The Great European Adventure

I certainly don't consider myself a travel photographer, but we had the amazing opportunity to travel around Europe for most of the summer. For any of you travel lovers out there, I hope you enjoy scrolling through some of my favorites from our time on the road. If you're interested in hearing more details of the travels, check out our trip's blog - www.adventuresofsteveandjenny.com.

New Orleans Bride Magazine at The Cannery

New Orleans Bride magazine held another vendor social at The Cannery on Toulouse.  I had yet to make it to The Cannery, so it was great to see another venue in the city.  This is a place that seems well arranged to host weddings (as opposed to a place that sort of just decided to start hosting weddings).  It's got a long entry way, a big open area for the main party, and little nooks with couches where people can break off and sit down.  Hopefully I'll get back here in the fall for a wedding! new orleans bride magazinenew orleans bride magazinenew orleans bride magazinenew orleans bride magazinenew orleans bride magazinenew orleans bride magazine

Jennifer's Bridal Shoot at the House of Blues

I was looking forward to shooting Jennifer and Brady's wedding at the House of Blues for a while, if for no other reason than so I could finally post some of the pictures from her bridal shoot.  Well their wedding last night was awesome AND I get to to post the bridal pictures.  Hopefully these will hold everybody over until I can get some of the wedding pictures up!

Some 2012 Wedding Favorites

What a year!  With my 2012 weddings all wrapped up, I wanted to look back at some of the awesome couples that I got to photograph.  Here are a few of my favorites in no particular order.  Thanks to all the couples I got to spend time with and the other photographers I've worked with for making all this happen. 2013 is going to be an unforgettable year.  In addition to a whole bunch of personal travel, I've already got spring weddings booked in four states.  For those of you shopping around for photographers, check out the Contact page now and get in on the good times!

Cheers,

Steve

Tiffani & Mike's Engagement Shoot

Recognize these two?  Well if you've read every single post on this blog like you should have then you'd know that I had the pleasure shooting their actual proposal last year.  It's so much fun to get to be a part of such an exciting time in people's lives!  After shooting the proposal, the engagement session was easy.  No nerves, no thunderstorms.  It was a beautiful day in City Park to wander around the oaks and fight off other photographers for the best spots.  Other photogs may have gotten to some cool spots first, but you know what they didn't have?  A couple that would climb trees. And throw leaves at each other because I half-jokingly mention it.  And a little dog that we fed a container full of turkey to.  Winner - me. (And Tiff and Mike do get some nice pictures, so I guess they win, too.)

Gretchen & Nolan's Destrehan Plantation Wedding

Gretchen saw some of my work from a previous wedding at the Mule Barn and must've fallen in love.  Not that it's very difficult.  The grounds of Destrehan Plantation are gorgeous and the Mule Barn is a great setting for a party.  I was really excited to go back.  We started off at a suite at the Hilton and they took a party bus to the plantation.  They had a sweet first look before we jumped into pictures around all the old plantation buildings, followed up by a perfect ceremony outside under a giant old oak tree and then an evening celebrating inside the barn.  It was a great day with a great couple! Congrats to Gretchen and Nolan!

April & Sergio's New Orleans Wedding

As soon as I met April I knew we'd have fun.  I normally find myself trying holding back on my typically excessive use of the words "dude" and "awesome" in wedding conversations, but felt no such urge to do so here.  She's the cousin of a friend of mine and a roller derby girl, so there was no shortage of laughs.  Really, check out the picture of the crowd in church during their ceremony.  Who else has that much fun in church?!  She's the only bride I've worked with so far who has successfully rocked a luchador mask on the dance floor. Oh, and they had cake pops at the reception at the Napoleon House.  If you've read much of this blog, you know that I'm hopelessly addicted to cake pops.

Congrats to April and Sergio!

Matt & Kim's New Orleans Wedding

I had the good fortune of working with Matt in my "before photography" life, so I was thrilled when he contacted me about photographing his wedding.  Both Matt and Kim hail from the north, so not only was I seeing familiar faces, but I got to see a lot of people from Ohio and Michigan enjoying a great New Orleans party.  The whole event took place at the New Orleans Opera Women's Guild house on Prytania.  In another series of random connections - my wife does graphic design work for the Opera, and I've taken pictures at multiple of their events.  The house is all that you'd expect of a beautiful old garden district mansion, which made a great setting for some very classy bride and groom pictures.  A great setting for a great couple. Congrats to Matt and Kim!

 

Oddities in America - Longwood Plantation, Natchez, MS

I got to visit Longwood in Natchez, MS, a massive octagonal mansion on which the construction was halted with the outbreak of the Civil War. With only the lower level finished, the upper floors remain in the same state they were in over 150 years ago.  Apparently the deal between the current and past owners required that it remain unfinished, giving visitors a rare glimpse into the past.  The workmen's tools are still laying around.  A few of the shipping crates, including a massive one for the house's piano, serve as the only furnishings on the first level.  In it's unfinished state, you can stand in the center of the house and make yourself dizzy looking straight up through the next six stories worth or lumber and rafters.  I can't think of a better setting for a ghost story; something where you can hear workers' saws and civil war gunfire after the sun goes down.  I'd stay there overnight... I swear.

 

Source: http://www.shoot2studios.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Longwood-1.jpg

Shoot 2 Studios' Second Shooter's Guide

You're probably reading this because you either have questions about second shooting or have already talked to us about working for Shoot 2 Studios.   Every photographer does things differently so the goal here is to answer the majority of the basic questions and give you the essential directions for second shooting with us.  If you've got more questions, just ask! Second shooting = Assisting +

You'll be carrying light stands, raising and lowering light stands, being a voice activated human light stand, and so on.  If I'm not shooting it means I'm either chatting briefly with a guest, in the bathroom, or doing something that you can help with.  Being a wedding photographer means running your ass off for ten hours every Saturday and I take that to heart.  I'm normally sweaty with at least one piece of torn clothing by the end of the night... so just run with me.

You're representing Shoot 2 Studios

This should go without saying, but be nice, smile, laugh, cry with them if you must, but keep working.  I'll give you business and event cards to carry and hand out if asked.

This is not for your portfolio

In the past I've hired people in the "I'm just starting/learning" stage and let them use their images for their portfolio with few restrictions.  Unfortunately, that doesn't give me the consistent, high quality images that I aim to deliver to my clients.  That, and a few bad apples would do things like post their pictures on social media before mine, or give their images to other vendors instead of mine as if it's their wedding.  So I don't do that anymore... At the start of the wedding day, I'll give you memory cards to use and you'll return them at the end of the shoot.  You've already got a good portfolio, otherwise I wouldn't hire you.

Eating/Drinking

If the clients have specified a time for us to eat, then great!  We get a break.  If it's a buffet, then grab a plate after all the guests have eaten and have a bite, but keep an eye on the action.  If it's a sit down dinner and we haven't been given a meal, then I hope you brought snacks.  We'll usually get something, but always bring something just in case.  Also, I have a one drink rule.  If offered, we can have one drink with the bride/groom/bridal party (some people get downright offended if you turn down a drink).  After that it's polite jokes about how more alcohol will make you forget to take the lens cap off.

Dress Code

The general rule is dress pants, long sleeved button up dress shirt, and dress shoes for guys.  Ladies can wear either pants or dresses so long as they can comfortably crouch and bend, and whatever shoes you can move around in all day without killing your feet.  Both guys and girls should wear black or dark colors.   If there's something else that would be more appropriate for a particular wedding (a suit, Converse, etc.) I'll let you know in advance.

Communication

If you've got questions during the day, just ask.  There are times when we might be across the room from one another and can't communicate verbally so try to interpret my hand signals as best you can.  They basically include pointing at something (i.e. photograph what I'm pointing at), and the finger across the throat sign (i.e. stop what you're doing because it's ruining my shot or something).

Before we get started on wedding day

We'll either meet before shooting begins the day of, or if you're showing up after the event has started we'll talk at some point before you arrive.  We'll go over the schedule and specific plans for the day.  There are also a few camera setting details to get straight.  Doing this up front makes my life a lot easier when I process your images.

-Synch our camera times

-Shoot large RAW

-No Auto WB.  I don't like getting pictures where every WB is different and none of them are right... it doesn't tend to work well with my post processing workflow.

-Format memory cards

-Check radio trigger channels (if we're using the same type of triggers).

After all that's done, we're ready to go to greet our clients.

What do I want you to shoot?

My focus is about 80% on the bride and groom, 20% on everything else.  Your focus should be more like 50/50.  This obviously isn't an exact science, but I want more crowd reaction shots, detail shots, friends and family pictures, table pictures, etc. from you while I'm working with the B&G.  The overall rule is don't shoot the same thing from the same place at the same time.  Other than that, be creative and have fun.

Where do I want you?  

I'll give specific directions if/when I have them, but the general rules include - (1) stay out of my shots, and (2) don't stand right next to me and shoot the exact same thing.

I'm usually all over the place at weddings, so keep an eye on where I am and move if necessary.  I.e. If I come stand right next to you and start shooting it means I want that spot and you should move.  Sorry. Feel happy that you picked a good vantage point.  :)

Lighting?

I aim to have my second's pictures styled consistently with mine so they blend in and are a seamless part of the final wedding day story.  I use off camera and bounced flashes, so we'll set yours up to be consistent.

Questions and ideas

Definitely feel free to ask any questions you have come  to mind during the wedding, but try to do so when we're not directly working with the clients.  I also like to hear other's ideas about what they would have done differently, but not when I'm actively working on my idea.

After we're done

Hand over the cards, get paid, and that's it!

Questions?  Things I should add?  Let me know; this is a living document that I'll change from time to time.  Hopefully you'll have had a great experience and gotten some fantastic pictures.

As always - Shoot 2 be awesome,

SH

 

A little bit about albums

For those of you interested in getting albums but haven't been able to meet with me in person, I've uploaded a few pictures to show you a little bit about them. First, there are two basic cover types - Photographic and Leather.  You should be able to figure out which is which in the pictures!  The photographic cover albums are great because we can design custom covers using your images.

Bindings - These albums have a lay-flat design with a very small center seam, so they can sit fully open without damaging the book.

Page counts - Base albums have 20 pages for images, which equates to roughly 50-60 pictures.  Additional pages can be added two at a time if you'd like to include more pictures.

Pages - The pictures are printed onto thick board mount pages so they don't bend (unless you force them) and won't tear (unless you really go after them).  The albums pictured have been to multiple wedding shows, have had cake and champagne spilled on them, and had thousands of people flip through them and still look like new.

Spines - The photographic cover can have custom text added.  The leather albums can only have text added to the front cover.

The leather albums can have custom text embossed onto the front cover.

Best in Dining

New Orleans Magazine's Best In Dining event was recently held at Muriel's in the French Quarter.  I was able to get a shot of the sweets display before a little girl walked up and started touching all of them.  How do I stay thin with the constant availability of great buffet food?  I just pretend that every event has one of these little food handlers and things become less appetizing.  :/

Can I get a DVD?

I recently photographed an event for an entrepreneurship organization, at which Mike DeLazzer, founder of Redbox, gave a talk.  Being a small business owner myself, it's always fantastic to hear stories from people that were able to turn ideas into successful businesses.  Inspiration can come from anywhere.  Grab it and run with it when you see it.

Source: http://www.shoot2studios.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/EORedbox-3.jpg

Stinking like pork fat and loving it!

  Yesterday I ventured west of New Orleans, through Baton Rouge, and into the outskirts of Lafayette, Louisiana.  The mission - stop by five different meat shops, slaughterhouses, and delis to photograph a staple of southern health food, the cracklin.  Admittedly, cracklins aren't the most photogenic of foods, being that they're essentially fried chunks of pig skin.  As much as I love taking pictures and working through issues such as unflattering subjects, the road trip itself was even more fun.

I hate driving.  There's no point in softening that statement.  My wife will tell you that I have trouble sitting still and fidget constantly, so being forced to sit in a chair with at least one arm and one leg dedicated to controlling a vehicle is akin to torture.  I try to lessen the pain by eating junk food and listening to lectures on tape (though most people would probably say that hearing recordings about diachronic linguistics would make the drive immeasurably worse).  Regardless of my distaste for piloting the car, a bag of beef jerky and two wrong turns later (thanks again Google Maps), I made it to the first stop.

The best part about these road trips?  Being able to walk into a small, family owned shop, start chatting, and within 30 seconds be on my way to the back of the house to watch them do what they do.  They're usually excited about any sort of exposure which certainly helps, but something tells me I couldn't do that if it were a corporately owned business I was walking into.  These people cared.  I got a slew of stories from the owner of the slaughterhouse. The others were glad to say why their products were special, while throwing the occasional jab at the competition.  Keeping in mind that I was shooting pictures in fully operational shops during lunch hour, everybody was incredibly nice and accommodating.

I got to see things cooked and cooled and packaged.  I swapped stories with people whose accents we perfect examples of south Louisiana cajun.  I got greasy pork fat splattered on my feet and clothes while seeing chunks of meat sizzle in giant pots.  Everybody gave me little paper bags with samples to take home.  Even before the two hour return trip, all of the bags were soaked through with grease and cajun spices.  The car smelled like a meat shop the whole way back, but is was definitely a great day on the road.

Source: http://www.shoot2studios.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Cracklinscover.jpg