Surprise engagement proposal with the whole family at the Myrtle Beach State Park

I’ve been doing a lot of these surprise marriage proposals recently. I think it’s because I’ve blogged about it a number of times and clients must be seeing my posts. Whatever the reason I always really enjoy doing these so I hope I keep getting more. I believe this engagement proposal really was a surprise, she was under the impression we were just doing couple portraits of the whole family.  I took some pictures of the 5 different couples including parents and grandparents up by the oak trees, then some down by the dunes. When it was the about to be engaged couple’s turn …

Read post and view pictures Surprise engagement proposal with the whole family at the Myrtle Beach State Park

Fun engagement pictures in Garden City on a cold afternoon and Storyboard 3

I haven’t had a chance to blog about engagement portraits in a while. Things are getting slow so I thought I would post some pictures from this recent cold weather engagement session down at the southern tip of Garden City Beach. I’ve done many photo sessions down in Garden City, but this one was unusual because they live in a private neighborhood that I normally can’t photograph in. The southern end of Garden City is very pretty, it’s a short walk from the beach to the board walks that go out and over the marsh. It’s not very often I get to shoot …

Read post and view pictures Fun engagement pictures in Garden City on a cold afternoon and Storyboard 3

Two engagement photography sessions at the Conway River Walk, one with a Poodle

Penny Smith

I really like during this slower time of the year to do engagement sessions for my upcoming weddings.  I had two sets of weddings clients recently that wanted to do engagement pictures at the Conway River Walk, so I decided I would just combine pictures from both their sessions into one post.  The first set below I’m a little partial too because they had a poodle that looks almost just like my dog Penny.  You can check out her Facebook page here, she needs some more friends. Their poodle was a little nervous especially up on the railroad track, just like my dog would be with the tail tucked down tight.  The very last picture in the first set below was cute. He was trying to be good and sit while we did pictures, but he was so happy when they finally called him over.  I thought both the engagement sessions turned out very nice, the Conway River walk is a great spot this time of the year.  I had a little trouble with getting the guys to smile, but I understand because I can’t smile for pictures myself.

The two engagement photography sessions below can give you an idea of the difference between a sunny and a cloudy day.  They both have a different look, but I can’t say one is better than the other.  I like the soft look of a cloudy day, especially in a black and white. Of course, when you can get the sunset filtering through a tree in the background, it is always great as well.  I don’t get to choose if it’s going to be cloudy or not, so I just had to learn to make it look good either way.  I’d say if you are a beginning photographer try for a cloudy day, it’s a lot easier to get an acceptable picture, I see a lot of photographers make a mess of things with the sun.  I hope you enjoy the engagement pictures from the Conway River Walk below, let me know in the comments box if you do.

Read post and view pictures Two engagement photography sessions at the Conway River Walk, one with a Poodle

Fun senior couple at their surprise 60th anniversary party – Doubletree Resort

This was a really great senior couple that had a surprise 60th anniversary party at the Springmaid Beach hotel. I really wasn’t expecting such an elaborate event when I arrived. It really was like a small wedding reception. They had a small band, a wedding style cake, a dance floor and they even played that wedding game where they ask the couple questions and see how well they know each other. I think you can see in the pictures they were constantly smiling or tearing up, they just seemed to have the best time and really loved each other. I’m …

Read post and view pictures Fun senior couple at their surprise 60th anniversary party – Doubletree Resort

Secret pictures of an engagement proposal again!

I recently had another chance to do pictures of a wedding proposal along with engagement pictures after. This client actually saw my last blog post and wanted to do something similar, so I guess people do read my blog sometimes. Something cool about being a photographer is you can count all your camera gadgets as a business expense, which if you are like me is where a lot of money goes anyway.

Olympus OM-D E-M5

I mentioned before that I recently got a small Olympus OM-D mirrorless micro four thirds camera, mostly to take hiking and for fun, but I’ve actually been able to incorporate it into my work a bit as well. Getting a good macro lens for a full frame camera like my Nikon D800 is extremely expensive, and I only use it very occasionally so it’s hard to justify. But I got a 60mm (equivalent to about a 135mm in a full frame lens) macro lens for my Olympus camera and I’ve done some amazing closeups of bride’s rings and things like that recently.

Macro of Bride’s ring using Photoshop focus stacking

However, I wanted to be stealthy for the proposal and not look like a big photographer with a huge camera, so I decided to try using my OM-D and the 60mm lens to get some candid shots. It did quite a nice job, the only problem was that I meant for him to take her further away from the pier to propose. There ended up being a bunch of people right in the background. Oh well it’s hard to be perfect. When I asked later, his fiance did say that she saw me taking the pictures, so I guess I wasn’t quite stealthy enough. But I didn’t notice her looking at me and it didn’t seem to bother the moment at all as far as I could tell.

Then of course after the initial proposal I went to my usual gear of the Nikon D800, Nikon 85mm f1.4 lens, and my off camera flash. Of course when you switch to expensive big camera gear you are going to notice a difference in the quality over my little Olympus camera. I actually listen to some podcasts where they seem to think that photography will be moving to these smaller mirrorless cameras. I can tell you they are nice, but they in no way compare to a big camera with a big fast lens. When it comes to camera sensors and lenses, for portraits bigger is always better. Without going into too much detail, the bigger a sensor and lens is, typically the better the blur or bokeh in the background will be.  I hope you enjoy some of these pictures below, please don’t forget to like and comment below if you do, or pin some to your Pinterest board.

Read post and view pictures Secret pictures of an engagement proposal again!

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.

Another fun couple doing engagement pictures at the Myrtle Beach State Park

I met this couple for the first time on Friday to discuss photographing their upcoming wedding. While they were in the area we decided to do some last minute engagement pictures on Monday at the state park in Myrtle Beach. I’ve said it a lot of times before, but doing engagement pictures is really the best way to get to know a couple, and for them to get to know you as the photographer. If they like what you do during the engagement portraits, they are going to like you at the wedding as well. Pictures of the couple after the wedding is pretty much the same thing, just a little more rushed and with a little more stress.

We are finally getting some good weather, it was a beautiful evening with a great sunset. I notice it seems to be a really popular thing to get some flare from the setting sun in the lens.  You certainly wouldn’t want it in every picture because it washes it out, but it can be a cool look.  The really expensive Nikon lenses have a special Nano Crystal coating on them to reduce flare because it’s not normally something you would want. If you get the sun over to the side but in the frame enough where it’s hitting the lens you will definitely still get it.

One other thing I thought of.  Because of constantly looking into the sun I know I need to always wear sunglasses. However my current ones completely make the screen on the back of my camera not visible. I realized you have to get sunglasses that are not polarized. I ordered some nice Ray-Bans that should be really good without being polarized. I’m hoping that will make it so I don’t have to keep taking them off to see my screen.  I hope you enjoy the pictures below, please comment if you do.

Sunset engagement pictures at the historic waterfront in Georgetown, SC

This was the first time I’ve done any engagement portraits at the historic waterfront area of Georgetown. I think it’s just the distance and the fact that most people are more interested in the beach that I haven’t made it over that way. I personally do so much at the beach I always like when I get to do something different.

The historic Georgetown waterfront area is going to give you a similar look to doing engagement pictures at the Conway River Walk. You still have a lot of trees, historic looking shops, and a boardwalk on the water. The main thing you don’t have at Georgetown that you have in Conway is the train tracks that can make for some really cool pictures.  Otherwise there are a lot of things I like better in Georgetown. At least for this time of the year there was a really nice sunset going down over the water, all the boats at the marina make for a nice background, and the shops are better for walking around and doing pictures.  Be sure to let me know if you enjoy the pictures below, and if a couple wants to try out Historic Georgetown for their engagement pictures let me know.

Fall engagement portraits at the Myrtle Beach State Park

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about engagement pictures. When I’m doing engagement pictures for an upcoming wedding, I try to keep them in my slower times of the year if possible. When it cools down a bit is usually a great time anyway, the color in the ocean and sky seems better once things cool off. This is a fun couple who’s wedding I have coming up in April at the Grande Dunes. I like it so much better when I already know a couple well at the wedding, and they already have a good idea what they are in for :) I hope you enjoy some of the shots below, I’ll also be posting soon some engagement pictures from Georgetown which I think everyone will like.

Fun sunset pictures with the bride and groom at Holden Beach, NC

This is the first time I’ve been up to Holden Beach in NC for a wedding. This wedding was for a couple that was bringing together their two families with adult children. Everyone just seemed really happy and got along great. That always makes things easier for me. The wedding was held at a really pretty private home on the ocean. It was quite a long walk from the beach house down to the actual ocean. The area behind the house was huge and just full of dunes and sea oats, as well as a small lake surrounded by tall grass. This was actually one of the prettiest beach spots I think I’ve seen. It makes you realize how much they have ruined the Myrtle Beach area. All the houses and hotels are stuck almost on the ocean, it has just ruined the beach and dunes. I guess there is nothing that can be done about it now except occasional beach re-nourishment when they pump sand out of the ocean. I decided for this post to highlight just one part of the wedding, pictures of the couple that we did at sunset. The whole afternoon I had been looking at spots and thinking about what it would look like at sunset. After spending some time at the reception the couple walked back down to the beach with me right around sunset time, like usual we only had a few minutes. The angle of the sun to the ocean is different here than it is in Myrtle Beach. That is why there are a lot of cool shots with the sun going down over the ocean. There is only a brief time during the winter when the sun’s angle will be like that here. I just love in the pictures below the way the sunset reflects off the edge of the water, as well as the ones of it going down behind the lake. If you like these pictures please comment and ‘like’ the post, it encourages me to post more often. A couple of these shots have been touched up, but most have not. I hope you enjoy them.

Read post and view pictures Fun sunset pictures with the bride and groom at Holden Beach, NC