At the end of this series you'll have all the information you could ever need to make sure you're hiring the right wedding photographer for you. We're going to start with the different types of wedding photographers you're going to come across because how a photographer works will have a huge impact on how your photographs turn out.Read More
I met Karissa 2 or 3 years ago at a hill country wedding where we were both photographing for a studio the bride had hired. Her now husband and her were engaged at the time and she wanted to hire me as her wedding photographer, but of course the studio wouldn't give her my personal information for privacy reasons. We ended up working together a few more times before her wedding, started becoming friends, and I was invited to her wedding as a guest! She is so quick to laugh, so easy to work with that we've become fast friends and though I had only met her husband, Newton, on their wedding day, she told me if they ever became pregnant she wanted me to document the birth. Of course I said yes, I've always wanted to document a birth but the opportunity has never come up.
Fast forward a year, and Karissa and Newton found out they were pregnant! The only weird thing was that her belly was growing really, really quickly. I made a comment, completely joking, that she must be expecting twins. Sure enough, there is a Baby A and a Baby B in there! After the initial shock wore off (which still hasn't hit me, and likely won't until she's giving birth) it was time to start planning! Initially, Karissa was wanting to do the gender reveal of the babies at a racetrack south of San Antonio that Newton frequently races at, but when the day came the ground was too wet from recent rain and we ended up at their house. Luckily we were still able to use one of the race cars with smoke bombs tied to the back of it to announce to them and their friends and family around the world (thanks, Facebook Live!) that they're expecting a baby boy and a baby girl! After the race car revealed the gender of their soon-to-be siblings, big brother and sister each grabbed an extra smoke bomb so they could get in on the smoke bomb fun as well. And of course that wasn't enough, so they also each ended up kicking a colored chalk-filled plastic football.
While we first only talked about my photographing the birth, I quickly became obsessed with the idea of documenting the whole pregnancy and the changing of their lives as a personal project. While Karissa shoots a lot of families, kids and maternity, I typically don't so this will be an interesting experience. You'll be seeing a lot more of this family on my blog & social media as I continue to tell the story of the Barta Twins.
It's not often I find myself in Dallas, so it's become sort of a vacation city for me, a place to get away to for the weekend when I just need to be somewhere unfamiliar, need to stimulate the creative juices. I first tried the Cosmic Cafe out of curiosity. I'm vegetarian and when I travel I love to try local vegetarian / vegan restaurants. The first time I ate here I had ordered take-out and when I arrived to pick it up I was so upset I hadn't decided to dine in. The atmosphere was so unique and interesting, I could have sat there for hours just people watching.
On my next trip up, last weekend when I shot these photos, I knew I'd be stopping to dine in and would be taking my time. The weather was perfect and I was able to sit on the outside porch for dinner. This visit I tried the Fold in Thyme with a Kirin Ichiban, (they have a selection of world wide beers), and for dessert I inhaled the Sweet Awareness. The food was delicious. The atmosphere was peaceful. This is the kind of place you fall in love with.
These images were shot with my Canon A1, a 35mm film camera, using expired Portra 160VC film developed by the Digital Pro Lab in San Antonio.
Duh. How could the Dallas Museum of Art NOT be one of my favorite spots? For starters, it's a great museum. For second starters, general admission is free. I have no problem paying at art museums, but some charge $20+ for general admission for non-members and I'm not rich, plus the whole point of art (in my opinion) is to share it with others. Putting a price tag on viewing the work restricts it to people with disposable incomes and that isn't everyone. Art is for all.
Art has always been important to me - when I was in elementary school I opened up an art market in the middle of the kitchen floor with a poorly labeled cardboard box and just one piece of kindergarten-level artwork to sell. As a young adult I went through a lot of stuff that no human should be subjected to, and half that are don't make it through. Lot's of ugliness. During these times my solace was in art. With art there are no right or wrongs. There are only ideas, emotions, and experiences. Art lets you jump into a different world the way books do. I'm sooo glad that this museum is free because that is something I needed in my earlier years, free access to experience artwork. This is such a huge win in my book that I try to visit the DMA every trip through Dallas.
But seriously, it's a really great museum. With four floors, a sculpture garden and expertly curated special exhibits you can't go wrong. They have literally all kinds of work, there is something for everyone here and they have a really cool area for creating artwork (it is built for kids but it is not a kid zone in the typical sense, it's basically a hands-on art area where anyone can create). An added perk of the DMA is how GORGEOUS the museum is, overall. I'm specifically in love with the sculpture garden and after my first trip here this location landed on my wedding bucket list. I would give almost anything to be able to shoot bridal portraits in the sculpture garden. I didn't create too many photos on my last trip there but here are a few of them! And get your butt over there to view some artwork (no, this isn't an advertisement, I'm not getting paid, I seriously just love them)!
Images were shot with my Canon A1 using Portra 800 film, developed by the Digital Pro Lab in San Antonio.
As a departure from the typical wedding blog posts I create, this one will is exclusively focused on the photographic art, not the story of the wedding day. I've had people tell me that all of my photographs are great, and while I appreciate the compliment I do not see the majority of my work that way. I'm obsessed and passionate about the light in each image, the composure, the placement of subject against background. As a general rule the wedding photographer doesn't have a whole lot of control over the lighting, location or set-up of the wedding ceremony and reception and those photos are geared towards documenting the event as beautifully as possible, and focusing on the emotion.
The fine art aspects of the wedding, the detail shots and the portraits are my favorite parts to photograph as an artist because I can truly create art. Enjoy the art that is know as wedding photography - personalized and one-of-a-kind artwork created on Allison & Adam's wedding day in downtown San Antonio. These images were all created at the Menger Hotel, around the Alamo Plaza, and at the Grand Promenade.
Rings aren't the first thing most people think of when they hear "wedding", but I'm also not most people. Rings are my absolute favorite part of the wedding day to photograph because like the couple, the rings they choose are quite unique to them. Taking those rings and incorporating various elements from their wedding day I get to create completely unique and personal pieces of artwork for the couple. No two ring shots are ever the same, just like no two weddings are the same.
paint brush ring shots
The ring photos always take me back to that wedding day. These rings are from a downtown San Antonio wedding, a wedding I was second shooting for the amazing May Carlson. She is a local film wedding photographer, and this was my first wedding shooting film at! She's basically my hero. Okay, so anyway, back to the wedding. The couple hired Keely Carnahan of Nobel Art to paint (yes, paint) a painting of their wedding reception, and as soon as I saw this gorgeous engagement ring I knew I needed to do something special. Keely was kind enough to allow me to borrow one of her brushes, we set the rings carefully on top and proceed to make magic. While we took two or three other set-ups of ring shots before these brush ones this set is my favorite.
metal airplane wing ring shots
This set of ring shots included a small metal airplane, and they show exactly why I'm obsessed with using macro lenses when photographing rings. The metal really reflects light well, and using a macro lens helps separate the rings from the background, creating such an interesting background for these beautiful rings. The groom is a pilot, and the couple included a lot of airplane themed decor at their wedding, so it only made sense to include these objects in creating ring photographs! There is one more ring shots from this wedding I really loved, it involved a new technique - and water! It's the first image in this blog post!
lime & linen ring shots
Not all weddings have such personal, unique decor I can use in the ring shots. These two images are from two different sets of ring shots at a recent wedding of mine. In San Antonio we love our tequila, and you can't have tequila without limes. Each table at this wedding reception had a plate of limes, and lucky for me there were a few extra limes I was able to use for this one photograph I've been wanting to try out! Just a simple ring shots with limes in the background, but by adding extra light to the limes I really got a good pop of color out of them! For the image below I just used the rings as a napkin ring, pulling a bit of the blue cloth through the rings. While there aren't any objects that are specifically personal to the couple, I included their wedding color with the linens and a little San Antonio with the limes.
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1950's Medium Format Psydo Twin Lens Reflex Camera
Over the last few years I've collected a handful of different film cameras, including quite a few older medium format bodies. My first medium format body is an Argus 40, a camera made in the 1950's. For a 21st century photographer this camera is quite the challenge to use, as you have no exposure meter, a grand total of 5 shutter speeds to choose from (including Blub mode), the lowest aperture is f/4.5 and you focus by turning a knob to the distance your subject is to the camera - no way to tell if your focus or exposure are correct until you develop the film! At one point in history this was the norm for cameras! It's so easy to take modern photography for granted when every cell phone has a high quality camera built in!
I 100% guarantee you I'll NEVER bring this camera to a wedding, but it does make for some fun. I need to experiment with portraiture with this camera, I wouldn't be able to use it how I normally shoot portraits so it'd push me to do some creative things!
All The Hemispheres
Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out
Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadows and shores and hills.
Open up to the Roof.
Make a new water-mark on your excitement
Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of Happiness and giving
Upon our intimate assembly.
Change rooms in your mind for a day.
All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire
While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of
Film: Expired Portra 160VC
The other Sunday San Antonio's Pride Center hosted the 5th Annual LGBTQ+ Easter Egg Hunt at Woodlawn Lake Park. There was an easter egg hunt, the easter bunny was in attendance, but my favorite part of the day was the watching the kids go to town on the pinatas! I didn't arrive in time to watch the hunt but it was hilarious watching the kids with the pinatas. I brought Lola, one of my dogs, along for the afternoon and we just relaxed with some great company, food and music.
At the beginning of 2017 I promised myself any personal project photography I did would have to be on film so I can learn how to use it better, and I'm quite happy with the results I got! This particular camera is a manual focus camera so it was an interesting test in my focusing skills! Here are a few of my favorite images from the event!