Nashville’s documentary wedding photographer
and headshot studio.

Downtown Nashville engagement photos

Downtown Nashville engagement photos, featuring Joe and Rebecca! –

Downtown Nashville engagement photos

Downtown Nashville engagement photos

It was maybe a month before the Downtown Nashville engagement photos session we had, that I talked to Joe on the phone. As a general stereotype, guys are known for being a little bit too simple and not as romantically spontaneous as the female gender. BUT, after working with several of these guys on surprise marriage proposal photos and in this case, surprise engagement photos, there’s a lot of hope for the male species. LOL. He said he wanted to surprise Rebecca with a fun romantic couples getaway to downtown Nashville and arrange a surprise engagement photoshoot, and dinner at The Melting Pot! So we worked the plan together.

Downtown Nashville engagement photos

Nashville engagement

Joe and Rebecca are both Michigan natives. Rebecca still lives there and is a nurse, and has mixed feelings about organic foods being the end all be all. 🙂 Joe is stationed at Fort Campbell and active military, Army. They had both been married before and had lived and learned. Through healing and personal / spiritual growth and rebuilding, they found an amazing support system and love connection in each other! All of which was very evident in these lovely engagement photos!

engagement photos

engagement photos

downtown Nashville

None of these photos were scripted or posed, it was about me documenting the fun afternoon in downtown Nashville. One cool thing about our downtown, we have our crowded hot spots but also places where you can find your own corner to hang out and breathe. Doing these Downtown Nashville engagement photos would document their day and love perfectly. Just me, my backpack, Fuji XT-1 and 35mm F2. Backup body and lens, spare batteries in tow. Traveling lightly still.

Downtown Nashville engagement photos

engagement photos

Nashville engagement

engagement photos

There was something powerful about this photo. Some might say, well…it doesn’t show Joe. Well, it does. The sun in her hair, and the hand. Hands are very intimate and this particular composition emphasizes the love and touch of the hand and the calming mood it instills in her. Nerd moment over, lol.

natural light

engagement photos

downtown Nashville

engagement photos

second avenue Nashville

This is where Joe revealed the surprise dinner reservations to Rebecca and I walked off into the sunset after a fun time with them. I hope you’ve enjoyed these Downtown Nashville engagement photos, and the couple will cherish them forever.

engagement photos

 

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Arrington Vineyard marriage proposal

It was a beautiful sunny late February afternoon, around 54 degrees. When you get in the sun it’s quite lovely, but in the shade it may feel chilly. Arrington Vineyard is a beautiful, hilly, scenic destination to unwind, enjoy some fine wine and food, and the outdoor amenities offered. So, today I present to you a beautiful Arrington Vineyard marriage proposal featuring Donna and Monee!

Arrington Vineyard marriage proposal

Arrington Vineyard marriage proposal

Arrington Vineyard marriage proposal

Arrington Vineyard marriage proposal

Arrington Vineyard marriage proposal

Arrington Vineyard marriage proposal Arrington Vineyard marriage proposal

Donna emailed me about a month before the shoot after finding me on search for LGBT friendly photographers in Nashville. The planning for this Arrington Vineyard marriage proposal began! Donna has been with her girlfriend Monee (pronounced same as Monet) for 4 1/2 years since meeting on Ok Cupid, an online dating website. The couple had planned a long weekend trip to Nashville that weekend, visiting from Atlanta. But Monee didn’t know exactly what was coming! That was our secret.  For now.

LGBT engagement

same sex engagement

same sex engagement

LGBT couple

high contrast

Donna even made a trip to Nashville a couple weeks before the big weekend to find the perfect spot to propose. Also to scope out hotels and restaurants while in Nashville. While she was here with her friend, I met up with them to meet and talk strategy. I could tell Donna is very detail oriented and wanted everything to fit them perfectly, which I would say happened exactly according to plan.

silhouette

LGBT engagement

Donna scheduled a wine tasting tour at the vineyard, and arranged to have a picnic basket and bottle of their wine ready for after the proposal. Monne didn’t know my involvement until that point when they hiked up the hill for their picnic.

same sex wedding

I love the intimate mood and back lighting for photographing this happy couple as they bask in the sunshine. What a lovely special occasion to be a part of and to document for these wonderful ladies. This has been my fifth live marriage proposal to photograph since the Summer but my very first same sex marriage proposal! It’s an honor to serve the LGBT community and of course a true pleasure to know Donna and Monne. Congratulations ladies!

LGBT couple

LGBT friendly photographer

same sex engagement

same sex couple

LGBT Nashville

Nashville wedding photographers | wedding photographers developing identity

About wedding photographers developing identity-

I was a street photographer / photojournalist in my start with photography and later branched out into fine art / figure study photography. I never once considered wedding photography as I didn’t think I’d enjoy it. Plus, it was one thing you could not mess up. I was already a fairly seasoned photographer in 2008 when answering an ad on Myspace for photographers needed. So I thought, what the hell, I can always use extra work, I think I’ll talk to them. It turns out it was for wedding photography. I went silent. I then told him I have never shot a wedding. He says he liked my work I submitted and would work with me on it if I give it a shot. I said, sure, let’s give it a try.

He needed wedding photographers to subcontract for days he was double booked, but first I would work with him on some weddings. I kind of dug it. It felt like a privilege to be a part of someone’s wedding day and I really wanted to provide them something memorable. All I had to go on is what he was teaching me as far as protocol and etiquette. It is SO much more than technical photography knowledge with wedding photography, I can’t stress this enough.

Well, the time came when I went out on my own without him. It was nerve racking but exciting. Eventually I took on some of my own wedding clients I accepted somewhat selectively. I was honest with them and showed them the wedding work I did have. Fast forward to a couple years later. I enjoyed weddings, and by then I had quite a few under my belt. BUT, something wasn’t exactly right. I couldn’t identify exactly what it was. I was changing, and going with a different approach that seemed to compliment my native photojournalist approach. I felt like the 13 year old boy at the school dance with feet that outgrew my body, and zits. Basically freezing up when it was time to ask the girl to dance.

I knew the style I was taught wasn’t my identity. I was learning the importance of wedding photographers developing identity. Soon after, we parted ways and I was strictly freelance. I realized that the approach I do best didn’t match his brand and approach. I had to complete my own. The best advice was from my colleague and friend, Kevin Mullins, a well known British wedding photojournalist. Put my documentary style of photographing weddings in the forefront of my brand and website. I was scared to do this for a while because I knew it would put a lot of couples off with other expectations. But….that’s the whole point! It also attracts those looking for what I do.  Being a niche style makes for marketing challenges, but I’ve never felt more liberated!

There are already too many wedding photographers. Many with a non-descript style and no real identity of their own. In order to stand out from your competition, you have to eliminate competition by being different. Not everyone gets it, those who do are your client. Many think you win people over by being low priced and being everything to everybody. Not at all. Those who hire because of price or to tick this service of the list don’t hire hand picked individuals. These are often the most problematic clients, I saw this first hand with some of his.

With me zeroing in on my niche, I get clients who hire me for me. They’re a specific client. But in the past 2-3 years, I can’t think of any couples or guests I’ve had any problem with. Sometimes you have to be true to yourself and this helps you provide better service to your clients. It’s an interesting ride for sure.

Are bridal shows worth attending ?

Bridal shows / wedding expos have been around for a long time, and they serve two main purposes. To provide inspiration and resources to engaged couples, and for vendors to participate and meet these couples. But from the bride’s / couples’ perspective, are bridal shows worth attending? Let’s see if I can help. But prepare for some moderate honesty, lol!

bridal show booth

Benefits for couples attending bridal shows-

-Inspirations for their wedding, fashion shows and inspirations, food and cake tastings.

-Being able to meet all different types of vendors face to face and gather information.

-Taking advantage of vendor show specials. Many offer booking incentives to help protect their investment in their show booth. For this reason, any vendors you are in need of, research before the show on who will be there. That may help you use your time better.

-Meeting other engaged couples and enjoying the festivities.

Notice I didn’t say prizes and giveaways. Those who are ONLY there for that are wasting their own time and everyone else’s.

bridal show

Some common complaints about shows –

-Overwhelming- Ok. Do you visit every store when you go to the mall? Didn’t think so. Get what you need from it, forget the rest.

-Too many calls and emails – I don’t think you’re required to share your phone number. You can make this a lot easier by making info labels for when you visit vendor booths. Also set up a dedicated wedding email account on Gmail, it’s free.  I don’t condone vendors blowing people up, but logic should prevail here. We go to great expense to attend, and we are nervous too. We are excited to meet you and naturally want to earn your business. All you have to do is unsubscribe from people you don’t wish to follow.

End result, are bridal shows worth attending ? –

If in the planning stages, you need ideas,  and some vendors are still needed, I’d say yes.  Like anything, those with the right attitude can benefit. That doesn’t mean go in without keeping your wits about you, but closed minds don’t learn anything or benefit from different experiences. Try one and see for yourself, enjoy. 🙂

 

Different styles of wedding photography

Perhaps the biggest challenge for any photographer, and wedding photographer alike is creating an identity. There are already too many photographers. All different skill levels and price points. But only few stand out and have a true identity which is instrumental to success. It can be a scary process not appealing to the masses or setting yourself apart from what is perceived as what most clients want. Most potential clients don’t understand that different styles of wedding photography exist as they do until after interviewing photographers.

two brides

As a documentary wedding photographer, I am indeed a niche style myself. I could have gone the safe route and posted some of what I do best mixed with the bright and airy styled shoots to attract more clients. Which is what a lot of photographers are doing. A couple years ago after meeting with a respected mentor in England who is also a documentary photographer, I realized it was time to narrow in on my niche.

bride hug

I put my documentary approach in the forefront of my brand. Including my website, photos used in my portfolio, blog articles, and social media. Which means several things.

-I will attract couples looking for my style and approach and put off couples with other expectations.

-Most couples don’t look for photographer by style until they have started researching wedding photographers. Then they become educated and learn about the different styles of wedding photography. The product they receive and the experience they have varies with these different options.

-Yes, I’ve left the safety net. Safe is boring. Then I don’t stand out. While my style and approach aren’t for everyone, I have an identity. Why should a couple hire me when there are umpteen bazillion others? Well, when I offer something others don’t, that increases my value and makes competition a moot factor. It’s just a unique challenge putting it out there to my audience.

-This way, I get clients specifically for me, and we were meant to work together. Expectations are clear and they understand the benefits of my approach going in.

-Most important of all perhaps- I won’t fall out of love with what I do because I’m conforming rather than running with what I do best. A happy and passionate me makes for a happy client.