Welcome

Welcome to Spotlighting. Here I will spotlight new and interesting wedding details that I find in a hope to be a reliable resource to my brides and families. Here you will find honest, unsolicited advice and recommendations. Hopefully, you will also gain valuable insight in to who I am and how I view my work!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Retouching, Subtly Reinventing The Truth

My take on retouching and editing has always been a little more liberal then those of some of my contemporaries. In fact, I think editing software like Portrait Plus and Photoshop are essential tools to my profession. I don't know what I would do without them frankly.
I think we would all like to have fairy tale and storybook weddings and family pictures but the simple fact is, nothing is picture PERFECT.  What is seemingly magical however is the day before your wedding an ugly blemish will appear or right before your family portrait your toddler will bust his lip. Then there are always the things that I find distracting in pictures...like gum on the sidewalk as a couple makes their grand exit from the reception or one lone brown leaf on a pristine green lawn.  
I know I have some obsessive compulsive tendencies of which my clients tend to not mind but these are the little things that I think can either add or distract from the subject in pictures. There are images that left untouched tell a certain story and those documentary, photo-journalistic style photos can be beautiful so as always the editing and retouching has to be done with care and with discretion.
Just looking at the above photo one can obviously see a beautiful woman in both images. It is a matter of taste to determine if the editing is over done or subtly done. Knowing your preference before your images are processed is the best way to avoid being disappointed later.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Vintage Wedding Details

  

Summer Family Portrait Sessions

  
Its time to prepare for summer family photo sessions. Its been a long winter and now is the time to get together and have some fun. Why not include a family picture session to mark the progress of your family and how your children have grown and changed? It can be as simple or as elaborate as you have the time and energy to create. Most of my families do just as I did with the Harris family last weekend. We simply met at a park and played with the kids, allowing them to have a good time while I just took pictures. There is no need to match every look or invest in expensive props unless that is what you really want to do. Just make sure everyone is comfortable and that you make it fun then you are more likely to get smiles and laughter!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Rules of Engagement (Photographing Your Ceremony)



As a wedding photographer, through the years we have grown accustomed to the rules that govern shooting during ceremonies at certain churches and synagogues. It can come as a shock to some couples as they begin their planning having booked their perfect ceremony site only to find that during the ceremony, photographers are often prohibited from moving about as well as shooting with flash. It is not uncommon for some facilities to prohibit shooting at all during the ceremony if the shutter release will be distracting to the clergy or officiant.

Those churches and synagogues that do prohibit photography during the ceremony are most often trying to protect the sanctity of the ceremony itself so ultimately they do have your best interest at heart. It can be a difficult pill to swallow when you believe you are to have no images of the actual ceremony. Although our goal as photographers is to surpass your expectations and deliver to you precious images of all your wedding memories, it can create a difficult juxtaposition for us to disregard the rules that govern our presence at your wedding. As a business we want to earn their trust while keeping our promises to you. We want to be welcomed back again to their facility and not develop a reputation of disrespecting their wishes.


Technically, nowadays we are better prepared then ever before and most professional wedding photographers should be more then capable of delivering to you images taken during your ceremony. Remember to talk openly about your concerns with your photographer if you discover your facility has rules that govern photography. Ask them several questions about their cameras' capabilities and their own skills in low light situations. They should eagerly be able to answer your questions and alleviate your concerns. Its also a good idea to ask to see prior ceremony shots possibly taken at your location.


If your photographer is capable of handling low lighting and has experiences abiding by the rules then you can relax and trust that at minimum you should come away with several images of your ceremony. In the end you will find that for the sake of the album and story telling all you really need is a select few and that there is no real need for your photographer to become a distraction trying to get the perfect shot during your wedding ceremony. Educating yourself about the rules and insuring your photographer has what it takes can mean that the facilities' rules are respected but you do not have to be disappointed later.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Taking A Moment To Breathe

So many couples get caught up in the little details of their wedding that they forget to actually enjoy the journey. In fact I have many couples that share with me after their wedding day that the details alone would have been enough to ruin their day had they allowed themselves to "sweat" the small stuff. Others, I find receive their pictures from the wedding day and are totally amazed at how much they missed. Incidentally its not unheard of for the couple to not even get to eat at their wedding or they only get the one bite of cake eaten hastily during the cake cutting.
Now I have been shooting weddings for nearly two decades and I have seen hundreds of weddings. In all this span of time the one common denominator I find is the RUSH. There is the rush to get dressed, the rush to get down the isle, the rush to get everyone together, the rush of photos, the rush to get out of the sanctuary, the rush to get to the reception, the rush to serve dinner, the rush to get the party started and the rush to leave. If I could have one wish for my couples in this coming year, it would be for them to leisurely enjoy their wedding day and forget about the rush!
Its often an energy that is created by circumstance and to that we may not be able to control much of the chaos that ensues. If there is only 30 minutes after the ceremony to take photos in the sanctuary then that is an element we can not change. What we can change is our approach to the photos the couple would like to have after the ceremony by possibly doing more prior to the ceremony. On the other hand, why create more havoc while the bride is trying to get ready? Perhaps time would be better utilized at another location after the ceremony?
Another culprit of the rush is and dare I say it....wedding vendors. Understandably to a coordinator or a DJ this is just another one of their weddings booked for the year BUT to a bride and groom, this is their ONE wedding day, their one reception, their one shot at enjoying and capturing their wedding day. Hurry is not in my vocabulary when it comes to trying to cover someone's wedding unless it is being enacted upon us as we are trying to work. If we allow ourselves to be rushed, we miss opportunities but more then anything...it shows on the faces of the people you are trying to photograph. It creates a tension that propels the bride and groom and then the wedding party and family into a state of confusion that manifests itself as blank stares and  
concerned faces.
So we all know a wedding day is hectic. That's almost a given. What we need now is a trend towards the lighter side. We need families, wedding vendors and event sites to perpetuate a calm demeanor and atmosphere to help eliminate the need to rush. I recommend thoroughly questioning your wedding vendors to see how prepared they are to help make your day run smoothly. And finally I would recommend that you remind yourself throughout the day to slow down, take a breath and enjoy the minutes that make up your wedding day, that make up your memories!


Monday, March 05, 2012

A Not So Traditional Toast


The wedding toast is an important part of the wedding celebration. You don't have to use the traditional toasting flute although there are many new and beautiful varieties available. I love these not so traditional choices. You can find many of them online at www.weddingelements.com


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pretty Spring Bouquets and Centerpieces (Fresh from the Farmer's Market)

I have to share some of this coming season's prettiest flowers. I am seeing more brides using these types of flowers. They are a lot less expensive but just as lovely as the more exotic. These Peruvian lilies, roses, alstroemeria and button poms are locally found at local farmer's markets that have a nursery or garden center. I recommend checking out
http://www.ncfarmfresh.com to find a nursery in your area. Simple vases can be found at many wholesale warehouses, online and at local stores such as Garden Ridge Pottery. If you are planning on some DIY projects for your wedding, keep in mind that flowers are a great way to save some money.



Thursday, January 05, 2012

Cake Toppers With Personality

You gotta agree that some of the new cake toppers out there are just too cute!
I am finding more and more brides are being so creative with the choices for their cake toppers. Its easy to find elegant ones and cute ones and silly ones where once there was just the traditional bride and groom standing static and uninteresting. Many couples choose a topper that reflects their style or something unique about their relationship. There are cultural toppers and favorite team toppers...just adorable! So maybe look in to finding a cake topper that speaks to something special about you as a couple. I love them! Many are available at
www.etsy.com

I think the more creative the better. I love it when a couple coordinates the theme of their wedding along with the topper. It just makes for such in credible photographs. I love putting the rings into the shot to include them along side the toppers.

Hands down these are two of my favorite! I love the Panthers's helmet.


Monday, December 05, 2011

Celebrating the Journey (Maternity Photos)

Heather and Brett was a true joy to shoot. But I had to chuckle a little as we started to shoot because every shot was about the belly. Whoever this little guy will be, years from now he will be able to see the love and excitement Mommy and Daddy shared before his arrival.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Inspired By The Best

I am frequently asked how it is that I came to be a photographer and I thought I'd take a moment to share with you not so much how, but why!

My Father was an avid photographer and he loved shooting film reels and stills. I was a small girl when he would come home on leave and bring with him reel footage and still photographs from the his post in Vietnam. Many of the photographs I was not allowed to view until I was much older. It was from his perspective of the images he thought worth recording, that I developed a love of photojournalism.

My Grandparents saved every Time, Life and National Geographic magazine that was ever delivered to their home. So, it was in my teenage years while staying summers with them that I had the incredible opportunity to view some of the most inspiring black and white photographs ever taken: from war correspondence to celebrity profiles. For the photographers shooting for these magazines at the time, everything was ground breaking and I wondered what would be left for me to shoot?

And it was by watching my young and beautiful mother that I developed the love of portraiture. Not only would I watch my Father, try to capture her radiant smile but I would watch her read magazines filled with the most beautiful women of the time; women like Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn. I would study the light even then to see how it effected the image and what their expressions might mean. I watched her dress and up do her bee hive and I would wonder, could I take a picture that would capture my Mother's beauty like those in the magazine?

So I came by the love of this medium, honestly. It was instilled in me a little at a time. It came from the classic portraits of the 40's and 50's and the documentary evidence of the destruction of war. When I look back, my life is a still Poloroid, a wrinkled black and white, a shiny 8x10 glossy, a crisp magazine page, an Ansel Adams' calendar from the feed store, an Elvis album cover and picture post card from Yosemite National Park.
Photograph taken by my Father of my Mother in Germany, 1963

Wednesday, November 02, 2011



Designers for the coming 2012 season are having fun playing with the cut and style of the season's hottest wedding gowns and bridesmaid's dresses. New for the coming year, we will see a mix of low cut necklines, lunging backs, high cut slits and cap sleeves: some of which we have not seen in more then a decade. Granted it may take more then a few months for some of the latest trends to hit Charlotte's bridal boutiques but many brides are choosing to head out of state to find their wedding gowns. With the popularity of television shows such as TLC's Say YesTo The Dress, many local bride's find themselves browsing Atlanta's couture shops for the latest styles and fashions.

Color will continue to play an important role in bridesmaid's dresses for the coming season. Jewel toned dresses will remain in fashion because of their suitability to bring not only style but also brilliant colors to the wedding palette. Below the knee dresses with a full skirt will be a hot trend in the 2012 wedding season. Locally you can check out New York Bride and Groom for contemporary styles.