In photography the things unplanned can be the best opportunities.

Sometimes in life you have to be in the right place at the right time. Recently I had a week which epitomized this thinking and provided great opportunities for photography. I was a part of four wonderful events and only one of them was planned.

It was a whirlwind kind of week and it all started with a friend’s 50th birthday party.

I was invited to attend Keith’s 50th shindig as a guest. After a crazy navigation mix up (Navigation programs aren’t always correct) I made it to the party at Mambo Jambo Restaurant in Alpharetta, Ga. When I arrived with my family everyone was already festive, happy and mingling. Keith’s wife Peggy, who is also a photographer, asked if I could do her a favor and take a few photos of those in attendance.  I completely understood. If she took pictures she’d never be part of the event for her husband.  She said, “I hope it’s not too much trouble.” It surely was not any trouble. I felt like a little kid who was given a bag full of quarters and told to go have fun at the arcade.

Keith's 50th B Day (96) copy

I was in my element and tried to capture as many moments as I could. What I wanted most was to not only capture the environment and the smiles, but to also capture the bond between Keith, Peggy and their kids, Max and Quinn. This family has experienced ups and downs, wins and losses. Throughout it all it galvanized them as a family. If you are around them this fact is undeniable. It was such an upbeat group. I was glad to help out great friends and capture this special occasion.

The second opportunity came via a referral from a client I’ve done work for in the past. I was busy working when I received a text asking if I was Roger the Photographer and my availability. I responded yes and asked about the job. The session was for Mr. Delvin Jones. He recently retired to the Metro Atlanta area and had always wanted to visit The King Center in Atlanta and honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Second Wind foundation wanted to make this wish happen for him. They needed video and photography. I asked when the event was taking place. The client stated Wednesday. I was reading this text late afternoon on Monday. Wait what?!

I agreed to the job and it was a great event to be a part of. Mr. Jones was picked up by a Mercedes limousine with full service. This was significant because he retired as a porter for a Mercedes Benz dealership in New Jersey. Along with his wife, daughter and staff from Pruitt Health he was escorted to the King Center in style. While there his story also made the local news as a great human interest piece.

Delvin Jones Wish Fulfilled (16)

 

The family then ate lunch at Mary Mac’s before returning home. I was so honored to help capture the moments of this special day. An added bonus is I conversed with the family like we’d known each other for years. The only time we spoke about photography or video was when I had to take the shot. Besides that it was story-telling and laughs. Mr. Jones and his family were such a blessing to be around.

 

The third opportunity was more of a coincidence. My daughter was invited to her cousin Leyla’s ninth birthday party at Sweet & Sassy in Cumming, Ga. Well, I always keep my camera with me as my friends and family can tell you. I’d never been to this location before so I didn’t know what to expect. I’d packed up my gear early in the day but at the last minute I decided to at least pull out my camera and a lens. I was very happy I did.

Leyla's 9th at Sweet and Sassy (27)This was a show!!! I do mean show! For all the girls in attendance for the party, Sweet & Sassy treats each one like a star. You start off with sparkling dress choices. Then the girls are escorted to Hollywood style make-up chairs. Here the staff fluffs up their hair, apply make-up and paints their nails. Of course sparkles and glitter is in order because, well, what little girl doesn’t like that?

Once funny masks and other accessories are added then the girls are prepared for a “runway” themed show. This is just really cool to see. Add in some story time and hula hooping and you have a recipe for some very happy little girls. Almost forgot to add there’s a party room for food, drinks and cake to top it off.  Their youthful exuberance had me in smiles all day.

The final opportunity was actually the only “planned” session of the week. Through friends I was recommend to John and Nadine. They are getting married later this year. In our discussions about the wedding set up a date to plan their engagement session in Newnan, Ga. I was so excited to be able to photograph this session for them. After agreeing to a time I was off to Newnan.

John and Nadine have great friends. The wedding will take place in the backyard of their neighbor, Brenda, who along with her family, have a whole plan put together on how the wedding will take place. They’ve hosted wedding before and have their routine in place.  The engagement session took place on another neighbor’s property with access to a lake. Very cool people indeed.

When I’m conducting a photography session I like to get the subjects talking. I’ve found when you tell someone to “relax” or “smile” they do the opposite and it shows in the pictures. Well, once I started them talking Nadine picked up the ball and ran with it. I did not realize how funny she could be. She was laughing, John was laughing and I was definitely laughing.

IMG_0180 copy

It was like she knew what I was going to ask because when I was about to make a suggestion she would give me this “Hollywood Glamour” voice and start going through poses. I had to compose myself to make sure I didn’t take a shaky picture because I was laughing so hard. She jokingly said “Didn’t you know I was a ham?”  I obviously had no idea. This was such a fun session that left me in stitches.

Like I said it was a great week that provided great opportunities for photography and networking as well. I’m so glad I was flexible enough to be a part of it all.

 

To see more pictures from each of these stories click here.

To read my previous post click here.

As always, feel free to like and leave a comment. Thanks!

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