When I got married, I had very few ideas about my wedding or what it should look like. I wanted things to be bright and colorful, and I wanted to get married at a vineyard or at the beach. I really didn’t care much about the rest of it.

Being the first child in my family to get married, we all just mucked about in confusion, planning a wedding from opposite sides of the country. One of my family members had strong opinions that weddings should take place in church. I was 24. I didn’t know how to stand my ground or really even be my own person. So where did I get married? In my dark, ugly church. 15 years of a beautiful marriage later, despite all the blessing and joy of my marriage, I still feel remorse over that * (read to the bottom for my happy ending!). But ultimately, it helped me to become my own person, and to stop giving so much of a flying whatever about what others think.

I can guarantee that this is probably happening to you on some level. There’s something you’re waffling on in wedding planning, and friends and family are coming at you from all sides. If it’s not friends and family it’s the internet, other wedding vendors, who ever. I know this feeling. It’s frustration, sadness, joy and excitement all rolled into one. It’s the umami of wedding emotions. You can’t put your finger on it, but it’s there. I know this feeling well. You are not alone it it.

So my one piece of advice for you today is that to think about the one thing about your wedding you really want to be true. To be real. Think about 20 years from now, when you look back on your day, what’s the one thing you want to be true and to really FEEL from that day? Scents of roses? Laughter of happy people? You dress? Your venue? Be honest with yourself. Don’t let yourself feel bad or guilty for it- just say to yourself that this is the ONE thing you want.  This one thing is your big emotional investment in the day after your vows, so don’t let it go if you don’t absolutely have to.

You’ve got this thing. Don’t be afraid to make it happen.

*Earlier this spring, one of my favorite photographers, Tim Coulson, announced he was coming from Australia to America. I told my husband I did not care how much he charged, we were having a session with him if he was open to doing one on his trip to the US, and that we were going to stand on the beach on Tybee Island, and read short, heartfelt, handwritten notes to each other. So on July 15th, I get my wish; and while there’s definitely a lot I wish was not happening right now personally, this the thing I’m holding on for this summer. This session is basically my emotional redo, where we and the kids run around a place we love and be photographed professionally for the first time as a family. I know that I’ll look back on those images and that short 90 minute session as the one of the highpoints (after each of my children joining our family) of my 30’s. It’s worth it to plant your flag. You won’t regret it.

 

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So today’s little blog is for you photographers out there- How to shoot macro without a macro lens.

People do this alllll the time, and I’m sure there’s a million blogs out there, with any number of nice pictures and insights and instructions. So I’m adding mine. Because I’m a simple straightforward sort of gal, I’m going to make it simple and straight forward. I don’t own or a rent a macro lens. I use my Canon 35 mm 1.4 on one of my canon 6d’s.

How to shoot macro without a macro lens

The first point I want to make is that it works best to use a calibrated lens. I use a wide lens, a 35mm 1.4 by canon. The lens you use doesn’t matter much. I’ve done the same work with a 24-70, a 50, and even a 24mm 1.4. But having a lens calibrated helps a lot. Things are crisper and the focus is true, which is what you want when you learn how to shoot macro without a macro lens. The process is the same after that. You can google how to calibrate a lens and do it yourself, but I actually pay to have mine done at Southeastern Camera in Raleigh twice a year. They do it while I’m waiting. They also laugh (in a friendly good natured way) at me for not doing it myself.

In this first image below, I was outside with a set of rings around 7PM earlier this spring. I artfully set them up, then decided to shoot fairly wide open, with center point focusing. I almost never do this, which I’ll explain below. But I’ve been living life on the edge lately, so I threw all caution to the wind and went for it. Lots of people shoot macro like this with their 35.  My exif data is ISO 250 35mm 1.4 f2.0 at 1/2000. (SIDE NOTE: I underexposed on purpose. I do it frequently with details because I don’t want anything blown out. When I look at the image in LR, I want all the details possible. So I underexpose to the point where I can still see detail, and know that when I bring it up, it’s all going to be ok. This also how I preserve sky in images. That’ll be a seperate post one day.)

Anyways, I shoot a wide shot, keeping the stone in the center of the red center focus square- ther very center of the center. I position my feet for stability, I take a deep breath, I take the shot. Basically when you’re so wide open and so close to your subject any little movement is going to ruin the shot and your image will be out of focus.  You want to be steady. Ideally, I should be using a tripod for these shots, but I have limited time, sometimes as little at 3 minutes, so I’ve learned to shoot sans tripod and sans macro lens for speed and convenience.

Shooting wide open macro like this is really hard. It’s harder if your lens isn’t calibrated. So if you try it and you have a card full of out of focus images, don’t give up. Calibrate and keep trying.  Or use the exif info below and try again. In LR, I ran it through my preset, then brought up the exposure, applied a brush on the stone and band and adjusted exposure, clarity, sharpness highlights, and noise. Then I back out of the brush mode, and applied noise reduction, chromatic aberration correction, and sharpness to the overall image. I might go back in and some more tone adjustment because it looks a little flat.

EXIF: ISO 250, 35mm , f2.0 at 1/2000.

 

This shot below uses the same editing and shooting process but the exif is different. It’s honestly what I normally do. I use a fast shutter and smaller aperture to counteract my notoriously shaky hands and unsteady posture. Sometimes you’re cramming yourself into weird positions, and I usually lose my balance. Some people are rocks and have non shaky hands.  A smaller aperture and faster shutter help me produce better images in macro work. I honestly don’t do this sort of work much either. I do something much more organic. This wedding the bride loved the styled look, and I was happy to honor her wishes and I love how this second image preserved the details of the ring as well as the paint on the cement column base I was using.

ISO 2500 35mm, f4.0, 1/3200

So which one am I going to deliver?

Both actually. I prefer the shot at 4.0. I like that there’s more detail preserved, and I like the exposure better. The 2.0 shot is fine. I don’t care for intense depth of field in macro work. I like to see everything and the focus is just on the main stone. The choice is a stylistic one. My client will love them both.

I hope that this super short tutorial about learning how to shoot macro without a macro lens is helpful. I know that I struggled a ton at the beginning and I sort of stumbled upon this method. So if you’re feeling a bit discouraged, do not give up! You’ll find your way. A lot of technique in photography is really a matter of personal preference and style. If you know the technique, and you know what works best for you, then you’re well on your way.

Have fun! Macro on-

xo,

Charity

 

Venue: Greensboro Country Club

Rings: DIamonds Direct

Photography: One Crazy Love

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One of the most unique parts of the minimal modern wedding inspiration shoot we produced involved Honey and Hive creations. We created of a scene involving our couple making a pie crust together rather than having a traditional sand ceremony, or candle lighting. We love those traditions.  But we wanted to create a new tradition that fit the unique creativity and theme of our ideal couple and our shoot. We wanted to present them doing something unique to their modern minimal wedding in a bakery, but also working together to accomplish a complicated task- their first as husband and wife.

So when Amanda found Honey and Hive Creations, it was the perfect addition.  Rachelowner of Honey and Hive shares our ideals of being united through good food, beautiful histories of love, and elegant and simple presentation. On her website, she shares these words, “Honey & Hive Creations is dedicated to blending the arts of cooking and storytelling. Our passion is people (and making the perfect pie.) We love to cook, we value our histories, we’re always looking for an excuse to host, and we share recipes.” This is what the South is about, right? This is one of the things we wanted to highlight in our shoot, and it was the one idea that we kept coming back to over and over as we mulled our options in the planning phase.

We had our models, Camellia and Charlie, unwrap the book and use it in their scene. I love the kraft and jute wrapping and the mixing spoon. It’s so natural and simple.

 

Honey and Hive Creations

I really loved the beautiful sentiment Rachel included on the back of the cook book.

I love most the community aspect of this cookbook. All your friends contribute a recipe, and Rachel takes over from there, designing and planning and the final product is stunning. When we marry, we take on the responsibility of nurturing love, and passing that love on through the generations. And this cookbook is a true heirloom, a perfect vehicle for owning that responsibility of nurturing love and relationships.

Rachel, I can’t thank you enough for graciously bringing Honey and Hive Creations to this shoot. You added value and meaning to it, and I’m so thankful Amanda searched you out and made you part of this work.

You can arrange for your own heirloom cookbook here. Pricing Starts at $150.

Cookbook: HOney and Hive Creations

Design and Planning: Simple Day

Venue: The Table Farm Bakery

Models: Camellia Jade and Charles Spivey

Photography: One Crazy Love

Bridal Apron Messy Messy Me

Baking Table details: Gryphon Acquisitions 

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Erin and Jared’s Matthews House wedding was a day filled with love and family. The day dawned bright and early at Raleigh Universal Unitarian Church where Erin and her bridesmaids were assembling bouquets and boutonnieres and having their hair and makeup done by Bella Trio.  As the day progressed and more family arrived, the love shown for everyone in the room was palpable. It was the gathering of families anyone could ask for. I loved meeting Erin and Jared’s family. They were a dream to work with. So kind, so accomodating, so appreciative of each and every vendor at the wedding. I adore families like that.

Raleigh Universal Unitarian Fellowship

Raleigh Universal Unitarian Fellowship is a one of the most beautiful places I can think of for a wedding. It’s beautiful modern architecture, classic wood paneling and open windows create this amazing airy atmosphere that I love. THe hanging pendant lights give the room depth, and a sense of focus. The paneled backdrop draws the eye right up to the ceremony spot, and it’s easy to see how how anyone could want to be married here. It’s a beautiful, inspiring place to begin a new part of your life.

The Matthews House Wedding Reception

After the ceremony and receiving line, we departed the church for Erin and Jared’s Matthews House wedding reception in downtown Cary. The Matthews House is a beautiful spot right off of Chatham street that anchors the west end of downtown. With intimate gardens and lawns and dedicated reception space, the Matthews house is the perfect place for a southern wedding reception. Erin and Jared had an AMAZING spotify play list to dance the night away with, and Canon Catering served up an amazing buffet of southern classic food. Their Matthews House wedding reception was definitely one to remember.

 

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Venue: Raleigh Universal Unitarian Fellowship

The Matthews House, Cary, NC

Photography: One Crazy Love

Hair and Make Up: Bella Trio 

Bridal: Lana Addison

Groomswear: Mens Warehouse

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Today I’m excited to share 4 suggestions for beautiful bridal prep images is a clean bright space. Here’s a few easy ways to achieve the clean classic look you want in in your bridal prep and dressing images. As an added bonus, the same is true for groomsmen pictures. 4 suggestions for beautiful bridal prep images

 

  • Have all the details in one place, ready to photograph. This includes: wedding dress, Bridesmaid dress, any other dresses (Flower girl, mother of the bride. etc), Shoes, rings (engagement, bride and grooms bands), other jewelry, ceremony program, invitation, any heirlooms that will be part of the wedding. If the bouquets are ready, we’ll do that then as well. My second and I usually pick a spot on a chair near a window, or simply on a beautiful wood floor to photograph details.
  • In the room where you’re getting ready and where the bride is dressing, try to keep things as picked up as possible. Clothes, shoes, undergarments, make up bags not belonging to the Hair and Makeup artists etc, should be in bags, and the bags kept as much out of the way as possible, in closets, or another room so people don’t trip and so they won’t be in portraits when the bride is putting on her dress. Counter tops and beds being clear also contributes to great clean images. Empty cups, cans, plates, utensils, etc should be kept in one place during hair and makeup, then cleared away when it’s time to dress. Believe it or not, things get scattered easily on the day of the wedding, and making sure everyone stays picked up actually makes the day flow more smoothly. It’s worth it to gently remind your ladies to make sure they can keep their stuff together and in an out of the way place.

  • Natural light sources should not be blocked. Blinds and curtains should be open, lights should be off, unless the room is dark, etc.
  • Electronics: I make an effort to shoot around large electronics such as TV, stereo systems, etc. But I usually suggest to couples that if there’s something you might not want in the prep images, feel free to move it.

 

 

Using these 4 suggestions for beautiful bridal prep images is part of getting beautiful images. Another large part is making sure that your photographer knows how to present images both in their natural setting and also by themselves. It may not seem like it at the time, but one day you might look back through your images, hoping for a glimpse of your bouquet, and it will bring you joy. I know my images of details do. I love them. I’m so glad I have them and you will too!

 

Happy Planning~ Charity

 

Linkage:

Venue: Villa De L’Amour

Dress: Marie’s Bridal Shop

Flowers: Amor FLowers and Decor

Photography: One Crazy Love

 

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