So as I have happily mentioned many times, I love sunglasses. It might be the only thing I truly collect. So when the opportunity presented itself to work with a new company out of Las Vegas, NV called Bex Sunglasses, I was pumped. I had worked with the newly sponsored model, Miss Olivia prior and when they asked who she preferred to use, well I was lucky enough to be that person. After speaking with the company over the phone and introducing myself a plan was in motion. I spoke to them about their vision and how I can accommodate it but stay true to who I am and how I work. They were quick to mention I am only 1 of 3 photographers ever to work with them which I take as a compliment in itself. After talking with Olivia and Lorie ( her mom ) we had a decision to meet in Boone, NC to give them an urban look for our first outing. I mentioned it to Wes, and he was quick to agree to join us for the session. This was cool for me for a few reasons. One he has had a session with me in the past but has never really seen my work on the other side of the lens, and I was happy to have the company for the long ride over and back. We met the ladies at Mast General store and we were off. Unfortunately, I can't share the images from the session as they haven't seen them yet but trust me when I say, I'm excited about how well it went. The Fuji Xpro2 did exactly what I needed it to as it always does. We spent the better part of 2 hours walking around downtown trying to keep it casual, unposed, and genuine. The company also voiced branching out to the outdoors sports world ( yes please ) so we were also on alert for anything that may tie those together. Unfortunately, the climbing wall I envisioned was closed, but we had about 60 seconds inside Magic Cycle after hours to try a few shots. I admit those will not make the cut. I felt like we were imposing and rushed more than I should have to not wear out our welcome. We used any and everything we could think of or stumble upon. I have 1 more session to knock out prior to starting in on these but then its on. I guess you will have to follow us on IG @throatpunchproductions and follow them @bexsunglasses to see Olivia rocking their gear! Until then, head up and keep clicking that shutter button.
P.S. Coming soon to IG is images from another sunglass company that has reached out to us called @southernmostshades as well as some incredible spices ( for you foodies ) from @thespicebeast.
Its currently Sunday, August 5th and I am waiting on my friend /client to show up for our session and thought I would take the time to write and catch up. I have been beyond busy in the last month or so and beyond grateful for that and August is looking to be my busiest month to date. I say that to remind anyone wanting a session, that there are only 4 months left in the calendar year. I'm saying that because I am shooting today, and every day next weekend. Next weekend I will be in Elizabethton, Grayson Highlands VA, Kingsport, and one session yet to determine location. That is just Friday - Sunday btw. I was this busy last weekend shooting Sat, Sun, and Monday and have edited and delivered all of those except one. ( soon, very soon ) Tomorrow 3 of the 4 kids have their first day back at school and a busy week of normal life as a parent and small business owner.
I am writing today though to also discuss some opportunities that we over at Throat Punch Productions have coming up. Last weekend, while I was busting my ass and driving all over the place so, was Wes. He represented us by driving to Nashville and shooting a video for Allen for the 2018 NPC Tennesee State Show. You should go and check that out now, right HERE.
He also made the intro video that I recently posted to my IG. We are currently in the works to shoot for a new company out of New York called SpiceBeast, a new sunglass company called SouthernMost Shades, and my friend/ model Olivia also hooked me up to shoot her new campaign with Bex Sunglasses! It's taking some time, some sleepless nights, and lots of work but we are slowly starting to move forward. We are starting to put our stamp on the market. Keeping this one short, but remember to book your session while there is still some time to do so and see how we separate ourselves from the masses. We love collaborating, so if you are someone wanting to work with us, please let us know. We are still taking on some small business to capture their product for advertising purposes as well. What are you waiting on? This is your sign, this is us saying HEY, let's create something together. You get one shot at this life, let's live it up and remember those times!
Go check out our updated site at www.throatpunchpros.com and let us know what you like, and what you would prefer to see differently.
All images are samples and teasers from the session I shot after writing this 2 days ago!
I want to try and write more freely and more regularly but hey, life happens. We are currently preparing for court in the morning where we make the adoption of Austin official and we couldn't be happier about it. I have just sat down and decided now is the best time to try and get my thoughts into print. First thing first though. I shoot mirrorless and since switching over ( best decision ever ) I find myself shooting much less in general. Normally because I like the system and it works exactly how I like to shoot so getting the shot I want is easier to capture. Thus leading me to shoot less for the desired result. That is what I am talking about in this article. I volunteer at our church and I am on the Photography Crew that helps capture moments and events. We recently had a team meeting and while conversing someone asked why I shoot mirrorless, and I explained like I did above and they responded, " I bet you shoot light huh?" On an average wedding day, this person said they shoot between 2000 and 3000 images, while I shoot between 500-800. I explained I don't have a need to exhaust my equipment, clients, and self to have multiple images of the same moments from the day. He then replied " well I prefer to shoot for the emotion and not a perfect moment", where I replied Yep me too. I completely understand what he's saying. It's easy to see a moment and snap with proper exposure and compensation but miss a feeling. It is easy to assume you have it and move on to something else but I do not do that. I strive for feelings in my work, not perfection. I strive for unique moments in time, not the average posed imagery. I'm in no way saying he does this and it was a great talk and I was happy to discuss it and still am. There were no "church league softball fist fights" over the topic LOL
I love everything related to photography, and I am finding a new passion for shooting video even though it makes me want to smash my fist through my monitor every single time I try to edit one. Why is that crap so friggin hard?
Speaking of I am working, with much-needed help from Wes, on a new BTS video from my latest session now. I love shooting video while I shoot stills, and I think the video editing may need to be left to the pros. While they are doing that I am going to keep on shooting, throwing light at people, rewinding time by shooting film, and making my clients feel like the Rock Stars they are! Thanks for reading and as always be sure and follow all of our Social media accounts. I did the legwork so just click the link below you lazy bum.
As always every adventure starts with planning, but when Wes and I are involved, planning is an afterthought. We are currently Asheville bound to hang out, take some photos, let the video roll, and create new content. We will do this all while our contest is running over on Facebook that you should be checking out already. We have big plans and the days we can get together and combine our efforts it truly shows whats coming. It's reassuring that we are so like-minded and hungry for more than we have. We are gonna hit up Asheville, fill our guts and hopefully find some interesting shit to shoot. Food first though. Maybe Farm Burger? Maybe The Vault on Rankin? Why cant Biscuit Head be open?? The horror. Well, we just had small heart attacks as Wes' BMW started acting like it hated us.. all is well though. Onward! For the record, we definitely had Farm Burger and it never disappoints.
By the time you will have read this, there should have been plenty of shenanigans and nonsense and photos to prove it. The sun will be setting on us soon, but Throat Punch Pros are not afraid of what lies in the dark. We live for it! Matter of fact we spent a lot of time in the shadows and watching as the light leaked into the viewfinders of our always in hand Fuji Series cameras.
I write about Asheville often, and since Wes is driving I was attempting to write but its time to do what I do. camera 30.
Side note, I am not specifying who took what photos below. I did edit them all but that is all you get! We just ran our first contest over on our Throat Punch Productions Facebook page HERE and have a new one coming soon. Go check us out, and follow our IG HERE. Like Comment and check out the video on Youtube.
Now it's 9:30 pm, we are on 26 driving into the endless rain that somehow we were lucky enough to avoid the entire time we were over the mountain. We shot video and still almost every minute we stepped foot out of the car and no regrets. Too many images never equal a bad day in my world. The rain is dancing on the 5 series windshield and my keys type in sync as the radio plays our outro headed into the dark leaving Asheville lights in the rearview. We will definitely be back soon and maybe with a plan this time, but probably now. -TPx2
It is currently Tuesday and we are back from another weekend in nature. This was back to back weekends of camping with friends. The weekend before last was spent in Hot Springs, NC with Wes and his family, and this past weekend was spent in Cosby, TN at Imagination Mountain with the Terry's. We stumbled upon this campground a few years ago and Natasha and I loaded up our 2 boys at the time for the weekend. It rained most of the time then but we still had a great time. Since then our family dynamic has changed for lack of a better word. We are foster parents if you didn't know and currently are only days away from adopting Austin who is 17 and currently annoying me by playing Fortnight. Garbage game in my opinion LOL. We also have a 10-year-old girl and I know nadda about raising a girl.
But this isn't about that. This is about spending every second of the weekend with friends and cramming as many activities as physically possible into 3 days. We have known Brittney forever, and Derek and their boys are more like family than friends. I could probably write an entire blog about knowing Brittany but I'll save that for another time maybe. Between our groups, we were 4 adults vs 6 kids plus we ran into one of Atlas' best pals from school, Aiden. He was allowed to hang out with us most of the day as well. So the kids played in the creek, made friends with neighbors, terrorized the playgrounds, heated up the b-ball court, played putt putt, watched a movie, played chess, swam, had ice cream, and even visited the arcade. I'm still tired. So tired in fact that I will stop writing and do what I do. Tell our story via imagery. Hope you enjoy and as always feel free to comment below your thoughts. All images below shot with my Fuji Xpro 2, my xf16mm, xf 90mm, and vintage Minolta lenses.
As always, I also took the film cameras but those will be shared another time. :)
As of writing this, we have been home from a much-needed camping trip to Hot Springs, NC. We were lucky enough to have Wes, Whitney, and Acston ( no way I spelled that right lol) join us for some campsite shenanigans. We had cameras out everywhere acting a fool and just kicking back. It was just what I needed to regroup and come back swinging. We came home Sunday, and I immediately showered and got dressed for a session on the ever enchanting Carvers Gap. That session we danced among the trees and into the creeks below as the sun peeked thru the trees tops toward us. That alone would be enough to write about, but the following day I was off to another session. This time I asked my clients to join me at The Beauty Spot, and seeing as how they trust me and have never been, they agreed. I am so glad they did. The sun was still higher than I preferred but you work with what you have and that's one of my favorite parts of photography. The ever-changing light, scenery, and weather make every session special. This led to me shooting directly into the sun for the first 15 minutes which created images a little lighter than usual, but then we found our way into the shade and tall grass. We ended with silhouettes against a magnificent blue sky. Man, I LOVE MY JOB. Its currently after 11 pm on Friday the 13th, and we are mostly packed up for another adventure. I will have cameras in tow as always and phone on standby to book that next session, although squeezing them in is starting to get interesting with Fall fast approaching! I don,t need sleep though, so let's shoot! Below I will simply leave a few images from the sessions mentioned above. Follow me on Instagram HERE and our new Company HERE to see more and to catch some BTS footage too. Until the keys click for the next entry, thanks for being here.-J
It's Monday morning and the beginning of July. I have been up for over an hour, had a shower, and have my coffee made so far, so good. I'm writing this as I wait for Wes to drive up. Today is the first official shoot of Throat Punch Productions and I am excited. We are shooting a product that you will know more about soon if you follow us. If not well, your loss. As I sit here considering what and how to shoot today, I also finished pictures from a hike my family and I have been trying to do for months, Grayson Highlands, VA. I have always heard how beautiful it is, and how unique it is seeing as how its inhabited by wild ponies. After many failed attempts to make it, last Saturday was our day. We loaded up the kids after breakfast at home, and planned our route to have lunch prior to hiking. We found a great gas station/ dinner just a few miles from the entrance to the park. We filled up on double bacon cheeseburgers, chicken salad, corn dogs and fries. FUEL. Then we were ready. I will plan better on our next trip as we didn't get to see many ponies, other than the ones walking by the side of the road on our way out and the lighting was not ideal for the photographer inside me. Nevertheless, it was a pretty amazing day with those I adore. Jaryn almost died, because as much as I love that child, he's hella clumsy. I watched in slow motion as he bounded from one rock to the next, where he lost his footing and disappeared off the edge into the forest below. My heart sank, and I immediately yelled to him. He was quick to assure me he was fine and laughed it off. He was extremely lucky that he landed between to large rocks below his fall from about 6 feet above. Luckily this was the worse part of the day as we collected our selves for the multiple overlooks and beautiful park that it is. We did get turned around once which led me to walk an addition 1.2 miles to collect "Valak" ( our Sequoia ) but it was a walk I would gladly make again for my crew. We explored for over 4 hours and our Chacos where starting to leave their mark. We decided to try and drive down to the campground looking for ponies as the older boys and I opted for the additional mileage here again. I can't wait to explore there again with my motley crew, but next weekend we are off to Hot Springs, NC! Stay tuned for those pictures next week, but below you will find the images from our last adventure! I'll post some from the Pentax 645n to my IG soon as well.
Well, I am home from vacation and more motivated than ever. Not that our trip was especially relaxing, too many kids for that LOL, but because of its timing. Today I am going to write without much of a filter and just get to the brass tacks of the matter. I am currently constantly listening to a new to me podcast by Andy Frisella called MFCEO. He has no filter and talks some hard truths and that is often what I need most. No fluff, no shit, just realness. I also get that from my friends, especially Wes. My wife rather enjoys putting me in my place too but that isn't today's topic LOL. I have been listening heavily and still have tons to check out but in a nutshell what I have taken away is this:
Surround yourself with a strong team of friends and people who will be 100% honest with you.
There is a massive difference in a Goal VS a dream and how to separate the two.
No one is going to walk up to you and hand you everything you want to accomplish. You have to take a step of faith ( if you're religious ) put on your big boy pants and DO THE DAMN WORK!
Most importantly so far, believe in the product you sell. In my case, myself and my vision. If you know me at all, my confidence is often my biggest hurdle. I see only the flaws and the cracks in my work. Enough of that. It ends now. I have far too many clients, friends, and people supporting me to let doubt slow me down.
There are many more points but you gotta go give him a listen, this isn't a free pass to his insight. Quit being lazy and check him out.
Ok, here is where it gets dicey. I am an avid follower of Christ. We are members of our church, and volunteer as often as possible. This fact often leaves me, for good reason, watching what and how I say things. It keeps me grounded, but it also makes me un-authentic at times. Hold on. Here me out. Pastor Derek spoke Sunday about being honest. In our prayers and conversations with Christ and something clicked. I'm not honest enough. Anywhere in life probably. In my faith, opinions, and dislikes. I often find myself being too nice for my own good or anyone else for that matter. But I am also far from perfect, and you know what, that's ok. He sees me in my failures and when I'm losing my shit during a road rage fit and love me anyway. One of my absolute favorite quotes is " I love Jesus but a cuss a little". TRUTH. I strive to be better every day but I am going to fail, but I am also going to get up way more times than I am knocked down. I don't know how to quit and refuse to even consider it anymore. Yep, that's right I have almost put the camera up too many times. I get frustrated when business is slow and when I feel like I am undervalued. Long story short, Throat Punch Productions coming, and coming in like Ricky Bobby in his underwear, on fire. I will make no excuses or apologies for being genuine anymore. Get on board or out of our damn way. I can't wait to see what we create collectively and the friends we make along the journey. The Facebook page is up and live and the site is in the works so follow along early and stick around for the fireworks people!
I'm still on vacation as this hits the site and should be relaxing in the sun or something but here I am. I don't relax well, and I never stop working. Whether that's thinking about blog topics, looking for locations, editing, learning new techniques, or approaching new people. Being a small business owner is hard. Very hard, but I still love spending time doing thing's I love and doing that with people I care about so last weekend we decided to take the kids hiking. We love overnight trips, and the kids are showing interest in joining us so we are "training" for a longer hike. We loaded them up with light packs and headed to Bays Mountain Park. Bays Mountain is special to us, as Natasha and I were married here but love to take the kids to see the animals and hike the trails surrounding the lake. This is exactly what we did. I'm not writing much, but here are the images from our day. All images were taken with my Fuji Xpro2 and my Xf16mm lens. #onelensandgo
Correction, the wifi ended up being so slow that I decided to wait until I was back home to upload this post. I just got in a few hours ago from second shooting a wedding with the brilliant Katy Sergent and uploading some pictures from the beach and remembered it was time to post this. So here it is.
In case you notice my tee shirt and new stickers, I thought I would share that I am currently an ambassador for AwakeThe Soul. Their moto is "Stay positive, be happy and live free", and they share passion for the outdoors and adventure as well. Go check them out.
I find myself constantly thinking and looking for ways to improve like most of us do. in business and in life. I often find that sometimes, I do this to the point of checking out of real life sometimes as well. One of those moments was on my drive down on vacation where I am currently writing this today.
It's a beautiful Monday morning in June, my feet are up and I hear the waves crashing on the beach below me. The boys are still sleeping as everyone else starts the day. The power and size of the ocean mesmerize me and remind me how small we truly are. As I mentioned above, on my drive to the beach over the weekend, I found myself deep in thought, contemplating new and better ways to serve my clients. I found myself daydreaming about big things coming with Wes and with Throat Punch Productions. I try not to get ahead of myself in these moments because of some previous business failures, but this feels different. This is different. This post isn't about that, not yet. This is about the hard stuff and what happens when cameras are put in the bag ( my Ona bag is preferred ) and we aren't editing. I am sure this is different for everyone, and I'm not going to get into my hobbies in this post. I wanna drop all the BS and talk about my family.
Yesterday was fathers day and I was greeted with Happy Fathers Day from the kids and my wife and the sweetest letters, they each wrote to me. I loaded the kids up and off to the flea market we went because they wanted popsockets LOL. I immediately regretted this decision. Too many kids, coupled with too many distractions, meant my anxiety was through the roof. After a ridiculously long line to get coffee and driving all over to find crushed ice for Tosh, we were finally back at the resort to play. In an ideal world, I would relax more, maybe with a cold drink all day watching the kids play but that is never what happens. This year in particular as we are now a family of 6, we find ourselves dividing and conquering more every day, but for a few laughter-filled minutes, I was hurling the kids in the air, and was greeted with "Do it again". Then we were taking turns doing cannonballs, and can openers off the edge of the pool making tons of ruckus. Before long, Jahim was jumping in mimicking everything we did. So I made sure to make conversation with him and introduce myself and the kids. I am very grateful for how easily most of the kids make friends everywhere we go and can talk to anyone just like I do but..
I had a thought this morning when I woke, this isn't the post I had in mind on my drive in, but one I wanted to write anyway. I find myself always looking for interesting people to photograph. I have even handed a business card to a lady at a Mcds drive-thru window once because how compelled I was to work with her. ( still waiting on her, unfortunately) I am not this forward usually, and that's what today is about. If you have ever met me, I hope I spoke, I hope the encounter was a good one, and if it wasn't then you probably suck. I am just saying. But I have this weird self-conscious feeling when approaching someone asking to photograph them. I don't get it. I can speak to anyone I pass hiking with a smile and good wishes. I have no problem striking up a conversation with strangers on the elevator every day I'm here but this is different. WTH
I actually fell asleep thinking about this last night because yesterday there was a moment on the beach that I wish I had my camera, any camera to capture but a moment was missed. Several were actually. As I was laying on the air mattress waiting for sleep carry me away, something clicked. To me making your photograph isn't just about capturing an image. It is not just about freezing a moment in time. Photography for me is personal. It is an intimate moment between myself and the other person or people involved. It's important to me to have meaningful relationships with clients. I have wanted to create a Thru-Hiker book for myself but I think the thought of simply stopping someone for only a moment to take an image is selfish, and that the craft deserves more. Images deserve a damn story, people. They deserve our attention. They deserve our focus. Social media makes everyone want it now, and they are moving on. No more. I want to know who I'm taking photos of, what makes them happy, and what makes them hurt. Only in a true conversation, a true experience, can I capture what I have been chasing since picking my camera up the very first time. Realness. Brokenness. Laughter. Pain. Acceptance. Loss. Love. Respect
Don't get me wrong, I love all things street photography and candid moments, but I want more planned real emotion in imagery too.
So I'm challenging myself, maybe while I am still here at the Beach or when I get home to approach more people. Be real with them so they can be real with me. Capture images that captivate, but tell a story and believe it or not, all stories aren't fairytales with happy endings. I believe those stories long to be told just as much and maybe even more deservingly so. This isn't a normal post for me but I'm going to try and be more open and honest in at least one post a week to help myself grow as well. I also want to write once a week about something that sucks for me or that is hard for me because I think it is only fair. I want to capture you in all stages of life, so why can't I bring you into a little of my life weekly? I will also VLOG again soon as well.
So a few weeks ago I had the extreme pleasure of capturing moments like the one above for this happy couple. You may recall the image of them we captured during the engagement session at Hungry Mother State Park on the bridge over the lake. Meeting them that day for the first time, I quickly knew we would have a great time working together. They are so in love, and they share that love for Leonard's son Jake that I also had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with. Those moments led up to the big day, and that's what I am writing about now. Before I get much further here is a short video I shot, that my good friend Wes and partner at Throat Punch Productions put together for me on the fly. Take a sec to check it out then I will meet you on the other side.
I hope you watched it and left some feedback. I would love to do more of them and I learned a lot from the first attempt. Stay tuned for more of that and Wes wrote more about our new venture HERE. He is a much better writer than I am. Ok, back to the newlyweds. Sarah and Leonard were married at her church in Marion, VA. It is a small church established in 1859 with a stunning wooden door and high ceilings. The church also sets at the base of several mountain ranges so it was a perfect backdrop for such an incredible day.
The weather was moody to say the least but we were blessed to miss almost all of the rain and had the opportunity to be out side for shots like this.
The ceremony was lovely and the church quickly filled with friends and family of the couple. Immediately following the service, even though the pastor almost forgot to have them kiss LOL, we had a few minutes for portraits just of the new Husband and Wife before packing up and heading to the reception several miles away, also at Hungry Mother State Park. This was amazing because we wanted to remake the photo I mentioned above, and thought the weather would refuse us the opportunity but once again, fate was on our side.
Ok I know I am rambling so I will leave the rest of the story to be told visually through the images from the day. Let's go!
I usually keep my blog post's to a few images but wanted to incorporate moments from the entire day for a change. This couple was so much fun to be around and so was their entire family. I had multiple people stop and speak about the engagement pictures or to express their gratitude for being there. Often it's the small things that make a day special, and together I think we truly told the story of Sarah + Leonard Gardner!
All of the last images below were shot on 35mm film, and developed by The Darkroom Lab. I want to really shoot more and more on film, so be watching for those soon.
Today as I was working and hanging with the kids, my inbox alerted me that one of my best friends, Wes had written a new blog post. This is cool for several reasons. To see what I mean you will simply have to go check it out for yourself, HERE. He is much better at writing regularly and at writing in general. It reminded me, I haven't written all week. While I love sharing my work with you, I also love expressing my thought's and such just as much. I have said it in the past, but for me, writing is also a release and therapeutic in nature. I have been rambling about my new fascination with shooting film, and this week when I received my scans from The DarkRoom Lab that took on a whole new meaning for me. I was so damn excited to see if my cameras were actually working, but to see those images that I cant flip through on the back of my camera. They were all brand new to me once more, and man that is a lot of fun. They are also tangible, as my negatives are being mailed back to me now. They also required little, if any work in post-processing after getting them. Are they perfect? Only in the way they make me feel, and how they let me relive those small moments in our life together. Because isn't that what we as photographers are supposed to be doing? We provide this for everyone else, so it was refreshing to be on the receiving end of an online gallery. Even though I took every shot, it was still amazing to get. I felt like I had finally found a meaning and purpose. So I am going to run with it. I'm going to shoot lots more film. I am also offering prints of past work and specific prints of my film work. It needs to be held, admired and displayed. Ok so in keeping this short, all images below were shot on 35mm film, with my Minolta Dynax 5 ( thank you Robin Collins ) and processed at The DarkRoom. The black and white is either Kodak tri-x 400 or Ilford HP5, and the color shots are Fujifilm Superia 400. If you are interested in prints, there is a new tab located on the top of my home page.
As always, I am grateful you stopped by. I always appreciate comments and suggestions. So until the next one, #filmsnotdead
Carvers Gap, where more often than not, fantasy becomes reality! I write about this location often and passionately for several reasons. I grew up in Roan Mountain, went to school there and until I was 18 it was my home. The sad part about this is, while living here I never visited Carvers Gap. Like never. I'm very glad that I have found the amazement that it offers at this point in my life, as far too often I think we live our entire lives and miss the magic around us daily. Growing up and attending school here led me to meet Sundae. I think we may have even rode the bus together after my parents moved closer to my grandparents. I say that because today's post is about Alex, Sundae's daughter. I had never met or spoken to Alex prior to our session but that was not an issue because she is awesome. Sundae and I went back and forth on a few dates as the weather was insane this year and ever-changing and at this point, I also believe its because we were supposed to be on the Roan on this particular day. You can never truly predict the weather on the top of the Roan, and today was one of those days where every few minutes, it changed. This was a bit of a challenge as a photographer, but one I gladly welcome anytime. Let me start in the parking lot.
Once we finally found a suitable day and the time was set, we were good to go. We agreed to meet at the trailhead parking lot for introductions and to strategize. This never takes more than a few minutes, so we donned our rain jackets, umbrellas, and were afoot. Luckily the rain never really set in and never developed into something unusable. We were greeted with dramatic racing clouds over us and the mountain tops, misting rain, and even had a brief appearance of a rainbow. I mean minus a unicorn or bigfoot running out of the neighboring woods, what else could I ask for? As an adventure photographer, an avid fan of anything AT, I was enchanted. I'm not great with words and will not try to be, but will simply let the imagery speak for me. I hope you find the joy, the excitement, the wonder in these that I do. Alex was incredibly patient with my direction, open to any and everything I threw at her and with a lovely smile the entire time. I truly couldn't ask for more. I would love to know if you have a similar place that you love to frequent and I'm always open to more unique experiences like this one was. Now to the meat and potatoes, because what post by a photographer is complete without pictures?
As always, all images shot with my Fuji Xpro2 and combination of my xf16mm and xf90mm lenses.
I just finished up prom season here in East Tennesee and moved right into wedding season. I'm writing this as a part confession, part growth. I will start with the confessing. I hate prom season. I did in the past is a better way to word that. I found myself feeling that prom season was something I was expected to do but often found myself feeling constrained by it. Young adults dressing up in clothing they would usually not wear, wearing flowers that make their movement cumbersome, and some of them are together but others are not. The latter also present's it's own issues in posing and making them comfortable. I don't feel that I charge enough for the service I offer but I also know these prom photos may turn into senior portrait session's and I can't get enough of those! So this year I made a point to myself. I made it a goal to find a better way to shoot prom. I promised myself, that I would provide something different for my clients, and I'm glad to say I crushed that goal like a boss. What did I do differently you may ask?
Ok so if you have ever read any of my blogs, or any of my Instagram post's ( come on are you still not following me? Really? Go on then. www.instagram.com/jeremy.gouge ) you may know that I love portraiture. I love all lighting and finding the light in every situation. So I took some time to myself and decided that prom pictures are simply high fashion portraits. Then it clicked! Approach these sessions like I would a fashion session. I didn't concentrate on the clothing the same way but I wanted to shoot every couple as I would a model. I took this approach to every prom session I booked, and hope every gallery expressed my new method. I hope this new technique was evident in the final products. I hope that we made Prom memorable and unique. I had the extreme pleasure of working with new people, returning clients, and made future clients as well. One client was eager to book again, the moment she saw the first sneak peak. This is what makes what I do worth every second. I'm not flooding this post with images, flip back to my Prom Season is bringing heat blog or my IG ( because you actually went and followed me right? ) to get a glimpse at those. I'm simply writing this to remind anyone else that reads it, there is always another way, a different approach, but always stay true to who you are. I hope everyone has an amazing Holiday Weekend.
I often work with couples and families that have never met me, and while this is exciting and a little scary, it can provide some challenges. I've been told that my appearance is somewhat intimidating to those who don't know me on a personal level. The funny thing about this is despite my outward appearance, I am very easy to get along with. I am also very comfortable taking charge of the session when the need arises. Some of these points I'm sure I've made in the past, but I'm also a very determined person, so let's move on. What I want to speak about today is something that is a little uncomfortable for me at times. Ready to hear what that is? What makes me take a deep breath before speaking? Ok, so what could possibly make a grown man, who is heavily tattooed and weathered by life uncomfortable? A specific conversation is what. Doesn't make sense? Well now you will know how I feel starting this talk every time. Let me paint a different picture quickly before diving in with both feet. Take a moment, think of anyone in your life, either past or present that has influenced you in a monumental way. Got it? Come on, we don't have all day here......... Ok, times up. Now picture this person that you’re thinking of. I'll use my grandfather for my example here. I only knew one of my grandfathers in this life, and he was enough on his own. He was funny, aggravating, a hard worker and loved me and all of us grandchildren immensely. I was the first grandson, and he was a father of 5 girls ( my mom and aunts in case you’re not paying attention ) so I was also the first boy period for my grandfather. This is a title, I hold very dear but often know I wasn't the grandson he always wanted. I didn't want to hunt, work the farm, stomp out the cow shit patties, or watch Nascar on Sundays. I was an athlete early on and that was my jam, heck still is. #crossfit
This didn't mean he didn't love me and spoil me rotten. We still had our truck rides, which is something I love to do now with my boys. We had 8 track tapes, Ray Stevens, and Jerry Clower joking along the way. I did go hunting with him on a few occasions and those usually ended badly, with me stomping through the woods, falling in the creeks and never shooting anything but the breeze, but I was glad to be there because he was there. I am honestly pretty emotional even thinking back on these details, as I haven't thought of them for many years. I told my story to say this- When he passed away, he allowed me to choose one of his rifles to keep as my own. Being the first and oldest boy, I chose first. I didn't choose the 30/30 or other high caliber options, I went with the nicest looking one, the .22 bolt action. So anytime to this day I hear or see anything related to a .22 caliber, I think of his gift to me and the time we had. I don't think about how sick he was in the end, but just how excited he was to scare me every Halloween, the candy he snuck me anytime I was sick that he called medicine, and how he would act so mad as I pressed his knee down as hard as I could to make the truck go faster. He was the best.
Ok, so you have your person in mind, yes? Ok, what do you think of when you think of them? Is it a material possession, a special place, a moment, or one of their favorite things? ( my papaw ate circus peanuts, orange foam, gross candies ) Ok -so if you were having a photoshoot with me, or anyone else and somehow we can incorporate those memories into your story, how much more are you connected to the process and the final product? Would you not want a photo of that on your wall to remember in every passing? Maybe you’re engaged and you have a special thing that only you share with one another. My wife will squeeze my hand 3 times to non-verbally say she loves me. So if I see a photo of our hands, or hands in general, I think of her. It may seem silly, but having that conversation often times makes my couples feel bad. They feel bad if they don't have something like this and those aren't my intentions. I am your biggest fan, especially when my camera is on you, so the last thing I want to do is sow doubt or make anyone feel bad. So when you're planning your session with me, (because come on, you didn't read all of this to choose to hang out with anyone else) think about it, take this into consideration. Consider how you can make the session even more memorable for your special person. Maybe they are a sports fan and you can sneak their favorite hat away to incorporate. Maybe its butterfly kisses, or Eskimo kisses. Maybe it's simply a tee shirt you picked out together for the first camping trip you took together ( we had those too right Sweetpea? #hotspringsNC ) or the first concert you went to. Maybe it's only a reference to a specific time that we can work in together. Basically, you are required to participate to produce the best possible outcome. Can I direct you? Yes, until I am blue in the face if needed. Can the images be stunning with none of the above ever happening? Every single time yes! Guess what- an image isn't special because its technically perfect, or sharp as a tact. It gains its power over us and our emotions for HOW IT MAKES US FEEL. Let's make something that means more than a glimpse in time on your facebook wall. Go on back to my homepage, scroll to the bottom and contact me today to start planning something unique.
I'm writing this today, on a rainy dreary Sunday. I want to say it's a lazy day, relaxing with my family and enjoying the rhythm of the rain dancing on the roof of our home, as the droplets race one another to the bottom of the window glass, but I can not. Home from church, and to the laptop I retreat. I had a busy week of photo shoots, edit sessions, and endless errands for the family. I am happy to say that I have completed all session's from last weekend and delivered those galleries as a result of long hours editing away. As soon as I was delivering gallery after gallery, I was blessed to follow those up with session after session. I love being busy, and capturing the little moments that others will overlook, and that is easily forgotten if not for my being present. I'm currently sitting at Jaryn's school as he prepares for his band performance, and wouldn't you know it, laptop in tow. I'm writing this as other families walk in, socialize with one another, and enjoy the day together. The rest of my family is in NC celebrating Brynn's second birthday and I can't wait to see the photos from her party. As I was driving us here, I stopped for more coffee and a thought hit me. When do we stop? I'm very aware that from the outside looking in, it probably seems like being self-employed and working from home is a dream job, and in ways, you would be absolutely correct. I am forever grateful that I'm available when my boy's need me. I'm grateful to my wife for providing a life that allows me to live my dream. I'm grateful to cook, pick up groceries, clean toilets, and take care of our fur baby Cinder. But what happens when we are not on location for your photo shoot? Some people simply believe we show up, take some images, deliver those images and sit back counting the riches. Well, you're wrong.
What often goes unnoticed are the small details that go into creating your session and making it the experience it should be. We don't wake up, find a random camera and decide we need x amount of dollars to show up and be present. We don't run on the automatic setting's hoping for the best. There is time involved that is never mentioned in quotes and bids for jobs. I love what I do, and every day I'm reminded how blessed I am to do something I adore as often as I do. I'm blessed that 99% of my clients and friends always come back to me for every life event they would like memorialized. I'm grateful for that, and I'm grateful for getting to meet new people from referrals of my past clients. I am also grateful for my family who support me without question ( mostly lol ) and who see my value on the days I am far from seeing it myself. I say all of this to remind anyone who is reading this, that there are so many things to consider when hiring a photographer, but there are also many, many things to take into consideration that you receive when hiring the correct person. You gain a relationship, a friendship, and contact. You get to work with someone who will sacrifice their sleep on your behalf. They will work in between sets to write a blog post to hopefully remind someone that you are getting more than just a final product. We run multiple social media accounts, and they are ever changing so we are also studying new algorithms on the constant. We host and update websites to try and get our vision to the masses, we spend hours editing those images we captured for you. We spend hours learning our equipment so there are no hiccups during your time with us. We have to constantly change, evolve, upgrade equipment ( this stuffs not cheap people ) all to probably compete with someone much much cheaper, and much less experienced because far too often value is associated with cost. I hope you consider these few of many points I've made when shopping next. Shop local, shop small business and reward the people who want to bring you the small victories day in and day out. Reward yourself with a truly unique experience that box stores cant provide and that you deserve. When anyone works with me, I strive to be present. My phones away unless needed, I'm the runner if things are forgotten, I'm the pep talk every step of the way, and I'm the guy with a throat tattoo that will move crowds when needed. I was pleasantly surprised to walk into one of my newest, but not forever clients store this past week, where she met me with applause. This wasn't needed but the simple fact that she was glad I was there and was excited to see her gallery in person. It's the small things like this as silly as it may sound that makes what I do truly special. Long story short, THANK YOU to anyone I have ever worked with and for everyone that is to come. I'm not finished yet!!
I have 2 more sessions to finish from yesterday so they are coming soon, very soon.
I have had the pleasure of speaking to Sarah for months, planning her wedding to Leonard and getting to know them along the way. I was actually blessed to be referred to them by my friend Jeremy, who was unavailable on the big day. They live over an hour away from me and we had never met, that is until Sunday before last! We tried several times to plan the engagement session, and with the crazy weather we have had here in the South, it was harder than it should have been to put into works. We finally found a day that worked for us both and in the books, it went. I started the day at Church, followed by a meeting also at the church by our media director to plan some volunteer opportunities. My family went their separate ways, so I headed on toward Virginia, en route to my session. I had a little time on my hands, so I swung by one of my favorite places and took a few photos for myself. Those can be seen here.
After a short relaxing walk in the woods, off to Chilhowie, I went. This is exciting for several reasons for me. I was meeting them both for the first time, and hoping to visit Hungry Mother State Park for the first time as well. All the first's! I was pleased to drive up to Sarah's parent's house and there were jeep's everywhere. My kind of people. Leonard even had an axe mounted on his roof rack, and I took this as a good sign. A good sign it was as we talked music and the park and they really are like minded people and enjoyed being outdoors as much as I do. At one point during the shoot, Leonard's son ran his hand across the bridge and ended up with a nasty splinter. Leonard was quick to pull out his trusty pocket knife and free the debris caught in his son's hand. This may seem like a silly detail to include but, if you know me at all you know I have a passion for knives myself and have done this same thing for my own children ( and clumsy self ) multiple times, so the moment resonated with me on a deep level.
We easily got lost in our journey and our mission to capture the love between them while exploring the beautiful park that it is. We overlooked the lake, waited patiently for the wind to work with us and not against us, and then ducked in behind a wall of kayaks and canoes. I truly enjoyed meeting and working with them both and look forward to capturing their wedding in a few short weeks.
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I am still new to vlogging and hope that each shows improvement along the way. If I'm honest I don't particularly enjoy doing them, but if only one person finds them helpful, entertaining or insightful then its worth the effort. I am still very uncomfortable in front of my camera and I can see the benefits of that. I hope it helps me relate to those who do it so much better than myself but also help me relate to my clients who I ask to be themselves in front of my camera. I say that to announce that going forward I am going to try a few things different, one of which is to be more genuine regardless of whose feathers I ruffle. Heck, maybe that will even help my views LOL. This video touches on how I have learned the value of what I do for a living, to other. How my capturing your moments is so much more than a few pictures to look back on some time. I strive to record your life with those you adore, and of yourself. I do not have near enough people shooting for themselves in my opinion. I had an engagement session this past weekend in Chilhowie, Va and it was the first time we ever met. This is always exciting to meet new people, and hear how they met and the try and capture the love story which is so genuinely there own. We were talking about whether the groom to be should tuck his shirt in or not and when they asked my advice I was quick to say " I want you to be yourself and the as comfortable as possible." He decided that untucked was the way, and when I explained that I was there to tell their story not to write it for them, that I had a moment of clarity. At that moment I realized that is exactly what my goal is in every situation, at every session, and for every wedding, I'm blessed to record. This is a reason you should hire a professional. Anyone can show up and push the button when asked. A professional will be early to learn the location, it's lighting, the best options for your time together and work with you to create something special. This is not a stab at the newcomer or what has quickly been dubbed the "soccer moms with cameras" and for the record, this means soccer dads too but the men are far outnumbered in my opinion. We all start somewhere but the proper way to do that is to assist and second shoot for others, not just hope for the best and as the client, you shouldn't be ok with that either. You should KNOW going in that there is nothing left to chance, this doesn't mean that "shit doesn't hit the fan" and things go wrong. Cameras can malfunction and memory cards can fail but hopefully, this will be something your photographer is prepared for as much as one can be. Life is so short, trust your memories to someone who cares about them as much as yourself. I care about my clients, their thoughts, opinions, emotions, and expectations. If you are reading this and have never worked with me, I guarantee it will be a positive experience. I'm going to lead you when you needed, encourage your face off, and cut up every chance I get! So without further delay, here's my latest video. I apologize if the audio is off. I shot this one on my phone instead of mv Fuji Xpro2. Please like, comment and let me know how you agree, disagree and I would be open to some hard feedback as well. I'm tough enough to take it.
This week I take on a bit of a touchy subject. Its a little longer than I had anticipated and as usual I stumble and laugh at myself, but hope you can do the same. Please participate in the challenge, share you IG account on my Youtube Channel and I will follow you and search the hashtag we are using, #onelensandgo
Here is #2