Tag Archives: panama city beach photography
There is something about a morning photo session that is better than a sunset session. I don’t know if it’s the freshness of a new day, seeing the deer out for breakfast or the fact that most everyone else is asleep while I’m making art, but I love morning photo sessions.
I recently had a great sunrise senior portrait session with a wonderful young lady named Stephanie. We decided to have our photo session at St. Andrews State Park on the east end of Panama City Beach. I love that place for many reasons and it is a great place for photography.
We timed the morning just right. We got there, unloaded the car, got the lighting dialed in and here comes the sun. What a perfect sunrise it was! We couldn’t have asked for a better one.
One of the best things about getting there early was that we had the beach pretty much to ourselves. There were a few fishermen scattered on the jetties and a couple walkers along the beach, but it was like we had our own private island for the most part.
To start out, we did a few poses near the kiddie pool. Then it was time for a wardrobe change and on the jetty area. After photographing a few different areas of the jetty, we went over to the new surfer’s boardwalk and then moseyed on over to the fishing pier.
At the pier, Stephanie found a decent sized jellyfish washed up along the shoreline. She said that she had caught some small ones a few nights before. We took some photos of the jellyfish and then wrapped up our Panama City Beach photo session by taking some photographs by the water in the shadow of the pier.
Morning photo sessions have a distinctness about them that is hard to pinpoint. All I know is that I can’t wait for my next one!
See you on the beach!
I’ve decided to start posting my favorite images from the past week. Why? I’m not sure. I just hope that everyone that sees it (this means you) finds it worthwhile and not a complete waste of time.
I’m not saying these are my best photos….best compositions, best lighting, best emotion….these are just my personal favorites from the week. Some were taken with very expensive Nikon and Canon cameras and some with my used iPhone. I will use anything at my disposal to create an image.
Thanks for looking and I hope I get the chance to take your photograph sometime.
Here are my favorites from this week. March 25-29, 2013.
When Peyton contacted me some weeks ago about photographing his wedding proposal to his girlfriend Abby, I was immediately excited about the photo session. In the photojournalist side of my photo career, I am always trying to catch an unscripted moment with my camera. No setups, no guidance. Just letting things happen naturally. This was going to be a great mash up of photojournalism and portraiture.
Peyton and I were in contact a few times ironing out the details of the Panama City Beach photo session. They were coming down from Tennessee (where I am also from) for their Spring Break and his plan was to propose while taking a morning stroll down the beach at St. Andrews State Park. After a couple conversations with Peyton we worked out a great spot for me to be “casually taking beach photos” while I waited for the couple to walk past me and get into position.We planned on the couple being in my photo vicinity at 9:00 a.m. Let me tell, ya…..Peyton is good. He had Abby there at exactly 9:00 a.m. and was down on one knee. Pretty darn impressive.
The proposal went beautifully. Abby’s facial expression was priceless and I could feel the joy emanating from their hearts from twenty feet away. An older couple who had been strolling along the beach stopped and started clapping as Peyton and Abby had their first kiss as an engaged couple. It was truly an awesome moment in time.
Abby finally noticed me taking photos of them and I went over to give my congratulations to them both. We then hung around for a little while longer and took a few posed photos of the happy couple.
I feel privileged to be a small part of peoples’ important life moments and I take my job as official historian of these moments very seriously.
Thanks and congrats to Peyton and Abby!
I recently had the opportunity to photograph Phil and Angie’s engagement photographs at Camp Helen State Park on the West End of Panama City Beach. I’ve known Phil for a while now and I can honestly say he is one of the most genuine people you will ever meet. There is a thoughtful, gentle kindness about him that sets him apart from the crowd. You wouldn’t expect that from a drummer (everyone knows how crazy drummers are), but it’s true. Obviously, Angie must see these traits as well because she’s decided to spend the rest of her life with him. Speaking of Angie…..what a sweetheart! She was gracious and up for doing what it took to get the photograph just right. Thanks for that, Angie.
Now to the photographs….I think we got some doozies during their beach engagement session. Phil asked if they should bring any props to the session and he mentioned bringing beach cruisers. This turned out to be an awesome idea! (I think I may have to incorporate bikes more often in upcoming sessions. Sorry…thinking out loud there.) You should have seen them as they came strolling across the beach with their matching bicycles. It was a really cute sight. I love when couples match. My wife hates when I match what she is wearing for the day. I get a big kick out of it because on one hand it’s super cheesy, but also kind of sweet at the same time. I think it shows a bond and a closeness when you’re confident enough to be seen in matching attire. Seeing Phil and Angie with their matching bikes was not cheesy, though. It was just plain cool. The bikes were as cool as the couple and putting it all together really made for some nice photographs.
We got a few photographs with the bikes and then moved down the beach a little to get some sunset photos. I was a little scared that the sunset was not going to majestic, but it turned out to be beautiful. When I showed Phil a preview of one of the photos he said it “looked like a volcano was erupting” in the background. Yeah….I planned that.
Congrats to Phil and Angie. I know you’re going to have a beautiful life together!
Every time I see a big bird while out and about I have to try and get a photograph of it. Normally what winds up happening is that I pull the car over, get my camera gear together, step out of the car, point my camera towards the bird and the bird flies off before I can get a shot. Thankfully that was not the case this time.
I was on my way home from a Panama City photography session and I saw this hawk sitting on the line right beside U.S. 98. I immediately pulled over and got my camera gear together. I hurriedly took off my wide angle lens, slapped on my telephoto lens with lens extender and drove back to where the bird was sitting. I slowly got out of the vehicle and then snapped a few photos while leaning on the roof of my car for stabilization. The bird didn’t flinch. I took a few steps closer and snapped a few more photos. The bird turned and looked at me for a minute and then kept doing what it was doing like I wasn’t even there. I then got even closer and took a few more photographs. The bird obviously didn’t care if I was there and just kept on doing its thing. After five minutes or so I got a photograph that I was pleased with and headed back to the car. As I looked in the side view mirror, I could see the bird still sitting there as happy as can be.
I later called the local Audubon Society and a real nice man helped me identify the bird. He said it was more than likely a Cooper’s hawk. The hawks are a regular sight in parks, quiet neighborhoods, fields, at backyard feeders and even along busy streets if there are trees around.
Next time you see me on the side of the road taking photos do me a favor…don’t honk…you may scare the bird.
Being a wedding photographer in Panama City is a lot of fun. I know I say that a lot, but it’s true.
I had an awesome time as Alex and Katie’s wedding photographer at Rivercamps in West Bay a couple weeks ago. The ceremony was in a beautiful location. If you’ve ever been up there, you know what I’m talking about. The quiet woods and serene waters of West Bay really kinda take you back in time. The world is a little different there. It’s a great escape from the hustle and bustle of life and a perfect spot for an intimate wedding gathering. No distractions. Just love and family.
When I got there, I found Katie and her bridesmaids in a funny spot. The gym! No, they weren’t getting in a few quick reps before the event, they were steering clear of the boys. Oddly enough I found cool a spot for a quick portrait of Katie. It was right in the corner between a treadmill and some other big honking piece of gym equipment. We got a few shots there and then it was time for the big show.
As the guitarist played The Beatles (not that particular song…I just like that one), I set up my lights and prepared for the ceremony. With the waters of Crooked Creek and West Bay as the backdrop, I could barely think of a more beautiful spot to exchange vows. After photographing the wedding ceremony we moved outdoors to take some group photos.
Everyone was in a great mood and that always makes the job of the photographer a little bit easier. We took several different group photos and then it was time for the “real” stuff.
The light was getting really nice and I spotted a neat area for Alex and Katie to hang out while I figured out the perfect angle for the shot. There was a grove of trees right near the water and there was one tree just kind of hanging out on its own. It really struck me as different, and the photo I got there is one of my new favorites.
After taking quite a few photographs of the bride and groom it was party time! Everyone danced and ate and had a wonderful time. And…just when I though I had photographed everything…here comes the hog trough dance! Needless to say a great time was had by all.
Thanks Alex and Katie. I hope I get the opportunity to photograph you again real soon!
It’s that time of year….the time of year when everyone does a “best of” gallery of photos. Well, here’s the first of mine.
I photographed more Panama City weddings this year (along with a Seattle, Washington wedding and a Chewalla, Tennessee wedding) than any other year since I began photographing weddings….and I still have one to go. Hopefully 2013 will be another record wedding photography year for me. I have compiled a group of my favorite wedding photographs for your viewing pleasure. These are my personal favorite wedding images from 2012 (in no particular order). Whether it is because of the moment, the pose or the light, for some reason these struck my fancy. I am sure that the bride and grooms included in these photos have their favorites apart from these, but something about these images makes me happy. I wish all of the newlyweds that I photographed in 2012 the best of luck. You are all great and I look forward to photographing you again real soon!
Shirstie & Eric – Seattle, Washington
Where do I even start with these guys? They had a quaint backyard summer wedding in the cool hills of Washington state. Their wedding was a blast & photographing them was so much fun! Shirstie and Eric are videographers/photographers themselves, so they aren’t too shy when a camera is pointed their way. Between Shirstie’s beauty and Eric’s wackiness, they gave me plenty of material to work with. I could photograph them all day long and not get the same shot twice. Thanks for making it so easy guys.
Jody & Lisa – Panama City Beach, Florida
I have known Jody for several years and he is one of the funniest and most creative guys you will ever meet. Lisa is a sweetheart and they make a really cute couple. Their wedding was held at St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach and the ceremony was officiated by one of my favorite all-time people, Rob Woodrum. The Lord blessed us with one of the best sunsets of the year that evening and I had a wonderful time photographing the Panama City Beach wedding of such cool people.
Rouse Wedding – Panama City Beach, Florida
I photographed this lovely couple’s wedding on Panama City Beach. You could tell that they are truly in love and true love makes photos better (at least I think so). They have a wonderful family and I know they are going to have a long life together. Plus, they are from Tennessee….that automatically makes them awesome, right?
Betty & Chad – Panama City Beach, Florida
I was honored to be Betty and Chad’s wedding photographer this year. Like I said in a previous Panama City Beach wedding photographer blog post, these two had the coolest spot for a beach wedding that I’ve seen so far. I could not get over what a perfect spot that back yard was for a little beach wedding. The ceremony was pretty short and that gave us a ton of time for photos of the wedding party, family and the bride and groom, of course. They were a lot of fun to be around and I hope to photograph them again real soon.
Bethany & Alex – Chewalla, Tennessee
When I got the call that Bethany wanted me to photograph her wedding, I was pumped! Not only was I going to be able to photograph a family member, but a happy byproduct of the wedding was that I would get to see my family as well. Bethany and Alex had a beautifully traditional ceremony in a small country church near my hometown of Selmer, Tenn. The sanctuary was packed full of family and loved ones. That is the most people I have seen crammed into a sanctuary in a long time. You can tell that they are very loved and very much in love. All the best to you Bethany and Alex!
Sarah & Jason – Panama City, Florida
I have worked with Jason Shoot at the Panama City News Herald for several years now and I can honestly say he’s a great writer and one of the wittiest people I’ve ever met. When I heard that Jason and Sarah got engaged I was very happy for them both. They make a good couple and seem to be a great match. They opted to get married on their five-year anniversary. They have a more traditional ceremony planned for next year, but they went ahead and got the formalities out of the way at the Bay County Courthouse. It was a neat ceremony and a fun shoot (no pun intended).
Casey & Matthew – Panama City, Florida
I know I say this all the time, but I really did have a great time photographing this Panama City wedding. Let me tell you how cool this wedding was – they played Van Halen during the ceremony. How cool is that?! The rock didn’t stop there, either. It was around all night long. These guys make a wonderful couple and it was awesome getting to photograph them on their special day.
Emi & Chris – Watercolor, Florida
I had a wonderful time being Chris and Emi’s Watercolor wedding photographer. Watercolor has many neat little areas where, if you’re creative enough, yield great compositions. Capturing the moment with great light and composition is what photography is all about. (Well, maybe that’s not what it’s ALL about, but those things are pretty important.) It makes a photographer’s life better when there is actually something to work with. I have spent most of my photography career as a photojournalist, so I know all about making something out of nothing. It’s refreshing to have a location with so many options available. We made the most of what we had to work with and I think we were successful at getting some cool images. The pressure was on….Chris being my brother-in-law, and all. I think things worked out pretty well, if I do say so myself.
I photographed Betty & Chad’s Panama City Beach wedding back in the summer and it was one of my favorite weddings of the year.
For starters, the weather was incredible. We had the perfect blend of clouds and sunshine and it really wasn’t even too hot. When you think about being a wedding photographer in Panama City Beach in the summertime you think of sweating through your suit, right? Not this time.
Betty and Chad were staying in a high-rise condo, but found a really quaint location behind a smaller, two-story condo a short walk away. This was a genius location! The condo was uninhabited and made for a perfect little beach wedding spot. It was fenced in with the classic beach fence and the sand was hardly touched. It was probably the coolest place on the beach that I have ever photographed a wedding. Whoever owns this place should rent out the back yard for intimate beach weddings — that’s how great of a place it was. But….there were quite a few sand spurs…the owners should probably do something about that.
The ceremony was short and beautiful. The rose petals strewn carefully across the untouched sand really added to the ambiance. (What am I even saying right now?) After the ceremony we headed down to the water for group photos and photos of the bride and groom.
The sunset we had to work with was perfect. The scattered clouds were painterly and Betty and Chad were great subjects. When the sunlight was almost totally gone we attempted to light paper lanterns and send them into the sky, but the wind was not our friend that night. I did wind up getting a nicely-lit photo of the two of them using only the light from the lantern, so I guess the idea was not a total bust.
That’s how great Panama City Beach wedding photographs happen sometimes…by experimentation. It is a good thing to be fluid when taking wedding photographs or just about any type of photographs. When you are letting moments happen naturally better pictures will happen.
I hope to photograph another Panama City Beach wedding like this one real soon. Congrats again Betty and Chad!
One of my first jobs in the photography world was as a senior portrait photographer. I had just graduated from the University of North Alabama with a degree in art/photography and was lucky enough to get a gig photographing with a local studio. We did school photos (not fun), but we also did a lot of senior portraits. I was the official outdoors studio senior portrait guy. (I also shot a ton of indoor stuff as well, but my main beat was in the outdoor realm.) Being the outdoor guy fit me pretty well. I love being outside in the Alabama heat sweating and shooting photos! I actually had a really cool setup. My boss, Danny Mitchell, put a screen over the top of the outdoor studio which made for really good diffused light. We had a bridge, swing, grassy area, fences and a really neat little waterfall. It was a nice contained environment.
Fast forward eleven years. I am still outdoors, but my locations are now a bit more spread out. This weekend I had a really cool senior to photograph. Her name is Robyn….and she doesn’t like lizards. She saw a couple lizards during our photo session and told me stories about the freakishly big lizards that live outside her home. Thankfully the lizards kept a low-profile in Panama City this weekend and we were able to survive our Panama City senior portrait photo session.
There is a really colorful green wall in an alleyway downtown Panama City. That’s where we started out for the day. I brought a freshly-bloomed, vibrant-red gerber daisy for her to hold in a few of the photos to really make the color pop. It just so happened that she was wearing a touch of red, so it worked out perfectly.
From there we moved on to Oaks by the Bay Park in the historic St. Andrews part of Panama City. I have shot here a few times and there is always a new little nook or cranny to photograph there. There was a really nice afternoon shaft of light hitting between some Spanish moss, so we had to get a few photographs there. The background was going a little dark in this setup, so I positioned a light behind a nearby tree to give a little definition to the photo. We then found some little flowers along the fountain that made for a classic senior portrait.
Robyn and her mom found a street on their journeys that they thought would make a nice place for photos….and boy were they right! We drove over there and got some more natural/less-posed photos of Robyn walking along the street. These are some of my favorite shots from our senior portrait photo session.
Now….to the beach! No Panama City Beach senior portrait photo session would be complete without a trip to the beach, right? We went over to one of my favorite spots to photograph….St. Andrews State Park. After getting a few shots of the pier, we went over to the jetty area. The light was spectacular! Robyn picked an awesome night for her session. The sunset was really incredible and we wound up with a nice set of images documenting her departure from high school.
I get to photograph a lot of things and a lot of people and it never gets old. I am one of the lucky ones who have found a career that also happens to be my passion. Contact me any time to discuss your photo session.
Steve and Sue are a couple that I befriended while surfing the waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Panama City Beach. They coach at Gymnastics Plus in Lynn Haven and are kind of my surf mentors. I used to watch them surf in my learning days and hope to be half as good as them. Nowadays I can sit with them in the lineup and catch a wave or two. (they are still waaaay better than me, though) Knowing that I am a photographer, Sue mentioned a photo shoot that Brigham Young University had done for a gymnastics calendar. It involved gymnasts jumping in water. She wondered if I would be interested in photographing their gym students in a similar way. I immediately agreed. Sounded like a really cool thing to photograph!
There were a LOT of things that went into making this Panama City Beach sports portrait session happen. Steve was able to locate a beach house that would let us run extension cords for our photo shoot. The homeowners also let us use their water. (Thanks guys! This shoot would have been much different if not for your generosity.) We needed a dark background, so a night photo shoot was in order. Being that is was going to be pitch black, I brought every light that I own down to the beach. We set four of the lights up. Two in the back and two in the front. My wife and Steve dug a small pit and placed a tarp in it so that it would hold water and give the girls a pool-like area to jump in. Someone (Steve & Sue probably) brought buckets for throwing the water on the girls. Oh yeah…and my in-laws were kind enough to watch our son so that my wife & I could be free for this undertaking.
When all the setup was done, it was time for pictures. We took a few group photos of the gymnasts and then it was time for the fun stuff. It was kind of a trial-and-error type photo session at first. When should the water be thrown? Before the jump? During the jump? How much water should be used? Should their hair be wet before the jump or not? We powered through all of the questions and went for it.
I spent my time belly down in the sand trying to get as low as I could get so that only the dark sky, water and the gymnast would show up in the final image. Parents and others gladly filled up buckets with water and threw bucket after bucket onto the girls as they did some pretty awesome jumps. Time quickly passed by as the gymnasts and water flew through the night sky.
It was a ton of work, but I had a great time photographing the gymnasts on Panama City Beach. Photo shoots like this are a big undertaking and very stressful, but the end result is well worth it. I hope to be able to do another epic Panama City Beach photo session like this one real soon.