Birmingham, AL wedding & portrait photographer Kelly Cummings


WPPI 2012 :: Airplanes and Blazers 2 and lots of sleeping

Smilebooth, Jesh de Rox, Morgan photo-ing.

I love WPPI more than French Connection dresses. But this year I didn’t have to choose (while we were in Vegas we stumbled upon a 50% off sale items and I nabbed 2 dresses for $80 total).

Last year was my first year going to the convention, which takes place in Vegas every year (you might remember that I JUST blogged about it like last week?). Even before I went last year my excitement centered around Airplanes and Blazers, the follow up to 2010’s hippest party, Airhorns and Lasers, which I only lived through the blogposts and photos of the lucky ones who were cool enough to attend. Last year I bought my ticket as soon as I found out they were on sale and took a bus to the party by myself, with full confidence that even alone this would be the best thing ever (excluding getting married, that goes without saying). I’d met Angie & Matt Sloan the May before when they had come to Birmingham for my friend Joanna’s wedding (but I didn’t know good ol’ Jojo back then).  I ran into them at the party and as luck would have it they introduced me to their awesome friends who I’d also admired, the legendary Southern California crew.

Fast forward to 2012 (the best and last year of the world, if those Mayans are right), and I convinced Morgan Trinker to join me. Okay I think it didn’t take any convincing, it was more of a “We’re going this year” with nods and quick plane ticket purchasing. It’s all a blur. Morgan had been in 2010 but hadn’t been to Airhorns and Lasers, and so several weeks before we talked about the party and shopping and how we needed fancy party purses with long chains (my chain broke off within like 10 minutes and I couldn’t dance with it hitting my hip anyway). I bought 2 sequined dresses since Arden B had a buy one get one for a dollar sale and Morgan refused to pick one so that we could split the cost, so I win X2, and Morgan found a really cute colorful skirt at Forever 21 and then some dangerously high colorblocked heels. [We spent an hour before the party discussing walking strategy (barefoot through the casino and then heels outside? flats to walk there and carry our heels to put on for our entrance?), before I insisted we just take a cab for the .6 mile distance between our room at MGM and the Planet Hollywood where the party was.]

We arrived to Vegas Sunday night and ate at Diego in the MGM (and got to see my lovely friend Camille who I had the pleasure of 2nding for last September!), and slept up for Monday, On Monday we registered and hit up the trade show (I had strategically plotted out what booths to hit and it seems like the whole thing only took 30 minutes). I resisted going to the Nikon booth and touching the D800 or the D4, which was probably wise, but we did say hello to The Image is Found (Nate and Jaclyn) at the VSCO booth, saw Jill DeVries and Amanda Van Vels, and happen to sit in on Jesh De Rox’s Beloved demonstration (which we volunteered to be kids for, not a huge stretch for girls who are barely 5 feet tall and shop at GAP kids on occasion).

Jesh making everyone laugh and cry with his genuine emotion evoking techniques (amazing).

Instagram fun on the way to the Miracle Mile Mall which felt like a Miracle Marathon by the time we got there.

Morgan before Jesh’s demonstration, Jose Villa prints from his platform class, our feet.

After Jose Villa’s platform class we spent oh, I don’t know, 2 hours getting ready? Thank you 5 hour energy and Morgan’s MAC eyeshadow and $1 hairspray. No thank you to the cheap pantyhose that ended up making me look jaundiced and thus rendering my legs bare. Airplanes & Blazers 2 was mod 60s themed and my true feelings are that sequins are right for every decade. And that sheer dresses require a lot more underwear preparation. And the use of Smilebooth pins as safety pins.

At the party we met up with fellow Bham lovelies Breanna Fogg and Amy Carson (okay, watchers of Chuck, doesn’t Breanna look like Ellie? Morgan thinks she looks like Robin from How I met your mother but since I haven’t seen it I can’t yay or nay it)

End of the night, cool people, Nate & Jaclyn, and Matt Sloan

I’m assuming this gem of a face is in response to being kicked out at 2:30 or so in the morning…

The next day was useless. We skipped our classes, ate a few meals, and gave in and went to bed early so that we could actually be awake for Justin & Mary’s talk on Wednesday.

Okay we did go get frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. That redeemed the day.

On Wednesday morning we were Parisian and ate breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi. Eggs Benedict. Intelligensia coffee. Heated patio seating.

At Justin & Mary’s talk (phenomenal, feel good and tears, no more excuses, you are worth big dreams kind of class) my business card won me some V chocolates (Garrett is now obsessed, I let him have 2). I took so many notes and left feeling so good about being even better for my clients. YES! The far right is a collection of souvenirs, a mix cd that I found after Airplanes & Blazers (The Flashdance is amazing), Smilebooth pin, wristband from the party, and a photo with Birmingham beauty Melissa from Open Air Photobooths. (My speak no evil looks like I’m trying not to vomit sunshine, I love it).

And we said goodbye to Vegas on Thursday, happily, because like a really great religious high, nothing the rest of the week could live up to dancing and singing to the best music ever with thousands of other people for whom this is their wedding reception opportunity. Leaving my camera and checking my bag and shaking it to ” but you say he’s just a friend” and “California knows how to party.”

So, until next year. If you’re considering going for the first time I’d be glad to talk you into it. Your first year is so much different, it’s overwhelming to see so many booths and companies and famous photographers all in one place. You go to as many classes as you can and you learn so much and you might even burn out. For me the second year was this much needed boost, with a lot less focus on being a sponge and more focus on the people (and instagram). Connecting to someone. And dancing.

Thanks to Airplanes and Blazers, WPPI, Smilebooth (for the party pics), Las Vegas, The Flashdance, Ken from Renaissance Albums (for being the most fun vendor ever), Angie & Matt Sloan, Amelia & Justin Lyon (I’m going to these 4’s workshop next month!!!), Justin and Mary, Jesh de Rox, new friends, old friends, sequins and dresses and coffee and pizza and pain au chocolat…

Oh, and check out Morgan’s recap here.


WPPI 2011 :: Photo Recap


This Sunday Morgan and I are heading out to Las Vegas for WPPI, which is basically a huge networking party for wedding and portrait photographers. Whoever decided to designate Las Vegas as the convention capital of the world was genius. Last year was my first trip out and like the terrible blogger I am I am just now posting the photos. But that’s just a testament to how awesome last year was, I was so starstruck and excited that I couldn’t have been bothered with blogging about it.

Last year I went with fellow Birmingham wedding photographer Emily Kicklighter and every part of the trip was exciting. From hotel room photo shoots to meeting a leather clothing designer to parties to meeting the faces of Leather Craftsmen (Hi David and Howard!), hearing Jose Villa and Elizabeth Messina speak and almost missing our return flight because we’d forgotten to gamble during the whole trip and the hotel had slots…it was so inspiring and fun. Emily has been such an awesome mentor and friend to me in Birmingham and I know I wouldn’t have had half as much fun without her there! (And if she’s reading this she should book a ticket to Vegas stat.)

One of our first nights there we happened to pop in for the Sony fashion show and Nigel Barker was hosting! If you follow my blog at all you know that I am obsessed with the novelty of fame. As a child I cherished my Greg Fishel and Muddy the Mudcat autographs (our local weatherman on WRAL and our local minor league baseball team’s mascot). I get excited when I see Frank Stitt at one of his restaurants in Birmingham and once in Chapel Hill I squealed when I saw Mama Dip at Mama Dip’s.  Imagine if I lived somewhere like Nashville or Hollywood where real famous people live.

Bobbi and Mike.

Emily modeling one of Kippy’s leather coats. While we were looking at the coats the designer, Kippy, came over and made us try them on! I would post a photo of me in the one with the orange fur collar but I can’t let you convince me I need it so I won’t. But I do need it. And how amazing that the designer was in town?

At the tradeshow The Boudoir Divas had a studio lighting and backdrop set-up you could try out. I’m pretty sure I asked this girl what celebrity she looked like and then decided on Natalie Portman (if you want to debate me you can look at the rest of my photos from WPPI on my proofing site and weigh in).

Pinhole Pro, The professional side of Pinhole Press, was one of my favorite booths just because it’s so important to see products in person and this company offers products to consumers with incentives for photographers. Guestbooks, softcover books, notepads, calendars… The paper feels good. The design is clean. This is what I recommend to clients that want to order their own goodies. I have two Pinhole Press sample albums in my office right now. True fact.

Emily and I both volunteered to model during New York photographer’s Jason Groupp’s lighting seminar.

After feeling inspired my shoes needed a photoshoot.

Arkansas photographers Matt and Meghan aka Aus10 Photoartists after a dinner hangout with Nate and Becka Robinson and their friend’s with PadProof.

Emily spotted Becker the day after we heard him speak and asked if he was doing photographer headshots (something he’d mentioned during his talk), and Emily coaxed him into using my camera to  snap a few headshots. He quickly switched to party mode and we ended up with at least a hundred rapid fire shots. Bringing someone extroverted who is not afraid to ask the biggest photographers to take your photo is helpful really.

And what I’m most looking forward to this year… Airplanes and Blazers. If this event was the only event at WPPI I’d still try to justify going. Ever since stalking photos from the Airhorns and Lasers party in 2010 I’d wanted to go and it was so much fun that I stayed until we were pretty much kicked out of the party!

On the bus to the party I met Jill DeVries (feathers) and Dorothy Huhn (in the green)

So psyched to call these folks dance partners, Nate and Becka Robinson, Angie and Matt Sloan, Mark of Mark Brooke Photographers, and Ken Liu from Renaissance Albums!

And a little bit of Bham representing. Brandon and Stacey Gresham and Steven DeVries showed up too.

In light of all of the memes about what I really do, remember that this is only my glamorous life for three days of the year. If you’re going (most especially to the Airplanes and Blazers 2 party!) let me know! And if you’re considering going next year I’d be happy to convince you…


Featured :: Southern Living Weddings :: Clay and Bryan

Cake Cover Photography by Iain Bagwell; Flowers cover by Kate Headley

Southern Living Weddings 2012 Spread Spindle Photography

Clay Fuller and Bryan Ziegler

A few months ago I got a very exciting email, and until I got home from a North Carolina Christmas last week to two copies of the 2012 Southern Living WEDDINGS issue in print I really couldn’t be sure it was really happening. Being published is every photographer’s dream, and Southern Living is a publication that has been a part of most any Southern girl’s life as long as they can remember. Being selected for their annual Weddings issue is so huge for me, really and truly.

The wedding itself was so deserving of being published, Morgan and I were standing with mouths agape when we walked into the backyard of Clay’s parents’ house to find “Southern wedding” come to life.  We had no idea how absolutely magical, (seriously) the wedding would be. We’re talking a wedding day brunch at an old mill with the best Southern breakfast foods you can imagine and a bluegrass band, a magnolia for the bride’s hair, sweet tea, a vintage get-away car, little girls in frilly dresses playing in a hammock, a big backyard tent reception in a field behind the bride’s parents’ gorgeous plantation home. Sweeter than tea.

Starting today (assuming you’ll read this after I post at nearly midnight), January 6th, the issue hits newsstands. I can’t wait for you to get your own copy, there is so much to love inside!  The issue is overflowing with eye-candy with 25 real weddings in the issue. It’s so amazing to see my work in the same magazine as photographers I’ve long admired like A Bryan Photo, Kate Headley, and Our Labor of Love!  This issue is undeniablylovely, this is no fluffy book of ads disguised as a magazine, it is full of clean layouts with gorgeous content and ideas from real brides. I will direct you to page 62 first, but you’ll surely pore over the rest of the pages so not to miss any of the beautiful inspiration inside!

Thank you to Bob Vardaman for his hand in making this event so magical, and of course to Clay and Bryan (for being in love and so amazing and kind), and their families for their unbelievable hospitality, (Mrs. Fuller is the epitome of a Southern lady and we could not have felt more welcome in Selma)! I’ll be posting some of my favorites from the weekend in the next few days, sorry to keep you waiting so long but hopefully the magazine is a sweet surprise!

A big thank you to Paden Reich from Southern Living for her part in making this issue a reality as well and to Morgan Trinker for assisting me on Clay and Bryan’s wedding day! And, Kinora Films for making the most beautiful film of their day that kept everyone who saw it in tears (I haven’t met one person who has seen it with a dry eye).

Love, (because I’m feeling it so much right now!),


Happy New Year at The J. Clyde

Happy New Year and potential month of blogging everyday. This is a good start even though it’s taking me far less than the average post. Last night I went out to the J. Clyde (Bham’s best beer bar) with the Trinkers and my friends Sam & Spencer to eat a 3 course dinner with a flight of 5 beers. I couldn’t tell you what they were, there was a brown that none of us really liked, a sour, Fatso, and Seduction? And something else. Ha. Maybe Samantha will comment with the correct names. Anywho, it was a great start to the New Year, well, until we were heading out by 10 and still had 2 hours to wait for the countdown, we’re all 25 and up now and I think that means we’re super old now and thus could barely make it to midnight. I hope your New Years has been equally relaxing? Or productive, since I have lots to get cracking on today.

Sunset on the way to the Trinkers for Drink(ers?)

Flight of beers. Front row is a sour and Fatso, back row is Seduction, a saison (I think? maybe a jolly pumpkin?), and the brown (which tasted a bit like a watered down stout to me and like cigar ashes to Jamie)

Sam and Spencer, Jamie and Morgan

Oysters Rockefeller

Fried quail with black eyed pea ratatouille

Bread Pudding (I’d never even had bread pudding until a few years ago but it’s become one of my favorite desserts for sure)

Best Dressed group of the night.

A summary of events.

NOLA and Two Francophiles with Cameras

Last week I headed to New Orleans for a wedding with Morgan in tow to assist, and we got there a day early to settle in, which really translated to having a whole day to frolic around in the city. Morgan had never been to New Orleans and I’d been a few years back for the Sugar Bowl but hadn’t had much time to wander. My best friend Stacy lives in New Orleans and I could kick myself for not getting any shots of or with her while we were there, but I couldn’t convince her to take the rest of the day off for a big floppy hat photoshoot, so I’ll just have to go back. As with all of my travels and wedding trips this year it still feels so surreal, walking around New Orleans pretending it is somehow equivalent to Paris (hence the stripes, eating at a place called Cafe Amelie, the French Market, and shopping at French Connection). Morgan and I are so rarely the subject of photographs being photographers ourselves that we both understand the need for such vanities and also so desperately want someone to be our models when we are in someplace lovely. So, here are a lot of photos of Morgan, and if you visit her blog, you’ll find a lot of photos of me. Looking like the most stereotypical French wanna-bes ever. Much more wedding to come, and hopefully a lot more personal soon, but for now, enjoy the French Quarter with me.

I love that Cafe du Monde only serves coffee and beignets. It reminds me of Garrett reminiscing about how Dreamland used to only serve ribs, white bread, and Mountain Dew. I also love that beignets taste exactly like funnel cake only more of a big pouf of it, and equally if not more messy. Since we were there on a weekday (during Hurricane season which is probably not the busiest season for NOLA), a lot of the staff would just hang around talking with their paper hats, waiting for more tourists (I love the woman with the fan in the black and white shot a few up).

The one on the left (above) was shot through my sunhat, which I kind of want to take with me on all shoots to get that diffused light and texture.

I tried to get Morgan to buy her own hat but she wouldn’t, even though she looks adorable in this one. Also, I photographed every aqua and red thing I could find, since New Orleans is full of them, and they are my self proclaimed business colors.

This car on the side of the street covered in pin-up tattoo style graphics for Sailor Jerry’s rum was amazing. I’m planning to never ever even consider a tattoo, but if I did or if someone I knew was going to, I would definitely support a pin-up style (preferably by Kat Von D) above all else.

Merci beaucoup!

Enter to win an Instax Mini Camera and Film!

I have a goal to reach 1000 likes on facebook before my 25th birthday on September 9th (just a few weeks!) and we all know the best way to encourage people to do anything is to sweeten the deal with a giveaway. I also need to update my website with some images from my most recent weddings and sessions, and so, I am enlisting your help. Here are the steps in visual and written form to make it pretty.

The prize includes one (1) fujifilm Instax Mini 7 camera and 2 pack box of film (20 sheets/images)

First of all, head over to Spindle Photography’s facebook page and like. The winner must be a fan of Spindle Photography on facebook, but you will also need to enter in one of the ways below to win.  If you like Spindle Photography on facebook, then come back and comment with the place where you would most like to get married for one entry.  Be creative!
If you have a Pinterest  account you can go to Spindle Photography’s blog and pin your favorite images (via Pinterest’s bookmarklet, which can be found here). You can pin as many images as you like, but a max of 10 will be counted as contest entries.

Please pin your absolute favorites, as I’ll be using these for a second round to decide on images to put on my portfolio pages.

Once you’ve finished pinning post a link to the board you’ve pinned to in the comment section so that your entries can be counted!

You can also enter on Spindle Photography’s proofing site at Zenfolio by commenting on your favorite images across the site. They can be any category, not just weddings. Some galleries are password protected, so the clients who have access to those galleries are welcome to post comments there but otherwise there are lots of other open galleries that you can browse! I’ll also be very grateful for comments that explain why you love a certain image or whether you think it should be showcased on the main gallery of my site versus the categorized sections. You also must include your email address when you comment or I won’t know how to contact you if you win!

To make things fair for people who do not have an account on pinterest, a maximum of 10 entries can be received either of these two ways. You can do any combination to get to 10 entries, for example, pinning 5 images and commenting 5 times on Zenfolio.

If you post to facebook, twitter, or your blog with a link to this contest page you will win an additional entry for each (up to 3 additional entries).  If you post on facebook, @ mention Spindle Photography in the post (if your privacy settings are set so that your posts don’t show up on other pages you can send me a screen cap of the post via email (kelly at spindlephotography dot com).

I just entered (@ Spindle Photography) ‘s giveaway to win an instax mini camera and you can too!

If you are posting on twitter you can use the following post:

I just entered a contest to win an instax mini camera from @spindlephoto . How you can enter to win:

If you post to your blog, please comment below to the post! The only requirement on the blog is that you mention the contest with a link to this blogpost:

Entries will close at 11:59 PM CST on Friday, September 9th, 2011 so get going! To encourage you to share the wealth, no one will win the giveaway if I don’t reach 1000 likes, so even if you don’t want your friends to have a chance at the awesome prize, you should at least recommend that they become a fan. 🙂 Also, I know this giveaway is potentially confusing, so I will gladly update this post along the way with answers to questions along the way!

Thank you for your help and best of luck!

Rob & Jean:: Married!

Rob and Jean’s wedding was one I had been looking forward to all year, and the reasons to look forward to it just kept adding. First of all, Rob and Jean are awesome and we really clicked right away, from the far-from-serious photo they sent so that I could recognize them at O’Henry’s when we met, to the extra hour at O’Henry’s after their engagement session just to talk. Then, when I toyed with the idea of getting an intern for the busy wedding season this year, right away Jean responded to my twitter request with the contact information for Nancy, Rob’s sister. Nancy probably had no idea what she was getting into, but a few months later I felt like Rob and Jean’s wedding was the marriage of two of my close family members. Jean has very much become a part of the McColl family over the years since they started dating in high school, and you could tell how happy their friends and families were to watch them wed.

The wedding took place at Historic Rucker Place, a southern historic home in downtown Birmingham overflowing with Southern charm, and red and traditional Chinese details were added to incorporate Jean’s heritage to the event. Jean’s bridesmaids wore red dresses, the guests were given wooden fans with red ribbons printed with the date, and the food at the reception featured a mix of Southern and Chinese food (read: delicious).
The photo above might just be my favorite photo ever.

This (above) is Nancy. My intern/assistant extraordinaire, who is leaving me to go to London next semester, after which she is to promptly quit school and join me full time.

After this mini session with the getaway car I seriously want to steal all of my couples on the wedding day to get shots like these. It doesn’t always work out with the schedule but I so wish it would. Take note brides-to-be. After you get married you will be so happy and it will show on your lovely face. So, let me take you away from the reception and photography you. Thanks!

I am so grateful to Rob and Jean and their families for making sure that Morgan and I were fed, comfortable, welcome, and happy at the rehearsal dinner and the wedding. Rob and Jean are such a fun couple and for the first time ever (so far at least), I took up the begging request of some of the groomsmen and guests to go out after the wedding. This group was seriously that fun.

I know that Rob and Jean have a lifetime of happiness ahead of them and I’m so privileged to be their photographer and to now call them my friends! Congratulations Rob and Jean!

Dress: Marisa from Bella Couture
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Location: Rucker Place
Flowers: Lillie’s
Cake: Edgar’s Bakery
Hair: Lindsie Mosley of DL Salon
Bridesmaids: Dessy Group
Band: Drivetrain
Groom and Groomsmen attire: JoS. A. Bank
Catering: Savoie

Morgan Trinker

Meet Morgan.

In November of last year I got an email from a girl who had recently moved here (to Birmingham, AL) from Salt Lake City, and was restarting her photography business from scratch in a new place, much like I started just a year before. I haven’t always had luck with other photographers I’ve met (which is true of anyone you meet really), and friendships are a huge emotional investment, a time commitment, and a risk. But after a few emails and our first lunch at Cafe de Paris, it was clear that we had a lot of the same goals and interests, and we’ve been lucky enough to find ways to work together since then!

Our biggest adventure began with the Hi-Fi Weddings Fest in Huntsville this January, which is where I took the following photos (you can see the images Morgan took of me here). Afterwards we decided to take on the project of a local wedding resource for Birmingham girls, called Bham Bride (near and dear to my heart as an internet addict who planned a wedding here just after moving from NC and finding that everything was much more offline and word of mouth).

I’m sure there will be much more to say in the future about Morgan, and mostly she’s an amazing friend and the only reason I didn’t kill myself over my open house last week. She’s very DIY crafty, loves the colors aqua and lime green (if you ever come across her or any of her possessions you will be made aware), she loves Kate Spade, and she has a sparkling personality. We live very similar lives but mine is a little less color coordinated. Our husbands have become friends and we’ve replaced our dreams of husband and wife photography teams with a girl friend team aspiration. I hope you enjoy these images, and if you haven’t checked her work out already, please do, she’s awesome, and I’m lucky to know her!

Holiday Craft Bazaar

2009 was my first year in Birmingham (since I was only here for the last 4 days in 2008). When I moved here from North Carolina it seemed like there wasn’t much of an online presence for Alabama, especially on Weddingbee (which devastated me since I’d been following the site longer than I should admit), etsy, and blogs in general. A lot of businesses seemed to be running on word of mouth, which was scary for me, being someone that was not native to Birmingham planning a Birmingham wedding. So, when I made it to the Holiday Craft Bazaar at Bottletree last December, I was grabbing up local artists’ cards like free candy. I saw lots of etsy addresses and felt reassured. Since then I’m pretty sure facebook has become a part of almost every United States citizens’ lives, including Birmingham, so I might start yearning for the word-of-mouth society that once was despite growing up online.

Either way, I couldn’t miss this year’s craft bazaar, and I managed to sneak a few photos for you of some really great vendors! I’m excited about all of the other creative minds working in Birmingham, and I’m looking forward to seeing more in 2011!

^ The window display that definitely caught your eye if you made the rounds on the Craft Bazaar route was a collaboration between the ladies of Korora, Sprig, and Flourish.

I’m excited to say I signed up for a sewing class with Korora, and will hopefully make my husband very happy by figuring out how to use the sewing machine he bought me last Christmas which immediately frustrated me after I wound the bobbin and then proceeded to forget all of the other steps involved in my “Teen Living” home-ec class in high school. Sorry, Mrs. Lane. They hosted a cute contest to name the bedroom for the chance to win a pillow, you can read the winning name here, and it sounds like the studio space opening up this January in Homewood will be a gorgeous sanctuary for all of us with crafting lusts but no outlets.

^These lovelies, are by Traci of Tracemyface, and I discovered her work on etsy before last year’s craft bazaar. She is a freelance graphic designer, and has made some awesome concert posters for Bottletree, including a really awesome Animal Collective poster that drew me to her work. She was also Jessica Rabbit for Halloween, incase you wanted more reasons to like her.

I don’t have photos of all of the really other amazing vendors from the bazaar but I will point you in the direction of Craft Lab‘s t-shirt scarves (I bought one and I’m pretty into it, so perhaps it will sneak its’ way into a future post), and the super smooth &  fancy luxurious cutting boards of Brown & Green LLC.  If you were a vendor at the Craft Bazaar, feel free to add a link to your wares in the comment section below, I love featuring local vendors! I also feature vendors on my personal blog every now and then, dash pinch smidgen, so I’d love some recommendations for readers’ favorite local shops/artists.