My wedding photography style

I love what I do and I try to offer the best personal service and amazing images. Most brides today are looking for a mix of candid photojournalist and traditional style photography, Myrtle Beach is the perfect place for this. I concentrate less on poses and more on capturing the perfect moments.

While I will set up traditional formal portraits, I take hundreds of candid shots of the event as it happens, documenting the emotions of the day. When I do pose a couple I concentrate on relaxed, candid and fun shots using the location and a mix of natural and flash lighting.

Local to Myrtle Beach

Being a local to the area for many years, I've photographed weddings at most of the popular locations and I'm familiar with the special difficulties that come from working on the beach. Because I work for myself and this is my full-time job, I will go the extra mile to make my clients happy. Ryan Smith Photography is a licensed and insured retail business with the state of SC. For full information about myself and this business click here.

My philosophy for a finished product

I notice overly processed images on many photographer's websites, the more stylized and processed an image is, the more chance it will look dated in a few years. Instead of relying on adding textures, vignettes and strange color effects, I prefer clear, crisp and clean color and black and white images that can only be done with Nikon's best lenses and an expert understanding of lighting and flash.

I'm a bit of a geek

Something that makes my work stand out, I always keep up with all the latest photo gear, software, and techniques. I use the latest high-end gear like the just released Nikon D810 body and the beautiful 85mm 1.4g lens. I consider myself one of the most technically advanced photographers in the area. While any camera can take a good picture in the right setting, high end photo gear is extremely important in taking hundreds of consistently good images in very difficult conditions.

Backup and care of images

I take great care to make sure that your precious images are protected. Both my main camera bodies take an original and backup copy at every shot. After importing the images they are automatically backed up to a raid system with redundancy. They are also automatically backed up off site.


Wedding Photography Package Information and Pricing

Standard Packages - 6+ Hours Coverage

The standard packages are normally required on weekends April-October. All packages include full resolution digital copies that you are free to copy and print, see common questions below for more information. These include 6 Hours of wedding coverage, additional hours are $100/hour. Most weddings I work as the solo photographer, but if you do need two photographers, for example if you need someone in multiple locations, the larger packages are available. All packages include a 50% discount on engagement or bridal pictures if desired.

Short notice special I still have some weekends open for weddings during March, April and May. If I still have your date open, you can pick from the Off Season packages below or you can deduct $300 from the standard packages. This does not apply to already booked weddings, this is just to help me fill in any still open dates because most weddings are booked in advance.

Wedding Package 1 - $ 1800

Full Resolution Digital Copies

Wedding Package 2 - $ 2200

20 Side 10x10 Wedding Album (Approx. 40-60 images in album) / Two 16x20 or One 20x30 Large Prints / Full Resolution Digital Copies

Wedding Package 3 - $ 2400

30 Side 12x12 Wedding Album (Approx. 80-90 images in album) / Two 16x20 or One 20x30 Large Prints / Full Resolution Digital Copies

Wedding Package 4 - $ 2700

30 Side 12x12 Wedding Album (Approx. 80-90 images in album) / Two 16x20 or One 20x30 Large Prints / Full Resolution Digital Copies / Two Photographers

Wedding Package 5 - $ 3000

40 Side 12x12 Wedding Album (Approx. 100-120 images in album) / Two 16x20 or One 20x30 Large Prints / Full Resolution Digital Copies / Two Photographers


Off season and weekday wedding packages - 2+ Hours Coverage

All Packages include 2 Hours of Wedding Coverage / $100 per additional hour. These discounted smaller packages are usually for weekdays or for my slower months like November-March.

Small Wedding Package 1 - $ 1100

Full Resolution Digital Copies

Small Wedding Package 2 - $ 1400

20 Side 10x10 Album / Full Resolution Digital Copies

Small Wedding Package 3 - $ 1600

30 Side 12x12 Album / Full Resolution Digital Copies

Album Information and Options

Wedding album example you can view at my home office

I provide Infinity hinged page style flush mount albums from Nations Photo Lab. These albums open up and lay flat so images can be spread across both pages and have no gutter for great panoramic images. I design the albums myself and use the lab to build the album. These are beautiful, high quality albums that may be different that what you have seen in the past when prints used to be glued to pages. They are expensive to have made, which limits the prices of my packages. If you would like to see an album example please let me know and you can come by my home office and take a look.

Layout Information - Important Information for Album Design

A typical flush mount album allows for a variety of template layouts for each album side or page, view the example above. I prefer clean simple layouts that focus on the images and don't have background distractions. You are welcome to get specific on how you would like each album side designed, but what most clients do is just send me their image selections and let me lay out the album. If you want me to just design the album completely I recommend selecting about 3x-4x the number of images as there are sides to the album. For example a 20 side album pick about 60-80 images. That way I can make some full side, some 3 or 4 to a side, etc. If there are pictures you especially like let me know so I can highlight them large on the page.

album options
  • Leather - $35 (Standard album is a high quality leatherette)
  • Cameo Cover - $75 (Includes upgrade to leather)
  • Acrylic - $75 (Seen on example album)
  • Metallic - $75
  • Embossing - I include two lines on the front cover with 2015 packages, typically your names and wedding date.
  • Imprinting Inside Cover - $6 per line

Packages for Family and Friends

Thanks to using Microsoft OneDrive, the bride and groom can send you a link to download their digital copies for 30 days after I upload them. More information under common questions section.

Shipping is $9 on all photo packages and $15 on albums.

Order Photo Prints

(I can do any possible size even if it's not listed here)
  • Sheets $25 - What I call a sheet is 3 4x6's, 2 5x7's, 1 8x10, or 8 wallets of a single pose.
    • Single Prints - 4x6 $12
    • 5x7 $15
    • 8x10 $25
    • 11x14 $40
    • 16x20 $60
    • 20x30 $80
    • 24x30 $95
  • Packages of sheets are great for creating your own album or scrapbook.
  • Package 1 - $100 - 5 Sheets
  • Package 2 - $190 - 10 Sheets
  • Package 3 - $250 - 14 Sheets
  • Package 4 - $340 - 20 Sheets
  • Package 5 - $480 - 30 Sheets

Family Albums

The only type of albums I do, while very nice, are quite expensive to have made. If you don't mind the cost I'm happy to design one for you. If you just want a more basic and traditional style album I recommend just ordering sheets and purchasing an album or scrapbook yourself to place them in. I can give a $100 discount on these if you want an exact duplicate of the bride and groom's album and I don't have to make a new layout.

  • 20 Side 10x10 Wedding Album - $600
  • 30 Side 10x10 Wedding Album - $750
  • 30 Side 12x12 Wedding Album - $900

Enlargements

  • 11x14 $40
  • 16x20 $60
  • 16x24 $65
  • 20x30 $80
  • 24x30 $90

I also offer standard enlargement mounting. Choose from three popular material options, foamcore, matboard and gatorboard, as well as varying thicknesses including single weight, double weight, 3/16 inch and 1/2 inch. Mounting varies from about $10 to $100 depending on size and type. Please request a quote if desired.

Specialty Items

Canvas Gallery Wraps

Picture of Gallery Wrap
Picture of Gallery Wrap

Images from my Photo Lab

Your canvas is printed on archival quality canvas with a UV coating for added protection that is then stretched completely around the edges. Solid wood construction with tight 90 degree corners Arrives ready to hang with a completely finished black mat board, wall bumpers and a saw tooth or wire hanger. Prices listed are for .75 inch thickness, add $15 for 1.50 inch thickness.

  • 11x14 $120
  • 16x20 $150
  • 20x24 $170
  • 20x30 $200
  • 24x30 $220
  • 24x36 $250

Common Wedding Questions and Answers

What are Digital Copies and can I print from them?

I typically take 1000-1500 pictures at a 6 hour wedding, I typically narrow these down to around 1000 or maybe a little less that I will deliver to you. All the images provided will have been color corrected and adjusted and look very nice. The only digital copies that will include requested Photoshop touchups, for example removing someone from the background, will be ones you've also chosen as prints or album selections. If you are only getting the digital copies, you can also request a reasonable number of touchups like if you were getting an album. ( See Photoshop question below for more information )

In most cases I use a Microsoft service called SkyDrive to deliver the pictures. SkyDrive is a faster, easier and more environmentally friendly way of delivering your digital images without having to mail a CD. You can even share the link I send with other family so they can download them as well. If your wedding is paid in full, as soon as I finish working on them I will send you a link to download the files.

You are allowed to print as many images from the digital files as you like, there is no copyright protection or watermarks. I will provide a copyright release form on request, this is required at some locations such as Wal-Mart.

These very high resolution jpeg picture files are suitable for enlargement printing and any other use desired. You will get maximum quality viewing out of the iPad with retina display. Please note with the new extremely high resolution Nikon cameras (60-100GB per wedding), I will deliver these files at a smaller size than my originals just to keep the file size reasonable for you to download. See example below, you may need to click to zoom in on the image.

Full Resolution Example

What is the process for setting up a wedding photography appointment?

Please send me an e-mail or give me a call to find out if your desired date is available and the amount of time you need me for, as well as let me know any questions that you have. If you will be available locally we can meet at my home office to discuss details and I can show you examples of my work. If you prefer we can also meet at another location such as your wedding location. If you are from out of town and can't meet locally we can discuss and set up the appointment through e-mail or over the phone. After you decide to use me for your wedding photography, I will e-mail or give you in person a basic contract that list the date of your wedding. I ask $200 deposit to hold the date of the wedding along with the signed contract.

Important information about family groups and special pictures.

After a problem I had at a wedding a few years back, I really recommend that you make a list of who you want to get in the family pictures. I have the usual things I will go through for family groups, (parents, siblings etc), but I had a problem where some of the family immediately left the area, and we never got back to some important pictures. Please understand, I'm there for whatever you need, but I don't always know what you need. It's the clients responsibility to gather the family they want in the pictures. Or even better a wedding planner or parent could do this. I don't know who everyone is, and I don't have time to do that. For example I might say "now lets do the parents and siblings", but if they aren't anywhere nearby, someone will have to get them. If they leave when it's time for pictures, or if you don't tell me someone needs to be in a picture, they might get missed. At the reception I will be glad to take any pictures you would like. I'll always be taking candid shots, but if you want a group shop that was missed before, please gather them together and let me know. I'm usually right nearby. That is why I highly recommend making a family group list, and giving it to someone that is good at gathering the family together and making sure no one important leaves. Also, I try to take detail shots, but if there is something special to you please let me know just to make sure I don't miss it.

Do you offer an option for a second photographer?

Many times I just work solo at weddings, with the tech of the latest cameras, portable flashes, and on camera metering, photography is different than it used to be years ago. Typically I get shots of the bride preparations, then spend some time with the groomsmen and other family, and still have plenty of time to meet the bride before she is finished with preparations. If you would prefer to have a second photographer, I do have larger packages where that is available or we could discuss adding it on.

What kind of equipment do you use?

You can usually tell pretty quickly looking at a photographer's pictures, even if you know nothing about photography, if they are using top of the line lenses. One of the reason my pictures really stand out is that I'm using top of the line full frame Nikon equipment. I'm into photography as a hobby as well, so I really like keeping up with and getting the latest and best equipment. It really helps me to stay on the cutting edge of whatever is possible in photography at the time. If you really want to get into specifics I'll post what is in my typical camera bag below. I usually have about $10,000 in equipment I'm bringing to a wedding.

  • Nikon D800 full frame FX camera body
  • Nikon D810 full frame FX camera body
  • Olympus OM-D
  • Nikon 85mm f1.4g lens
  • Nikon 24-70 f2.8 lens
  • Nikon 50mm f1.4 lens
  • Olympus 60mm Macro
  • Nikon Speedlights - Pocket Wizards with TTL - Light stands etc.
  • Spiderholster, flash modifiers, other gadgets and accessories.

What can be requested for Photoshop image touchups?

Sometimes Photoshop is thought of as something magic, that anything can be changed in a picture. Some of the tools in the latest Photoshop are pretty magical, but there are some limitations. All the images you will get have been adjusted in software called Lightroom, this allows me to adjust color and exposure and get the image looking really nice. That is all a lot of pictures need before printing. If they do need specific editing such as removing people from the background, then I have to go into Photoshop.

The important thing to keep in mind, when something is removed from an image, there is nothing behind it. For example if your hair is removed from in front of your eye, if I just remove the hair it's like taking scissors and cutting something out of picture, there is just a hole left. Anything that is under an area removed has to be recreated. What I have to do in Photoshop is clone, or copy one part of an image to another to recreate the missing area. If the hair is going across your forehead that is pretty easy, I just copy from right next to the hair and cover it up. If a small bit of hair is even going across an eye, I can carefully clone from other parts of the eye and cover it up. However, keeping this in mind, if a large section of the face is covered by hair it may be impossible to recreate what is underneath in a realistic way. The same is true for anything you want moved or removed from an image, anything under that spot has to be recreated so I have to have a similar spot to clone from. Please keep in mind the difficulty in doing this when making requests.

Also, I can take two images and combine them by taking heads from one and moving into another. Please realize though this can only be done if the poses are almost the same. I normally take 3 or 4 shots of each pose, so faces in two of these can be combined so you can't even tell, but not if the poses change significantly and people move too much.

Editing an image in Photoshop takes a lot of work, that is why I only do it after a client has picked out their images and paid for a package, if there is something you're not sure if I can do just let me know before ordering. Typically the client will let me know what touchups they want and if I can't do a request in a way that will look professional and realistic I will let them know before printing so they can pick something different.

What are some general suggestions for wedding location preparations?

Outdoor Weddings:

If at all possible plan the wedding in the evening closer to sunset. The best time for romantic couple portraits is right before sunset. For the reception try to avoid having a black background for dancing. Hanging lights and bulbs or some type of light in the background can make a big difference. My camera is very sensitive to a small amount of light, so hang lights wherever you can and try to light up the dancing area with nice, warm romantic lighting as much as possible.

DJ Strobe Lights:

Please ask the DJ if possible to cut the disco lights down low or off during important dances or to avoid hitting the dancers with the lights. Later in the evening fun lighting is great, but you don't want a romantic dance to have a strange color cast and spots of colored light all over a couple. Most DJ's that know what they are doing just do this normally.

Don't rush the flower and garter toss to make sure I get ready for some good shots. If anything unusual is being done please let me know ahead to be ready.

Later in the evening when it's time to shoot some fun dancing shots, it would be wonderful if you and the wedding party would occasionally turn and dance facing toward the photographer. Don't do this a lot, just once in a while have everyone show off for the camera a little. A good DJ will typically suggest these types of things for pictures.

How do I feel about other family, friends or other photographers during the wedding?

I'm a really easy going guy. I never mind other photographers during the ceremony or family pictures. In fact I've had many times I will wait while everyone gets their shot. My goal is really to be the nicest, and most accommodating photographer you have dealt with. The only thing I realized I do have to draw the line however is during the couple portraits. I recently had a family member follow me around the entire time with her own camera, and instruct and pose the couple. I kept trying to say that letting the couple relax and be natural is really the best. If you really want the benefit of my experience you will have to make sure we get time alone for your portraits. If the family members want to take a lot of pictures, tell them to get family and friend shots that I'm not available for while we are doing your portraits. I really think it will make all of us more relaxed.

I've also had wedding officiates and videographers bring their own photography crew, and try to work right along with me posing and instructing people. Family and friends are fine, but I do have to draw the line at having other professional photographers working at the same time.

Suggestions to keep in mind for creative and romantic portraits:

Relax! That can be hard to do, but I will do my best to get a couple relaxed and having fun with the photography. I always bring along some posing ideas, sometimes they help to get warmed up. But the last thing you want is for your pictures to look posed, formal, and like everyone else's. The best thing to do is to pick a good location, and then just start having fun. You can hug, kiss, play, dance around or anything you like. The goal is to make it look like the photographer isn't even there. If you have an idea, no matter how silly it might be, let me know. I always say you never know what is going to work and turn out special, it never hurts to try.

Information about sparklers:

I had some really beautiful shots with the bride and groom running through sparklers at a recent wedding. A while later I had another wedding where the sparklers burned for a really short time and just created a huge cloud of smoke. I found out there are special made sparklers for weddings that burn for a long time and don't create much smoke. Please make sure to spend the money on these, and don't just get normal sparklers. Otherwise all I'll get shots of is a huge smoke cloud.

What is the turn around time on a picture order?

The printing service I use has a fast turn around time, I've never had it take more than a week for a client to receive an order after I send it for printing. I can't guarantee a time but usually about 2 weeks, during my really busy times of the year when I have many orders it can take longer. Of course wedding albums will take longer to be completed. My printing service usually prepares and ships an album in about 4 weeks. If you add to that the time it takes for me to prepare the images for the album, 8 weeks at the most under normal circumstances, but it could be longer during really busy times.

How long does it take to see your proofs on this website?

Typically it takes less than a week to process the images from your session and post them online, however there may be times when it takes a few weeks when I'm very busy or for a wedding or a large event.

Why do you suggest beach photography only in the early morning or evening hours?

Unlike in a studio, in nature you have to use whatever light you can find. The best place for a portrait is in the shade, away from direct sunlight. However, on the beach, shade is something that is very hard to find. In direct overhead sunlight, shadows on the face can be very harsh, for example there will be shadows under your eyes and nose. If you have ever seen a typical beach snapshot, you will see faces that look unattractive and eyes that are closed or squinting. This is why it's really best to avoid the times of the day when the sun is overhead.

Later in the day, around an hour or so before sunset, the light becomes much softer and easier to deal with. I do have tricks that can help reduce the effect of harsh sunlight like good positioning and using fill flash. For larger family groups, the light becomes even more difficult to manage. Of course for a wedding you have to work at whatever time you are given, but if for a least the pictures of the couple we can do some right before sunset, the results are much better.