Todd and Kayla Hinton Wedding in Saginaw, Michigan

I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the wedding season this year! Last week my second shooter Nikki Robinson and I had the privilege of documenting Todd and Kayla Hinton’s beautiful wedding day. Here are just a few of the highlights from Todd and Kayla’s wedding day. To see more from Todd and Kayla’s wedding follow this link.

Ryan’s images from the Hinton wedding:

Nikki’s images from the Hinton wedding:

How I Got the Shot: The Cockeyed Nuthatch and His Stardom

When I first got started in photography I photographed primarily nature (part of this was due to my location and the fact that I didn’t have a driver’s license at the time). I still love photographing nature but don’t get the opportunity to as much as I’d like. When I was a student at the Hallmark Institute of Photography my primary focus shifted from nature to portraiture. I now primarily focus on portrait and wedding photography.

Out of all the images I have photographed in my career the above image of this upside down nuthatch has been the most published. This image has been published in The World of Photography Volume 1 (2010), Audubon Magazine January/February 2011, Nature’s Best Photography Spring/Summer 2011, and Photographer’s Forum Best of Photography 2012. The reason for the images popularity is because the nuthatch is upside down. This image wasn’t flipped in post. Nuthatches naturally feed upside down like this.

Here is an excerpt from an article I wrote about the nuthatch for the Nature’s Best Photography Students blog back in 2011.  

“I personally love both bird and wildlife photography. It provides a greater challenge and satisfaction than shooting a non moving subject such as a landscape or macro. Last summer I sat in front of my mom’s bird feeders for hours waiting for the ideal shot. Many of these common birds will lose their bashfulness if you sit near them long enough. After about an hour I had gotten several pleasing images of woodpeckers and the especially sociable chickadees, but I had yet to get a gratifying image of the white breasted nuthatch. These little creatures were far more skittish than their playful peers. Every time I lifted my Nikon D200 with Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300 to my eye all the nuthatches would flutter away in a chaotic frenzy. After about another thirty minutes the beautiful nuthatch returned. I slowly lifted my Nikon to my eye and rattled off a few shots. I happily obtained the nuthatch performing an action unique to its species. Most people think that I rotated this image, but this bird is actually hanging upside down from while it feeds.

Because I caught this bird performing a unique action it has become one of my favorite and most published shots. I shot this image at f/8 which is one of this lens’ sharpest apertures, but it still created a silky smooth bokeh due to the close proximity of the subject. Bokeh is a Japanese term meaning the out of focus part of an image. Wider apertures – like f/2.8, f/4, or f/5.6 – will create creamier or smoother bokeh. Simplicity is the key to creating stunning wildlife images. Too much clutter or lack of a strong subject area and diminish an images appeal. Also remember to focus on the subject’s eyes. When I was new to photography there were several bird images I’d taken which would have been great shots, but the eyes were out of focus and the wings were. A strong sharp subject with a non-distracting background will result in a great wildlife image.”

The original post I wrote for Nature’s Best Photography Students back in 2011 can be found here. I wrote several other articles for this blog but had to quit in 2012 because I experienced problems with the website.

Shot using a Nikon D200 with a Nikon 70-300mm AF-S VR f/4.5-5.6 lens handheld. ISO 500 300mm f/8 1/320 of a second shutter speed.

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Girls on The Run 5K in Alma, Michigan

I had a great time photographing the Girls On The Run 5K in Alma, Michigan for Mt Pleasant area Jaycees in mid May. Below are my favorite images from the event. 

Josh and Hannah Engagement Session in Mt Pleasant, Michigan

I had a great time photographing Josh and Hannah’s engagement session on a chilly morning in early May. We had a nice conversation about their home brewing and pets and strolled thru the nearly vacant Nelson and Island Parks. I can’t wait to photograph these twos wedding in October!

 

 

FAQ: When Are You Available for Sessions?

 

 

I am currently available any day excluding Sunday for sessions. I prefer to do sessions in the evening due to the better lighting. I have done sessions at night for clients who couldn’t make it for the traditional session times as well. I advise against doing sessions mid day because the lighting isn’t as good. Friday and Saturday evenings are my most popular times for sessions. 

New Headshot and Business Portrait Pricing and Offerings

One of the things I’ve learned from being in business since 2011 is the importance of working with the right clients. Many of my best clients have been fellow business owners and entrepreneurs.

I now offer a wider variety of options of headshots and business portraiture. I offer a $25 Basic Headshot which includes one high res retouched photo which will be delivered within 24 hours of the shoot. I also offer a $100 Standard Headshot which includes multiple images, clothing changes, locations, and backgrounds with a one week turn around time. Lastly I offer a $300 Bespoke Business Portraits which includes fully customized portraits and commercial images for your website, social media, and other advertising needs with a one week turn around time.

$25 Basic Headshot

Single image. 24 hour turn around time. Examples:

$100 Standard Headshot

Multiple images, clothing changes, locations, and backgrounds. One week turn around time. Examples:

$300 Bespoke Business Portraits

Fully customized portrait and commercial photos for your website, social media, and other advertising needs. One week turn around time. Examples:

One On One Teaching Now Available

After teaching a photography workshop at the Energize Workspace in March 2018 I’ve had several inquiries about doing one on one teaching. I now offer one on one teaching classes for $20 an hour plus compensation of travel. The first introductory class via Skype/Facetime is included for free. Topics can be on anything photography, retouching, workflow, or business related. Off camera flash is a commonly requested topic.

ryanwatkinsphotography.com/teaching

Valentine’s Day Couple Portrait Session Winners James and Alyxczia

Back in February 2018 I held a contest giving away a couples portrait session on Valentine’s day. The winners were my friends James and Alyxczia. We decided to wait for better weather and do the session itself in early May. James and Alyxczia were incredibly fun to work with and did tons goofy poses while I was shooting test shots. All the images where shot in either Nelson or Island Park in Mt Pleasant, Michigan even the “studio shots”.

 

 

New Business Portraits of Anne Ryder

 

 

I had a great time photographing Anne Ryder who runs a virtual assistant and digital marketing business from her home in Barryton in late April. Anne and her husband where incredibly friendly and even gave me some free eggs from the chickens on their farm which tasted amazing. I photographed Anne for about two hours around her home and farm where we got to talk about how she ended up in Michigan, her adventures in entrepreneurship, farming, beekeeping, and the paleo diet. I couldn’t have asked for a better client than Anne and look forward to working with her again in the future. More info about Anne and her business can be found at https://www.arvbapro.com/.