Charleston - Street Photography

Traveling is something that I feel I was made to do. I have had many opportunities to see different parts of the world, but still one of the easiest ways to feed my addiction is picking a place fairly close to me that allows me to get a couple hours away from home and immerse myself in a culture that is different than my own. Charleston is a beautiful old city and is very well known for it's historical significance here in the south.

Home to numerous colleges including the Citadel and the College of Charleston, a day in there is filled with just as many slouchy beanies and fixed gear bikes as there are seersucker suits and mint juleps. Make sure to watch the video and enjoy the photos!

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Photograph What You See: Brookgreen Gardens

I want to start this off with a bit of a statement: When you travel to somewhere that is popular, don't focus on the photos that you see everywhere; take the photos that you see in your head. As we try to recreate the photos that we love so much of the area we have, we have nothing more than a copy of a photo that we love. I'm not saying you shouldn't take those photos, believe me I have, but make sure that you don't spend all your time on the photos of a specific place the way you have already seen it. Taking a photo of a lake? Go to the other side. Of a Bridge? Stand on it! Take photos of the pieces that you will remember and that will say something about your experience.Brookgreen-1

More after the Jump!

Brookgreen Gardens in Pawleys Island, South Carolina is a garden unlike any other. A beautiful sanctuary that was originally the location of four rice plantations but was later sold whole to Archer Huntington as a gift to his wife; a place that she could showcase her sculptures. It is a place that is extremely well known for it's spectacular landscaping and artwork. The sweeping hedgerows that lay across the lowcountry plantation are something that normally grace the pages of travel and gardening publications but there are so many things that tell a better story than just large landscape photos that show it all. Here is what I see at Brookgreen Gardens:

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Capturing Real Emotion in Engagement Sessions

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Now I have to be honest. Some of these photos were extremely easy to capture genuine surprise....because she was genuinely surprised! I had the honor to help out with my second surprise engagement session this year. I love these!

Meet Dominique and Stephanie: they are a wonderful couple who were celebrating their anniversary together with photos, but little did she know that he had contacted me without her knowing to request that I help him with this momentous occasion! They are so great together and a ton of fun to watch interact with each other. I love watching couples who so obviously enjoy each others company. Anyway, on to the photos!

When trying to capture real moments I have always found that it is most easy to start with a real one. See, most people are not very good at posing themselves (I include myself in that category). I like to pose a couple and then take a few shots so I have a posed photo for the set but then go fiddle in my bag or on the back of my camera so they are no longer paying attention to me. Now I am catching the couple in their natural state of reacting with each other. Another thing I like to do, it say I am just testing my light so these don't count and the couple forgets about me for a minute.

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Engagement Photos are the perfect story telling medium. You have a great romance to share with the viewer and you only have a certain amount of images to do it in. Sure you could take 5,000 photos but the amazing emotional content will be lost just because of sheer size. Like a high end restaurant, there are less things on the menu because after purging all the bad and mediocre, you are left with the best they have to offer. Thats why I wanted to tell this story in just 4 images:

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These types of photos are just invaluable because I, as a photographer am prepared to create images that are more natural and personal. If all I ever do are posed portraits, they could probably save money by just going to Olan Mills or Walmart. The reason clients choose more creative photography is for the CREATIVITY. I feel I have a romantic photojournalistic style to my engagement shoots and this definitely falls in the category. What is your style? What do you like? Comment Below!

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Remember that if you would like to book me for a photo session or you have something special in mind to surprise your loved one, please contact me at jarrett@jarretthucks.com or by phone: 843.446.4929

Thank you for reading!

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.

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More photos after the jump!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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Room to grow: Using my Nikon 105mm Micro Lens

So, many people have their favorite lenses that they own or have owned and many drool over certain pieces of glass that they feel will boost their photography to the next level. That piece for me was the 85mm 1.8. I had such of love affair with this lens and after getting it, I haven't really used it much. But still I was determined to continue my photographic journey to professional status so I started to use it and have really fallen in love with what I can produce with it, but I figured I needed to continue investing in to my equipment to take better photos. Well one day cruising around craigslist, I found a Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 for sale just an hour away from me. I couldn't pass up the opportunity of at least inquiring about it. Well after a few emails, the seller informed me that she was parting with a bunch of her equipment. She knew what she had but was willing to make a deal. I ended up walking away with the 70-200mm Sigma. She also had a few other things that sparked my interest, like a 17-55mm 2.8 which I passed on but she did talk me in to coming home with the handy dandy Nikon 105mm 2.8g Micro. Both were in pristine condition but I still only paid around 60% less than retail which for such a big purchase is impressive.

Anyway, I used the 70-200 constantly on photo shoots, weddings, pretty much anything outdoors just because there is something commanding about a lens that size. I know that sounds ridiculous and a bit narcissistic, but every photographer starting out has issues with being taken seriously. This lens was my ticket to the "not to be taken lightly" glances by those around who thought of me as a just another kid who thinks he knows what he's doing.

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Well all this time goes by, probably six months, and I haven't even touched the 105 macro. This is ridiculous because it is by far the most impressive lens I own but I can never make anything work right with it. It always produced blurry and soft images. Most would get annoyed, blame the equipment and sell it off; but I keep it. Why do I keep it?

Maybe it's because I suck at letting things go. I'm great at finding deals but I am awful at selling off things that I can't or don't use. I usually hold on to them for way to long and then it bites me in the butt when I finally decide to sell something and its three generations behind and.worth half of what I think it is. I have been burned like this plenty of times.

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But.... this is not one of those times. See, I realized shortly after I bought it, that this lens was too much for me, I couldn't make it work because I didn't know how to yet. I was still stuck in the "I must shoot wide open all the time" phase and didn't understand how to use it to its potential.

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To tell you the truth, I still don't yet, but I'm learning and I am shooting with it at my level now. I am gaining an eye for it and I can see where this lens could be a permanent fixture in my lineup to come. More than just a few nice shots of engagement rings, this lens is great for all types of shots. One use I have found, is babies. Having my first encounter with baby portraits just recently, I learned how to make the distance and depth of field and all the magic inside this lens work for me.

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Hope you enjoyed the photos. Please subscribe!

-Jarrett

Photo Of The Day: Surprise Engagement

So, this is the first blog post of it's kind. I just recently had the wonderful opportunity to share one of the largest moments in a couple's life: their engagement. After a few brief coded phone calls, I was enlisted to help Justin surprise his girlfriend on the beach with a special not in a bottle on the beach and a beautiful proposal. They were such a treat to work with and I am very excited to present their photos to them. Hope you enjoy the photos and the video! [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP5lfu4DeP4&w=640&h=360] Engagement-24

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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.

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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:

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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!

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Thanks for reading!

Photo of The Day: The Barefoot Movement

So a couple weeks back, I had the opportunity to shoot a band touring through Myrtle Beach. They are a bluegrass based quartet with an awesome sound. The venue was a little place called Shell Crackers in Pawley's Island, which is just south of Myrtle Beach, that I had no idea even existed. It was a little hideaway just off the highway that ended up being a beautiful venue for any show! One of the members of the band is from the area, so this was a private party of sorts with a very intimate feel. I went for the express purpose of taking photos but ended up really enjoying the concert. They are an awesome group with tons of talent and I hope to work with them again in the future! Enjoy the images! Barefoot Movement-46

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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

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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!

Street Photography: Barefoot on a Breezy Night

So the Barefoot Landing is in full swing this year with their 25th Anniversary celebration. Because I work in the resort industry, I have learned to stay out of the populated areas but last night I was drawn to go get some photos down there, I am very glad I did too. I love street performers but Myrtle Beach has very few of them because of the zoning laws and permits needed that are not easily accessible. But the loophole is the privately owned shopping and entertainment centers where the companies hire performers to come entertain the crowds. Well walking around I jacked up the ISO with my new Rokinon fisheye and gave it a whirl. Comment below with your favorite images!

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This little guy was really digging the magician there. But he was pretty amazed by the crazy looking lens I had on the front of my camera too!

Thanks for looking!

-Jarrett

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

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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).

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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!

Photo(s) of The Day: My night in Black and White

So, for my sister's last Spring Break as a high school student, we decided to stay down at my family's beach house. It's a nice change of pace considering it's about the same distance to my office but a very different bit of scenery. Anyway, because our beach house is inside a gated community, they have a limit on how many cars can be at each house at a given time and that usually means I end parking in the overflow site and walking in. This gives me the opportunity to breath in the funny little streets while I walk in. These photos are walking around, meeting up with some friends and taking advantage of the eery light provided by laptops, in the wifi area. Enjoy!

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Now keep in mind, these images are all shot hand held with a standard 50mm 1.8 lens with no flash. The ISO had to stay a little high but considering that I think the camera handled it very well! It was fun to be challenge by the available light and take photos unaware to some and quite obvious for others! Street photography is a very different style where you have to have a lot of nerve to not care what anyone thinks about you and your camera. Though I am no street photographer, these do have a little street flavor to them

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