150 Year Birthday Celebration

When Mr. & Mrs. Aucoin asked if I would photograph their combined 150 Year Birthday Celebration, I was absolutely DELIGHTED!!!

I had been recommended to them by their good friend Elizabeth Gardner, who’s son’s wedding I photographed last year in Florence. Bryant and Mary Beth’s wedding was so much fun. So I knew the Aucoin’s birthday bash would be as well!  🙂

The celebration took place at The Lake House at Bulow. I remember photographing the property for the original owners, Bill & Coy, before they sold it to the James Island County Park system. It’s a gorgeous property with a huge log cabin, nice lawn, and wrap-around decks, overlooking a pristine lake.  They’ve also built a picturesque bridge that goes over to an island covered in tall pine trees.  I’ve photographed weddings held on that island, surrounded by those majestic trees.

With close friends and family coming from far and wide, the festivities began on a gorgeous spring afternoon. The air was filled with chatter and laughter as people reconnected, played games, enjoyed good food and drinks, and celebrated this amazing couple. As day turned into night, the party continued with music and dancing, toasts and roasts, and so much more!

It was an absolute pleasure being a part of this special celebration. CONGRATULATIONS to Mr. & Mrs. Aucoin!!!

Paulina & Ben’s Greek Orthodox Wedding

Two weeks before the Covid-19 “shutdown”, I had the pleasure of photographing Sommer & Frank’s wedding. Several years before that, I had the privilege of photographing Sommer’s sister’s wedding, when Sarah & Trent got married. Now…3 years later…after the pandemic bans on public gatherings have been lifted…it was my GREAT PLEASURE to photograph Frank’s sister’s wedding!  Paulina & Ben tied the knot on a beautiful blue-sky afternoon at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity!!!

If you haven’t already, check out the beautiful story of their Secret Proposal here:  https://chrisandcami.com/ben-proposes-to-paulina-at-the-holiday-festival-of-lights/.

When the big day arrived, I met up with Paulina and the girls on the top floor of the Harbour Club at Westedge, where they were all getting ready.  The atmosphere was fun and festive.  And Paulina looked stunning!  I absolutely LOVED the pride and joy in her Dad’s eyes when he came in for that “First Look” with his little girl!

Meanwhile, my good friend Robbin caught up with Ben and the guys, who were all getting ready at the Courtyard by Marriott Charleston Waterfront. I think one of the most special moments of the day was when the trolley was taking Ben the guys over to the church, and he had them stop so he could come up, lean his head on the outside of the door, hold Paulina’s hand, and tell her how much he was looking forward to marrying her!

Once everyone was at the church, a beautiful, warm, candlelit sanctuary welcomed friends and family from far and wide. The ceremony was FILLED with so many special moments…from Paulina and Ben’s brothers laying out the aisle runner, to Ben’s mom singing a soulful rendition of Ave Maria…from Paulina’s Dad singing in the choir, to her godfather being the Koumbaros and assisting with the Exchanging of Rings and The Crowning ceremony. Father Ari led a touching heartfelt ceremony. And Ms. Cleo did an amazing job of keeping everyone on schedule. It truly was a special ceremony I’ll never forget!

A highlight for me personally was getting to spend a few minutes in a private session with Paulina & Ben at Brittlebank Park on our way to the reception.  The vibrant orange glow from the final rays of sunshine, and the transitioning sky as “blue hour” set in, provided a dynamic backdrop for a few dramatic portraits of the gorgeous couple!

Then it was on to the reception back at the Harbour Club at Westedge.  Robbin had already covered the cocktail hour.  So once Paulina and Ben had gotten a few minutes to catch their breath (while he changed into a suit and she put her hair up), it was time for the Main Event!!!  After an enthusiastic welcome for the wedding party, Paulina & Ben’s first dance as husband and wife, and some touching toasts, DJ David kicked things into high gear!  I always love the energy and enthusiasm of Greek dancing.  And WOW…did this group know how to do it right?!?  Everyone had a BLAST, while Robbin and I captured all the excitement of the evening!

Many thanks to Ashleigh with Everything After the Ring for the beautiful florals, and for keeping everyone organized throughout the day.

CONGRATULATIONS Ben & Paulina!!!  You are so perfect for each other!  We wish you all the best as you begin this new chapter in your lives…

Trident Health Holiday Gala

I’ve been photographing Trident Healthcare’s Christmas Party for almost a decade now…sheeesh that makes me sound old. 🙂

Held at the old historic Francis Marion Hotel, I set up a portrait station by the Christmas Tree just outside the banquet hall. This includes a Nikon D5, 4 Flashpoint Speedlights, Manfrotto supports, and Westcott umbrellas. As soon as each couple gets checked in, I snap a photo of them, which is instantly transferred to the laptop, where Cami fine-tunes the image if needed, and sends it to the DNP DS40 5×7 printer. Within seconds, their print comes out and is slipped into an elegant black 8×10 folio.  Guests can take them right then if they wish.  Otherwise, we lay them out on a table for them to pick up as they leave for the evening!

Once everyone has arrived, I switch to the Nikon Z9 for candid photos of everyone mingling during cocktails, catching up during dinner, and enjoying the presentations and awards by the CEO of Trident Health, Christina Oh, and her team.

Capturing the couple’s photos, candids, and awards ceremony at the annual Holiday Gala for Trident Health has become a milestone I look forward to each and every year!!!

Johnstone Supply Awards Banquet at Charleston Marriott

Johnstone Supply is a wholesale distributor serving professional HVACR contractors throughout the state. They offer the largest selection of equipment and genuine OEM parts in the industry. Plus they have replacements for nearly every major brand and an extensive cross reference system that makes sourcing hard-to-find parts easy!

It was my pleasure to photograph their Dealer Networking Party and Awards Banquet at the Charleston Marriott this year. It was a fantastic evening, including cocktails, silent auction, live music, dinner, an awards presentation, a networking hour with top suppliers, games, dancing, and more!

Many thanks to Somer for all her hard work coordinating every detail, and to my friend Jeff for helping cover some of the program. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event!!!

Seamon Whiteside Christmas Party at Hibernian Hall

Seamon Whiteside is such a fun company to work with. They have a culture that exudes positive energy and enthusiasm. The management team really cares about it’s people. The friendships and work relationships within their staff are genuine and true. All this becomes self-evident at their Holiday Party each year!

This year’s gala was a fabulous Hawaii-themed event at the Hibernian Hall. Cindy from Eventfully Yours Charleston had completely decked the place out with palm trees and pineapples. And TruSol from East Coast Entertainment absolutely rocked the night away!

CONGRATULATIONS to all our friends at Seamon Whiteside for another successful year!!! Here’s looking forward to many more good times in 2023…

Charleston Trident Association of Realtors at The Dewberry

An historic event took place at the Installation Reception for The Charleston Trident Association of Realtors earlier this week. For the first time in the history of CTAR, an African American woman was voted in as president! It was a pleasure photographing this wonderful event at The Dewberry Hotel. Congratulations to Katesha Breland and all the other inductees!!!

The Righteous Gemstones Wrap Party

Cami and I had an absolute BLAST providing an interactive photo-activation in front of The Redeemer this weekend!!!

The Redeemer is the name of the monster truck featured in the popular HBO series, The Righteous Gemstones.  The show features John Goodman, Danny McBride, Adam DeVine, Cassidy Freeman, and many more colorful characters.  After completing filming for the season, the cast and crew gathered at the Firefly Distillery for a private “Wrap Party” to celebrate. The truck was placed on the lawn, where we set up lights, laptop, printer, and a fog machine. Throughout the evening, cast, crew, and guests would stop by and do photos in front if the setup, which we instantly printed and handed to them in an elegant black portfolio.

There were food trucks, drinks, dancing, and tons of other activities going on. But once people started seeing the photos we were producing, the line never stopped! The photos were a HUGE HIT…and we loved every minute of it!!!  🙂

Many thanks to Andrea and her team for making it all happen, and to my friend Matthew for the kind referral.

Becca & Matt’s Wentworth Mansion Wedding

When Matt hired me to photograph his Surprise Proposal to his beautiful girlfriend, Becca, back in August, I felt a real connection to this AMAZING couple:  https://chrisandcami.com/matts-middleton-place-proposal-to-becca/.  So you can imagine how excited I was when they called to ask if I would photograph their wedding!!! 🙂

“True Love” is what comes to mind when I think of Becca & Matt. The way he looks at her, the way she holds his hand, the way they know what each other is thinking without saying a single word…it’s like a fairy tale! In keeping with their love for each other, Becca & Matt wanted to get married as soon as possible. So they proposed having me photograph a small elopement, just an intimate ceremony with the two of them and their parents. Then later next summer, they would have me photograph the big reception with all their friends and family!

This weekend Becca & Matt tied the knot at the old historic Wentworth Mansion. The 21-room tribute to Charleston’s gilded age exudes the glamour and grandeur of the Holy City. Italian crystal chandeliers, hand-carved marble fireplaces, and Tiffany stained glass create a setting of gracious hospitality, further enhanced by luxurious amenities and thoughtful guest experiences – all just a short stroll from the city’s world-class dining and shopping.

The touching ceremony was led by Becca’s cousin, Kerrie. Warm sunlight danced through the iconic trees as Becca and her father made their way down the giant staircase. Surrounded by the love of their parents, Becca & Matt exchanged their vows on the grand lawn under a brilliant blue sky.

After signing their license, it was time to “play”. So the three of us set about capturing a variety of creative images, paying homage to the timelessness of the incredible setting, and preserving the beauty of this amazing couple on the happiest day of their lives!  Eventually the sun dipped below the horizon, and the happy couple joined their parents across the way at the Circa 1886 Restaurant for dinner.

CONGRATULATIONS Becca & Matt!!! We wish you all the happiness in the world as you begin this new chapter in your lives…

Frito Lay Headshots at Wild Dunes Resort

As part of our contract to cover Frito Lay’s Atlantic Region Rollout Meeting at Wild Dunes Resort, we were asked to provide headshot stations for anyone needing an updated portrait.

Over 200 employees signed up…and we had a very short window in which to photograph them before the general session began! So I reached out to my good friend Jason of Docent Prodigy to double up with me. Jason is my Moto Photo Adventures partner-in-crime (check out our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/motophotoadventures), and an amazing photographer in his own right!

We set up our “double-trouble” studio in the Boardroom at the Boardwalk Inn, using a Savage Studio Gray backdrop in a diagonal pattern to allow more shooting space on each side. Each station included a Z9, Flashpoint trigger, 2 Flashpoint Speedlights in a Westcott 60″ umbrella as the main light, 1 Flashpoint Speedlight in a 43″ Westcott umbrella as the fill light, and 1 Flashpoint Speedlight in a Westcott Apollo Strip soft box as a kicker light. Everything was placed on Manfrotto supports, held down by BoaBags for safety. In one station, the Z9 was mounted with 24-120S f4 lens (set at around 105mm). In the other station, the Z9 was mounted with a 70-200G f2.8 (also set around 105mm). Everything was shot at ISO 400, f5.6, 1/200, with the flashes dialed to 1/16 power. These settings ensured fast recycle time and no risk of running out of battery power in spite of such a large group.

Even though we had calculated a window of approximately 2 minutes per person, our task was made even more challenging when we were told we also had to rename each person’s headshot to include their region, first name, and last name. This meant each camera had to be tethered to a computer. We used Lenovo Yoga laptops for the task. But since Lightroom doesn’t yet support tethering to the Z9, we used Nikon NX Tether software for the job. It’s a simple, clean, and robust program. And the best part is, it allows you to press a shortcut key to bring up a renaming dialogue box before you shoot each person. This allowed us to input each person’s region, first, and last name into NX Tether before each client. Thus, each image was being automatically renamed by the program while it was transferring to the laptop.

The system worked beautifully, everyone was so friendly, and we had a BLAST!!!

Many thanks to Kate at Destination South, Jason with Docent Prodigy, and Donna & Tracey from Frito Lay for all their help. I couldn’t have done it without you!

Frito Lay Conference at Wild Dunes Resort

Photographing the annual Frito Lay Conference last week was an absolute pleasure!

During this Atlantic Region Rollout Meeting, we photographed everyone’s headshots, their meetings, keynote speakers, awards ceremonies, team-building activities, and the fabulous Oyster Roast to celebrate the conclusion of this awesome event.

Many thanks to Kate at Destination South, Jason with Docent Prodigy, and Donna & Tracey from Frito Lay for all their help. I couldn’t have done it without you!!!

* Nikon Z9 (x2), Nikkor 14-30S f4, Nikkor 24-70S f2.8, Nikkor 24-120S f4, Nikkor 70-200G f2.8 + FTZ, DJI Mini 3 Pro, Flashpoint speedlights, ThinkTank Speedbelt, Spider Holster

Rosen Hagood Open House Event

“Personal attention. Know-how. And seven decades of South Carolina legal experience. That’s Rosen Hagood.”

After ten years at their Meeting Street location, Rosen Hagood has relocated to the Charleston Gateway Center at 40 Calhoun Street. To celebrate 75 years in business, and to introduce this new “home” to their clients, the award-winning law firm held a fantastic Open House Event at their new office this week.  It was my pleasure to cover the event!

Back in 1947, Morris Rosen founded the firm on Broad Street. In 1985, Brew Hagood became partner. In 2022, Rosen Hagood celebrated 75 years of South Carolina legal experience and leadership.  This driven and dedicated team received six Tier 1 rankings and one Tier 2 ranking in the 2023 U.S. News Best Law Firms” list!!!

Estuary Beans & Barley

Charleston has so many cool venues…yet I keep discovering new ones ever day! Here are a few photos from a fun “Sip & See” event I photographed for my good friend and amazing photographer, Gary Colemen. I met up with the group at the Estuary Beans & Barley and the adjoining Charleston Distillery on Johns Island. Afterwards, we all stopped and admired the iconic Angel Oak. Exploring this beautiful 500-year old tree never gets old (pun intended)!