A Baptising: Gathering at The River

Baptism-42A very large part of a Christian's walk is an outward statement to symbolize the change that is made within. Every denomination has something that fills this need. When a Christian decides to be baptized it is an outward testimony that the person has buried their old life, dying of self so that they can rise again and let the love of God live in them and be spread through them. Though it is a tradition, it is not ritualistic. There is no magic in baptism. The way my pastor likes to put it is this: "If you go down in the water without your heart cleaned first, You'll only come up a wet sinner."

Baptism-26

Baptismal services are a beautiful thing to witness if you never have before. Though our church has a baptismal pool inside the sanctuary(remains covered underneath the choir unless in use), our church most always opts for a baptismal service at the river. I like the sentiment a little better in the river because, it's so obvious that being baptized in this water isn't exactly cleaning you physically. The water is murky and brackish in places, a mixture of sand and mud and dark water doesn't exactly sound like something thats going to make "whites whiter and colors brighter". It's a true statement about the cleansing of ones soul. Enjoy the photos!

[gallery type="rectangular" ids="436,435,427,428,432,426,434" orderby="rand"]

Recording History: The Pastor's Pen

I am getting married very soon! It's finally becoming very real! See, Annie and I are the last of three couple in my church getting married within a 6 week period and I had the pleasure of photographing one of them. While shooting this wedding for a long time friend Kim, and, her now husband, Kevin, I was able to practice a little for how we would like to set up the church for our ceremony. Bonus Points! With all jokes aside, it was a beautiful ceremony and an absolute joy to shoot. Everyone was relaxed and able to have fun and enjoy the day. Here is a little taste from the photos afterward.

Kim and Kevin-256

More photos after the jump!

Kim and Kevin-290

My pastor married Kim and Kevin, who happens to be Kim's uncle, and after the ceremony and the formal photos were done, it was time for the marriage license to be signed.

Pastor Buddy pulled his pen out of the breast pocket of his suit jacket. Many forget that a pen is similar to a watch;  a piece of functional jewelry for a man. A piece of his own personal history that holds genuine and amazing history that signifies what he has been through in his life. Well Pastor Buddy's pen is absolutely one of those types of constants throughout his life. After joining the ministry, he was given this pen. a beautiful, slender work of art that he has always kept. A pastor has many jobs; he brings us all together for sermons, marriages, funerals and more than I could tell you. But this pen has a special story because after having it for over 30 years, it has only ever been used for one thing: signing marriage licenses.

Kim and Kevin-144

This pen has only ever graced the hands of people on the most important day of their lives as they spiritually, emotionally and, with the pen, legally bind themselves to one another. This pen has one job, and that is to permanently mark a contract of two people's love for each other.

Call me a romantic but I think this pen has an awesome story!

Did you have an item used in your wedding that has a significant meaning? How about something you keep with you every day? Let me know in the comments below!

The "Froad Trip": My journey to Philadelphia

I have always been a fan of impromptu trips. I love just jumping in the car and going ridiculously long distances in a small amount of time. Maybe it's just the Smokey and The Bandit attitude of it all, but there is something very enticing about having "A long way to go, and a short time to get there". This trip falls under that category better than anything I have done in quite a long time.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB1dEKd9XGk&w=480&h=360]

I have always loved video tutorials and many of the photo techniques that are now second nature are only because I was very studious in watching an amalgamation educational tutorials through YouTube.  One of the largest contributors to that is Jared Polin, otherwise known as Fro Knows Photo. His videos are really informative and he is fun to listen to. There are many more that I have really enjoyed over the years, but Jared's videos have always been at the epicenter because of the community that comes along with it. I have been active on his forums, listen to his podcasts and participated in Spreecast videos with him (this was pre-Google hangout). Anyway, for 6 weeks, I listened to him talk about a get-together at his home photo store named Allen's Camera. They were going to be running specials, giving away lunch from this really groovy taco stand, as well as portfolio reviews.

There were plenty of people that showed up, and though we had driven the longest distance, there were people who had flown in from longer distances, even a few Canadians jumped the border and came down to have some fun. Though most people were just showing Jared their work on their phones or i devices, but a few had portfolios as I did. I took a book I had made where all the prints were full bleed, and more of my recent work loose in a blank scrapbook. I had planned to place them correctly in the book, but I didn't get my prints until the day before I was leaving and simply did not have the time. But just knowing that it wasn't an iPhone, made me feel better.

Photos after the jump!

Froadtrip-19

Froadtrip-13

Froadtrip-17

Froadtrip-10

Froadtrip-25

 

We left late Friday night, and were home in the early afternoon on Sunday. Crazy short trip and a ton of fun was had. Thank you for reading/looking/watching!

-Jarrett

My First Baseball Game

So, there is nothing more American than baseball. It's out "Favorite Pastime!" but I can't believe that I have gone almost 24 years of my life without going to a professional baseball game. I didn't grow up very sports centered, but I played 5 years of varsity soccer in school and 2 years of golf. Baseball never really interested me. Everyone said that going to a baseball game isn't really about the game anyway but I never went because I figured I would be bored out of my mind. I didn't plan on taking my camera, but I am so glad that I did. I am not a sports photographer, nor am I a street style photographer but I do enjoy dabbling in both and that is what I was able to do here. The game was a ton of fun to watch, the entertainment all around the field was great and the crowd was super friendly and relaxed. I love watching football and pretty much any level (especially high school and college) but when I watch football, there is nothing else my attention has to juggle. I love football for that but it gets very intense. At a baseball game, I have come to learn that the experience is what you go for. I enjoyed being able to just sit there with my family and enjoy the crowd, and the entertainment and running in to friends. Oh and the game.

Pelicans Game-9

Pelicans Game-11

 

Pelicans Game-8

Pelicans Game-4

Pelicans Game-3

 

Pelicans Game-13

Well I did take my camera out a few times to capture some things and I even shot some with my iPhone. I love iPhone street photography and was pretty happy with the way these turned out. Enjoy!

Baseball on the iPhone (This was taken with my iPhone5 with KitCam and edited with Snapseed)

Thank you for reading,

-Jarrett

Pelicans Game-5

Change your Perspective: Using a fisheye lens

060_Blackwattle Bay Rokinon 8mm Tests

First, let me say that the lens in discussion today is the Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 fisheye. This a fully manual lens that allows you to fine tune every little detail but does not include the comforts of automatic modes of any kind (Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Program, etc etc) or even autofocus. But what it offers are crisp beautiful images with plenty of contrast and clarity.

Fisheye lenses are nothing new. They were first invented to be used for weather instruments and astrophotographers, so the entire sky could be captured from horizon to horizon. I am not an astrophotographer.

They have since, been adapted to many different types of photography. The largest is definitely skateboarding and other extreme sports and the exaggeration of lines can turn a difficult trick and to something legendary on film. I am not a skateboard photographer or videographer.

So... why the heck do I have a fisheye lens?

Funny you should ask...

Street Photography

This is a given. Street photos can be taken with anything, if you go out looking for something in particular and that is exactly what I did with this particular outing. It was July 3rd and I was out at Barefoot Landing to capture some of the nightlife for my blog and the blogs for my day job. I think all in all, they turned out pretty well; either way, it was the perfect opportunity for me to realize how awesome this lens really is.

Barefoot 7-3-2013-8
Barefoot 7-3-2013-7

Real Estate Photography

This is something I do a lot of at my day job. The neat thing about this lens is that excites you about using it. I don't know how to explain it, but even using it in real estate photography makes that type of work fun again ( keep checking back for my upcoming full length post on real estate/resort photography!) It takes a little more work is post, to get the distortion to an acceptable level, but I think it is worth for the type of shots I have been able to get with it.

WB 332-8

Family and Beach Photography

This is by far my favorite application so far. With this lens, I am able to get family of 10 in to creative poses and have fun with needing a ladder or something crazy. In this particular shot, they decided they wanted a shot of everyone with their heads close together, so I slipped on the fisheye and was able to oblige with no resistance or time to figure out how to make it happen. But then I decided to keep it on for a few more shots including this jumping of all the grandkids.

Sellers Family-20
Sellers Family-18

Wedding Receptions

This is probably one of the most fun applications for this thing. Walking around, I was able to really get some great shots of people enjoying themselves on the dance floor and hanging out. Even a fun shot or two of the bride and groom.

Mitchell and Kaitlyn
Mitchell and Kaitlyn

What do you think would be a fun use for a fisheye lens? Maybe you have one, and use it for something in particular? Leave your opinions in a comment below! Be sure to subscribe to see some of the fun things we have coming up!

-Jarrett

Phot of The Day: Grumpy Baby

Today, I thought I would share a shot from a recent photo session I did for a family here on vacation. The family was wonderful and so easy to work with, but the baby of the family was ready for sleep for sure. She was not in the mood to be directed but she would cheer up long enough to get her photo taken in most cases.

 Gentry Family-29

This is something completely normal on vacation shoots. People are here all week and their sleep schedule get interrupted. Even for most adults, we usually get tired quicker by the end of a vacation because of the random sleep schedule we normally keep. Well this little sweetheart is no exception. She was not having it, in some cases and we had to wait her out but that's all part of the job! I loved hanging out with this family and because we took our time and kept everything smooth, we were able to get some very fun shots like this:

Gentry Family-39

As an alternative, if you have a baby who is a little less than happy and getting their photo taken, give them something to do. When they are concentrating on something else they are much less likely to be upset. For some children, give them a physical activity while others prefer something to hold and tinker with. Either way, be prepared to inspire the parents to get the child active!

One thing I have found that keeps a child's attention is my Holga 35mm plastic toy camera. The more beat and banged up it becomes, the different leaks it produces. Very cool little camera, in most cases I even leave film in it and tell them to take photos. I am hoping for some cool shots when I develop the roll!

Gentry Family-22

 

Thanks for reading!

5 Tips for Beach Family Photos

Excited about your upcoming vacation to the shore? How about some professional photos taken while you are there to commemorate the occasion! Now there are a few things you need to know before booking your family photos with a local photographer. Here are a few tips to help you along the way:

Gould Family-17
1: Dont just pick anyone
- Picking your photographer is the largest hurdle for you to face. Not every professional in the area you are visiting is right for you. If you check for someone on Craigslist and that is their only way of showing you your work, don't be surprised if they seem inexperienced or unprofessional( I am not talking down on this type of marketing, Lord knows I received some very good jobs through Craigslist starting out. We all have to start somewhere). On the other hand, if you decide to use a company that is highly commercialized, be prepared to be up-sold with high pressure sales tactics. Many that work at these types of establishments know you came to spend money and want you to spend as much as possible of it with them. Find someone who seems easy going with you, personable and willing to immerse themselves in the family.
Sellers Family-20
2: Be relaxed and dress accordingly
- As a vacation/resort town native, I know how many people have their photos taken in matching outfits: Blue and Khaki, White and Khaki, White and denim. There is nothing wrong with this, in fact I kind of like it. You may be very comfortable in a white shirt and khakis, but maybe someone in your family isn't. An alternative would be to use complimentary patterns and colors, or different shades of the same color family. Uncomfortable dress is a dead giveaway when in front of the camera.
Back From The Dead
3: Be understanding about lighting, timing and location
- A perfectly sunny day on the beach is great for splashing around in the surf, but in most cases, bright sunlight is a photography killer. The best time of the day for photos on the beach is in the evening in the hour before sunset. Especially on the east coast where the sun sets opposite of the beach which is easier to control than water over the beach. So, even though your photo time may hog a little more time before dinner than you would have hoped, it is totally worth it with the quality of light you are allowing your photographer to use for your photos.
Forrester Family-35
4: Let your kids be themselves - I know everyone has a different style of discipline and I am not Doctor Phil, I will not even try to tell you how to raise your kids because I have no idea myself! But what I can say from experience is that kids have a hard time sitting still and parents normally lose their cool at least once during a session because their kids are doing something crazy. That's ok! As long as they are just being kids and enjoying themselves the way they know how, most photographers are perfectly content with sitting and waiting until a toddler is happy to smile and look at the camera. If you force them, they will looked forced and Mr./Ms. Grumpy Gills will be forever captured in the 8x10 on the mantle.
Long Family-23
5: Plan your photos for early on in your stay - I know it may sound like a great idea to wait until you have a tan, but the risk is tremendous when dealing with the sun. When you want to spend your time on the beach soaking it in, the chances are you will have tan lines and your skin will look red when photographed
Hope this helps you understand and prepare for your beach photo session! Remember when in the Myrtle Beach area to contact me for your vacation/wedding photography needs!

Photo of the day: Playful beach portraits

A really short but sweet photo of the day today. This little fella was hilarious to watch; I love photo shoots where I get entertainment out of watching the kids react to me and to themselves. I know that parents love their hyperactive children and though I know they want their kids to behave but that is not always going to happen. Kids are kids! They love to run and play and laugh and jump. Don't get me wrong, I am not a parent myself and I know there is much more stress involved in raising a child than I know. Don't think of the photographer as a guest but more as part of the family. The reason why is, the kids will be more relaxed around someone who you treat like a friend and less like a business associate. Forrester Family-37

Forrester Family-35

As a side note, I am starting to notice that anyone under the age of 6 likes the look of a 70-200 2.8. It is a huge lens and either they are made uncomfortable by it. What I have started doing instead is using either 50mm or 85mm. The 50mm is great because the front element is so small that the kids don't focus on the camera but stay on the idea of getting the picture taken. The 85mm is great too because it puts enough distance between me and the subject but not so much that the kids forget they are getting their picture taken.

Enjoy!

Senioritis

So, the wrapping up of another school year has already come and gone. This means that many young people out there are about to star their senior year itching to slip on the cap and gown and count down the seconds until they get to toss that square scholarly hat up in the air as triumph of their standard education careers. Many will be off to college in the fall and starting on a journey to adulthood. They, for the first time will have a taste of independence and freedom; the ability to stand on their own to an extent. All that is well and great, believe me, I enjoyed graduating; but at the same time, they shouldn't forget that where they are right now is a very important time especially for their parents. This is the last inkling of their little boy or girl getting ready for school in the morning, the last time they will get to see them play baseball or soccer for their high school team. The last prom they will get to take funny photos of their kids in the lawn with their dates posing awkwardly. Alright, enough with the cheesy "I Will Remember You" style reminiscence.

Because of this, I send out a message to all seniors: Get your photo taken as many times as possible!

With today's society, photos are integrated in to every piece of communication: phones, computers, music devices, social media. This overexposure (excuse the pun) to photography makes it very difficult to find the value in getting your photo taken professionally and therefore you should take advantage of every opportunity you get to do so! Many high schools are offering fun alternative shoots that allow you to be creative and fun with your photos instead of the plain jane Olan Mills style photography. Get a group, go on location, make it fun!

CCS Seniors Group-1

The photos below are of friends of my sister who are all graduating this year. I was commissioned to do the casual spring portraits for the seniors this year and I am quite pleased with the way they turned out. Just a good example of how changing up scenery can make the most difference.

CCS Seniors-1

CCS Seniors-2

Another tip: Talk to your photographer! I had everyone's photos taken and these girls stuck around and wanted a photo taken somewhere else; they decided on a bench near the river and that's where that sat down for these great poses. Light was a little harsh so the girls took turns hold diffusers for each other!

Thanks for reading!

Photo of The Day: Glamour Girl

So, my baby sis is growing up. She graduated this year, she is starting college in the fall and soon after that I will be married and the days of us arguing at home will be gone. That is a little depressing but one thing I will always be glad of is that I took the time to do some pretty killer photo shoots with her. She is always a willing guinea pig when I am trying out something and this shoot was no different. The front yard of my house is perfect for early afternoon portraits because of all the trees and amazingly diffused light. She got in her prom dress and Mom helped out with makeup duties. I really enjoyed this shoot and we had a fun time doing it! Jillian-3

Jillian_FB-6

Jillian-14

A Photographer's Worst Nightmare

A Photographer's Worst Nightmare: So I recently had the worst week I have experienced thus far in my photographic career.

My camera crapped out on me. It didn't completely die but it was effective for not much more than a paperweight without some serious work. The shutter curtain snapped and needed to be replaced. the mirror moved perfectly and all the electronics were fine, but the sensor was not being exposed to anything because the shutter curtain was not raising. Luckily I have access to other cameras while my workhorse is in the shop getting some TLC.

This was not the worst part of my week.

Most feel that a photographer's worst nightmare might be damaging their gear or getting something stolen; I agree this leaves much to be desired on the fun scale but I have other things much more frightening in the works. One of my clients, did not like my work. It took a lot of wrestling with my pride to write this out but I think of it as a chance to share my growth and maybe help someone else. She called and was very nasty about how much she disliked the work I had done for them. Because they had been traveling, I could not even offer a re-shoot. I am aware that many people complain on vacation in hopes to get things for free. I have worked in the resort industry for over 4 years now and I run in to this all the time. But the problem was that looking back at what I sent her, I realized something: I didn't like my work either. I had never sent out work I didn't like before, but these I truly would never show and that was the problem. I at once offered her a refund. I would never make someone pay for photos I didn't even like myself. But the hardest part was realizing, for the first time, I had not worked hard enough to make these photos what they should have been. I understand that everyone has these types of things happen and I try my best to make sure my clients are as happy with my service as possible. That is why, I buckled down and made sure my next photo shoot would be the best experience I have ever offered.

I scouted longer, I searched for open shade, I timed the golden hour perfectly, I remembered everyone's names and used them frequently and most of all, I provided some of the best photos that I think I have ever taken. Being a former professional ballroom dancer, I have learned (and have tried to overcome some of it) how to be confident, over confident even and I use this to my advantage in some cases; but I now feel like I don't have to put on a show as photographer. I am comfortable in my style, I learn more every day, and I know at the end of the day that people are happy with my work. Hope you enjoy some of the photos from the shoot:

-Jarrett

Gould Family-17

Gould Family-12

Gould Family-5

P.S.: For the camera geeks out there who are interested, I shot all of the photos for this particular shoot with a Nikon D3200 I had on loan and a Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 Thanks for reading!

Photo of The Day: Catching the Moment

*Warning! Photography Rant Incoming!* I don't have to tell you how cliche certain phrases in photography are. Here is a list of the worst in my opinion:

  • "Sharing Precious Memories"
  • "Capturing Life"
  • "Painting With Light"
  • "Preserving the Essence of the moment" (whatever that means)

Anyway, it's not that these terms are incorrect, those are the job of a photographer, it is just the goofy ways we try to put what we do into words. You can describe a meal with all these amazing adjectives that will have my mouth watering by the time you are done, but by the standard I see today through newer photographers marketing themselves, you cannot do the same thing for your photography. Photography is art, its subjective and no one will like every image you take; that is a fact. Be proud of your work, and only show the photos that are your best. If your picture tells a story, you HAVE to tell that story WITH your portfolio. If one image you absolutely love because you know the story behind it, doesn't stand on it's own, I personally don't think it should be in your portfolio for people to see without a conversation; story telling with a photograph is what blogs are for. If I have a pile of candid shots of kids from family shoots, and that's what the family wants then of course that is what I will show them (that is the subjective nature of the art we produce).

Righty-O, on to the photo: Sam-1

This is a perfect example of a subjective photo. This is my nephew on Easter Sunday. He was all dressed up and was just the cutest little dude, but he was getting a little tired of all the clothes. He pulled at his collar and tie, ran his hands through his hair and insisted that we play some basketball with him. well as I was walking with him back inside, I just turned my camera on, slung it out in front of him and took a photo, He was so intrigued by something on the ground, deep in thought as he was pondering the existence of something splayed across the lawn on such a beautiful day. Is this the sharpest photo I have ever taken? Not even close. Is the composition the best it could be? No way, but what this photo represents is a memory to his family of him running around being the sweet little genius boy that he is. This is not a photo for my portfolio, but a photo that will mean something to his mother. That's what we do with photography, we use our elements: light, timing, emotion, and just a little luck to find and capture what will mean something to our client. Always practice, try to think differently and for the love of God find a new way to describe what you do if you are using any of the above or something similar.

Thanks!

Jillian - Senior Portraits

This is one of my favorite posts I have made. This is about a wonderful girl I had the pleasure watching grow up. Jillian my little sister is in her last few months of High School where she is reaching the beginning stages of adulthood. As I grew older and at least a little wiser, I had the opportunity to watch Jillian grow in to a beautiful, funny, witty, amazing young woman. We have not always gotten along but that's part of growing up and though at times I really wanted to kill her I don't know what I would have done without her. So enjoy the photos I was privileged to capture! Jillian-8 Jillian-11 Jillian-7 Jillian-24 Jillian-26 Jillian-58 Jillian-48 Jillian-76 Jillian-31 Jillian-67

 

Don't forget to comment and let us know which one is your favorite!

John Family, Party of six please...

This lovely family are dear friends of mine and asked if I would be able to snap a few family photos of them while they had two very special guests with them. Brett and Katie are host for two children who spent Christmas in the US. I wish I knew more about this program so I could explain to you. The most informative thing I can say is that I have the utmost respect for them as followers of Christ who have been blessed with the conviction to help these children half way around the world. They bring them in to their homes, show them the utmost amount of love and it astounds me how well they interact as a family unit during everything. I was very honored to be a part of their stay here! If you would like to know more about their journey please check out Katie's Blog! John Family-7 John Family-2John Family-4 John Family-10 John Family-16

John Family-6

Thank you so much! Leave your comments and thoughts below!

BONUS! Here is a little slideshow put together by Brett John, the father of this amazing family about their time here together. What a blessing! [vimeo 56988070 w=500 h=281]

Christmas As A Family Of Six from Brett John on Vimeo.