Meghan Stewart Photography » Jacksonville Florida Award Winning Wedding and Portrait Photographer

Meghan-Stewart-Photography-Peachtree-City-Family-Photographer_0044.jpg Here’s a fun little circle of life story for ya. So, when I was thinking about moving to Selma a little over 4 years ago I wanted this one house but a cute couple bought it before I got a chance. Then by some great “happening” the couple had to move for a job & I got my house. Then they had to move back to Selma & they bought an adorable little house they got to make all their own in a great neighborhood. I love how God works things out like that. We finally met in person & I got to photograph their adorable little family. It was great to connect with a newer family to Selma who is enjoying it, making friends, & creating a life here. Their little munchkin is adorable & so fun. She’s at that one year age where she wants to explore & discover new things, which I think makes life so much fun & fresh for us grownups! You guys, soak it up! Enjoy every second! Thanks for hanging with me & I’ll see ya around!
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Last week we talked about how to work with natural light when taking pictures. We discussed the use of natural reflectors & how to get that pretty back light I like to so much. It will probably always be my favorite but I am kind of falling in love with some dramatic studio lights. Since my husband has been building lights for the movies he decided to build some studio lights for me & I couldn’t be more excited! I decided to end Aga’s head shot session in the studio & I’m pretty stoked with what we got.

Here’s what the set up looked like. I had one smaller light behind her to illuminate the backdrop a bit then two lights on either side of her at about 45 degree angles to her. I started this portion of our session with all of my lights on at 100%. That created a nice even look on her face as well as separate her from the background. I liked that but I wanted to create something a bit more dramatic.

So, I turned off the light on her right side & I loved this dramatic look I got. When I sat her down on the ground I removed the light on the backdrop & I like how her clothing kind of melts into the black of the the background.

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Then I simply had her turn her head a little to her left & voila, an even look but with a bit more drama.Meghan-Stewart-Photography-Peachtree-City-Head-Shot-Photographer_0086.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I turned that light on her right back on but lowered the power of the light her left to about 75 to 50% & I love the softness it created.

This photo, I just really like.

I love to try new things & stretch myself. I’m excited to play more with these lights & create some really beautiful photos. If you’d like to be a model for me I’d love to have you! Happy Friday!

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Little would Melanie know that our session this day sparked something in me. If you’ve been in a profession for any length of time you may know that you sometimes begin to wonder if you’re doing what you were meant to do. That’s where I was at the time of this session. It wasn’t anything photography related or anything specific that she said that reminded me that I’m doing what I was created to do. You see, I love photography but also love relationship & it was the friendship that Melanie & I have created that stuck out to me. We talked & walked & took some really fun pictures of her and her little Valentine (Happy Valentine’s Day!). We shared dreams, desires for the moment, needs, God, & hung out longer than or time allotment for a mini session but that was okay because. . .relationship! So, you see, this thing I do is more than pretty pictures, technique, & the right light. It’s about investing in the lives of the people around me if simply by just listening.

Besides getting some time to catch up with Melanie it’s always fun to watch her’s & Lain’s relationship & learn what he’s into these days. This fall it was all about football season & going to football games. He’s got a pretty good throw so be on the lookout Auburn Tigers (go Bama!). Love you guys!
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Meghan-Stewart-Photography-Peachtree-City-Photographer_0071.jpg As girls we grow up dreaming of the man we’ll marry, the pretty details of the wedding day, & what our life together will be like. We think we’ll have romance all the time, the birds will be singing, we’ll always get along, things will remain kind of as they are & life will be grand. And then you promise forever to that special someone & somehow those fairy tale dreams seem to wash away when you have to talk money, child raising, work & life balance, personal time & together time. It is literally two lives becoming one & the older you are the harder it is because well, we’re used to doing things our way & marriage requires some change. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s still romance, & great love for sure but there’s other stuff we don’t really want to think of before the big day because “that stuff won’t happen to us”. Yeah, all that stuff has happened to us & I’m here to give you just a few tips & things I’ve learned over the past 22 months of marriage to help get you through the not so fun parts of being in union.

One: Choose that this person is the one you want to walk through the tough stuff with. That’s one thing I told Gabe from the beginning. We are two very different people & I knew that could cause some discomfort for us but he was the only one I could see by my side as we walked through the difficult times. That’s still true today! And when those tough times come, choose, do you here that CHOOSE to not walk away.
Meghan-Stewart-Photography-Peachtree-City-Photographer_0069.jpgTwo: Marry someone that makes you laugh your bootatay off! Gabe & I are such dorks. We say & do the silliest things & we love that about each other. We laugh just about on a daily basis (even during our wedding ceremony we cracked each other up!). Find someone who gets your humor & you get theirs. When I don’t totally get my favorite’s humor I just smile & laugh at what a crazy man I married. I love who is.
Meghan-Stewart-Photography-Peachtree-City-Photographer_0068.jpgThree: There will be hard times for each of you so know that some days you’ll need to be strong & some days you’ll have to lay your pride aside & let them carry you. This is a hard one for me. I like to take care of things, to be everything, to have it all under control but there are times that I just lose it & can’t do it all. That’s when Gabe reminds me that I’m not alone anymore & I can lean on him for help. Sometimes you both might be weak but you realize that you’re a bit stronger than they are right then so you better buck up buddy. You’ll get through it . . . together!
Meghan-Stewart-Photography-Peachtree-City-Photographer_0070.jpgFour: Marry someone who challenges you. Yeah, that’s a great one right? But seriously, none of us are perfect & we need someone who loves us in our imperfections but who pushes us to be a better version of ourselves. This can be difficult for both parties involved. Being totally honest here, I have to fight fear a lot – fear of the future, fear of failure, fear of man, fear of what may happen or not happen, fear of dreams unrealized, financial fear, health fears & it can drive Gabe crazy! BUT he sees the real me. He sees how strong I am & he pushes me to do the things I’m afraid of to beat that fear, trust God, & be who I was created to be. It’s super uncomfortable to change who you are but we change the not so great things in us to be better for them – to be better for ourselves. For instance, yesterday I shot my first movie. I was the on set still photographer & I almost didn’t want to take the job because I was afraid. Well, Gabe pushed me to do it & he “held my hand” most of the day but we did it together & I am stronger & better for it. I did it for me but I did it for us. Marry someone who challenges you but stands by your side as you push yourself to breakthrough.
Meghan-Stewart-Photography-Peachtree-City-Photographer_0072.jpgFive: Marry someone who you feel safe with – physically & emotionally. I have never been one for confrontation & it’s still is not my favorite. I may drag my feet in talking about things that are uncomfortable to talk about but every time Gabe proves to me that he is a safe place to go to. It may take time to talk it through & will be uncomfortable but at the end of it all we fight for our marriage, for creating a safe place for each other to share our faults, failures, dreams, & wins. We choose each other & we choose our marriage. And bonus, we usually end up laughing at the end, Gabe says or does something silly, & we’re closer & stronger than we were before!

After 22 months of marriage I have learned that it is not easy but it is super special. I have this one human who chose me above all others (that was in our vows), who sees me – the good the bad and the ugly – and still chooses me. In the midst of the hard times I think of how much stronger we’ll be on the other side, when he’s my strength I have someone to melt into, when we laugh uncontrollably I’m beyond thankful God heard that prayer of mine.  Anyway, I’m not sure why I felt moved to share these things today. I just believe that marriage is such a powerful thing & I hate to see people give up too soon or not really see the value in it. Yes, choose wisely when committing your life to one person but also choose to love them no matter what, in the good times & the bad times. Now, go hug your spouse or your soon to be spouse or say a prayer for that future mate of yours!

Our wedding pictures were taken by the fabulous w+e photographie.

 

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Meghan-Stewart-Photography-Peachtree-City-Head-Shot-Photographer_0050.jpgAs you may know, I am a big time lover of natural light! As I like to call it, “yummy” light. You can ask any of my regular clients & they’ll tell you that they know when we’ve found that light. I kind of do a little dance & swoon over what I’m seeing in my camera. It’s one of the best things ever!

Now, it’s also nice to know exactly how to work with light because well, it’s not all the same. Your camera set on automatic isn’t quite as smart as you think it is. If you were to shoot into the light to get that yummy back light look with your camera set on auto you’d get a totally different look than I’d get setting my camera with my own manual settings. I’m telling you, learn manual & you won’t ever go back. I thought we’d walk through a recent session I did & tell you how I got the looks I did & how I had to work with the natural light. Next week we’ll talk about some studio lighting.

Meet Aga. We connect through facebook & planned a sort of head shot session for her around Senoia & for a different look in my studio with some new lights my husband built me. We had a great time chatting & hearing about each other’s lives & what we’re into. I think we’ll be hanging out outside of the photography world for sure! We started out at the library in Senoia where there are great buildings as well as some nice scenery.

Meghan-Stewart-Photography-Peachtree-City-Head-Shot-Photographer_0051.jpgFor the photos above I made sure to tuck Aga into the shade created by the pillar but also get that light in front of her to bounce back onto her face. Look at how soft & dreamy her skin looks. No touch ups, just natural, soft, light.Meghan-Stewart-Photography-Peachtree-City-Head-Shot-Photographer_0053.jpgWith these two on the rock, I knew I could get some of that pretty back lighting I love so much but it was tricky. I had to move myself around a good bit to make sure the light was blocked enough by those trees back there. I may have looked silly doing my little “find the light dance” but we got a great look I think.

Meghan-Stewart-Photography-Peachtree-City-Head-Shot-Photographer_0052.jpgI’ve been wanting to try some new stuff so I actually put Aga into the harsh light  to create some of those deeper shadows. I just had to make sure she looked toward the light so I could get some fo the details of her face. You’ll see more of this type below.
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Meghan-Stewart-Photography-Peachtree-City-Head-Shot-Photographer_0057.jpgSnow is an awesome natural reflector but here it seems too harsh so I just had her spin around to soften the light on her face.

Below you can see me playing with some of those fun shadows on her face. Aga really liked the different look as did I.
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Meghan-Stewart-Photography-Peachtree-City-Head-Shot-Photographer_0059.jpgOkay, so here these had great white natural reflectors to work with. As you can see in the photo above the wall she’s leaning on is kind of white so it’s bouncing some nice light off to create that soft dreamy look I love so much. Below, I once again found a spot to get some back lighting & thankfully we had a white building facing us so hello natural reflector! I had to do my crazy little dance to make sure that tree or building blocked just enough light so I could actually see her beautiful face. Now, sometimes it’s fun to let that light flood in & kind of wash away some of the details. It may not be everyone’s favorite but I like it. . .sometimes.
Meghan-Stewart-Photography-Peachtree-City-Head-Shot-Photographer_0065.jpg. . . and the white wall I was talking about. Just FYI most photographers love white walls and rooms.
Meghan-Stewart-Photography-Peachtree-City-Head-Shot-Photographer_0064.jpgBelow is an example of more of that harsh light I’m not too fond of but I like playing with it & creating something more dramatic. Here I wanted to make sure part of Aga’s face was light well so I had her turn just far enough to almost create a light & dark side to her face. We like these & variety is the spice of life right?
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Meghan-Stewart-Photography-Peachtree-City-Head-Shot-Photographer_0066.jpgMore white wall reflectors above & below!
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Meghan-Stewart-Photography-Peachtree-City-Head-Shot-Photographer_0062.jpgShooting in the little town of Senoia is one of my favorites. I love that the buildings are kind of closer together creating the shadows I need from the harsh sun but also providing great reflectors to create that yummy soft look I like. Also, it’s good to note that I try to shoot around what we photographers call “the golden hour” which is the hour right before sunset. It doesn’t always work out with everyone’s schedule so then I really take into consideration where we’ll shoot looking for those natural reflectors & shade from the harsh light of the sun.
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Meghan-Stewart-Photography-Peachtree-City-Head-Shot-Photographer_0048.jpgThese here were more of just positioning myself in the right place so that the trees would block the hard light streaming in so I could get the look I wanted. Success!
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I hope you’ve enjoyed this first installment of Photo Tip Friday & will be back next week for our studio shots with Aga. I’m pretty stoked about those! If you have questions please feel free to comment below or email me. If you’d be interested in a little beginner class or mentor session I’d be happy to put something together for you! Happy shooting!

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