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!

Tis the season for silly Christmas cards!

We'll use any excuse to take ridiculous pictures of ourselves, but it's nice to have a legitimate use every once in a while.  This year's Christmas cards just arrived from the printer today, so lucky friends and family will be seeing these gems in their mailboxes shortly.  My parents keep blaming each other for producing me, but I know that they're secretly proud of such a presentable young man. For those of you not getting cards, a hearty Happy Holidays to you!

-Cheers, Steve & Jenny

Meat, delicious meat - Toup's Meatery

This was another case of not knowing what to expect out of a dish.  I was told to photograph the "charcuterie board" at Toup's Meatery and I had to look up what charcuterie even meant.  It's always a pleasant surprise when they come out with a big board full of food that's both visually interesting and great tasting.

The Zombie Cakepopalypse!

We like to have fun around here, if that hasn't become obvious yet.  When I told Jenny that I'd like some cake pops instead of a traditional birthday cake, she jumped at the idea.  But since we can't do anything without turning it into an art project, she decided to make the cake pops into little people and yes, little zombies. She disappeared into the kitchen to make various flavors of cake pops, carefully icing and placing each of their little eyes.  I set up and lit our scene so we could take a few pictures of our creations.  I always tell people that I spend a lot of time "playing" with food while I photograph it, but in this case, were literally playing with these guys, making them go after each other, picking out who we thought should survive and who should get eaten.

Dessert should always be this fun.

Cake Pops! Oh, and a New Orleans Bride event

I do some work for New Orleans Bride magazine, including photographing a vendor event that they've started hosting twice a year.  They get a great group of the city's wedding professionals gets together for some drinks, food, and networking at the Ritz-Carlton.  And let's not forget the cake pops.  It's unhealthy how much I love cake pops.  Quite literally - unhealthy.

William and Scarlett's Preservation Hall Wedding

What can I say?  I love Scarlett and Billy's style.  They brought folks in from around the country (and other countries) to experience an amazing weekend in New Orleans.  My part started the night before the wedding with coverage of their welcome dinner, a great setup in the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum.  Entertainment was provided by the Emily Estrella and the Fauxbarrio Billionaires.  Nothing gets a wedding weekend started like good food and good music. If rain on your wedding day is good luck then Billy and Scarlett will have an extremely lucky marriage.  Both Friday and Saturday it rained all day right up to the point when their events started, and as if they knew the rain's thoughts ahead of time, the evening skies cleared and left us with beautiful weather.  Preservation Hall, renowned for its dirt floors and good music, provided an intimate setting perfect for their ceremony.  Personalized vows with humor and sincerity (and their little one wanting to get in on things) had everybody alternating between laughing and crying.  And after such a flood of happy thoughts, everybody was ready to second line over to the Napoleon House for the reception.

I always love seeing personalized details at weddings.  In addition to writing their own vows, Billy also customized his suit for the occasion.  Their rings were custom made with their fingerprints.  They had personalized favors for their guests and whole schedules of activities made up for the weekend.  I don't even know what their "cake" was, but it was different and tasted fantastic.  And, well, I could go on.  Suffice it to say, as I began with, I love their style and was thrilled to be a part of their wedding.  A big "cheers" to Scarlett and Billy.

Amy & Jake's French Quarter Engagement Session

I often get asked if I get tired of shooting in the French Quarter, and the answer is always a definite "never!"  I rarely use the same spots multiple times, and if I do, I don't use them in the same way.  Add to that the fact that there always seems to be something going on, and you have a place with a huge amount of variety.  The Oyster Festival was going on the night I went around with Amy and Jake and we got to use the crowds to add some atmosphere to the pictures. In yet another of example of "small world" encounters I've had - These two found me through a bridal show I did earlier in the year.  As it turns out that I actually used to work with Jake's dad.  Little connections are always fun.  :)

Holly & Greg's French Quarter Engagement Session

Being a photographer teaches to you rush into situations that most people would rather be rushing out of.  Big events going on?  Gotta go take pictures.  It's nighttime in run down areas?  Gotta go take pictures.  It's been raining all day and you have an engagement session you might need to reschedule?  Nah, gotta go take pictures. Holly and Greg got engaged at the St. Louis Hotel (now Hotel Mazarin), so they wanted to come back and do some of their engagement pictures there.  The fact that it had been raining all day and suddenly cleared up only minutes before I met with them meant that the entire hotel courtyard was empty, the chairs tilted to prevent water from pooling, and... water everywhere.  But did I mention it was empty?  Having the whole courtyard to ourselves was a rare luxury and let us all relax and take some great pictures.  By the time we ventured out for a few shots in the quarter it had turned into a genuinely nice night.

One of the only picture requests they had was a shot in front of Preservation Hall.  But, as tends to happen, there was a big line in front totally blocking the view of the exterior.  It was also completely dark by the time we got there.  Luck smiled on us again when the girl working the door saw that we were struggling to shoot around the people and actually invited us into the courtyard to take whatever pictures we wanted.  Great end to a great session.

Lori & Fu's Engagement Session - Columbus Ohio

I made the trip up from New Orleans to photograph Lori and Fu's engagement session.  We met up at Northbank Park and were thankful that the meteorologists were wrong about the weather once again.  It ended up being a gorgeous (if a tad hot) evening for a shoot.  One of my favorite statements during our trip along the river - "I didn't think it would be this fun."  (or something like that).  I'd love to take all the credit for the laughs, but they definitely brought the fun with them.  Below are a few of my favorites from the session.  I'll save the sillier pictures for their personal gallery :) Oh, and it's always awesome when people tell me it's cool to wear my Chuck Taylors to their wedding.  I look forward to this one next year!

Source: http://www.shoot2studios.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/LoriFu-20120503183936.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.

Baby to the Max!

Baby's are somewhat out of my comfort zone.  They just don't seem to listen when I give directions...   Max was well past that newborn "you can bend my body into a pretzel and I'll still sleep" phase, but luckily he was about as well behaved as I could ever ask for.  My style is well outside your typical baby photographer (because that's not my particular specialty), but we knew right away that we had a perfect image for printing cards.    Smiles and celebratory bottles all around.

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