Nashville’s documentary wedding photographer
and headshot studio.

Gaylord Opyland proposal

Vincent and Chelseann met on a dating app and at first, she turned him down. For a guy in that position, it can be a temporary discouragement, although it’s time to keep trucking onward and go to the next. In the dating world, there’s no time for nursing a fragile ego, but to keep the momentum going. At that time, neither one of them would imagine they’d be officially engaged at the Gaylord Opryland proposal I was commissioned to document.

Gaylord Opyland proposal
Gaylord Opyland proposal
Gaylord Opyland proposal

Later on, Chelseann came back to Vincent and although he was proceeding with caution, it wasn’t long until they were both all in. The couple came to Nashville to enjoy a weekend getaway at Gaylord Opryland Hotel, although only Vincent knew the true purpose of the trip.

Nashville proposal

I always enjoy documenting the moment of the proposal and lurking in the shadows in the moments following. I hope you enjoyed the photos and story of this sweet Gaylord Opryland proposal with Vincent and Chelseann. Congratulations guys!

Nashville proposal

Wedding vendor meals

On the subject of wedding vendor meals, it’s often misunderstood and there’s really no reason why it should be. I know that catering is expensive for couples to feed their guests, and even the vendors who work the entire event. Thankfully, all of my couples have been extremely gracious feeding me (and my assistant) dinner while guests eat. In fact, most wedding photographers have a meal clause in their contract. That clause is not in my contract, because it’s never been needed.

The contract is a necessary evil to protect both parties, and any professional providing a service needs one. However, I feel that adding too many “rules” takes the fun out of the experience and isn’t necessary. Typically, the photographer, DJ, and videographer (if applicable) work the whole event, and are fed. If there’s a personal connection between the couple and officiant, sometimes they stay as well.

As a wedding photographer, I can tell you that meal at mid-event is valuable to my creative spirit and overall morale. I run off a lot of adrenaline throughout the day, and a meal is healing, and makes me look forward to getting back to work. I’ve seen very few brides and wedding planners (online of course) grumble about wedding vendor meals, but that’s pathetic. We don’t run on batteries. It only makes sense to provide a meal so we don’t have to leave site to get food. I’m also thankful that I’ve never been given a box lunch type meal either.

I typically grab a plate when guests have made their way through the lines, or if a plated dinner, get served at the same time so that I can finish and be ready in time. It’s never been a problem to find a quiet place and take a quick breather, and nourish myself, which empowers me to return better than ever. Thankfully, most see it as human decency and a professional courtesy, and I hope they all know how much it’s appreciated.

Proposal photography sessions

Thankfully, the popularity of proposal photography sessions have grown wildly, and are a great pleasure for me to document. This is a milestone event in a couple’s life. It’s a particularly crafty knowing the person proposing has to orchestrate the plan, and carry it out without their partner knowing. Much like critical moments on a wedding day, these are not moments you can miss when you’re hired to document them, It’s once in a lifetime.

Nashville proposal

How does it work when securing me for proposal photography sessions? I take the worry out of the equation. Many of my couples are tourists visiting Nashville, and some don’t know the ideal place. Some have a place in mind, which is fine too. I am in contact with the future bride or groom planning the photoshoot, and help personalize the experience by helping advise on location / logistics. Lots of text messaging. Also, my knowledge of Nashville proves to be valuable to visiting couples and gives an inside perspective to impress their partners with. Our secret.

Once we coordinate a spot and exchange selfies, I stand in position and blend in with the scenery. My goal as a photojournalist is to only be spotted when introduced and document the true event with real human emotion. To complete that chapter of their story, I sometimes capture the journey to their next destination. Posed photos? I’m not a fan. Nor do I draw out the shoot, because the couple is in shock and in complete bliss at that moment. Brevity, unadulterated human interaction, and love complete the story. Friendship and sharing an exciting experience also makes the process rewarding. Reach out to schedule your proposal coverage.

5 wedding photographer myths

My whole goal is to be as direct but neutral as possible with this article. I’m offering insight from within that can help set shopping couples free from the noise that surrounds them while shopping for their wedding vendors. Online wedding blogs tell couples all kinds of things, some of which are true, and others that depend on the situation, or are completely bogus. These websites and blogs are intended to be helpful, and sometimes they are. They are trusted because they’re “neutral” Or are they? That’s what should be researched before putting too much stock in any source. That’s why I try to offer tips that are dependent, and not absolute. These 5 wedding photographer myths are ones I wish would be thought out better.

1- The shot list to give your wedding photographer- Stop. No. You are hiring, or should be hiring a wedding photographer because they are the solution, and he or she knows what to do. Referring to a list isn’t how all photographers work, me included. Some requests are one thing, but micromanaging a pro is unacceptable.

2- We have to hire a photographer who knows our venue- Only if you think that the four walls of your venue can outsmart the photographer you’re hiring. In which case, if any given pro can’t tell a story anywhere, they’ve got bigger issues. A true pro comes referenced and prepared. Experience and systems get us through the day seamlessly.

3- Don’t tip company owners- Most of us just own our jobs. We purchase equipment, insurance, and take years developing our craft. In that process, we must get a business license and pay taxes. What do we own exactly? I’m not pandering for tips. I’ve been paid, life is good. But, anyone who feels inclined to tip, it should be for anyone who went above and beyond and served you. “Owner” or not.

4- Must use a second shooter- Some do, some don’t. If you’re hiring a wedding photographer with a signature style and brand, and not a cheap provider, you’re hiring them for their expertise and systems they use. If you like their end product, you have no reason to want it any differently, just because some random people online say you must. I’ve photographed over 200 weddings, and have never used a second shooter. That’s just my way of working, and my preference, others do differently. If you have to micromanage based off a list, do you really trust this person? Something to think about.

5- Must use full frame Canon or Nikon- Who cares? You like their work or you don’t. That’s just a bunch of photographers talking, and bragging rights. Most who insist on full frame have no idea why they need it. I use Fuji, and it works for me. If another photographer prefers Canon or Nikon, great. As long as a professional photographer has backup gear and they know their gear, this is irrelevant.

These 5 wedding photographer myths are just that.

Changes in wedding photography

In 12 years of being an active wedding photographer, I’ve seen many changes in wedding photography, both locally and globally. In the earlier years, I’ve seen a lot of wedding photographers use their hipness as their marketing strategy, and perhaps it worked. It takes an art to become a local or internet sensation and build hype / buzz. All of our personalities are different, and whatever works is good. As long as a service provider is accurate and truthful.

Nashville wedding photographers

Of course I always did my best to increase my online and local presence, including social media, but I was never one to use hype. I’m not saying my way is better than anyone else’s, because we are all different. I have to build my business in such a way that suits my personality and style of work as a quiet documentary wedding photographer. One thing I do know, many of the people who came in making the most noise are nowhere to be found now.

There are more photographers, more social media influence, more style blogs where weddings are more about things. The wedding industry is more trendy. There are far more wedding related resources online than before, which seems to be the gospel to many shopping couples. Some are qualified to give advice, many are not, as I’ve seen many different articles being passed around. It’s up to us as photographers to show couples where we are different, and build a personal bond. More couples are becoming aware of different styles of wedding photographers (Thankfully) and many are paying for their own weddings so the wedding they want can be theirs without anyone else’s unwanted influence. Synopsis – Changes in wedding photography happen, as do changes all over the wedding industry. Being consistent and smart in business saves my own skin. Results vary.