Holly's Bridals at SEBTS in Wake Forest and The Boondocks in Youngsville, NC

September 27, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I am so excited to finally be able to share these images!  Bridals are one of my favorite things to photography, but it's always so hard to keep them under wraps until the wedding comes.  Holly, you are beautiful and I hope these images do that beauty justice my friend!  Enjoy!! 

For more on The Boondocks wedding venue, click here.  

Lauren & Carter || Mother's Day Mini

August 25, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

You guys, I have to share this...

Cameron contacted me close to Mother's Day and wanted to buy a Mother's Day Mini for Lauren to surprise her as they celebrated Mother's Day 2016.  Totally melted my heart when I read his message.  We worked out all the details and Mother's Day rolled around and I received a message from Lauren saying how thrilled she was to have gotten the Mini as a Mother's Day gift.  Melted my heart again.  We scheduled...rescheduled...I think the entire month of May (and most of June) included thunderstorms every single evening.  Once we finally got together, we came up with these great images.   Since Cameron was there, we HAD to sneak him in some photos too!  Lauren, Cameron, & Carter...I hope you enjoy these for years to come!!  By the way...I just want to kiss Carter's squishy face <3 

A little Monday insights

August 08, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Happy Monday friends! 

I'm officially hopping back on the work train and putting in some long hours in front of the computer screen this week.  While I'm working, I thought it would be fun to share an image and some insight as to why I shot it this way, along with some info on it's edit.  This gallery is actually going out to my friend/sorority sister Andrea today, so it's a perfect choice to showcase! 

Most people don't realize the extent to which a photographer thinks as he/she is shooting.  Our brains are constantly running, throwing about words like aperture, shutter speed, light, composition, exposure, etc...  And while that might sound tedious and a bit boring to some, for me...it's a LOVE and it's necessary.  All of those words are vital in order for me to maximize the potential of an image.  If I haven't thought about these concepts, it's likely an important aspect of the image could be lost or missing.  

For today's image (before and after), meet Andrea:

Andrea was absolutely stunning on her wedding day...and I wanted to get a classic, elegant bridal portrait for her since we only did bridals on the day of her wedding, not beforehand.  Here's what I did:

- I chose to place her on a small path by a short rock wall on the campus where she was getting married (Mars Hill University in western NC...where we met years ago).  

- I chose to use the lines of the walkway and the wall as a way to lead the viewers eyes to her.  That means I positioned myself in a way that caused the lines of the walkway and wall to diagonally begin to rise towards her, hence leading the eyes straight to my subject. 

- I also chose to frame her with the surrounding trees and bushes to keep distracting elements to a minimum...and to allow little peaks of sunlight into the frame without over exposing the background or overpowering her and her white dress.  

- I chose a nice shallow depth of field in camera to give the background a nice soft look...this allowed her to be the focus and everything else to softly fall behind her. 

For editing: since I shoot in a way that tends to lean towards documentary at times, I tend to edit in a way that's simple and clean.  My goal is to take an image and enhance what's there.  And because I shoot in RAW format, I have to edit my images as RAW files tend to be lacking in saturation and contrast.

To edit this image, I took it into Lightroom and applied a basic preset I apply to all my images.  This preset boost the contrast, ups the saturation a bit, deepens  the shadows and darker tones, and and drops the clarity.  I then checked her skin tone (which looked great already) so I left it alone.  I loved the light that was coming in behind her through the trees but felt like she was a tad dark on the left side of the image since her body and face were away from the light source.  To fix this, I used an exposure brush and lightened it a teeny amount.  AND THAT IS IT!  That's all I had to do to this image.  

Here's the actual view of the before and after...the image straight out of camera (before) and the finished product (after).  

If you've stuck with me all the way through this post...THANK YOU!!  Thanks for letting me ramble on about the little details that go into making an image a piece of art.  Hope you've enjoyed it and I hope to do more in the future!  - CG   

Cora turns One!

July 13, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

One of the best things about my job is getting to actually document a family's journey as it grows and changes throughout the years.  Stephanie was a student of mine at SEBTS several years ago and I first photographed them when they brought their first daughter, Ryah, home from Ethiopia.  They began the process of adoption well before we did, but we had already brought our little guy home before they were able to have Ryah in their arms.  Documenting them with her was such a beautiful blessing.  When they contacted me after they found out they were pregnant with this little nugget, I was over joyed to photograph both Stephanie in a maternity session, and then the family again with Cora as a newborn.  

And now, Cora turned ONE!  Yes...one!  It went by so fast!!  To my sweet little girlfriend, Cora - may you grow up to be strong, beautiful, ever trusting in the Lord, and full of faith with a heart full of love for others.  Enjoy <3 

And just for the fun of it...here's Cora Last year:

...and in mommy's tummy:

...and before that was Ryah <3  Love you Coalsons!! 

Heather || Bridals

March 08, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Last fall, just a few short weeks before Heather and Brian's wedding, Heather and her mom, step mom, and I all gathered together to photograph Heather's bridal portraits.  It was a perfect day outside and the light was simply stunning.  We met at Triple R Ranch (which is beautiful by the way) and after some team bonding trying to get Heather's dress laced up ;), we took her outside and began shooting.  

Heather, you're absolutely beautiful!  Grateful you've become my friend through all of this and I have come to believe what Brian told me months ago is true: "You'll never meet a more pure-hearted person than Heather."  I agree.