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!!!

Trident Medical Center at the Francis Marion Hotel

Every year for the last I-can’t-remember-how long, I’ve had the honor of photographing this WONDERFUL holiday party for the Trident Medical Center!

Deborah and her team have created such a warm and festive atmosphere for this event. And they’ve fine-tuned every detail to make it a nun night of celebrating the holidays and celebrating the close of another amazing year of healthcare! Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention her partners at the Francis Marion Hotel, who always do an AMAZING job. Gillian and Ariana are just incredible people, making sure every detail is attended to.

CONGRATULATIONS to the entire staff at Trident Medical Center for another fantastic year!!!

Trident Healthcare Holiday Party

It’s been our pleasure to photograph the Trident Healthcare Christmas Party for the last several years. They are such a great group. And the couples really seem to appreciate having a nice portrait of themselves, all dressed up in their festive attire!

Aside from setup shots of the banquet hall, and candids of the party, for most of the guests the highlight is our print-on-site Portrait Station! I’ve included a few behind-the-scenes shots of my setup. But basically, I create a mini-portrait studio, using wireless Nikon SB-800 flashes, Manfrotto light-stands, and Westcott umbrellas. I photograph each couple with a Nikon D5 and a Nikkor 24-70, while it’s tethered to my Lenovo Yoga laptop via Adobe Lightroom. After shooting a few test shots before guests arrive, I create a custom preset in Lightroom (including parameters such as white balance, exposure, and contrast) so that every shot comes out perfect and consistent. After capturing two or three quick shots of each couple, I bring them over to the laptop, where they get to immediately see the images and pick out their favorite. I then print out a beautiful 5×7 portrait of that image using the high-speed DNP DS-40 Dye Sublimation Printer, slip it into an elegant black folio, and hand it to them. Couples LOVE the instant gratification of being able to walk away with their portrait in hand!!!

We always enjoy working with the amazing team at Trident. I can’t wait to do it again next year!!!

ABC of the Carolinas

It was out pleasure to welcome and photograph the Associated Builders & Contractors of the Carolinas in Charleston this week!

ABC of the Carolinas held their annual convention and marketing conference here under sunny skies and gorgeous weather. On the first day, my friend and amazing photographer, Gary Coleman, helped me cover the fishing tournament, Redfin Charters. Meanwhile, I covered the golf tournament at the Wild Dunes Harbor Course. On the second day, I photographed the conference, keynote speakers, and convention at the beautiful and picturesque Francis Marion Hotel.

Many thanks to Meredith for the kind referral, and to Pamela for all her hard work organizing the event. It was a pleasure serving this wonderful community of talented and hard-working men and women!

TCRM Conference at Francis Marion Hotel

Total Customized Revenue Management was formed to help hotels and resorts reach their full potential by using a customized approach to maximize revenue oportunities. With over 75 years of combined experience, TCRM understands hoteliers’ needs, and the demands of the day-to-day operation.

I had the privilege of photographing TCRM’s Annual Conference this year! All the top executives and key members of the operation gathered at the beautiful Francis Marion Hotel in historic downtown Charleston for three days of intense strategy meetings, keynote presentations, and round-table discussions. Aside from capturing the various activities, I had the honor of creating new head-shots and executive portraits of several leaders in the organization.

I truly had a great time working with TCRM. What a great group of talented individuals!!!

WithIt Head-shots

A professional head-shot says a lot about an individual. If you’re still using an amateur snapshot, or worse a “selfie”, for your website, business cards, LinkedIn profile, and so on…you could be loosing business!

We live in a world where images are EVERYWHERE!!! Since the invention of digital cameras and the cell phone, this is the most photographed generation in the history of the world. So how do you make YOUR images stand out in the oceans of images that your clients are bombarded with every single day?

These same clients are making split-second decisions on whether you’re a genuine, professional, knowledgeable, trustworthy, and personable individual that they would like to meet and work with. A professional head-shot conveys all of this and more! It makes a statement about you. It grabs their attention. And it opens doors to opportunities you would otherwise miss out on!

Last week I had the distinct honor of photographing head-shots for the amazing ladies at the WithIt Professional Women’s Conference. These are the business leaders, the movers, and the shakers of their respective industries!!!

Student Transportation Inc at Francis Marion Hotel

I had the pleasure of photographing this AMAZING event at the Francis Marion Hotel for a wonderful organization named Student Transportation Inc.

Unlike some of the other school bus services around the country, these guys really care about the safety of their kids! One of the ways I know that, is by the mere fact that they have this fantastic Awards Banquet to honor their top drivers! These folks are true heroes!!! We’re talking records like “driving for 30 years without a single preventable accident” or “never ever ever having missed a day of work to drive their appointed route”.

It was a humbling experience being a part of this incredible occasion. I salute all the award recipients! And I want to send a HUGE shout out to the amazing folks at Student Transportation Inc. Keep up the great work!!!

First Corporate Event with the Nikon D500

I’ve had the new Nikon D500 for a couple weeks now. It’s been fun putting it through its paces on a battery of personal projects to make sure it was good to go for paid assignments. (I NEVER shoot an assignment for a client with a new piece of equipment without testing it thoroughly first.) Here are a few images from my very first outing with the D500 with ISO ranges from 800 to 12,800:  In the end, I was very pleased with the performance and the results from this little camera!!!

Here are a few shots from this event using the D500. If you’d like to see the full spectrum of images, and compare how it stacked up against the D4, check out this post:  I doubt you’d be able to spot any difference without some serious pixel peeping at 100% enlargement.

I knew that photographing in the Gold Ballroom at the Francis Marion Hotel was going to be a great challenge for this little crop-sensor camera. It’s a very dim conference room. Most of these shots were done at ISO ranges of 1600-3200…yet were completely usable! There is definitely a stop or so difference between this camera and the legendary D4 in terms of noise at these higher ISO settings. But that’s pretty impressive considering the D4 is a 16MP FX camera, and the D500 is a 21MP DX camera!

My kit for the last decade or so has usually comprised two identical full-frame flagship cameras, and one crop-sensor camera. I like shooting with two identical cameras with different focal lengths to make sure I never miss a moment. But I also like having a third camera that has a different set of “skills”, which I often use as a remote camera or a telephoto camera. Ever since the days of the D3/D300 combo, I’ve tried mixing in the D7100, D7200, and D810 as my third camera body. But none of them truly resonated with me. Now I feel like my third camera body has that magic mojo again!!!

For this event, I started out with a D4 + 70-200 f2.8, D4 + 24-70 f2.8, and D500 + 14-24 f2.8. For corporate events, I find the 14-24 is just TOO wide. I’ve often wished Nikon had a 16-35 f2.8 like Canon does. I do have Nikon’s 16-35 f4 VR as well. But it just isn’t as sharp, or as fast as the legendary 14-24. By mounting the 14-24 on the D500 crop-sensor body, I effectively make it a 21-36mm…which is a much more useful range for general event coverage.

Since this was a relatively small event, the D4 + 70-200 combo gave me PLENTY of telephoto power. But in the larger corporate events I shoot, I’m often yearning for more reach to get a tight crop of the speaker, for example. This is where the real benefit of the D500 comes in! Switching the 70-200 to the D500 gave me an effective focal length of 105-300 f2.8!!! Plus, the 14-24 goes back on the D4, allowing me to have those super-wide shots if I want them.

I haven’t even mentioned the phenomenal new focusing system in the D500, the super clean files, the spot-on white balance, the wicked fast processing engine, the whisper quiet shutter sound, the cranking 10fps, and the speed of the XQD cards. In the end, I was VERY pleased with the Nikon D500. It is definitely here to stay! Eventually I’ll probably replace the D4 bodies with D5 bodies. I think the D5/D500 combo will be a formidable setup indeed!!!

Hotel Room Head-shots

While photographing the Withit Women’s Conference at the historic Francis Marion Hotel this week, part of my assignment included creating head-shots for the professional ladies attending the program.

The motivational conference was held in the elegant Gold Ballroom. So as not to distract from the speakers, and to give each lady the time and privacy they deserved for their photo session, I was asked to setup in one of the hotel rooms down the hall. The point of this post is to show that with a little knowledge, a smart selection of compact lighting tools, and some beautiful subjects to work with, professional portraits can be created just about anywhere!!!

My entire portable studio setup included 6 Nikon SB-800 speedlights, 4 Manfrotto light stands, 2 60″ Westcott shoot-through umbrellas, and a white pop-up style background. Utilizing the given space to suite my purpose, I arranged everything around using the white doors as a reflector for extra fill. A couple of the flashes were used as background lights to create the modern high-key look I wanted. A couple flashes were used to evenly disperse light through one umbrella as the main light source. And the last two were used similarly through the other umbrella as a fill light. This entire lighting kit fits into a large Manfrotto tripod bag for compact portability!

All the flashes were triggered through RadioPoppers, using a Nikon SB910 as the Master flash. The images were photographed with a Nikon D4, and a Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 VRII, tethered to my laptop. After each client’s portrait session, we reviewed the images together to make sure there was something in there that they LOVED!!!  🙂

Tamarae & David at Fort Johnson Baptist

Tamarae & David finally tied the knot last weekend after about 6 years together.  They met freshman year at George Mason, where Tamarae may or may not have stalked David until he made her his girlfriend.  J  She is such a bubbly, fun-loving extrovert, has a flare for the dramatic, and enjoys drama and art.  While he is quiet and reserved…that is until you get to REALLY know him.  He sings, writes music, and plays in a band.  In fact, he recorded and sang the song they did their first dance to.  They complement each other so well.  Which made their wedding day a true joy for me to be a part of!  

The wedding was held at the gorgeous Fort Johnson Baptist Church.  Afterwards we went downtown for a fun photo shoot, where they were picked up by Palmetto Carriage for a quiet ride to the historic Francis Marion Hotel for their reception.  I got to work with some of my favorite vendors, including Jeff Bradt Video, Cakes by Kasarda, Jay Maxwell’s Music by Request, the Mike Wolk Jazz Group, Seithel’s Florist, and of course the fabulous Caroline Bean from the Francis Marion.  Tamarae’s dress came from Blush, the bridesmaids dresses were from the amazing LulaKate, and the gentleman were outfitted at Berlin’s Tuxedos.  Everything went as smooth as could be.  After watching the fun Music Video at, head over to to see the rest of their photos.

Tamarae & David, it was such an honor and a pleasure being part of your special day!!!