Permalink to Maggie & Tyler | Town Brookhaven | Atlanta, GA

Maggie & Tyler | Town Brookhaven | Atlanta, GA

I shot Tyler’s sister’s wedding several years ago, so it’s a HUGE hour to be photographing his marriage to Maggie next year!  A full-on engagement shoot wasn’t really in their plans, but we got together for beers and about 15 minutes of photos — which was about all the cold we could stand, anyway!


Permalink to Ashley, Paul, & Opie | At Home | Acworth, GA

Ashley, Paul, & Opie | At Home | Acworth, GA

I look forward to photographing this family every year. Not only do I want to steal their kid, but I kinda also love their animals.  And I’m not even a dog person.  But seriously, just look at ‘em…

Every kid I know makes this face at some point:

And then this one…

Opie, explaining that Chester is being flat right now:

While yer gettin’ shoed is the perfect time to tease the cat with some pipe-cleaners.

v

I think Opie’s a cool kid because his parents love each other.  Really.


Permalink to Something Greater

Something Greater

“That’s totally Photoshopped,” I looked across the grocery checkout line to see a teenage girl, pointing at the cover of a fashion magazine. And of course she was right. It’s no big secret anymore that everyone who’s anyone on the cover of anything has been nipped and tucked and airbrushed to oblivion. Or maybe even metamorphosized into something no longer human.

In a recent e-mail from a fellow wedding photographer, I was told, “I was prepping a wedding for my blog, doing some retouching, and I thought to myself, why am I shrinking her arms? They are big, but who cares? Then I thought, why am I retouching her face, too? It just made me think about this work I do and why I feel the need to make these edits.”

I completely identify with this photographer’s experience. We’re so conditioned to expect beauty to be one thing (How limiting — ONE thing!), and to have absolutely no compunction about digitally modifying someone’s face or body to achieve the look we think they should have had.

In On Beauty, I wrote primarily to my clients, discouraging them from the destructive obsession with looking like a magazine cover. But I think discussions about retouching and beauty are crucial for wedding and portrait photographers as well, because the shift in our clients’ thinking begins with us. When we retouch, we say to our clients, “You’re better this way.”

“You’re better with a flatter tummy.”
“You’re better with skinnier arms.”
“You’re better with a rounder bum.”
“You’re better without that scar.”

Who do we think we are?

It is absolutely our job, as photographers, to make our clients look their best. We should understand what angles draw attention to their faces, what light flatters their skin, what lenses best fit the mood or the moment or the model. There was a time when that raw skill was all there was. You either got it right in camera or not at all.

Now, though, we’re overburdened by our access to incredible post-production tools — tools that enhance our work in so many ways, but which also have been misused to grossly alter the unique men and women we photograph, to mangle their self-confidence, to put upon them a flawlessness that exists only through the manipulation of retouching.

And I get it! I want a smaller nose, people! I want straighter teeth! (Invisalign: one of these days, I’m coming for you!) But you know when I want these things the very most? It’s not when I’m with my friends and family; it’s not when I’m working hard on a project I care about; and it’s definitely not when I’m home by myself, listening to music and reading on our cozy couch. No, it’s when I engage in media that is loaded with made-up, plastic-skinned, all-the-same men and women, who don’t reflect the diverse, colorful, dynamic people I know in real life.

Right now, as wedding and portrait photographers, I believe we are on the forefront of a revolution in the photography industry, because we, more than any other photography professionals, are flooding the market with images of REAL people. And we have the ability — no, the responsibility —  to make amazing, raw, genuine photographs of the individuals who place themselves before our cameras.

And so we must strive for something greater than pretty pictures: to know our craft well, and to tell true stories of real beauty in all its incredible shapes, sizes, and colors.  This is our calling.

You can also read this piece on HuffPost.


Permalink to Monica & Geoffrey, etc. | The Woods | Morrow, GA

Monica & Geoffrey, etc. | The Woods | Morrow, GA

The beautiful thing about photographing your own family members is that they don’t get to be picky.  I’m the one who gets to choose.   So I choose to make their entire blog post only black and white photos, and the first two pictures are of my nephew Corbin being serious and grown-up, while my little nephew Holland scampers about like a squirrel, and my brother and sister-in-law just sit there, probably wishing they were still in bed.

I love them.

I’m particularly excited about the niece they’re giving me in the new year.  Thank you, Geoffrey.  Thank you, Monica.  I will now buy all the frilly things.

That is not a stump.  That is a rocket ship to space.

Lovelovelovelovelove.


Permalink to Lise, Chris, & Adeline | At Home | Atlanta, GA

Lise, Chris, & Adeline | At Home | Atlanta, GA

I photographed Little Miss Adeline almost exactly one year ago, and she’s only gotten cuter since then!

Plus: those legs!  I can’t wait to see this girly kick a soccer ball one day!


Permalink to Jessica & Charlie | Sawyer Family Farmstead | Cashiers, NC

Jessica & Charlie | Sawyer Family Farmstead | Cashiers, NC

Jess & Charlie’s wedding felt less like working with “clients” and more like celebrating with friends — probably because I’ve known them through Erin for several years!  This meant I was already friends with several of their guests, and got special access to the pour-your-own Scotch bar, which (let’s be honest) is really all I need to be in utter bliss.

My Co-tographer: Erin Schopf
Ceremony & Reception: Sawyer Family Farmstead
Jess’s Gown: David Fielden
Flowers & Decor: DIY
Cake: Just Simply Delicious

Jess and her sweet puppy…

The wedding bands, and some DIY macro…

The groom’s cottage…

What a nice groom!  Charlie got his guys these handsome flasks as groomsmen gifts…

First look…

The weather was all over the place in the mountains on this particular Saturday!  When we started the photos with the guys, the sun was blaring…

…but we barely made it through a couple of wedding party photos before the rain started…

The rain disappeared again, and we popped outside for photos of the ladies…

Clouds rolling in again…

I loved Jess & Charlie’s version of a guestbook…

It started raining again, so we rushed for cover…

…but the sun came BACK out to play for cocktail hour!

Yes.

Erin snuck this shot of me pouring our Scotches!  NOM!

And there’s Erin, looking super cute as always as she sneaks around on the dance floor with her camera!

I can’t stop laughing:

This wedding was brought to you by:

(Anne & Erin)

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