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.

Starting off 2019 with professional family photos at the WRAL Azalea Gardens

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As a professional photographer, it is an honor when I have the opportunity to watch a family grow right before my lens.

I first captured the Selvy family when they married in 2014. It was an intimate affair that truly celebrated the love Leah and Darrick have for each other.

Plenty has happened since, from the Selvys having a daughter to me moving to Florida, then moving back to North Carolina. 

Upon returning to NC, I contacted Leah just to catch up, and one of her first messages was “we need to take family pictures.”

Done.

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My take on family photos is they should be more than just recording what people looked like at a certain time of their lives. They should capture a family in its natural state with very limited posed photos.

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Out of the 100 or so frames I shot of the Selvys at the WRAL Azalea Gardens, maybe less than 10 were posed photos. The rest were the Selvys being themselves, which was wonderful to capture.

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I look forward to capturing more of the Selvy family during Leah and Darrick's fifth anniversary celebration in May.

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Interested in a professional family photo session? Let me know how you want your family uniquely captured in photos by clicking here.