Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Job Well Done

I started off the month shooting the Rugged Maniac Obstacle 5K in Petersburg for Gameface Media. I shoot to their cards so I can't show you anything, but they are a great group to work with. I picked up two more contracts with Gameface and for two days in June I'll be shooting the "Tough Mudder" event in Doswell, VA. That will undoubtedly be a good time.

As I mentioned in last month's post, I was supposed to have an engagement shoot on the Eastern Shore at the end of April. We had to reschedule due to late afternoon thunderstorms. We went with our backup date and it was well worth it! We had a gorgeous evening at Kiptopeke State Park and I ended up catching a great sunset on the Chesapeake Bay with Jackie and Matthew. 

Mid-week I shot a National Travel and Tourism Week luncheon for the Newport News Department of Tourism. The event was catered by a number of local restaurants, and concluded with an awards presentation by Mayor Price. "The Gregory Cherry Tourism Professional of the Year Award is given annually to a hospitality industry employee who has made an outstanding contribution in promoting travel and tourism in the city. The Newport News Hospitality Association awarded their 2014 tourism scholarships to students interested in taking or already enrolled in college classes related to travel and tourism or hospitality management." (source:

A few days later I documented Regina and Keith's wedding day. I had a blast working with them on their engagement session back in March (you can see a few shots in that month's blog post) but this go round the weather wasn't as cooperative. Late afternoon thunderstorms ruled out photos on the golf course at Kiln Creek Country Club. I quickly came up with a couple of ideas, one was a bit on the racy side but when I told Regina and Keith they said, "We totally trust you. Let's do it!"

I knew I was going to use the staircase in a couple of different ways but I needed one more location. I turned and saw an elevator. I pushed the button and the doors opened to reveal a large service elevator with doors at both ends. So I ended up Shanghaiing the elevator for five minutes. By the look of it, you may think I was in the elevator with them, but I was lying in the hallway outside of the elevator. There were about fifteen wedding guests near the elevator and I asked one to hold the bumper to keep the door open and then it was game on. When Regina and Keith got inside, more guests quietly gathered around to watch. I told the couple to close their eyes and do what they would do if they were the only two in the elevator. Then I told Keith to grab Regina's leg and then they really got into the moment. Just as the crowd started to hoot and holler (Regina was starting to crack a smile), I grabbed that last frame.

The middle of the following week I photographed the swimming event for the 2014 Virginia Senior Games, which was held here in Newport News, VA. "The Virginia Senior Games is open to anyone 50 years of age or older. Through a multitude of athletic and social events, participants have the opportunity to display their athletic ability and share common ties and interests with other senior individuals throughout the Commonwealth." (source:

The following weekend I photographed Carrie and Joey's wedding. The bridal prep started at the Magnuson Hotel. Before I shot the dress and other details, I asked Carrie if there were any places in the hotel where she'd like these things photographed. She said, "I totally trust you! Do your thing." And so I did. I showed her a couple of detail shots on the back of my camera and her eyes welled up with tears. Mission accomplished. The ceremony and reception were at the Virginia Living Museum. The VLM features an intimate, outdoor amphitheater for a ceremony and the vast expanse of the first and second floors of the museum for the reception. I've shot several weddings and events there and it never disappoints. 


The next evening I had an engagement shoot with Randi and Doug. The Noland Trail in Newport News was a special place for them so it was only fitting we shoot there. We hit a couple of places they were fond of and I had a few nearby locations up my sleeve too. We finished up the shoot just in time to catch a great sunset on the shore of the James River.

(In Doug's defense, Randi specifically asked for that shot)

The following Wednesday I shot a little league baseball game. I cut my teeth in photography shooting sports, so I love action. I've shot a variety of professional and semi-pro sports and my goal is to make a child look like a pro! Wyatt's parents now have a great set of in-game, action shots instead of just those boring picture day photos.

From there I rolled right into another outdoor wedding and this time it was at the Williamsburg National Golf and Country Club. I'd just worked with Dough and Randi six days earlier and they were such an easygoing couple. The families saw the engagement photos and everyone loved them. On the wedding day I wasn't just another vendor, I was treated like part of the family. That happens on almost every shoot and I truly, truly appreciate it. During the reception, Randi and her father even took to the driving range to hit a few. Like I said, a really easygoing couple.

A side note on the bridal party photo: Our allotted photo time was winding down and while we were working through a few ideas for the bridal party photo, it was refreshing to know that Doug, Randi, and I shared the same opinion on those jumping bridal party photos. I'd just finished up some attitude shots with Doug and his best man Logan and I just told the girls to jump in the mix and give me some attitude too. Done.

I rounded out the month with another baseball game. Good, good times! I've harped on the they are only this young once / skip the boring photo day / don't settle for smart phone photos thing for a while and it is great to see parents are now investing in those memories. This is why...

 This is what you get with a smartphone.

 This was what you saw in your mind. For an added bonus, the coach behind Pete is also his father!

Next year, Pete will have grown but his parents have great in-game, action images of him at this age forever. He may be a little guy, however, his in-game passion is huge. He especially has an intensity when it comes to base running. You just have to love the expression!

Going back to an earlier thought, I suppose I'm doing my job well when the good folks that hire me tell me to "do my thing" and trust me to do it. I'm rarely ever referred to as just the photographer.  Instead people say, "This is Brian. He's the photographer." That really says something. I'm not viewed as a vendor or just some guy with a big boy camera; I'm included as a part of whatever I'm covering. 

When I have clients, their families, and their friends rave about my work or a bride well up with tears of joy makes what I do not just a job. Then again, to me, photography has never felt like a job. I honestly don't know what to call it. I love what I do and I'm very fortunate to earn a living at it. I suppose it is pretty darn close to living the dream. So here's to the start of the summer and a job(s) well done! See you next month.