Best of 2015

February 24, 2016  •  Leave a Comment
15 FROM 2015

2015 was another great year behind the camera. I got to photograph multiple weddings including my sister's wedding in September and I got to photograph multiple families, children, and couples throughout the year. I was able to watch my daughter turn two and gain more vocabulary and personality than ever before. I worked with new photographic techniques to expand on my capabilities behind the camera and with post-production.

It is always fun to go over the previous year to see how my business and my photography evolved. The business is continuing to grow and doesn't look like it is slowing down anytime soon. I feel that my photography is constantly getting better each and every year. Every new shoot contains multiple photos that I would be proud to have in my portfolio. I always like to see what was created and to see what memories were made. Here are my favorite 15 images from 2015.

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This is one of my favorite photos of my daughter with my grandmother. I've found that most of my paid photography either happens in the afternoons or on the weekends. With this sort of schedule, I am able to watch my daughter most days of the week while me wife is at work. This of course saves on the cost of daycare, but also allows for me to spend as much time as possible with her since I'm usually busy on the weekends. Since we are together so much for daddy-daycare, we have started a routine of visiting my grandparents about once a month. My grandparents love the visits and my grandma can't stop talking about the visits once we leave. Grandma is not able to get around around as much as she used to, however she always seems to have a little more pep in her step when Amelia is there. When Amelia asked to go see the lake, my grandma didn't hesitate to go with her. They spent a few minutes together watching the lake while sitting on the swing. This is one of the few times that Amelia was content to just sit. I remember when I was a kid and sitting beside my grandma on the same swing. 
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This is one of my favorite images from Jeff and Jill's wedding from last October. I've known both Jeff and Jill for a long time. I went to school with Jill at both Morgan County and at Georgia Southern University and I worked with Jeff at Camp Twin Lakes during high school. This photo was about two hours before the wedding ceremony and the girls had just got finished at the salon. They went over to their room at the James Madison Inn to put on their dresses. Jill's mom buttoned up her dress while her sister (the bridesmaid) walks through the background.
You never know when the next photographic opportunity will present itself. I was asked last year about doing 6 month photos for a friend that I used to work with. Blaine is her first child and she wanted to document his first year. After the 6 month session, she wanted me to continue at both 9 months and 12 months. This photo is from Blaine's 12 month session right around Christmas. We did the session at their home and incorporated some of the Christmas decorations because his birthday was in the middle of December. The interesting part about her home is that I actually grew up in the same house. It has since been renovated by her husband, however it is always surreal to come back into a childhood home years later. Blaine did great for his photos and was always ready to strike a new pose at any given moment. 
This photo is from Kimberly and Alan's wedding from December of last year. Kimberly contacted me about photography in the summer after she got engaged. I was happy to be her wedding photographer. I didn't meet Alan until our engagement session last October. I quickly realized that he didn't like taking photos, however he was much more comfortable in front of the camera with Kimberly. On the wedding day you could tell that they were both nervous. We had agreed to do a first look photo prior to the wedding, so I brought Kimberly to meet Alan in a discrete part of the grounds. Once they saw each other, you could see the anxiety run away from both of their faces. This photo is taken once they met up to each other while shooting through the bamboo garden.
This photo is from my youngest sister's prom last year. Elizabeth asked me to do her prom photos when I realized that I didn't have any major shoots that Saturday. She wanted her photos to stand out from everyone else. While taking photos, she would take out her phone to check her makeup and snap a selfie. I'm not big on selfies, however I love the look of a frame within a frame. I got her date, Michael to hold up his phone like they were taking a selfie together while I focused on the screen. While the resulting photo might not be the image that is hung on a wall, it is certainly a reminder of high school and (hopefully) a photographic fad from the early 21st century.
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Here is another one of my favorite photos from Jeff and Jill's wedding. This photo was taken just a few minutes after finishing the group photos after the wedding ceremony. I typically try to pair down as many photos as possible after the ceremony so that family and the wedding party can go to the reception while I'm left with the bride and groom. Once we starting taking the photos, Jill unexpectedly wrapped her veil around Jeff's head and gave him a kiss. The moment only lasted for a second. The resulting photograph is one of my absolute favorite kiss photos of all time. Other photographers have seen this photo and have taken snapshots of it to use as a wedding pose idea. The thing that I love most about this photo is that the moment was not a pose, but a flash of emotion from the bride on her wedding day.
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This photo is from Kayla and David's reception from their North Georgia wedding in October of last year. The DJ had a fun game where the bride and groom sat back to back with paddles with 'Mr' and 'Mrs' printed on them. The DJ asked the couple questions that they had to answer in tandem about their relationship. This photo is from the DJ's last question when he asked 'who do you love most in the whole world?'. The smile on the brides face, the instant reaction from both, and the onlooking family in the background make this photo so special.
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As you can probably guess, this photo is from Halloween last year. When looking at potential costumes at the store, Amelia was quite adamant about being a panda for Halloween. Our first Halloween that we went to was a 'Trunk or Treat' event that was held at our church. Like any other person, Amelia has both happy days and grouchy days. The day for the Trunk or Treat was a grouchy day. She didn't want to have anything to do with Halloween, her costume, or the candy. We went anyway and she just sulked in her panda costume while waiting for the next candy handout. She later changed her mood once she got enough goodies in her basket. After that night, she was looking forward to the other Halloween activities. She still asks to wear her panda outfit from time to time with the expectation of getting more candy.
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This photo is from David and Kayla's reception. This was the start of the father-daughter dance. You could just tell that there was so much emotion in the embrace during the dance. That is one of my favorite parts about wedding photography, there is just so much emotion and meaning behind every gesture. Kayla's song started slow and blended into a more upbeat tune halfway through. The dancing of course, changed with the melody. It led for wildly different photos from the beginning of the dance to the end of the dance. This quick embrace on the verge of tears is one of my favorites from their wedding.
This photo is from my sister's wedding from this past September. Amber is walking down the aisle with my dad in the church that I went to as a kid. You could just see the excitement in her face as soon as they opened the doors. The man in the far right of the frame is my first boss. He gave me my first SLR camera. I learned the basics of photography on that camera and still use it today when teaching.
This photo is from Kimberly and Alan's wedding. This is definitely a happy accident type of photo. I was taking photos of the bridesmaids when I saw Alan blowing smoke rings. I asked if he could blow one for a photo opportunity. He was up for it, but the wind kept distorting the rings as soon as he blew them. He then happened to blow one that the wind briefly distorted into the shape of a heart. I was lucky to get the quick image of the heart-shaped smoke ring before it dissipated. Now his friends ask him how they too can blow heart shaped smoke rings...
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This is one of the absolute last photos taken from David and Kayla's wedding. The venue that they held the wedding and reception at had a lot of great outdoor spots for photography, however it rained all day for their wedding. No one really wanted to go out in the rain for photos, so we managed to do almost all of the photography in the barn or on the covered patio area. Once the reception was starting to die down and I was getting ready to leave, I asked them if they would brave the rain for one photo for me. I told them that there are certainly good photos that you can get in the rain, sometimes you just have to get a little bit wet for the best results. They held one of my lighting umbrellas and I backlit them with a wireless flash to highlight the rain and to add some light to their face coming down from the bounced light on the umbrella. The photo turned out to be one of the favorites from they day because it embraced the rain and gave them a story to tell about their wedding.
This photo is from Leanne and Patrick's wedding reception. Leanne and Patrick got married last May in Franklin Springs, Georgia. This photo was during their first dance. I just love the look of intimacy between the two while the crowd looks on. The traditional dances at most weddings make for great photos. There is always an extra bit of emotion and intimacy on display with the traditional dances. The last bit of sunlight of the day served to back-light their heads and help separate them from the background.
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This photo is one of the last photos taken during Jeff and Jill's reception. Jill provided me with a shot sheet for her wedding of photos that she wanted to get. One of the photos that she asked for was a silhouette photo. I normally like to try to use the sky for a silhouette, however it was mostly overcast throughout the day and the white sky typically doesn't make for the best silhouette. Once we started the reception, I kept my eyes open for potential photo ops. The venue was at the bottom of a hill and I realized that the top of the hill provided a great focal plane away from the background. I waited until it was dark and asked Jeff and Jill if they would come outside with me for a photo opp. I also asked a bridesmaid if she would hold a light for me for the photo (Thanks Elizabeth!). I hid Elizabeth behind Jill and used the flash to back-light the couple. The hardest part about this photo was framing and focusing. It was so dark that I had a hard time just seeing them through the viewfinder. All of the particles in the air are dust and dirt (I often get asked if it's raining in the photo).
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My daughter is constantly gaining more personality and individuality. We spend a lot of time together playing around the house, so I get to witness these changes and see the different influences that make up her understanding of the world. At some point in time, she has realized the super heroes wear capes (probably from Super Why). Since figuring that out, she has decided to become a super hero. This involves me shoving a flag down the back of her shirt to create a red cape for her to wear. She will then put her hands on her hips and say "Super Duper Hero!" and run around the house. She then wears the cape around the house, yard, and neighborhood. This photo is of her walking down the sidewalk to the neighborhood playground. The wind picked up the cape to create a dramatic effect of movement against her tiny stature.



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