Nashville’s documentary wedding photographer
and headshot studio.
The important aspects of operating a creative business (and even more generally speaking) is being good at your craft, passionate about it, and providing your customers with a product of value. Not to mention being good at running the business; keeping things efficient and organized. There’s also a soul that is unique to your business, and that’s you. Your personality, skill set, products, and values are just a few things that make up that soul. That soul is what your business stands for, and what you stand for. Some take this farther than others, but here’s my take on it. Does this mean that all my clients need to agree with me on worldly or personal issues? Of course not. Joe or Martha come to the studio for a headshot, and we enjoy a little friendly banter, and I provide them with what they need. I have no reason to know their political or religious views, and vice versa (even though I hate both of those).
For wedding clients, we connect on a deeper level. We all have to qualify each other; especially with photography style, approach, and personalities. It doesn’t take long for someone viewing my website to see that I’m passionate about serving the LGBTQ community and people of all ethnicities. What you put out there is out there forever, so it pays to make your choice and stick with it. It’s been ten years (before the marriage equality act) that I was approached by a same=sex couple about photographing their wedding. They had to make it official in Massachusetts and have their event here for friends and family. That struck a chord with me. They were very kind and appreciative, and made sure I was comfortable with it. Working with them was one of the best decisions I ever made, on a personal and business level. No one should have to go through that to marry who they love.
I also remember a decade ago, attending a local networking event and talking to a prominent fellow photographer. He wasn’t against me doing LGBT weddings, but advised me that there could be backlash that affected my business for putting it out there, perhaps unnecessarily to some. It didn’t take me long to realize it was worth that risk. After all, if I am welcoming LGBT clients, they have to find me somehow and know they’re safe here. This many years later, at a slightly different point in my photography career, this only generated support for my business. I only got pushback from one religious father of a potential bride, and I called him on his bigotry, we then parted company. Despite this support, could it have deterred others from contacting me? Maybe a few. But I’m ok without them. Ultimately, you have to decide what your business stands for and how you incorporate it into your brand. Is there such a thing as being too opinionated and loud? Yes. But don’t assume you have to be silent either. You decide how to use your voice.
A year or so ago, Danielle and Megan were in Nashville, where I live and Danielle secured my services to photograph the proposal in Downtown Nashville (unbeknownst to Megan at the time). I was honored to document that memory for them, and even more honored that they thought of me to be their wedding photographer / storyteller of choice. Danielle announced their plans to have a beautiful Savannah LGBT wedding as pride month kicked off, at The Alida Hotel, Downtown Savannah, Ga. I love destination weddings, and this one in particular served two purposes. First and foremost, tell the story of Danielle and Megan’s day. Also, explore Savannah and take a couple days to stay on Tybee Island and enjoy the beach. It didn’t suck. Styling by Blush Hair And Makeup Artistry.
I come and go during prep, so it doesn’t become weird and posed. In my wanderings, I documented some of the features of the hotel, including rooftop views that show the stormy and moody weather that we had that afternoon. The ceremony was going to take place on the rooftop, which would have been awesome. Though with anything wedding, both the couples and photographers must go with the flow adapt quickly, as certain things like weather are out of our control. The hotel quickly provided a conference room overlooking the pool as a weather contingency plan.
The reception room neighbored the rooftop and had a great view of Downtown Savannah and the Savannah River. The bar and catering were in-house, and dinner was delicious! Cake by Wicked Cakes.
It was a great day with Megan and Danielle, and here’s to a great future! Thanks to the couple and The Alida for hosting us for the magical Savannah LGBT wedding at the kickoff of pride month!
Choosing between studio or outdoor headshots-
Most professional headshots I do are for business and professional use. People applying for new jobs, starting new businesses, new careers, and needing flattering representation of themselves to help propel them into their next journey. Or else, their look changes and they want to keep their headshot current and relevant, which is also a good and responsible idea. Some clients are in need of a corporate style headshot, which is usually done in studio. Others are in a more creative or freelance field and may prefer an outdoor, ambient vibe to their headshots. I will share some thoughts that may help you decide between studio or outdoor headshots. If you can’t decide, there’s always chocolate vanilla swirl if you can’t pick a flavor. 🙂
That was an example of a studio headshot. It’s hard to go wrong either way. A professional headshot shows effort and commitment. A cell phone snap doesn’t show the same level of seriousness. This lady works for an investment firm, so the vibe is best left corporate, with no distracting backgrounds or excessive jewelry. Also, depending on the time of year, the studio being climate controlled helps avoid sweat or looking like the abominable snowman in cold weather. The next example, a studio headshot would have worked for this young realtor. However, he preferred the more casual vibe of an outdoor setting that may appeal to younger home buyers, and making it a casual and fun experience. I think it worked perfectly for his goals.
I remember him asking where the best outdoor location would be. He said he would be in West Nashville that day, so I randomly suggested Richland Park. In short, it makes NO DIFFERENCE where we do it. We’re talking a headshot that ideally is from the sternum up. If an outdoor headshot is desired, an outdoor vibe without a ton of background distractions is close to where we are. In my opinion, if you can identify buildings in the background, it defeats the purpose of a headshot, which is supposed to showcase the face of the subject. For portrait work, I can better understand location importance. I’m not all googly over shallow depth of field, as a general rule, but it helped accomplish the goal here. He got his outdoor headshot without tons of background distractions. K.I.S.S. (we all know what that means)
Recently, I had the honor and privilege of photographing a destination wedding In historic Savannah Georgia, for a special couple whose proposal I photographed in my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. The couple chose Savannah and one of the nicest hotels / Savannah wedding venues, The Alida in downtown Savannah. I love photographing destination weddings and the adventures of travel. My assistant and I stayed on Tybee Island and navigated into the city on Danielle and Megan’s wedding day. It was warm, though heavy rains had started soon before our arrival. Which in itself, is not bad luck. Each wedding day is about telling a story about all that went right, the love that surrounded the couple, and the hurdles. So, the show went on. I photographed some location details of the hotel and i wanted to share some of those photos with you. Next article will include photos of the wedding itself.
I was glad that the valets quickly got me inside and parked my car for me before I looked like a wet hedgehog, haha. I love how the hotel was LGBT friendly for the couple and a ballroom was quickly available when rain prevented the rooftop ceremony from happening as planned. The in-house catering was delicious, and the servers were very friendly and efficient. There are many different fantastic views of Savannah from the rooftop and balconies. I felt as though I was among friends and certainly would look forward to returning. If you’re looking for a lovely hotel, or one of the nicest Savannah wedding venues / event venues, look no further.
No one can say these past two plus years haven’t been interesting and challenging. However, that doesn’t mean I care to repeat many things about this time period! Lena and Ali had a wrench thrown in their wedding plans when Covid-19 changed life as we knew it. Metro ordinance restricted public gatherings to eight people, maximum. The couple relied on virtual technology to include loved ones who were unable to attend, and it was a lovely day despite awkward times we lived in. Their plan was to have a dedicated reception when the dust settled. Fast forward to May 14, 2022, they had a fun-filled Cafe Azafran reception in South Nashville!
When Covid restrictions eased up and hospitalizations went down, Lena and Ali made a date and I was honored to have been chosen to document this part of their story as well! Now friends, family, and neighbors could safely gather with the couple and celebrate their milestone together! The event began with greeting / cocktail hour, and live music by Jesse Labelle. Then dinner to follow, and it was delicious! Thompson Kitchen served rice, braised pomegranate beef brisket, edamame vegetable medley and more. The couple had a brief dance, and guests enjoyed visiting, listening to music, enjoying cocktails and dancing until it was time to close the joint down. Special thanks to my assistant, Katie, and Gina the wedding planner! Bar staff courtesy of The Drinking Well. Thank you Lena and Ali for trusting the my vision at their documentary Nashville wedding photographer.