Best of 2016

March 02, 2017  •  Leave a Comment
16 from 2016

2016 was another great year for me. The business continues to grow and I had the opportunity to photograph more weddings and engagements than ever before. I learned new techniques and acquired new equipment in my quest to become a better photographer. I had the opportunity to photograph weddings all over the state from the mountains in North Georgia to the coastal plains down south.

Every year I like to compile a group of my favorite images to share with my readers. This year was particularly hard since I had so many great photos to choose from. In the end, my favorite photos were the images that told a story. The story could be about an emotion, a personality, or just an aspect of a wedding day that made it unique. Here are my 16 favorite photos from 2016....

Meghan and Nick got married last July at the Reid Barn in Cumming Ga. The day was absolutely perfect for photography, however a dark cloud started to appear above the barn during the ceremony. The rain started as soon as we started their formal portraits after the wedding. Luckily, the rain only lasted for a few minutes. After getting a lot of great photos, we went inside to grab a quick bite to eat before the reception started. Suddenly, the wedding coordinator ran up saying that a rainbow just appeared over the barn. Needless to say, I skipped the rest of the meal. We only had about five minutes of photography with the rainbow before it disappeared. The rest of the night was a blast with lots of dancing, however the image that always stands out for their wedding will always be the five minute rainbow that appeared on their wedding day.
Morgan and Zach got married last July at Gallery 51 in Forsyth, Ga. The venue was an old warehouse that had been transformed into an art gallery/event space. The girls were a little behind on hair and makeup, so they were working hard to get ready in time for the ceremony. In this photo, Morgan is working on her makeup while her bridesmaid works on her hair to get her ready for the wedding. I always love the behind the scenes photography that happens during the early parts of the day for a wedding. While everyone gets to see the beautiful bride walk down the aisle, not many people get to witness the frantic energy that goes into making everything perfect for the day.
Every once in a while you get a groom that is set on a certain idea for photos. Howard was so excited about doing this photo with his wedding band and groomsmen once the ceremony was over. The faces and reactions make this photo. I've done similar photos in the past with couples and sometimes with the bride, however I've never had reactions quite like this...
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I love doing engagement photos. It is the perfect time to incorporate different places and ideas that might not be feasible on the wedding day. I met with Cody and Courtney last year and one of their first questions was "where should we do our engagement photos?"  I asked what they enjoyed doing together... A couple of ideas later, and we started discussing the possibility of doing the photos at Sweetwater Brewery. I called the people at Sweetwater and they were kind enough to let us come in after hours for a private session. The light. The atmosphere. The kiss. The beer.... It all added together to make the perfect engagement photo for their story.
One of the great things that I love about weddings are the traditions. They can be cultural, religious, or even family traditions that make up parts of the day. Candace and Michael's wedding at the Conservatory in Acworth had a unique tradition that I had never seen before. Michael is of Scottish decent and one thing that they wanted for the ceremony was to have a Celtic knot. The Celtic knot signifies the bond of marriage by literally tying the bride and groom's hands together. I always love getting opportunities to witness (and document) new traditions.
I photographed Keri's wedding last October at Foxhall in Douglasville. Her dad wasn't the type to normally wear a suit, so Keri wanted to make sure that she got some good photos of her dad while he was all dressed up. You could tell just how proud he was for her on the wedding day. The side-light coming from the windows just momentary lit up his profile as he glanced at her halfway down the aisle. The returning look of pure happiness from Keri makes the story. These are the kind of moments that I love being able to witness.
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Not every emotional photo is taken at a wedding. I was working at a commercial event providing photography for a corporate retreat when I was approached by one of the people there that alerted me that one of the guys was planning to propose to his girlfriend that night. I met up with the guy (Ben) and asked him how he was planning to do it. He wanted to propose to her down by lake Oconee behind the Ritz Carlton. I went down to the lake and waited for the couple to arrive. I was able to get Anita's reaction to the ring and the couple's kiss afterwards. The soft glow from the early evening sky and the Ritz made for the perfect atmosphere for the perfect proposal.
Ben and Caroline were so much fun in front of the camera. I always have a soft spot for first dance photos. Every couple is different... Some immediately go to a slow dance with tears, while others go to full blown jazz routine. I'm noticing more and more elaborate dances over the years. Maybe there are a lot of Dancing with the Stars fans out there... I love the look of absolute excitement and happiness on Caroline's face in this photo. This photo was only the start of a super-fun reception that night at Little Gardens.
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Rebekah and Aaron got married last May in Patterson, Ga. Never heard of Patterson? Neither had I... It was a long drive down to their wedding in rural south Georgia. You definitely see a change in landscape once you cross the fall line in Georgia. The soil gets sandy, the pines become more numerous,  and the Spanish moss starts to appear. I've known Rebekah all of her life. In fact, she is my cousin however I rarely got to see her much growing up since her parents are missionaries. She has spend the majority of her life in Guinea (Africa). This photo was taken during the ceremony when friends and family laid hands on the newly-wed couple for prayer. The prayer was finished with Rebekah's father (man to the left of the frame) saying a prayer in Pular (regional language in Guinea). I love the mixing of American and African traditions and the emotion in this photo. I had a lot of great photos from their day, however I felt that this one told the story of their wedding best.
We saw a photo of Candace and Mike's wedding earlier in this post (Celtic Knot), but I had to share this photo from their engagement session also. For the engagement session, we went to Dalton, Ga to Walnut Hill Farms. The area there was spectacular. You could literally see the mountains in Tennessee at the top of the property. The landscape was spectacular, however Candace and Mike had one photo request in particular that they wanted to try to get... They got engaged at a county fair and wanted to try to incorporate the fair like atmosphere into their session. They brought some balloons to try to help setup the idea. I staggered the balloons in the background and back-lit them against the setting sun to create a colorful aurora around them. It turned out to be one of my favorite engagement photos of all time...
Genine and Todd got married last fall at the beautiful Tate house in Tate, Ga. The property there made it legitimately hard to get a bad photo since there were so many great locations for photography. The Tate house is a historic antebellum home built out of pink marble in the north Georgia mountains. A few years ago, the owners decided to turn it into an event space for weddings and it has become one of the premier locations to get married in Georgia. This past year I've started incorporating more off-camera flash into my photography. This has opened up new opportunities for me to create images in places that I wouldn't have thought possible before. For this portrait of Todd and Genine, I used one strobe behind them to back-light their figures. The powerful white light bouncing off the brides dress helped provide some ambient light to light up the pillars also. I had a lot of great portraits of the two of them, however this image probably remains the most striking of all the photos from the day.
Many of my favorite photos from the year revolved around the bride or groom, however this photo from Nicole and Dmitry's wedding was an exception. During the Hora, both the bride and groom gave up their chairs for other family members to take a turn. The brides younger brother and grandmother decided to hop on... This turned out to be one of the harder photos to get due to the amount of movement (and jostling) during the scene. I took a lot of photos, however this one was sharp (enough) while still hinting at the movement and energy during the dance. The swirling crowd, the excited faces, and the atmosphere make this one of my favorite reception photos of all time.
Shanna and Daniel have their wedding coming up later this year, however we were able to meet last October for their engagement session. We met up at their home in Hoschton, Ga for the session. They had some beautiful hay-fields right next to their home that provided for the perfect backdrop for some of the photos. I sometimes help couples with posing, especially if they don't feel comfortable in front of the camera, however I typically like to photograph a couples natural body language. When Shanna and Daniel sat down next to one another, they automatically held hands. As soon as a I saw the pose, I knew what photo I wanted to get. I moved in close with a wide angle and focused on the hands. The out-of-focus faces in the background pull it all together.
So you might ask "what's happening in this photo"? This is the Nigerian money dance. The brides family originated from Nigeria where they have a tradition of showering the couple with money during the reception. This started with the father-daughter dance and lasted the rest of the evening whenever the bride and groom got together. Did I mention that I love traditions?
Tom and Jing contacted with less than a month to go for their wedding. Normally, I book up months in advance for weddings, however their wedding happened to fall on a Tuesday, so my schedule was still open. They got married at the 100 Acre Farm in Madison, Ga in June. Their wedding was the first wedding to be held at the newly moved and renovated Sugar Creek Chapel there on the property. It rained pretty heavily for the first part of they day, however the rain stopped just in time for the ceremony. We worked on a few photos in the chapel after the ceremony and then went to move outdoors. With the heavy rains earlier in the day and the Georgia heat, the humidity was outrageous. As soon as we walked outdoors, my lenses fogged instantly. I ended up having to set a camera outside to get accustomed to the humidity while we worked on a few more photos indoors. I figured it was a good opportunity to work on a silhouette photo... This photo from within the church remains one of my favorite couple photos from 2016.
Keri and Graham had one of my favorite night-time images of 2016. The full moon rising over the pond at Foxhall made for the perfect backdrop. I normally like to set the light on a stand, however the hill leading down to the pond did not allow for that setup to work. Instead, I asked one of the groomsmen to hold the flash for a few quick exposures while Graham and Keri shared a moment together. The glow from the flash balancing out the glow from the moon made everything fall into place. The soft kiss and the perfect clouds make the photo for me.  After I snapped a couple of photos, I told the couple that we got what we needed... Their response was "but you never told us what to do?" I showed them the back of the camera and they agreed... We got the shot.



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