Posted on March 25, 2013
For wedding and portrait photographers in the south, the winter months are welcomed as time to finish editing, refuel creatively, implement marketing ideas and brush up on new techniques. After I shot my last 2012 wedding December 28, January and February were quite leisurely. I think weeks went by where the only photos I took were on my iPhone. Turn the page to March — in like a lion — and bright new-growth greens signaled the end of my hibernation. Even though the warm weather has been fickle, colors are popping all over town, vacationers are hitting the beaches and happy couples are starting their married lives together. I had such a fantastic week photographing fun people! Now, as I hunker down for gobs of editing, here’s a glimpse of my first work week of 2013. Happy new year, y’all!
Ashley and Zach had the Charleston destination wedding of their dreams! They buried a bottle of bourbon at the ceremony site to keep bad weather at bay. Coincidence or no, March 16 was a glorious 72-degree day.
Sassha and her clan moved from Maryland recently and booked a quick session to document her brother’s family visiting.
Glorious day to celebrate in the sun with this beautiful birthday girl on Sullivan’s Island!
Tuesday, I scooped up my friend and we met some girls at Poe’s for a beachy birthday lunch. If I ever turn 40, I hope I look that good
When the kids got home from school, we decided to soak up more sun by making a run to Freshberry for some fro-yo in the Jeep. Later, I made the breezy drive over to Boone Hall
for a magical bridal portrait session. Can’t spoil the gown surprise though!
Just a glimpse from this gorgeous bridal session.
Thursday after I got the kids off to school (thanks to my hubby/chauffeur), I made a little road trip to Columbia, where I met with parents of a Spring 2014 bride. (I’d met with their daughter in Charleston a couple of weeks earlier.) After my interview, I met a dear friend for lunch, then we headed back to her house and frolicked outdoors in the awesome yard. Her twins gave me a tour of their cool teepee. I fired off a few shots in the bright sun — loving this one of the play-at-home mom with her three wild little men.
After lounging at my friend’s house, I headed to another part of Columbia to meet a bride who drove down from Charlotte to have her portraits taken at her mom’s friend’s home on a lake. I’d love to show you how she rocks her sassy short veil, but not until after her Seabrook Island wedding. Her bridesmaid Steph helped keep her gown pollen-free while her mom and her friends oohed, aahed and sipped bubbly.
Whew, busy week, and that’s not including The Knot mixer I stopped by on Wednesday night at Marion’s downtown. Delicious pomegranate champagne cocktail and a make-your-own trifle made for a nice dessert, but a gal needs sustenance during a week like this. Perfect timing for a lunch and book signing with the Lee Brothers, local boys who just published their third cookbook. They weave a good yarn of boyhood tales and culinary history while spreading the gospel of boiled peanuts and grits. And my husband treated me to the smothered pork chops and vinegar green beans from this book last night. Outstanding!
The clouds and gloom threatened, but Friday evening went well with this adorable family from Connecticut. Their girls bravely ran barefoot even though it was a little chilly. And mom, seven months pregnant, was so at ease, even tossing her tots in the air as she toted daughter number three.
Saturday morning, clouds looming still, I headed downtown to meet a former co-worker from my Blackbaud days. She’s continued to work for Blackbaud and lives in San Francisco, where she met Brian. These two have done some serious traveling together, and they’re finally settling down to plan a wedding. I loved seeing HP in her old stomping grounds again and meeting her handsome fiance. As we ambled back to our cars, it started sprinkling. By the time I got across the bridge, it was pouring.
Later on Saturday, I suited up in my rain gear and returned downtown to the gorgeous Unitarian Church for Tiffany and Jay’s destination wedding. Magically, the rain stopped just when we hoped it would, allowing for some portraits around town and preventing guests from getting soaked. These two are so much fun and wowed the crowd with their first dance. Here’s to the happily ever after, y’all!
I should have seen this coming — these two attendants were hilarious when they made the switcheroo before the couple and the wedding party was introduced at the Mills House reception.
So that’s it! I must admit I was a little relieved when yesterday’s family session was postponed due to rain and a sippy cup / black eye incident. But I’m grateful to be busy doing a job I love. Have a fave photo from this post? I’d love it if you’d leave a comment below. Please spread the word and follow my work using the social media links. Happy spring!
Posted on September 17, 2012
As Charleston temperatures dip into the 60s, September must be here. Summer vacation is over, the kids are back to school, and warm weather is giving way to warm memories of lots of great beach days. My summer clients ran the gamut from families of four to an impressive beach week with 26 people. Sometimes people ask me about clothing choices, and others have a vision for a clean look that is easy to pull together. Truth be told, I love color. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise if you peruse my photos, but the best beach photography, I love the way color and texture work together to put subjects more at ease, enabling them to wear styles and shades that complement their personalities and their surroundings.
Here are some of my colorful summer favorites. (And stay tuned for another post soon with more monochrome looks, which I think look best for clients who prefer black and white images.)
Imagine if all 26 family members had worn white instead. This is so much more fun! Don’t get me wrong — I know why people choose white tops: 1) Everyone in the family probably already has one in their closet. 2) White is quintessential summer: crisp and breezy. 3) A uniform look keeps the focus on the faces. The latter may be true, but in a wide shot with lots of people, the actual faces are such a small percentage of the frame that it’s worth using color to kick things up a notch.
One color per family is still pretty simple to execute, and I like how each person sports a style (collar, strapless, tank, flowy, sparkly) that matches their personality.
A note about solid navy — this color varies a lot among brands and dialots, especially if it’s navy from your closet that has been washed a lot. This works well because it’s all the same tone.
Scared of sporting a pattern? Don’t be! Obviously you don’t want to go crazy and have everyone wear different patterns, but this looks so natural and unfussy, and a little pattern looks more genuine, giving a glimpse into each subject. Everyone will be more at ease in clothing they like and feel comfortable in.
My family did the khaki and white thing for several years, but it’s fun trying to make it more interesting. With nine girls, my mom likes to start by shopping for them, and then the rest of us pull a color or two based on what the kids are wearing. These knit dresses in our 2011 photos came from Garnet Hill, and the boys’ madras shirts are from Kelly’s Kids. I don’t condone matching, but with only a few boys, we loved how their multicolor shirts made the photos pop.
This family also took a fun idea a step further. My parents have a dozen grandchildren, and after seeing numbered shirts in a pricey catalog, my mom decided we should make our own one year. It’s been one of our fave photos! (Too bad I can’t get my hands on it for this post.) But this crew even color-coded each of the four families. Bonus points!
And here is my clan in Florida a couple of months ago. Other than my son being in tears from his swimmer’s ear, we did pretty well. I could have tightened up the group a bit, but it’s a keeper – not half bad for a self-timer shot! Again, mom started with the young girls’ dresses — this year, she scooped three patterns of pillowcase dresses from Hanna Andersson during their pre-season sale. Voila! Our color palette was grey, orange and hot pink. We are not even Clemson people, but I love orange in photos. (And my oldest brother, a diehard Bulldog, was grateful he could wear slate.) There’s a little of everything here — patterns, color pops, plaid, seersucker, various necklines. But it is us, and we like it!
Finally, a wonderful comparison. This group wore white shirts for the extended family photo, then made a quick change into color for their family portraits. Pretty convincing, huh?
Embrace color, y’all! It’s fun and flattering. I will follow up soon with another beach photography post. I have plenty of shots where families did wear white and they look lovely — especially in black and white. Cheers! Contact Jen to book your family photo session. It’s a great time of year for cooler temps, so let’s get some great photos for your Christmas cards and holiday gifts!
Posted on August 13, 2012
After several rainouts, I finally had a perfect evening to take some shots of photographer friend Paige Winn, her handsome husband and little Hadley, enjoying the final weeks in her studio apartment. I usually steer clear of big belly photography, but I like the natural ease of this beach maternity session and hope Paige’s family will look back on this time of anticipation and feel all warm and fuzzy. I can’t wait to meet Hadley!
Interested in booking a portrait session? Contact Jen to learn more, and follow me on Facebook to see beautiful Southern weddings and relaxed family portraiture.
Posted on June 14, 2012
Mother’s Day. Family beach vacation. Christmas card session. Congrats for booking. Now you need to figure out what to wear! It’s your session, so wear what pleases you and makes you feel most at ease — your comfort level will show in your clothing choices. That said, people often ask me what looks best in photographs. I can only offer my opinion, but I’ll provide some examples here in hopes you’ll see a look that inspires you as you make your clothing choices.
I love color and recommend people wear colorful clothing instead of matchy looks. It can require more time and thought to pull together, but take a look at some of these images and see what strikes you as fun and relaxed.
If it’s a family session, I recommend starting with a colorful choice for mom and/or daughter. After all, when Mom is happy and feels fabulous, the session will be easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved. Choose a flattering neckline with a little architectural interest or a fun piece of jewelry. If there is a young girl or two in the bunch, choose a fun print. I love texture, and it adds dimension and personality to your photographs. Sure, it shouldn’t be all about the clothes, but a cohesive look that is fun and age-appropriate is a good way to go. For this fun fall session, Mom started with textured and colorful Matilda Jane ensembles for her daughters, then pulled out solid colors (and a tiny gingham) that coordinated.
Layering is easier to do in the cooler months, but I love how each choice here goes together without looking contrived. Denim, knits, a floral scarf, a corduroy jacket. Everyone looks great, whether they are photographed as a group or on their own.
Here’s a great example of a “this is us” lifestyle session. The daughter chose a fun top and cute braid, and the boys are wearing their favorite duds for beaching, biking and fishing. I typically advise against sporting shirts with bold graphics or logos, but it works at this family’s beach escape.
Consider the environment for your photo session. Darker colors pop against a sunny, watery backdrop. The color is doubled here since I incorporated the reflection into the shot. (#7 and #10 are my kids, along with ten of their first cousins.)
Against a lush, dark green island backdrop, lighter hues worked well. Mom was adorable in her blue dress (note the fun, flattering ruffled neckline), and all the guys looked handsome and at ease in their button-downs.
Some people love the look of clean, crisp white shirts. It keeps the focus on the faces.
White can be tricky because in order to expose the skin properly, white shirts can “blow out,” losing all detail against a bright background. White can also take on color casts from nearby objects and clothing. For example, beneath leafy trees, white shirts can reflect some of the green. That said, white can lend a timeless look — especially in black and white portraits.
On the beach, I think this white with denim provides good contrast — better than a white and khaki combo, that could wash out against sand with similar tones.
And simple white dresses work on this pretty mom, with her Ivory Girl complexion and curly locks.
What about pattern? Sure, why not! Although you don’t want to go crazy with too many patterns, don’t feel like you need to avoid it altogether. I like the mix of big argyles and windowpane pattern here.
This family chose a pink color scheme, which contrasted nicely against all the green at Boone Hall. Their patterns were different sizes, and they look great!
And the bigger the group, the more you should incorporate color and texture. My family includes 22 people at our annual beach week. We broke from the khaki and white look years ago, and Mom and I have fun experimenting with color and pattern each year. The younger girls’ knit dresses came from Garnet Hill, and the boys madras shirts are from Kelly’s Kids. The adults stuck to solid colors, so we looked coordinated for the big group photos and the family shots. And with each child sporting color, their individual shots are fun, too.
Not every clan could pull off this fun combo of purple, gray and magenta — or the leaptastic talents exhibited here. But they are Looney!
This family from Atlanta vacationed on Isle of Palms recently. I love the flattering pastels they chose, and the white works better when it’s not against their faces.
Chances are you haven’t had an hour-long photo session in a while, so make it count. Feel free to make a quick outfit switch because you will have plenty of new photos to display, share or use on a card. Once these tots were done with the extended family shots, they donned their beachy smocked crab outfits. So cute!
Okay, that’s all for now. I had ideas to post other photos, but between my zany out-of-school tots and my less-than-perfect catalog system for older files, we’ll go with this for now. Hopefully this will give you a few ideas as you plan your next family photos. Contact Jen to book your session. Oh, and follow me on Pinterest for What to Wear boards for both families and couples. Thanks, y’all!
Posted on May 24, 2012
Last week was a very stormy one — in fact, we returned from a family campout at Birdfest to hear about the first named tropical storm of the season! The weather for early evening sessions was not looking promising, but somehow I managed to squeeze in three gorgeous sessions at the end of the week. I had just procured my Isle of Palms business license — perfect timing! (Now if Sullivan’s Island would follow suit so professionals can legally photograph on their shore, too.)
This session started out rather stormy, too — despite a well-meaning sister who attempted to soothe her baby brother. Turns out the only thing that generated smiles at his bedtime session were sour gummy worms. Anything for the nice gentle light, right?
After you’ve taken the boogie boarding and castle building photos, wrap up your beach week with a family photo session. Contact Jen to book your session before you arrive.
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