19 April 2010

Essex Photographer Wins Award

Well, you remember Felicity and James, right? If you don't, just read my previous blog. So I loved the images so much that I entered one in a Kubota Imaging Contest on Facebook. I decided to enter the one that the bride and groom said was their favorite. I almost always use a little Kubota Action on my images to at least give them an extra pop, something to set me apart from other photographers. I know my actions pretty well now, so when I'm going through the images I spot almost right away what action I'd like to use on them. This one had lots of landscape around it and I wanted to make it a bit more dreamy, romantic and pull the couple out from the background a bit more. I gave it an action called theEdge, which enhances details and takes away some of that digital haze. Then I used Deep Forest, which gives an image deep, rich colours and glowing shadows. I finished it off with an Edge Burner. I like the Edge Burner action because it gives a vignette feel and pulls the viewers focus toward the central image.

There were 6 winners, and I am grateful to be one of them! I'm not sure what the prize is, but it's from Silverback Imaging, so I'm betting it's pretty good. Silverback is a company, oddly enough, based in Denver (where I'm originally from!) and helps photographers with post production. Post production is something that many new photographers overlook or are inexperienced with. It is vital, however, in the digital age. In the film days, photographers had to know their film, their gear and their meters inside and out. We had to know what was happening when we took the shot. There was no guessing. If we got it wrong, it was very hard to save the image. Digital means that photographers can now figure it out as they go along. It's cool, don't get me wrong, but you end up loosing a lot of really great shots while you're getting it right. This is another good reason to stick with a professional photographer when you want a special event documented. We won't loose those precious moments. We might charge more, but you are paying for experience and our style of photography, something we've honed over many years.

But I digress. Perhaps what I'm leading to is that my prices may be going up soon, so book before they do!

Here's links to those interested in Kubota Actions or Silverback Imaging:

Here's the winning image, before and after.

14 April 2010

Somerset Engagement, Leather Craftsmen Guest Book

I am so so SO excited right now, because I just finished, I must say, and at the risk of sounding boastful, THE MOST AMAZING guest book I have ever done. It's going to be a Leather Craftsmen, one of the best album makers in the industry. I've been with them since I started weddings and I will always offer these pieces of artwork because Leather Craftsmen has been around, for like, EVER, and so I know they will always be there for me.

The couple in question is not just any couple. When I first moved to the UK, I landed in Somerset. More specifically, Watchet. Now Watchet is kinda a funny place. They call it a Marmite town. You either love it or you hate it. We loved it. But I had to get my business off the ground and I knew that was going to take a while. So I got a job as a receptionist at a nail and beauty shop. That's where I met a lady named Felicity. She is a beauty therapist to the stars. I kid you not. And she is an absolute Rock Star. Her and the other girls taught me everything I needed to know about being English. Like what a "rubber" is. 'Cuz it's a different thing to an American. And like what "pants" are. 'Cuz that's different too....

Now my husband is a nuclear physicist. I know, right? I'm the artist and he's the sciencey like being. I believe in Aliens and he's not really sure about me. But I digress.

So my husband works with some really great people and one of them is this guy named James. He's quite handsome, but super duper shy. And he was single. And Felicity was single. So me being me, I thought, hey- let's get together and go fly kites! And that's what we did. Felicity got pretty flirtatious that day, which was a good sign. And as we walked back to our cars, James in some rather uncertain, yet certain terms (I know that's hard to understand, but I swear it went like that) advised me that he fancied Felicity. So I figured, Done Deal.

Long story short, they are now engaged to be married in June. I am pleased as punch. Now they're going to get this rockin' guest book from the engagement shoot we did at Bristol Zoo. It's going to be Cotton Candy pink leather with a Platinum Japanese book cloth stripe and their favorite image in a raised frame on the cover. It's going to be Rock Star material and I can't think of a better couple to have it!

I can't share much, just a little teaser, 'cuz this one's a surprise present!

12 April 2010

Alison and Mark, A Canvey Island Wedding

So this is how this one worked. The bride got on a website where the bride can fill in her details and the vendors she is looking for and those details are forwarded to a select few people, then those vendors contact the client and provide them with a quote for their product and/or services. Alison submitted a request for photography quotes on 23 March. She was getting married on 9 April. All in 2010. I gave her a call and she explained to me that she was having a rather cozy day with close friends and family and just wanted about an hour and a half of professional wedding photography. So I said, no problem. Hey, some people don't want the whole day covered. Some just want the super important bits and leave the rest to friends and family to do the pics. I think that's fine, because it's what the couple wants. After all, it's their day, right?

So Alison had a look at my website, called me back and the contract was in the post. Easy Peasy.

I headed out that day with my normal kit, all organised, reset and lenses clean. As I was cruising along with my sat nav (I can't get anywhere without it, I swear!) I went to pop in my Pink CD, as I normally do on the way to a wedding. "So What" just pumps me up and makes me feel like a Rock Star! I feel like that's a good thing, because if I feel like a Rock Star, it's easier for me to make my couple feel like Rock Stars, savvy? Alas, there was no Pink CD anywhere in my car to be found. It got me thinking about what my horoscope said that day:
"You feel motivated yourself, maybe by the actions of a famous or historical figure. It's possible that the motivation you're feeling is a matter of competition, but the underlying theme is pushing for greater achievement. Develop a plan and follow it if you want to achieve your goals. Don't buckle under criticism. No matter what, don't get into playing ego games with others today: they won't appreciate it." It also said that my compatibility sign for the day was Virgo.

I thought, Hmmmm. What could all this mean?
Well, I found out when I started shooting the group photos. I had some harsh critics around me (none of them Virgos, I imagine!) and one of them was on a roll. Now I don't think too much about what just happened and I don't worry too much about things that haven't happened yet when I'm shooting. I get very focused and try to make the best image I possibly can. I can't tell you how hard I tried to ignore this guy and get people to listen to me as I explained several times that if a person couldn't see me because there was someone taller in front of them, then I couldn't see them either and their face wouldn't end up in the picture. Cest le vie. The rest is what it is.

Despite some of the challenging personalities that we deal with as wedding photographers, I have to say, this was a great group. I don't really have any nightmare stories and maybe that's because I just roll with the punches. The bride was stunning and I just LOVED her dress. The groom was in his Navy uniform and that just made the whole experience feel even more important. The mothers of the bride and groom were ever so lovely and nice and the kids, some tired, loosened up toward the end of my day with some fun, playful shots.

So what did I learn? ('Cuz I always learn SOMETHING!) I learned that patience truly IS a virtue and that if you stay focused (both mentally and in camera, hehe) you can get the results you're looking for. I had a wonderful couple to photograph on a weather perfect day. What else can you ask for? And if a certain Uncle is reading this blog, I hope your pictures came out great too:)