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 ...

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.

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!

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 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 :

Gabi and Sarah

I got to shoot an engagement session with a lovely couple that lives in Argentina booking trips to Antarctica.  Sarah is from Pittsboro and we got together when they were visiting.

Brennen and Stephanie - Nov 1, 2014

One of my good pals Brennen married his long-time sweetheart Stephanie and it was a great time with lots of friends.  It's hard to take bad pictures of happy people.

Brennen makes some wardrobe adjustments.

Custom hand made wooden pens for the groomsmen as made by the father of the bride.

Is this how you do it?

Making progress.

Consult the almighty YouTube.

Nic finds a nice light.

The "first look".

And so the party begins.

Jake and Victoria McSwain

Another wedding down.  This one presented some natural challenges with a consistent downpour but turned out to be one of the most fun and lighthearted weddings I have had the privilege to shoot.  Congrats again Jake and Tori!

Villegas Wedding

This was my first wedding for a couple that I did not have any friend or family connection with and I think it went well.

2013 - Year in Review Part 2 : April - August

So here we are with part two.  I started shooting some more film as the weather warmed up.

Tim Jarman

Zach Riggs

There was lots of skateboarding.  We revamped an old DIY barrier spot and skated it a whole lot.

Will Smith - Pivot Fakie

Tim Jarman - Backside Smith

Everybody was killin' it.  Wells Shaw warmed up for a back tail on the barrier with a little kickflip into a small bank.

May hit and so did more beautiful weather.  A bunch of dudes and I went to Asheville to see gnarly skateboarding happen at the Thrashville Mountain Masters Skate Comp.

Dylan Wiggins - Frontside Air

Will Smith - Kickflip

We came home and continued to skate a lot.  Wells learns new moves in the deep end of the CB skate park bowl.  Backside crailslide.

Stagnation breeds creativity and there is nothing more stagnant than the skate spots in Wilmington.  So my friends got tricks on treacherous terrain in the Ogden area.

Trent Reed - Ollie

Wells Shaw - Backside 180

Skateboner Magazine became an actual thing in May.  This was the cover shot.

Adam Meyer - Stalefish

Beach season officially began.  Gary Bolos expressed a deep devotion to getting rid of his farmers tan.

Frontside Boardslide

My sister graduated high school.

Wells Shaw became an amateur skateboarder for Creation Skateboards.  His left ankle was messed up so he could only skate switch, which was a real bummer.

Switch Kickflip

Switch Heelflip

Switch Frontside Flip

Coley Martin celebrated a birthday with a backside crailslide on the aforementioned barrier spot.

This shot of Wells tweaking out a small nollie heel on extremely safe terrain made it to the Creation Skateboards catalog poster.

I shot my first wedding.

I shot a lot more film than anything else for the entire rest of the summer.  Work was pretty busy, so photography got put on the back burner.  Here's a bunch of film stuff in reverse chronological order.

Part Three of Three coming Monday the 30th!