First kiss - Grande Dunes Ocean Club - Myrtle Beach

Windy wedding day with a beautiful bride on the Veranda of the Grande Dunes Ocean Club in Myrtle Beach

I’m in my really slow time of the year now, so I thought I would go back to one of my fall weddings I didn’t have time to post yet on my blog. This wedding was at one of my most frequented locations, the Grande Dunes Ocean Club in Myrtle Beach. This couple was extremely easy going and just happy and having fun the whole day. I think it helped that it was a small bridal party which always makes things a little less stressful. I loved the bride’s dress, it had a lot of unique detailing up top, I …

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Dipping bride back for a kiss in front of the ocean

Busy weekend with weddings at the Grande Dunes Ocean Club

I keep going more and more often to the Grande Dunes Ocean Club in Myrtle Beach for wedding photography. I’m not quite sure why, but it’s by far my most visited location.  The weekend of this wedding I actually had three other weddings at the Ocean Club, as well as one the following week. The nice thing is I get to know all the staff as well as all the good picture spots really well.  As I mentioned in one of my earlier blog posts, during this ceremony I also setup a camera on the upstairs balcony to shoot pictures during the entire …

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Bride and father walking towards ceremony on the Ocean Club terrace

Wedding on the Terrace at the Grande Dunes Ocean Club in Myrtle Beach

The Ocean Club at the Grande Dunes is one of my most frequented wedding locations. I really appreciate that they have me on their vendor list because I often have clients contact me after seeing the list.  Actually, the Grande Dunes preferred vendor list is a pretty good one, they seem to list some of the really good photographers and vendors in the area.  I heard years ago they made vendors pay to be included on this list, but it hasn’t been that way in a long time.  You can never trust a paid vendor list so I’m glad they don’t do that …

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First kiss - Members Club at Grande Dunes

Sunset wedding on the patio at the Members Club at Grande Dunes

I always love going to the Grande Dunes Members Club for weddings, it’s a beautiful clubhouse located on the golf course inside the Grande Dunes. This bride wore a beautiful lace covered ball gown. This is a great type of dress for getting pictures of the bride standing in a doorway with the full dress flowing out behind her. It was also great working with some of my favorite wedding vendors including Sara from Stunning and Brilliant Events and DJ Scott and Company. I began the day by taking some pictures of the bride’s wedding dress and other details. I …

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Portrait of bride and groom kissing behind the sea grass at the Ocean Club in Myrtle Beach

Another fun couple getting married at the Grande Dunes Ocean Club in Myrtle Beach

I’ve been going to the Ocean Club for weddings a lot this year, not that I’m complaining it’s a really nice location. The club is located at the very north end of Myrtle Beach, so there is a small area with dunes and sea oats with no hotels in the background.  This was a small ceremony down on the beach, I always like smaller ceremonies because they are usually more relaxed and flexible on time. I also prefer when they have the ceremony on the beach instead of the Ocean Club veranda. The veranda can get pretty tight to move around and get pictures. It’s not a big deal, I’m used to working at locations where I can’t move around freely during the ceremony, but I certainly prefer the beach where I can walk completely around the ceremony location. This was a very fun couple to work with, one of those couples that is just very easy to make look good in pictures. I previously put up a blog post about their engagement pictures as well, you can view them here http://www.ryansmithphotography.com/blog/2013/03/14/cute-couple-with-big-smiles-doing-engagement-pictures-at-the-state-park-in-myrtle-beach/.

I’m working on getting caught up with things, I’ve still got a lot of albums to finish up for clients.  Once I get caught up I’m going to post to the blog more weddings from earlier in the year.  I also want to talk some about my Macbook Pro setup with a Windows file server and how I’ve got that all setup to work with Lightroom.  For now I hope you enjoy the pictures below.  Please comment and like the post if you do.

Guys getting ready at the Ocean Club Closeup shot of rings with focus stacking

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Cutting wedding cake with military saber

Military groom at the Grande Dunes Ocean Club in Myrtle Beach

I had another nice wedding at the Grande Dunes Ocean Club in Myrtle Beach. This is one of the locations I seem to photograph weddings at frequently. I think it helps that I’m on the Grande Dunes preferred vendor list. The light is always pretty in the room where the bride is getting ready, and the bridal party was a fun group that was up to doing some silly pictures.

The only more difficult thing about the wedding, it was pretty early in the day and the sun was really strong on the terrace.  I would recommend, if possible, timing a wedding a little later so that shade will be covering the terrace.  This time of the year with the sunset so late it might not be doable. What I did was take the couple out near sunset after the reception to do a few more pictures. It turned out to be a little hazy then but it was still nice.

One of my favorite pictures was the couple standing in the walkway beside the Ocean Club that goes down to the beach. Whenever you can get perspective from something like a sidewalk or a pathway surrounded by shrubbery, it makes the picture much more interesting.  They also did a saber arch because the groom was in the military, I had done that with a wedding before but now I know what it’s called. I hope you enjoy some of the pictures below, please comment below if you do.

HDR of a wedding ceremony on the compass pad at the Marina Inn - Grande Dunes

Wedding of mother with four fun kids at the Marina Inn with reception at Joe’s Crab Shack

This was a really fun recent wedding at the Grande Dunes Marina Inn with a reception after at the Joe’s Crab Shack at Broadway at the Beach. I didn’t really ask, but I would imagine this was a second wedding for both the bride and groom. Those are always fun, because when it’s the second time it’s usually more about just having fun with the family.  Especially when they have great kids with good personalities.  Instead of my most important pictures being about the couple, it’s usually more about the family and having fun with the kids.

I’ve actually never been to Joe’s Crab Shack before, the couple said they just loved the food there and that is why they picked it for the reception. When they brought out the appetizers I actually thought it was the full meal. You know the food must be good when everyone has to wear a bib. It seemed like everyone was having a great time.

There is a shot below with the couple kissing with the kids being silly in the background, it’s probably one of my most popular pictures I’ve put on Facebook. There was some really strong overhead sun during the ceremony, I’ve gotten pretty good now about dealing with that, but it’s never ideal. I took the couple out around sunset time at Broadway to do a few more pictures which turned out nice.  I hope you enjoy these below, please comment if you do!

Highlights from the last few weeks and the importance of a good DJ

I haven’t made a wedding specific blog post recently and I’ve been wanting to put up something new. I always get so busy in the summer. So I just decided to quickly pull out of my collection a few shots I liked from the last few weeks of August. These come from some family beach pictures at the Myrtle Beach State Park, the mother of a bride I had last year getting married at the Grande Dunes Member’s Club, a wedding for a military groom at Brunswick Plantation in NC, and a wedding reception in Florence, SC. There is a lot in this one post.

One thing I especially wanted to highlight can be seen in the last about 15 pictures in this post.  They are from a wedding game I’ve heard called the Shoely Wed Game.  It’s really important if you want to have a fun wedding reception that you get a fun DJ. I’ve been to many weddings where the DJ really got everyone having fun, laughing and having a good time. This is always great for me because I like to take lots of reaction shots of the audience like you see in my pictures below. Good DJ’s usually get everyone into the dancing as well, most of the time it takes some effort to get everyone on the dance floor.

Just like with wedding photographers, there are some really bad ones as well.  I’ve seen some that barely do anything but play music, some where their lighting is so bad it causes me a lot of problems, and the worst was probably the one that actually had a CD collection for playing the music and couldn’t get the CD’s to play. In my opinion the DJ is the most important part of a fun wedding reception. It sure does make it better for me if I have lots of candid expressions to take pictures of.  I hope you enjoy some of the shots below.

Bride's sister walking down isle - Member's Club - Grande DunesCouple listening to minister - Member's Club - Grande Dunes

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Really cool black and white images

A lot of people don’t have a clear understanding of how black and white images are done with modern digital cameras.  It’s not like with film where you choose to use either b&w or color film.  Even if your digital camera has a black and white setting, all it’s doing is taking a color picture inside the camera and then converting it to black and white.  With the nicer cameras you take your pictures in a raw color format and then adjust and do what you want with an image later on in software.  There is really no such thing as taking a black and white image anymore, so any picture you see that I have in black and white, there is always a color original to choose from.

Now if you just let the camera do the black and white conversion, or if you just use basic software that removes the color, you can end up with a pretty flat and boring image.  Doing a good black and white is a lot more than just removing the color.  I think a big difference between a good and bad photographer is the investment you make in really good equipment and software.

I’ve always used actions in Photoshop that would allow for soft and glowing, sharp and high contrast, and other types of b&w image conversions.  Recently I just starting using new software called Nik’s  Silver Efex Pro 2.  This really takes the black and white conversions to a whole new level. I’m just getting started using this software, but I’m already getting results I love.   As I work with it I’m sure I will get better, keep an eye out here and on my Facebook page for more variety in black and white styles.  I will post a few of these black and white images below, I hope you enjoy them.

Groomsmen in black and white - Kingston Plantation - North Myrtle Beach
Groomsmen in black and white - Kingston Plantation - North Myrtle Beach
Entering the reception - Grande Dunes - Ocean Club
Entering the reception - Grande Dunes - Ocean Club

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Random things during the busy summer and the wedding documentary gallery

I’ve been meaning to put up a new blog post for a while.  Myrtle Beach is just in it’s busiest time right now, and I’m always backed up with work, which is a good thing but it makes it hard to do extra things like posting to the blog.  It also doesn’t help I got strep throat and now that I’m off my antibiotic it seems to be coming back, and I almost never get sick. So instead of trying to concentrate on one subject I decided to just put up a few random pictures I’ve really liked over the past month.

One new thing you will notice on the website, I’ve put up a new gallery called wedding documentary.  The idea for this is to put up more candid pictures that I might not put in a gallery otherwise.  I always have lots of pictures I really like, but I just don’t think they are suitable to put in as my main examples of my work.  The idea for this gallery is a place for these more raw, less perfect and touched up images.  I’m going to try to stick to pictures that are truly candid and unexpected, or sometimes perhaps a really silly picture even if the client knows I’m taking it that wouldn’t make it into the gallery otherwise.

I’ve also been experimenting with the new Nik Software Color Efex Pro 3 software.  I used the bleach bypass filter for the first image below, it’s a cool effect.  I’ve just got to get used to working this software into some images in my workflow and figuring out what I like.  Below I’m going to put some examples that are in the new wedding documentary gallery, as well as just a few other random shots I liked.  As always if you enjoy some of these pictures please click the like button below.

Groomsmen waiting on the second floor - Ocean Club - Grande Dunes
Groomsmen waiting on the second floor - Ocean Club - Grande Dunes
Bridal party in the sunset - Ocean Club - Grande Dunes
Bridal party in the sunset - Ocean Club - Grande Dunes

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