Thursday, January 24, 2019

Jamaica Editorial Photo Shoot - Southern Bride Magazine

Here's our latest editorial photo shoot from our recent shoot in Jamaica for Southern Bride Magazine. The Jamaica Tourism Bureau and Sandals Resorts of Jamaica coordinated the 10 day shoot in exotic locations from Montego Bay to Whitehouse South Coast. The management team at Sandals went overboard in hosting our 15 member crew, they offered amazing hospitality that blew us away. We've traveled to locations all over the South, The Caribbean and Mexico, few locations matched their kindness and hospitality. Every staff member at the resort treated us with kindness, and took care of every detail imaginable. We highly recommend Sandals for anyone, and we don't give our recommendations out to just anyone. Seriously, we've stayed in Villas in Italy, Resorts in Puerto Vallarta, Hotels in Grand Cayman, and have to say Sandals took home the gold for managing our shoot.
The theme of the shoot was Honeymoon Destinations, we shot fashion, architecture, adventure, food, wedding, and more. The new issue of Southern Bride hits newsstands for January 2019 and is available online too!

Here's just a few of my favorite images from the shoot. Fasten your seatbelts and get ready to dream a little with our team! By the way, if you know someone thats getting married and wants incredible photography for their destination wedding, we'd love the referral!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Texas Editorial Fashion Shoot

This spring we flew to Galveston Texas for a cool little photo shoot that definitely has some eclectic Texas flavor. Starting of this was the first shot of the day on the beach. It was a cloudy, windy, almost lets call off the shoot kind of day.

We flew with the team at Southern Bride Magazine. We've been traveling and shooting for this magazine for over 10 years now, and we've been to about every incredible location you can imagine, from Mexico, Key West, The Carolinas, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia and more.

We prep for our shoots for about 2 months, researching, planning, packing, and looking for inspiration. On the first day of the shoot, I kind of have a vision of what I want to shoot, and a style and approach of how I want to pose the models. Most of the models I've never worked with, and some have professional experience, others are rookies looking for a break.

I'm gonna stop the verbal descriptions in the blog and let the images talk. Here's what I do when someone hands me a camera in Texas! Thanks to our entire team that works so hard to put these shoots together! Our next shoot is in Jamaica! I'll do my best to post sooner, its been a hectic year of travel, photoshoots and video production.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

New Orleans Love Spell

New Orleans Love Spell

Through the lens of photographer Michael Allen, perhaps one of the most visually stunning photo shoots NOLA has ever seen. Every shoot Michael does is a style change that will keep your head spinning. It's hard to explain Michaels style, he breaks his own rules with each new location. He sought inspiration before the trip to NOLA for the latest SB shoot and just didn't find what he wanted. So he wiped the slate clean and hit the streets of the French Quarter and created this masterpiece of fashion, art and passion. The next time any photographer searches for inspiration from the big easy, this will be their template. "Working with Sebastian Kim and Warwick Saint in my career definitely influenced my vision for this shoot. I encourage every photographer to latch on to the worlds best to make you work harder. Then shoot in NOLA and see if you can catch the "Love Spell" we captured in this shoot!" This was our 10th year shooting for Southern Bride Magazine, we've developed a long term relationship with the editors and their team. 

For this shoot we camped out in luxury at the Royal Sonesta Hotel right on Bourbon Street, the City of New Orleans visitors bureau helped is with a few amazing locations as we treked across the French Quarter shooting some amazing designer gowns from top dress makers around the world.

Take a look at our latest collection, and pick up a copy of the magazine on newsstands across the South and Southeastern USA. Our next scheduled shoot is in the North Carolina Highlands with our hosts at The Old Edwards Inn, one of the most exclusive resorts in the world.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Wedding Wire Vendor Booking Timeline

Wedding Wire Vendor Booking Timeline

We've teamed up with the editorial guru's at Wedding Wire to help brides with their wedding planning. With the many years of experience in the photography and salon business, we've helped hundreds of brides with their weddings. When your true love pops the question, you'll have a few weeks of total bliss, then the fun of planning your wedding begins. Wedding Wire has designed a great checklist to help you navigate all the turns to make your pre wedding life a little bit simpler. 
Dig into this great guide, and then read on below. We've added our "Top Ten Tips for Brides on getting beautiful wedding photos" from our book, 100 Hot Tips for Brides. And hey, did we say "Congratulations!" on your dream wedding day?

From Michaels book “Top Ten Photography Tips for brides for beautiful wedding photos”.

When interviewing a photographer, ask what kind of professional camera equipment that they use. A true professional photographer will have at least 2 professional cameras in their arsenal, as well as 3 or 4 professional lenses, and a camera bag full of accessories. Go ahead and hire a seasoned professional. Also, if your looking at a low priced photographer, you may get a deal on pricing, but the overall quality may not be to the level that you really want. With less than adequate pro gear, your wedding photos may resemble “Uncle Bob’s home photos.” Hire a pro who loves photographing weddings…you deserve the best!

You get married in a flash. You get busy making a new life together, and years will pass by in a moment’s notice. Take some of this precious time and schedule a personal engagement session. Engagement sessions of the past consisted of a few simple portraits for a newspaper announcement. However, today’s engagement sessions can accomplish not only that, but also go beyond to capture incredible moments you’ll cherish forever. They also give you a chance to get used to the camera and create a collection of classic, art-edition photographs that you will keep forever. A professional session takes the engagement shoot to an entirely new level. It makes you feel like a celebrity! Be sure to add this to your top ten list of your wedding plans!

Many wedding planners offer a personal assistant that will help you on your wedding day, be at your beckoned call, and take care of you. A personal wedding assistant is your liaison between you and the wedding coordinator, the photographer, the reception band or DJ, the limo driver and anyone else with whom you need to communicate. Think of this person as a personal bodyguard or a personal shopper. The cost is not very much, and well worth it. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone take care of all those last minute details, make phone calls for you, and let you have a relaxing beautiful wedding day with less stress? So many brides arrive on the wedding day to find an earring missing, or garment missing, or some details left unfinished. You can delegate tasks to your mom, sister, or best friend. But then poor Mom gets all the tension and misses important moments in the day. 

Let her have the day off! Good planning, fun, and a personal wedding assistant will make your day a beautiful, fun event and less stressful!

Have your florist prepare the wedding facility or church at least 5 hours ahead of the wedding. Outdoor decorations are the first flowers to go up, then the alter and church pew decorations. The reception area is the last area requiring decor. Be sure to discuss this with your florist and have a plan. Many wedding photographers are delayed in shooting detail and pre-wedding photography due to the florist being late or not completing the decorations on time. If you are be taking pre-wedding photos early, let your florist know so your flowers are ready for the shoot. Also, it helps to assign one bridesmaid to pin on the groomsmen's boutonnieres. Many photographers face delays when the groomsmen are not ready. Typically, guys won’t pin them on themselves…they are much too “manly” to do this. Keep your flowers chilled or in water all day long to keep them fresh. After a half day, flowers tend to wilt.

Have your photographer shoot lots of detail shots. Detail shots are specific photographs of all of your wedding details like flowers, the wedding dress, the tuxedo, close-up shots that show all the details of your wedding day events and decor. The details are what make your wedding unique, so you’ll want lots of photos to look back on after the wedding day. Details can include flowers, table and place settings, food and desserts, wine and beverages, the dress and accessories, and the decor and architecture of the venue. Great detail shots will make your wedding look like an event from “In Style Magazine” or “Martha Stewart Living.” Imagine decorating your new home with these photos! Many couples love to blow up giant size canvas prints and create art for their homes to enjoy in a new modern way.

A pre-wedding bridal & couples portrait session is like a dress rehearsal for the big day. It’s a great opportunity to see how you look and feel in your wedding dress. Many times the dress may not fit quite right and can be altered for a better fit. This is a great day of fun too! How many times in your life do you get to be a high fashion model and look like a princess for a day, besides your wedding day? Trying to schedule a good portrait session on the wedding day is limiting, stressful, and sometimes never happens, and time flies on the wedding day, and this session typically gets cut shorter or eliminated. It’s a shame to see brides make this mistake.

Day before or day after sessions give you many more images to add to your bridal proofs. The hottest trend today is a bridal album to be given to the groom as a gift. Some sessions can even include a more intimate and tastefully done boudoir session that the groom will cherish and adore. Many times the wedding or reception venue will allow you a free day to use their facility as a backdrop, and your florist may make you a bridal bouquet just for the session if you offer to give them some photos of the session for their generosity. Another plus is the ability to have a portrait printed on a large canvas and displayed at the wedding reception, and it makes a nice portrait for mom and dad to keep in their home to show their beautiful daughter on her grand wedding day. The best reason of all to have a separate bridal & couples session, its just for you to have some fun and enjoy being a bride. A good photographer will schedule at least 4 hours for these sessions, so plan for it. Go ahead and have the time of your life!

It is essential that you schedule a professional makeup artist that has experience and knows how to apply makeup for photography. A good makeup artist will place you near a bright open window for the best light. Lighting in a bathroom is generally poor and is the wrong type of light required for good coverage. Want all natural looks? Even an all natural look requires a good foundation, concealer, powder, eyeshadow and lip color. Today’s cameras can see every pore on your face, every blemish and every detail. 

Great wedding photography starts with great makeup. Plan your first hair and makeup session at least two months ahead. Most professional salons will schedule a practice session and consult with you on your goals for your wedding day. The practice day is good for bridal portrait sessions too!  Start your wedding day early. Pro photographers will want to start shooting at least 3-4 hours before the wedding ceremony.

Pre-wedding photos have become the most important photos of the entire wedding day. That means the entire wedding party needs to be ready early. If you show up late for the starting photography session, then you may lose out of some of the best photos of the wedding day. Most photographers will arrive at the brides home or bridal room to catch photographs of the bride & bridesmaids getting ready, then take photos of the groomsmen too. 

Some salons can delay your wedding day by not scheduling your day early and staying on schedule. And, most appointments generally run behind, so start early! Don’t let your wedding day get by you too fast!

One more tip for the bride and groom on the wedding day is to make sure mom and dad are dressed and ready early. Today’s photographers begin the wedding day with pre-wedding photo journals of the bride and groom getting ready. Typically, Moms and Dads don’t think about being in these photos, but they should. Parents should be dressed and ready. Sometimes parents will dress at the last minute, then in pre-wedding photos you see mom with no makeup, and in her robe. Dads may not wear makeup, but “dad in a robe” is not very pretty sight. I suggest scheduling some special moments with your parents just when you slip into your gown. Let your family know an exact time for this, and have the photographer on standby to catch this special time. Parents live for this day! Giving their daughters and sons away to matrimony is a blessing in life!

One simple tip to make your wedding reception an incredible, inspiring night to remember is to hire a professional lighting designer. Don’t rely on just your band or DJ for a few tiny lights. Many local lighting companies design lighting themes for major corporate events and concerts; see if they also offer wedding lighting services. You can have just a dozen lights on a dimmer system with color gels to match your theme, or go all out and have dozens of lights focused on specific architectural elements and details of your reception. Beautiful receptions can be simple and elegant with accessory lighting around the reception hall, or you can choose a rock-and-roll laser light theme with smoke machines.
Make your wedding a grand event with help from your event planner or photographer – they can suggest lighting that will enhance your photographs and give you a night to remember forever! I’m not talking about 10 extra little lights, I’m talking 50 to 100 powerful lights that create ambiance.

Tip 10: PDA
Be romantic! Be sure to show lots of PDA (public displays of affection) on your wedding day. Some couples tend to be so busy and excited about their wedding day that they forget to show each other how in love they are and how happy they are to be getting married. Great photographers capture real emotions, so be sure to help out by being sexy and romantic…show a little PDA!
You don’t have to go overboard with poses, but simple things like holding hands and kisses on the cheek provide great material. A good photographer will “coach” the couple with simple posing ideas. Don’t be shy…have fun and enjoy it! Be creative and push your photographer to step out of the box with edgy art!

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Greenbrier Photo Shoot on Southern Bride Magazine!

The Greenbrier Photo Shoot on Southern Bride Magazine!

Here's a new post from Southern Bride Magazine featuring our recent photo shoot at the amazing Greenbrier Resort. The Greenbrier is one of America's most beautiful and historic resorts, built in the 1800's, this hotel is more of a museum than a hotel. When our team arrived on site, we were blown away by the beauty and majesty of the hotel. Last year we shot near the historic Biltmore Estates, which was crazy beautiful, but The Greenbrier has much more to offer. The decor was created by famous designer Dorothy Draper, with bold patterns and colors unlike any resort we have ever seen.

We spent 4 days shooting in the hotel, and if you follow our blog, you'll get to see posts from each day we shot, along with bridal fashions from the most successful fashion designers in the world.

Here's a link to Southern Bride so you can see some of the amazing locations we shot at The Greenbrier, The Southern Bride Blog

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Greenbrier Resort West Virginia - Southern Bride Magazine Weddings

The Greenbrier Resort West Virginia - Southern Bride Magazine Weddings
This fall our team went on location to shoot the editorial fashion pages for millions of Brides to swoon over for their wedding dreams. If you've ever been to the Greenbrier, you know its one of the most magical properties in the world. It was built in the 1800's and is on the National Historic Landmark Register, the hotel is immaculate, and sees thousands of visitors and guests each week. Many of the artifacts in the hotel are on loan from museums across the United States. Known for it's private bunker, the hotel is an emergency safe haven for Presidents, Congress and leaders of the United States, and was used to provide security to our Nation for many years.

Southern Bride put together this shoot about a year ago, and we've been excited about shooting this for the entire year. Here's a behind the scenes video that we filmed during the photo shoot. The working title is the American Beauty Collection, and you will love every photo from the collection. Visit our website to see more of the amazing photos.

We shot almost 5000 photos and shot hours of video footage, narrowed the photos down to the top 1000, and the editors selected their favorites for the magazine spread and covers. We've been shooting beautiful weddings for over 10 years for hundreds of brides, getting to shoot for Southern Bride Magazine is always an honor, and we get to shoot in some of the most amazing locations in the Southern USA, Mexico and The Caribbean. ( Spread the word if you know of a couple that would like us to shoot their wedding, we love photographing beautiful weddings) The new issue of Southern Bride hits newsstands across the Southern United States January 1, 2017, so pick up a copy.

Southern Bride Magazine - The Greenbrier Resort - Michael Allen Photography - from Michael Allen on Vimeo.

Released Christmas Day for the new 2017 Issue that hits newsstands soon!

Special Thanks to everyone on this shoot:

Photography and video -
Hairstyling - and Laveii Haircare
Makeup - Alicia Lee,
Scene Stylist & Flowers -
Accommodations, Location & Catering- The Greenbrier Resort -
Fashion Stylist - Scottie Key -
Models - Red Models - Margaret Seay - Meghan Ballard - Morgan Allen - Mallory Baker

Bridal Gowns & Fashions

Music By: Maryanna / Songfreedom - I Want You
Cameras: / canon 5dmk IV / DJI Drones / DJI Osmo

Michael Allen is based in Memphis Tennessee, and offers wedding photography, commercial & editorial photography, architectural photography and specializes in family and senior photography.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Behind the Scenes with Michael Allen Photography in Key West

Here's our latest behind the scenes film from our photo shoot in Key West with Southern Bride Magazine, the latest issue is on newsstands for the fall 2016 issue all across the Southern USA.
If you love photography, you'll get a look behind the scenes and get to see some of how we photograph our editorial shoots. While we use natural light, we also use light modifiers, reflectors, flash, and the sun to give each image a beautiful look. Our team at Michael Allen Photography flew to Key West along with 15 of the crew from Southern Bride, and over 40 dresses from the top bridal fashion designers from around the world. As you can see from our opening scenes, the weather was sometimes a bit rainy, with tropical winds, but we pushed through and ended up with some amazing photos. We travel around the world, and shoot destination weddings for couples, so travel is second nature to us. Take a minute and enjoy our little view of paradise! Special thanks to Hawks Cay Resort on Duck Key and The Florida Visitors Bureau for flying us down, and feeding us some incredible seafood. Be sure to visit the Southern Bride Website to see more of the photos from the shoot.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Top Wedding Photographers in Tennessee

Top 16 Photographers in Memphis Tennessee. What an honor! We were just selected from a very large group as one of the best photographers in Memphis Tennessee for 2016 by an independent agency that scouts businesses across the USA!

We Looked at 288 Wedding Photographers in Memphis and Picked the Top 16

Best Wedding
in Memphis

Monday, June 20, 2016

Key West Photo Shoot - Michael Allen Photography

Key West Photo Shoot - Michael Allen Photography - Southern Bride Magazine

Earlier this year the editors at Southern Bride flew us all down to Key West for a major fashion photo shoot on Duck Key. Flying with 250 pounds of photo gear has it's challenges, but with our Media Pass the airlines made accommodations and we got to Miami in record time. Getting a large rental car from the airport was also a challenge, as the rental agents all spoke fluent Cuban, but after a while we figured out how to communicate that we needed room for lots of gear. The drive down from Miami was supposed to take about 1.5 hours to our first destination, but due to Islamorada having a festival that had traffic to a standstill for hours turned our 2 hour drive into a 6 hour drive. But in the Keys we were simply happy and no challenge seemed to dampen our spirits. When we finally got to our first location, we were scouting at last light, almost dark, so that was another challenge trying to find just the right spots for the best light. Did I mention we had a few umbrella drinks in our hands, so we were having fun. We met with the entire crew, about 15 of us, and settled in for the night. Early the next morning we woke up to a monsoon rainstorm, with dark clouds and wind, heavy rains to say the least. Ah, that did delay us for a couple of hours, but we managed to shoot in some covered areas that no one would ever know about pouring down rain in the background. Our first day was a bit overcast, but by the afternoon we did see some sunshine, The first day of the shoot was a success! The rest of the shoot went like clockwork for the next few days. Our hosts in the Keys included the resort management team and the Key West Visitors Bureau. We were treated like celebrities the entire week, and our stay in Key West for the last 2 days was more like a vacation than work. Our stay on Sunset Key was over the top. (We kept hoping we would run into the crew of Bloodline, but never saw any of them.) Our models were Merritt and Josh, we've worked with them before and the editors flew them in from New York just for the shoot. They both did a killer job even though they thought we were rained out the first day. Here's a few images from the Southern Bride blog that just posted. Be sure to pick up a copy of the new issue that just hit newsstands the other day. We shot over 5000 photos, so we will be posting the rest of this year as we have time. Here's the very first shot of the rainy morning. (I love it when the first shot is just amazing!)