Portraits at Atlantic Beach

The beach is a great place for a few family portraits. Here’s a few from a recent session.

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A Cape Lookout Wedding

Bard & Carla allowed me to capture their intimate Cape Lookout wedding. Here a few of my favorites from the event.

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Fort Macon Bridal Session

I had the pleasure of doing a bridal session for Jessica a while back. Here are a few of my favorites from the session.

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A Few Portraits From the 2012 Beach Portrait Season

I’ve been so busy this summer that my blog has been horribly neglected. I thought I play a bit of catch-up and post a selection of portraits from the beach portrait season.

Beach Portraits on the Southern Outerbanks

Beach Portraits

North Carolina Beach Portraits

Family Portraits on Atlantic Beach

Emerald Isle Beach Portraits

Indian Beach Portraits Crystal Coast Beach Photos

North Carolina Beach Portraits

Photos at the Beach

Family Portraits, Morehead City, NC

The Other Side of the Alter: A New Experience for a Long Time Wedding Vendor

A few weeks ago my wife and I received a phone call from my step-daughter. She called to tell us she was going to marry her long time boyfriend, and was coming to North Carolina to do it. During the phone call she made an unexpected request. She wanted to know if I’d be willing to go through the necessary steps to be able to perform the ceremony. To be honest I’d never really considered being an officiant at a wedding, but how could I turn down a request like that. To be frank I found the request to be quite touching. It made me feel like I was something more than a man that had been forced into her life because her mother decided to get remarried.

The wedding was a few days ago, in her aunt’s backyard. While it was only a small gathering of family members I certainly hope it was a special event for her and my new son-in-law. It was an interesting experience trying to put together a ceremony that would be meaningful and memorable for her. It also provided me a nice look into another important part of a wedding… the honor, stress and responsibility of being the officiant. I suspect it might even help make me a better wedding photographer!

Tips For Great Beach Portraits: What to Wear

Choosing the right clothes and accessories can greatly improve your beach photos.You’ve carefully planned your Crystal Coast vacation. You’ve made difficult choices like whether to stay near Atlantic Beach, Salter Path or Emerald Isle. You carefully picked a date to have portraits made at the beach and hired a great photographer (hopefully me!) to do the shoot. But what about clothing for your photos? Here’s a few tips on what to wear to make the images from your beach photo session the best the can be.

With the beauty of our North Carolina beaches in mind, a laid-back casual look is probably the best way to go. Many families choose to coordinate their clothing choices for their location portraits. You may want everyone to dress in identical colors, or simply color coordinate the group. Popular color choices include either white or pastel tops with khaki or denim slacks, pants or capri’s. As a general rule it’s best to avoid patterns and bright colors. After all, you want the attention to be on the people in the photos, not their clothing.

A great variation of the classic khaki/white or denim/white beach color scheme might be for the women and girls to wear long, flowing white dresses instead of slacks or capris. A beachy straw hat can be a nice touch for the girls as well. Another option might be for the guys to wear darker tops, like denim shirts or dark polos. Another way to mix things up is if everyone matches colors but with a mix of styles. One guy might wear a light blue polo, another an oxford. This allows everyone to express them self with their own style.

Sleeveless shirts and blouses are usually not the best choice. Wearing either long or short sleeves tends to make more pleasing pictures. While this is especially true for the ladies, it applies to men as well. Generally people don’t like how they look in photographs when wearing shorts or short skirts. You’ll probably be happier with your portraits if you stick to long pants or capri’s. For summer portraits, many families choose for everyone to be barefoot. Of course sandals or flip-flops can be great too, we are at the beach after all!

Makeup should be kept as natural as possible. It is fine to place some emphasis on your eyes and lips. Be careful to not to get too sunburned, it’s not the greatest look for a portrait. A great tan will photograph very warm, but don’t over do that either. While make-up isn’t recommended for men, an evening portrait on one of the Crystal Coast beaches will greatly benefit from a fresh shave! Even with modern image enhancement techniques, removing a five o’clock shadow is almost impossible.

Though you may not normally use hair spray or other products to hold your hair in place, it is a good idea to use something before coming to the beach for your portrait. An afternoon or evening sea breeze is quite normal along North Carolina beaches. Even a slight wind can blow hair in front of eyes and cause people to keep moving their arms and hands to remove it. The best advice is to use some hair product before you arrive or bring it along in case you need it. Hair bands and ponytails are another good alternative.

Young children may have a favorite beach toy that they like. It might make a great shot if they are allowed to hold it. Depending upon the child, it may be the only way to get them to sit still for a shot. Older children may want to bring a surfboard or skim board, or some other favorite beach toy. It all adds to the personality of the shot. It’s always helpful if youngsters are well rested and fed before they arrive for the photo shoot.

So there you go, a few simple suggestions for making your family beach photos look great. Remember, keep it simple and casual… fun and relaxed. You’re on vacation. Have fun!

Website and Blog Re-Design

As you’ve probably noticed, the R.D. Decker Photography website has a new look. There were several factors behind the re-design. First and foremost the previous site was based on a platform that was not friendly to many devices like smart phones and tablets. Even on those platforms where the site could be viewed navigation was difficult to impossible. That was simply an unacceptable situation. The complete site should now be visible to everyone, whether they’re an “Apple” or a “PC,” on a iDevice or Android.

One of the big drawbacks to the old site was that it wasn’t particularly user friendly on the administration side. It was just difficult to make changes and updates, to add photos and to change text. The new platform will make these kinds of things much easier for me.

While re-working the site I also wanted to make some significant changes to it’s message and focus. So many photographers… or at least their websites… seem focused on the photographer not the bride & groom. When you think about it that’s kind of a shame! A wedding is about the joining of two lives, a wonderful commitment and celebration with friends and family. It isn’t just another opportunity to add to the photographer’s portfolio. The focus on a wedding shouldn’t be about how good a blog post it will make or if it naming the venue and location will help out with SEO (search engine optimization). You first. Your wedding… your day. That is where the focus belongs.

I also wanted to make sure things were a bit more transparent than they were. Unlike other photographers I’ve always listed a starting price for wedding coverage. But I wasn’t sure if the way it was presented was clear enough. I took this opportunity to do some reformatting that will hopefully make it easier to understand what’s included in my coverage and the kinds of customizations options available as well. A big part of the “you first” attitude is that you should be forced into choosing between a few “cookie cutter, one size fits all” types of packages.

Rather than spending too much time explaining the site… I can get a little long-winded if I’m not careful… I’ll stop here and just suggest you take a look around for yourself. I hope you like what you see.

From a Recent Beach Photo Session

I’ve really been bad lately. I just don’t think about blogging sessions. It’s not a matter of not shooting anything, I just keep procrastinating. Maybe I’ll do a few make-up posts in the near future. Regardless, here’s a shot from a recent beach portrait session at Pine Knoll Shores, NC.

Family Session at Pine Knoll Shores

Meet Zoey

Meet Zoey, a 2 year old Yorkshire Terrier that I had the pleasure of doing a portrait session with. An avid animal lover I’m always thrilled to do portrait sessions for pets or pets with their families.


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Pet Portrait of a Yorkie I'm happy to do portraits of pets as well as pets and their owners.

New Pricing for 2012

Considering the state of the economy and having more than a little sympathy for folks who are struggling to make ends meet I decided to lower my package prices. In addition to lowering prices I also decided to add an “Economy Package.” Same great coverage as the others, with a disk and online gallery, just fewer coverage hours. You can check out my online pricing calculator at: http://rddeckerphotography.com/wed-pick/wed-pick.