Jessie & Joel – Middle Georgia Engagement Photographer

Thank you Jessie & Joel for sharing this moment with me! So wonderful to see two friends so happy together and to be a part of this special time! These photos were done in Clinton, GA – a very special location for Jessie & Joel – this is where they met and where Joel proposed.

WISHING YOU BOTH THE VERY BEST!

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How to Remove a Lens Flare that Covers a Face

So this weekend I had a GREAT time with Jessie & Joel photographing their engagement! I will post those soon! But I wanted to share with my fellow photographers the steps I took to remove a sun, or lens flare from the following photo:

This was not an easy task, and many wouldn’t have attempted it, but I had to save this capture. To remove the flare I completed the following steps in Photoshop CS5:

1. Select the flare with the quick selection tool.

2. Go to Image, Adjustments, Hue/Saturation. I adjusted the hue to match the skin as closely as possible. I also adjusted the lightness/darkness to match as closely as possible without ruining the skin. The skin was then still lighter than the part of her face not covered by the flare.

3. Use the healing brush to remove the edge of the sun flare and match the rest of the face exactly. I found it was easier to match the rest of the face to the “flare area” than the flare area to the rest of the face in this case, as the eyes, nose, and part of the lip were covered by the flare.

4. Lasso her entire face, feather about 20-30, and adjusted the brightness and contrast to match the rest of the image.

Middle Georgia Wedding Photographer to Donate Half of Proceeds to Youth Camp This Summer

Amazing Grace Photography, who also does business as S&S Wedding Photography, is on a mission to raise money for CoBeAc South Youth Camp in July. Sarah Ryle and Steve Whisler of S&S Weddings will donate half of all proceeds from all weddings prior to July 16, 2012 to the youth camp.

CoBeAc stands for Come, Believe, and Accept. This camp originated in Indiana, and was brought south 17 years ago by Rev. Gary Berrier of The Crossing in Macon, GA. This youth camp is known for very low camper fees, camper scholarships, and its no child left behind policy.

Many of the children who attend CoBeAc only experience the love, caring, and friendship given during this one week of the year only. Many come from broken homes, have a history of abuse, and the only time they have an opportunity to learn about faith and God is this week at camp. Nearly 100 kids look forward to camp CoBeAc year round.

Every year, CoBeAc struggles more and more to keep costs covered and keep their camper fee at a low $100 for the week. This covers everything from food to activities and a tshirt, among many other costs involved in running the camp for a week.

Steve & Sarah spend the week of CoBeAc taking photos and creating CDs for all the campers. They love serving their church and capturing the smiles, fun, and excitement; along with the love, tears, and joy that arise during the week of CoBeAc. At only $100 a camper, they are out to raise at least $1000 by July. This is only a small handful of weddings, and would support 10 campers who may not be able to afford to go to camp otherwise, and help with the camp’s costs.

To do this, Amazing Grace Photography will donate 50% of all wedding proceeds to Camp CoBeAc. Sarah & Steve have an online portfolio at www.amazinggracephotographyga.com. Book your wedding with them today, and know that half of their earnings will go towards this great cause.

If you are interested in sending your child, age 8-18, to youth camp this year, visit The Crossing at http://crossingmacon.com/ or call 478-788-9221.

Wedding Photo Checklist & Tips

A photographer can be one of the most important components of your wedding day. When friends or relatives volunteer to take your wedding pictures, think long and hard about it. A professional will thoroughly understand lighting techniques and will be experienced in capturing the joyous occasion. Interview photographers early, at least 6 – 12 months in advance. Visit their studios, review their portfolios, and talk about the pictures you envision of your wedding. Be sure to enquire about special effect photography and decide if you want it included in your wedding portfolio. Determine your budget clearly at this meeting. Be sure you understand exactly the quantity and size of prints you will be buying, when proofs will be available and if you get to keep them, the type of proofs provided, when the finished work will be ready, and how long the negatives will be kept in the photographer’s filing system (if they’re not given to you). Remember, price is not the most important item – look for quality and creativity. Also make sure that they will respect the sacredness of the ceremony and not turn it into a “show” (i.e. some photographers disregard this and take flash pictures during the ceremony or walk up and down the aisle just so they can get the best pictures). Be sure to confirm the name of the photographer who will actually be at your wedding – some places send assistants instead of themselves. Ask for references. Finally, be sure you feel comfortable with the photographer.

You will have one dilemma regarding photographs – when should the formal portraits be taken. Ask yourself, “Do I want to see my fiance prior to the ceremony?” Some couples want to minimize the time between the ceremony and reception so they don’t keep the guests waiting too long. If you’re in this category, there are two options. One choice is to take all the formal portraits prior to the ceremony. The second choice is to take only the formal portraits that don’t involve both the bride and groom together so that the moment the bride enters the sanctuary is a big moment for both her and the groom. These pictures might be of the bride and her bridesmaids, the bride and her parents, the groom and the groomsmen, etc. So consider your wedding day schedule and the size of the wedding party when you, your fiance, and the photographer decide.

During the formal portraits, you might want to have your mistress of ceremonies assist by making sure all essential family groupings are taken.

Finally, if there are any sensitive situations in your respective families, such as recently deceased grandparents or divorced parents, stepparents, etc., you should inform your photographer.Here’s a list of over 150 wedding poses which may work for you. A list is great to let the photographer know the pictures you want the MOST. Try to find a photographer who will also look for pictures throughout the day that will tell the story better than any posed set-up shot. This type of photographer is usually associated with the ‘photojournalistic’ style and will make sure your photos will tell the story of YOUR day, and not look like everyone else’s!

BEFORE the WEDDING

__ Bride arriving at church
__ Groom and Best Man arriving at church
__ Bride alone in mirror
__ Mother adjusting Bride’s veil
__ Bride pinning boutonniere on Dads lapel
__ Bride pinning corsage on Mother
__ Bride alone looking out window
__ Groom alone (full length)
__ Groom alone (3/4 length)
__ Groom alone (head & shoulders)
__ Groom profile
__ Groom profile with hand to chin
__ Bride looking at Groom’s ring
__ Groom looking at Bride’s ring
__ Bride and Mother
__ Bride in foreground with Father (or Father & Mother) looking at her from background.
__ Groom and Mother
__ Groom in foreground with Mother (or Mother & Father) looking at him from background.
__ Father kissing Bride on forehead (or cheek)
__ Father dropping penny in Bride’s shoe
__ Bride and Father
__ Groom and Father
__ Groom pinning boutonniere on Dads lapel
__ Groom pinning corsage on Mother
__ Mother pinning boutonniere on Groom
__ Bride, Mother and Father
__ Groom, Mother and Father
__ Bride and Flower girl (looking at each other)
__ Bride and Flower girl (looking at camera)
__ Flower girl admiring Bride’s gown
__ Groom and Ring bearer
__ Bride giving bouquets to Bridesmaids
__ Bride and Maid (or Matron) of Honor full length
__ Bride and Maid (or Matron) of Honor head & shoulders
__ Groom and Best Man
__ Best Man showing Groom watch
__ Best Man wiping Groom’s forehead with handkerchief
__ Bride and Bridesmaids
__ Groom and Groomsmen
__ Groomsmen dragging Groom into church
__ Bride and Groomsmen
__ Groom and Bridesmaids
__ Individual portrait of each Bridesmaid
__ Individual portrait of each Groomsman
__ Mother putting Garter on Bride
__ Maid of Honor putting Garter on Bride
__ Guest book & Attendant
__ Guest signing guest book

THE CEREMONY

__ Ushers seating Groom’s Grandparents
__ Ushers seating Bride’s Grandparents
__ Usher seating Mother of Bride
__ Usher seating Mother and Father of Groom
__ Soloist and musician(s)
__ Bride, Father, and attendants lined up ready to enter Sanctuary
__ Groom and Family (Mom, Dad, Bro., Sis.)
__ Bride and Family (Mom, Dad, Bro., Sis.)
__ Groom with Brothers & Sisters
__ Flower girl & Ring bearer coming down aisle
__ Individual Bridesmaids coming down aisle
__ Bride with Brothers & Sisters
__ Bride & Father coming down aisle (front view)
__ Bride & Father coming down aisle (back view showing full train)
__ Time exposure from back of church during ceremony
__ Bride & Groom lighting unity candle
__ First Kiss as Husband and Wife!
__ Bride & Groom with flower girl and ring bearer
__ Bride & Groom taking Communion
__ Bride and Groom returning from Altar
__ Reception (receiving) line (with
__ Exterior view of Church

FORMAL POSES

__ Bride posed alone (front view-full length)
__ Bride posed alone (back view-full length)
__ Bride posed alone (front view-3/4 length)
__ Bride posed alone (back view-3/4 length)
__ Bride posed alone (head & shoulders)
__ Bridal profile
__ Bride with Grandparents
__ Bride and Groom together looking at camera (full length)
__ Bride and Groom together looking off camera (full length)
__ Bride and Groom facing each other, holding hands (full length)
__ Bride and Groom together (3/4 length)
__ Bride and Groom together looking at camera (head & shoulders)
__ Bride and Groom together looking off camera (head & shoulders)
__ Bride (w/back to camera) facing Groom (both looking off camera – head & shoulders)
__ Groom with Grandparents
__ Bride and Groom with Bride’s Parents
__ Bride and Groom with Bride’s Grandparents
__ Bride’s Grandparents (together)
__ Bride’s Grandmother
__ Bride’s Grandfather
__ Bride and Groom with Groom’s Parents
__ Bride and Groom with Groom’s Grandparents
__ Groom’s Grandparents (together)
__ Groom’s Grandmother
__ Groom’s Grandfather
__ Bride and Groom silhouetted against stained glass window
__ Bride and Groom with preacher
__ Candid of Clergymen congratulating couple
__ Bride with attendants looking at ring
__ Time exposure of Bride and Groom looking at rings with candles in foreground
__ Time exposure of Bride and Groom kissing with candles in foreground
__ Bride and Groom kissing with wedding party peeking from background
__ Bride and Groom with wedding party
__ Bride and Groom leaving church (running through rice, etc.)

RECEPTION & OTHER PHOTOGRAPHS

__ Bride’s Cake alone
__ Bride and Groom cutting Bride’s cake
__ Photograph(s) of Bridal table setting
__ Bride feeding Bride’s cake to Groom
__ Groom feeding Bride’s cake to Bride
__ Groom’s Cake alone
__ Bride and Groom posed on front steps of Church
__ Entire wedding party posed on front steps of Church
__ Bride and Groom cutting Groom’s cake
__ Bride feeding Groom’s cake to Groom
__ Witnesses (Best man, Maid of Honor) signing Marriage license.
__ Groom feeding Groom’s cake to Bride
__ Bride and Groom at dinner table
__ Wedding party at dinner table
__ Punch and cake servers
__ Bride and Father dancing
__ Bride and Groom with wine glasses
__ Best man toasting Bride and Groom
__ Close-up of hands, rings
__ Close-up of hands, rings, napkin
__ Close-up of hands, rings, flowers
__ Gift table alone
__ Gift table with couple
__ Bride and Groom opening gifts
__ Groom removing garter
__ Groom throwing garter (posed, looking at camera)
__ Groomsmen & other men catching garter
__ Bride throwing bouquet (posed, looking at camera)
__ Girls catching bouquet
__ Spotlight of the invitation and bouquet
__ Bride and Groom dancing together
__ Groom dancing with his Mother
__ Groom dancing with Brides Mother
__ Bride dancing with her Father
__ Bride dancing with Grooms Father
__ Photograph of the Disk Jockey or Band
__ Candid photos of any special friends of Bride & Groom
__ Candid photos of certain (or all) tables at reception
__ Outdoor, romantic poses of Bride and Groom (full length, close-up, etc.)
__ Wedding Party/Friends Decorating Bride & Grooms Car
__ Decorated car ready to leave
__ Bride with Groom looking on from background
__ Groom with Bride looking on from background
__ Candid of soloist
__ Candid of organist
__ Bride with friends
__ Groom with friends
__ Parents hugging/kissing couple good-bye
__ Bride and Groom with car decorated (exterior view)
__ Groom carrying Bride in arms (with decorated car in background)
__ Groom holding car door open for Bride
__ Bride and Groom in car ready to leave
__ Bride and Groom in car leaving Church or Reception
__ Bride and Groom looking out rear window of car
__ Any Large Family Groups
__ Bride’s Father with pockets turned inside out

This was list of 150 photoes was taken from a post by Dave Kesier (midmodave@aol.com) of Keiser Photography on alt.wedding.

(Source: http://www.weddingsgalore.com/photos.html)

Plan a Wedding on a Budget – Middle Georgia Wedding Photographer

So we all know not everyone has the money, or wants to spend a ton of money on their wedding day. This doesn’t mean one cannot have a nice wedding on a budget.

The first thing to figure out is “whose paying”? Traditionally the bride’s parents pay for the wedding. A more contemporary approach is both families split the cost. And lastly, the bride and groom may pay for their own wedding. No matter who is paying, there is going to be some form of budget, high or low.

Here are a few tips to stick to a lower budget for your wedding:

1. Venue. Are you a member of a church? Many church’s do not charge members to use the grounds for a wedding or event. Do you have, or do you know someone with a nice big backyard? Have a backyard bash! Hold the reception at the same location – does your church have a reception hall or cafeteria? Get creative on a nice, but free or low cost location for your big day! I personally saved spending ANY money on my venue by using our church sanctuary and cafeteria. A wedding venue doesn’t have to cost big bucks. Think out side the bun.

2. Music. Do you know any musician friends/family? Would they like to play/sing on your big day? If not, there’s always the good ole CD player. Download some of your favorite love and wedding MP3’s (even legally they are 99 cents each) and ask a distant relative to hit play and stop – just make sure you get a CD player with speakers that are loud enough.

3. Food. You don’t have to pay for a big, elaborate meal for your guests. Plan your wedding mid day, between meals. Have a cocktail party with finger foods. Or if you do want an affordable meal, consider a buffet and purchase party platters. Utilize tables and chairs at your reception location if possible. Get “fancy plastic ware” as far as plates, cups, eating utensils… get nice paper napkins. Plastic tablecloths. CAKE – get your cake from Sam’s or Publix. Someplace you know makes DELICIOUS cakes. They charge much less than other bakeries who specialize in wedding cakes. Consider doing a cupcake tree. If you want a fancy cake, do a small one and a sheet cake. The following cake is a fountain wedding cake that came from Publix – they even delivered and set it up. I honestly don’t remember how much we paid, but I do remember it was significantly less than the Tiffani’s bakery in the Mall. And it taste better.

(Photo by JB Photography)

4. Drinks. If your family is not big on alcohol, this is a big money saver. Create a “champagne” punch with 7up and Ginger ale. Maybe you do want a nice glass of wine or champagne for your bride & groom toast – visit a local restaurant that sells it by the bottle, like Olive Garden. I suggest this because I love their wine – and I’d rather purchase a bottle from a place I know has good wine then from a place I don’t know – and we can’t all afford a luxurious trip to a winery. Lastly, if everyone likes cheap beer… then get cheap beer. 😉 Make it a BYOB! The moral of this story is, your guests don’t have to get drunk at your wedding, at least not on your dime.

5. Dress & Accessories. DO NOT buy your accessories from the bridal store. If the dress you must have comes from a bridal shop and you cannot find it anywhere else, then get it there. If you aren’t set on a specific dress, shop clearance, ebay, 2nd hand stores… But your tiara, veil, bra/garter, shoes, and jewelry – do not pay their ridiculous mark up. I cannot stress this enough on everything: If you are planning a wedding on a budget, SHOP AROUND. Walmart has bridal accessories, so does Michaels. My veil came from Michaels and my artistic mother in law glued on the rhinestones. Instead of $200 it cost me $20. I found my tiara at a smaller, more local dress shop – for $30 instead of $150. My shoes came from PayLess. My unity candle, ring bearer pillow, guestbook… all from Michaels for much less. Shop around for bridesmaid dresses – another thing that doesn’t have to come from the same bridal shop as your dress.

(Photo by JB Photography)

6. Flowers & Decor. Flowers – go silk. Again, stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby can be your best friend. They sell arch ways, silk flowers, columns, aisle runners… anything to make your ceremony venue gorgeous and save money while doing it. GET CREATIVE – I photographed a wedding where the bride made a GORGEOUS bouquet out of bridal magazines and buttons.

7. Photos. Ok. One thing I cannot stress enough – this should be one of your best investments for your wedding. Do not skimp here. There are plenty of other things you can skimp on and no one will know the difference. But extremely cheap photography usually doesn’t equal good photography. This is the ONE part of the entire day that will provide lasting memories for years to come. Shop around – google wedding photographers. Compare prices. If you have to go cheap make sure you see an adequate portfolio and make sure they know what they are doing as far as proper exposure, in focus faces, etc. Photographing a wedding is not a task to be taken lightly – no it is not as easy as it looks. 😉 If your wedding photos get screwed up, there is no redo. I’m not saying spend 1000s on a wedding photo package. There are some of us photographers out there who charge less than $1000 for their smaller packages.

8. Rings. The one thing you will carry away from your wedding day and keep with you forever. Make sure they are quality. NOW, if you must go cheap on rings for the big day, at least plan to replace them further down the road. Many couples have gotten $20 rings for show on the big day, then waited until they were more capable of spending a couple $100 on quality rings.

Lastly, the most important thing is to “do the math”… set a budget and stick to it. Get all the “must haves” done first, so if you have to cut the less important things, it won’t matter as much.

What’s in my Bag? – Middle Georgia Photographer serving Macon, Warner Robins, and Surrounding Areas

Vivitar DSLR/Laptop Bag w/ Rain Cover

Canon T1i CMOS Sensor Body

Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 Lens

Canon 50mm f1.8 Lens

Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 Lens

Nissin Di622 Mark II External Flash

Vivitar DF 283 (Backup Flash Unit)

Neweer Remote Trigger

Battery Pack, Dual Charger, 2 LP-E5 Batteries

Duracell Rechargable AA NiHM Batteries & Charger

4GB HDHC SD Card, 8GB HDHC SD Card

SD Card Reader

Mini Tripod; Regular Tripod

Mini Soft Box

Reflector*

Motorola Xoom Tablet PC

Dell XPS Laptop

1TB External Hard Drive

Canon Powershot sx130 Adv. P&S

For Processing I use Adobe Lightroom 3, Adobe Photoshop CS5, and Portrait Professional editing software.

In my Studio:

3 – 300W (total 900W) Neweer Strobes w/ wireless triggers

4 – Neweer Softboxes

4 – Neweer Umbrellas

Reflector*

PVC Backdrop Stand

S&S Photo Backdrops & Floors

Fleece backdrops

A variety of newborn props including a posing bean bag, faux fur (from S&S Photo Backdrops and Floors), newborn wraps, crochet hats/diaper covers, vintage scale, cradle, newborn nest (from S&S Photo Backdrops and Floors), wooden bowl, baskets, picnic basket/suitcase…

Space Heater

Womb Sound Mp3

Dell XPS Laptop

1TB External Hard Drive

*Same reflector used in studio and on location.

When Should I/How Much Should I Charge? – Middle Georgia Wedding & Portrait Photographer

This is a question that is asked a lot. There is no definite answer to this as it is left up to personal discretion as to when, and your cost of doing business as to how much.

Here are some things I personally feel are important to deciding when to charge for photography services:

1. Technical Proficiency. There is a lot more to professional photography than the  camera. A professional photographer can get great results with ANY camera, in any situation. So a technical understanding of your camera is a MUST. That being said, not all professionals must shoot in manual mode – many of the greatest don’t. But you should have a full understanding of how your equipment works, the exposure triangle, and lighting. You should know HOW to shoot manual, but again not all photogs favor manual over a semi-manual mode. Personally, as a professional, using automatic mode where you literally have no control over the outcome or exposure is not the best practice. An understanding of how to get good results in low light by understanding lens speed and flash photography is also imperative.

2. Consistent Product. Again, this goes back to the use of auto vs at least a semi-manual mode, and an understanding of your equipment. The final outcome you are shooting for is consistency. A professional should be able to shoot consistently (good exposure, dead on focus, good composition) in any given situation. When a client looks at your work they are looking at your “brand”, or your style. When shooting in auto, you cannot guarantee a consistent result because your camera is making all of the decisions for you in regards to your exposure triangle.

3.Adequate Portfolio.Again, this is all about personal discretion – when one photog is ready to charge may be different timing than another photog. How “many” images should be in a portfolio to make it adequate is a personal decision – it is about how well you feel about the consistency of your product. Personally, I wanted 5 of each portrait category (IE newborn, senior, etc) in my portfolio. I did at least 5 weddings before I felt I was ready to charge for my services.

Another thing is weddings – weddings are a whole other ball park. Most portrait sessions can be reshot… weddings cannot. This is a one shot deal to make quality memories of a very special day, and so this is where consistency in your product is very important. I did not shoot my first wedding by myself. I was brought in as a second shooter to the main photog, and it was a very valuable experience that I recommend any photographer interested in shooting weddings invest in. Some photogs shoot one wedding and decide it isn’t for them. The best advice I can give is experience shooting your first wedding as a secondary photographer. This way you aren’t responsible for the “main event” so to speak.

3. Legitimate Business Practice. If you charge money, you are in business. If this is the case, legitimize your business with the IRS by applying for an EIN and file your taxes. There is a minimum amount you must profit before you are required to files taxes on your business, so find this information out. Check with your local government to determine if you are required to hold a business license in your area. Insure your equipment and purchase liability coverage. In certain states one can be fined for taking money for business without being legit.

Also, make sure you have set policies regarding your business. Many people don’t take into consideration the necessary release forms and contracts one should use in this business. At the very least you have to have a “Model Release” in order to use any photos you take of a person on your website or in marketing materials. Note that there is a substantial difference in a “print release” and a “copyright release” – both of which are worth a lot in value, as once your provide a print release to a client, you will most likely not get any more print orders from the client. Many photogs undervalue a CD with permission to print. A lot of professionals won’t even sell a CD or print release. Most professionals do not sell their copyright. The ONLY thing your clients NEED is is a personal print/usage release allowing them to legally make copies. Many people use the term “copyright release” not understanding the value of that term. These two terms are not meant to be used interchangeably.

4. Understand the Cost of Doing Business. This is the best answer I’ve seen to “how much should I charge?” Great video from AdoramaTV on how to determine how much you should charge: http://www.adorama.com/alc/article/13277. Remember – the business of photography is like any other business… with costs and expenses. You need to know how much it costs you to do business before you can know how much you should  be charging, or you risk undervaluing yourself and your services.

So I hope this has shed a little light on the things an aspiring professional should gain understanding of prior to charging/entering into business. Again, this is personal advice – some that many pro’s in the field would give. I know this advice was very valuable to me when I was first getting started, so I hope it will also be valuable to anyone else who reads this post. 🙂

Calling All Brides-To-Be! Macon & Warner Robins Wedding Photographer

2012 is upon us, and is 25% over! Amazing Grace Photography is booking for 2012-2013 weddings! Mention this blog post and get $50 your wedding package!

We offer digital & print products for every photography need, and affordable packages for every budget! Visit our website at http://www.amazinggracephotographyga.com and visit our wedding gallery for our portfolio. Also visit “Weddings” under investment for pricing.

If you review our Services page under the “About” heading, you’ll see detailed information about what it is we actually offer you as far as you wedding day is concerned.

Atlanta Photographer/Lawyer Speaks with Pinterest

“We hashed out some of the pros and cons of using the site in its current format and talked about ideas he has to improve it and make it safer to use but still as fun.  All in all, it was a great conversation and he assured me that some changes are on the way in the very near future.  He told me some of them but I don’t want to bind him to anything so all I can say is “wait and see. He’s on it.””

Read more: http://ddkportraits.com/2012/02/my-date-with-ben-silbermann-following-up-and-drying-my-tears/

A Lawyer Who Is Also A Photographer Just Deleted All Her Pinterest Boards Out Of Fear

A  woman named Kirsten decided to look into the legality of Pinterest.  After all, she’s a lawyer with a passion for photography.

What she found scared her so much, she shut down her Pinterest boards entirely.

Kirsten’s investigation began after she saw photographers complaining about copyright violations on Facebook.  She wondered why Facebook could get in trouble for copyright violation and Pinterest couldn’t.

She browsed Pinterest’s Terms of Use section. In it she found Pinterest’s members are solely responsible for what they pin and repin. They must have explicit permission from the owner to post everything…
Read more: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-02-28/tech/31106641_1_repinning-copyright-entire-image#ixzz1p1QVzxiY