WPPI 2011: what a year!

After four weeks in a row on the road, I'm so glad to be home. This week at WPPI was a great way to cap off my travels, at least for a few weeks. At the tradeshow on Monday I spoke at the GraphiStudio booth and worked at the Burrell Imaging booth. Both companies are such fantastic partners and we're thrilled to work with them. On Tuesday I had the opportunity to teach a MasterClass on Getting Published and the impact it can have on your business. I was excited to have Rebecca Crumley, Weddings Photo Director at The Knot on hand to help teach the class. And later that day I was honored to sit on a Panel at the Kodak booth with Don Burrell, Michael Taylor, Monica Sigmon, and from Kodak, Joe Paglia.

After fulfilling my responsibilities at WPPI, I headed home a day early, skipping the final day and the awards ceremony. We are celebrating Campbell's birthday this weekend and Joy has been working really hard on planning her party, mostly by herself. It's going to be great!

Last night as we sat in the kitchen working on our computers, text messages started coming, one after another. I was thrilled AND VERY SURPRISED to hear that I had won First Place in the Portrait: High School Seniors category and Third Place in the Wedding: Wedding Details category. Additionally, one of my other prints received an accolade of excellence.

Here they are:

Bethany & Torrie, first place, Portraits: High School Seniors

Manolos, third place, Weddings: Wedding Details (haven't heard this from official sources, just from a handful of friends who attended.... it could just be a mean trick! Hahaha)

Melissa & Brandon, Accolade of Excellence

I've always felt like the best award we as photographers can receive is a thrilled client, an emotional reaction, or even a referral. But when the top wedding and portrait photographers in the industry review our work and chose to recognize it at the largest international photography convention in the world, it's a nice reminder that we're doing something right when it comes to progressing creatively and advancing our art. Unfortunately, too many photographers of my generation don't care about that, but I've always felt it's important as an artist and we owe it to ourselves.

A big thanks to master printmaker Jonathan Penney for printing my competition prints. You are a true artist and your brilliance is unmatched.

Thanks to George and Arlene and the fine folks at WPPI. Thanks to our clients, you are truly the best clients we could ever imagine. Thanks to all of the photographers who have inspired and mentored us throughout the years. Your wisdom and counsel have proven so incredibly valuable. And a special thanks to my beautiful family for giving me permission to spend each day pursuing my passion and living out my dream.


Ashley & Steve's Charleston Wedding

Charleston, South Carolina is such a special place to us. When Joy and I met in college, we would always go to her home in Charleston on breaks, during the summer, and any other time we could get away. It's truly one of the most charming cities we've ever visited. And it's where we chose to get married ourselves, even in July, and yes, even though it was 127 degrees outside!

Anyhow, enough about us. Ashley and Steve were married in Charleston, not in July, but in February. How wise of them. It was an absolutely spectacular day and we were thrilled to be a part of it. Ashley's brother and sister-in-law are our super-talented dear friends Brandt and Trisha, from Celebration, Florida.

Ashley and her mom had their make-up done at the Cosbar on King Street

And how perfect are these shoes?

Ashley was stunning in her lace Jim Hjelm dress from the Gown Boutique of Charleston.

The wedding ceremony was held at the French Huguenot Church downtown.

After the ceremony we walked one block over to get some portraits on one of our favorite little cobblestone streets in Charleston.

Steve is tall.

I love the London Black Cab going over the new Cooper River Bridge on their way to the reception.

A little back seat romance from the married couple.

Their reception was held at the beautiful Daniel Island Club along the marsh. Gotta love the South Carolina low country.

The Daniel Island Club at night, view from the marsh.

Ashley and Steve's reception decor was regal.

Truly one of my favorite parts of our jobs as photographers is being able to capture little moments like this, of Ashley's parents right after they were introduced and took their seats at the reception.

The story was explained of how Ashley's family always celebrated events with pies instead of cake. So they replaced the traditional wedding cake with a towering collection of little, individual wedding pies.

It was a great, delicious idea!

I love moments like this too, with Ashley and Steve listening to Ashley's father's toast.

The following morning, even with a 90-percent chance of rain in the forecast, we met downtown for some more pictures of the bride and groom. We dodged rain showers and huddled under umbrellas throughout the morning, but it was absolutely worth it.

Charleston is full of charming little alleys and lanes, you just have to get out and walk to find them.

A series of turns led us to this charming English-looking home. I wanted to knock and request a tour...and some morning tea.

Walking along through one of my all-time favorite secret cobblestone alleys in Charleston...

A little rain mixed with a little sun is ideal for outdoor portraits.

Congratulations Ashley & Steve! It was such a pleasure to be there on your special day. Everything about it, and I mean everything, was fabulous! We wish you many exciting blessings and adventures as you begin your new life together!