Working in Nashville

Working in Nashville

Engaged couple in the creek just outside of Nashville

The Nashville area has been so different and an incredible location to work in. I have taken so many beautiful photos here… and the people have been awesome!

Tennessee is where it’s at…

Although I have only been in Nashville a short while, I have to admit, it’s been amazing.  I have done several engagement shoots all over the area.  Percy Warner Park is absolutely beautiful, as well as the Stone River Battle Ground in Murfreesboro.  Both locations are going to be incredible in the fall.  I also have worked in downtown Franklin by the old theater and the church there – gorgeous.  A few of my couples have had their own land and it is simply beautiful all over Tennessee.

            Additionally, I have done some models and high school senior photos at Long Hunter’s State Park. Wow, photo ops galore, everything from the docks and lake to the woods and playgrounds.  All of the parks and wooded areas are amazing in this area.  I have done multiple model shoots at some of the creeks nearby and the images have just been wonderful.  The water is cool and calm, the trees make for an amazing background, it’s so different from what I am use to. 

One of my favorite shoots so far has been a high school senior’s photos at the Opryland Hotel.  Google the pictures of this place, you will see what I am talking about.  The atriums are indescribable.  If you get the chance to visit – GO!  You will not be disappointed.  The staff is exceptional, the food is wonderful, and you can take photos there all day and not get bored.

            One of the first things I have done in the Nashville area was a photographer/model meet and greet at Sinking Creek Farm in Murfreesboro. ( It was an incredible time.  I met so many great photographers and got to work with a multitude of incredible models.  The location had it all: pond, boat, creek, planted fields, tree house, hammock, tree swing, old window panes…  Honestly, we stayed an extra hour (thanks guys) and it was still not enough time to work with everyone and use all the locations.  I am excited about going back there to photograph a wedding or an event this fall.

            So far, my biggest surprise and favorite location is downtown Nashville.  Yep, right on Broadway, well near enough.  The nightlife is incredible.  The people, the live music, it’s so much fun.  You won’t see many DJ’s working downtown, not with the talent in this city – all live bands and performers.

Nashville has a pedestrian bridge (John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge) that crosses the Cumberland River.  The scaffolding above the bridge and the architecture below the bridge are amazing backdrops for photography, not to mention a great city scape background from the bridge.  I have done multiple shoots there now and I am so happy with the results.  Additionally, close by are stairs, grass and trees next to the river, and lots of other cool architecture and alleys that are great for location shots.

Without a doubt, the best thing so far about working here is how wonderful all the people are.  Yes, I was warned about taking my equipment downtown, but I had no problems from anyone.  Everyone is so incredibly nice and helpful, some people pointing out different locations that I might be interested in, women walking by and complimenting the models, families passing by, congratulating the engaged couples.  Nashville strikes me as a very supportive city of all types of art.  I can’t wait to explore more.



            First – look at their work!!!  Straight up – they are posting what they believe is their BEST work.  Is this what you want?  If all their images are outside and you are having an indoor wedding – might wanna think twice.  Look at the lights, the shadows, look at the composition of the photos, are the photos of the back of people’s heads at the reception?  Is everything wide angle or really tight?  Do YOU like their work?  There is no wrong or right – photography is an art, it’s subjective.  What you hate, someone else will love.

            Second, price and availability.  Check the posted price or email and ask the photographers that you know you like, if they are available for that date.  I only book one wedding a day.  Some photographers book multiple weddings in a day, so if you have a time for the wedding – ask them about that as well.  Ask them about their packages and their prices.  Straight talk, if you are having a small two hour back yard wedding, you probably don’t want to spend $6k on the photographer.

            Third, after you make a list of photographers that you want to talk to…TALK to them!  Meet up and talk face to face.  At least on the phone…  Texting back and forth or emailing tells you nothing about the person.  When I meet with brides, I tell them tips and secrets that make the day go smoother.  I am relaxed the day of the wedding and that helps others to relax.  I’m a problem solver and odds are, with 30 years of wedding experience, I can help out if something goes amiss.  I tell my brides this when I meet with them over coffee.  My personality comes through face to face, fortunately, my photography skill far exceeds my typing ability.

When you do meet…  have a list of questions for them.    

  1. How long have they been photographing weddings? (Anything under 2 years and you are looking at someone pretty new to the business.  Doesn’t mean they are bad, but they probably won’t be a go to guy if there is a problem.) 
  2. How many weddings have they photographed?( For me, LOTS!)
  3. What was their favorite wedding and why?  (Mine?  Probably one of my Bahama weddings, because I love free trips to the Bahamas.  J )
  4. Do they shoot on their own or do they have a second shooter? (There is nothing wrong with having a second shooter/intern (it’s a huge fad right now).  However, if the photographer can’t cover the wedding on their own…move on.  There have been three instances, in the last 30 years, where I actually needed a second shooter – The first was a wedding in a cave where there was no room to move around, so I could not get different angles.  The second was on a boat – same reason, I could not move around.  The third wedding was the opposite – a huge cathedral in Washington DC, it was like a maze and I simply didn’t have time to get to other spots.) 
  5. Their equipment? (Honestly, all cameras do the same thing – some do it a lil better than others.  They open and close a shutter at a certain speed.  The glass up front is definitely the most important.  Pro level lenses work much better in low light, such as inside a church where a flash might not be allowed.) 
  6. BACK UP equipment? (Oh yeah, this is a huge one.  I don’t care who you are – life happens.  If the photographer doesn’t have a back-up camera body, lens, and flash…move on.  I carry two bags, one is my primary, the other is my back up – and they carry the same equipment in each.)

Other questions you can ask… 

Turn around time to get your images? (personally, I usually take a couple of days, NOT weeks)

Insurance? (The only reason this realy applies to a wedding couple is the fact that some venues require photography insurance)

Release for the images? (If you want to reproduce your photos digitally, make an album, or print them on a mug, you will need a release from the photographer.  Otherwise, you will have to constantly go back to the photographer anytime you want to print one of your wedding photos.)

Are the images fully edited and color corrected? (If your wedding takes place in a building using incandescent or fluorescent light, it can really throw off the color of your images.  Some photographers set their cameras to balance for the lighting, some will edit the color of the images in post.  Other editing can include cropping, adding a vignette, and touch up work on parts of the image.)

Are the images you receive print or digital? (Depending on what you want – this could be important.)

Travel fee?  How much and how far…

Deposit?  Due date for the balance?

Refund or cancellation policy?

What is included in the photo package?(Some people simply don’t ask this…make sure you do)

Most importantly, the meeting is simply to find out if you connect!!!  Does the meeting go well?  Do you feel good about the photographer, did they make you smile, did they make you feel positive and confident that they can do the job in the way you want?   

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