What I do, and why I do it...

I really don't write blogs about me personally. However I felt I needed to share my thoughts with you today about me and photography. This is pretty long but please take the time to read. 

Over the last couple of months I have been asked a few times "what made you decide to get in to photography?" Also, Ive been asked many many times "why do you want to be a wedding photographer? Isn't that a hectic job?" Before I give you the answer, let me say this...it wasn't a decision to get into photography, it was a want, a desire, an absolute yearning. I feel when you decide or make a decision there is always another option. For me I felt there wasn't another option. Well let me put it this way...I wanted no other options, nothing else distracting me for what I felt was a true passion to photography. Some may describe it as a calling. I call it LOVE!! So if you or someone else asks me again "What made you decide to get in to photography?" My answer to you or them is simply LOVE.

I have always loved photography as a kid but was steered to another profession that my heart wasn't in to. I went to college for it, studied hard as I could and got a degree...and believe me that degree never panned out. However it is a nice feature piece in my office. :) Even throughout all the years in my life, photography was still always burning and yearning to be in the forefront. The love of this creative art finally just overwhelmed me one day and I made the leap.  Was it easy? NO! Was it tough? Absolutely! Is it still tough and hard to break into the business? YES! Do I regret my love for it? NEVER!!

I LOVE photography and it is as simple as that. Do I like getting paid for the images I create? Absolutely I do.  I still need to keep a roof over my family's head and provide the necessities for my family. However, that LOVE for being behind that camera is something special. My LOVE for photography and especially wedding photography is just like love for a person. My second paragraph sort of describes that LOVE, just substitute some things and switch around some words and you may get something like this....

...It's like that girl or guy back in the day that you felt that connection to or spark for but never did anything about it. You felt in down in your gut that that person was the one for you, but you allow others or other reasons steer you in another direction.  You go off to college and/or continue on with your life dating other people or simply living life...but that person is always in your thoughts. Then one day you are out there around town, in another city, at a party or whatever or somewhere and you see that person again. At that moment all those feelings you had for that person comes back tenfold and just floods your body, mind and soul and you make that leap.  You make that leap because you know this isn't a decision, you make that leap because you know there is no one else for you and you feel you need to do this and you two are meant to be. And you do it! Dry mouth, nervousness, sweaty palm and all, you take that leap to tell them how you really feel and felt all this time. They reciprocate the feeling and things move and it all works out. You are with the person of you knew was meant to be with and the person you LOVE. Will that relationship has it tough times? Probably. Will you two always see eye to eye on everything? No you will not. Will there be a time where you will have to fight hard for your relationship? Maybe. If all those things happened that I just described would you regret it or do it all over again? If you LOVE that person like I LOVE photography, you wouldn't regret it a bit and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I'm not saying this is how everyone falls in love with someone or something. I understand that. This is simply how I feel.  If I didn't take that leap how would I feel today? I would be always questioning this and that. Or asking myself what could have happened if I wouldn't have at least tried? The two words you don't ever want to say is "WHAT IF?".

I fell in LOVE like this before 3 times in my life and I will tell you in exact order.  I use to think that I fell in LOVE with my wife that way first but she was actually second. First I fell in LOVE with GOD that way. He gave me the LOVE that I knew as a kid and manifested it into a LOVE that I now have and cherish as an adult which brings me to #2. Second I truly fell in LOVE with my wife after GOD taught me how to LOVE the right way. This all happened after we were married. I always knew I loved her but this was a different kind of LOVE that GOD gave and allowed me to understand that I can't really put a finger on, but when you feel it you know it. We have not had the storybook and fairytale marriages that are portrayed sometimes on TV, but I THANK GOD for allowing me a second chance to meet her again after she went away a while after college.  This woman has supported me through so much in my life. Through both GOD and my wife's LOVE I fell in LOVE a third time and that was with photography. I know this maybe cheesy to some of you but to me this is what happened to me.

So this is why I cherish wedding and engagement photography, as well as couples photography. The idea of a two individuals taking that leap to marry each other and to love each other is so amazing to me. Having a photographer photograph them and freeze that moment in time is breathtaking and being a wedding and engagement photographer is not a job or work for me...it is an absolute HONOR. As a wedding and engagement photographer you are allowed into a couple's intimate and private space. To me I love being a part of that. I love to capture those moments between two people where they basically forget about you (the photographer) being there and it is just them in that moment. Those are the images that made me fall in LOVE with wedding and engagement photography. When I capture an image and you hold the print in your hand or see that image in your album and it makes you instantly remember what he or she said to you in your ear to make you look at the them with endearment, or laughter or a glowing smile and make you realize why you fell in love with them the first place, I know I've done what I was suppose to do. That's my goal in the images that I capture. I LOVE what I do because I have a passion, a yearning, a calling so-to-speak to capture LOVE and freeze it in time. Why I do it is because, I want you to feel the same LOVE for your husband or wife when you look at the image of each other and know that just like my leap, your leap was well worth it.

Until we meet...Stay happy...Love life...and Keep smiling!!

Kyron's Big Day at the Hospital

As a parent you never want to imagine anything bad happening to your child. Especially anything that requires them "going under the knife". This wasn't a major surgery by no means, but it did require that my 3 year old to under go anesthesia to have a tonsillectomy and have adenoids remove, so that made my wife and I a little nervous.  All you can do in this situation is pray, pray and trust in God that everything will be fine. So I just want to take you through this day and kinda give you my take and my perspective of how the day was through words and images.

So one thing about my son is that if he is going on a long road trip or spending the night somewhere or is sick, he doesn't go anywhere without Woody and his "blue blankey" (and lately "bullseye" has been tagging along too.) We needed to do everything possible to make sure he felt comfortable.  Also mommy is never too far from his side as well.  His day started off by waking up at 5am and trying to drink 16 ounces of Gatorade before going to the hospital. Needless to say...that didn't happen. But he drank enough to be on the safe side.  

Kyron was pretty calm about all of this and never seemed to let the situation bother him.  I think mom and dad...well let me back up...I know mom and dad were more worried about it than he was. But as long as he had mommy and Woody he was OK!

I think it really dawn on us that he was about to have his procedure done when they put the ID and information bracelets around his ankle and brought out the lovely tiger medical gown for him to put on.  For me that is when my heart started really racing. With Ky being Ky, he sat there on mommy's lap relaxing and finding some humor in the situation by sticking out his tongue everytime I would raised the camera up to snap a photo (I had to delete a lot of those images..there were way too many) and laughing and telling me, "look dad there are frosting on my yellow socks".  To me that was his way of saying...dad I'm fine, no need to worry.

All the paranoia, jitters and fright really set in when they came to get him and walked away with him. And my 3 year old gave me a hi five and said "see you later dad, I'm going to go blow up my ballon now".  That was the way the anesthesiologist used the "Jedi Mind trick" on him.  Kyron walked a way with not one ounce of fear. Believe me I had enough for everyone there that morning.

After he is taken back, now the real test of Faith begins.  Everything starts racing thru your mind and your heart beats a little harder...but then I stop I close my eyes from a brief second and pray and then tell God...Thank You.  Then a calmness has come over me. Until they call our name to meet the doctor in consult room 45 mins later, then I freaked out all over again.  The doctor came into the little tennie tiny consult room to tell us everything went well.  WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU FREAK OUT PARENTS LIKE THAT!!! I've seen those movies, they only call you back there for bad stuff, not to tell you everything is ok! But once I heard that he was ok, I was fine.  We proceeded back to the waiting room to wait to be called back to recovery to see him.

The call came and it was time to see our baby boy. The very fearless and tough little 3 year old was NOT a happy camper as you can imagine. He was trying to rip out his I.V. and he didn't know where he was via the anesthesia.  He had blood coming out of his nose and mouth from the surgery. He just knew something wasn't right but then he saw some familiar faces and popped that old tongue out again to let me know he was just fine.

After that tongue showed me he was fine, then I was.  Kyron did pretty well after that. He did vomit a couple of times but they said that was normal.  But believe when I say this...you do not want to see what comes out the stomach after a tonsillectomy and adenoid removal.  YUCK!!

The Coke's the nurse brought to us was perfect. Kyron is a dreamer like all kids that age and he  laid there with his mommy (which is my better half) and ate some apple sauce, had some juice and got to have all the ice pops he wanted while watching cartoon.  That made him very happy. He was comfortable again while laying there with my wife and every now and again lifting up to give me a Hi-Five. He had his parents, he had cartoons and he had Woody.  He knew his was just fine.

Like I said before he did have a few incidents but nothing major.  He was doing his best to be the same old rambunctious 3 year that we loved to death. It's just hard to tell a 3 year old to relax and take it easy when they are always trying to be on the go. For the most part he listened. The real test is when we get home, because the pain medicine they gave him that supposedly makes a person sleepy did the total opposite for him.  It jacked him up! But you can't contain that much energy and love all balled up in a 3 year old.

God makes our kids fragile in so many ways that they truly need us almost all of their lives, but He also makes them extremely strong to be there for us when we need it and I thank God for that.  Kyron showed so much bravery and strength for a 3 year old. Something that I was sure was going to freak him out he stayed strong for. So thank you son for being strong for mommy and daddy on your big day at the hospital. KyKy we love you to the Heavens and back!

He's a cool dude...

Jarrett at Work

He's a cool dude...and NO I'm not talking about myself.  But I do think I'm an OK guy.  At least that's what my momma tells me.  But I am referring to the individual that shot this photo of me.  (I'm the dude at the bottom of the page) Mr. Jarrett Hucks of Myrtle Beach SC. (The guy pictured above talking to the bride.) I recently met Jarrett by just responding to one of his assistance needed requests in one of our local photography Facebook groups. We spoke via Facebook and then met face to face the day prior to the wedding to talk about my experience and background a little.  And then he offered me the gig and I accepted. And from the start I knew he was a cool dude. Jarrett is one of those fellas that has a smooth, calm, confident demeanor about himself. (And cool hair too...LOL!) He is a guy that once you get to know him, you can't help but have respect for him; on the flip side of that, once he knows you, he will help you out as much as possible, and its rare to find people like that anymore. And from what I hear (not experience, but heard) that it is hard to find people like that in the photography industry. For me...so far so good.  I have met, crossed paths and worked for some amazing photographers with great personalities so far. But it's hard for me to see this guy not being a great guy to be around.  Jarrett has given me a lot of advice in this short period of knowing each other.  The one piece of advice that he has given that truly helped and stuck with me, was the advice he gave me just before my 1st wedding as a lead photographer.  I asked him if he had any tips to give me and all he said was "be confident and own it and you will do fine." That single piece of advice stuck with me the entire time during my first wedding and when I got a little frazzled at times I just remembered what he said and I was ok!

So Jarrett thanks for the opportunity and friendship you have given me. You are truly a cool dude!!

 photo taken by Jarrett Hucks of JH Photo

photo taken by Jarrett Hucks of JH Photo

Research, Learn and then be a Second Shooter 1st

Camera-01.jpg

So you wanna be a Wedding Photographer. You want to photograph those extravagant country and city weddings. You want to be able to charge un-Godly amounts for your photography services. So you went out and purchased a DSLR and you are ready to book your first wedding. WHHOOOAAAA!!! Slow down and take a few steps back. Believe me it's not as easy as that.  I had sort of the same mindset but I realized I missed a few steps.

Before I get into this, let me tell you about my experience as a wedding photographer. I have no experience as a wedding photographer. But keep reading.  I just started out in this business and had all these grand ideas and goals and then realized that you have to do some leg work in a very saturated professional market like wedding photography. So I took a breath and started working on how to become one by taking certain steps.  Now I am not saying that my way is right or is the only way to do it, but it's what I have doing to get my foot into the market.

First I researched what gear would I need to assist me in creating great images. That took me about 6-8 months to do. Because I am simply weird when it comes to buying things like this. So I read every stinking article that is available and view every video I can get my hand on and read every customer review to help me narrow down my decision. And sometimes you can't afford the gear you really want so you have to do research on backup ideas and so on and so on. But forums, videos and gear companies like B&H and Adorama are great starting points.

Next I dedicated myself to learning, learning, learning and yes...more learning.  I took classes,  I watch tutorials (Fstoppers and SLR Lounge are absolutely awesome to learn from), I read articles and watched videos of photographer interviews of the photographers I admired (Cliff Mautner, Joe Buissink, Patrick Hall, Lee Morris, Hunter McRae). I also studied the work of outstanding local photographers in the Myrtle Beach. So I was and still am always reading and watching and asking fellow photographers questions. I want to learn, I want to grow, but most importantly I want this information that I soak in to resonate in my work in the future. In the business of photography I think you are never "there" I think there is something to always to learn to grow your skill set. So why not continued to learn a long the way.

Next I started reaching out to other photographers to find work and gain experience. Whether it was being a second shooter or an assistant on a wedding, a commercial shoot, an event...I simply didn't care. I wanted to gain experience. I used my teacher for his resources to see if he had contacts.  With his connections my first real gig was a gymnastics shoot.  A weekend long state gymnastics competition. You may say, what does that have to do with wedding photography? Well let me tell you.  It allowed me to learn and experience two things. One...what it meant to be on your feet for about 8-14 hours holding a camera. Second, by the end of the weekend it taught me how to anticipate a moment.  Two things that wedding photography demands. So that situation taught me those two valuable things. But I didn't stop there. I started emailing the photographers that I admired their work from the Myrtle Beach, Charleston and North Carolina areas to find opportunities to work and learn from some of them.  Then by doing that I found other great photographers that I didn't know of.  I joined Facebook photography groups in my area and in other areas. I simply didn't just sit a home and wait for someone to call or reach out to me.  I took jobs for free because I felt the experience was valuable.  Don't get me wrong I like money but sometimes I felt I had to sacrifice to learn.  This process of mine gave me the opportunity to work with great photographers like Keith Jacobs, Scott Smallin, Jarrett Hucks, Feuza Reis and Patrick Hall. I learned a lot from each one of those opportunities and then I learn more when I see my images and they critique them. I still have a list of photographers just from my state that I would love to work with and learn from (Hunter McRae and Gillian Claire Reinhardt...I am not giving up)

So find your own way to break into the market. I am still working hard to get in there and I will continue to work hard. not saying my way is the gospel but it has been working for me.

 

Where is Spring???

Well it is almost April and it is still cold and windy and wet here in Myrtle Beach.  This weather has simply slowed down a lot of things but it is fun to be able to get out in the elements too.  But it has to SUCK for the spring breakers that came to Myrtle Beach. However, I still see some crazy kids getting in the ice cold water.  To be young and "courageous"...God I miss those days at times. But the lack of warmth with this sunshine kinda makes you think that if winter has lasted this long here and has been this cold for us at the Beach, how hot will the summer be.  I truly think that Myrtle Beach will have no spring, we are going to simply go straight from winter into summer. But can I really complain, can I really compare our weather to what is going on in the northeast and midwest...I can't.  Those guys have had soooo much brutal cold weather and snow and they seem to have no end to the madness.  I love those northeast and midwest cities and they have tons and tons more to offer than Myrtle Beach at times, but it is refreshing to know that I can step outside get in my car and let it warm up and drive off without getting out a snow blower or snow shovel.  But in weather like this you get to see and experience some crazy things. So embrace the weather because there isn't crap we can do about it.

 

Go out there and snap a pic of something because everything is beautiful.

The Moose

My Family

My Family

Recently I have been able to enjoy more time with my family. With me making a career change last year to photography and real estate from Management, this change has allowed me to see what I have been truly missing.  I'm not saying I don't have a busy schedule now, but at times I get to dictate my schedule some and it's lovely. No more of the day to day conference calls, reports, managing staff members and just the day to day grind of retail management.  Customer service is what I had loved the most about the retail industry but being a salaried employee for "Tha Man" has it's pros and cons. One of the cons have been family time...well the lack of.  It's been awesome to spend time with love ones and even reconnect with old friends and actually do things with them. I want to enjoy life and make a living at the same time and photography has allowed me to do that.  So thank my God for my limited talent behind the camera and His ability to make me better each and everyday with photography.  With that blessing from Him he has allowed me to spend more time with the great people in my life...my family and friends.

Exposure

So I decided today to expose myself a little more.  I joined 500px tonight, but I still need to tidy up my Flickr.  But I am thinking will this work, will this benefit me any, will people start to notice...I don't know but I have to try.  I love sites like Flickr and 500px because the talent level is AMAZING and I learn so much by just looking at photos. So guys who visit my site, go to the bottom and start clicking the icons. I want to be connected to you in all the ways possible.

Under Construction...

Blogs are coming soon. But they will not be your average blog relating to my sight.  It will be things and topics that I simply find interesting. Things like photography, sports, life, tech, food, places...you get the picture :)  It will just be good ole topics that interest good ole people.  Of course there will be topics related to my photography work...I can't leave that out.  So see you guys on the flipside!

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