Raleigh Union Station Photo Shoot: A Second Chance for Memorable Moments

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Photographing someone’s wedding is one of the most precious responsibilities a photographer can have, but if they screw it up, there’s no second chance. Not only do the mistakes last a lifetime, but the wedding couple never forgets, a fact Christina and Royal can attest to.

“Mr. Chambers…your brother mentioned that you’re a renowned photographer,” Christina wrote to me in a Facebook message, referring to one of my Iota Phi Theta fraternity brothers. “Are you still in the photography business?”

Do birds fly, lol.

My real answer was more professional, of course, but the ensuing conversation centered around her desire for pictures of her and her husband because “our wedding pictures were crap” and that “friends & family took better pictures.”

Although I didn’t take the crappy wedding photos, her words impacted me because a bad impression of any photographer hurts the entire photography profession. If a bride’s trust in a wedding photographer was betrayed, then why would she trust a professional photographer for anything else, especially if friends and family took better pictures?

Christina and Royal wanted simple pictures. A few posed shots along with photos of them playing spades. My immediate thought was Raleigh Union Station, which has quickly become one of my favorite places to shoot since moving back to the Raleigh-Durham area in September.

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While Christina and Royal live near Winston-Salem, they were willing to drive to downtown Raleigh. I love it when clients are willing to make a true investment into the quality of their photos. Photo shoots are not just about the photographer giving direction – it’s a collaborative effort that can yield great results.

Here’s another way they were truly invested – Christina was in the early stages of the flu and was fighting a 100.2 fever on the day of our shoot. While one could tell in person that she wasn’t feeling well, her sickness wasn’t noticeable in the pictures.

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Speaking of pictures, I love when I capture couples that are just being themselves. Sure, a couple that’s not used to having professional pictures taken will need some posing guidance, but in my experience, the best pictures are often the unscripted ones, and Christina and Royal were no different.

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But the best part was what Christina and Royal got out of the experience.

“When we learned that Stan was back in NC, we immediately jumped on the opportunity to have him recreate the moment we lost,” she wrote in her review. “He did an amazing job. I will recommend him to anyone who’d need a memorable moment captured professionally and with class.”

More importantly, I’m glad Christina and Royal recaptured some of the magic that was lost through their “crap” wedding photos.

Model Shoot - The Beauty of the moment

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Returning to North Carolina has afforded me the luxury of familiarity while simultaneously seeing how people and places have evolved.

But not all change is for the better.

Along my daily commute is a home that didn’t burn to the ground, but burned beyond habitation.

The dwelling isn’t easy to miss, but is easy to ignore - unless you see the beauty in just about anything.

Which meant I wanted to use this home for a shoot.

And I wanted Marissa for that shoot.

I’ve worked with many models during my previous 12 years in North Carolina, but for some reason, Marissa and I never linked up for a shoot. Such bothered me because as artists, collaboration is mostly based off of being attracted to one’s aura, and Marissa seemed like someone I would work well with.

So even before I was fully settled upon returning to Durham, I put her on notice that I wanted to shoot with her.

Creating art is also very intimate. As a creative, you’re expressing yourself through your work. Which means it’s key for anyone involved in an artistic project to be one with your vision.

And there’s nothing wrong with bringing a little silliness as well, even on a cold Sunday morning.

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I converted the photos in front of the home to black and white because eliminating color can really isolate a moment. Pictures are inherently frozen moments, but I wanted to draw the viewer even further into the moment.

And the flowers emphasized the beauty of that moment, even in front of a burned-out home.

Photographers are not only trained to capture moments, but they also have the power to redefine how we see things.

I no longer see the house an an eyesore, but another canvas in which to create moments of beauty.

Here's why you don't want boring senior photos

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There’s nothing wrong with railroad tracks, water fountains, fields of green and country bridges, but who looks back at those senior pictures and says that’s who they were at that point in their lives?

Senior photography should reflect one’s personality, but they should also be creative. After all, you’re only a high school senior once, right?

Tai'na, a senior at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School, has a lot of aspirations, including modeling. So I wanted to turn her senior session into a mini modeling session.

And I knew just the spot.

This was my first photoshoot since returning to North Carolina, and plenty has changed in the three years I was gone - especially Raleigh’s Warehouse District.

The area was already popular for photoshoots, but with the building of Raleigh Union Station and The Dillion Raleigh, both of where we took pictures, I’ve seen multiple photographers the few times I’ve been in the area.

And I don’t blame them.

As for Tai’na, we were able to capture some pretty cool pictures despite the early Saturday morning wind and cold.

Want to do a creative senior session? Let’s talk about it!

3 + 1 Reasons to Include Photography in Your 2019 Budget

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You’re likely already planning your non-routine spending for 2019. 

And I bet photography isn’t one of those items.

I get it. Photography isn’t a reoccurring expense for you. But it’s no different than choosing a new cell phone, because what was once a product for the few has become a needed asset for everyone.

And the quality of your pictures, just like a cell phone, comes down to cost.

Can you get a cheaper phone with less storage? Of course. Will it work for you? Likely. Will you be satisfied with what you end up with? Maybe.

When it comes to hiring a photographer, can you get one that’s less expensive? Of course. Will their pictures work? Likely. Will you be satisfied with what you end up with? Maybe.

We save for items such as vacations and new vehicles because we want an experience that meets and exceeds our expectations. A Ford Explorer and a Land Rover perform the same basic function, but you pay more for the Land Rover because you desire a certain level of quality.

It should be no different when it comes to your photographer.  

It’s easy to say that everyone needs professional pictures, but if you fit into these three reasons, then photography should be a priority for you in 2019:

A Growing Family

Plan on giving birth or adopting in 2019? Kids growing up before your eyes? It’s better to capture those maternity and family moments now before they’re gone. Even better if those photos are creative.

The Business of You

Never underestimate the power of a professional headshot. From your LinkedIn profile to owning your business, if you’re representing yourself in a professional nature, then you need professional headshots. The same goes for models looking for creative photos for their portfolio.

A Major Event

Engagements and weddings are obvious, but what about that big event your organization is hosting? If you’re sweating over every detail of your event, then you should sweat over the quality of your event pictures

And of course, there’s the “you never know” factor, from photos of your property to special pictures for yourself. Either way, it’s likely you’ll need and want professional photos in 2019.

Schedule an appointment to talk about your 2019 photography needs, and don’t forget to plan for them in your budget!