Thursday, January 14, 2010

FREE Wedding Photos

I noticed a Facebook post last week written by one of my former brides. She was encouraging everyone to post some of their wedding photos on FB. I'm going to make it easier for you by giving you some photos. Check out the Events on the Conway Photo Shop fan page on Facebook for details. It's only available to my Facebook fans.


I know there are a lot of Facebook fans out there. Those of you who are already my friends on Facebook probably noticed that I spent a lot of time last weekend setting up the Fan Page for Conway Photo Shop. There was a Conway Photo group page before but the fan page will allow me to do lots more like add photos and videos and announce special offers. So, I'm inviting everyone to join me on Facebook at the Conway Photo Shop Fan Page. I've already uploaded some video favorites as well as several photo albums and even designed a little logo for my Facebook fan page using my buddy Carter's photo. Hope to see you all on FB.

I've Come a LONG Way!!

I've had the photo to the right in my blog folder for months and was just waiting for an opportunity to use it. As far as I know, it's one of the first photos of me taking a photograph. I was about 11-12 years old and was with my father at a wedding in Ahoskie. He was helping me set up a photo of the bride's mother straightening her veil and someone else took a photo of the whole scene, including me. My photo turned out just fine -- my father was a wonderful, thorough teacher -- and the rest, as they say, is history.

I thought it was appropriate to share that photo today because I just got home last night from the PPA 2010 Imaging Conference in Nashville, TN. I've been a member of the Professional Photographers of America for years but have always been much more involved in my state association, the PPNC. I believe in professional organizations primarily because I think meeting with others and attending classes and sharing information is the best way to grow. (I'm also a member of WPPI and NAPP). This conference exceeded my wildest expectations and I've come home with my brain literally churning with ideas. All of the speakers were world class, the trade show had extraordinary products, and I loved being in the company of so many other dedicated professionals. The speakers were so esteemed that I hardly knew which programs to attend. I emailed my talented young friend, Allison Satterfield of Sandfoot Photography, from the conference and told her that I was in a wedding orgy. In one day I had been to classes by Yervant, Joe Buissink and Denis Reggie. The names may not be ones you recognize but, in the photography world, these are some heavy hitters. I also went to a dynamite program by Jane Conner-Ziser on facial retouching so look for MY fabulous new photo soon on my Facebook page. I'm going to use every little tip she gave us to make my own photo remarkable. I'm looking forward to getting back to work now and using some of my new ideas and skills. By the way, my husband took the photo of me above between sessions at the Gaylord Opryland Resort which is a whole 'nother story!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Do You Want "Good Enough" Wedding Photos?

Santa collaborated with some nice guys and put quite a few engagement rings in Christmas stockings this past holiday season. We usually spend a good part of January on the phone with prospective brides and grooms talking about wedding photography. Planning a wedding can look like an overwhelming challenge when you start looking at your budget and where and how to economize to have the wedding you've always dreamed of. I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss the importance of photography in your wedding budget plans. Twenty plus years ago when I first got seriously involved in wedding photography there was a saying all of us photographers were told to spread. It was, "from the moment your wedding day is over, the only things that INCREASE in value are your wedding rings, your photographs, and your love for each other." It sounds a little corny these days to put it in those terms but I think there is still quite a lot of truth in that statement. I think brides and grooms are often put into the position of thinking that because Uncle Charlie, their friend Sally, or whoever (add your own name) has a pretty good camera and takes pretty good snaps of the kids or of the soccer game or the family cat that they can certainly take photos for a wedding. After all, doesn't everyone know what a wedding is and what photographs should be taken? It's certainly true that today's digital cameras have come a long way and can produce really good results in the hands of competent pro-amateurs. As someone who has photographed over 1,000 weddings, I can tell you that there is more to it than having a good camera. There is even more to it than having a good eye or a bit of talent. I read an excellent blog posting from a photographer friend of mine who had discovered an article on the importance of wedding photography. I wanted to share the article for everyone who is in the midst of wedding planning because I know how important these photographs are. You don't get a second chance if something goes wrong. You have to be aware of what's going to happen when, where to be to capture the special moments, and how to deliver the best possible product to the couple who has trusted you with one of the most important days of their lives. I hope you read and digest this if you are considering whether or not an advanced amateur may do a "good enough" job for YOUR wedding. If the differences in the photographs that are discussed in this article AREN'T important to you, then you probably will be happy with "good enough" and can put your budget towards some other element of your wedding that is. I don't mean to sound like I'm preaching but I take my responsibility as a wedding photographer seriously and want all of you who are planning a wedding to get what you want.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

When you can't choose just one!!

I promised once the holidays were over that I would share some of the interesting photos, etc. I created that were to be Christmas gifts (couldn't spoil the surprise before the gift was opened). This grouping of three 20x20 black and white composites was one of my favorites. These three handsome guys are brothers and I did an outdoor session back in the fall that yielded some great photos. It was just too difficult for their mom to pick one shot so I designed custom composites of each. They looked great with a linen texture finish and simple, elegant black frames. I'm think they were a hit under the Christmas tree for dad, and Lynn and I have been promised a trip to see them hanging on the wall with a glass of wine thrown in for fun.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Historic Day for Roberts Chapel

It was a cold day in Pendleton on Sunday but the chill bumps were worth it to have the official groundbreaking for the new building for Roberts Chapel Baptist Church. A lot of church members had put in some long hours planning the new building and I was excited to be asked to take a few photos. All of the photos are on a website for anyone to see and I plan to keep this website active indefinitely. There are so many people far and wide who want to see the process of building the new church that I plan to keep the website open and hopefully will add photos to it through the weeks and months that will document the process. I'd love input from the community of cameras out there since I probably be won't be going through Pendleton every week. If you take some good photos of the process and don't mind sharing them, send them to me in an email and I'll add your photos and mine to the website as the weeks and months tick along. The loyal and excited congregation of Roberts Chapel members everywhere can check the site and hopefully feel a part of the rebuilding.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2009 -- A Very Good Year for Weddings

2009 has come and gone and I just photographed my first wedding of 2010 so I thought it was a good time to look back through the year in weddings. I've never done this before so it was a treat for me to take a quick look through the files of all the weddings I photographed last year. Weddings can be large or small, elaborate or simple but they all hold wonderful memories for those involved and I always feel privileged that I have been allowed to be a part of such a special day. Once again I photographed weddings all over the place but mainly within about 50 miles of Conway which covers parts of NC and Virginia. It was a year of fire trucks (3 weddings), unique cakes (a possum cake and a Batman cake among others), and probably the smallest wedding I've ever photographed in terms of people involved. In fact, I was called into service not only as photographer but as a witness on the marriage license because I was present and over age 21. I'm often asked (usually by men), "aren't all weddings the same; don't you get tired of doing this?" The answer is emphatically "NO" and "NO" -- with an exclamation point! They are definitely not all the same. I looked back through these photos today and remembered each bride and groom, the excitement and emotion, the special elements that made each day memorable to me and for everyone in attendance. And I definitely don't get tired of doing this. I am a hopeless romantic who gets excited every time the processional music starts and who many times will shed a tear right along with the brides, grooms, moms and dads. It is a blessing to love what you do for a living. It makes striving to be better every time a pleasure and not an obligation. Hope you enjoy the photos. You can see all of these (plus a few more) at a slower pace at

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Nancy and Tommy

I just wanted to add my wishes for a Happy Anniversary to Nancy and Tommy Flythe from Seaboard. I've said before that I always think of "our" brides and grooms as family and look forward to all the happy moments in their lives. Nancy and Tommy's daughters threw them a surprise anniversary party and Lynn wanted to create a special gift for them since she is a good friend and Seaboard neighbor. We pulled the negatives from their wedding (I don't think we know whether it was my father or brother who photographed the wedding but I'm guessing it was my father by some of the poses). We had a great time looking back through them and selecting one that would make a nice B&W photo. Weren't they a sweet couple? Here's the photo we picked from their wedding along with one from their daughter Jamie's wedding a few years ago.