Surprise engagement proposal on a beautiful winter evening in Myrtle Beach

I always love the Myrtle Beach State Park at sunset in the winter. This time of the year the sky just seems clearer and the water is more blue. I don’t know if it’s perhaps the lower humidity or just the difference in the angle of the sunset. We had one of those perfect winter evenings for a surprise engagement proposal with this young couple. His girlfriend thought we were just doing pictures of the two of them for Valentine’s Day. From what she said later in the evening, she thought it would be a long while until he could …

Read post and view pictures Surprise engagement proposal on a beautiful winter evening in Myrtle Beach

Having fun with long exposure, flash, steel wool and getting started with the Myrtle Beach season

With the beautiful spring weather in Myrtle Beach, it’s the time of the year my photography business starts really picking up. Of course that also means lots of pollen and traffic at the beach, but you have to take the good with the bad. I thought I would do a quick blog post highlighting my first spring engagement session and some long exposure light painting fun I had this winter. My photography friend Hannah Ruth and I wanted to experiment with some long exposure light painting shots using wedding sparklers. Painting with the light from sparklers can be as simple as putting your camera …

Read post and view pictures Having fun with long exposure, flash, steel wool and getting started with the Myrtle Beach season

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.

Read post and view pictures Cold and windy day for engagement pictures at the Myrtle Beach State Park

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.

Read post and view pictures Engagement pictures with an emotional marriage proposal on the beach

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!

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!

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.

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!

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.

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.