Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Dyer Bailey!!

Hey everybody!

We just got such a fun text message over here in Italy from our dear pal Amy Hannon giving us the great news.

Our wonderful friends Jenessa and Mark Bailey have welcomed little baby Dyer into this world late late late tonight. It's so fair that we can't come and see the little sweetie, but we're looking forward to taking lots of pictures when we get home of the new family!

Congratulations Jenessa and Mark! We love you!

Talk to you soon,

Here's the video I did from images I shot of J-Bai's belly a few weeks ago:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Moving Pictures!

Hey everybody!

I don't know if you've seen the new Benfield Photography website yet (click here for our wedding photography site) - I did this super cool new thing that makes pictures look like they're moving. Not just zoom in and out, though I have that too, but I mean really moving!
See how computer nerdy I am?!?! Ha ha! Enjoy!

Talk to you soon,

Monday, March 29, 2010

Goodbye USA! Hello Wedding Planning!

Hey everybody!

Meredith and I are off to Italy! We're going to spend the next week exploring Tuscany like crazy to find our perfect wedding spot. I wish it could be all relaxation, but we will be like little busy bees buzzing around the vineyards and villas trying to plan an entire wedding in a mere week. We have meetings lined up pretty much every day, but it will totally be worth it next year when we get to go for a very different reason.

I'm not sure about the internet situation while I'm there. France, and most of the European and Asian countries I've visited were fine, but Mexico was terrible, so you can never tell. Anyway, I plan to blog each day, as I have for about 455 days, so hopefully the streak will remain intact. However, with the time difference it might not be by midnight at home, but we're going to let that count.

Also, Lauren will be in the office every day this week house sitting and working, as well as loving on our sweet cat Murphy, so if you need any day-to-day things taken care of, she's your gal ( Again, based on internet, we will likely be a lot slower on getting back to your emails, but I'm going to try to stay on top of it as best I can. I love that I have a job that I want to keep doing even while I'm not required to. :)

So, wish us luck! Pray for some safe travels and an incident-free trip and hopefully we'll be back here next week with lots of exciting photos and details.

Talk to you soon,

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jesus Christ Superstar: My Girl's Got Pipes!

Hey everybody!

Here we go with day two of JCS; today's post is gonna rock some video of Meredith singing. The first song is many people's favorite from the show, "I don't know how to love him" that Mary Magdalene sings to Jesus after she witnesses the change within herself.

The second song is one of my very favorite praise songs that the director (the super wonderful Lola Wade) added after the show ended as the curtain call. Meredith starts the song and the cast joins in. The amazing harmonizing voice is Meredith's friend, Brock, who played Judas and was unbelievable.

Talk to you soon,

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Jesus Christ Superstar: Performance Shots

Hey everybody!

I'm so glad I can put personal stuff on here!

I wanna do a couple posts on Meredith's performance in Jesus Christ Superstar b/c she's ridiculously good. Today's post is going to be of images I took during the Friday night performance. I hope you can come see it! It closes tonight at 7pm if y'all come come! Definitely worth more than the 10 bucks you'll spend on the ticket. It's at the Central Christian Church on Main Street in Joplin - a VERY cool old theatre!

Now, on with the show (sorry for the pun)...

I'm going to post a little video tomorrow from the show. Yaya!!!

Talk to you soon,

Friday, March 26, 2010

My New HOME!

Hey everybody!

This is SUPER exciting for me. I've been working on this thing (when I have spare time) for SOOOO long! And now, the day is here. I get to pull the curtain and unveil Benfield Photography's new home:
(by the way, go ahead and click below - my entire site is embedded - how cool is that?!?!)

I know you were quite used to the .net, and that's totally fine. I'm going to be updating it to forward to the new site soon, so no need to update your bookmarks. I just thought it would be easier to have the .com and the .net

Real quick-like, I wanna give a shout out to a one of my friends, David Jay, who created the platform this new site was built on. Showit is a great tool for photographers - no, they don't sponsor me, and I already have a lifetime site. This is straight up true talk. So many websites out there are either similar, or have nothing to do with the photographer's style.

I set out to create both with this new site. It's fun and colorful (like me). I think it shows off a bit of our personality throughout the site.

I also want to give a shout out to my friend Nic with NILO Productions. He shot and edited the about me video on the new site. I'm very thankful to have him on my side. He's a great friend and a great talent - HIRE HIM FOR YOUR WEDDING!

I am surrounded by such great people!

Talk to you soon,

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It's Opening Night!

Hey everybody!

I don't know if Mere was able to get any sleep last night. I don't know if I'd be able to! Tonight, her show opens in Joplin, MO at the Central Christian Center (the old FOX Theatre) on Main Street at 7pm (pre-show starts at 6:30).

If you're available tonight, Friday, or Saturday, you should head out to see her - she's got the female lead in Jesus Christ Superstar. She has played Mary Magdelene before, too; she really rocks the role!

Tickets are 10 dollars at the door and goes toward the Joplin Center for Autism, so it's for a good cause! :)

We hope to see you there!

Talk to you soon,

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Las Vegas Engagement Session in the Desert

Hey everybody!

Here's another shoot from Meredith during our recent trip to Las Vegas. She's kind of awesome, huh?!

Like her bridal shoot that posted a few days ago, this shoot was styled by the super amazing Summer from Grey Likes Weddings, and the couple was one of fellow photographer Victor Sizemore's engaged couples. Special thanks goes out to both of them for their respective help in this super ridiculous shoot.

Check her shots out and leave her some lovey-dovey!

Talk to you soon,

Some vendor love for those who made the shoot possible:
Victor Sizemore Photography
Styling by Summer Watkins
Historical Jewels
Make Up & Hair: Jill Guin of Darling Bride
Video: Elysium Productions

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Parents! Take Good Shots with a Crappy Camera!

Hey everybody!

Today I wanted to share a couple secrets for getting goooooooood shots with a P&S (point and shoot) camera. Or, even more accurately, a p.o.s. camera. It should title this post: "masterpiece with a piece" bahahahaha!!

Today's lesson has nothing to do with composition. We'll save that for another time. This has to do with messing with the functions and dials on your camera to get the shot you want. Specifically, it has to do with shutter speeds and slow flash sync. If you have no idea what I'm talking about: GOOOOOOOOOOD! Get ready to learn it in a super easy way.

Let me show you what we're going for here. The picture on the left has a well-lit subject, but the background it crazy bright. That happens a lot with P&S cameras. I've also seen lots of P&S shots where the background is almost totally black - obviously not ideal. The shot on the right, however, is the better shot because you can see the lit subject and the background is exposed properly too. Success! But how?!?!

First you have to have a camera with some manual control. It's pretty impossible otherwise. There are inexpensive cameras with these capabilities at Bestbuy and W-M, among other places. Just look on the top for P,Av,Tv,M - if you have that, you're good to go. I like the Canon Powershots b/c they're not super expensive but can do a lot. If you're looking for quality - HIGH quality - I don't suggest ANY P&S (get yourself a DSLR).

Next, switch it to M. This stands for manual. Then, on the back of the camera you're going to see some numbers. Today we're going to take only one of the numbers and forget about the other one for simplicity's sake. See the number that is a fraction (NOT the one that's a decimal)? That is your shutter speed. The shutter speed is how long your image sensor sucks in light to get your picture. If it's too fast, your picture will be too dark. If it's too slow, your picture will be too light. You've got to find the correct shutter speed for each individual picture (it changes for each picture you take).

Finally, you need to control your flash. Sometimes this is really easy because the camera can automatically do this. However, I always control my flash manually by pressing the lightning bolt flash sign on the back of my P&S until it is on the mode I want. Typically, I either use the one with the ghostbusters sign for no flash or the one without it (meaning, the one that is just the lightning bolt) for shots that I want flash. The other modes, particularly the one with the "A" by it (automatic) gets left alone. Because you're in Manual mode, the camera's shutter speed with stay the same if you have a flash on or not. That's pretty handy because you can control that background light we've been talking about.

Here's a perfect example. The first shot is the corrected shot. Photographed in Manual mode, as I've explained. The second shot is all fully automatic - blugh! You can barely even see the freakin' dinosaur. Notice the differences in shutter speed - 1/10 lets in a lot more ambient light than 1/60 does.

That's it! Two steps, maybe three. Play around with it, READ YOUR MANUAL, and have fun getting great shots of your kiddos!

Talk to you soon,

Monday, March 22, 2010

Daddy Daughter Date Day: Yo Gabba Gabba Live!

Hey everybody!

I'm taking a break from "Wedding Photographer Dale" today and I'm just being "Daddy" Dale. Yesterday and today I did something I haven't done in years: I took a vacation with NO COMPUTER and NO FANCY CAMERA!!

Ellie and I had a Daddy-Daughter Date Day… well, 2 days… in St. Louis. I got us tickets to see Yo Gabba Gabba, one of our very favorite shows in the whole wide world, LIVE!!!

Let's start at the beginning...

After getting up early (blush), I loaded up the car and off we went to the Lou, with multiple stops along the way. Our first stop was Springfield. It was a great potty break and sanity saver. Barnes and Noble was our destination b/c I had secretly wanted to get El some Yo Gabba Gabba goodness - a coloring book, reading book, or something. Well, we found the freaking jackpot when my eyes landed on a Yo Gabba Gabba backpack. SHUT UP! It wasn't very expensive either! Then, with the help of the friendly B&N associate, we filled that backpack with a few YGG books, and then we were off!

Three hours and two potty breaks later, Ellie laid her eyes on the arch for the first time. I tried not to go into too much of the nerdy-history stuff. So, we checked in to the Westin (the best and only place I stay in St. Louis) and freshened up before the show.

Arriving an hour early to the show, we thought we'd have free reign of the FOX Theatre, but we were sorely mistaken. Between finding a parking spot and the long lines everywhere, we were right on time. Anticipation mounted as we waiting right outside the theatre curtains. I alleviated a little bit of anticipation by buying the insanely overpriced glowstick ($10) and took some pictures.

And then the show started...
I don't want to give much away, because I myself hate spoiled surprises, but there are a couple things that I have to mention about the show. First, I was super impressed that Biz was there and the Aquabats performed. AYKM?!?! I was dancing like c-c-c-c-crazy! Second, Ellie's major highlight happened at the start of the 2nd act when Toodee came down the aisle we were sitting on and she got to shake her hand - I thought she was going to pee her pants. Okay, that's enough of that.

After the show, I thought I'd take Ellie to Rainforest Cafe. So, I typed it into my cellphone Maps App and off we headed... but never got there. It kept taking me to the Botanical Gardens. WTF? Apparently "Rainforest" equated to "Garden" and we never got to a Rainforest Cafe. Because there's not one. I googled it later and found out there might be one in the Zoo, but that was closed. So, Ellie picked a restaurant that ended up being awesome.

On our way back to the hotel Ellie let me in on something I never realized:
Ellie: Does our hotel have room service?
Me: Yeah. It's pretty fancy, after all.
Ellie: I've never had room service.
Me: Huh. I never realized that.
(long silence)
Me: How about we order dessert?
Ellie: Yeah!!
I hope she wasn't playing me. I'd hate think she's a little manipulator. Ha!
I ordered chocolate cake (don't worry, just had a couple bites), and Ellie had strawberry ice cream. There definitely was a party in my tummy.

For the first time ever, Ellie stayed up later than I did. And for the first time ever I had to wake her up in the morning. We had one more stop on our mini-vaca: the St. Louis Science Center.

The Science Center was very cool. I'm a nerd, as we all know, and Ellie is following in my footsteps. We played with fossils, a microscope, laser beams, frequencies, and a bunch of other super cool stuff. Her favorite part was making a dinosaur at the Build-A-Dino (a special Build-A-Bear store). She named her pink Apatasauras "Lily" (probably after Harry Potter's mom). You can see Lily on top the Arch we made.

All in all, it was a great two days. Even the driving to and from St. Louis were fun. If you're a dancer, or don't mind public embarrassment if you're not a dancer, I totally recommend seeing Yo Gabba Gabba Live. It's super fun and a great show.

Talk to you soon,

P.S. PARENTS! Tomorrow I'm going to do a little camera lesson on the blog about how to get GOOD pics with a CRAPPY camera. So come on back!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

100 days of exercising... starts now!

Hey everybody!

Let's be real today.

Friday night, I made a promise to Meredith that I was going to kick my booty in gear and start this wedding diet+exercise. I've done a really good job of eating healthy, staying off pop (Dr. Pepper is my crack), and not eating when I'm not hungry, and I've lost some weight. But not like I'm wanting.

When Meredith marries me, she's going to marry a lean, mean version of myself. Well, not mean. But lean! So, I promised her that for the next 100 days I was going to exercise. I hope to work up to Michael Phelps-ish exercise so I can eat whatever I want. I mean, I LOVE to eat yummy food!

Okay, so get this... yesterday (Saturday) was day 1 of this promise. I got up an hour earlier, and got dressed to go run, but the new cut on my toe was REALLY hurting. And the bed looked SOOOOOOOOOO comfy - not to mention there was snow on the ground outside and the temperature dropped 40 degrees overnight. Did I go back to bed? Yes. Dang it! Then, we had an "unlimited hour" wedding in Kansas. It looked as though I was going to break my promise day 1.

Well... not this guy!

You know me, if I say I'm going to do something, dammit I do it! :) (hello! I've now blogged everyday for about 450 days!)

Last night, in the thick snow and freezing wind I kept my promise for day 1. I ran my little heart out. Literally. It beat so hard by the end of the run that it broke right through my bones and skin and bounced around in the snow.


Last thing, let me just say that I hated it. When I finished I felt like I was going to die for about 30 minutes. I hope that goes away! And let's hope it's all worth it in the end. (to myself: sexy wedding day, sexy wedding day, ...)

Talk to you soon,

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bridal Shoot in Las Vegas Desert

Hey everybody!

During our trip to Las Vegas, Meredith got a great opportunity to photograph a gorgeous bride out in the desert outside Las Vegas with Victor Sizemore. What is super exciting about it is that the shoot was styled by one of Meredith's favorite wedding people, Summer from Grey Likes Weddings. Meredith and Summer got to chat about OUR wedding, but that's a whole other blog post.

Check out some of my favorites from this session. Kind of unbelievable, right?! Leave Mere some sweet comments!

Talk to you soon,

Some vendor love for those who made the shoot possible:
Victor Sizemore Photography
Styling by Summer Watkins
Historical Jewels
Make Up & Hair: Jill Guin of Darling Bride
Video: Elysium Productions

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sweet words from the Rausch + Post wedding

Hey everybody!

Oh, I just adore my sweet couples! Ashley sent this to me yesterday after looking at all her millions of photos.

Oh.My. We just got back from our Honeymoon last night and what better way to spend the next day than looking at all my fabulous and wonderful wedding pictures! You guys did such a fabulous job! Thank you for capturing the day in a way that makes me feel like I’m reliving my fairytale wedding over and over J You guys are the best!! Can’t wait to go to dinner when y’all get back from Italy!
AND.. P.S…. How on earth did you get the aerial shots!?! AMAZING! I was totally surprised when I saw those!!

Isn't that fun?! We just looooooove them!

Talk to you soon,

Vendor Love (thanks to Jessica for the super list!):
Wedding Planner - Finishing Touch Event Design
Photography - Benfield Photography, Fayetteville, AR
Videography - NILO Productions, Fort Smith, AR
Venue - Fort Smith Convention Center, Fort Smith, AR
Band - The Rockets, Little Rock, AR
Bakery - Shelby Lynn's Cake Shoppe, Springdale, AR
Invitations & paper lovelies - Sincerely Yours Paper, Inc, Springdale, AR
Furniture & Carpet Rental- Eventures Party Rentals, Fayetteville, AR
Linen Rentals - BBJ Linens
Lighting - Event Production Group, Fayetteville, AR
Fireworks - Riverside Fireworks, Fayetteville, AR
Antique Car - Exquisite Limos, Tulsa, OK
Vinyl Monograms - Megan Stewart, Fort Smith, AR
String Quartet - Fort Smith Symphony Orchestra, Fort Smith, AR

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wedding Story! Post + Rausch Wedding

Hey everybody!

I am so excited for today's post. It, again, could be a super long one. There are so many ridiculous shots from the Post & Rausch wedding that my eyes could explode. I just love all the details that Finishing Touch Event Design pulled together for an unbelievable wedding. I've sent some more images over her way for you to see. So, if you want the WHOLE story, you'll have to check out her blog. Now, on with their "tie the knot" story...

Okay, I HAVE to start with this shot, but it's just breathtaking. I mean, gorgeous girl, gorgeous aisle, gorgeous everything!

Now that I've got that over with, let's back up. From the top...
John brought some cigars for the boys to enjoy. And enjoy they did...

Meanwhile, Ashley was eye-deep in the beautification process. Isn't she lovely?!

Oh, I just love that Meredith caught Ashley's emotion pre-ceremony.

The next two shots CRACK.ME.UP I mean, this if FUNNY!!!! Check what I focused on. I got plenty of them getting his tie on, but when we had company, I just couldn't ignore it.

Somebody's a bit thirsty.

Then, we had ourselves a wedding!

After portraits, the couple was announced alongside some indoor fireworks. Fancy!

For this shot, I threw my camera way up in the air on self time. I kid, I kid.

Seriously, you need to go to Jessica's blog because my FAVORITE dance shot from their first dance is on there!
As the Rockets performed, the dancefloor was packed! Here is one of my favorite dance shots from the night. Cool light, right?

Love the sorority pics!

I was a little peeping tom during their photo booth session. Sweet, huh?!

This, peeps, is how you make a leave. Nice!

Oh, Ashley and John! Meredith and I just want to thank you for bringing us along on your fabulous wedding day. From the moment y'all got up until you drove away with fireworks, we enjoyed spending the entire day with you both. We can't wait to hang out with you both more and we're excited to make your amazing couture album! Love ya!

Talk to you soon,

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wedding Portraits! Rausch + Post Wedding

Hey everybody!

I have a few fabulous portraits from John and Ashley's wedding day in Fort Smith. Their super fabulous wedding at the Convention center was amazing, and we were happy to have a little free time after the ceremony to go downtown for some rare Benfield Photography night portraits! We'll have their "tie the knot" story tomorrow, but for now look at my favorite wedding portraits!

Talk to you soon,

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wedding Details! Rausch + Post Wedding

Hey everybody!

THIS is how you tie the knot! There were SO MANY AMAZING DETAILS from this wedding. From Christina Louboutin shoes to a fireworks entrance at the reception to 700 golden chiavari chairs, it was QUITE the evening!

Jessica Kersey, from Finishing Touch Event Design totally ROCKED it out pulling what had to be a million or two things together flawlessly to create an amazing wedding ceremony and reception at the Convention Center in Ft. Smith.

I've put some of my favorites below, but head over to Jessica Kersey's blog Tuesday for some more detail shots to fully set the scene for Ashley and John Rausch's fabulous wedding.

A couple shout-outs for the collage below: Amy at Sincerely Yours (QUEEN of all things paper) had her hand in so many divine elements of Ashley and John's wedding. Also, Jennifer at Shelby Lynn's Cake Shoppe in Springdale busted out an amazing 7 tier masterpiece.

Lastly, I love this furniture and this bar brought by Eventures. So classy and fun!

Pretty insane stuff, huh?!!
Keep coming back for more!!

Talk to you soon,

Monday, March 15, 2010

I hate to be a tease, but...

Hey everybody,

I can't wait to show you what's coming! Starting tomorrow check out the incredible wedding photography blog and Jessica Kersey's blog for Ashley and John's unbelievable wedding. Seriously, ridiculous!
Here's a teaser. Oh, I'm so mean!

Talk to you soon,

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...