Dipping girl back in front of the ocean

Cold and windy day for engagement pictures at the Myrtle Beach State Park

There are always a couple of winter months where no one is looking to have portraits done outdoors or on the beach. During those months I always have some things to do like wedding album layouts and catching up with clients about orders from the previous year, but it’s nice to be getting busy taking fresh pictures again. I seem to be getting an early start this year with not only some engagement sessions but even a wedding this coming weekend.

The engagement session I’m highlighting this time was for a couple with an upcoming wedding I’m photographing this summer. It was a very cold and windy day at the Myrtle Beach State Park. I guess because the ocean temperature is so low right now, it seemed much colder on the beach then it did a little bit inland. Thankfully I brought along a sweatshirt, but I was still really cold even with that on. As cold as I was I felt really bad for the couple because they were just freezing in what they were wearing, I felt a little guilty in my sweatshirt. They wanted to go for it anyway, and I think we managed to get some really good pictures even with the wind and cold. In fact, the sky had an unusual look that day that I think gave some nice interest to the pictures, and we were the only ones on the beach which was nice. I guess a girl knows she has a pretty good guy if he will stay in a good mood through the cold and even three different outfit changes :) It makes me look forward to the wedding knowing a couple is easy going and will make the best of things.

I hope you enjoy the pictures below, please let me know if you do by liking or sharing the pictures, as well as commenting below.

Engagement portrait sitting on the tree branch on hill at Myrtle Beach State Park Engagement portrait in the oak trees Closeup by the trees

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Dancing backlit by lights

Small beach house wedding down in Garden City, SC

I really think think the beach house wedding is a great idea if you are planning for a smaller, more intimate ceremony and if it is the time of the year when the weather is nice. I’ve had a lot of previous clients that will rent a large beach house, have the wedding down on the beach, and then the reception in the backyard of the house. I’m sure this has to be a lot easier on a budget than many of the popular hotel and club locations.  Sometimes I can even get better pictures of a couple at a smaller, less involved event because time is usually more flexible and everyone is more relaxed.

The couple I’m featuring in this post had a small ceremony down in the Garden City area. When you get far enough south in Garden City there are some great wedding spots. I really enjoyed photographing the couple on the small rock jetty that was within walking distance from the beach house. We were able to do some fun and probably a little bit dangerous pictures up on the rocks.  I wish we had done it a bit closer to sunset to cut down on some of the shadows, but it still turned out nice.  After doing some beach pictures we hopped on a golf cart and found an empty house on the inlet side where we could do a few more sunset pictures.

A picture I really liked from the collection below is a simple one of the bride standing in window light. There is nothing technically difficult about this shot, it’s just the camera exposed for the light coming in the window.  The light coming in is so much brighter than the room that it gives some nice drama to the picture.  The couple also, I believe due to my suggestion, hung up a lot of small decorative lights that really made a nice background for some of the dancing shots at the end of this gallery. I hope you enjoy some of the pictures below, please let me know in the comment area below the pictures if you do!

Guys getting readyGuys getting ready Bride getting ready

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Putting on the engagement ring in front of the pier

Engagement pictures with an emotional marriage proposal on the beach

I had another fun couple that hired me for their engagement pictures as well as a marriage proposal on the beach. This one was a bit different than my last couple of proposals because his girlfriend knew that he was going to propose. This actually made it a bit easier for me because I didn’t have to try and be sneaky with my pictures of the proposal.  I also got to set the position of the couple up a little bit so there wouldn’t be people in the background.  We started out doing just my typical style engagement pictures around the oak trees and sea oats in the State Park in Myrtle Beach. Then he proposed to her near the end of the session before sunset.

I was just thinking about how a lot of photographers get really caught up in trying to be artistic with their pictures, things like color effects or unusual composure and tilting of the image. Something you learn after a while, just capturing a clear picture of something emotional happening is so much more important than anything else.  For example, in one of the pictures below, his ‘about to be fiance’ is starting to cry as he shows her the ring. When I put this one on Facebook it immediately got a lot of likes, more than most of my pictures that I would consider more artistic.  This is just a clear, in focus picture using a high quality lens that captures the moment.  I hope you enjoy the pictures below, please comment if you do.

Couple sitting on the oak tree Couple standing behind the dead oak in the state park

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Couple laying together in the sand - Litchfield Beach

Engagement pictures at the Litchfield Golf and Beach Club

I had the opportunity to do engagement pictures for this very nice couple staying at the Litchfield Golf and Beach Club. I’ve done weddings in this area before, but I’ve never been there just for engagement pictures. I’m glad they suggested doing them there because it is a really pretty area. I knew some of the spots I liked out in front of the club from previous weddings, it’s always great when you can get some nice light coming through the leaves of oak trees. Using a really good lens turns blurs out the background sunlight in a really pretty way. The fallen oak is a very popular spot to do pictures as well, it can just be challenging to get shots without any cars in the background.

After doing pictures out in front of the club we went back to some hammocks that the couple had noticed. Then we went down to the beach at the beach club area. The weather was just about perfect and the water looked really blue that evening. Of course, if they weren’t staying in the area we could have done the pictures out front, but you need to have a pass to actually get into the area where we went on the beach. At the end of the session we even did a little pretend proposal just for fun. This was a really beautiful evening and a fun couple, they had been together for over 10 years but were still up for being romantic.  I’m sure you will enjoy the pictures below.  Please comment below or share these pictures if you like them.

Couple on the walkway in front of the Litchfield Golf Club Couple kissing under the oak trees in front of the Litchfield Golf Club

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Couple smiling at each other in front of the pier

Secret pictures of marriage proposal and engagement portraits after

I got to do something fun last week, trying to do marriage proposal pictures without being noticed. The man’s family, including his daughter, were hiding by the dunes while we waited for him and his girlfriend to arrive at the beach. There are always a lot of photographers down at the state park so it was pretty easy to blend in. I don’t think his girlfriend actually noticed me until after he proposed, so I thought I did a pretty good job. Then they just did engagement pictures on the beach together. It was a lot of fun, and easy to get some romantic pictures right after a proposal like that.  I guess you would only want to do this if you were sure she would say yes :)  I hope you enjoy some of the pictures below.

Beautiful engagement portrait girl looking up at guy backlit by sunset - Myrtle Beach State Park

Two couples doing sunset engagement pictures at the Myrtle Beach State Park

I had some really nice looking and fun couples recently for engagement pictures at the Myrtle Beach State Park. I’ve wanted to put up a new blog post for a while but I just don’t have time right now to post many pictures. I decided to just make a quick post from two of my sessions below. This time of the year I’ve really been liking the way the sun is hitting the sea oats in this one place at the State Park. There are some spots in the winter that look really cool that don’t work now because of the direction of the sun, and vice versa. I never thought about in the past how much the sunset direction changes from summer to winter until I started doing photography.

Also, I just went got away for two days and did some hiking in the mountains, when I get time I’ll post some of my GoPro footage, time-lapse and panoramas I shot with my Olympus OM-D. I did a 6 mile hike to one of the best views I’ve ever seen, I’ll post some pictures soon. I better stop writing about things and get back to work, I hope you enjoy some of the pictures below. Please comment below the pictures if you do!

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.

Couple touching noses with the background of the Myrtle Beach State Park

Engagement pictures for a couple and their dog on a cloudy day at the Myrtle Beach State Park

I had another really nice couple for engagement portraits at the Myrtle Beach State Park this past week. I’ve got their wedding coming up later this year. This couple brought along their baby for the moment, their little dog. I can’t remember what it was exactly, I know it was a poodle mix of some kind. I have two poodles myself, they are very sweet dogs as long as they are used to being around people. My dogs both love when clients are coming by to discuss a wedding, I tell them people are coming and they will wait by the window.

You have to be careful when a couple is mixed race like this one and have extremely different skin tones.  His skin was very dark, and she had very fair light skin. If you were to have a camera on spot metering and only set the exposure for his face, hers could be overexposed.  Or the opposite if you metered the camera on her face.  Of course this isn’t really much of an issue anymore, modern cameras have so much dynamic range it’s hard to mess up more than a little adjustment in Lightroom will take care of.

Even as good as modern cameras are, I usually shoot on manual and just check every few shots on the screen, you really can’t go wrong doing it this way. Subjects backlit by sunlight are going to trick up a camera on auto exposure, and you get a lot more consistency on manual which helps for a quicker workflow later when doing adjustments. This was a very cloudy overcast day which made things easier, of course you also don’t get the nice look of the sunset, but it can be good in it’s own way.  I hope you enjoy the pictures below, please comment if you do.

Family portraits – three boys and a little sister at the Myrtle Beach State Park

I realized I needed to blog about some family pictures, I really don’t do it often enough. I’ve had a number of really cute families recently, and before things start getting really busy I wanted to highlight a recent one. This was a family with three sons and a little girl that I took pictures of on a cold afternoon at the Myrtle Beach State Park.  Whenever I hear it’s going to be a bunch of boys I worry a bit, sometimes guys can be hard to work with. But if everyone stays in a good mood, and tries to have fun and make the best of it, the pictures always turn out nice. I thought this was a really cute and happy family, I hope you enjoy the pictures below.

Bridal Portraits - Atalaya Castle

Beautiful evening for bridal portraits at Atalaya Castle in Murrells Inlet, SC

I was able to work with a really pretty bride the other evening doing bridal portraits at Atalaya Castle in the Huntington State Park. The evening was great except for being a bit cold. Because of the 5:00pm closing time of the Atalaya Castle, we had to stay outside the castle to be able to catch the sunset. The poor bride almost froze to death by the end of the session, but I think it will be worth it to her when she sees the pictures. She did a pretty good job of not looking cold, at least as long …

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