Using the Stars and Stripes in photography

It’s that time of year again –  Independence Day weekend!  It’s usually a time when patriotic pride swells within us.  It’s a time for parades, celebrations, picnics with friends and families and flags are flown proudly.  I have a lot of British friends so of course there are more than a few emails and phone calls coming up this weekend.  Yeah, we tend to be a nation filled with pride, and many (myself included) would say rightfully so.  Seeing the Stars and Stripes flying high…or sadly flying at half mast…still brings a lump to my throat.  So it’s no surprise that we want the Stars and Stripes in our photography.  Just look at Pinterest and you’ll find countless examples of people proudly using our nation’s flag in their images.  Awesome idea…right!?  Wait a minute, before you pick up the phone or hit us up on the website with your flag inspired portrait shoots…there are a few things I’d ask you to think about.

I believe absolutely amazing images can be built around the flag…BUT, there’s a difference between a prop and a flag, and they’re important to remember as we start designing your photography experience.

Combination of symbols represented on a piece of cloth, serving as a medium of social, typically political, communication. It is usually rectangular and attached by one edge to a staff or is hoisted on a pole with halyards. Flags appear to be as old as civilized human society, though their origin is not well understood. The Chinese may have been the first to develop cloth flags, and it is believed that they were introduced to Europe by returning Crusaders. Most national flags in use today were designed in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Showing your pride by incorporating the Stars and Stripes is a wonderful idea, but here are a few tips to keep in mind.

– The flag should always be flown with respect, with the star field at the top.  A flag flown upside down is a sign of distress.

– Our flag should never be draped over something as a cover or used as a decoration.  Remember flags are draped over the caskets of our fallen as a sign of a nation’s respect.  Do you think the coffee table deserves that same reverence?

– The flag should never be allowed to touch the ground.

– I know it’s incredibly popular, but the flag should not be worn as clothing or used as a cover.  Using red, white and blue themed clothing works terrific as a stand-in and you’ll look incredible.  Patches worn on uniforms are the exception to this one.

– Should never be altered (writing, images, etc).  She’s pretty much perfect just the way she is.

There are some terrific images out there.  However, no matter how cute the kids, or beautiful the model, stepping on the flag, sitting on the flag, draping it over a nude body, etc…is still disrespecting a very important symbol of our nation.  I’m pretty lucky now days.  Living in DC there are countless opportunities and inspirations for incorporating Ol’ Glory into the images we create for our couples, but I constantly remember that that image is going to be hanging in the couple’s home.  The last thing I want to do is create a situation where there is an awkward conversation for them at the next family get-together.

If you’re like me, I tend to want to read it for myself.  So here’s a little light reading for you, in the form of a report prepared for a Senate committee.  Rachel Brenke, the Law Tog, wrote a great piece on this subject too.  You can check it out here.

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Getting married and would like us to be there for you?  Couples are already booking their 2015 dates…and locking in 2014 prices (I love a smart couple)  Click here to contact us now to see if your big day is available and let’s get to know each other.

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Wedding day surprises

When it comes to planning the shoot sequence for a wedding, the only certainty is to plan the best I can and expect the unexpected…and I freakin’ love it.  But this wedding, this wedding day surprise is just epic!

If you’re planning something like this at your wedding, call me.  Seriously call me right now.  I have a killer deal for you just to be able to see this in person and get this on camera.

Don’t take my word on it.  Check this out and tell me this isn’t the coolest surprise ever.  Okay, that officiant may just be the coolest officiant ever too.

Here are some other awesome wedding dances.  Warning…what happens at 2:55 can not be unseen.  That being said, wouldn’t you like to be a guest at one of these?

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Getting married and would like us to be there for you?  Click here to contact us now to see if your big day is available and let’s get to know each other.

Hey, don’t just stop here , let’s get social 🙂  Clink on the buttons and below and join in on the fun.

 

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Where do those wedding traditions come from?

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The exchanging of the rings is one of my favorite moments during a wedding.  Everything about it is just incredible.  By this point in the ceremony the bride has already made her grand entrance and walked down the isle drawing “ooohs” and “aaaahs” from everybody in attendance (another classic photo).  Yeah, that tradition is incredible but from there the energy just keeps building.  Then there’s the wedding officiant, who can always be counted on to bring a lump to the throat and a smile to the face of everybody with their practiced words to the couple. Or maybe it’s the groom gently holding his bride’s hand as he slides the ring onto her finger? Or it could be our understanding of the eternal nature of the ring itself or collective hopes for happiness and love?  I dunno, but I’m telling you this, it’s very nearly an electric feeling!  Most of us know the rings, or circles, have long been considered symbols of the eternal nature of the marriage, but did you know the history of the ring itself?

Of course the exchanging of the rings isn’t the only tradition.  Ever find yourself wondering why the bride carries that colorful pretty bouquet?  (Pst…it has something to do with how those flowers smell)  Or how about that garter belt carefully selected but worn just out of sight?  What about the tradition of something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue?  The story behind these and other traditions may just surprise you with their origins.  

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Hey there, are you getting married and  looking for a photographer?  Click here to contact us now to see if your big day is available.  No time like today to let us start planning your perfect wedding photography collection.  

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Can’t please em’ all when you’re planning a wedding

So you’re planning your wedding and have figured out that there are nearly as many opinions out there as there are people on your invitation list.  Here’s a simple little formula to remember…(time known+who they’re related to) / gift they’re likely to bring = happiness.  Just kidding, it’s really quite simple, it’s your day.  Yep, that’s it.  No secret formula, or calculator, required.  But you can be sure there’s going to be some ruffled feathers somewhere on your list.  Here are a few tips to prevent some of the biggies.

Sean Purcell Photography wedding photography

Sure, you want everybody to have a fantastic time.  You want everybody to remember your wedding and talk about it like one of these over the top, epic events.  But in the end, the wedding is the celebration of the love you share with your partner.

  • Financial – Unless you’re the one holding the purse strings, try to avoid placing yourself as the point of contact when it comes to making payments.  You have plenty of things on your plate without trying to remember if you’ve made the initial deposit on your cake or paid the retaining fee for your wedding photographer.
  • Expectations – Setting clear expectations with everybody involved lays out the ground rules but also gives them some insight into what your dream wedding is…and what it isn’t.  Say you’ve had enough of the Harlem shake, you may want to let everybody know there will be no spontaneous donning of elephant costumes at your reception.  (please do this)  If your future Mother in-law has offered to “take care” of the hotel reservations, you may want to make sure she knows that the no-tel motel on the edge of the highway is not your idea of a great location.  That way she’ll at least have a starting point and you won’t have to delouse your suitcase after the big day.   On the topic of expectations, any vendor you deal with SHOULD have a written contract that both you and they sign.  Your big day is not the place for any big surprises.  The day you sign with Sean Purcell Photography, your big day is blocked off and that day belongs to you no matter who approaches us after.  Many vendors have this same sort of first come-first served practice.
  • Physical fitness – There is a mountain of evidence that regular exercise releases chemicals into the body that promote good, healthy thought patterns.  But don’t take our word for it, check out this article on Managing Stress with Regular Exercise.  Besides a healthy outlook, who doesn’t want to look HOTTTT on their big day?
  • And closely related to fitness…relax.  That’s right.  Nothing magical or mysterious here.  Sit back and take a deep breath.  It will all work out and when you’re flipping through your wedding album (trust us, you’re going to show it to everybody and anybody who crosses paths with you) do you really want to think about the endless ours of blood, sweat and tears you put yourself through trying to make everybody happy with every detail?  I’m guessing the answer is a resounding no.  It’s the smile and look in your new spouse’s eyes, the first dance, your father’s embrace when he gave you away that you want to remember.  So just sit back, let others help you and enjoy the ride.  :)

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Are you getting married and are looking for a photographer?  Click here to contact us now to see if your big day is available and let’s get to know each other.

Hey, don’t just stop here , let’s get social 🙂  Clink on the buttons and below and join in on the fun.

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Guess who’s big day is just two months away!?  🙂

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Okay, fine.  Maybe it’s a bit early to start packing the camera, but ya’ can’t blame a guy for being excited to get Alex and Holly in front of the lens again?

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Purcell-79Are you getting married and are looking for a photographer?  Click here to contact us now to see if your big day is available and let’s get to know each other.

Hey, don’t just stop here , let’s get social 🙂  Come visit me on Facebook or Twitter and join in on the fun.  Or if you’re looking for something on the light side lets share our odd little worlds on “Instagram” at Sean_spphotography.

See you next time everybody 🙂

Sean

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Two is better than one. Of course five beats the pants off of that.

Marriage definition

“A combination of elements”.  That’s a definition of one of my personal favorite events, a marriage.  Um, hello…wedding photographer.  Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.

Happy people, teary eyed Moms, music, silly uncles dancing like nobody’s watching.  How can you not enjoy a wedding?  Now while I like to get down at a reception as much as anybody else, it’s not just a party.  A marriage is also the joining of two groups to make one, dare we say better, family.

Family

If you think about it, one of the best things is that they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes!  Kinda makes you feel like everything is right in the world while shooting a wedding with a couple who choose to make the entire family a central part of their big day.  Take this awesome couple below for example.  Their custom cake topper (awesome choice, by the way guys) was just one of the many ways their children were a central part of their day.  Their union was made to be a perfect party for five.

Family cake topper

Of course it really doesn’t hurt my feelings when the couple looks this hot doing it. Oh yeah, fellas THIS is how you do the “dip kiss”.  Just in case you were wondering.

The kiss

Hey, don’t just stop here, let’s get social 🙂  Come visit me on Facebook or Twitter and join in on the fun.  Or if you’re looking for something on the light side lets share our odd little worlds on “Instagram” at Sean_spphotography.   See you next time everybody 🙂  Sean

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Tips for the guys

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
Yogi Berra

There are many elements of the wedding planning that as guys we just have no say in.  Even if we did, let’s face it, it’s HER day and we’re just along for the ride.  But hold on, there are definitely some areas that fall squarely into our court and guys, it’s time to bring your “A” game and start planning.

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  • Popping the question!  Right…so you’ve finally gathered up the courage and now it’s down to the nitty-gritty.  Hey, if you don’t think “how” you ask is important, let’s not forget the all important “bragging rights” factor.  Just like she’s going to be bragging about the ring you give her, the next question is going to be “How did he ask?”  Come on, we’re guys, competition is what we do.  We’ve been competing since we were old enough to understand that someone had to be able to run faster and swing higher.  And it usually involved impressing a girl…so this is nothing new to us.  Here are some great articles on popping the question to make sure your fiance has top bragging rights at the next girls night event.

Make a plan…now make another plan.

Even CNN has some good tips.

  • Picking the groomsmen – Ahh, time to pick the Wingmen.  While it’s true that you shouldn’t start out with a concrete number (although as a photographer there is something to be said for symmetry with the number of bridesmaids), it just becomes unruly once you go past eight groomsmen.  They say blood is thicker than water and in this case, unless it is going to start World War III with your soon-to-be bride, inviting your brother and future brother in-law is a great place to start.
  • Bachelor party!!!  As a famous on-screen fighter once said…”The first rule of Bachelor Party, is you don’t talk about Bachelor Party.”  Okay, I may have that a bit wrong but it sounds like good advice, right?  But seriously, this isn’t something you want to rub in your fiance’s face.  She already is imagining something out of The Bachelor.  No good can come from you adding fuel to the fire with joking about strippers and clowns.  Rule number two is make sure that you schedule the big event early enough to leave time to recover from any hangovers, broken bones, or unexpected travel delays.  While it makes for funny movie drama, you’re never going to recover from being late to your own wedding.  Planning on a couple of weeks out from the wedding date is a pretty safe bet.  And rule three is plan ahead.  Keep in mind that it takes time to plan a good stag affair and as guys we’re not always the best at prompt responses to emails and texts.  So make sure to get the guys talking about this about 6-8 weeks out to make sure it’s something fun you’ll remember.

Need some inspiration?  Here are some…well…eventful inspirations for you.  However, I take no blame if you choose to follow them and end up in another country, married to a monkey or have a facial tattoo we’re trying to hide during your wedding photos.  Just sayin’

Finally, since we can be a wee bit competitive…I came across this guy’s truly epic movie based proposal.  Her reaction in the corner is just classic!

Hey Michigan, we’re headed your way soon!  We’ll be in Port Huron July 12th-14th for some awesome sessions.  We still have some openings or If you’re in the area, we’d love to say hello.

Purcell-79Hey, don’t just stop here , let’s get social 🙂  Come visit me on Facebook or Twitter and join in on the fun.  Or if you’re looking for something on the light side lets share our odd little worlds on “Instagram” at Sean_spphotography.   See you next time everybody 🙂

Sean

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