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International Wedding Photographers


About Us

John has been photographing weddings professionally since 1981. He worked about four years as a photographer/manager for MasterPortrait studios based in Chattanooga. While there, he became one of their top selling photographers. John believes genuinely caring about the quality of the photography his customers receive is the driving force behind his long photography career. When John was promoted to general manager of the MasterPortrait studio in Dalton Georgia, John found that many of his loyal customers were driving all the way from Knoxville, Atlanta, Chattanooga and parts of Alabama to ensure he would be their photographer. John says seeing the happy expressions of his customers, especially brides and their mothers as they tearfully thank him for beautiful wedding photographs is the greatest reward and so very emotionally satisfying. This is when John can't begin to imagine doing any other kind of work.

For John weddings provide a great opportunity for being creative. Expressing himself creatively in his wedding photography is John's favorite activity. John works in our photography business full-time. Shooting weddings, engagement and bridal sessions, custom processing all these images and maintaining our website is a full-time endeavor. As you can see by the BIG size of our website, John loves to talk about wedding photography . . . it really is his passion! John has written his book about wedding photography in the form of this website. He hopes our years of experiences, advice, information and insights he speaks from throughout our website will help brides who visit our website to have a wonderful and beautiful Wedding Day whether he or another photographer is there. While many brides in our local area are booking us to photograph their weddings, we are still able to accept a limited number of wedding assignments abroad.

Sara playing in the yard with Buddy.
Our daughter Sara playing in the yard with Buddy.


We are pet lovers. So we invite everyone with pets to bring them to our studio during engagement and bridal portrait sessions. Buddy is a dachshund and one of the most affectionate dogs we've ever had! Love him. John is also an aquarium enthusiast. He also enjoys astronomy, reading and cooking out with family and friends during the summer.

We are originally from Athens Tennessee. We moved down here to Chattanooga in 1999. We love Chattanooga and the warm friendly atmosphere of a family oriented city. After leaving MasterPortrait in 2003, John opened our wedding studio here and many brides have warmly welcomed our combination of photography styles, quality and pricing. Many "Thank You" to all our wedding customers and your family and friends! The excitement and happiness we see on the faces of so many of you when you view your wedding photographs really makes it all worth while for us. Also thanks to all of you we have received another "BBB Complaint Free Certificate" for our 2nd consecutive year of being complaint free. That's 85 weddings, 80 engagement sessions, 72 bridal sessions and no complaints to the Better Business Bureau about any of our products and services. Thanks everyone! Also a very special thank you to those customers who have been very kind and generous to us. We really do appreciate you very much.


About Our Photography Styles

Our main photography style is to capture the love, romance, fun, excitement and joy of your Wedding Day.


Traditional style photography does NOT have to consist of old classic group poses!Traditional/Classic Style:

We do not have any one style of photography. Every wedding presents various opportunities for different styles of photography. For example. Very small weddings where there is little interaction between the Bride & Groom and between the Bride & Groom with their handful of guests makes very little content for the journalistic style of photography. Especially when there is also no dancing and all the guests are simply sitting around the tables. A Bride with such a very small wedding and bridal party consisting of perhaps only two or three bridesmaids and that many groomsmen would have to agree to a LOT of posed photographs in order to have great looking photographs. To get great looking journalistic style photographs with such little genuine interaction would mean semi-posing and the photographer(s) creating some Old classic "shotgun" pose.situations and photographing the spontaneous reactions at the anticipated moments. But while this may produce some great looking journalistic style photography, the Bride & Groom and everyone else in the photographs will remember that these images were actually contrived. NOTE: Do not allow a photographer who needs journalistic samples to do this to you, your family and guests! There are some photographers who will direct everyone to contrive great looking journalistic set-ups which may look great in album samples but are very much contrived! For these reasons and more, Cherry and I shoot very small weddings in the traditional style and sometimes even with some "old school" classic poses when requested.

Old classic poses like the one on the left are nostalgic and still create fun and laughs for wedding guests. Some classic poses are just like old great music - old and young alike still enjoy it even today! A lot of bride's fathers still like a shot of their pants pockets pulled out. If you request poses like these, I will set these up in front of your guests for fun and laughs . . . and your other Wedding Photographics photographer will be sure to capture the enjoyment of your family and friends. For another "classic", see Gallery 26.


A few thoughts to consider about photography styles:

Another good reason for your wedding photographers to provide you a variety of photography styles is simply because the bride very often shares her photographs with parents and other family and friends. Certain requested shots and styles of photography may not appeal to the bride, but they may appeal to the bride's parents or other people. Of course, the bride does not have to include these particular images in her own album. But it is really beneficial to others who view the bride's hundreds of images on her designer DVDs to have certain requested shots and styles of photography which also appeals to them. There is NO one certain style of photography which is "superior" to the others. So being flexible and allowing your photographers to shoot with a variety of photography styles will help insure different people the bride cares about will also find photographs they LOVE among the hundreds of images the bride receives from us.


Bride & Groom enjoying a genuine moment together during their first dance.


Journalistic Style:

Than at the opposite end of the spectrum are the weddings with LOTS of people in the bridal party, hundreds of guests, music and dancing at the reception. With a Bride & Groom who are not shy to interact with all their family and friends, there is a lot of CONTENT for the photographer to switch to the journalistic style of photography. This is my favorite style of wedding photography! Capturing people celebrating the wedding, sharing the joy, laughs and genuine smiles and happy tears with their closest family and friends! Than there are also the genuine romantic moments of the Bride and Groom during their first dance as husband and wife. Whew! I love these opportunities to capture so many genuine and exciting moments of people having a wonderful time. Also seeing the bouquet toss and it being caught from two different angles at the same time by two different photographers looks so exciting. A single shot from one angle getting ready to toss and from the same angle the girl who captured it just does NOT compare! Two photographers really are better than one, especially when there are so many photographic opportunities. For big weddings like this, you may expect to see Cherry and I both shooting a lot more journalistic style photography. See Gallery 58 for more information and samples. While Cherry and I shoot more journalistically when there is lots of people interaction, we still want all your family, friends and guests to feel free to make special photo requests. See Gallery 39.

Tilted camera composition imparts a sense of motion to this still photograph.
View Gallery 63 for more details about tilted photographic compositions and how we can even apply tilted compositions to your favorite images after your Wedding Day.

Contemporary Style:

Whether the wedding is small or the wedding is very large, there is a "contemporary" style of photography which looks more dynamic and creative than simply straight shooting. This style of photography is very popular. It relies largely on tilted camera angles TO MAKE a dynamic composition. Some photographers also like to frame the subjects between foreground objects - leaving the distant subjects focused and the foreground objects out of focus. This technique often helps impart a journalistic look even though the subjects are sometimes obviously posed. But that's ok. It is acceptable and expected because this style breaks the mold and frees the Bride from the dreaded "ordinary" of the traditional and classic styles she does NOT want. Formal group shots and other posing of the bride & groom and wedding party are more "dynamic" and simply not your typical traditional style poses. All your formal group shots of family and relatives are traditional poses. If you view a LOT of samples of contemporary style In this instance, I put the subjects out of focus to convey a sense of "private moment" between the Bride &, you will eventually notice, perhaps even feel, that the people in the photographs are a "secondary consideration". Sometimes it seems it was more important to the photographer to get a great tilted camera composition than to actually capture the people in the photograph and the actual context of the interaction between the people. If you find yourself looking at these photographs and paying more attention to the tilted composition rather than to the people and what is happening with the people, you might want to consider a modest use of this style of photography. In fact, most of the photographers who promote this style of photography do NOT have complete wedding albums of any one given wedding which tells the complete wedding story exclusively with this style of photography.

Photographers who shoot with 8 megapixel and lower megapixel count cameras DEGRADE the image quality of their photography even more when they rotate and reposition the center of their images in post-production. Your wedding photography team should be shooting with 13+ megapixel cameras to provide you superior image quality even after you have selected certain images for tilt and other cropping changes after your Wedding Day.


This creative style photograph emphasizes wedding momentos which are very important to the Bride & Groom - the Bride's bouquet and the wedding rings.Creative Style:

Also beautiful images may be created from very small up to very large weddings with the creative style of photography. Creative style photography can be broad in its scope of subject matter. But it most popularly emphasizes close-ups of Wedding Day mementos such as the bouquet, bride's shoes, the rings, flower girl's basket, ring bearer's pillow and other things which are meaningful to the Bride and/or Groom. It is more obvious that this style of photography cannot tell the complete wedding story all by itself.

For all these reasons and more, Cherry and I incorporate a variety of photography styles, some of which I have not addressed here, to photographically document the Wedding Day in a way which ultimately fulfills the expressed needs and desires of the Bride. Every wedding is unique. During our consultation with the Bride, we will discuss the styles of photography with the Bride and get to know the various styles she wants us to use as her Wedding Day unfolds. We will make recommendations to the Bride. Ultimately, it is the Wedding Day itself which tells us as photographers the amount of various styles to use to properly document the day . . . you don't want your photographers to dictate the day. But with proper pre-planning of the Wedding Day during our consultations with the Bride, we can help insure the Bride receives the mixture of photography styles she would like for a well-balanced documentation of her special day.


A few more thoughts to consider about photography styles:

Special request shots can be a fun and great part of a complete wedding photography package.

While some photographers may emphasize journalistic style photography and that you will hardly notice they are there shooting, with our TWO photographer team one of us can be shooting journalistically while the other is shooting special requests shots. Most people get along with us very well and we have a great time interacting with your guests to produce shots like the one above. We want all your family, friends and guests to feel free to make special requests shots. Who knows? Some of your family and friends may have some "surprise" requests they want us to shoot for you. Bridal magazines and books recommend making sure your personality and the personalities of the photographers "click" with each other. But what difference does that make if your photographer is going to be hiding in the background and always trying to stay unnoticed while shooting? If your photographer has a fun personality, let your family, friends and guests ham it up with the appointed photographer for special request shots while your other Wedding Photographics photographer is capturing the other kinds of images discussed during our consultations with you.


Cropping, Tilting and Conversion to Black & White: Fun Things You Can Do as the Years go by when your photographer has provided you the digitally mastered images from your engagement, bridal and Wedding Day.


Cropping Options

Move Pointer Over Image to View 2nd Cropping Option in Black & White.

Below is the Final Crop. Allowing the top of the bride's head to go outside the border of the pic is not a photography "style" but merely a cropping option. Such cropping compositions have gained a little more popularity in the past couple of years.

Final Composition

Photographers who provide you the digitally mastered 13 megapixel images on DVDs from your engagement, bridal and Wedding Day enable you to always have creative options with your photos as the years go by. The color bridal shot may be more liked by some people and the dramatic black & white final composition will be better liked by others.


Dear John and Cherry,

Thank you so much for the wonderful job you did photographing our wedding! We had such a blast working with you. You were so professional in giving us just what we wanted out of our wedding photography. Thanks for making the day even more special! We love our magazine album...I am so particular about photography and there just couldn't be a better compilation of photos. Each shot really captured the emotion and excitement of the day. We just wish we could have you photograph all our special moments.

Thanks so much,
M & R Stalnaker


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