Charlotte NC Headshot Session: Shootin' in the Park

I mentioned in my last post how challenging it can be shooting in an unfamiliar environment. This is especially true when shooting in a park.

But it just so happened that Joanne and I went out to Freedom Park in Charlotte, NC at the right time, and found the right spot for a quick headshot session.

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We were both in Charlotte for the Iota Sweethearts’ Third National Conclave, I as the conference photographer and she as a delegate.

Thankfully, we found enough time to squeeze in a headshot session as the sun was setting.

Charlotte NC Photo Session: Not Looking Like Your Past

We go through so much in life that we can forget who we are, or we’re forced to either become a new person or reclaim the person we was.

For Myra, after facing multiple life challenges, she decided to reclaim the person she is: Resilient, Strong, and Optimistic.

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Encompassing all of that within a photoshoot can be challenging within itself. Add in the fact that were were shooting in a city I’ve never shot in before.

We were in Charlotte, N.C. for the Iota Sweethearts’ Third National Conclave, where I was the conference’s photographer and Myra was a delegate.

This shoot was truly an adventure. While I’ve visited Charlotte multiple times, this was my first time shooting in the Queen City. Shooting in new environments is fun, but it can also be quite challenging, especially in an unfamiliar area.

We ended up shooting at the fountain in front of the Bank of America Corporate Center. And it was easy for Myra to show off the person she truly is.

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.

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!

One last Florida shoot

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Of course my final Florida shoot would be on a beach.

But while the beach shoot was planned, the fact that it was my final Florida shoot was not.

Kayla and I decided to spend a morning at Clearwater Beach, which is one of the country’s best beaches. And as such, we were up nice and early.

Despite not being able to use my lights (a Clearwater PD officer nicely said I needed a permit to do flash photography), we still had an awesome time.

And I’m so glad that we did.

I’m writing this post from Durham, N.C., where I’ve since returned to where it all began. It was in Durham back when I was a reporter for the News & Observer (2005 - 2010) that I really started taking photography seriously.

So while I’ll miss some things about Florida - including Kayla, who became a great friend and one of my go-to models - I’m one who definitely prefers seasons.