Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nice words...

Hey everybody!
I wanted to share a sweet note from Mitch and Maggie, whose engagement we shot in Paris, and whose wedding we shot in Minneapolis last month. They're such a wonderful couple and we wish them the very best!!!

Hi Dale and Meredith!
We just wanted to say thank you for making the trek up to Minnesota for our wedding. We LOVE the pictures! We knew that they would be good, but they far surpassed our expectations! That day was glorious, but went by so fast! Looking at your images we got opportunity to see all of the details we missed. Not only were the pictures lovely (how you can make lettuce wraps and meatballs beautiful, we will never know!) but you captured the feel of the day...our complete joy and celebration.

It was such a joy to work with you two! It is so obvious that you love what you do...your joy and creativity spill out into your work and it really shines! We feel so blessed that you were able to take part and share in our special moments, Thank you!

Maggie & Mitch

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Practice makes perfect...

And apparently Natalie and Cooper had been practicing before our photo shoot. They were the easiest children I've photographed in months! They are both adorable (yet hilariously competitive... just ask them to race!) and knew just what to do in front of a camera.

Check out their images!
They thought it was hilarious that I asked mom and dad to kiss. Isn't that sweet?!

Get ready for two of the most gorgeous children you've ever seen. Seriously.

By far my favorite shot of the day!

And my favorite shot of Mere's...

And they work well together too. Aren't they cute?!

I get to see them again this week during the modeling shoot at Monday's Child, along with 35 other families (yikes!!). I have such a fun job!

Talk to you soon,

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mandi and Josh's engagement portraits

Hey everybody!
Mandi, who literally screamed in my ear when I told her I had her date open months ago, is a very impatient girl ;) She REALLY wants to see her engagement pictures. It hasn't even been that long since we shot them... ha ha ha... And as much as I like to torture people, I thought I'd ease her pain and put some up on the blog. So, enjoy Mandi! And everybody else too!
Talk to you soon,

New Engagement website

Hey everybody!
I've been coding away again. This time for Lindsay and Jeremy (see some of their images below). If you don't know what I'm talking about, all my engagement shoots come with a custom designed website to showcase your photos, provide info for your wedding guests, and tell the world how you met and how he proposed.

Currently, I'm working on a couple others. To see more, go to my website ( then click on weddings, then information, then engagement websites.

Talk to you soon,

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lindsay and Jeremy's engagement session

Hey everybody!

What a day we've had! (see below if you have no idea what I'm talking about) Strangely, I've found a little bit of time to work. I'm in the process of designing 5 different engagement websites, but I wanted to go ahead and throw some of the images up on here from one the recent sessions.

Super sexy Lindsay and Jeremy met me just before I left to photograph the New York wedding. We wanted to get them in because Lindsay is joining Jeremy in California until their February beach wedding in Mexico! Meredith and I, by the way, are crazy excited to photograph that!

Anyway, I'll put their engagement website up here when it's finished, but in the meantime, enjoy a few of my favorite images below.
Talk to you soon,

Here's a sexy new pose they wanted to try...

The gorgeous couple...

Then they hopped in the water...

How fun are they?!?! BTW, I slowed the shutter down a bit to show motion in the water...

Thanks Lindsay and Jeremy! We can't wait for your beach wedding!!

Talk to you soon,

Mere update...

hey everyone!
Dale here, reporting live from Wash Reg, room 2116...
Mere is out of a successful surgery and we should be leaving soon! We wanted to thank you all for your emails this morning... I think we had twenty different emails from our brides and our friends. We love having that relationship with you all!
Talk to you soon!


We've filled all 20 (actually took 25) spots!! Only took 65 minutes. Crazy, right?!!
Thanks for all your crazy support!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Model Call!! Monday's Child & Benfield Photography

Email me asap, spots are already filling up!

Talk to you soon,

Hey everybody!

Well, I made it back from the Big Apple! I'll have a post devoted to it, complete with a trivia question, later in the week. You might even win a prize! Josh and Candace threw an amazing party, so I'm anxious for y'all to see the pics!

I was hoping to hit the ground running (which I did yesterday evening), but today Meredith and I are going to head to the hospital. She needs a gall bladder-ectomy. Pretty sure that's not the official term ;) Anyway, not that there's a great time to be sick, but we only have two weekends off this year, and this happens to be one of them. I know she'd love your well wishes:

Okay, back to business. This post has been something I've wanted to start for awhile. As a photography instructor (remember, I do some college teaching too!), I LOVE building relationships with other photographers. I get emails all the time from photographers all over wanting to know a little about this or a little about that, or just my opinions on certain things in the photo world.

I thought I'd start posting some the more relevant questions for everybody else out there who reads the blog and is maybe afraid to ask (I bite.) If I post your question, I won't put your name unless you want me to.
Hi Dale - I'm a beginning photographer in Lexington, SC. I've been admiring your work online and wondered if you would be willing to share some info? Just curious about your location lighting techniques. Your lighting is beautiful.
Also, what kind of lens are using for the surreal, blurry effects? It almost looks liked a lens baby. At any rate, your work is amazing!!

Always & Forever Photography

She's sweet, right?
And my response...

Hey Kara!

For location, I'm a shade lover, and hate shadows. I know some photogs use that for drama, but that's not my style. If it's sunny, I just have them face away from the sun. I know this creates backlight, but my b/g is usually blurred anyway. In terms of flash, I rarely use it outdoors. Fill flash was great when I worked for newspapers, but it's too unnatural for my style. Indoors, I bounce it 100 percent when possible.

My lens that gives me that blurred, shallow depth of field is my 85mm 1.2f mark 2 that Canon makes. It has changed the way I shoot! If I have a moving subject, however, I'll pop on the 70-200 2.8 and back up and zoom in. I have tried a lens baby and, though it's cool, don't want one.

I'll be happy to answer more questions as you have them. I also teach photography in college and get many questions via email per day, so you're not bothering me at all!!!!

Happy shooting! And Talk to you soon,

Here's an example of a shot I got with the 85mm 1.2 lens she's talking about...

If you have questions, feel free to ask them! I love getting messages from photographers almost as much as I do from brides!

Anyway, stay tuned for posts about New York, the two prettiest kids you've ever seen (besides Ellie, of course) ;), and other exciting things going on in our world!

Talk to you soon,

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dave and Brooke tie the knot!

Hey everybody!

Last Saturday, Brooke and Dave showed their daring, yet laid back attitude as rain attempted to plague their wedding day.

They were unphased, however, and kept with the motto (which I heard many times throughout the day) "The rain's gonna stop"

They were right! Right before the ceremony was to start, the waterworks stopped. Well not all the waterworks. Dave lost it as Brooke came down the aisle...

The Botanical Gardens was a gorgeous place for the ceremony...

I love this sweet moment during the ceremony...

And this one after it was over...

Then we did some portraits. Here are a couple of my favorites. The rainy sky was amazing for portraits...

Then it was reception time, filled with cupcakes (from Rick's Bakery) toasts, Catering by the Event Group, and plenty of dancing...

Dave, who has mega style, drove his bride away in his Porsche...

I loved their laid back attitude and how they worked together to make a crazy day go incredible well! Congratulations, you guys!

Talk to you soon!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Courtney and Couri...

Hey everybody!
Meet two gorgeous girls, Courtney and Couri! You're probably thinking Courtney looks familiar... Meredith and I have done a couple different shoots with her over the years, and each one is always so fun. Also, if you've checked out my new children's site, Couri will look familiar, too. Couri is a gorgeous little girl and was so fun to photograph. I brought along my (well, Ellie's) new pink chair for a few and it worked out great. Check out a few of my faves below.
Talk to you soon,

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hello from New York!

Hey everybody!

Steven and I just got to the hotel in New York and are dead tired! He hates flying more than anyone I've met, so it was interesting to see him freak slightly as we touched down at La Guardia (you get SO CLOSE to the water as you land). Then, our super-friendly taxi driver had no idea how to get to the hotel, so that was fun.

Anyway, we're here to cover Josh's wedding to Candace. I've put a few of their engagement photos below. Their beach wedding takes place Friday, so stay tuned for those images. In the meantime, we'll be sightseeing and missing home.

Talk to you soon,

Saturday, August 9, 2008

What I've been up to...

Hey everybody!
The past few days have been crazy, and so will the next few!

After photographing staff headshots for Pinnacle Country Club (for their new website that will launch soon), I photographed a visual house tour for a realtor that I sometimes work with. That night, Meredith and I photographed the two most gorgeous kids (more on them in a later post). Yesterday, I photographed a wedding in Lamar, MO (the Dream Wedding Giveaway), and today I'm off to photograph Brooke and Dave's wedding at the Botanical Gardens.

Tomorrow, we're off to Little Rock to set up and run a booth at the Wedding Fair, and I have a bridal portrait sessions while we're in town. And then we have a couple of engagement shoots before I leave to photograph Josh and Candace's wedding in New York!

So, it's been crazy, but it's been fun. I'm running my car to death in the process. You'll see in the iPhone picture below. Remember, I've not even had my car 2 years, yet I've passed 50000 miles. Actually that was a couple days ago and now I'm to 51000. You'll also notice that I took this while driving, and also that I was speeding (what's new?!). I don't suggest you do either of those things!

Coming up, I'm going to post some children images from shoots that we've done during the past 1-2 weeks. So if you're a parent of ours reading this, stay tuned!

Talk to you soon,

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pro Lab Tour - Miller's and Mpix

Hey everybody!

A couple weeks ago, I had the honor of meeting up with one of my old friends, John Rank, who is now Director of Customer Service for Mpix, a fantastic online lab.

I reconnected with John earlier this year at Imaging USA in Florida. He and Mpix were set up at the trade show. He told me at that time that Mpix had some really exciting things on the horizon.

First, they're launching their Mpix 2.0, and I had the privilege of testing the site and offering feedback.
With the launch they're also offering more options for framing, which I thought were really nice! Also, there are lots of features to the site that I'm looking forward to using on a daily basis (I order pictures of Ellie just about everyday! Ha ha ha)

So, my tour was great. I was under the misconception that no human ever sees my order when I place one on My thought was if we (the thousands of mpix customers) all upload our orders and have them print and ship (even drop ship), there's no way they could keep their ultra-fast turnaround times (their motto is "Shoot today, upload tonight, we ship tomorrow") if it wasn't all automated.

However, I was mistaken. When I place an order online, it prints out a form, which is then sorted and sent to a particular department. Then, somebody hand tones each of my images before sending it off to the printer. After it's printed and sorted, it is sent to a quality control/color expert to sign off on the print. Then, it is sent in to finishing services and then through shipping. As someone who used to work in a photo lab (my dad owned one when I was growing up), I know how painstaking some of these tasks are first hand. And to see that they are able to do such a great job consistently with their large customer base is amazing to me!

Okay, sorry for the infomercial! If you're a student of mine, or a current or past bride of ours, or a family member, or a friend, the chances of you knowing about mpix is pretty great. If you need more info, I'm always happy to help!

Talk to you soon,

Below are a couple of my pictures from the tour

This machine was so cool to watch. It was making the cover of a photo book.

Here, a lab specialist was showing me an amazing printer (it cost over half a million dollars! And the room was filled with these printers!!)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mitch and Maggie tie the knot!

Hey everybody!

Last Saturday, Meredith and I had the wonderful honor of making the trip up to Minneapolis to photograph Mitch and Maggie's wedding. Even though they live so far away, we still have been able to get to know them both well. And they're great people to know!

Mitch is a sweet guy. He is one to go above and beyond for someone else. He's also meticulous. I told him last weekend, as a joke, that he should be a wedding planner. I know what Nathan, the best man, meant in his toast when he said Mitch is loyal, a good listener, and a man of God. And in only the 9 short months I've known Mitch, I feel like I truly know him.

Because I mostly hang out with the groom on the wedding day, I relied on Meredith to tell me about Maggie. The first thing she said, and I knew it once she said it, was that Maggie is excitable. How perfect is that for a guy like Mitch?!! Also, Maggie has a thousand different expressions. Meredith said that Maggie's kinda like her, and she could always tell just what each of Maggie's expressions meant. She said she felt like she truly knew her.

Maybe it comes from being in Paris with someone. Or maybe from sharing their most important moments in life. Or, it could be the countless gmail chats and emails and phone calls. Regardless, we love Mitch and Maggie and look forward to more Minnesota summer trips!

Here are a bunch of images from their wedding, as well as a couple from the photo booth they had. Mere and I hammed it up (at the bottom).

Talk to you soon,

I spy red shoes!!!

I LOVE this shot. This is their special meeting, right before he first sees her. Cool, huh??

Is that shot better than this one? I don't know! I love this laughing moment in their first meeting...

Followed by a SEXY kiss!

Then it was off to the church. This shot is cool of her maid of honor adjusting her veil...

The old church they chose for their wedding was so photogenic. The crazy blue sky helped! I love it up north (during the summer, that is)

The gorgeous Maggie...

And the handsome Mitch, watching Maggie coming up the aisle...

Riding away in the "Flamer" - that's a funny name for a car!

I love this moment of Maggie listening to Nathan's speech...

And then it was time to dance.

How sweet is this?!?!

And near the end of the evening...

I promised photo booth pictures. Here they are!

Ice Skating with Cece!

Hey everybody! It's always a crap shoot when we decide to do something with Cece that she has never done before. Diagnosed with ASD...