Sisters Shoot

These four sisters are now spread out all over the country (and the world) but they met up at Pass-a-Grille Beach recently to celebrate one's birthday (Happy Birthday Linda Lee!). You met Linda Lee's husband Zack a while back when I took some photos for his company Creative Concrete (check out my photos on his updated website).

They thought this would be a good time to have some good photos taken of all of them together. Things got a little dicey because there was a huge storm blowing in and carrying two cameras and a flash on an 8' metal stand isn't the best idea when you keep seeing lightning flash in the distance. Luckily, we got plenty of shots in before the storm arrived.

We started at the cool little beach house they were renting.

A flash coming from the right side provides the perfect amount of fill to make the girls "pop" out from the rest of the scene. This shot is very similar to the one above, but I like this composition better. However, I thought the one with all of them looking at the camera would be a better introduction.

We braved the winds to get a few quick shots on the beach.

Black-and-white works really well for a lot of these images because of the emotions and moments shared by the sisters. But the vibrant colors at most of the locations made it a tough decision.

On the way back from the beach we stopped at Shadrack's, a favorite watering hole for the locals.

Again, a subtle amount of flash is used to draw your attention to the subjects.

We ended up back at the house and used the cool front porch for some more shots. The sister on the far right is pregnant and Linda Lee just naturally placed her hand like that while they were talking.

We went inside to get some more traditional group portraits. Inside I was able to control the light a little bit more.

Of course we had to highlight the pregnant sister in a few images.

And one last image of the sisters doing what they do best.

I had a fun time walking around with these ladies and just letting them be themselves. I was honored to be the one they chose to capture these memories in photos.

Newest Vanessa Pics

Recently I wanted to get some good black-and-white photos of Vanessa. And since she had just started being able to hold her head up, I thought it was time to try some.

These setups are nice and simple, allowing the focus to be on Vanessa.

Mommy came over and helped make Vanessa smile while I took pictures. But then we decided to have her get in a few of the shots.

This one is just hilarious. It reminds me of one of those self-portraits you might take with a friend while you're out partying (it looks like Vanessa's hand is stretched out holding the camera).

Vanessa having some fun with mommy.

It's easy to get good photos of these two interacting.

What the heck, let's all get on the floor for a fun family portrait! This was a spur-of-the-moment shoot that ended up producing some very memorable photos that I know we'll cherish for years to come.

Amy and Randy, Don Vincente Wedding

It was back to the Don Vincente de Ybor a few weekends ago to photograph Amy and Randy's wedding. These two were great fun and real easy to shoot. Let's dive right in.

This was one of the few posed shots I got of the two of them together. Amy was patient with me but Randy wasn't down with being my model all day so for the most part I let them just enjoy their day as I captured moments as they happened.

The Don Vincente has a really cool lobby (where the ceremonies are held too) that we used to get some nice photos before too many guests arrived.

Randy allowed me just a few minutes to snap some quick shots of him outside in the nice light.

We let Randy go and relax while Amy and I wandered the hotel looking for cool photos to make. While doing some nice soft window-light portraits the clouds shifted and let some direct sunlight in. At first I thought we'd have to give up and find a new location, but then I kind of liked the way the narrow beam of light was highlighting her face.

Luckily, Amy and Randy's love for each is very evident and getting nice photos of them interacting naturally was a piece of cake.

Amy and Randy leave the ceremony and retreat upstairs. I really like the balance between the flash and the ambient upstairs light in this shot. Also, the two strong sets of leading lines draws your attention right to the couple.

While doing my first edit I breezed right by this image. But after going back and looking at it I started to really like it. It's a nice enough picture of the officiant congratulating the father of the groom, but the moment being shared by Ryan and Amy in the background give the image some extra depth.

One of the many moments where it seemed that Amy and Ryan were the only two people at the wedding.

Ryan did allow one more posed shot before the night was over. Amy's parents have a picture from their wedding of her father helping her mother down some stairs. We did our best to recreate the shot.

Congratulations Amy and Ryan! It's obvious you two love each other very much and I know it will show in your pictures. Thanks for allowing me and Tampa Photo to be a part of your special day.

Jennifer and Jason, Lange Farm Wedding

Jennifer and Jason were the second half of my wedding weekend last week. After shooting Bonnie and Kevin in Ybor Saturday night, it was off to the Lange Farm on Sunday for Jennifer and Jason (and'll see). Doug Decker from Grant Hemond & Associates kept the reception pumping.

It was a lovely day with nice blue skies so I used it as a background for both the bride and groom.

Lange Farm has some very beautiful areas, and Jennifer gave me plenty of time to just walk around and make pictures wherever the mood struck.

Some clouds rolled in and diffused the sunlight, so we took advantage of it and snapped a few close portraits.

And then the breeze kicked up so we just went with it.

After the ceremony, the guests headed back for the cocktail hour and we just strolled around the grounds at sunset making pictures. I always have to find a way to incorporate that trademark white fence in a few shots.

Jennifer asked if I could get a horse in the background of a few shots. But with the enticement of fresh flowers, this guy had no problem taking center stage for a few shots.

As we started our walk back to the reception, I noticed the setting sun was casting a lovely warm glow and backlighting the oak trees and her veil.

While snapping a few ring shots in the warm sunlight, I was intrigued by the way the light was hitting Jennifer's face. A quick composition choice and we were able to get a few more portraits that had a different look than the diffused light portraits from earlier in the day.

I had to at least throw in one reception shot. This group knew how to party. The groomsmen had camouflage tuxedo vests that eventually ended up on the girls. There was a whole lot of line dancing and booty shaking.

And here's Olivia, Jennifer and Jason's daughter. I got a few shots of her throughout the day, but I made sure to get a few of just her and mommy before leaving. What a doll!

Yee-haw! That's it for Jennifer and Jason. Congratulations you two, and thanks for being such great sports on your wedding day. I wish your family the best of everything in the years to come!

MSgt. Walker Retirement Ceremony

MSgt. Ivan Walker recently retired from the US Air Force and asked me to cover the event. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the event.

If I recall correctly, this is Ivan's daughter being recognized for her sacrifices that have allowed her father to dedicate so much of himself to serving his country.

The flag is opened in front of those attending the ceremony before it is folded.

The folded flag is presented to MSgt. Walker's mother.

Apparently, there were a few bets as to whether or not we would see some tears. My light was set up on the left side of the room. Shooting from the right side for a few frames produced a more dramatic effect, and paid off with this sincere moment with the US flag in the background.

There were plenty of tears in the crowd as well. With lots of family in attendance, and such emotion, it was obvious how special this occasion was.

And finally, a nice family moment. This was taken as a test shot before we actually started with the group shots. But as usual, my favorite shot is from when they are relaxed and not worrying about me.

Congratulations MSgt. Walker! Best of luck in your next journey.

Bonnie and Kevin, Don Vincente Wedding

Bonnie and Kevin kicked off my wedding weekend at the Don Vincente Inn, a lovely venue with lots of that local Ybor flavor. The coordination was handled by Georgia and her staff. I had never been to this location and I had lots of fun finding cool places to shoot. And as luck would have it, I'll be there again this weekend.

Bonnie poses by some lovely windows in her suite at the hotel.

We moved out into the lobby on the second floor and found some cool window light to play with.

There is this lovely staircase that I made sure to incorporate into a few photos.

A nice clean background outside in some great light was the perfect spot to snap a few shots of Kevin before the ceremony.

Bonnie and her father share a quiet moment before they descend the stairs to make their grand entrance at the ceremony.

After the ceremony, the fading evening light was just bright enough to allow some quick shots around some of that old Ybor architecture.

Love those arches!

Bonnie and Kevin make a great couple, and they were easy and fun to work with.

Somehow the groom always ends up carrying the bouquet!

Once it got too dark outside, we explored some other parts of the hotel while the guests were enjoying their cocktail hour.

Looking into each others' eyes.

I wasn't sure if this light would be bright enough to work, but I asked Bonnie to just stand under it for a test shot. Before I could direct her she was striking the perfect pose for the location. We can make any spot look glamorous (her right hand is on the bathroom door!).

Right before the couple was introduced into the reception I ran (literally) outside to snap a quick shot of the venue with that great dusk sky.

And we'll end on a funny note. I want to point out that Kevin was a gentleman when feeding Bonnie, but she decided to take a different approach. Remember guys, you go first, so the ladies get the last laugh.

Congratulations Bonnie and Kevin! Best of luck in the many years to come. Thanks for letting me be a part of your day, on behalf of all of us at Tampa Photo.