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 …

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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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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.

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 …

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Fun large family with colorful outfits doing portraits at the Myrtle Beach State Park

I keep having some really great families for pictures recently. It’s so nice when everyone in the family is in a really good mood and ready to have fun with the pictures. The family I’m highlighting here was a larger size group I took to the Myrtle Beach State Park.  When I’m photographing a large group I usually don’t go to the oak trees, but just take them down to a more secluded area of the park on the far side of the pier.

This was a really cloudy, not very nice looking evening. When the sky is overcast like this you do get a really clean, less harsh lighting on the pictures. You will notice there are no harsh shadows and issues you might get with a clear sky.  Of course, that is why I like to go near sunset, so I can get better control over the shadows when the sky is clear.  Sometimes I have clients worry their pictures aren’t going to look good if the sky is overcast. But that isn’t true at all, you just get a different look.  I would say it’s more like what you get in a studio with softboxes and more controlled lighting. I hope you enjoy the pictures, please comment below 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.

Fall family pictures in North Myrtle Beach and the State Park

During the summer when I’m doing lots of family pictures I don’t have time to blog about them, most of my posts are about weddings and the occasional engagement session. But since it’s my slow time now I thought I would put up a post about a couple of recent family sessions.

The first was a family session I did up in the Cherry Grove area of North Myrtle Beach. They had the idea to bring out a bench which made for some cute shots. It wasn’t the greatest weather that day, but the happy family made the pictures work great anyway. It’s nice when brothers and sisters of that age will have fun with the pictures and not just act like their parents are forcing them. I do my best to make the pictures relaxed and easy, but if everyone in a family can just be positive it sure makes my job easier.

The second session was a cute large family I photographed at the Myrtle Beach State Park. We actually got about a 20 minute late start from when I wanted to begin, so I was in my rapid fire wedding mode where I’m shooting as fast as I can. But we pretty much got everything we needed, and it worked out so some of the last pictures were right at an amazing sunset. It was cold that evening, but this time of the year also brings really beautiful sunsets, you just don’t get anything that looks quite like this in the summer. Let me know if you enjoy the pictures below, getting likes or comments really makes it easier to go through the work of posting.

50th anniversary vow renewal at the Myrtle Beach State Park

This was a very nice family to work with. They let me know that instead of just doing family pictures, the grandfather wanted to surprise his wife by doing a short vow renewal service at the end. They were a very sweet older couple that you could tell loved each other a lot, and they were quite fun to do pictures with.

It turned out to not be the best evening, it starting raining and there was some nearby lightning, but it never got so bad that we had to stop. A little rain doesn’t bother my camera because the higher end gear is all water sealed. You might notice a number of the pictures are in black and white, which is a good way to hide when the sky is gloomy or the lighting isn’t too nice. However a cloudy sky can give a nice soft look to the pictures, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing. We were afraid of rain so for the vow renewal we went over to a shelter, of course the florescent lights are also not the best but it wasn’t completely dark so it worked out fine. Please comment at the end of the post if you enjoy the pictures.

Family in front of the dunes - Myrtle Beach State Park

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Highlights from the first half of May

This is such a busy time of the year I can’t really post about each wedding on my blog, I just don’t have time.  But I wanted to highlight a few pictures from the last couple of weeks.  One was a wedding in Andrews, SC of the same bride featured in my previous blog post.  I’ve also included a few family and engagement portraits from the Myrtle Beach State Park.  I discovered a new spot for pictures I really like at the park, at least the way the light is right now.  It’s the drainage ditch for land runoff into the ocean.  You don’t want to get in that water, but it makes a really great background at sunset.

Another thing I’ve done at my last couple of weddings is display pictures from the ceremony on my iPad.  When I get a chance at the reception, I will load in a few pictures from earlier in the day and put them up in a slideshow.  This seems to go over really well, there was almost always a small group around the iPad looking at the pictures.  I’m going to try and start doing this from now on.

Another fun thing I’ve been doing, which I will have more pictures of later on, is working with the latest Pocket Wizard wireless flash triggers.  I’ve been good for a long time at seeing great light and making use of it.  But now I’m trying to get better at making good light myself, even under bad conditions, using multiple flashes.  The http://www.strobist.blogspot.com/ website is a great resource for really learning advanced flash techniques if you want to learn more.  I hope you enjoy some of the pictures below.

Groom leaning bride back for a kiss - Kingston Plantation
Groom leaning bride back for a kiss - Kingston Plantation
Kiss on the beach walkway faded color effect - Kingston Plantation
Kiss on the beach walkway faded color effect - Kingston Plantation

 

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Third year with family – Myrtle Beach State Park

I just wanted to make a quick blog post about this recent family session. This is my third time working with this family. They were one of the groups I photographed back when I was really just getting started, I’ve learned quite a bit since then, but they always seem happy. It’s nice to see the same faces over and over again. Every year I seem to get the cutest shots with the kids. They both have really big eyes that just seem to reflect the light perfectly. The family wanted something a bit different this year, so I took them around the oak trees in the Myrtle Beach State Park, and that seemed to work out really well. I love some of the shots of the girls looking through the trees. I could have put up a bunch of pictures, but I tried to pick just a few of my favorite below.

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