and lights get turned on… but are not there to make sure your baker knows where the cake goes, or what time the music should start prior to the ceremony or to get flowers to you once the florist arrives. This is where a wedding planner or day-of coordinator can really come in handy! They will help make sure your day goes off without a hitch and get everything in order for you…. and not pull a family member/friend away from the festivities to deal with these logistics.

 

We know that lots of you have never done this before and we want you to have the best wedding day experience possible, so don’t hesitate to ask us any question you have!

 

Personal | Bald Head Island

east beach wedding bald head island bhiMy sister and I are pretty good at taking hints… so when Dad had mentioned for the 38th time he’d like to go see Bald Head sometime… well, we made it a point to take him for his birthday since throwing a surprise party was old news.

We boarded the ferry and spent the afternoon exploring.

All images shot on my Bronica ETRS on Kodak Portra 400 film.bald head island chapel wedding photographerBHI bald head wedding chapel photographer bald head island photographerBHI golf cart family photographerbald head island east beach bald head island keepers landingbhi ferry ridecontainer ship cape fear river bald headBHI-1011

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