Billy Dickson and the photographers at Just Shoot Me Photography specialize in chronicling two of the most memorable times in life: the emotion and excitement of a wedding day and the wonder at the introduction of a newborn. During weddings, the team captures the big moments—the march down the aisle, the first dance—but they also spy subtle moments that evoke the mood of the day: a ring gleaming on a side table as the bride gets ready, or a close-up of a bridesmaid's hands as she clutches a bouquet of flowers.
The team also shines working around infants, often photographing babies as young as 4–14 days old. They adore shots in which parents cradle their newborns in their hands, a pose which puts the tiny size of the mini models in perspective. Brothers and sisters can join in these portraits, too, stepping off to the side to play a Nintendo 64 game console or discuss how to convince their parents to name their new sibling "Ludwig van Baby" when it's not their turn in the spotlight anymore.
From under the brim of a ten-gallon hat, the stern face of a rifle-toting man peers out across a table laden with liquor bottles. Despite appearances, this isn’t Wyatt Earp. Rather, he’s the subject of a signature old-time photo taken at The Solvang Photographers and Photo Gallery. Here, modern-day subjects slip easily into the period garb of Southern belles, gun slingers, bar ladies, and outlaw cacti to pose for sepia-toned photographs. Started by Geoffrey T. Grant in 1976 and now helmed by his daughter and her husband, the family-run business welcomes subjects of all ages into its camera’s scope for unique portraits of families, couples, kids, and friends.
Tara Jones takes a picture every day, whether she’s working or not. This passion for aesthetic excellence landed her at the Brooks Institute, and her restless ambition led her to open Flare Productions a year before graduating. In the decade since, Tara has composed stunning shots of the Californian landscape, documented countless weddings, and captured the smiles of subjects lit by both natural light or the natural shine of teeth that’ve mistakenly gnawed on glow sticks.
Tara shares her infectious enthusiasm with the clients she shoots and the students she teaches. During introductory workshops, she elegantly explains how to manipulate manual camera settings to enhance the story woven into every still image. She also takes time to answer any questions that students may have in regard to printing or eating photos.
In the last 40 years, Portrait Scene's photographers have helped to memorialize special moments in the lives of thousands of children, teens, and adults across the country. By constantly working with families, they have mastered the art of calming toddlers and keeping parents still enough to say or even pasteurize cheese. Outdoor shoots make use of natural tones, such as those of crystal-blue lake waters and green, leafy trees. In the spring months, photos brim with the pastel buds of tulips and the shine of bluebirds applying makeup for the first time all year.
Matt and Alex of Thought Box Photobooth tote their six-person photo booth to weddings, festivals, and birthday parties within 45 miles of Santa Barbara to immortalize these moments in all their goofy-hatted glory. Props from Jagger-size smiles to mustaches the size of Mick Jagger enliven vogueing sessions. Guests can sit, stand, and cavort for unlimited photos, and each model receives duplicate 2" x 6" photo strips containing four shots each. A DVD album compiles all the high-resolution shots for the party's hosts. The photos will also appear in Thought Box's online gallery for all to enjoy, safe from the ravages of time and portrait-nibbling shutterbugs.
"I have always been a sucker for a good love story." So says Madison Hunter, one half of the photography duo behind i heart my groom, who attests in her online bio that she still sheds a tear at every wedding she captures from behind the lens. Along with her business partner and fellow romantic Felicia Greenwald, Hunter travels the country and the globe to capture all manner of love stories, from engagements to nuptials to the ethereal glow of mothers-to-be. Their past projects have led them to sandy beaches to snap candid shots of couples exchanging vows, feasting on barbecue, and prying horseshoe crabs from the bride’s train to romantic country carriage houses replete with vintage charm. Regardless of location, the snap-happy duo work closely with their subjects to ensure each shot is as unique as it is memorable so that the images will feel timeless for years to come.