Archive for July, 2011

Jessica and Chip are Married

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011


I second shot this wedding with West Vita. (link is: HERE).
You can read a lot more about why I second shoot some weddings each year HERE on my blog.

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Nance!!!
Jessica and Chip met at Trinity so we swung by campus after their ceremony to get a few photos of them there. This one with Jessica’s reflection is one of my favorites of the day.

The boys knocked it out of the ball park in terms of guy group photos. Thank you, guys!

fun people + interesting architecture + a very special day = one happy photographer

The girls were ready to play ball too. They looked fantastic.


Pretty light. Pretty flowers.

I keep coming back to this image again and again. Even though it is simple, it is definitely in my top three from the whole day.
Rachel P., even your back is photogenic!

I took this driving to the church in the limo. Jessica’s close relationship with her dad is one of the things that sticks out in my mind about her wedding day. Her dad seems both tender and strong. You can tell he cares a lot about his daughter. This was her response to him after he said, “Jess, you look really beautiful today!” It was a quiet, in-between moment that sang and danced. I felt a little strange taking a quick photo, but I hope they treasure the resulting visual memory.

Jessica’s dad warned us that he had been “suffering from allergies” 😉 since arriving in San Antonio. He said that due to his self diagnosed allergies, his eyes might water a bit throughout the day. The whole day, he was either crying, laughing, or smiling. The day seemed like such a wonderful mix of joy and sweet memories for him as a dad.

It is always good to see familiar faces at weddings–especially when they love dancing!

Photobooth Fun courtesy of San Antonio Photobooths. Here’s the LINK. The Bride and Groom supplied some great, colorful props.

This is definitely one of my favorite story-telling photos of the day. Chip, Jessica, and their close friends were belting out lyrics on the dance floor.

I hope more and more reception venues offer flutter fetti. You can find out more HERE. Jessica and Chip’s friends and family danced around them in a circle on the dance floor. Then they all released flutter fetti from plastic capsules. The result was the wedding equivalent of dancing in a snowfall. I can’t imagine how special it felt to Jessica and Chip. Even after they left, their guests were picking it up by the fistful and flinging it back in the air like little kids. So fun!

Why I photograph weddings/ Why I second shoot weddings

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

I shoot weddings as a primary photographer, and I second shoot weddings as an assistant photographer.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me why I shoot weddings and what second shooting is all about during the last few years. A second shooter is someone who helps a primary photographer shoot a wedding. So I thought I would take a post to answer those questions.

No post is complete without a photo or two so I’ve included some pictures from a wedding photobooth with my friend and fellow photographer, West.
(Yes, I do take the lens cap off when I do photography work!)

So why do I photograph weddings?

1. A wedding day is an amazing day.
I love the beauty, story, relationship, meaning and emotion behind each and every wedding day that I share with a couple. This is the biggest day of a bride and groom’s life. They have put so much time and effort into planning it. It is an honor to share this sacred day with them and photograph their story. It is a privilege to track with a bride and groom from start to finish throughout the day.

2. Skill sharpening.
A wedding is like a comprehensive, final exam. Other than all of the classes that I have taken, shooting weddings has really pushed me to become a better photographer in every way.

On a single wedding day, you have:
to take beautiful portraits,
to tell the story of those unrehearsed, “in between” moments,
to work indoors,
to work outdoors,
to take pictures with available light (sunlight),
to take pictures with created light (flash, strobes), mixed light, and sometimes no(!) light,
to think creatively,
to think relationally as you interact with a lot of people,
to think mathematically (things like the inverse square law and the exposure triangle rattle around in my head all day),
to provide direction in a kind way,
to stay on schedule,
to cooperate with other wedding vendors to care for the bride and groom,
to take pictures of people, places, interactions, and things. . .
The list could go on and on.
A wedding pushes you mentally and physically (as you lug around gear in the heat and stay on your feet for 10 hours straight). It is a wonderful opportunity to create some beautiful work to share with other people.

Why do I hire a second shooter when I photograph weddings?
Why do I second shoot weddings?

1. I can only be at one place at one time.
It takes at least 2 photographers to tell the story of a wedding day well. No one can be at the same place at the same time. A wedding moves super fast, so it is important to have at least two people ready to photograph the story that unfolds–and sometimes that story is unfolding simultaneously in two different places.

2. Creative synergy.
Two photographers working together is more than just divide and conquer. (“You get that. I’ll get this.)
Two photographers working together is more than just duplication or “insurance”. (“Let’s take photos of the same thing just in case. . ..”)
Two photographers working together is–under the best circumstances–a creative synergy. After working with someone for many weddings, you learn how each other thinks, works, and most importantly sees with his or her camera. You can challenge each other to push the envelope and experiment when appropriate. You can talk to each other about areas that you need to improve on together. You can make a strategy to grow and learn.

Do you know how you will run faster and harder if you run with a friend? Well that is what shooting a wedding with someone else is like. You keep each other going. You provide encouragement. You make it fun for each other so that you can do something really amazing for the client.

3. My family.
As a wife and mom of three, I’ve made a deliberate decision to limit the number of weddings that I shoot each year as a primary photographer. I don’t take on all of the weddings that I could. I want to spend time with my family. And I want to give each bride and groom personalized attention. As a wedding photographer, you don’t just commit to working one day, you commit to a lot of advance planning and a lot of administrative work afterward. I want to be able to keep my promises to my clients in a timely way.

On the flip side, in order to keep my skills sharp and benefit creatively from working with other photographers, I enjoy second shooting with greater frequency. By second shooting, I’m able to spend time with my family and take pictures of such a special event.

I hope this long post answered some of your questions.

Lights, Camera, Action

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

The second graders at Emmie’s school performed a musical this spring called Lights, Camera, Action. In Emmie’s little life, this was a really big event. She loves music and loves sharing it with other people. For weeks before the performance, she kept double checking to see if I had it down on our calendar. Emmie was assigned a role in the candyman part of the musical. She was so excited to get to wear makeup and wear her hair like a little kid.

She was a bit star struck by the bright lights.

I want to say a big thank you to Emmie’s music teachers for working hard and for sharing their passion for music with my daughter and her friends.

I Can’t Say Enough About Amazing Teachers, Part One (Mrs. Cook)

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Dear Mrs. Cook,

Our family is so thankful for you. You have been the perfect kindergarten teacher for Carter this past year. Thank you for understanding, enjoying, and challenging my kid. Your classrooom has felt welcoming, fun, orderly, interesting and exciting every time I have stopped by. We appreciate you!

The Chaneys

I Can’t Say Enough about Amazing Teachers, Part Two (Mrs. Anita)

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

I can’t say enough about amazing teachers. My mom was a teacher. My aunt was a teacher. My grandmother was a teacher.
I have a passion for teaching, and I have a passion for teachers.

Mrs. Anita is one such amazing teacher. She has created a music program called Music Masters (see link HERE) for young children that includes instruction in recorder, piano, and ensemble work. She has written her own curriculum and has developed quite a loyal following among families in San Antonio. Mrs. Anita only teachers kids through second grade so this was Emmie’s last year with her. We are going to miss her and her class.

Here are some photos from Emmie’s recital–super fun, casual, and interactive.

When your natural response to a student’s piano playing looks like this, you know teaching music is your calling:

Emmie’s recital was one of those deja-vu moments for me as a parent. I have many wonderful and vivid memories of learning music as a child in a similar music program that was part of the normal curriculum of my elementary and middle school, Good Shepherd Episcopal School. My teacher, Chris Judah, established a wonderful Orff program. Its the same philosophy that Anita espouses also. So seeing my daughter play the xylophone and recorder reminded me of how I used to play those instruments. Even though my kids are all very different from me, I think Emmie shares some of my love for music.

Emmie was the peddler in a musical reenactment of Caps for Sale, a classic children’s book. Emmie’s best friend was one of the monkeys. She is supposed to be pretending to be asleep, but she can’t help smirking.

After a trip through musical history with some more “serious” pieces, they wrapped up the recital with a fun version of One Eye, One Horned, Blind Purple People Eater.

Flowery Field

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

Emmie and I snuck in a little shoot at my parents’ home during spring break. I now associate these little white wild flowers with spring break.

This one is now a big canvas on my wall.

Sonic Date

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

Recognize this button? One chocolate malt and one Diet Coke, please.

I took my grandfather on a date to Sonic to celebrate his 91st birthday. I picked him up in my mom’s car, and we traveled to the nearest small town, Quitman. It is about a 15 minute drive. This was our second date to Sonic.

My grandfather likes to be quiet sometimes so I let him decide how much we talk. Sometimes, he will hold my hand for a while. He will often ask questions about each of my kids and their schooling. He’ll ask about my photography business. (He’s always been a passionate family photographer.) He likes to talk about the weather and wildlife and gardening and recent visitors that they’ve had.

I like each of these three photos for different reasons.
I like the twinkle in my grandfather’s eye in this one. That twinkle is a characteristic trait of his.

I like the slurp here.

I just think he looks handsome here. (Did I strategically park to maximize my light? Why yes, I did.)

As a photographer, you soon learn that people get a little antsy when you bust out a camera in public or commercial spaces. After taking several photos, some Sonic employees asked me if I “needed anything”– like ketchup to go with my Diet Coke. I said, no thank you. Then I got to meet the manager. Turns out, she is a hardworking and kind woman. She also happens to share the same birthday with my grandfather. She let us get to know her a little, and she listened respectfully to my grandfather as he told her how he had been recently featured on the local news as a war veteran. You can find the link to his interview HERE. After hitting it off with my grandfather, she asked if I would take a picture with both of them.

Every time my grandfather and I get a moment alone, he tells me important things. He wants to make sure I know how much he loves me. I tell him important things too. I am enjoying every moment that I get with him.