Thursday, August 21, 2014

Introducing our team: Al Gordon

In hopes that everyone can get to know our team a little better, Blair decided to interview Al...Some questions relate to Photography, but mostly not. 

1. Do you have a middle name?

Yes, Hayman.

2. What was your favorite subject in school?

 3. What's your favorite drink?
Coke...I guess?  

4. What's your favorite song at the moment?
Happy by Pharell Williams

5. What's your favorite book? 

Archie Comics 

6.What's your favorite color?

7. What's your favorite animal?

8. What's your favorite holiday?

4th of July

9. Have you been out of the country?

Yes, Scotland, England, Germany, Canada, and Bermuda. 

10. Do you speak any other languages?
No, unless Pig Latin counts.

11. What's your favorite restaurant?


12. What's your favorite movie? 

Blues Brothers & Blazing Saddles

13. What are some of your favorite TV shows?

Big Bang Theory, Flinstones, Elementary

14. PC or Mac?


15. Canon or Nikon?

16. Favorite lens to shoot with?
80-200mm f2.8

17. Dream photography job?
What I'm doing now!!

18. What is something weird or unique about yourself? 
I went to college to be a band director. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

TNPPA Annual Convention

The Gordon and Ralston Photography team had the joy of attending the Annual Tennessee Professional Photographer's Association (TNPPA) Convention in Chattanooga, TN. At the convention there were speakers from all over the nation, a trade show, and a beautiful boat ride down the Tennessee River.
Al Gordon with his wife, Linda and daughter, Madaleine. 
Al's ASP Award
ASP Award winning image
Al was honored to receive numerous awards, but his crowning moment was receiving the American Society of Photographers Elite Award. He was able to share this occasion with his wife and daughter, pictured above. 

Larry received 50 service merits through his service to the TPPA by serving on committees and serving those associated with the TPPA. 
This was Blair's first time attending any photography convention, and she was pleasantly in awe the entire time. The class on posing served her well in learning about posing Brides and women in general. She also was able to meet several of our friends who do our printing in Middle Tennessee. 

If you would like to know how to join the TNPPA, please contact Larry Ralston 615-396-8776 for more information. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Florida Wedding of Culture

The Gordon and Ralston team recently photographed a cultural wedding in Florida. Here's a sneak peak at some of the gorgeous details from that event. The colors and energy at this wedding were absolutely amazing!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Nashville Blast (Keila and Eric)

Recently, we had the beautiful opportunity to photograph a wedding that will go down in books as an experience to be remembered. I knew these ladies were going to be easy to photograph because they were all cosmetologists with vibrant personalities! This was the first wedding our newest addition to the Gordon and Ralston photography team got to join us. Blair, who was fresh off the bus from Texas, assisted with reflectors and lights while Larry and I had a blast capturing these vibrant personalities. There was a tan wall in Keila's hotel room next to a huge window. The wall was an amazing compliment color to the girl's dresses. It was splendid. They all could have been models! Have I mentioned how good looking these ladies were? Well, I guess I should mention that the men were very well groomed as well. They were fresh from the barber shop, and singing 90's pop songs. This was all around a great looking group, and full of life! 

This was a gorgeous wall in the girl's hotel room. We used a reflector and window light, and the girls did the rest. 

Such a fun group on the Shelby Pedestrian Bridge.

Nashville, TN Wedding Photography
Shelby Pedestrian Bridge

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Faces of PPA

Hey everyone!

Sorry it has been a while since my last post. The Professional Photographers of America recently asked its members to submit an article and photo about why we became photographers, and how PPA has helped my business. This "Assignment" has given me a chance to think about my life..... scary, huh?

Well, for those of you that don't know, I went to college to be a band director. I loved my high school band, and I loved marching in the band at Florida State too! (I spent a year at University of Louisville also. No marching band) When I was at FSU, I took a course on photography to fill in some credit hours. I realized I loved creating images with a camera!

My first job was being a sports photographer, covering Florida State Football, and other FSU sports. Great fun! We had to stay up all night developing film and printing photos for the newspaer. Tiring work, but fulfilling. One thing led to another, and people asked me to do their family photos, and weddings. I was so nervous at my first wedding I did not sleep for almost three days.

The turning point for me was when I photographed a couple on their 50th wedding anniversary. Such a great copuple. They were still completely in love with each other. After a few weeks the man came in to view the photographs-alone. His wife had passed away the day after our photo shoot.
We sat and cried together as we went through the proofs. I realized that day I had one of the most wondrous jobs in the world. I was a memory collector. I knew that being a photographer was my passion.

Thanks for allowing me to share! And thanks to my stepdaughter Madaleine for snapping this shot as I was doing an engagement session!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Movie Time!

We grew up in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and as children and youth enjoyed going to the theater to see a movie.  Many of those movies were seen at the Martin Theater: now called the Premiere 6 located on Broad Street in the Jackson heights shopping center.  Maybe our love of film and the movies had something to do with our becoming photographers.  Larry actually works there as night manager at the Premiere 6, you may have seen him there sometime.  There is also a very nice display of photographs taken by Al in the lobby.

Recently, we had the opportunity to photograph the owner of the theater, Bill Brooks, for an article in Murfreesboro Magazine.  Bill continues to keep the theater in top operating order.  Each auditorium was installed with cutting-edge digital projectors and sound.  It was a fun challenge for our technical knowledge.  Each photography location was a completely different lighting set-up.  The greatest challenge was providing flattering light for Bill while creating detail throughout the theater.  All of this was accomplished between movie showings
Softbox to light Bill, light from back of theater pointed at Bill to light room set at 2500 watts.

small strobe bouncing off of computer monitor, blue gel on flash in background

4 second exposure on tungsten setting

Three lights- 1 from camera left, 1 with snoot to light hair, and one to light background

5 photographs stitched together with multiple small bursts of flash.
We also need to thank Doug Stevens of for him stopping by to help!

Watching the latest movies gives us ideas for backgrounds, posing, and lighting ideas for High School senior and other types of images. And watching the older movies gives us an appreciation for the classic lighting that will never go out of style.

What are you waiting for? Go see a great movie at The Premier 6! Check out what's playing at And , if you need some great photography, check out

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Neon Lights

There are people that enjoy their jobs so much that they "Don't work a day in their life". I know that to be true because I feel that way myself. It's a double bonus when I get to photograph those people. Dave Buck is the owner of Signs of the Times (, a sign shop in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Dave  is a true artist who has a passion for neon signs. When anyone in the Southeast United States needs a new neon sign, or needs one repaired, Dave is your guy. Because of the intricacies of the process, there are very few neon  sign makers in the United States. They are very labor intensive. I saw him give a short program on how neon signs are made, and it fascinated me. I had to spend some time at his shop photographing him and his passion.

Dave is one of the nicest people you would ever meet, and he didn't flinch when I moved all my gear in to his place for a few hours. I was mesmerized watching him create.  His movements as he heated the glass and bent it, and repeated the process was as a virtuoso musician performs a work of Mozart. With all the flames and chemical gases it was not easy getting my camera and lighting in the right spot, but it was worth it. Dave also does vinyl and many other types of signs, but I wanted to just capture the neon process on this trip.

After 2 hours of photographing, I took away a new appreciation for the art of sign-making, and for people like Dave who make their work their passion. I can imagine all the artists before him creating neon signs all over the world. What would Las Vegas be without the neon sign? Although there are much cheaper "neon knock-offs" available now, there is something special about a crafted neon sign that makes you smile.

If you are looking for a sign for your business or your man-cave, give Dave a call at 615-962-4256.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Gotta have some R&R.....

Hey friends!

A lot of people ask me what I do for fun. Well, believe it or not, I love to photograph! My family and I got tickets to the Tennessee Renaissance Festival a little while ago. I ran across these images when I was backing up some of my files, and decided to post them. I do enjoy photographing colors, shadows, and interesting people. When I get stressed, I go take a walk- or a drive- with my camera.  It lets my mind be creative and I can relax and think. I had a field day at the Festival with all the things around to shoot! I highly recommend going to the Festival. There is a lot to do-camera or not. My family had a great time! Check out Our day was cut short by a rainstorm, but I got home refreshed and raring to get back to work. Thanks!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

2014! Woot Woot!

With 2014 here, I waned to share some of my thoughts on wedding photography as it stands now.

I photographed my first wedding in the mid 80s. There. I said it. By my calculations that means that I have photographed over 1000 weddings. And I still love every one. With a passion. There is nothing better than seeing one of my couples shed tears of joy when they relive the wedding day thorough my photographs. I am used to  delivering a finished, retouched album that is cherished for generations.

They say that this is the first generation of people since the inception of photography that may end up with NO photographs. So many people keep their photographs on a tablet. or computer. And yes, many of them will back them up on a DVD. But, as technology continues to grow and change, who is to say those photographs will even be able to be opened in 10 years? Its pretty hard now to find products to view cassettes now, or err.. 8 track tapes!  Although 90% of my brides still buy an album from me, it is not that way with many wedding photographers in the industry. And the bride and groom will stash their treasured dvd or thumb drive in a drawer and make a promise to print them -someday soon. And that usually does not happen. They will however , end up on some social media. Maybe.

I am asking everyone to PRINT their personal images they care about, and buy retouched cherished PRINTS and Albums from your professional photographer.  Did you know more photographers are getting sued over bad and lost wedding images than ever before? Hire a TRAINED PROFESSIONAL for your once in a lifetime event! Someone that really cares about you and the craft of photography. Its worth every penny.

Thanks so much!