Small destination wedding at North Beach Plantation

This is my first time photographing a wedding at North Beach Plantation in North Myrtle Beach. Build in 2009, this is one of the newest large hotels in this area and I think it’s one of the nicest looking. North Beach Plantation has two large towers that are joined together by a couple of archways, I made sure to get some nice wide angle shots with both towers in the background. This couple was having a small destination wedding with just their family and close friends, they said they are having the big reception later on when they return back …

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Documenting a wedding reception with candid photography

What is the most important part of a wedding for a photographer? What might come to mind is the ceremony, or first kiss, or pictures of the couple after the wedding, even the special dances.  So when I put up a blog post, photography of these things is what I’m usually concentrating on.  But really, what I spend probably half or more of my time at a wedding doing, is just keeping a close eye on the couple and really trying to document the event.  I want to catch the emotions of and the natural expressions of everyone there.  But at the same time, I still want these quick candid pictures to look professional, without making myself become an annoyance.

Documenting a wedding with photography is not as easy as it may seem. I pretty much have to be on alert at all times, ready with my camera for a quick shot.  To take even quick snapshots that look professional, you need a lens with a really shallow depth of field.  This lets in more natural light requiring less flash, as well as isolating the subject and making everything else have a nice blur to it.  However, even with high end cameras, quickly focusing on a moving subject with a really shallow depth of field takes a lot of practice.  I’ve been doing this for hundreds of thousands of shots now and I still miss focus sometimes.  If you have any questions about some of the techniques I use to keep subjects in focus with my Nikon D800 feel free to ask.

So I’m doing something different with the pictures for this post.  These are only from the time the couple was visiting the tables and hugging and talking to the guests and family.  I also stuck a couple of dancing shots in at the end as well.  Let me know in the comments below if you enjoyed these.

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First ever wedding on the grassy lawn at the Caravelle Resort and a rant about Myrtle Beach

I was told this is the first wedding they have held on the lawn behind the Caravelle Resort in Myrtle Beach. The reception later in the evening was at the St. John’s Inn across the street. I have done a wedding there before. I thought the lawn was quite a nice area, there was some shade from the large hotel building and there was plenty of trees around blocking things you might not want to see.  This was definitely one of the nicer behind the resort type wedding areas I’ve seen. They said if it worked out they were going to try more weddings at this location in the future.  I imagine they will be very happy with how it turned out.

Of course, I have my usual problem of it being in the city limits. I have a Myrtle Beach business license so I can work at locations such as this, but it’s still against the MB City laws to do any commercial work on the beach.  What I’ve been doing is just cautioning everyone not to do too much on the beach, doing some shots of the wedding party and couple, while keeping an eye out for the beach cops.  The resorts really need to work with the city to get something done about this law.  It seems like all the resorts encourage the breaking of it by not informing clients about the rules.  Who would imagine, unless someone tells them, that you could have a beach resort wedding and technically not be allowed on the beach sand.  It’s just a bad situation all around that I can’t comprehend.  I was at the Grande Dunes Ocean Club a while back.  They set up a wedding on the beach like I’ve been at many times before, and the cops came along and told them they had to clear everything off the beach.  How many people do you think would have weddings in the Myrtle Beach City limits if the first thing the resorts told them was that they can’t go down on the beach sand at all.  Of course they aren’t going to tell them that. So I always end up just risking a fine and doing some pictures on the beach anyway. Anyway, you can tell the whole thing is just ridiculous.

Anyway, enough of my rant about Myrtle Beach and the resorts.  I love the way at the St. John’s Inn they have the small lights stringed up along the ceiling. When you are using a really high end lens, like the 85mm f1.4 Nikon lens I was using in the dancing shots, it turns any small background lights into large rounded out of focus orbs.  It’s a great look for dancing.  You can take just about any room and string up some lights, and with the right lens you can make the background beautiful.  I hope you enjoy the pictures below, I uploaded a bunch of them this time.  Please like this post or comment below if you enjoy them. 

Read post and view pictures First ever wedding on the grassy lawn at the Caravelle Resort and a rant about Myrtle Beach

Fun engagement portraits and getting a new lens

I’ve had a lot of really nice engagement portrait sessions this winter.  The weather has been fantastic, I’ve noticed I had more work this winter then last year probably because of the nice weather.  I actually don’t have anything scheduled this weekend, but I have a couple of engagement session for the next.

I’m getting a new portrait lens the Sigma 85mm f1.4.  You might wonder why I’m not buying the Nikon version of this lens.  I almost exclusively use Nikon, my go to lenses the 24-70 f2.8 and 70-200 f2.8 are fantastic.  Ryan Brenizer, a photographer I really trust, reviewed the Sigma lens and really loved it.  With the problems in Japan, Nikon lenses are so expensive and hard to get right now, I just decided to go with the Sigma instead.  The reason I’m mentioning this, is this will probably be my new lens for engagement pictures, at least for many shots.  For example the Bokeh, or out of focus sun coming through the trees in the first image, with the 85mm prime lens at f1.4 would be much creamier and and softer.  It makes for a really amazing look.  It’s harder to use a prime lens of course, because you have to zoom with your feet.  Also accurate focus is critical when shooting at very wide apertures like f1.4.  I’m going to give the lens a good try and I’ll probably write a review myself as well.

The couple featured below was a lot of fun.  They haven’t set a date for the wedding yet, so I was just doing engagement pictures separately from the wedding.  They were very happy and couldn’t stop smiling at each other, it made for a lot of fun candid shots.  I hope you enjoy some of the pictures below.

Engagement portrait in front of the oak trees - Myrtle Beach State Park
Couple sitting on the oak tree in black and white. - Myrtle Beach State Park

Read post and view pictures Fun engagement portraits and getting a new lens