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 :
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.
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.
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.
I haven't been around too many newborns, but when my great friends Hunter and Kate had Willow this past month, I had to go see this new thing they brought into the world. Of course it only made sense to get some practice shooting another new subject matter so we got some photos too!
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!
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!
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!
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 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.
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 :
Here we are with volume 2. This covers May through August.
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...
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 :
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.
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.
More River Road exploration. Apparently people who don't know what Goodwill/Salvation Army/Habitat For Humanity/Yard Sales/The Dump are go here and dump off their semi-useful goods.
The best three from a day of exploration. More to come, maybe.
Here's to the final four months of my year. September started off with a bang. My bro's and I took a road trip around the Carolinas and skated some fun parks and didn't worry about a thing except running out of beer and where we were getting breakfast.
I came home to some more skateboarding, which was good cause it's hard to just quit cold turkey right after going so hard.
Back to work. Shot an engagement in Pittsboro in October.
Shot some commercial stuff for my friend's landscaping company. Hire em! Seaside Unlimited. Look it up.
Shot another engagement wandering through downtown Wilmington. Got to test out another new lens.
Brennen and Stephanie's wedding was out of this world on the first of November.
Ah, the Crat3r again.
I'm still getting into shooting with different subjects, this time with my bosses' daughter Lylah. This was surprisingly fun.
Another engagement session with Katie and Devin.
Aaaannnnd December is here... can you tell by the attire of my Seaside Creations friends?
Tee shirt weather...skateboard weather... Will's street skating birthday party was fun.
In vertical news, Brian Drake built a vert ramp.
Round two - same idea. May started off casually at a vert ramp with some cold beers.
I got to shoot a wedding for my friends Sam and Alexis and that's all I did in May. I probably shot some film stuff and rode my bike a lot too.
June came and it was hot. I shot more vert ramp and another wedding.
July must have been super hot or busy or something because I didn't shoot anything worth posting here. August was fun though. Will Smith and I took a skate trip to Raleigh.
My brother's band Avast and I cooled off and shot some band photos at Jungle Rapids.
Business is picking up. I shot another wedding and despite the rain, it was beautiful.
Me and my friends skated some impromptu boxes and it was memorable.
I spent a day with Hunter and his dog for a day trip to Masonboro Island.
My buddies Alec and Alex had an art show at the Satellite.
More skateboarding, of course.
September - December coming tomorrow!