Friday, December 19, 2008


Squirrel at feederOK, I have a bird feeder near a tree in our yard and this squirrel comes by to eat the seed this morning. Well, the squirrel has been driving Daisy (no pun...Daisy is our Black Lab) crazy for days....its been a game....squirrel in the tree waiting, Daisy retreats to the patio to wait...squirrel sensing an opportunity climbs over to the shepherds crook the feeder hangs on and watches Daisy for a couple of seconds, tail twitching. Daisy waits. The squirrel then acrobatically reaches out from the tree and hangs onto the crook and then reaches down to the feeder...pause....He(or she) transfers their body entirely to the feeder and reaches for seed. Daisy goes ballistic barking and running and then jumping on the fence to try to catch the squirrel who is by now at the top of the tree chattering at her and twitching its tail.....then they start again....This went on for nearly 2 HOURS yesterday!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Photos

Debra with SantaI love the Christmas season. I think it's because people get into the spirit of giving and look for the simple joy in holiday decorations and colorful wrap. It's not about the gifts (though those are fun... once you've finished shopping) It's about going back to memories of Christmases past... or Hanakkuh, Dinali or whatever you celebrate this time of year. Baking Christmas Cookies... going to holiday concerts, caroling, pageants... the ballet and strolling Austin's Trail of Lights. I know it doesnt get that cold here in Austin but we have our own traditions and periodically some snow to play in. A couple of weekends ago I did "photos with Santa" for our neighborhood kids. It was great fun and I felt like a little kid myself when Santa let me get a photo too.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fun Angles

Bride Image from above angleAdding Interest with Fun Angles

One thing we like to do through our wedding and portrait photography is to use different angles for a different perspective in a photograph. Just changing the angle the photo is shot from impacts the feeling of size and effects the way the light falls on it. It gives a fresh, interesting look to wedding photos and a feeling of action.

A lot of times it's a simple matter of turning the camera a bit. Getting a higher perspective allows you to accentuate a persons head and minimize their feet and body. Kind of gives a slight anime look. For crowd shots this allows you to get more faces in your photos and it encompasses the crowd grouping. Another fun perspective is to go low for a "dogs view" photo. This can add grandeur to a scene. It's easy to try in this digital photo age. You are only limited by your imagination.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Bridal Portraits

Bride OneWhen you see bridal portraits whether in a magazine or framed on the wall, you might want to think about these three styles.

First is the beautiful bride in the fantasy setting. It is a stunning image of you, the bride as a small part of the overall image. Sometimes it is not easy to identify the bride. Now, you might think the fantasy portraits must be taken at some wonderful site or venue. They can just as easily be taken in front of a decrepit barn or a metal sculpture. These are still the fantasy shot whether medieval or futuristic.

Next is the traditional waist up portrait of you. This focuses on you as a beautiful bride…in your gown with your hair and makeup all beautifully done up. The setting in these is still important but mainly because it makes you feel good and that reflects in your photos.

The last style is a full length portrait of you and your dress. The focus is mainly on your dress…though you, of course, are an integral part. The beauty of your choice of gown and how it looks on you is your focus.

Bride 2 and 3Deciding which type of portrait that you want is very personal choice. I think the best method is a matter of grabbing a bridal book or magazine. Flip on through quickly and mark the ones that catch your attention. Once you finish then go back and make a tally for each type. Which one is you? Fantasy, Portrait or “My Dress”?

We photograph all three styles in each session. We like to take our brides to a non-studio location. We think you are more relaxed if we don’t have the studio lights glaring and a camera right your face. The setting can be as eclectic as in front of a mural wall or posed as a statue among statues…or as traditional as columns, a rock/brick wall or even just beautiful greenery. We pay careful consideration to positioning you to your best advantage…to diminish that which you want diminished and yet showcase you as the gorgeous bride you are. We key on your "best side" and best expression. We suggest that you have someone with you to assist with your hair and you with blotting papers and water. No matter where you take your bridal portraits or what time of the year or the style you prefer….the key is to have fun while you are doing this. You are a supermodel for a day. Your enjoyment of your session will reflect in your photos.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rock Band 2

Sparkler HeartRock Band 2, Pizza, Boating & Sushi -
You might ask "What does all this have to do with weddings?" Well, Kristen and Chad were just the right fun couple that wanted to share all these things during their engagement photos and at their wedding? You might remember the
surfing groom we blogged about just a few weeks ago. Their wedding was last weekend out in Kingsland (on the water at an Uncle's lakefront property). This casual wedding had a "beach" theme with all the groomsmen in Tony Bahama style shirts - The bridesmaids were in stunning red dresses and the bride just gorgeous in a traditional gown. As the sun set on Lake LBJ our newly married couple posed for family photos with the lake as a backdrop. At one point a sport boat zoomed by and turned around to congratulate the bride in groom in "Texas lake Party" fashion. This sparkler heart was photographed near the end of the event. Just a few days later, Kristen and Chad stopped by the house for Pizza and to get an early view of their wedding photos since their honeymoon was not starting for a week. Debra and I had just purchased the Rock Band 2 video game and after pizza and photos all 4 of us got silly and played Rock Band- Chad on Drums, Kristen on Bass, Ray on Guitar and Debra on Vocals... Too much fun! After an instrument switch Chad took a stab at vocals... Lets just say that he'll keep his day job. We will have all the photos from this super fun wedding soon at

Friday, October 3, 2008

Glass Windows & Doors

Glass Door and Etched WindowCreative Photographers see the world with a "photographic eye" - We take photos from extremely low angles, photos of reflections, through trees etc... How about through rippled or etched glass? We always look for images that might offer an abstract perspective when photographed through the rippled glass of a doorway, stained glass or etched glass. These two examples show the subject "soft focus" behind the sharp focus of the glass. We hope you enjoy this point of view.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Surfing Groom

Downtown Night ImageIt's rare that you find wedding couples who really want something totally unique for their wedding. Chad and Kristen's first request when we met was photographers who could really express their fun personalities and spirit in their photos! - They wanted an urban style engagement session downtown Austin Texas with bold colors, fun night-life atmosphere, low light, pool tables, oh... and maybe something on a lake as both love boating and Chad is really into Wake-surfing. Chad the groom surfs upto the boat
We split their photo session into two events - One downtown, and one on the lake at Marble Falls. With their wedding less than 2 weeks away, a fast turn around of images would be necessary. The
downtown session was our top priority as this is where we would pull an image for Chad and Kristen's reception cards. This FREE wedding favor is a small glossy printed business card that has a photo of the couple on the front and a shameless self promotion of their wedding photo website on the back. We introduced this free service last year and everyone loves it! The lake photo shoot was a bit more of a challenge as we needed to anticipate changing lighting conditions as we move about the lake from shade to sun, sun glare etc, dealing with the movement of the boat, water etc... We started the day at 8:00 AM to minimize the harsh light that would come from an afternoon session and had a great time. We brought our boat along as well which gave us the opportunity to capture some unique "long lens" shots. This select photo of the groom, Chad, "Surfing" up to Kristen with flowers and Champagne was what we were after. We will post the photos from entire boating/wake-surfing session after the wedding, but for now we wanted to get this image out quickly to share with all - enjoy!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Family Photographer

!!!We often hear about the Bride who has a "cousin/friend/uncle" with a camera who is going to photograph the wedding. They are just starting out and have great pictures - but are they really ready to photography a wedding? It depends on a number of factors: what equipment they have, their experience working with people, comfort with their camera functionality and how they work under pressure -
Lets address each issue.

Equipment: The camera lens, in our option is the most critical tool a photographer can have. Is it a FAST lens? - What is the focal length range, does it support image stabilization? The reason the lens may be more important than the camera or mega pixel size is that ALL images MUST pass through this glass before the camera can do its job. If the wedding is in a church or low light wedding venue, the size of the aperture (speed of lens) will make or break the quality of the images. Low light requires several elements coming together - Shutter speed, stability of camera and how much light will the lens allow. This is where the Pro often outshines the hobbyist(or beginner) photographer. An aperture of f/2.8 or better is considered a FAST lens, most non-professional photographers or those just starting out can only afford a basic lens in the f/4.0 to f/5.6 range - what this means is that they can not let in enough light and have to use slower shutter speeds to compensate, limiting their ability stop motion and end up with blurry images in a low light environment. Or they might have to use a Flash/Strobe -please note most churches do not allow flash photography. Also, a flash during a wedding ceremony tends to be distracting and is not well received by most. So, ask your friend/family member how fast their lens is. While still on the subject of the lens - lets look at focal length or zoom. Three critical lens are needed for a wedding: a Wide angle, a Normal(mid -range), and a Telephoto - These can all be zoom lens (wide 16mm - 35 mm) (normal 35mm - 70mm) (telephoto 70mm - 200mm) and it helps if all are FAST (low light). The bigger the lens (higher the magnification), the higher the shutter speed will need to be to compensate for the magnification of subject and motion. Sometimes even a 200 mm will not get close enough (that's when it time to pull out the biggie - 300mm or 400mm lens). A Wide angle lens (16mm to 35mm) will often be used for group photos of 10 or more people, reception overall room images, cake cutting, and dancing etc... Normal lens (35mm to 70mm) might be used for couples photos, cake cutting, general candid images... 70 mm - 200 mm Telephoto/Zoom - this is the prime lens for the close up altar images, dance images, plus those wonderful "soft focus" backgrounds where the subject is sharp and isolated from the background. These 3 prime lens represent a substantial investment to the professional photographer (and this does not include the cost of the camera or lighting equipment).

Camera bodies - Most modern Canon/Nikon bodies will be more than enough for the average Joe or Jane photographer - Stick with these two major brands as you can always "rent" a pro lens at almost any high end camera retailer (but just try to rent a Sony, Olympus, Fuji etc lens...) all good cameras - but the pros use Canon or Nikon for service, reliability, renting. Does your photographer have a back up camera? Yes, cameras do fail! It might be as simple as a battery recharge issue - or something else - Please make sure the family photographer brings back up equipment. Note: having a camera with the highest mega pixel doesn't mean you will get great photos....let's face it some cell phones have up to 8 mega pixels but you don't want your photographers taking your wedding photos with a cell phone just because it has an 8 mega pixel censor.

Tripods, MonoPods and cable releases- Its amazing that many new photographers and even some pros do not take advantage of this basic equipment which offers such stability. They find working with a MonoPod or Tripod restrictive - With experience and training this equipment becomes "second nature" and natural for the photographer to use and results in better photos. Most weddings do offer several low light "ambiance" situations and a tripod or monopod combined with a fast lens will save the day. If your looking for that evening glow after sunset, dark blue sky, or night photography without a the "flash look" - this equipment is a must!

The Experience Factor: What style of photos does your potential photographer take? If they are beautiful landscapes, sunsets, flowers, trees or still subjects - caution! None of the aforementioned imagery includes people. Even if your friend takes great photos of their child at play... Weddings are all about people and a LOT is going on. Humans move about and do unexpected things. A landscape or flower is a much more controllable situation than when the groom tosses the garter before the count of three! An experienced photographer is ready for unexpected moments.Working with people and large groups is another skill many new and hobbyist photographers just don't have under their belt. This experience often comes from working with a professional as an assistant for several events. Arranging groups, tall to short, placement of colorful clothing - the 3 to 5 year old family member that does not want his/her picture taken all come into play when it time for the family photos. All of it takes experience to bring out the best.

Desire: Does the new/hobbyist photographer want a job in photography or a career in photography or just to take pretty pictures? How many photo magazine subscriptions and books about photography they have can be a clue as to how passionate the photographer is? Almost anyone can take a class in photography, but those that hunger for more knowledge beyond the classroom are the career driven photographers and the ones you want at your wedding. They will have the magazines, blog subscriptions - Self help photography DVD's - continuing education is the mark of a professional in any profession.

Gender/Experience:. My wife and I have been photographing weddings together for over 8 years. I can't tell you how many times during the first few years of wedding photography that my Debra photographed a detail image I might have missed. Many detail images a woman frequently looks for will be a a learned effort for some male photographers or even ignored as unnecessary. Most guys just don't think about the importance of the shoes (men tend to rent those black patent leather ones with their tux). Ladies can spend weeks or months just shopping for shoes. How about Grandma's pearl necklace? Or, the fun toast photo in the bride's room? There is a definite value to having a female photographer in the brides room if the bride is in a state of undress... a man in the room just won't do! This is when the male photographer is with the groom. Experience is also important - Even though Debra and I have years of photography experience with studio, corporate, magazines, newspapers etc before we ventured into wedding photography... we both assisted professional wedding photographers before we took on our first job as a "wedding photographer"... There IS a difference! So, when you are ready to have Uncle Bob or best friend Sue take your wedding photos - please consider what results you are looking for. Many advanced amateur photographers would do a wonderful job as an assistant or 2nd shooter - but might not be ready for the big show. We often make a "photo friend" at the wedding, most often during the reception when someone starts asking questions about our "big lens" - remote equipment, or the what not - These photo friends often follow up later and become assistants. We remember when we were just starting out - and learned from the Pros before asking brides and grooms to consider us as their primary photographers. So please choose wisely and have a great wedding... remember you will have these photos for the rest of your lives.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Destination Austin Tx

At the Altar

Destination Weddings - Most weddings have a few travelers who attend. But there are some where the Bride & Groom are also counted among the travelers to their own wedding. This is what has been defined as a Destination Wedding - A location that neither the bride or groom live. Just this past weekend Adam and Michelle were united in a stylish University of Texas wedding inside the Texas Union Ballroom. This wonderful Jewish couple both attended the University of Texas and in fact as they had met there it seemed to them the perfect place to tie the knot. The elegant and colorful event was blessed with family and friends traveling from Phoenix Az, Dallas Tx, Chicago Il (the Bride & Groom) and as far as Israel. This high energy wedding supported many traditions, the Badeken, a ceremony under the Chuppah, the Ketubah signing ceremony, Breaking the Glass, Yichud, a Festive Kosher meal (Seudah) and more - The UT ballroom was divided for both ceremony and reception offering a low light warm ceremony from the wood flooring and window light and then a full elegant reception just on the other side of the tasteful room dividers. The Groom, groomsmen & Fathers of the Bride & Groom sported burnt orange UT Yamulke with the white UT longhorn on the back. The bride did have a humorous request to the DJ - "no music from Fiddler on the Roof!" - We were amazed at the spectacular Mitzvah Dancing and found out from a guest that the bride Groom Break Dancinghad taught ballroom dancing at one time. The groom also surprised guests with a fantastic "break dance" routine - For the traditional Horah dance Michelle was ready to be hoisted into the air - but first she made sure the chair had arms for her to hold onto - a crowd of strong friends and relatives were on hand to lift the couple and then their parents. As photographers we made sure to have a small step ladder on hand enabling us to capture the moment from the brides/grooms point of view above the crowd. The DJ played some Klezmer music for circle dancing. This brought both Jewish and non-Jewish, young and old wedding guests up onto the dance floor together. As a special treat - some friends of the groom gathered together on stage to sing "In the still of the night". The lead singers high falsetto song was accomplished flawlessly! The evening concluded with hugs, toasts - well wishes and a final prayer.

Mazal Tov Adam & Michelle! Mazal Tov All!
For more images from this wedding - please CLICK HERE

Friday, August 29, 2008

Big Giant CupCake

Even Homer Simpson would go - Ummmm, Cup Cake Yes, it is a Big Giant Cupcake - This was from a recent Austin Photographers Met Up Group - I just liked the colors against the blue sky... the clouds were an added bonus.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fire Dancer

Hot!We had the pleasure of photographing a Renaissance themed Renewal of Vows. This event was complete with costumes from the Renaissance period -yes we also arrived in costume. Fire dancing, stone dragons, & crossbows! The officiant showed up dressed as a friar. Wonderful imagery.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tats, Plugs, Piercings – Tradition!

See images from this wedding, click the link below 28 selected imagesI’ve been spending a lot of time at a web site I just discovered - OffBeatBride.Com. Ariel, the websites author & book by the same name considers this “Wedding Porn” – when you stare at wedding photos over & over again as if they were “Porn” – what a clever phrase. This is a fun site for all brides – even those that are not “off beat”. Some of the photos are just fantastic – bright bold colors, unique photos of couples and a Star Wars wedding! Great ideas can come from many sources and offbeat bride offers many ideas you might not find anyplace else.

This got me to thinking – How many weddings/brides of ours in the past 8 years might be considered off beat? Surely a bridal portrait with a live bull would be off the norm – but here in Texas – BEVO is such an icon – he might not be considered that far off. So, of the many weddings we have done – We have put together a few images in our new
Eclectic section. Tube socks under the wedding dress, photos with bulls, tats on backs (and other places), cakes with skull characters as the bride and groom - I felt these items fell into the off center / off beat category. Still – one of the most unique weddings we documented with photos was of a young bridge / groom of jewish faith sporting tats, plugs and piercings. I can remember the Rabi’s comments when he met this young couple for the first time. The most Spirted young couple he had ever wed!

This simple back yard wedding did have many
jewish traditions – A chuppah (canopy), the brides badeken (veil), breaking of the glass and a room full of festive food. Our bride chose a strapless dress allowing for full display of her colorful skin illustration, the grooms ear plugs and piercings clearly boasted a modern youthful spirit as the Rabi acknowledged. One of my favorite photos is of the groom’s hands cradling the silver wine challis – with finger tats in full glory! I’ll let the 28 selected images from this wedding tell the story as only photographs can. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Flush Mount Album

Sample Album from the Wayne Wedding, supports aprox 50 -60 imagesOur flush mount album is our most popular album. This album bears some of the best design features available including: damage-resistant round corners, the tightest gutter seam available, true flush mounted layouts, cover embossing. Great for panoramas across a 1mm gutter. Optional square corners, spreads lay flat when opened, various colors available including - Black, Slate, Brown, Red, White, Blue, Pink, Burgundy, Distressed Brown Leather, Ebony Black Leather

Click here to see the entire sample album.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Through the glass We just added a new section to our website for those brides that like to run a little off the beaten path. This area will support photos that are not the norm - but still tasteful. We will post photos of brides in water, bold colors added to a wedding dress, fun shoes - comfortable shoes, unique cakes...
Many of the things we see at weddings that just don't fit the norm.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Trash The Dress

Ladies, do you want to Trash the Dress? Were not just talking getting dirty with a little mud - were talking ripping, tearing, paint, wet! Check out THIS STORY. If you know of someone that would be interested (or that wants to get out in to the water), we have a boat! The weather in Austin is great - now is the time to trash the dress. This is a FREE Session with a 20x30 inch mounted print as a keepsake! Please call us with your ideas or suggestion, we have a few of our own - but would love to hear from you-

Raymond / Debra

Thursday, July 17, 2008

BEVO Bridal

BEVO BrideA little while ago we had a bride that was marrying a former University of Texas football player. As both were UT graduates the wedding was set to have a UT theme, burnt orange bridesmaid dresses, Bevo grooms cake and of course – a bridal portrait with the UT mascot BEVO. Gisela “G” as she liked to be called had made arrangements (a donation) to the organization that cares for Bevo. G’s mom also had made a 15 foot long detatchable(very important) train for her dress that had the longhorn logo lightly embossed into the fabric. We had to drive to a “semi secret” location – the Home of Bevo and promised not to share the location with anyone. After meeting the handlers – we started a warm up session out in the field. It was a breezy day and the 15ft train whipped about in the wind… Good thing it wasn’t red as Bevo kept a sharp eye on the train. Bevo with bride and handlersNext was over near the barn area – where G held the reins of Bevo for several wonderful photos. Of course, more than once Bevo did what bulls do out in the field - Eeeewwwhh! but at no time did the dress get soiled. G was also prompted to bring a “team jersey” for some fun photos that she could “tease” her finance with in a card to him the day of the wedding. Texas, Ya gotta love these Texas football gals.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

20 Year Anniversary

Debra (left) and Tour Guide Shelly (right) on The SegwayGet away on a Segway! For our 20th wedding anniversary, my lovely wife had set up a downtown Austin Tx tour on segways. On many photo shoots near the Austin Capitol, we had seen the Segway’s zipping about and I’ve always wanted to take a glide. We used the rental service Gliding Revolution for our first experence. Our guide Shelly was very helpful and fun to work with. We had scheduled the Austin Lady Bird Lake / East Austin tour and could not have been more satisified. We started early hoping to beat some of the heat. Shelly brought us up to speed on how to ride a Segway in about 5 minutes. These things are COOL and turn on a dime! On one part of the tour we crossed a small bridge over Lady Bird Lake and saw below us a pair of bass in the lake. The largest must have been over 10 lbs! It was HUGE! Too bad we didn’t bring our fishing poles. Haha, but it was our anniversary after all. We ended the tour over at the Austin Mexican American Cultural Center. We will have to return for a photowalk as the exterior building architecture has many sharp angles that would welcome photography. Next up, on our mini tour – Click for larger imageBarton Springs Pool for a cool swim! What better way to cool off from the Texas Summer Heat than a dip in 68 degree Barton Springs. This was my first time swimming at Barton Springs Pool and I’m so glad I brought my snorkel. We were able to discover a spawning pair of stripped Fish – about 8 to 10 inches. The fish were not shy and allowed us to observed them close up for several minutes. We also saw many Texas Cichlids and tangerine colered Sunfish. All and all a refreshing break from the summer heat. All this activity made us hungry so we headed just down the road for Shady Grove’s famous Tortilla Fried Catfish with twiced baked jalepeno potatos! Yum. We ended the day running out to a “dive/scuba” shop off 620 to pick up some new swim masks and fins. Couldn’t ask for a better day.
Happily married to my bride of 20 years!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Big Glass

Help Caption This Photo OK, this is just a fun image from a recent Austin Texas wedding. Can you help caption this photo?

Please leave your comments/caption ideas.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

On her last leg

Brenda at SunsetToday I met Brenda, she said that her name is Brenda but that her friends call her Ilean… She really said that! I didn’t get the joke at first, it wasn’t until I introduced her to my wife that it sunk in. We were on the way home from a portrait session out at the Laguna Gloria Art Museum when on the corner of Parmer and I-35 in Austin Tx, we saw Brenda with her sign. My first comment to Debra was – OK, that gal has a great outlook and sense of humor – turning an unfortunate situation into something else. A way to make a living. When we chatted with Brenda she was full of smiles, with a great outlook on life – positive, friendly – very warm and welcoming. I told her that I had been taking photos for the past 35 years and had a special passion for street photos – mostly from my Navy days overseas, and still today love to indulge in them when Debbie and I go out photowalking – or on photo safari’s as Debra calls them. Brenda told us a little about her 19 year old son in Tyler and her daughter’s view on how she gets by. One of her main frustrations comes from the many “tickets” she and her friends get from the local police. She just can’t pay them, jaywalking, loitering, sleeping in public areas, or whatever else the police seem to come up with to keep her in check. Brenda also told us she had been photographed many times… Mostly from cars with “cell phone cameras” – once though, a photographer from the Austin American Statesman did a small story about her when she was working on Riverside. We chatted a bit more, told some “photography” jokes and exchanged contact info. Brenda didn’t have an address so she promised to call me so I could get her a copy of this photo. We may get together again for a “night time” photo session, putting car trails off into the dark of night… I hope she calls.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

New York Wedding

New York Skyline near SunsetTraveling with a camera was my primary job as a Navy photographer. What a pleasure to be in your early twenties, traveling across the United States or the Western Pacific (Singapore, Thailand, Japan, The Philippines). Fast forward – present day, New York, Montana, Chicago, Georgia, Lubbock Texas are some of the places we have traveled to as destination wedding photographers. Our brides and grooms receive a unique package as we love to travel so when we get a request to visit locations outside our home state of Texas – We often work out a “Mini Vacation” exchange. We add a few days after the wedding to visit the local flavor – and only ask the bride/groom to pick up travel expenses (meals, motel, rental car etc). The actual wedding photography is at little or no cost! Yes, that’s right – no cost! We can’t wait for someone going to Hawaii, The Bahamas, Bermuda, Florida or other unique location to “take us with them”.

Ken, Brandie and Wedding Party in LeRoy New Your
Our couple from New York, Ken and Brandie, ended up with such a value package as we happily provided over 4 days of photography. We started in LeRoy, New York, (home of Jell-O) where the bride’s family resided. Rehearsal day and rehearsal dinner coverage was included as we were already there – we were invited to join the happy couple and tell their entire story! After the ceremony in LeRoy – we had a days travel by car with the Wedding party to Long Island, where the grooms family had grown up and had friends of the family ready to celebrate with the wedding couple all over again. The difference in traditional songs, etc between the two locations Leroy and Long Island was interesting! Ken and Brandie also let us know that their first night as newlyweds would be near Times Square and we were planning a day in NYC – So we encouraged a “brief” get together for a few nighttime photos – we didn’t want to interrupt the honey moon as it was a secret to the family that they were still in town. We have become good friends with Ken and Brandie, they have been to Texas with their first born “Victoria”– and we just received a photo greeting announcing the arrival of their second daughter – “Katherine”. The photo greeting announcing Katherine’s arrival prompted this blog article – Debra and I would encourage couples getting married outside of our primary market – Austin, TX to contact us at 512-989-6952 or We would love to tell your destination wedding story and pick up a few days working mini vacation as an exchange for services. We have our passports ready! Each package will depend on our availability – and unique travel destination -

Friday, June 27, 2008

Wedding Day PanCake

With this RingEnhelika & Shaun Got Married in Round Rock Today! This 9AM justice of the peace wedding was to honor Enhelika’s late grandfather (and each other). Shaun had made a promise to Enhelika’s grandfather upon asking for her hand in marriage and when her Grandfather passed recently they modified and accelerated their plans. This time next year, June 27th, 2009 – Enhelika & Shaun will renew their vows on their 1st year wedding anniversary. This will be the traditional wedding event, white dress, family, friends, wedding cake etc…

Wedding PanCake

With today’s vows part of a larger plan – our small group (9) all had time for a wedding breakfast at Denny’s after the cermony. Debra and I pulled the manager aside and asked if a “special” pancake could be made – A wedding pancake! Denny’s of Round Rock was up to the task and a short time later a super large single pancake (the size of a bar tray) arrived with strawberries and whipped cream spelling out “Just Married” YUM! We photographed the cutting of the “cake” and everyone at the table had a small slice – it was really good! Now it just might have been a JP Ceremony but there is no reason not to have photos and make the day special. We look forward to this time next year when we photograph the “big ceremony”. Congratulations Enhelika & Shaun!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Family Weddings

Rich & Kelli Left - Desten & Melissa RightWe have decided that the Stephen F. Austin Hotel in downtown Austin, TX should be known as “bride central” on a Saturday night. We were there for the reception for Melissa & Desten’s wedding this past weekend. As we were exiting from the reception near midnight there had to be 4 other newlywed couples checking in for their wedding nights. Plus, Melissa & Desten returned from their carriage ride exit! I think we were only out there for about a half hour saying goodbyes. It took us a little longer than normal to say goodbye as we had photographed Melissa’s brother Rich’s wedding to Kelli at the Lakeway Inn a number of years ago. So we were not only able to see Melissa & Desten joined in marriage but we got to see the family again and renew friendships. It’s wonderful to catch up with all of them and photograph this latest family event. We love the maintaining of relationships with our newlyweds and families.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Candid, Fun Wedding Photos

Just a Peek Not all of the wedding photos need to be serious; sure a professional wedding photographer is going to get the formal photos with mom, dad, family and extended family, college friends, house party etc… But many times the photos we cherish the most are the fun images that can happen at a wedding! We always have at least 2 cameras going at any given time. Often our “associates” that assist will bring their camera to build their wedding portfolio – and at the same time add a 3rd perspective.
Spoons YEA!We look for the “fun” photos and encourage everyone to be at ease with the camera. Often we use our telephoto lens to capture the action at a distance. The long lens also has the benefit of the soft focus background to isolate the subject, bringing the attention back to the person(s) in the photo.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Why wedding photography so expensive

Albums and PrintsAfter the last bridal show in Austin Tx, we got together with some friends for dinner and the conversation shifted to the cost of wedding photography and why it can be so expensive. When someone books a 5-6 hour wedding with us they may not be aware that our true time commitiment to our customer is about 30 hours. We want our customers to understand that a professional photographer does more than “just shoot and burn a disk”. The wedding day is just the beginning. As professional photographers Everafter Images always photographs in camera RAW format. This means that our workflow after the wedding is a day or so to process the 800-1500 images. Yes, we do check/adjust each image for color balance, exposure, composition etc as part of our processing Then, we upload the entire wedding to the internet so family and friends can enjoy the photos. It takes quite a bit of time even with page templates and upload scripts to create/upload the 800-1500 thumbnail images, larger images and web proof pages. A few months after the wedding, our happily married couple contacts us to go over their initial selection(s) for inclusion into their album and for prints. Many times we meet again and go over the 1st draft list, then select album covers, inserts or work up album page layouts. The images then go “off to the lab” for printing/processing. The appointments, lab transportation, phone calls, emails, etc add a significant amount of time to a wedding client.

Anyway, as you go about selecting your photographer, please consider how much time and commitment your photographer is including in the “5 hour job” as you look at the cost for capturing your most special day – your wedding.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Debra's Wedding Day Tips

I started thinking this morning about the things I say to a bride before and during the wedding and thought I'd share.... (note: these are not in any particular order but just as they popped into my head) :) Numero Uno is to relax and have fun- If some little detail doesnt go absolutely perfect, that's OK....think about someone really going to know exactly what colors for decor or cake icing or flowers you chose? Mellisa gets a lift

2. I think that this would be to delegate. That's what wedding attendants are for! Have them help with last minute details and getting you in the dress, shoes & veil. Definitely let them know what you'd like their help with before the big day. (things to delegate: programs, guest book placement, gift removal afterwards, tuxes returned, etc)

3. Family coordination for photographer (this is HUGE!....I dont know how many times we have had to delay family photos while sending someone out hunting for someone) The rehearsal dinner is a great time to remind family members to wait after the ceremony for photos.

4. Have your Maid/Matron of Honor put together an emergency bag with items like a mini-sewing kit, safety pins, hair pins, toupe tape(double sided tape that adheres to skin can be found at a beauty supply store), blotting papers, tampons and breath mints(no gum) even bottled water and a small tidy snack like pretzels or a power bar to keep your stomach settled.
Hook Em
5. Hair & Makeup- Make sure that you do a "trial run" of hair and makeup before the day. Salons will usually do this for you but even if you plan to "do it yourself" a trial run is a great idea so that you are happy with you for your big day.

6. Most bride's get wedding day shoes to match the dress. Please, please wear them before the wedding day. You want to be comfortable in your shoes dancing the night away. If you love the look of the strappy heels for the ceremony and photos then bring some flip flops for the reception so you can really enjoy.

7. Makeup- Waterproof mascara and long lasting lipstick are a MUST HAVE for your day. I have found that the new mineral powders do a super job of setting your base coverage to last a long time flawlessly. Make a mini makeup kit for freshening before pictures and during the reception. You'll want powder or blotting papers and lipstick for sure.

8. Do NOT forget to eat something before the wedding. Traditionally, brides & grooms are to busy visiting with guests to get more than a bite or two of your wedding meal. You do not want to feel faint during the ceremony or reception.

9. Have a coordinator or wedding party member be your itenerary keeper to go between your DJ/Band, your photographer/videographers and you with 5 minute warnings for things like cake cutting, toasting and the coordinated dances. Remember, you are delegating.
Years down the line you want to look back on the photos/video and think about what a special day it was and not about how stressed you were. Think about it. This is your special day to be formally joined to the one you love. Above and beyond everything we are back to numero uno...RELAX AND HAVE FUN! Live, Love and Laugh!!! With lots of pictures, of course!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dance, Dance, Dance

Dance the night awayIs this fun, or what? I need to find out the name of this band from Stephanie & Mike because they were GREAT!

As usual, I had taken numerous photos of the band throughout the day with a wide angle lens which I love for the exagerating effect on the musical instruments. But once it got dark and most of the wedding festivities were done then Nature's Point started really rockin'. The red light came on and some of the bridesmaids and guests started as backup singers and dancers. I was fascinated with the play of the red light. A flash made for nice snapshot pics but without the flash I got what I saw....edgy, fun, hot!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Just for Fun

At a wedding a few weeks ago - we photographed a series of images that would be combined into an "animated gif" - Basically I had the groom stand still while the groomsmen moved about - using a low shutter speed 1/30th of second and a tripod keep the groom in focus... Anything that moved would be "blurry" - this was just for fun and the groom loved the results... Check it out for your self.
Joe and the Guys Fun Animation

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It has to be cool –

Erin 08Today, HS Senior Portraits need to be something more than the “studio shot” – The photos need to look exciting, cool, expressive and natural. While this look can be accomplished in-studio, we have found that working “outside” offers a freedom to be expressive, yet still reserved. Use of a wide angle lens that exaggerates, or long lens that softens the background –adds to the “look” that many Texas Seniors want. Colorful bold clothing and backgrounds help add to the overall appearance of the artful image. Yet we still have to create a few images for mom and dad. We photograph most of our young adults outside at a local park or urban location. This allows our clients to feel comfortable without having the pressure of the camera “in their space” – Often after just a few minutes “warm-up” parents tell us that they see a confidant, relaxed side of their teen that is welcome and refreshing.

Word of mouth is our primary source for new students. So we make sure that our students leave the photo session feeling like a star, having had a great time. They tell their friends that working with us was really fun!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Camera RAW or JPEG?

Example of Final ImageDoes your wedding photographer shoot in Camera RAW?

One very important question to ask your wedding photographer is “What format would you shoot my wedding photographs, RAW or JPEG?” If they answer JPEG, you might consider another photographer. While a skilled professional wedding photojournalist can deliver top quality images shooting in JPEG
, RAW provides the most control and flexibility over the final wedding image.

Lets look at the some of the differences between RAW and JPEG. Parameters for a JPEG exposure are set “in camera, before the shot” – allowing the cameras computer to process exposure, color balance, color temperature, sharpness etc. after the shutter clicks. The photographer would then have to manipulate the JPEG image in a program like Photoshop to achieve optimal end results. A RAW exposure records the same data as the JPEG file, but hold’s the processing of those same items until after the file is downloaded to a computer – then the photographer can take full advantage of the digital photo file. This adds time to the photographer’s work flow but is well worth the results. Think of it this way: a RAW file allows the photographer to control process after the exposure. The JPEG shifts the processing work to the automation of the cameras computer based on parameters set by the photographer prior to exposure.

Let’s look at a Real World example. In this
Austin Texas wedding photo taken at Angel Springs Event Center, we have a “toast” – inside exposure w/flash and an exposure outside the window with natural light. The JPEG file provides a “best guess” for exposure both inside and outside with a single process done by the camera…. But the same RAW file can be processed 4 times or more! Once for inside, once for outside, once for the dress/highlights and then a final BASE image. (Note, on the final image, we also opened the eyes of the best man and removed the wall plug near the bottom left of dress).

While this technique could be accomplished by duplicating the JPEG several times – and using other Photoshop blending tools. We feel the finest results come from RAW files processed after exposure, then blended for a natural look. At EverafterImages, our we look at each file and adjust as needed for the most pleasing wedding images.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Texas Wildflowers

Texas WildflowersJust a nice photo of some Texas wildflowers

Monday, April 14, 2008

Nature's Point Wedding

I need to get the photo

You never know when a fun photo will pop up at a wedding. This weekend we had the privilege of photographing Mike and Stephanie’s wedding at Natures Point off the shores of Lake Travis, Austin Texas. As we were taking the formal images, our brides Aunt jumped in front of the camera to catch her own photo for the family album. As soon as I saw the bright green flash enter the frame – I knew we had a journalistic image. I snapped a few images and then went back to the formal photos. Later, I approached the Aunt and told her I thought I had a great image. We are always on the look out for images that tell a story all by themselves. As photojournalist wedding photographers, we use our years of experience from prior photographic jobs at magazines, newspapers and events to catch the moments that the editors love and brides and grooms do too.

Babies, Bellies, & the IPhone

I have long been looking for a way to combine a baby’s sonogram image with a maternity photo. My first thought was a “blended” image from the sonogram overlaid onto the pregnant belly. However, my lovely wife Debra convinced me that while it might be a cool “sci-fi looking” image – the ladies most likely would not want to see their unborn child like that. Guys might think its cool – but it’s not for all of the ladies.

Sunday, we were nearly finished with our maternity photo session of our former wedding clients Jessica and Damian from Cedar Park, Texas, when Damian started talking about all the cool features of his IPhone. While the ladies worked on some of the maternity portraits Damian showed me the baby’s sonogram. We decided to try incorporating it into a photo. The sonogram photo stored on the IPhone was high enough quality to be re-photographed and incorporated into this unique “pre-family photo” of baby Isaiah, mom and dad. An IPhone is clearly in our future.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Photographing Reflections

BrennaEarly in our photographic endeavors– both of us found it fascinating to photograph reflections. We would take pictures of ponds, glass orbes, the mirror, etc. As our styles developed – we started to incorporate people in the reflections. One of our most popular photos at weddings is the groomsmen relecting in the best man’s or groom’s sunglasses. Often we use selective focus and a long lens (70 -200 mm) to accomplish this effect. Also, adjusting the exposure to about ½ stop OVER exposed often provides the desired results. In the brides room – the bride and her bridesmaids applying make up frequently lead to fun reflection photos.

BrennaToday we photographed Brenna a Pflugerville High School senior. She arrived with crystal edged shades that sparked an idea and we spoke up… Hold on a second, lets put Brenna’s sister and mom in the reflection of Brenna’s glasses! Brenna’s bright smile was the perfect added sparkle to this unique impromptu family photo. Later near the end of the senior photo session we noticed a very still creek reflection with a rock outcropping– we asked Brenna to change out of the dark outfit she had just changed into and back into the cheery bright orange top she wore earlier. Bright colors, whites and pastels work best for dark reflections… Patterns and prints, as with dark colors get lost in the reflection.

So the next time you have your camera and catch sight of something reflected take a longer look and maybe there is a photo there.

Austin Symphony Wedding

Patrick & KellyPatrick and Kelly had a wonderful eclectic downtown Austin wedding with a bit of an Irish theme. Kelly’s stunningly elegant wedding dress was accented by a radiant green sash. The bridesmaids were in the same kelly green but unique dresses were chosen by each! It was a casual and comfortable wedding – with humor provided by the officiant Griffin who started the ceremony with the marriage voice inflection from the movie “A princess bride”. His "maiwidge" generated laughter from guests and wedding party alike.

The Austin Symphony as a Wedding venue supports an outdoor amplitheater and old stone bridge between it and Serrano’s for an easy access reception which doubles as a grand entrance to the stage below. With perfect Austin Spring weather to compliment the day – Patrick and Kelly partied with family and friend at Serrano’s and ended the night with karaoke. Congratulations Patrick and Kelly on a wonderful wedding.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Jenny's Maternity

Jenny and CharlesIt is so nice that we continue to see our former clients. When we first meet, we tell them we want to be their photographer for life and love when they take us up on it. Just a week ago we met with Jenny & Charles to do some maternity portraits. They are a sweet couple who got married back in July 2006 and are expecting their first child. I think they were excited about maternity portraits and having someone they know and are comfortable with made all the difference. We set up our internal studio and went from soft daytime window light to multiple backgrounds. We joked and laughed and talked about the baby and all around had a good time and got some wonderful images. We know that even after their little one is here we will continue to see them and be part of their lives.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Panoramic Photography

Austin Texas SkylineOne question the comes up often when clients visit us at our Round Rock Texas home office is "How did you do that?" as they point to a mounted Panoramic Skyline of Austin TX. Our reply is that the photo is three separate images - "stitched" together with modern photographic editing software (like Photoshop CS4 or Photostitch). When shooting for a panoramic image - the experienced photographer will know to add a 1/3 overlap of the image for the panoramic START and END images. Most often we will stitch together 3 to 5 images, but we have a stunning panoramic of the Austn Texas 360 bridge where we stitched together 12 images! This technique may also be used in a vertical image composites.

When we use this technique at a wedding - Often it will be during the ceremony to display the entire inside of the church or during the reception while the couple dances their First Dance or possibly during the toast. Star Hill Ranch used our Panoramic of their main street to display BOTH sides of the street of their unique wedding venue. Have fun trying this at home.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Candid Wedding Photos

Candid Austin Wedding PhotographyOne of the best things about wedding photojournalism is when we capture the "Candid Wedding Image". This is how you can truly reveal special moments that happen for a brief moment in time. These photos can tell a little story all on their own. This style of photography may display a person’s character, a tear, laughter, mischief or how people interact with each other. Each unique photo will have its own special meaning and is based on a photographer's vision and timing.

Candid Wedding ImagePhotojournalism is a style in wedding photography that incorporates candid wedding imagery as a tool in hands of the wedding photojournalist. The sequence of candid images tells a story of the wedding day or moment in time. Candid wedding photography is not a series of snapshots. Snapshots are limited in style or technique. Use of techniques like selective focus, depth of field, and framing, etc set the candid image apart from the snapshot and the professional apart from the hobbyist.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Austin Wedding Photography -
think about what these pictures really mean ...

I was looking through my grandparents wedding pictures a couple of weeks ago and was amazed at how nicely they were done. I mean you could almost jump right into them and hear the music and appreciate life in the 1940's. It made me wonder how they found their wedding photographer. I suppose there was a local photographer that had a shop and maybe everybody went to that same person (my grandparents gew up in a small town). The guy had probably photographed countless weddings and was probably the local newspaper photographer and probably worked with the police department. Needless to say the guy was skilled and knew what he was doing. His cameras weren't easy to come by and he probably had the photography market cornered in this small town and it was easy to choose your photographer.

Nowadays you never know what you're going to get. With the price of digital cameras going down in price, every yahoo with a couple of hundred bucks is advertising their services. They'll talk to you about shutter speeds and a bunch of other photography techno-babble that most of us don't fully understand but have in our checklist or spreadsheets - heck I wonder if some of them really understand what they're talking about.

If you want the kind of pictures that will not only last a lifetime but will make your grandkids think they could just step into the picture and join you in your wedding celebration you need to get past the shutter speeds and digital features. Come to better understand the photographers. What's their background? Did they just recently pick up a camera and start shooting. Do they do things differently? Have them show you some of the photos they're most proud of. The proof is in the picture. You can see the imagination, the timeliness, the instincts, the expertise in their photos. You want someone that's going to be able to do a good job with all the classic staged photos but more importantly you want someone that's going to catch the pride in daddy's eyes and the emotion in the bride and grooms "I do's" and all the wonderful candid moments throughout the night.

So, when you're evaluating an Austin wedding photographer make sure you narrow down your selection by capabilities and choose your photographer based on their product.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

USS Coral Sea

USS Coral Sea CV43I was thinking of my Navy buddies this morning and thought I would share this.
In March 25th, 1983 I took this picture of The USS Coral Sea as it passed under the Golden Gate bridge for the very last time, in route to Roanoke, Virgina - I had been waiting years for the opportunity to capture this angle. The photo appeared in the Sept 83 issue of San Francisco Magazine - We had up to 30 photographers attached to this proud ship and experienced many adventures on the Western Pacific Ocean.

View from inside the USS Coral SeaThe
Coral Sea was decommissioned 04/26/90. Stricken from the Navy List, she was sold by the Defense Reutilization & Marketing Service (DRMS) for scrapping on 05/07/93. My wife and I lived in Vallejo CA at the time and saw the ship salvaged - piece by piece. We couldn't bear to take pictures yet we just had to watch. It was a bit disturbing to watch as this was home to myself and many shipmates for 3 years.

If you would like a FREE HIGH RES digital file of this image please send me a request.