Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Elisa and Jon - Ocean Springs, MS Engagement Session

Okay, I love this couple. I say that alot, but I really LOVE this couple. Elise and Jon are getting married in October. Their wedding is in Colorado, or else I'd seriously consider crashing their big day just so I can take photos of their wedding (is that frowned upon?) Luckily for them, my best friend is getting married that day or I might just hop on a plane to do just that ;)

Okay, now that I've creeped them out, I'll share the images. What a fun couple! Jon is in the Coast Guard and Elise is volunteering for Americorps. They are living in Ocean Springs for now until Jon's duty takes him elsewhere. Of course being from Colorado, they thought it was hot and humid, which by South Mississippi standards it was relatively cool and comfortable. So I had to poke fun a little. But as soon as Jon pulled out his Red Sox hat at the end of the session, they became my favorite clients! (Hint: want to woo your Boston-transplant photographer, wear a Boston Red Sox or Boston University hat and we'll be friends forever).

Meet Jon and Elise!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Jaklyn's Bridals

I'm sure I've said this before, and I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but photographing a bridal session and keeping the photos to myself until the wedding day is like holding in a juicy secret. You know you can't let it out, but you're dying to ;)

Jaklyn has been a busy girl.... graduating from law school; studying, taking and PASSING the bar, all while planning her wedding. Talk about getting things done. And all while appearing clam, cool and collected.

Jaklyn's wedding was Saturday (those pictures to come) at Gulf Hills Country Club in Ocean Springs, MS. Her ceremony took place at the beautiful Marshall Park also in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. And I couldn't be more thankful that she chose Tilley Photography as her wedding photographer. I feel honored each and every time a couple gives me the opportunity to capture the memories of their wedding day.

We discussed where to take her bridal portraits on the gulf coast... and she thought of a very special place. She grew up playing among the oak trees and Spanish moss along the Singing River at a magical place called Twelve Oaks. And so that's where we went. It's in Gautier, MS just down the road from La Maison (The Old Place). Enjoy! She was stunning, don't you agree?

A special thanks to Rachel Cuevas (remember her) from Pine Hills Floral Designs for providing the bouquet for the session!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tracey and Brian - Friendship Oak and Beau Rivage Wedding, Biloxi, MS

I had been looking forward to this wedding for a long time. Tracey and Brian were planning their wedding from Charlotte, NC and chose to bring their close friends and family here to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I was so honored to be their wedding photographer.

They wanted a special location for their ceremony - and appropriately chose the Friendship Oak in Long Beach, MS. As locals know, the legand has it that those who enter the shade of its branches will remain friends for all their lifetime. What could be better?

Valerie's Melodies provided the beautiful ceremony music. Susie Davis from A Plan to Remember made their event flow smoothly, as usual. From the pink and orange decor at the tree... and then bringing the tree theme back to the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, MS for a reception like no other. The tree branches could be found throughout the details of their wedding - from the programs and favors, to the centerpieces and way-cool ice sculpture (that doubled as a louge for their signature drink). Not to mention the amazing logo that lit up the recpetion.

Flowers Forever from Gulfport, MS created the beautiful bouquets of hydrangeas and roses, while Melissa's Specialty Cakes from Long Beach baked the beautiful cake that tasted as good as it looked - not that I would know ;)

And to make sure the reception was entertaining for all, the couple hired the professional Jim Horn Entertainment as the Master of Ceremonies and DJ extrodinaire. Jim knows how to keep the reception exciting, and I should know - as Jim was the Master of Ceremonies for my own wedding six years ago. And a nice little suprise? The couple lead the second line with a pair of umbrellas close to my heart. They were the umbrella's I special ordered for my wedding's second line. I passed them on to Jim after our reception ended - little did I know I would see them again!

Long Beach Mississippi Wedding Photographer Friendship Oak Wedding Beau Rivage Wedding Biloxi Wedding Photographer

Friday, May 13, 2011

I've Got Your Back (-up)

Yesterday I spoke with a teary-eyed newlywed named Melissa. She booked a session with me to take pictures of her and her groom in their wedding day attire. Some couples choose to have more pictures taken after their wedding day to get the most out of that FABULOUS dress... but for this bride, it wasn't really her choice.

She had a well-meaning friend with a great camera photograph her wedding. And her friend takes great pictures... but sometimes, hiring a professional photographer (or any wedding vendor really) is about more than just whether or not one can take a great photo. It's about experience and knowledge and preparation. Her well-meaning friend with a great camera who takes good photos only had one camera, one lens, one battery, two memory cards, and no off camera flashes.

This sweet soul, because I truly believe this person had the best of intentions, had not one mis-hap, but two - and now a couple has special moments from their day missing.

As Melissa's dad got ready to walk his only daughter down the aisle, her friend's battery died. Yes, that sweet moment of dad walking his little girl down the aisle has come and gone... and while that moment will forever be in Melissa's heart - she will not have any photographs of that moment to share with her loved ones and future children. Her friend quickly found a corner to charge her battery (she was smart enough to bring the charger!) and grabbed a guest's point and shoot camera to capture the rest of the ceremony.

By the end of the ceremony, the battery was charged. Whew... just in time for the family formals. She captured the family pictures on her memory card. Then the bride, groom and friend with a camera went to get some much anticipated couple shots... by a fountain. The family had left and made their way to the reception... it was just the three of them.

Her friend placed the camera down next to the fountain (see where this is going) while she positioned Melissa and her husband in a wonderful pose... turned around to grab her camera.. and as she turned around knocked her camera into the fountain.

The friend had one wonderful thing on her side... she had taken the first card out of the camera and inserted a new one as they left the church... so all the pictures she had taken were safe. Of course the camera was soaked and wet, and the displays were flashing until finally nothing displayed and it was obvious the camera was fried.

However, with just one camera - and no one else around with even a point and shoot (the rest of the bridal party and family had left to go to the reception).... they were left there, without a camera. Melissa confessed that she cried all the way to the reception.

Her friend grabbed the other guest's point and shoot again and captured the rest of the reception with just a point and shoot.

So here we are... it wasn't a total loss. Melissa has lovely preparation photos and family formal portraits. She has what her friend was able to capture with the point and shoot but is missing her walking down the aisle and pictures of just the couple they had planned on taking. And while the photos from the point and shoot will do... its just not the same.

I could really go on and on... but when you pay money for a photographer, don't think of it as 6 hours or 8 hours or whatever time you have contracted them for on the day of your wedding. For each wedding I spend 4-5 hours of preparation charging batteries, packing bags, typing out a list of family formals, going over the wedding day timeline, etc. I spend many hours after the wedding uploading images to multiple hard drives and then burning onto disks in case of a drive failure. It's the equipment costs, maintenance costs and costs to insure the equipment.

To every wedding I photograph I bring 4 professional SLRs (A 5D MkII, a 7D, and two 30Ds), 12 fully charged camera batteries, 6 professional speedlights (flashes), 11 lenses, 40 compact flash cards, 36 fully charged NiMh AA batteries, three light stands, a tripod, an umbrella, and my chargers. This is so that if something horrible happens and a camera body or flash breaks, I don't even have to blink... I pull out a back-up.

When you pay for a professional you're also paying for them to maintain and insure tens' of thousands of dollars' worth of equipment.

Last year I had a wedding on a particularly dry day. Lots of lightening, but no rain. One of my cameras just failed on me - I can only guess it was the static electricity in the air. And it happened during the father/daughter dance. But guess what - the bride has NO idea. Because within seconds, I had my second body up and taking photos.

Do things like this happen? Sure... but it's the professionals that are prepared for it.