Its Sunday June 29, 2020 I am in Elkhart Lake Wisconsin turn 12, aka “Canada Corner”, 10 mins before the last MotoAmerica Superbike race starts for the weekend. You ask yourself how did Epic Beard Photography get here? Welcome to MotoAmerica Round 2 at Road America Wisconsin the Epic Beard Photography Experience.
It was early June 2020 and I was contacted by a friend, named Jordan, that I have known for a while. He had asked if I would be interested in taking my sports and commercial photography to a new level. I asked “What’s the gig?” His replied with, “To go to Elkhart Lake Wisconsin to photograph MotoAmerica Round 2 at Road America.” My response was “You bet I do.”
In that three and half week leading up to the race weekend I had a long to do list and a short time to really get it accomplished. To make it to MotoAmerica Round 2 at Road America Wisconsin Epic Beard Photography experience I had to get media credentials first. After submitting my information to Jordan and a head shot he took care of the credentials, and I had to fill out two waivers. Next was taking care of all travel arrangements right down to finally getting TSA prechecked.
June 24, 2020 5:00 am and I wake up the wife to take this Virginia Beach sports photographer to Norfolk International Airport. 10:30 am and I arrive in Milwaukee Wisconsin and my adventure begins. I get my rental car drove an hour north to the hotel in Fond Du Lac Wisconsin. I get settled in and drop of the non-essentials and then I am off to explore. First stop was to go and check out the track in Elkhart Lake Wisconsin just out side of Sheboygan.
After checking out Road America I headed up to the Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Not exactly what I expected for some reason I imagined the stadium in a more historic district. It was actually located right on the out skirts of a neighborhood right in the middle of Green Bay. Lambeau Field opened in 1957 as a City Stadium replacing the original City Stadium at Green Bay East High School. Lambeau Field is the oldest continually operating NFL Stadium.
June 25, 2020 8:30 am Jordan and I are out or the hotel and headed to Road America. When we get there I do my check-in with MotoAmerica and Epic Beard Photography’s real experience begins. Credentials in hand Jordan and I meet up with one of the rising riders of MotoAmerica in Superbikes Max Flinders number 88 riding for Thrashed Bike Racing. Today is just load in and set up for the riders and their teams. Also it was a good day for me seeing how I have never been here before to photograph to explore the track and see where the good vantage spots to photograph are.
June 26, 2020 8:00 am Jordan and I make it to the media meeting we get our vest and now is time to start capturing the action. My first spot is turn 3 when those bikes come in to that turn it was crazy fast, much faster than I imagined. You can hear the bike motors wind out as the riders down shift to a safer speed coming out of the straight away. As they come out of the turn you can that motor topping out on each gear as the rider is launched down the track like a missile. After turn three I was off to turn 8 where I befriended a fellow photographer who I would talk to through out the weekend. This fellow photographer gave me some good tips on being successful at Road America and some other vantage points to go for. Turn 6 and Turn 12 were my favorite corners to stand in because of how close to the track I was allowed to get.
At the end of the weekend I made some great connections and learned a few new things. I got to hang out with Max Flinders number 88 riding for Thrashed Bike Racing. He finished in the top 10 which in how tight the competition is a great victory in itself. I got to meet Max’s parents and learn all about him. What I really liked about Max was how humble he is and how much he enjoys interacting with his fans of all ages. This weekend Max actually got his first fan art which was totally awesome.
There was one other rider I met over the weekend that I have become a huge fan of because I had such a huge connection with was Tony Blackall number 11 in the Superport class. My strong connection with Tony and his team is that they are all veterans. There mission now “is to race on the national platform in the Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.” There goal is to “create a pipeline to produce a facility where warriors can transition to elite leaders in our workforce.” I plan on writing more on just Blackall Racing when I return from photographing them all weekend at Road Atlanta. So stay tuned.
The Best Virginia Beach Bridal Show! This year being at the Uniquely Yours Bridal show in Norfolk VA, was our second show and we ROCKED it. We had a few of the same vendor neighbors as last year and a new one this year, and couldn’t be happier. The Uniquely Yours Bridal Show is like the Super Bowl of bridal shows for the Hampton Roads area. We couldn’t be more pleased with the turn out of couples that filled the Norfolk Scopes exhibit hall visiting each of the 140 plus meticulously decorated vendor booths.
This was our second year at Uniquely Yours Bridal show. This show is one of the best bridal expos in the Hampton Roads area if not Virginia. With all the love and support from fellow vendors, I can say we will be doing many more shows in the future. There are few aspects of this bridal show that truly makes it unique and stand out to be one of the most anticipated bridal shows in the state of Virginia. The bridal show staff strives and takes great pride in bringing together the most professional vendors in the wedding industry here in the Hampton Roads area. On the day of the Uniquely Yours bridal show you can expect to see everything from venues, cuisine, entertainment, photography, videography, fashion, travel and vendors to help plan your future after getting hitch to enhance your bridal show experience!
Being apart of the Uniquely Yours bridal show and raising money for breast cancer research is truly an honor. Every year the show dedicates a special scene in the fashion show to breast cancer survivors. A portion of the entrance fee is donated to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation. According to the Uniquely Yours Bridal Showcase website, they have raised and donated more than $45,000 to the organization to date.
Next year, at the Virginia Beach Bridal Show, we are staying true to who we are with our style and our brand, but we will be changing some aspects of what we do because we feel we need to broaden our horizons and your experience. Our photographic style will stay the same with an industrial rustic feel with just a touch of romance. We plan on expanding into more unique photography. Doing unique boudoir, themed shoots, and of course fun and exciting weddings. Swing by the booth and see how we changed it, and make sure you enter to win your Portrait Session. To see more images Click Here!
As 2019 comes to an end and 2020 begins, it is time for us here at Epic Beard Photography a Virginia Beach Photographer to share how great 2019 was for us. Our 2019 started out strong and with a minor setback. We started the year out with the Uniquely Yours Bridal Show at the Norfolk Scope on January 13th. The minor setback was that I had to get a major knee surgery that kept me down for 8 weeks, but it didn’t stop me from doing what we do in photography. This was just the tip of the iceberg and it didn’t hold us back in any means in fact it launched us into many great opportunities throughout the year. We photographed engagements and weddings, college sports, concerts, commercial, and portraits.
The Uniquely Yours Bridal Show was a huge success for us. We photographed so many beautiful couples this year, and I feel truly honored and thankful that they entrusted us to photograph their special day for them. The Uniquely Yours Bridal Show, showed the Hampton Roads area that Epic Beard Photography is here, we are a Veteran Owned Virginia Beach Photographer specializing in capturing your moments and making them Genuine, Bold, and of course Epic! We are looking forward to the 2020 Uniquely Yours Bridal Show and can’t wait to meet all the new couples. Also Uniquely Yours Bridal Show helped us with networking with several vendors, from venues, to florist, wedding coordinators, and DJ’s. One vendor in particular that we have partnered with is Complete Weddings and Events.
Photographing College Sports is the next step before photographing pro sports. No matter the Division level of the school they are still a college and we got to photograph one here in Newport News. They are the Apprentice School they are a Division III school in the Metro Athletic Conference. We got to photograph a wrestling match, basketball games and a few football games for them. Another fun and exciting sporting event we got to photograph was for ProCamp. ProCamp reached out to us to photograph LeGarrette Blount’s ProCamp that was held at Naval Station Norfolk in July. Besides photographing the interaction the kids had with LeGarrette Blount, I got to hang out and be his personal photographer for 2 days.
The biggest event in 2019 that we got to photograph was the Patriotic Festival. One of the biggest wishes on my bucket list was to photograph a concert with a major headliner. Well I can definitely mark that off the list. Old Dominion won the Vocal Group of the Year award at the CMA’s. Along with Luke Combs who won Male Vocalist of the Year and Song of the Year, and Kane Brown who won Artist of the Year at 2019 CMT awards. Getting to meet these performers and the access I had was such an amazing experience that words can’t explain the excitement and energy I had that weekend. A few other concerts I photographed were the Mosquito Cabaret’s Album release show at the NORVA in Norfolk Virginia. They are a local band here in Hampton Roads that you just need to check out; their sound is unique and memorable. Big thanks goes out to Shoreline Music Valet for inviting us out to photograph their One Night, One Stage show with the Mark Dunn Band, Anthony Rosano & The Conqueroos, and Jason Cale Band at Elevation27 here in Virginia Beach. There were 3 bands to raise toys for Toys for Tots. And last but definitely not lease in any means I always love when I get to go and photograph my good friends Rachel and the JellyCats, you just need to hear them!
Rounding out 2019 we photographed several commercial events. One memorable event was for LifeNet when an organ donor’s mother got to meet the recipient for the first time. It was so touching when they saw each other, the room was so quiet. No words can explain when a tragic moment for one is so impactful and life saving for another. You just have to be there to feel the emotions that are all around. Our next commercial event that we had a blast photographing was a Beard and Stash competition to help raise money for the Vets House here in Virginia Beach. Lastly one of our other favorite commercial photography events was when Brick Anchor Brew House came to use and asked if we could do a stylized vintage pinup themed wedding for them to use for advertising. Of course we knocked it out of the park for them just like we do for all our customers.
As 2019 has come to an end stay tuned for 2020. We have 15 weddings scheduled already this year. Plans are in place to do more concerts and we are so excited to photograph the Patriotic Festival again this year. We have more sporting events on the schedule with plans to step up to the next level. We can’t wait for 2020 because we have big things in the works so subscribe, hit the like button and follow us.
presented by Bearded Villains of Virginia.
Earlier in the year around May I was contacted by the Captain of the Bearded Villains the Virginia Chapter. At first, I thought he bare witness to my most Epic Beard or had found me on Instagram and wanted me to join the organization. I decided to meet with Mr. Crash to see how I could be of service. After an hour conversation, Epic Beard Photography became their event photographer for their Beard and Stash competition on November 2nd, 2019 at the Bunker Brew House. The Bunker Brew House is located at the heart of the Virginia Beach Ocean front. The event Beards Away was to raise money for a local non-profit organization. Throughout the last couple of months, we met at the Bunker Brew House to go over details about the event and what the expectations of me in capturing the Epic night were.
The day of the event is now upon us. Not knowing what to expect as I walked up to the Bunker, I see some of the bearded individuals outside drinking their beer, having a smoke and sharing stories of life. They looked at me and I looked at them back and realized that I was a little out of my element as their beards were a tad more Epic than mine. I get inside and get my station set up for head shots for each contestant and get my business cards and flyers out. Then I strap the camera on check the settings and off to the races I go capturing candid photos with a photojournalistic feel. Everyone there was great, the different conversations amongst everyone you would have thought they haven’t seen each other in years with laughter all around. In the back of the room tattoo artist from Alliance Tattoo (Jason and Mike) set up shop to knock out Bearded Villain tattoos. There was a large table full of raffle prizes to help raise more money for the non-profit the event was supporting.
The non-profit organization the beard competition was raising money for was the VetsHouse in Virginia Beach Virginia run by Mr. Smith a Navy Veteran himself. Mr. Smith is a Vietnam Veteran with such a caring heart for his fellow service brothers and sisters that he has devoted his time, and money. He believes in helping his fellow veterans that are homeless by giving them a hand up and not a handout. The Beards away competition raised over $6,000 for the VetsHouse. For more information on VetsHouse go to vetshouseinc.org and you can also leave a donation on their site too.
The Patriotic Festival is an annual event that has been going on for 15 years here in Virginia Beach to celebrate the military, veterans, and their families. The Hampton Roads area of Virginia we are home to the largest military bases in the United States along with the biggest concentration of retired and veterans that live among us. The festival is down at the Virginia Beach Ocean Front from 4th street to 17th street packed with vendors and activities for the whole family.
The USO is a vital part of the event with its military expo village which show cases the mission, equipment and personnel through exhibits and demonstrations along the board walk and beach front. The USO also teamed up with Skydive Suffolk, Combat Wounded Coalition and Wounded Warriors. Skydive Suffolk jumped 48 people to land on the beach front, there were American Wounded Warriors, Danish, British, and supporters that got to skydive for a cause. Skydive Suffolk also provided the flag jumps in before the concert started Friday night. As the American Flag, POW Flag, Union Jack and Danish Flag came in the USO Singing Corps sung the National Anthem. The performers for this years festival were Brandon Lay Morgan Evans, Old Dominion, Muscadine Bloodline, Luke Combs, Alec Edmonds, Ryan Hurd, and Kane Brown.
If you were born before the year 2000 you will remember photography before the digital age. The first photographic print was the heliography invented around 1824 by Nicephore Niepce. The image was accomplished with bitumen of Judea spread on a silver plate after an exposure time of several days. Let’s jump 195 years into the future and we are in a digital age of photography where even your cell phone can take better pictures than a Digital SLR camera from 12 years ago.
Today’s generation won’t understand that feeling of going to the store and purchasing some film for a point and shoot camera. Taking that film and loading it into the camera burning through the 24 images photographing all that is important in your life. Then driving back to the store with that anxious feeling of wanting to know how your pictures are going to turn out waiting for the film to be developed. It was like Christmas morning, awaiting the ok nod or smile from Mom and Dad, to open your gifts that were placed under the Christmas tree. Once the filmed was developed and you got to look through them, you saw several images that you love, compelling you to purchase frames to display these images in your room, your home, or to give as a gift. These pictures represent a memory of a moment in time you will never be able to recreate the same way. Having those prints was a way to share with all your friends and family that moment you were proud of. It allowed them the opportunity to be a part of that moment even though they weren’t there, and the opportunity for the story behind the picture.
Since the year 2000 technology as advanced so fast that we moved from film cameras to digital cameras. In 19 years, we have almost forgotten the true art form of using film cameras to capture pictures and the whole process of developing. Even as a photographer the instant gratification of being able to look at an image right after taking it and deciding to keep it or not has made me at times forget my roots of photography. With the digital age there is a direct link now from cell phone cameras to social media. Social media is this generations perceived form of “print” media creating a disconnect on the value of the art form of photography and investing in printing images. If you are anything like me when you take a picture with your phone you end up forgetting all about it or it gets lost with the hundreds of other photos you take. As an artist, we want to capture the moments that you cherish. The moments that you want to share and never forget. It’s ok to share with all to see on social media, but its also ok to print it for the intimacy of your home or room, and for those friends and family to see when they walk in.
When you purchase the sessions for photography and then the prints to reminisce on the moments you created. Think of it as you are purchasing the ability to re-live the laughter and the love of that moment. The ability to stop what you are doing and remind yourself that in the business of life and work, its ok to stop what you are doing and capture special moments with the ones you love and never want to forget.
Being that the Uniquely Yours Bridal Show in Norfolk VA, was our first bridal show we didn’t know what to expect. The sounds of hundreds of future brides and their entourages milling around the Norfolk Scopes 5,650 square foot exhibition hall, the smells of a thousand wedding cake samples, the sounds of the many DJ companies having their own little parties, the all day fashion show where brides could purchase the dress the model is wearing, to the total of 140 vendors with all their booths meticulously decorated. I was not, however, expecting the amount of brides and other guest that loved our booth, our brand, and the overwhelming support from many vendors that attended.
As part of any industry there are expos and that even includes the wedding industry. Wedding expos around the country bring together soon-to-be married couples and the vendors vying for their business together in a one stop shop for a 5 hour event. The vendors range in size from large chains like Bed Bath and Beyond to your local photographer like us. For many brides who want to have a good “wedding”, expos can be extraordinarily influential. Many photographers in the Virginia Beach area can cost upwards of thousands of dollars. So having a room full of possible and potential vendors can help couples who want to take on more of their wedding planning themselves to get the best bang for their buck. For Epic Beard Photography we feel that our prices, starting with package 1 at $2500.00, is very competitive with other photographers in the Virginia Beach area.
At the Uniquely Yours Bridal Show we wanted to have our booth represent who we are, our style, and our brand. We are Industrial with a touch of rustic, Our photographic style we like to have fun with a touch of romance. In our style we love color and we show it by making the colors pop. The booth came about from Stephanie’s vision and through my jack of all trades and a master of none skill set. During the show we had a raffle to win our Specialty Portrait Session and the winner was Holli Adams, CONGRATULATIONS! We will be photographing her and her fiancée in April. We have some big plans for their session so stay tuned.
We were just figuring out what was next for Epic Beard Photography as we were wrapping up 2017. As the year went on our excitement grew as Epic Beard Photography expanded. Our excitement grew out of the many opportunities which included photographing Engagement sessions, Weddings, Family Portrait sessions, Sporting events, Themed sessions, and even some Commercial work.
The engagement and weddings that we got to photograph were such an honor because these couples trusted us to capture their special time in their lives as they close one chapter of life and start another. Robert Fulghum states it best in his book True Love “We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness- and call it love-true love.” With that being said, when I am with my wife and we are photographing an engagement or wedding together, I always think about how we met, the journey we have been on and how much she loves and supports all my weirdness. For that I fall in love with her all over again.
There were three family portrait sessions that we enjoyed photographing. Two sessions in particular were of my brother and my sister in-law’s maternity session when we were all together over the summer spending quality time. The second favorite session was when my sister asked me to do family portraits as our Christmas gift to her and her family when we went home for Christmas in Florida. What made the first 2 sessions so special to me was that my family sees the artistic abilities I have to capture their moments, and to put my artwork on their walls for everyone to see. The third favorite and fun family portrait session we got to do was for the Diaz family. She contacted us to photograph a special Mother’s Day family photo session. This session was special because her son was home from Japan and her daughter came home between Navy A school and C school, and it had been a long while since everyone was together.
Sporting events in 2018 were expanded, and we did more with photographing horse shows for the Virginia Beach Horse Show Association (VBHSA). We did 4 shows as our schedule permitted. The other big sporting event that we photograph this year and had fun doing was Roller Derby for the Dominion Derby Girls. Roller Derby was different but exciting to photograph. In 2019 I am planning to expand our sports category.
In 2018 we had found a niche that we enjoy which is really fun because we are able to use our imagination. The story lines were unlimited. Earlier in 2018 I did a King Arthur inspired session which I got to try some new editing techniques. Next, we got introduced to photographing Pin-Up, and the sky was the limit. We worked with some very incredible ladies, and we were published in Rocket Girl Magazine. As a result of our Pin-Up work we also had the opportunity to work with some really cool rat-rod cars from around the Hampton Roads area. We also did a rat-rod session in Orlando FL. Our themed session photographed with smoke grenades in First Landing State Park was fun as well. We have done boudoir before, but what made this session special that it was first time working with smoke grenades. It was the clients idea and we delivered.
I am also a staff photographer for commercial parts distributor that produces high end auto parts for luxury cars. As a staff photographer my photos enable customers to view the products before purchase.
Looking into 2019 we started the year out by doing our first bridal show at the Uniquely Yours Bridal show at the Norfolk Scope which proved to be highly successful. This event was quickly followed by an assignment to photograph NCAA Basketball and Wrestling Tournaments
Hope to see you in 2019 to fulfill your photography needs.