Ron and Gabrielle - 7/14/17

A wedding with friends! People I know! Familiar faces! Skateboarders! It all adds up to a very comfortable wedding shoot.  It makes everything easy.  I don't know if it's just my opinion, but skateboarders have some of the most natural smiles of all time - they're stoked! I mean, I'm going to let these photos speak for themselves but I just get good vibes from Ron and Gabrielle and all their guests.  This was by far one of the most relaxed shoots as well.  Gotta love it when it comes easy.

St. Mary's is epic.  I didn't get to explore the details of the altar but it sure is pretty looking.  The stained glass is incredible.  The architecture is mind blowing.  I often wonder how it came to be that buildings these days are drab concrete cinderblock structures, but then I remember that America loves doing things as cheaply as possible for business purposes.  We need more cool stuff in the world and less strip malls.  All this really has nothing to do with this wedding, but the cathedral was a nice break from the shopping centers and apartment complexes that plague the Wilmington area.

After the pleasant ceremony, the freshly married couple headed over to IronClad Brewing for some cold beers and a reggae dance party.  Is there really anything else that needs to be said?  Nothing beats taking pictures of good friends having a good time.  On to the pictures ...

Jackcyln and Duncan - 7/1/17

There's no better feeling than booking way in advance.  Set it aside and don't worry about it.  Jackclyn booked me nearly two years ahead of time.  Of course I knew less about what I was doing back when she booked me, but that's probably better for them since my prices were different but my services got better.  Win win.

I had never met either one of these people I was shooting.  I'm guessing they found me on Craiglist when I still advertised through there.  We had only reached out via email and text.  I kind of like that.  There are no preconceived notions.  There are no positive or negative thoughts about how a person looks. As much as I hate to judge people based on how they look - it is inevitable and you can't really avoid doing it, for the better or worse.  So like many weddings I've show up to, I ask the most busy-looking person, "Can you show me to the bride?"  Deep upstairs in the Charlotte Museum of History, Jackclyn stepped out in a beautiful red dress - glowing with excitement and beaming with pure stoke.  It was only a few minutes later when I met Duncan, also bubbling over with smiles and laughter.  I knew this was going to be a good one.  It was.  They were an incredibly awesome couple with a great sense of humor (see pictures below).  Beautiful Chinese decorations and wonderful bright colors everywhere made for a great atmosphere.  Browse them pics and see for yourself.

Kendre and Scott - 5/20/17

I've known Kendre and her family for a long time.  We grew up going to the same church in Wilmington and ran into each other at least twice a week during middle and high school.  Of course it was a no-brainer to shoot her wedding in Edgefield, SC when she asked me to.  I've never been to Edgefield and to be honest, it didn't sound like that interesting of a place, but we were going to be shooting the wedding at the National Wild Turkey Federation which sounds like a place for middle-shelf whiskey enthusiasts.  It's actually not.  It's about hunting and preservation of the wild turkey of North America.  Needless to say, the place is pretty.  Huge pines surround a pleasant lake as a background for the ceremony.  A South Carolina wedding in May is going to be hot, but once the sun got behind the trees, things got a bit more pleasant.  Anyways, here's pictures.

The Big Fake Wedding Charlotte 2017

So once upon a time- as I was actually looking for interesting vendor showcases to participate in -a friend invited me to check out The Big Fake Wedding (click for their blog post).  Upon finding it to be a completely different take on a wedding industry trade show, I paid my dues an secured myself a table.  Here's how it works - a lovely, already married couple (Lindsey and Sean) had volunteered to renew their vows in front of a bunch of strangers.  These strangers would come to this fake wedding to meet flower vendors, photographers, wedding planners, DJ's, party rental dealers, etc.  Well my role as a photographer was to do what I do - photograph the couple and the scenes and the day.  Admittedly, it was a bit overwhelming and kind of scary being my first trade show event, but I tried to do my thing and relax despite the pressure I put on myself.  I found out very quickly that I am not good at tablescapes and that I should really try to do more off-camera lighting.  I found some weaknesses in my "fly-on-the-wall" style but also found some strong points.  I learned that I should be more observant and try to predict moments a little better.  Focus is everything.  So without further adieu, here's some photos :

Brad and Bec - 3/4/17

I've been lucky enough to shoot a lot of my friends' weddings, this one being no exception.  Brad and I have been friends since elementary school.  Living a short bike ride away from each other, his mom and dad probably got tired of seeing me running around their house.  We skated homemade obstacles in the driveway (and the neighbors'), swam in the pool, and rode bikes around the neighborhood til the streetlights came on.  So when he hit me up to shoot his wedding, of course I said yes right away.  While I don't know his wife Rebecca as well as I know him, I can see the light in his eyes with her.  She brings out the best in him and they're a great team.  She's sweet and has a great sense of humor and even from the brief time we spent together shooting photos, I know she's a a goodnatured person just like Brad.

For Brad and Bec's wedding, I was asked to do bridal portraits, rehearsal dinner photos, and a full-day wedding with a second shooter.  As usual for my Wilmington-area weddings I chose Nic True to be my second shooter and his photos will be noted below.  Let's take a look of their journey to the big day in photos...

We lucked out and got some warm weather in late January to shoot some bridal portraits at the home of a family friend, right on Hewlett's Creek.  When I saw it was low tide, I figured it might be best  to get some shots in front of a nearby shed and then "fake" some water by using the reflectivity of the mud as the sun started going down.  I used a mixture of natural light and a strobe on an umbrella, but the natural light photos turned out to be everyone's favorites.

A few days before the rehearsal dinner, I remembered they asked me to shoot the rehearsal dinner.  I had just gotten a new job as a bartender and I was lucky enough to be able to trade shifts with someone.  Crisis averted.  The main goal of the dinner was to shoot some candid photos of guests as well as get a few group photos of family.  The sun was going down over Wrightsville Beach immediately after taking family photos and I had to jump on the opportunity to get the couple on the beach for a few photos.  So we did.  Then we popped back inside to eat, cut some cake, and listen to a few speeches.  A few tears and a lot of laughs later, everyone hugged goodbye and headed off in excitement for the following day.

March 4th, the big day.  Nic and I headed over to Pine Valley Baptist Church in the early afternoon to find the sun shining and the air with a slight nip.  It was perfect.  We split in different directions for photos with the separate sides of the wedding party and the day was on!  After a lovely ceremony in a beautiful church, we split for the Coastline Convention Center for an epic reception.

Concrete Community Fundraiser Photos

This past Saturday, a lot of people got together to skate a ramp inside Asheville Music Hall, drink lots of PBR, view lovely art from skateboarders and friends at Push Skate Shop, rock out at AMH to some music, and bask in the camaraderie of skateboarding and DIY.  Money was raised.  Shirts were sold.  Prints were sold.  Beverages were had.  Punk rock was vibrated through skulls.  Arms were thrown around shoulders in the brotherhood that can only come from something you love.  Anyways, enough of the banter - here's the photos.

Concrete Community

Yours truly will have some un-seen, un-published photos up at Push Skate Shop this weekend and they'll be selling for pretty dang cheap to help raise some money for the Foundation. I spent a lot of time skating the Foundation and it is a staple in the Asheville skate community. It wouldn't be ANYTHING without the volunteers who give up their weekends to pour concrete and the donors who throw a few bucks into the concrete jar. So if you're around Asheville, come check out this event on Saturday. If you're not in Asheville, pack up the car and get here.

Facebook Event Page

Unseen Cuba Photos : December 2011-January 2012

The Appalachian State Technical Photography program decided to go to Havana in 2011-2012 for two weeks over New Years so of course I signed on.  A warm escape from a Boone winter with crumbly architecture and 1950's American cars?  Sounds right up my alley.  Most of the trip was focused on street photography, because Havana has an amazing street culture.  People walk everywhere.  They shout at each other across the street from balconies.  While walking around, I noticed an abundance of dogs that roam the streets and I focused my efforts on capturing photos of the dogs more than anything else.  Below you will see some stuff that was never really published from that trip.  Other photos from this trip can be seen on my old blog or in the projects section of my website here.  Enjoy!

It's 2017 But We're Looking Back - Emily and Jeff 7/27/2013

Ah...a photographers first wedding...  It's a bit awkward, there are some fumbles, there are some kinks in logistics, there are some missed shots.  Things are over-exposed and under-exposed.  Photos are blurry (can we just blame autofocus?).  You got carried away shooting indoors at 1600 ISO then moved outdoors and forgot to change...  There's plenty of fun things you learn at your first wedding.  I believe I was using my Canon 7D with an 18-55 kit lens almost the entire time.  I had a Sunpak 544 manual flash mounted on a bracket - look it up.  These things are beastly and when you're moving around a reception, people coming into and out of varying distances, it can be a little tricky to get lighting proper.  BUT alas, we got through it and decided that shooting weddings isn't all that bad.  I thought, "Perhaps this is actually the career path I have been needing to take all along...newspapers are dying...editorial is hard to come by if you don't know the right people (and I don't know the right people)...product photographers hold onto their jobs forever and ever...  So it began.  As my friends and colleagues began getting hitched, I began reaching out to them to shoot their weddings, slowly building my portfolio.  Advertising on Craigslist didn't hurt either.  Here are some photos from that first wedding.  One of which (the murderous wedding cake shot) is still one of my favorites to this day.  Without further adieu - Emily and Jeff's summer 2013 wedding at the Landfall Country Club in Wilmington, NC.  Enjoy!
 

Well Wouldya Look At That?

So apparently I won a WeddingWire Couples' Choice Award.  I don't know how I even got nominated or how the awarding even works, but I can honestly say that I am beyond excited.  People keep saying that 2016 was a bad year, but I somehow managed to shoot a ton of weddings and some of the best ones yet!  Cheers to 2017 being another big year for MGMillerPhoto and here's to growth and beauty and all things creative.  Thanks to everyone who booked us, everyone who has suggested us, everyone who has worked with us (Nic True - second shooter MVP of the year), and everyone else who has helped in some way.  Thanks to all y'all!

Why Film?

To a photographer, this question should not even be a question.  Every photographer knows film provides a better dynamic range and "such good colors".  Digital has it's benefits, sure, and digital is actually incredible, but there's something about getting film back from the lab that cannot be replicated with a sensor, a card reader, and a computer screen.  With advancements in technology there's plenty of filters and edits you can make to get that "film look" but it's not the same.  You're probably better off just shooting film anyways.

At one point before I moved to Asheville I was so bored with my great photography job at the newspaper.  I can attribute my lack of motivation to dull subject matter (mostly high school sports with terrible lighting) and a lack of creative flexibility (due to the dull subject matter and horrible lighting conditions).  It was in this lull that I rediscovered my love for shooting medium format film.  I bought a Hasselblad.

One day my friend Nic and I were wandering around doing who-knows-what, when I figured we'd swing by the camera shop to see if they had any medium format cameras.  Chad told me they were getting a Hasselblad in later that day, so I came in the next morning and just bought it, no questions asked.  They have been so widely used in skateboarding and beyond, it was a no brainer.  After shooting through a roll and having it developed, I found that the back had a light leak so my pals at Southeastern Camera replaced it at no cost.  They hadn't even run a roll through it when I bought it!  Upon receipt of my new camera back I felt reinvigorated and freshly inspired to start some new projects based on film.  So that means that there are some things in the works!  On that bombshell...stay tuned for future projects and keep shooting film!

2016 : The Film Mixtape

2016 was a big year for film.  I feel like it finally came back for real.  I saw more young people shooting film and I saw more people expressing interest in film. I even donated a few point and shoots to friends in need of the aesthetic.  2016 was also the year I jumped into shooting more with my Hasselblad 500cm.  Big deal, right?  I've been using it a lot to work on some projects I'm not going to divulge quite yet, but there's some things in the works and I'm excited about them.  I somehow broke every point-and-shoot I have touched recently, but the good folks at Southeastern Camera in Wilmington are always down to help me out and their East Coast Film Lab does a great job getting stuff developed and scanned.  Got a few things developed and scanned at Ball Photo in Asheville too.  I guess 2017 will be the year of name dropping and shout outs.  So yeah, film is not dead.  Not at all.  Enjoy these photos.  Or don't.  You have that option.

Best of 2016 - Volume 3

Ah, the last segment of this thing I have done for the past 2 years I think... September through December.  Well, December isn't over but the best photography stuff probably already happened so here goes :

Best of 2016 - Volume 2

Here we are with volume 2.  This covers May through August.

Best of 2016 - Volume 1

It's that time of year.  Since I have been especially bad at updating my site with fresh material, some of these photos might actually be new for your eyeballs.  There's plenty of skateboarding and plenty of weddings and a few things in between.  Here goes...

Mark and Justein - Topsail Island 11/14/15

Well, it's obviously November of 2016, but I am bad at blogging because I have a full time job and don't like to work when I'm not working, know what I mean?  There's stuff to do outside!

Anyways, I am going to start retrofitting my blog with older weddings in an effort to make my site more visible and friendly to people looking for a budget wedding photographer in the Carolinas and beyond.  So off we go.

Justein and Mark's wedding was in Topsail.  When I think of Topsail, I think of endless rows on rows of beach houses, nearly abandoned in the winter and mellow in the summer.  Growing up in Wilmington, going to Topsail seemed like a getaway because it's far removed from the suburbia I grew up in and that's what this wedding felt like.  Even though it was at a resort and felt kinda fancy, it was humble at the same time.  I felt comfortable right out of my car when Justein and her bridesmaids welcomed me.  Admittedly, I was only scheduled to shoot the ceremony and reception, I showed up a bit early to make sure everything in order for some good shots.  Well, if you know anything about anything, you'll know that afternoon weddings on the beach can be difficult because of the sun.  This was no exception.  Ocean glare...backlighting...heavy shadows...the whole crew showed up.  Not to toot my horn or anything, but I think I made it work for me.  Check out some of the highlights :

Bad At Blogging Edition #9,000

It seems I just don't remember to blog.  OR maybe it's that I don't have a readership to begin with, so what's the point in posting for no one.  Anyways.  I'm only doing this to post my WeddingWire link so I can generate some traffic and whatnot and get some business to make some money to pay for my WeddingWire and website.  It's a vicious cycle truly.

Find on ww primary 2x

Best of 2015 - Newspaper Edition

So for those who don't know, I have been working for StarNews Wilmington as a "stringer", which basically means I am a freelancer without having to seek out my own work.  It's been rather steady work shooting lots of different stuff, usually in less-than-ideal lighting situations and straight to JPEG - so I'll spare you the boring details and just get to the photos.