Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Special thoughts...

This morning I came into the office not feeling too well. I've had a pinched nerve in my neck, undoubtedly from putting to much stuff in my camera bag because that's the shoulder I carry it on. Not only that, but it's also just a rainy, blah day outside.

After not being here too long, an email popped into my inbox and I got that excited feeling I always get when we hear from new brides. This email was a little different than the norm, though. Typically the standard question is are you available for my date and what's your price. Don't get me wrong, both of those are very important questions and they were both in this email. The thing that made this one different from many others is the way they captured and stated the way I feel most every day. This wonderful bride started out the email by saying, "I love your work"... that is always nice to hear and we always appreciate the compliments. In fact, we really want you to fall in love with our work before you look at our pricing. That's honestly why we don't put it on our website. We know that if price is out there, that's usually the first tab people click. Even though a budget is important to stick to, choosing your photographer shouldn't be all about price. I'll blog more about my thoughts on that at a later time, though.

The email continued on by describing some details of her day and as stated before, inquiring about price and then she wrote the sentence that really hit home with me. She said, "Keep up the beautiful work, you are making so many people happy, and that must feel great!" WOW... she nailed it on the head!! I can't say enough about how amazing it is to be blessed to do what I do. We get to take part in one of the most emotional, joyous, and special times in a persons life. Not only do we get to be a part of it, we get to document it so that it will always be remembered. The moments that we capture will be looked at years from now by our couple's great great grandchildren and it will be those images that allow those children to get to know their great great grandparents. That is why when we shoot a wedding, we focus on the moments, the people, the laughter, and the tears. Those are the moments that define you.

This really hit home for me about 6 months after my own wedding. Lindsey and I shoot weddings practically every weekend and we always knew how special that day would be for us. And it was... she looked radiant the first time I saw her that day. It brings tears to my eyes thinking about saying my vows to her and announcing our love to our closest friends and family. That day, there was celebrating and laughter and I will forever cherish those moments thanks to our wedding photos. Then, 6 months after our wedding, those photos became even more precious. Lindsey's Dad, a man who I loved like my own father, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. This was a very tough time for Lindsey (the ultimate daddy's little girl!), her mom, brother, and all of the family and friends. Lindsey's dad was an absolutely amazing man. I honestly can't even find the words that he deserves when I try to describe him. I guess the best way that I can say it is by saying the same thing I told Lindsey's mom and dad on the day I asked their permission to marry their daughter. I said, that everything I love about Lindsey is because of them. Since the passing of her Dad, it's been tough at times to look back at photos of him. But make no mistake... I am SO thankful for having those photos. Dee Combs, I miss you daily, I love you more than I ever even got the chance to tell you, and I thank God for allowing me to be part of your family and to always have your beautiful and amazing daughter by my side.

Lindsey and her Dad right before she got ready to walk down the aisle...

The tears were definitely flowing by this point. Me included!!

The father-daughter dance. To this day, I think of Dee at this point of every wedding we shoot and Lindsey always cries (One day she's going to short circuit our cameras!)

The toast. He compared life to being on a train and went on to say that this day was like stopping at Grand Central Station.

Later in the night. I love how happy Lindsey looks.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New logo take 2...

If you've been following our blog, you saw a couple of weeks ago that we introduced a new logo. After looking at it for 2 weeks, Lindsey and I both agreed that we hated it! So here is the introduction of logo #2 (see our blog banner at the top)!!! We actually like this design so much better and think this is the one we're going to stick with. We're not gonna rush out to the printer for new business cards just yet, but we think this is the one. Stay tuned because we may change our mind again. Also, if you want to offer any advice or opinions, we're always open to them!

I've been meaning to blog all week and I just haven't found the time. I've been busy working on album designs for several of our couples and that is taking up all of my time. I am really excited about albums right now, though. I've been researching different binding methods and I am very close to convincing Lindsey that we need to make our own. I know, you 're thinking "make your own albums.. come on!!" But really, I think I can do it. The albums that we currently offer our clients are handmade, so why should it not be my hands doing the making. If I can perfect the binding technique (there are so many different ways to do it), then that will open up so many more options for our couples. I mean, we could use the material from your wedding dress as the cover for your album1 It's crazy to think about all of the different possibilities of things we could come up with. Trust me when I say that I will perfect it before we offer it to any of our clients, though. Your album is your first family heirloom and it needs to last a lifetime and beyond. That's why we are very picky about the albums we currently offer and if we build our own, I would expect them to be better than anything we can buy or I wouldn't offer it to our clients. I'll keep you posted on how my progress is coming and I'll definitely post some photos after I build my first one. For all I know, that post may be a warning to never try and build your own album!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Julie and Stephen

This weekend we went to Hartwell, Georgia for Julie and Steven's wedding. It turned out to be a perfect day... cold, but perfect. We actually even saw a little bit of snow on our drive home!

Stephen and Julie met in College where Stephen was friends with Julie's roommate. They had been dating for about 4 years when Stephen popped the big question on Christmas Eve of 2007. Julie wondered why Stephen was so anxious to leave her family's celebration, but it soon became apparent once they arrived back home and she saw roses and a ring and turned around and saw Stephen on his knee! And now, a little over a year later they are finally husband and wife.

So, after freezing to death on a cold Fall morning shooting their engagement and on a cold winter afternoon for their wedding, they are now off to spend some hot nights in Antigua! Have fun you guys and we'll see you when you get back!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Brrrr... it's COLD!!

Some days, you just don't want to get out of bed and today was definitely one of them. Surprising for a Friday, I know! It's just too cold to function today. This is why we don't live any further north than we do. Give me 85 degrees and an ocean breeze any day!

We left our cat, Sullivan curled up on our bed this morning... I bet he hasn't moved an inch. That's the life, I tell ya... sleep, eat, sleep some more, get rubbed, sleep, chase my tail, eat, sleep and then start all over again. I could probably be pretty good at each of those things.

So today, I came in with the sole intent of creating a new slideshow intro to our site. I had high hopes, as I usually do, and figured I'd have it up and going before lunch. Here it is almost 3 PM and no slideshow yet. I swear, I have no rhythm and trying to time each slide to the beat of the song is driving me nuts. It's like when you're trying to record a new outgoing message for your voicemail... you get almost to the end and then BAM you stutter through a word and sound like an idiot. Am I the only one who does this?? That's what it's been like all day. I get almost to the end of the slideshow and then I get off beat and end up having to start all over. American Idol here I DON'T come. I could actually probably get on one of their outtake tryout shows. I'm that good.. or bad, however you want to look at it.

I decided to give the slideshow a break and blog for a few minutes and then maybe I'll go back to work on it or actually, I'll probably leave and take Lindsey out for a date night.

I wanted to share a few photos from an engagement we shot a few months ago. We were so far behind at the time, we never got a chance to blog and post them. Their wedding is this weekend, so I thought today would be a good day to post a few of our favorites. Julie and Stephen are having an evening ceremony in Georgia, so we'll be on the road headed there tomorrow. Be sure to check back early next week for some of our favorites from their wedding. It'll be our first wedding of 2009 and we are totally stoked about starting the year off with some great shots. Have a great weekend everybody!

Monday, January 12, 2009

What a fun weekend...

Our trip to Asheville this weekend was great. We drove in on Friday to go to the civic center and set-up our booth. It's actually a pretty simple set-up, but it does take a little time. We ended up spending about two hours getting everything ready, but I'd guess that a third of that time was actually spent visiting with other vendors who were there setting up also.

After we finished our set-up, we decided to stay downtown and have dinner. We had made plans to meet with a bride later that evening, so we looked for a restaurant that seemed like it would be a nice place to meet in as well. We happened upon this great restaurant call Steak & Wine. We think it's named Steak & Wine because it's in the S & W building so we assume they wanted to use something with those initials. The S & W building is a very cool building probably circa 1930. Our favorite part was their staircase... it was marble and the edges of the steps are worn and rounded from years of traffic. We can only imagine the events that have happened in that building over the years. We love buildings like that! By the way, for any of you Asheville brides, the S & W building is available for receptions. It would make for great photos!

On Saturday, we had a great show. And now we're looking forward to to our last wedding festival of the year on the 31st of this month at the Carolina First Center. That one is typically the biggest of the year. If you haven't been to a show yet, be sure to not miss this one!!

Here's a shot of our booth from Asheville....

Friday, January 9, 2009

Wedding Festival Excitement

January is always a fun month for us. First, it's always a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the previous wedding season. Typically by January, we are finally caught up with everything from the previous year. Secondly, it's wedding festival time. Wedding festivals are our main form of advertisement. Other than them, we rely on you guys to spread the word about us and that's basically it. Wedding Festivals tend to be a bit hectic trying to get ready for (we never can fully agree on what we want to hand out, placement of albums, etc.), but once they are here, they are definitely fun. We love meeting all the newly engaged couples and talking about their upcoming wedding. It's also great to get the chance to catch up with other photographer friends and see how they're doing. We look at other photographers as colleagues who inspire us and help us be better. There is always so much to learn and so many cool new styles. That's the great thing about photography... each of us could look at the exact same situation and shoot it completely differently.

Anyways, enough of my ramblings! I tend to do that. I start out with the plan to talk about a specific topic but once I get started, I head off in some completely different direction. Sorry for those of you out there who like some sort of structure!!

This afternoon, we're headed off to Asheville, NC for the wedding festival that's there tomorrow. If you're in the Asheville area, please plan to stop by and say hi. We'll update you next week on how it goes.

Hope each of you have a wonderful weekend.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Stephanie and Scott

Yesterday afternoon we drove to Athens, GA to shoot Steph and Scott's engagement. We were worried that the weather wasn't going to cooperate with us, but it actually turned out perfect! Even though it rained all day at our house, it was sunny and beautiful in Athens. Originally, we had planned to do this shoot a couple of weeks ago, but we got rained out. This was going to be our last shot because Scott is heading back home to Canada so we wanted to make sure we got it done. Canada is quite a distance to travel just for an engagement session!!
Anyways, to tell you a bit about the beautiful couple... Steph and Scott met through Steph's sister, Megan. Megan and Scott were actually in school together in Australia. One day, Megan was on the phone with her big sister and just passed the phone off to Scott and said he had to talk to her. After a couple of other conversations they became friends on MySpace and shortly thereafter also became friends on Facebook. That was the point that Scott said it must have been serious!! :) Eventually they planned a trip to meet in Florida at Disney World and have been together ever since. Man, how dating has changed since I used to do it!! Computers have truly changed the world!
So, they've planned a wedding for this summer in Athens and then Steph will be moving to Canada to be with her hubby! Can you say brrrr, it's cold!?! They are absolutely perfect together, so I'm sure they'll keep each other warm on those cold Canadian nights!
Here's a few of our favorite shots...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Great wedding dress shop...

Just wanted to pass along some information for anyone that didn't make it to last weekends Wedding Festival. The booth next to us was The Dress Bridal Consignment Boutique. What a fabulous idea they are! It's an upscale consignment dress boutique that offers you the chance to get some amazing deals on some awesome dresses. Some were worn before, but many are just floor samples so they are brand new. I sure wish this boutique was around when I was dress shopping. What a great thing. Definitely check them out!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New year, new dreams, new hopes...

Happy New year everyone!! So, we have gotten an ear full from several of you about how slack we have been in updating and posting to our blog. This will all change starting NOW! :-) Seriously, we have set New Year goals (not resolutions because none of us really ever keep those anyways... Do we??) and at the top of that list is to keep our blog up to date. We were so blessed this past year with so many wonderful couples choosing us to be a part of their lives. We loved every minute of it, but it did mean that we had very little time to blog or do anything else for that matter!! We have actually caught up with basically everything (other than finishing up a few albums) and we are now ready to roll out what's new for 2009. We are updating our website, incorporating some new shooting styles, and revamping our customer service plan. We're starting today with a new logo (check out the top of the blog and our homepage for different versions of it). Please let us know what you think about it. Lindsey and I rarely agree on favorite photos, logos, wine, etc., but this was our best compromise!
Another thing that we're excited about for 2009 is that Lindsey put in her notice at Clemson. She will officially be full time with Sposa Bella beginning March 6th. This has been in the works for a while and we are both excited about what she has planned once she can devote all of her energy to Sposa Bella. We have so many new ideas and we'll finally get to implement them all!!
Also, we've spent today editing some of our favorite photos from 2008. Be sure to check out our galleries for those. They'll all be uploaded by tomorrow evening.
Last thing and then we're off to dinner with some friends. I want to say thanks to each of you out there... our past clients, fellow photographers, family, and friends. It is each of you who help shape us, inspire us, and always remind us of what's important in life. Take time today to tell those closest to you that you love them. We look forward to growing and experiencing with each of you in '09. The New Year is always so exciting!! All our best!