Beautiful Afternoon wedding at Wachesaw Plantation

It’s been a while since I’ve been to Wachesaw Plantation for a wedding. It’s a really pretty wedding site on the Waccamaw River, it’s especially nice at sunset the way the light filters through the many trees. The bride and groom at this wedding wanted to do a first look so they could get most of …

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Pawleys Plantation wedding with a Beauty and the Beast themed reception

I always love going to Pawleys Plantation Golf Club for a wedding, it’s a very pretty area and the staff there is very nice.  I really loved the bride’s dress at this wedding, she had a Beauty and the Beast Disney theme to the dress and wedding reception.  You can see some pictures of the ballroom decorations below.  I recently got a new 14mm prime lens so I was enjoying playing around with some super wide-angle shots of the reception decorations.  Looking through the lens is so wide though I realized I was almost sticking my camera in the cake without realizing it.  It’s not the kind of lens that I will use often, but it’s fun for a few shots here and there.  I also finally got a really big case to carry all my gear. It’s the largest Lowepro rolling case they have.  It looks like a big suitcase, but inside it has dividers for photo gear.  I have my 4 camera bodies, flashes, various lenses etc. all organized together in one case.

The wedding ceremony was a few hours before sunset, so after the bride and groom finished eating I took them back out of the reception for some sunset pictures. When the days start getting longer, most ceremonies will be a while before sunset, so if possible I always try to get the couple out for some sunset pictures when the light is much softer.  At least at locations like Pawleys Plantation with a lot of trees, there is always somewhere to get some shade from the sun.  I hope you enjoy the pictures below, please let me know in the comments below if you do.

View post Pawleys Plantation wedding with a Beauty and the Beast themed reception

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.

View post Documenting a wedding reception with candid photography

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 been to Joe’s Crab Shack before, the couple said they just loved the food there and that is why they picked it for the reception. When they brought out the appetizers I actually thought it was the full meal. You know the food must be good when everyone has to wear a bib. It seemed like everyone was having a great time.

There is a shot below with the couple kissing with the kids being silly in the background, it’s probably one of my most popular pictures I’ve put on Facebook. There was some really strong overhead sun during the ceremony, I’ve gotten pretty good now about dealing with that, but it’s never ideal. I took the couple out around sunset time at Broadway to do a few more pictures which turned out nice.  I hope you enjoy these below, please comment if you do!

Wedding at the Carriage House in Magnolia Plantation, Charleston

This was my second wedding I’ve had this fall at Magnolia Plantation, this time it was at the Carriage House lawn area. It’s nice to expand out a bit to doing some weddings in Charleston, I hope to keep it up in the future. I think it would be really nice to do something in downtown Charleston eventually, but if I don’t I’m happy shooting around the beach.

For this wedding it was a pretty cloudy day most of the time, I didn’t get as many shots with sunlight coming through the trees as I would have liked. The clouds actually worked out well for the ceremony because it softened what would have been some pretty harsh sunlight directly on the couple. Like at most weddings, we got a little rushed and didn’t have time to make it around to cool areas like the bamboo forest. When I have a really nice area I’d love to have a good 45-60 minutes with the couple, but I know that usually can’t happen. Still I thought everything turned out really nice.

By the way, if you use the Storyboard plugin like I’ve started using for blog pictures, they just updated to version 2.0.  It’s got some nice features like watermarks and on the fly cropping.  I love doing a storyboard style layout now, it’s lets me fit so many more pictures in a post. Let me know if you enjoy some of these below.

Highlights from the last few weeks and the importance of a good DJ

I haven’t made a wedding specific blog post recently and I’ve been wanting to put up something new. I always get so busy in the summer. So I just decided to quickly pull out of my collection a few shots I liked from the last few weeks of August. These come from some family beach pictures at the Myrtle Beach State Park, the mother of a bride I had last year getting married at the Grande Dunes Member’s Club, a wedding for a military groom at Brunswick Plantation in NC, and a wedding reception in Florence, SC. There is a lot in this one post.

One thing I especially wanted to highlight can be seen in the last about 15 pictures in this post.  They are from a wedding game I’ve heard called the Shoely Wed Game.  It’s really important if you want to have a fun wedding reception that you get a fun DJ. I’ve been to many weddings where the DJ really got everyone having fun, laughing and having a good time. This is always great for me because I like to take lots of reaction shots of the audience like you see in my pictures below. Good DJ’s usually get everyone into the dancing as well, most of the time it takes some effort to get everyone on the dance floor.

Just like with wedding photographers, there are some really bad ones as well.  I’ve seen some that barely do anything but play music, some where their lighting is so bad it causes me a lot of problems, and the worst was probably the one that actually had a CD collection for playing the music and couldn’t get the CD’s to play. In my opinion the DJ is the most important part of a fun wedding reception. It sure does make it better for me if I have lots of candid expressions to take pictures of.  I hope you enjoy some of the shots below.

View post Highlights from the last few weeks and the importance of a good DJ