Tag Archives: Tampa Bay Wedding

Whirlwind Wedding Photojournalism

Whirlwind Wedding. Nicole and Dennis.

   Nine tornadoes touched down around Tampa Bay March 31, 2011.  They tore roofs off of homes, overturned semi-tractor trailers, RVs and some elderly men and women and knocked out power to thousands.

  They also had the local TV networks covering the storms wall-to-wall beginning about 4am, reminding us constantly the mayhem raining down outside our doors.

  Even by Tampa Bay standards, it was a day of wicked, wicked weather.

  Like everyone else who could, I was glued to the TV set, watching and waiting to see if one of those tornadoes was headed for my home, one mile from Indian Shores.  And, by about 3pm that day, there was one barreling straight in from the Gulf of Mexico, heading for Indian Shores.  It was still over water, so it was really only a water spout.  But, once it comes on shore, it IS a tornado.

  I wasn’t too worried, honestly.  I knew those things moved around a lot and didn’t necessarily come on shore where they’re originally headed. 

  This one, thank God, went one mile north.  It caused lots of damage along Ulmerton Road, one of the hardest hit areas that day.

  Truth be told, though, I wasn’t that worried about it. 

  I had bigger worries on my mind.

  I had a contract to shoot Dennis and Nicole’s beach wedding at 5pm on Treasure Island. 

  Yep.

Nicole and Dennis

      Nicole and Dennis were not to be denied.  I talked with Nicole several times that day.  The LEAST I could do was let her know that I was ready and able and quite willing to photograph her wedding. 

  Understandably, she was quite worried about what lay ahead. 

  Understandably, I thought deeply about how to take advantage of those magnificent, powerful clouds in our pictures. 

Great clouds, Loving couple = Great Pictures

But, first, we had to get through the ceremony.

  First, it was moved to 6pm.  By that time, the worst of the storms has passed by.  It was still raining, but luckily the Bilmar Beach Resort  has a nice tent out back for their receptions on the beach. 

  The ceremony would happen there.

  Photographing a wedding is a huge obligation and responsibility and if you’re a professional, you better be ready to shoot it when, where and in whatever weather it happens in and deliver images that have power, romance, impact and emotion.

    The weather actually made my job easier.

Nicole watches the weather

  So did the beauty of the Bride.

  The beautiful, soft light that’s hitting her in the shot above is courtesy of soft, cloud-covered sunlight.  I actually always hope the skies are overcast for photographing beach weddings.  It’s such a flattering, soft light.  Perfect for photographing a bride in white.

  The sky becomes a giant softbox or lighting umbrella, diffusing the sun and making natural-light photography ideal.  The larger the light source, the softer the light.  What’s larger than the sky?

  What’s prettier or beautiful than Nicole’s face, a mix of stress, anxiety and femininity lit by the world’s largest softbox?

  Not much.

Nicole, lit by the world's largest softbox.

      Believe me, there was a lot of stress during the hours before the ceremony.  Dennis was worried about Nicole and where to have the ceremony if the tent on the beach flooded.    The Bilmar Beach Resort staff was worried about not having electricity,  nor phones as well as the water that was creeping into the reception site. 

  Nicole was stressed about everything, but kept her cool, her smile and her attendants and family close to her.

  Until it was time for her grand entrance.

Nicole and her father

    I usually don’t use photos in which someone’s eyes are closed, but I made an exception in this case.  Why?

  Nicole’s father’s downturned mouth and closed eyes tell a story.   You can almost hear his heart break for his daughter’s dismay. I won’t dare write about Nicole’s feelings.

  I think her face says it all.

  But, then, something incredible happened.

  She saw Dennis, her Air Force stud,  waiting for her to marry him and for those few moments that they said their “I do’s”, she forgot about the rain, the tornadoes and the water leaking into the reception room.

  And, they remembered what was truly important.

  They were getting married.

What severe weather?

    It’s always great to experience a gamut of emotions and everyone was ready for a good, releasing laugh.  I don’t remember what was said or happened here.  I only know I’m happy it did. 

  It’s one of those fleeting moments, over in under a second, that helps to build the storybook of a wedding day. 

  Of course, there were more somber, tender moments during the ceremony. 

  THIS moment, was literally four seconds later, according to the time codes on my images.

Gamut of Emotions

  The bottom lines are these:

  1.  Great emotions make great pictures.

  2.  Great weather helps to make great pictures (and great lighting for shooting those pictures).

  3.  Great couples make great pictures.

  4.  Good photographers make great pictures when they have emotion, great lighting and great couples in those pictures.

De-stressing the wedding party

  5.  Love and laughter conquer all.

Love and Laughter Conquer All

Florida Wedding Photography Made Simple

It was a busy few days. 

In the previous post, you saw a preview or Ryan and Julia Roeling’s wedding photographs from Saturday night. 

 On Friday, I had the pleasure of photographing the preparations, ceremony and reception for Lindsey Smith and Adam Johnson.  And, it was a pleasure even though it was the largest, most detail-oriented and specific wedding shoot I’ve had in a very long time.  Adam and Lindsey even insisted I bring a second photographer to the shoot, which is something I’ve always resisted.

  Why?

  The standards I set for photographs that are delivered to the couple are incredibly high.  I didn’t think I could find anyone who had the same  photojournalistic backround and experience and was willing to shoot a wedding.  For various reasons, many true photojournalists won’t photograph weddings. 

   I reached out to a former St Petersburg Times photographer I met and bonded with while shooting portraits of John Travolta and Kellie Preston.  He said yes.  We’re still editing the photographs, but I am impressed  by his credentials, personality, interaction with the couple and their guests and most importantly:  The Power of His Pictures.

    That’s the  focus of this blog. 

 How to make Wedding Photography simple:  Deliver great images.

  I believe in the Power of the Picture. 

  It must have impact, technical perfection, mulitple layers of interest, lighting that’s appropriate for the scene and evoke an emotion.

  Simple, eh?

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Lindsey's Pre-wedding Preparations

  It can be simple as you can see from Lindsey’s preparation photograph above.  It’s an incredibly simple composition and shot, yet it’s an incredibly complex, complicated moment as she sits in the chair having her makeup done, amid organized chaos inside the hotel’s Bridal dressing room.  Only she knows what, exactly, is on her mind at this moment.

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Bridesmaid's Luscious Lashes

  Again, a simple composition, a true un-posed, unguarded moment amid the organized chaos of a Bride’s dressing area before the ceremony.  It’s also a striking image with power, beauty and drama.

  I always encourage brides to allow me to document these pre-ceremony times.   Often, these are very emotional times, with great opportunities to photograph unguarded moments that help to tell the whole story of the day.

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Wedding Rings on Wedding Dress in Extreme Black and White

 

  Simple, yet dramatic portrait of the wedding rings amid the details on the back of Lindsey’s wedding dress.  Yes, I flexed my artistic interpretation on this shot.  Yes, in case Lindsey  doesn’t like the extreme nature of the photoshop finish on it, I’m including a clean, very white version of it as well.

 

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Veiled Bride in Thought

  This is also from Lindsey’s dressing room as she had her veil placed on her and adjusted.  Simple photograph, simply-lit, but with a power about it because of the undeniable beauty of the bride, the woman in the backround (also veiled) helping adjust it, but primarily because of the gaze in her eyes.

  What must she be thinking, feeling?  I have no idea.  That’s Lindsey’s private, simple secret. 

    The simplicity of wedding photography goes beyond simple set-ups and compositions.  Those, sometimes are very complex and detailed, but never, ever time-consuming.  One of my roles as your wedding photographer is to make sure that the time spent posing for/with me is minimal.  Time spent with your loved ones and friends is always more important.

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Simple set-up, Simple Lighting, yet elegant portrait of an elegant bride

  That’s Lindsey before she left the hotel to get to the Church on time.    Due to the late arrival of Lindsey’s hair stylists, which pushed everything back,  the time we had to do pre-bridal glamorous portraits was cut down to three literal minutes.    We shot several simple set-ups in that time with the results being…..beautiful.

    I wish I would have had more time to do elegant bridal portraits around the breathtaking lobbies and lands of the hotel they were dressing in.  I didn’t, but I have enough experience with wedding photography to know that flexibility is one of the keys to staying sane and staying calm when no one else around you is.

  This is one of Adam’s portraits shot post-ceremony.  For this set up, I always put the bride in the front with the groom in the back (which I did before shooting Adam in the foreground).    This was the first time I ever brought the groom to the foreground and I truly like the finished product.  I am still learning, experimenting and growing.

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Firefighter Adam Johnson on his Wedding Day

    Adam is a firefighter, a manly-man who rushes into burning buildings and puts his life on the line to save yours.  I wanted to do a portrait of him that is extreme in it’s finish and, as always, powerful in its presentation.  (I am including a softer, cleaner version of it in the final delivery of images in case Adam doesn’t appreciate this interpretation.)

  This photograph has depth, mulitiple layers of interest, dramatic lighting and a fantastic main subject. 

  This photograph is Adam’s chance to be in the spotlight.  It is with a specific intent that you cannot make out Lindsey’s face, only the dimly-lit white of her wedding dress.  It is with specific intent that you can see the iconic presence of Jesus watching over the two at the In Carnation Catholic Church in Tampa.    It is with specific intent that Adam’s face is somewhat in shadow, bringing out the power, drama and masculinity of this Groom.

  Total set up and shoot time for this shot.  Probably one minute.  Perhaps two.    Complex Simplicity.

  (Experience pays off when hiring a wedding photographer in ways that you probably may never realize until the wedding day)

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Lindsey's Light

  I call this photograph “Lindsey’s Light” for two reasons.  One, the incredible, natural light that’s adding a little drama and beauty to this simple, photojournalstic moment at the reception.  Two, because of the joy in her smile and her gaze as she talks with the real Light of her Life, Adam,  during their first moments at the Rusty Pelican reception.

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Tipping the Bride during a First Dance

  Lindsey and Adam had obviously practiced their first dance a few times.  It was slick and smooth with twists and turns.  It was this portion, however, of their first dance that I was shooting  for.  It’s one of the moments when their eyes lock on one another like no one else even exists or is present.  It’s the electric connection between them that makes this photograph powerful. 

    It’s an important image that truly captures a special moment between them.  I tell my couples that you CAN  capture emotions like love and romance in a photograph.  This one does just that.

    It’s also simply-done when you have a photographer who truly knows photojournalism and values, above everything, The Power of the Picture.

  Throw in a great-looking, loving couple, adoring parents, siblings, friends, fellow firefighters and a few bubbles and you have the makings of  heirloom-quality, wedding day memories and images.

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Bubble-infused departure.

  Thank you Lindsey and Adam for trusting me to do this for you.

  Thank you for reading!

(Ask about discounts for active duty military men and women, firefighters, police officers and others who place their lives on the line for people they don’t even know.  I am available to travel Nation and worldwide for assignments)

Julia and Ryan’s Tampa Bay Wedding

    I can only photograph what’s there. 

    I stress that to the people I shoot for all the time.  Delivering photographs that have power, impact, drama, beauty and emotion is not just the responsibility of the photographer.  The subjects have  more to do with that than I do.    Not even the best photographer can photoshop romance or love into a photograph when it doesn’t exist between your camera’s focus point. 

  The subjects must provide those parts of the collaboration for this kind of result.

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  Mrs. Julia Roeling and U.S. Navy Lt. Ryan Roeling.

 

Mrs. Julia Roeling and U.S. Navy Lt. Ryan Roeling.

Mrs. Julia Roeling and U.S. Navy Lt. Ryan Roeling.

      Julia and Ryan are the perfect couple to shoot with.  They’re both confident and classy to begin with. 

      Basically, all I have to do is show up, set exposure and focus and press the shutter.

 

Mrs. Julia Roeling (Waters).

Mrs. Julia Roeling (Waters).

  Any hack with a camera could photograph her and have great results.    (It does, however, take a professional photographer with working knowledge of using, manipulating and controlling light, creativity, composition, camera control, working photojournalism, as well as the knowledge of how to inject and document emotion, and create drama to photograph her like THAT.   (Smile)

   Julia and Ryan gave me unlimited freedom to decide how to do their portraits.  So, how do you make those decisions? 

  As always, Julia was beautiful, elegant and regal on her wedding day.  She should be photographed in ways that capture and display those qualities.

  Ryan is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and an active duty Officer in the U.S. Navy. 

  He should be photographed to reflect a sense of power and presence, as well as to capture  his dignity, pride and masculinity. 

U.S. Navy Lt. Ryan Roeling on his Wedding Day.

U.S. Navy Lt. Ryan Roeling on his Wedding Day.

 

  I always strive to deliver images with power, drama and emotion, but this wedding held kind of a special responsibility to me.  I got my initial training and experience as a photojournalist in the Navy.  It’s one of the reasons Ryan and Julia told me that they hired me for the day.  

    Ryan is quite familiar with the level of professionalism and the incredible amount of training that goes into preparing someone for service in the military.    He knows that whether you’re a U.S. Navy photojournalist, a pilot, a surface warfare officer, a bubble-head (submarine corps), a cook, a yeoman, a security guard or someone’s wing man, that when you’re called upon to do your job, it happens.   Instinctively.

    And, one never forgets it.  I’ve been off active duty for more than 15 years, yet my shutter finger and my mind still function as a single unit. 

    There was one other reason I wanted to do an incredible  job for Ryan and Julia (and their warm, fun families and friends) is because I respect Lt. Ryan and those like him for the sacrifices they give to us all with their Military service.  And, of course, to Mrs. Julia for her new role as a Navy wife.  It’s also a very difficult, demanding responsibility.

  Stepping down from my soapbox, I will close with this:  I can only photograph what’s there.

  You’ve seen the romantic, formal photographs (albeit only a tiny, tiny fraction of them).  Believe me, those shots were only the beginning of what Ryan, Julia and, myself and my assistant Broderick Winn did together before the ceremony.    Ryan and Julia chose to see each other before the ceremony and to spend an hour together shooting pre-ceremony portraits.  It’s becoming quite the popular trend)

    But, of course Julia and Ryan like to do other things than simply appear regal.

  They appreciate humor and laughter.

One too many paparrazi in the limo following the ceremony.

One too many paparrazi in the limo following the ceremony.

  They understand and embrace love, romance and passion as in this shot from their first dance:

Romantic First Dance.

Romantic First Dance.

 And, Julia especially, knows the value of tossing a Coach purse as opposed to a bouquet of flowers to make sure that “All the Single Ladies” (ALL the Single Ladies), pursue the toss with vigor, passion and enthusiasm. 

 

Modified Bouquet Toss with a Coach Purse.

Modified Bouquet Toss with a Coach Purse.

    I can only photograph what’s there.   In this case it was romance and passion, laughter and love and  formal military protocol,  but also sexy shots, scenes from Top Gun, hijinks and highlights.

  PS:  If you’ve never seen their engagement session, see my main web site cover photo:  www.timboylesphotography.com

If you wish to be notified when their  photos are publically posted, leave me a comment or email.

Thank you for reading!

Megan and Justin

Megan

Megan

  When I’m shooting something as intensely emotional as Justin and Megan’s wedding, I very seldom hear things.  I’m focused, so to speak, on my shots.
  During their ceremony, however, my ears picked up something the pastor said and I couldn’t forget it.  Apparently, this union was truly love at first sight.
  Justin is a manager at a local business and Megan was applying for a job.  The pastor said that Justin was so taken by her beauty that he was literally shaking during the interview process. 
  I’m sure you can see why.
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  Weddings are about beauty, emotion, committment, love and family.  This union had it all. 
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  Megan’s father was incredibly emotional while getting ready to give her away.   They have a very tight bond and it showed.  Emotion is one of the things that separates us from other creatures.  I feel so fortunate to be able to see and document these moments for the couples and their families.

  Laughter and joy, of course, were also quite evident.
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  The ceremony and reception was held at the Bilmar.
Romance

Romance

 
First Dance

First Dance

 
Shooting the shooters.

Shooting the shooters.

 
Justin's mother sheds a tear while dancing with her son.

Justin's mother sheds a tear while dancing with her son.

 
Justin celebrating.

Justin celebrating.