Old Car City USA

This past weekend I packed up and headed to Old Car City USA in White Georgia.  It’s about 6 hours away but well worth the drive.  I love my cars, and I loved this place.  There are acres of cars and random buildings.  There are cars with trees growing through the grills even!

Everything is for sale or trade, but I would just pay the extra and take your camera for a few hours and enjoy the experience.

*Please note, a few hours will far from cover the amount there to photograph.

Being from Florida now, I was not prepared for the 37 degree weather, but once I saw the place I just could not leave.  Dean, the owner, was very nice and gave advice upon entering and didn’t rush me out the door when I was late to go.  There was a lot of crawling over vehicles and under trees to get to some decent shots that I wanted but the entire experience was more than worth the time and effort.  I left feeling cold, dirty, and very tired, but I am ready to go back, for a few days.


So many things and so many opportunities for more photos, or something to buy and fix up.  you can still see the glory in what once was of these amazing cars.  I know there is a photo workshop coming up that RC Concepcion has been talking about.  I would message him and find out the details to go.

While you are there keep your eyes open for amazing HDR opportunities as well as any other edits you can do to increase the dramatics of a photo.  With cars and shooting, the secret is in the details.  I can only hope that I get a chance to make it back out to Old Car City USA some day soon for a few days….


Second Wedding out the Door!

wedding bouquet photoThere has been so much going on lately that I haven’t had time to post.  I’ll be doing some back logging to catch up now that I finally have time.  I have done some event photography, workshops, wedding, and surf photos.  Now that the wedding and surf photos are out the door I’m working on a video composite of images from a car show back in my hometown.

Focus of this should be on the wedding of the amazing couple I photographed last month.  These two (if you know them from the photos you will agree) are just amazing people!  Luke and I had a great time hanging out with them prior to the wedding for photos as well as during.  everyone was excited for the idea of photos so it worked well.

Great friends of theirs provided an amazing back yard for the pre-ceremony photos.  The yard was an amazing location and produced some great photos of these two.

Luke again used his canon and I was running both the Nikon D7000 and D800.  I found that during the reception I tended to lean more towards the D7000 due to the speed with it being so dark.  Most of the family and couple photos were done with the D800 though.  I

wedding couple photo

again used BorrowLenses to rent the Nikkor 50mm and 70-200mm.  Those two lenses, I would l

ove to own!  Everything good comes to those that wait. My lenses are good lenses and provide some amazing photos, especially my 105mm macro, but the glass in the 50 and 70-200 is just…wow.

My lesson learned from the last wedding was to sync the times on the cameras, we did that a day prior so editing was much easier than the lastone.  The only thing I didn’t really like is that our naming conventions are still off so when they are exported they export funny.  How does everyone else deal with that?  Do you change all filenames upon import?  Or do you just own all the cameras so that you set it how you want and it’s not an issue?

wedding photo pianoWell I have places to get some photos out to now that the couple has them.  I will wait till Monday before I start sending out the other requested photos, I just feel that the couple should have some time alone with them before they really get released.

The Importance of Sunrise

A few weeks back a co-worker of mine was in town.  He really wanted to get out and do some photography but it rained every day!  We finally decided to do sunrise at the beach in hopes that we could get some done before it rained, and it worked!  I am not, normally a morning person but due to the afternoon and evening rains we tried.

The light was amazing and we even had a few surfers out to use as subjects.  Once the surfers saw that I was using them some they even tried to pose a little and ensure they were lined up for the camera so that they could be in the shot and help me out.

We used an app called TPE on my android to line up the sunrise and the pier and it really worked!  We would not have been placed better if we had tried.  The light coming across with the pier in the shot gave an added subject for some dimension.  As much as I hate to admit being a beach girl this is probably one of my favorite places to photograph, especially with my ultra wide Nikon 12-24 lens to get the clouds in.

The pier always adding that extra calming piece in any photograph is just want I need.  shots from under the pier are one of my favorites though this morning I finally got one I truly loved!  This one will be printed and hanging in my office or studio soon I am sure.

Just take my reminder of sunrise as a reminder for yourself and get out there in the early morning to get some fabulous shots!  Then you can of course take a nap in the afternoon, I won’t laugh.  If I didn’t have a full time job that I had to be at that afternoon, I would have taken a nap.

Thanks again for reading and have a great day!!

Event Photography Coming soon!

Apparently I did an OK job doing photos for my company back in June.  They have asked me join again and the Orlando conference to not present this time but to be only IT support and Photography.  In Denver I presented and actually surprised myself with how decent the scores were.  Orlando will be a different sort of crowd and more urgent photography needs with the images due to the live blogging that will be done.  I’ll post images once it’s complete!

First Wedding Complete!

My first wedding is completed and now I’m just waiting on the case to arrive to deliver!  I would have ordered this sooner but we had a minor glitch, no big deal.  The photos have been placed on my site (here) so they are available for viewing by friends and family of the lovely couple until the case is in.

My second shooter truley was amazing!  I didn’t have to direct him or tell him what to do.  He showed up, took what I handed him, then added in with ideas of his own!  We really had a great time getting through all the commotion that comes with weddings and hanging out with everyone (in our own way).

The couple was great to work with, just as laid back and relaxed as I think a couple can be!  The wedding party and family were the same.  I had no problems organizing everyone for the “posed” shots.  We of course had the normal glitches, missing socks, not ready, missing people…but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle.  We started with what we could and the others showed up as soon as they were able so we could keep moving through shots and keep everything calm and collected.

Due to the minor missing people and items we didn’t have as much time with the bride and groom as I would have hoped so we took them back out separately while everyone was taking down the ceremony to complete the transformation to reception.  This turned out to be an excellent idea and time to steal the couple (thank you so much Luke!) as we were able to get some great shots with them alone.

I definitely learned many things during this wedding, thankfully I thought of most of them before hand and was ready, but they are some great rules to live by.

Wedding Photography Rules to Live By:

  1. Have a second shooter you trust and work well with.  Trusting Luke and his photography skill (more than he does himself I think) allowed me the freedom to do what I needed while knowing that some of the random “fun” shots would be taken.
  2. Prepare for the “what can go wrong will go wrong” scenario.  The bride will show up hungry without food, and have a food allergy.  Thankfully other than crackers I had beef jerky as well so she was able to get a little in her tummy so we could keep going.  This helped with any further delays and kept everyone happy.  Beef jerky, though $6/bag, is still a small price to pay.  People were late and we had missing items, no worries, get what you can and keep moving.  The more you get now the less time it will take later.
  3. Set all cameras to the same time!  This one I forgot and it make the first round of processing miserable.  It would have been much faster to fly through all ceremony together, then reception, etc.  However, having the times off meant that there were groups of photos all over.  I had no choice but to remove any really bad shots, then go through and tag and keyword every image so I could group them back up.  In the end it wasn’t that bad, but it would have been much easier had they been synced to start with.
  4. Have your shot list and look over it many times prior.  I did and I did!  This helped so I didn’t have to pause and refer to it all the time.  I was able to tell them what was coming next so they were ready to go.  Due to the short time we were able to get through many photos still!
  5. Breath!  They hired you for a reason, don’t stress that reason.   Work is work and the photography vision is what you do.   Anyone that hired you and trys to make you change your style should have hired someone else.  They reviewed your portfolio, and liked what they saw, this should come natural and be your normal artistic touch.  The more you stress, the worse it gets…so breath.
  6. Last but not least….Have fun and let them have fun!

Hurley ProBoard now available – and there’s a challenge

Just a quick happy post for your Friday.  The Hurley ProBoard from Peter Hurley is now available for sale!  This is a great product for portability, backgrounds, to put on the ground with a fantastic reflection, and so many other things.

To go with this amazing news of the ProBoard on sale and shipping with an official site was the announcement of a head shaving!  If Peter sells 50 ProBoards by August 1, 2012 he will shave his head on August 1st on a G+ hangout!  The HurelyProGear site has been updated with a counter.  If you are going to purchase one anyway this may be a great time!


Watch the 2 hour hangout announcing the Head Shaving Challenge


My First Engagment Shoot

A few weeks back I was able to do my first engagement shoot!  I knew this couple previously, I use to work with him and then he went to work for my husband for a year before moving on to bigger and better things.  I adore them both so much and was excited when they emailed and asked me to do their engagement photos.

The two didn’t want the “posed” type of photos and I was given strict instruction for no “glowy” or sepia processing.  This is something I like to ask as I know everyone has their own tastes.  They have to live with the photos in the long run so they should be processed in a way that they appreciate.

We started the morning at a fantastic coffee shop here that they frequent (and wow am I thankful, it’s my new favorite place!), then headed over to a building that had a lot of graffiti and then to a park.

These two had a lot of fun.  To get rid of the “posed” idea I had my husband with me to help me, but also to have someone else that’s not pointing a camera at them to chat with.  They were  telling jokes and just being them.  While they have their sweet moments they also have a lot of fun times that they are playing around and even making fun of each other.  I wanted to be able to capture both types of moments for them because its what truly makes them click and makes them “them”.

About an hour into a 3 hour shoot she made a comment that all of their photos were going to be the funny type of photos, but this is easy to think when you don’t notice how sweet you can be sometimes.  They had the sweet times between the goofy moments that I was so happy to capture, we were able to get the sweet loving photos without doing posted images and making them uncomfortable.


I wanted to get some shots of the engagement band, but being my first engagement shoot I hadn’t had many opportunities to try different things to find what worked.  Spur of the moment she said, “lets put out our hands to show my ring”.  It worked perfect.  It’s not the super posed type of look but it shows off the ring and still comes across as a very sweet photo.  This is definitely an idea for future shoots that I will be stealing from this bride to be.

I took this image into OnOne and used focus to slightly blur everythign but the ring to help it stand out a little more.  I tried this photo in black and white, but liked the color much more.  Definitely a keeper!

There are many more, but check the “Portraits” section of the site to see them, not always enough room just on the blog.

Posting Regularly

I know it’s important to post regularly, and on a schedule if I really want people to have a change to follow this information if they are by any chance interested.  I have decided that I can manage to post 3 times a week, the plan is Monday, Wednesday, Friday.  I cannot always post on those days but I can periodically create a few posts and schedule them so that the information is still released on a regular schedule.

I would hope to work ahead some so I am not scrambling at the last second to put something together and that you get a quality post.  So what do you think of my grand plan?  How often do you post?  How often do you wish I would post?

I know, I am always full of so many questions.

My posts may not always be technically oriented or geared towards those of you that think you can learn something from my posts.  I will always post about what I’m doing with photography or things that I find.  I hope that you can learn from my day to day life in my growing photography business and what I am learning about my life in the business.

Well, I will leave this short as it is about posting and how often I will, hope to see you back on Wednesday, I’ll be sharing some photos of an engagement shoot!

How to get noticed as a Photographer

So how do you get noticed as a photographer?

To answer this question, I still have no idea!  I have been doing landscape photography for a few short years as a hobby now, and managed to sell a few prints on various sites.  However, not enough to count for anything.  Maybe I don’t charge enough?  How much should you charge?  Where is the best place to sell?  The best format?

I have learned that I have my more questions about sales and turning photography into a business than what I probably should for considering myself a photographer.  I guess you live and learn, then you change it all because it was wrong.   I have a read many another blog on the subject and many have suggestions of buying inventory, selling that inventory to art galleries or even at crafts fairs.  I have looked into those options and due to equipment costs, my full time job, lack of funds, and the costs to buy the inventory and the booth, that’s not something I can do.

Many people say that most photographers will not make money at it, I can definitely understand.  Spending so much money to try something that I am scared I will fail so miserably at is definitely hard.  There’s a few decisions I have made personally that I will share with you, these may help you, and may not.  Keep in mind that my business is growing slowly (very slowly) and that I have spent more on equipment and costs than what I have made.  These decisions have set me up to grow in my career and have many or most, of my upcoming gigs be completely profit, only my time will be a cost.

What I have decided

1. I first decided photography was my hobby.  I have a full time job and am not willing to quit and take a shot with no existing clientele, or real work in the field.

2. Given that Photography was my hobby I slowly, over about 3 years, purchased equipment and what I wanted for my hobby.

3.  If I was going to get a paid gig that I would buy what I needed for that gig then as a way to help grow my equipment.

4. I would create a site and sell my photography online in some way.  This decision proved harder than I initially thought.  So many people have sites and sell there work but for one that has never professionally printed I didn’t know where to start with the sales side.  I found a safe site called FineArtAmerica and signed up.  I was able to link to that from my site, change the look and feel to match, and they did all the money, printing, and shipping.  Given my full time job (as management in IT I put in many many hours) I would not have time to print and ship myself, this was a great decision.

5. I would go to classes, conferences, and workshops that sounded interesting to learn, not improve my business.

6.  I would never take a gig that I didn’t really want to do, or feel that I was capable of doing well.
These six points above have gotten me to where I am today.  I have an amazing 27 inch monitor for my mac, that was a hobby purchase.  I now have a d800 to go with my d7000, the 800 was part hobby part for the portrait gigs I’m getting.  By purchasing lenses slowly I was able to take my time and buy used Nikon lenses from Ebay so I have fantastic lenses that I got used at half price and in perfect shape.  I was able to get the 12-24 for $600, and the 105 for $500!  These are amazing deals that I would not have been able to wait for if I had not had the luxury of looking at this craft as a hobby to start with.

I am sure many others have grown their businesses and financial intakes much faster than I but these were the decisions that I was comfortable making and I have been pleased with the outcome.  I am now doing engagement and wedding shoots, as well as other site portraits, and even babies.

Per an upcoming wedding shoot I purchased several more memory cards for the D800 than what I had initially but it was for a reason and now I have all I need to continue shooting weddings as not additional cost.

If you are a photographer what do you do?  If you were, what do you think you would do?  What do you think of my plan?

Album Cover Images – Sound of One Hand Clapping

A few weeks ago I had the oopportunity to go to Denver for my company and shoot even photos.  You can read about the amazing opportunity that they gave me on my blog here.  While I was there I was able to stay a few extra days and stay with my cousin, back in the day we were great friends.  Our families did everything together and shortly before I moved to Florida she moved from the piano to the guitar and singing.  Even then I was amazed with her talent.  I am so happy she kept it up and has formed a band.  They have some great music, if you are looking for something new check out Sound of One Hand Clapping on Reverbnation.  If you want more information on them or are in the Denver area and what to keep up on their upcoming shows then like them on Facebook.

Erica and Dan asked me to do a photo shoot that weekend for album covers of their upcoming release.  I was absolutely ecstatic to do something like this for a band, and especially my cousin.  She is such a talented individual it was a great feeling that she thought enough of my photo work to ask something like this of me.  This was one of my very first portrait type of sessions and I’m thankful that it was them.  They are both so easy going and laid back, we were able to just have a lot of fun and not do too much posing other than what they wanted.

Maybe I’m crazy but I think the images came out great just by talking with them and having them talk to each other and have fun rather than trying to get the perfect posed shot.

All of these photos were  of course shot in color, with my Nikon D7000.  I switched between the kit lens, my 105MM and a 12-24.  Any black and white conversion was done post processing in Lightroom, or photoshop.  I did also use On One software for a few things, just because I am very specific about what software I use for what and when.

Even after completing the shoot and going back I was almost nervous to drop them on my machine and see what they really turned out like.  Having not done my portrait shots and it being so important for them I was just worried.  I had scheduled to go hang out with my parents for a while so I left Erica (my cousin) with the SD cards and my laptop so she could load them and go through them.  When I got back and saw how happy she was that before editing she saw images she liked it relieved my fears.

Going through and processing the images I found a new love for this kind of work.  I had such a great time taking the photos, and they have become some of my favorite to process with all the personality that they each have.  From this I shortly after accepted a gig to do engagement photos for another set of friends I have.  Those photos have just completed processing and are out the door and in their hands.  I have even agreed to do a wedding this upcoming week.  I have found a second shooter to assist and am more excited than nervous.

Peter Hurley taught us at G+ Photographers Conference that when shooting portraits you are 90% therapist and 10% photographer.  I think I am loving that combination and having a great time.