Dove Wedding Photography

On the 1’s and 2’s: Turntablist or DJ

I went to Chicago for my best friend’s wedding over the spring last year, and a beautiful wedding it was. The couple are long-time friends of mine and my wife’s. The location was a plant nursery/garden with a very cool earthy vibe, but it wasn’t the vibe of the venue that got me excited….or the open bar for that matter. Oh no, it was the fact that they had a DJ. Not a guy with a mic pressing the play button and instructing your grandma how to do the chicken dance, but a real life Emcee riding the wheels of steel and working the 1′s & 2′s!!!!

For those of you who don’t understand my cool-kid lingo I’m talking about the kind of DJ who mixes records, scratches LP’s, who works with two turntables and a cross fade mixer. I was blown away by this guy and I’ve never seen a DJ of this kind outside of a dance club. This definitely adds an element of cool to your reception, and the nature of mixing records keep the music moving without gaps and keeps everyone on their feet.

Choosing between a turntablist and DJ depends on who you are as a couple and what kind of feel your reception is going for. If your post-ceremony festivities are more black tie and formal I would not recommend a turntablist. I would go with a very subdued DJ or jazz quartet. If you want a lighter party vibe and are encouraging heavy dancing…then you can’t go wrong with a turntablist.

Its a great way to make your wedding memorable and show that even though you’re in a gown and tux you can still get down!


To Trash or Not to Trash

I personally am a huge fan of the trash the dress trend. I thinks its a fun way (especially if it’s documented) to discard of something you’re only going to wear once and stuff in a closet. Have a little fun and get outside your comfort zone. Grab some paint, role in the mud, something to switch it up…you may surprise yourself in how fun the experience can be.

Trashing the dress has come under scrutiny recently…oh the scandalous topic, but that my friends is the allure of trash-the-dress aesthetic. These photos are designed to illicit a reaction, as they should. Having a trash-the-dress photo session can really make your dress a physical memory. You can have a beautiful photo and remember your dress in a way that really sticks. Or you could get it vacuum sealed in a plastic bag, push it to the back of the closet with those stylish Christmas sweaters, and only pull it out when you’re moving. Trashing the dress isn’t just for those anarchistic rock n’ roll brides either, it’s for every bride. Make your trash the dress session speak about who you are.

Above is a photo from our previous post paint the dress that Whitney shot of Kristen & Mason. Both are visual artists and wanted to incorporate that into their shoot, and I believe they succeeded. I mean come on! Look at how much fun that is…I know you’re thinking about it.

moon pie

A Taste of Home: Southern Wedding Tips

I can’t reiterate this enough, keeping it local is a fun and trendy way to give your wedding favors a boost of ‘cool’. Not only does it give your out-of-town wedding guests a little taste of your stomping ground, but it can also be a stress relieving way to spend some time with your fiance during the hustle and bustle of planning a wedding.

Take a day trip to Lynchburg and visit the Jack Daniel’s Distillery and snag some tipsy cakes, visit Bell Buckle in June for The RC Cola & Moon Pie festival and pick up the obvious, or go have breakfast at the world famous Loveless Cafe and be sure to bring home some biscuit mix and jam…your guests will love it! Point is, you can still have a good time (and get a full belly while you’re at it) while picking out your wedding favors. If all else fails, pick up some southern knickknacks and have a nice relaxing breakfast at your local Cracker Barrel. Hence where I took the photo this morning over a nice plate of eggs, grits, fried chicken, & bacon…mmmmm

The south, especially Tennessee, has a long list of local and unique wares that are sure to please. Show some Southern Hospitality with your wedding favors. Here are some great places to start:

Loveless Cafe
Jack Danil’s Distillery 
Goo Goo Clusters
Moon Pies 
RC Cola
Tennessee T-Cakes
Olive & Sinclair Chocolate 
Hatch Show Print
Spirit of Nashville Prints


CJ’s Off the Square Flood Benefit

CJ’s Off The Square has an amazing idea for brides, grooms, and wedding vendors!

Here’s the scoop: Come to CJ’s Off the Square this Thursday, May 13th anytime between 6-9 pm and bring any item from your gift registry or a Target, Home Depot or Lowe’s gift card and join in the celebration of generosity that is spreading throughout Middle Tennessee. Pretend you are going to a wedding…but instead of bringing a gift for the happy couple, you will be bringing a gift for a family in need who will be very happy to receive these basic household necessities.

cjs in content

Who says re-gifting is tacky? This is an easy way to “gift back” to families who have lost so much. And who really needs three toasters anyway?

Don’t have a gift registry? Bring a gift card! Your gift will mean so much to so many!

Complimentary valet parking will be provided and all of the fabulous food, drinks and decor you have come to expect from CJ’s Off the Square will be ready and waiting. There is no better way to celebrate their 5th Anniversary and the grand opening of their new event pavilion than “gifting” back to the community that is such an important part of CJ’s. We do hope you can join us for this very special evening and help our community recover. See you Thursday!

Register HERE for the Gift Back Gala!


Nashville Photos for the Flood

We are so excited to be participating this weekend with Photos for the Flood! Sarah Gilliam has graciously and creatively set up this fund raiser to help victims of the fund. Both Erin and I will be participating as well as many other photographers in the Nashville area. Here is the description from Sarah:

After the flooding in our wonderful state, I’m sure many of you want to help those affected by flood. Maybe you have already, or are unable to roll up your sleeves or you were affected, too.

Please join me, my favorite ice cream shop- Pied Piper Creamery and my fellow photographer friends in a benefit for the victims of the flooding.

The sessions are 20 minutes (booked every 30 min) from 9 AM- 5 PM on Saturday and from 10 AM-6 PM on Sunday.
100% of the proceeds will go to the Nashville Area Red Cross and Hands On Nashville.

There are NO rules for this shoot- take advantage of the talent, folks- this could easily be your engagement photo, 1 year pictures, updated family photo, senior picture, pet portrait… Just know that you have 20 minutes.:)

Bring some props, bring a friend, bring a giving attitude!!!

Pied Piper Creamery will be donating 25% of their profits from this weekend to these organizations as well. So grab a homemade waffle cone and a homemade icecream for the road, for bribery, whatever


Dove Wedding Photography at WPPI

Celine Dion and Wayne Newton aren’t going to be in town….but who cares, we’re heading to VEGAS!!!!

I’m excited to announce that Dove Wedding Photography will be heading out to WPPI in Las Vegas this weekend! If you’re not familiar with WPPI, it’s a fantastic conference held every year to promote the industrious growth and advancements of wedding and portrait photography. This will be my first trip to WPPI, and I can guarantee you I will be tweeting like crazy! Follow me on my Vegas adventures on our twitteror our facebook.

You can catch the Dove crew hanging out with Pictage and ShootQ a lot this year. Whitney and Peter will be speaking about community on Tuesday at 3:30 at the Pictage/ShootQ booth, and you can also catch Peter, Whitney, and myself tearin’ it up at The Pictage/ShootQ Studio 54 Party at The MGM Grand. Also, Pictage is having a scavenger hunt with $3000 in prizes, as well as a HUGE surprise give away, so be sure to enter. The drawing will be held Tuesday between 3:00 and 4:00.

We’re going to have a blast and I can’t wait to see some new faces…we’ll see you in Vegas!!!!


Guess Who’s Pregnant

We are so excited to announce to everyone that we are expecting our first baby! Of course, I’m the one that is pregnant and not Peter. It has been a wild few months for the two of us because to say it was a surprise is an understatement. Anyone that knows us knows that we were still unsure if we were going to have kids or not, but in the end the decision was made for us. We are now so glad that it happened this way, and firmly believe this was planned by God. I am finally starting to get over the awful morning sickness, and have actually shot 3 weddings in the past week! A few weeks ago it was hard to even get through the day.

So here we are, ready for a journey that we couldn’t plan. I’m a little scared, but a lot excited and have already been laughing a lot at myself and my growing belly. One thing I have learned is that pregnancy is not glamorous at all and it is the craziest thing I have every gone through! I’m not one for mushy feelings of motherhood, but I am ready for the challenge of raising a kid that loves to have fun, laugh, and play with us. We can’t wait for everyone to meet the little one!

Expanding Your Team

I hope everyone is having a great holiday season so far!  I recently had the opportunity to write an article on team building for the Pictage powered photographer’s blog The Photo Life.  As a photographer business can sometimes become overwhelming and it’s easy to feel alone, and if this is the case you most definitely need to consider different ways to grow your team.  If your team grows so will your business, and you’ll alleviate some stress in the process.  If you want to learn more about expanding your team and where to look for help this article will help.

Read Entire Article

photography classs


It’s that time of year again, and The Nashville Photography Class with Whitney Carlson is now enrolling!  We have three different classes available with more to be announced very soon. We currently have space available for our Camera Basics Class, the course in Lighting & Posing, and a new class taught by Peter called Business Essentials…but remember, seating in our classes are kept at a minimum for the best experience possible so sign up today!


This first course will include an interactive lesson on the basics of digital photography. You will learn the principles behind adjusting your camera’s ISO, shutter, and aperture and how to apply them.  By the end of the day, you will have the ability to confidently use your camera’s manual settings.


The 2′nd course spans 1.5 days and is designed to help you better understand working with natural light and composition. The second day will involve a photo shoot with both a model as well as a couple. Learn to instruct and pose while keeping your subjects comfortable and looking natural. Photo critiques will follow the session.


Why spend years researching, experimenting, and making mistakes at your new business? Turn your dream into a reality as quickly as possible! Peter Carlson will give you the tools you need to launch your photography business.