Posted on March 13, 2013
I took a little break from my glamorous edit and laundry schedule and took this morning off to play.
After I dropped my youngest off at school, I met my pal Leigh Webber at Starbucks to look at some of her amazingly cool film scans from her trip to Morocco. We saw Amy Kay and Jennings King there as well. Girl photographer power, taking over the place!
Speaking of Leigh, generally when people mention social media outside of Facebook, I put my hands over my ears and sing “lalalalalalaaaaaaaa!!” I don’t trust myself to manage my online time efficiently. But she’s got me hooked on Instagram now, and it’s so much fun.
Here’s my feed if you’d like to follow along! I love following my past and future clients as well.
Then I did a little shopping until it was time to pick up May. I noticed that there’s the cutest little candy and specialty shop in South Windermere called Sweet Gourmet, and knew I had to take her back in.
Here’s our combined bounty:
1) I really wanted the pink snakeskin version of those loafers. Like, realllllly, really. But I was sensible and bought the neutral pair. I told myself I’d buy them if I book a family session or wedding within the next week.
2) If you don’t know about Nicole’s Nutty Goodness, you have to try it. There aren’t many easily portable meals that are filling and healthful. I always keep one in my bag on wedding days.
3) I drink a lot of green tea. I want to like Stevia, but I just don’t. I’d heard about agave nectar as a natural sweetener and I picked up some today. Hoping I like it.
We check on our fledgling garden (tomatoes, cilantro, basil, broccoli, assorted lettuces, spinach, and strawberries). Looks pretty good! The frame is repurposed from a sandbox.
A lickety-split lollipopcentric photo shoot:
And then I returned to finishing up this adorable family’s session.
Still haven’t done any laundry. But it was worth it!
Posted on March 1, 2013
Earlier this week, a wonderful friend posted this link on my personal Facebook wall, and said,
“This is why I love your wedding pictures.”
Another wonderful friend chimed in;
“Exactly. Sally, your pictures make me want to get married all over again and have you take pics. As I have said before, you have a great knack for catching real emotion and meaningful moments!”
That made me feel awesome, y’all. That’s what it’s all about! That’s why I do this! Truly, I am such a photojournalist at heart. But I also replied that I was mulling it over, and here’s why:
I’ll be honest. I don’t care about your flowers.
Not nearly as much as I care about the way you snuggled into your brother’s shoulder when you guys hugged before the ceremony, or the look on your relatives’ face when your normally reserved uncle breaks it down on the dance floor, like a total boss (who knew he had it in him?), or that moment when your new groom kissed you on the nose on the dance floor.
The Harlem Shake trumps Pantone’s color of the season, hand-holding wins over cufflinks, high-fives are more important than hors d’oeuvres.
Sometimes seemingly superficial aspects of a wedding (in the industry, we call them “details”, meaning anything decorative; anything that sets the theme, from shoes to table settings to cake) are more important than I could possibly imagine if I didn’t know the story behind them.
An heirloom locket. Your “something blue”, if you choose to follow that tradition. Maybe your groom found an idea on Pinterest, (it could happen, right?) and up until then he was lukewarm/confused on the whole wedding planning deal, but after that he took the idea and ran with it.
I had a bride last fall who unexpectedly lost her mother, and they chose to honor her in many ways, including putting her parents’ wedding cake topper and her mother’s pearls under a glass dome on the dessert table.
When my father died, I helped my mother with most of the necessary details.
When we went to pick out the flower doo-bob thingy that covers the casket, I flipped through the book once, then twice, and then glanced over at my Mom with this helpless look, like, “Um, 1997 called and wants its cascading ivy arrangements back…”
There was nothing wrong with their flowers. Lovely people, lovely shop. But it just wasn’t going to happen. I’m sure they thought I was bonkers, but I asked if they’d sell me the foundation piece as well as the flower stems of my choosing. My mother, from whom I inherited my DIY propensities as well as my taste, understood. The staff was super-nice about it.
“Honey, it’s your Daddy,” the owner said. “You do what you want.”
What we wanted was a masculine, Lowcountry and Scottish inspired arrangement, and we used heathery bits and red roses and spanish moss and palm fronds. It was beautiful, but I needed a specific item of foliage to complete the look.
I made my husband drive me all over south Georgia for an hour and 40 minutes in search of “those buff-colored feathery thingies that grow out of pampas grass.”
To a guy, that description sounds like this: “Wah wah waaaah, blahblahblahblah.”
Any other time, he would have been complaining, but what could he do? It was obviously a day for 100% support, so even though it probably took superhuman strength to suppress his sighs and keep his eyeballs from rolling out of his head, he did it, and seeing the images of those flowers makes me smile, thinking about how he activated his hyperpatience powers. I also remember how therapeutic it was, being able to talk to visitors but also having something to do with our hands, and the soothing idle sort of “maybe move that to the left? And fill in a little over there?” chatter added to our collective conversation. There was traditional type of comfort in the midst of deep sadness in reclaiming something that’s typically outsourced and making it very personal.
I also laugh, recalling how many chigger bites I got from the Spanish moss.
Now, I am *so* not saying you should do your own flowers. That’s a potential disaster waiting to happen.
I’m saying that the wedding industry gets way too caught up in the themes and things; of course it does. And typically they should absolutely be secondary to capturing people. But at the end of the day, I can’t and shouldn’t tell you what is and isn’t important to you, on your wedding day. You should be telling me. I don’t want you, as a couple getting married, to ever have to apologize for placing importance on “things”. I want to make sure I really pay attention to those items with lots of personal significance.
If your grandmother picked out your flowers because the color reminded her of her own wedding flowers, 52 years ago, they move higher up on my list of priorities. If your sash was made with your Mom’s wedding gown, I’d love to know, so I can take special care to photograph it up close.
Conversely, if your planner picked out the centerpieces because you didn’t much care one way or another, and they’re fab, but oh my gosh, your college roommate brought her boyfriend and you guys are hoping he’ll propose to her this weekend? I need to know. I’ll get the centerpieces done for sure, but I need to keep a special eye on those two…
Love makes the perfect wedding, for sure.
But communication makes the perfectly captured wedding.
Posted on January 22, 2013
Last year was a good year.
I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats!
At a 2012 wedding, I was walking past a groom who was waiting in an alcove for his wedding ceremony to start, in mere minutes. He was a little verklempt, and I raised my camera, then paused, looked at him, and said,
“Is this OK? Or would you prefer privacy?”
And he said, “No, stay. I want the truth. Well… I want the truth, maybe just a little bit more beautiful.”
Yep. That’s why I do this.
The truth, maybe just a little bit more beautiful.
With that philosophy in mind, here’s a look back at some of the sessions and weddings I shot over the year– a good mixture of both candid and posed and/or planned shots.
My goal for 2013 is to shoot candid moments with more intention and purpose, so that I produce single images that can stand alone and tell stories.
Here’s what we did in 2012:
Hung 0ut in the good light
Kissed a little
Got up offa that thang
Showcased the Lowcountry
Modelled for Mom
And called it a wrap!
Posted on August 15, 2012
It’s that time again!
Our blog circle assignment this month was our neighborhood.
We live within a 5 minute walk or 60 second drive of an antiques mall, church, coffee shop, bakery, catering deli, florist, indie movie theater, music venue, Greek restaurant, spa, the best mexican restaurant in town, etc.
You name it, we have it. But our actual neighborhood is fairly small and nondescript; a circle of sturdy brick ranch homes. The neighborhood’s character lies more in the people.
I decided to take a night walk around our circle and see if I could capture the quaint, dreamy, sometimes eerie essence of home after dark.
This neighbor recently passed away. He battled with his lungs for years, but refused to give up his cigarettes or his daily bicycle jaunts.
Two years ago he went on an Honor Flight. We didn’t know at the time about the huge homecoming they receive from the community when they return to the local airports. I wish we’d been able to go.
Now, head on over to delightful Marty Hadding to see how she interpreted the assignment!
Posted on July 12, 2012
So this is our second installment of the blog circle.
This month, the assignment was to shoot at f8.
F8 is considered sort of an old skool aperture. I can’t remember the last time I shot over 5.6, unless I was trying to take in as much of a scene’s depth as possible, like with a landscape or sunset or something.
But these days we can get way too dependent on shallow depth of field. It’s a good challenge, and good practice, to be able to shoot a different way. Besides, in photography, old skool is generally good. See: the film resurgence, and having respect for our forebears who were focusing with a manual split screen and hanging out in the darkroom.
(Do not see: Glamour Shots at the mall. Some trends are best off dead and buried forever.)
I wandered into the (freshly rained-upon; hooray!) yard this morning to complete this assignment. Our back yard is giant. The downside is that it takes forever to mow and maintain. The upside is that, in its own organic way, it’s a whole little world back there. Kind of cool.
Took a few minutes to defog the lens. It’s *humid* out there, y’all!
Also, he’s thrilled about the wet grass. See how thrilled?
Hubby’s burn barrel. Apparently it offers an atavistic sense of accomplishment; the burning.
Miller, aka Millie, the Millinator, Milli Vanilli.
Last summer I’d do a load of laundry every morning first thing and then baby girl and I would hang it out. (We have a privacy fence, so you couldn’t see it from the road.) It made me feel all environmentally virtuous and at one with nature and all that, until I read that I was only saving like $50 a year or something like that. Then, one of my climbing rose bushes got a little aggressive and the thorns tore one my my favorite dresses, and that was the end of my short-lived career as laundress of the land.
I planted seeds in a little plot and I don’t remember what vegetable it was. Every year I do this. Every single year. I never learn. I know what’s in my container garden, but the plot’s always a mystery. Last year we got okra and a few watermelons. The year before, beans. I have no idea what this is.
And now, head to the opposite side of the world to see the fabulous Xanthe’s take on the theme. http://xanthe.com.au/f8-is-great/
Posted on June 13, 2012
Taking a quick break from wediting (editing a wedding) to report that blackberries (or “lots of tiny blueberries allllllll together”, as she calls them) are apparently a big hit.
Posted on June 10, 2012
1) I am doing a quick edit on images from Jane’s first surfing lesson this morning. So much fun! Never mind getting excited when she got up; I squee’d like an idiot from the moment he put the leash around her ankle. I’ll probably blog them tomorrow.
Speaking of Jane, I just noticed this on Uncentered’s Facebook page:
Isn’t that sweet? It was a win-win, too, because in addition to helping someone in need, (their belongings were lost in the Goose Creek apartment complex fire) and donating some of her beloved clothes (including her very favorite shirt-she insisted) , she also cleaned out her drawers of all the adorable preppy clothes I favor and she isn’t interested in. You can raise the girl in the Lowcountry but you can’t make her wear madras plaid.
Please head over, check them out, and “Like” their page. You never know when they’ll need something you have!
2) After a weekend with You Don’t Know Jacques by OPI on my toes, I realized that this color resonates with me because it’s the exact color of pluff mud. Relatedly, in terms of hue, my husband and I ate at Il Cortile Del Re on King Street Friday night. He highly recommends the lobster ravioli, and as a connaisseur of caprese salads, I can say that theirs is absolutely fantastic.
Anyway, he was telling me a story about an old couch that wasn’t gray and wasn’t brown but was somewhere in between. “Right, I said. ‘Taupe.”
“Yeah,” he says. “That in between color.”
“It’s taupe. Now you know the correct term! Try it out.”
“Yeahhh…” he says, “That color between gray and brown.”
Maybe real men don’t say taupe.
3) There is a chocolatier in Charleston. Like, a dude who uses fresh high quality ingredients and whips up chocolate bars and sauces in his kitchen, and hand-delivers them to select merchants. How did I not know this? How was this not #1 on my list? I tried the Sea is for Caramel. Just doing my part to support local small businesses. And, you know. Antioxidants.
Check it out. The packaging alone is worth buying a bar. I didn’t want to take off the paper.
Posted on June 8, 2012
So a group of online photographer friends around the country and the world decided it would be fun to create our own blog circle.
I’ve seen several examples around the ‘net and I love seeing personal life through all different sorts of perspectives and styles. I want to be able to view not only what people are doing in their homes, but how they choose to depict it. (OK, that sounds stalkerish, but you know what I mean.)
This month, our assignment is a square crop. There are several of us participating while we get it off the ground, and then we’ll add more participants each month.
(Confession: I didn’t actually measure out a square crop. I eyeballed it.)
(Confession II: There may be some wonky links this first day/month. I mean, we’re not neurophysicists, here, people.)
This is May, this morning, still in her pajamas.
She’s not feeling awesome.
This is freelensed.
This is Tallulah. She’s not feeling very well either, in the Cone of Shame. She lost a skirmish with the neighbor’s cat.
Mantle. As far as I know it feels fine. I snapped this last night for no reason, and just threw it in here today. The bowl under the candle is full of Starbucks coffee grounds. I was hoping the candle heat would infuse and waft the coffee aroma, but I’m not sure it works. (Even though Pinterest assured me that it would!)
I got the carved wood blocks for like $4 at a garage sale and I adore them. My daughter Jane did the zebra in art last year. I love him.
For the next stop in the circle, please go to Atlanta wedding photographer Zachary Long :
Posted on June 7, 2012
May is 3, and can be accordingly quirky. We’ve been growing her bangs out for-what-8 months?
They were just tucking behind her ear, but she doesn’t like to wear it that way. She’s also not big on the whole thing where we brush it, wash it, style it, make it not look like a rat’s nest.
Rather than deal with daily negotiations and painful rubber bands and howling, fat-fist-shaking recriminations, and after a lot of wishy washy thought (seriously, it’s ridiculous, how long I contemplated the bangs-or-no-bangs thing) I granted her request for “Dora hair.”
And I think she rocks it.
(C.R. and I got summer cuts too but I haven’t taken pictures yet. Plus my hair pretty much looks the same no matter what.)
(After helping herself to my makeup bag. Asking for permission= feh.)
Posted on March 5, 2012
I am cross-posting today, so I just put a new set of images (my middle child posing for me) onto my Facebook page. Check it out!
I am so pleased with how my work schedule is coming along for 2012.
I have some wonderful weddings lined up and room for only a few more on the calendar.
Totally looking forward to the Charleston beach portrait season.
Definitely want to shoot more film.
I’ve taken a workshop and watched a few free three-day online classes and I am so excited to implement all that I’ve learned.
And even after all that good news, I still want more.
So why not just put it out there?
1) I want a family to hire me to do a completely candid lifestyle session. A fly on the wall, on a random Tuesday. I want dogs whining to come in and dinner coming out of the oven (or out of a pizza box-it’s all good!), and a meltdown because we can’t find the blue sippie cup and clean little freshly bathed toes and bedtime stories and night lights.
All of it.
(I keep talking about wanting to capture real life, but, duh, I’d still shoot in the most attractive direction and make sure I don’t capture clutter in the background of the images.) :)
2) I want to do a John Hughes movies themed couple or engagement session. Sitting on a table, kissing over a cake, or slouching outside a high school gym, cavorting in a library or walking across a football field with raised fist. Fedora and a clarinet. Sunglasses in the back of a cab. Laying around in the front seat of a convertible Rolls. (Yea, I’m sure I’ll have no problem finding one of those.) Not an absolute re-creation, because Lord, couldn’t that end up cheesy? But inspired by, let’s say.
3) I want a back yard wedding. Your parents’ back yard, yours, a friend’s…wherever. I want to shoot a wedding with a truly homemade feel, not necessarily only in terms of the details (although homemade decor is great too!), but with regards to the space and vibe.
4) I want to shoot someone in the water. I love those dreamy, lovely, atmospheric shots where a compelling woman in a flowy dress wades around in a lake or ocean. (I’m thinking it would have to be a woman. Dude hair is not nearly as pretty/floaty.)
5) I’d love to do some more boudoir. I don’t advertise it on my site, but I do shoot it from time to time, and I do it in a really nice, tasteful, flattering way, if I do say so myself. If you are interested in a boudoir shoot, email me and I’ll send along some (pre-approved by past clients, of course) samples of my work.
So there you have it.