wedding ring

Surprise Engagement Photography in Albuquerque New Mexico

Surprise Engagement Photography in Albuquerque New Mexico

Live engagement shoot with dogs!

Bobby called me up asking if I could do a live photoshoot of him proposing to his girlfriend. I said yes, I could, and I have actually done this very thing before back on a beach in Florida. Now there are a lot of variables that go into any outside, on location photoshoot, and even more for a live shoot. Luckily, with as much preparation and planning as we could do beforehand, everything worked well for the live shoot! I casually pretended to be photographing the mountains while Bobby put bowties on the dogs and got the ring out.

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Albuquerque New Mexico Wedding Photography Alex & Chantal

Albuquerque New Mexico Wedding Photography Alex & Chantal

Jason photographs weddings??

I do not often photographs weddings anymore, though I photographed dozens in the beginning of my photography career. In fact, this was only the second wedding I have photographed since 2013! This was a special occasion, however, as networking friend Alex called me up and asked if I could photograph his wedding with just a little bit of short notice (a day!). I was not traveling for rural land photography that Saturday so I said I could do it and would be glad to!

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Bride Series - Carie

Carie -- a very happy bride getting ready for her St. Petersburg WeddingMy Florida Wedding Bride Series continues . . . Photographing the bride getting ready might be my favorite part of photographing a wedding, or at least the most interesting to me personally because at the time I am totally relaxed just starting my photography day while the bride has all the nerves and anxious feelings.  I like to see how people react in such situations.  Some brides remain tense and nervous, really needing the help of her bridesmaids (or a wisecrack by me) to even show a hint of a smile, while other brides are totally laughing and showing no outward anxiety.  Carie was in the latter category.  It was like a comedy hour while she was getting ready with me doing a bit of my stand-up routine.  

One photo tip for getting ready shots, if the makeup artist and the bride are not lining up in a way that makes for a good photograph, feel free to ask them to slightly move so you can get a shot, then resume their normal positions.  That's what I did for the above shot, but it remained candid because of the light mood in the room.

The bride all ready for her St. Petersburg Wedding on Snell IsleI had an idea for a "demure" shot so we all attempted to calm things down for just a minute to see if I could make the shot I pre-envisioned.  The above shot is the result and I was mostly able to get the results I wanted to.  Carie was very good at switching moods from laughing to contemplative.

Long lens shots ad variety to images of a wedding ceremonySoon it was time for the wedding ceremony.  I have a new shot that I now like to do for every wedding.  Using a long lens (my Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D @ f/4 200mm) I isolate the bride's bouquet of flowers and ring in a tightly composed shot.  I do not include the bride's face for several reasons.  If you include a face in any photo, the mind's instinct to look at, read and identify a face, makes the face the automatic focal point of the shot.  Therefore, not including the bride's face allows the viewer's eye to focus on the ring and the flowers.  

I use black & white processing very selectively, and always on purpose in wedding photography editingNow for this shot, I did want the bride's face to be the focal point as it was a moment of emotion for the bride, but I included other elements as well to show context for that emotion.  Once again using a long lens I was able to create a sense of 3-dimensions and depth putting in focus just what I wanted to be in focus (the bride).  I was also careful to make sure none of the decorative strings covered the bride's face in my composition.

Be ready for spontaneous moments during wedding ceremonies!However, just like during the getting ready time, the wedding ceremony itself involved a lot of laughter.  There was a pause of a good minute to let all parties involved get the giggles out, but I remained focused so that I could photograph everyone's reactions.  

I had a very good time photographing Carie's wedding and was really pleased with the variety of shots we were able to make together showcasing her wedding in a full range of emotions. 

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  • St. Petersburg Snell Isle Christmas Wedding

    Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 @ f/5.6 ISO 200 0.8s tripod mounted with cable releaseIt is always nice when you have the chance to photograph the wedding of someone you know, even if it is just tangentially.  For this Christmas wedding (day after actually) I had the shortest commute I think I will every have, literally just two minutes as it took place at a neighbor's* home here in Snell Isle, St. Petersburg.  I know the neighbor from the local dog park.  Our dogs have been fast friends since they were 4-month old puppies.  I met the bride-to-be at the dog park as well the week before the wedding as she and her fiance traveled down to Florida with their own dog.

    Macro shots with Nikon D300 & Nikkor AF-S 105mm VR micro lensDue to my familiarity with all involved I had zero nerves before going to photograph this wedding.  Plus, I had done all due preparation by visiting their house and seeing exactly where the ceremony would take place and on the wedding day there was ample time to photograph the rings, wedding dress, etc before the actual ceremony.

    Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/80th Nikon SB-800 Speedlight hotshoe mounted in TTL modeAs you can see, there were water hazards involved in photographing the wedding ceremony!  Though I had to be very careful with my steps, this island setting allowed for clean views from all sides of the couple during the ceremony.  No human, dog or camera gear fell into the pool thankfully!

    Nikon D80 Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D @ f/2.8 ISO 400 1/200th natural lightThe atmosphere the entire afternoon was very lighthearted and full of laughter, even during the ceremony.  This further contributed to my lack of nervousness the entire wedding and made it just plain really fun to be a part of, even though I was working and my usual focused self while shooting.  

    Nikon D80 Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D @ f/2.8 ISO 400 1/200th natural lightThere were surprises during the wedding ceremony as the groom gave his bride a ring she had never seen before.  I was told later that it had significant meaning.  Before the smiles you see above there were hugs and tears at the sight of the ring. 

    Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 @ f/5.6 ISO 400 1/80th Nikon SB-800 Speedlight hotshoe mounted (straight up) in TTL modeAfter the ceremony the carefully selected wedding guests and family members got together for a formal portrait in the living room, though the laughs that first broke out during the wedding ceremony carried over to the formals as well, which was fine by me.  

    Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 @ f/5.6 ISO 320 1/50th Nikon SB-800 Speedlight hotshoe mounted in TTL modeThen the newlyweds and I were off for some outdoor shots on a very, very cold winter day.  I fear warm winters for west central Florida are now a thing of the past, and daytime temperatures in the 50s will have to be tolerated, or one must move to Key Largo.  I had the benefit of wearing my unfailing Mountain Hard Wear Windstopper Tech Jacket, and the groom at least had on his suit jacket, so the bride was the bravest of all showing no sign of freezing despite wearing a wispy wedding dress.  I worked as fast as I could to get the shots I wanted to at the gazebo in front of the Vinoy Country Club golf course, a location I had always wanted to photograph at.

    Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 @ f/5.6 ISO 320 1/50th Nikon SB-800 Speedlight hotshoe mounted in TTL modeFrom there we went to the waterfront near a famous (for Snell Isle residents) white bridge.  As twilight took over the area, the temps dropped even more, so I was very glad to hear the couple say they had actually practiced "the dip," a skill for sure that I recommend all future couples practice before the day of their wedding.

    Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 @ f/4 ISO 800 1/40th Strobist: SB-800 handheld "quick & dirty" styleThis was the very last shot I took of the entire day.  It was an extremely satisfying experience from a photography standpoint as I got to try many different shots I never had before.  This was as enjoyable as photographing a wedding gets.  Thank you to the bride & groom for their super cooperation and toughness, and for my neighbors hiring me to photograph their daughter's wedding.  See you all at the dog park!

    --More from this wedding coming soon: bride series, black & white wedding 

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    *names not mentioned for privacy 

    Morning Wedding at Sunset Beach on Treasure Island

    Lots of setup for this shot - Nikon D300 Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D lens @ f/4 ISO 200 1/500th strobist: SB-600 off camera @ 1/2 powerMost of the weddings I have been photographing lately have been on the beach at sunset.  This one was also on the beach, but in the late morning.  Even in May this mean we would feel the Florida sun's near full wrath.  I was of course clad in synthetic breathable materials, very breathable.  The bride, however, was in a beautiful but no doubt not breathable wedding dress.  So I made sure we made for what shade there was to get shots like the above, that both gave cover from the strong sun rays as well as softer light.  That shot also took a good amount of time to setup, making sure the hand placement was flattering, the strobe was coming in at the best angle, all while I was quite far away shooting with my Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D lens, at the full 200mm.  I wanted a shallow DoF (depth of field) for the shot requiring me to use a large aperture and long focal length.

    Braving the sun - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 @ f/11 ISO 200 1/500th strobist: SB-600 on light stand to left 1/2 powerThe sky was very blue that morning and the sea, BP oil free still, very green.  One is usually always pressed for time when doing the formal shots after the wedding ceremony, all the more so when guests are under threat of melting.  The bride, Cathie, and her maid-of-honor were the only two in full wedding attire.  I tried to work as fast as I could to get the shots they wanted of the two of them together.  We were in direct sunlight for the above shot, no diffuser.  

    Gulf of Mexico backdrop - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 @ f/11 ISO 200 1/640th SB-600 hot shoe mounted in TTL modeIn the end everyone survived, though perhaps a pound or two lighter.  The wedding reception was to be at Ft. Desoto Park, where I am sure Cathie was happy to finally be out of wedding dress!