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 from 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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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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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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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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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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High contrast black and white under the pier

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. 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 …

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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.