It is thought that Craigslist does not have much legitimate content with regards to work. Yet, I still give a check almost every day just in case there is a legit photo need posted by someone. Such was the case with Pat who put up an interesting post looking for help with making a surprise proposal to his girlfriend on Sanibel Island at the Thistle Lodge.Read More
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Full-time professional photographer Jason Collin makes the best SW Florida beach wedding photos in the Ft Myers, Sanibel, Cape Coral, Bonita and Naples areas using unique lighting techniques and years of sunset shooting experience. The results are strikingly vivid images that capture the couple's character, spirit and closeness. Reserve your candid beach wedding photography today.
BEST SW FLORIDA SUNSET BEACH WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY
FT MYERS SANIBEL NAPLES BONITA CAPE CORAL
It had been over a year and a half since I last photographed a wedding, but since I did so many in the past it was as they say, like riding a bike getting back into the flow of shooting a four hour event. Mattie & Kenny's wedding was at The Westin Tampa Bay on a narrow piece of land between Tampa and Clearwater floating in the middle of Tampa Bay. From the rooftop deck with its clear glass walls, the feeling you are floating on water, as seen in the above photograph, was pretty cool even with overcast skies.
It turned out that Mattie and I had a few mutual friends, including my eldest friend Terry and his wife Beth, both of whom attended the wedding giving it a rather familiar feeling. The atmosphere in her room as she was getting ready was very loose and full of laughing. I began my shooting for the day by making a photo of Mattie putting on the finishing touches.
Mattie had seen images from another wedding I photographed in the Westin a few years back and also wanted some photos featuring the lobby's unique waterfall. I used two shoot through umbrellas to provide enough light on the bride and bridesmaids for the portrait above.
The reception was in a room with floor to ceiling windows facing southwest which flooded it with light during the late afternoon allowing me to use that light as a hyper backlight in the above portrait of the bride & groom having their traditional first dance.
Cupcakes continue to be popular at weddings, with dozens under the wedding cake itself. I got to have one of the cupcakes as a closing treat when I was finished shooting. I often say I shoot weddings just for the cake!
From start to finish it was a joyful and surprisingly emotional wedding for Mattie & Kenny. Not often have I seen the groom get so emotional during the vows and also during the speeches at the reception. They also were not afraid to smash a little cake, which I also found refreshing since some newlyweds nowadays opt for a clean cake eating which is no fun at all!
Thank you Mattie & Kenny!
With all the news this week coming out of Rome regarding the Catholic Church and a new pope, I dug into my unedited archives for these HDR images of Sacred Heart Church in downtown Tampa, Florida. These images are from a wedding I photographed in the church back in May 2012. The exterior of the church is very beautiful and elaborate, and as you can see the inside is even more so.
I was up in the balcony for all these photographs gettings a bird's eye view of the wedding ceremony. When I see such architecture and detail I always think about how much work must go into building and creating something like this. How much planning ahead of time is needed??
These windows are high up and in the back of the church. Only up from up in the balcony with binoculars could one get a good view of them.
I have photographed dozens of beach weddings over the past few years, but this was only my second daytime (i.e. non-sunset time) wedding. The first was just over a year ago and lasted only an hour, but I still remember the heat from that one! This wedding was two hours and a little later in the year, so I prepared myself accordingly.
This wedding was for current DSLR Photography Lesson student Chris & his bride Valentina. I actually first met Chris briefly over a decade ago during my USF days. For the above photo Valentina wanted a shot that featured the back of her wedding dress. I thought black & white made the dress stand out from the background.
Shooting a ceremony that starts at 10:30am means basically shooting in direct, harsh sunlight, i.e. the least ideal conditions. Still, as a professional photographer one is expected to produce results. This starts with altering expectations as of course I will not be able to produce any of my trademark stunning sunset portraits. However, I can get very vivid blues still.
I could also focus on my prefered candid style of shooting, like in the above shot of Valentina and Chris right after their first kiss as husband and wife. Despite the power of the sunlight, I did have the one advantage of the couple facing the sun during the ceremony allowing for the best possible exposure given the conditions.
This group shot is of everyone in attendance at the wedding. The goal is to make sure everyone's head is visible. I took a new approach this time asking people to please just stand still! I would get the left side of the group all aligned then go to do the right and turn around to see the people on the left mingling amongst themselves again. Finally I had to be firm and say please stand still or we will all melt in the sun! For all future group shots I will start out with this firmness as you may find it hard to believe but adults cannot stand still either, just like kids!
The width of the Gulf of Mexico makes it tempting to only shoot landscape orientation shots, but I think it is important to produce a variety of shots, including ones like the above portrait orientation shot. I still concentrate the most on getting the horizon level be it landscape or portrait orientation as my photo students know I am a stickler for level horizons.
No sunset in the background, but the Gulf of Mexico at any time of day still makes for a pretty good backdrop. I asked Chris if he could dip Valentina for me. Surprisingly, he chose this kind of dip rather than putting her into the Gulf!
The reception was also out in mostly direct sunlight, but nearby was a shady refreshment stand the guests hung out in until the food was ready to be served. This is where I was able to get this candid shot of Valentina and her son.
This was my most complex indoor shoot to date involving two models, two makeup artists, a dress designer, a florist, a caterer, a hotel sales manger and one photographer's assistant. I am very happy to say it turned out to be perhaps my best indoor photography work to date. It is very satisfying when a big team effort results in such final images.
I had worked with the bride model, Nancy, before on a commercial fashion shoot in Safety Harbor. The sales manager, Ryan, of the Courtyard Marriott, who hired me to makes these images, I had met in weeks past at a networking event then in subsequent meetings discussing various photography projects. My photographer's assistant was Natasha, a former DSLR Photography Lesson student. When you can have that many people you already know on a photo job, it makes it much more comfortable.
The above shot of Nancy sitting on the historic tile floor of the hotel was my idea, which I came up with on a survey of the hotel a few weeks before the shoot itself. I am standing on a marble staircase (pictured below) offering the perfect logistics to make this kind of shot. I wanted to go with a muted light setup producing a bit of a natural vignette to the image as I chose to most prominently light the model in the center.
This archway shot was another I had previsioned during a location scout of the hotel. I really like repeating patterns and these archways caught my eye right away. There were actually three arches, but the first one could not be worked into the shot. This photograph turned out just as I had imagined.
The bride reflected in the pool was another pre-planned shot. As you might be able to tell, being able to scout a location some time before the scheduled shoot is advantageous as one then can move from location to location and concentrate more on executing the shot at best as possible rather than where will the next shot even be. Again, I am pleased with how the shot turned out because due to the width of the pool I could not get my speedlights that close to Nancy, but as it turned out there was no lack of light for the shot.
The original marble staircase was something the hotel sales manager definitely wanted to showcase in one of the shots. I previsioned perhaps the bride walking down the staircase or maybe the bride on the bottom of the staircase being helped down by the groom, but thanks to the models' creativity with their posing, I liked this shot the best of the staircase series. I cannot say how much it helps a photographer to work with great models! It makes my job so much easier.
To feature the hotel's original elevator I chose to once again use the nearby marble staircase as a vantage point. Shooting straight on to the elevator produced a flat shot. I felt shooting from above like this created a dynamic image showing the bride & groom's anticipation, while at the same time including the elevator in the shot, as well as the original tile floor. I chose also to again keep the lighting soft & muted, to help create that classic look.
There was no trouble to light up the models from the front (within the room), but this meant the hallway looked very dark. The solution was to place one speedlight on the left of the door frame pointing toward the opposite wall. Not only did this fill the hallway with light, it provided a strong backlight to the shot.
Both Nancy and I had the same idea for a through the doorway bedroom scene shot. However, her and Brad came up with the pose and prop setup (shoe placement, jacket coming half off) on their own, which I would say made the shot nearly entirely if not for the tremendous challenge I had trying to light everything. It was by far the hardest shot to light for me ever. Getting rid of shadows behind Brad was the main challenge. Putting the second speedlight on the floor behind him solved it, after lots of trial and error. Ultimately I did have to clone out one shadow along the right side of the bed from umbrella edge spill. This was also the last shot of the day (3.5 hours of straight shooting!) so it was great to end on one so challenging.
I appreciate the work of everyone at the hotel that day helping make the images in this photo story.
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