Derrick Pierce likes his images modern yet elegant with real expressions. He and his crew create a wedding atmosphere of cool and easy Southern Style. “We hate being labeled as any specific style especially traditional when we have worked hard to be always cutting edge, never following the crowd.” If you asked them, they would say they prefer their style being described as Eclectic Southern, stated Laura Lampley his business partner, wife, and designer. “We’re laid back when the situation calls for calm, and we’re passionate when the situation needs passion, everything else is laughter and fun.”
Derrick see’s himself as a Biographer using images instead of words. “Brides plan their wedding from beginning to end, moment by moment. However a great photography team like ours, we work from the end, backward in order to capture the big picture.” Examples: What does the B & G want in their hands when the wedding is over. What is the overall style and theme of the wedding story. What is the overall feel of the day is it all party or is it a more religious affair. All this planning has to start with our being great listeners as well as being very, very observant.
“Our brides may see themselves as super modern, yet they choose a full ball gown with layers of netting, and the groom’s in tails.” Derrick laughed talking about how clients may feel one thing but project another, “Occasionally we get fooled, if a bride is adamant no posed pictures and we arrive they hand us a huge list of poses, and, that’s okay we’re always prepared for anything.” Derrick and Laura spend a lot of time talking to their brides to assure they receive everything they want and their day goes smoothly. This wonderful wedding photography team went on to explain how the Bride’s personal style drives every decision they make, which is a big part of the service they offer.
Derrick’s laid back manner comes from growing up in a sleepy little industrial town outside of Atlanta, GA. Like most of the young people in his town, he felt he had little choice but to work in the Mills like everyone else. But there is something special about Derrick, and with loving parents that wanted him to have better, he was able to explore the world of possibilities. On a trip to Atlanta he saw an art exhibit of original photographs by Ansel Adams. Derrick fell in love with the moody Black and White prints and his course was set. His luck continued as he was always at the right place at the right time, going to school for photography learning from world class photographers new and old, and having his images judged at Art Shows by great photographers like Robin Hood. Derrick also loved the dark room seeing his images appear as the paper hit the chemicals, he has that same charge out of seeing the images on a computer and working with all the finishing techniques.
His background has prepared him for every situation from his time as a Commercial Photographer and Fine Art Photographer to everything in between. When he met and married Laura he moved to Franklin, Laura was originally from Williamson County with a background in art and design. Derrick decided to focus on wedding photography, and being the perfectionist that he is, he had to learn from the best. His photography was spot on, but he wanted to master capturing the emotions of a wedding. Two years training seemed logical before venturing out on his own and starting D. Pierce Studio. “Weddings took me by surprise there is so much to learn, plus they are so fast paced. You have to be ‘on it’ at every moment because one mistake and you’ve just lost images that are irreplaceable.”
Derrick went on to talk about photographers of today, “I don’t mean any disrespect,” he said, as always the perfect Southern gentleman, “the industry really needs awesome photographers, it makes everyone better. But some new photographers seem so impatient, they‘ve put so much emphasis on their equipment it’s like they’re not having any fun. I used to test myself with a $15 plastic Holga camera just to create something wonderful with the worst camera made and it was fun. Some of my favorite art pieces are made with those cameras. Trust me it’s “not” the camera. . . if you’re shooting thousands of shots with your eyes closed in fear you‘ve missed the heart of photography completely.” Derrick could literally write the book on lighting, cameras and photography but he knows that for most people talking about it is like watching paint dry.
We Asked: What’s the One Thing Most Brides & Grooms don’t know when Choosing a Wedding Photographer?
When we asked what Derrick thinks the number one thing or issue most Brides and Grooms don’t understand about wedding photography, Laura answered for them laughing as Derrick playfully goosed her side for the interruption, “Without a doubt, Brides hire photographers for all the wrong reasons. . . thinking one is just as good as the other, NO Way!”
“Like Brides hire the cheapest person, when someone great may be just a little more. They will go with a friend’s photographer even if they don’t like their photographs because it seems easy. I’ve even heard that some Brides and Grooms make their decisions totally off the web, having never met the photographer in person, sending them deposits. Wow! Your photographer can literally make or ruin your wedding! I cannot emphasize this point enough. How? Because they are the only vendor with you the entire day, if you don‘t have an instant rapport with them it will be the longest day of your life and not in a good way. Take the most annoying person you know and stand beside them for five to ten hours, not to mention the emotions you‘ll be experiencing.”
Laura and Derrick started telling all the horror stories they had heard over the years, before Laura added, “Many wedding couples also think that the new cameras make all photographers equal, that you don’t have to be trained to do any photography anymore. That’s the biggest “myth” of them all. . . yes the cameras are good but they will never be good enough to do all the “thinking“ and calculating you have to do at a wedding.“ Many photographers put their cameras on program and they‘re off to the races. “If you know what to look for, you can actually see the problems, but most of us don’t know what to look for.” There are so many red flags you just have to be aware. Once you are watching for these signs you’ll see them everywhere. “Example silhouetted images, I know you like them, we do too if there are only one or two done well. But would you be happy if all your ceremony images are like that. . .I wouldn’t be”.
Red flags to watch for: Overdone silhouette shots, to many white backgrounds, to many color shift images, too many muddy Black and White images, only being shown outside images (especially if your wedding is indoors). Solid black backgrounds, is another big red flag, and the list goes on. A coordinator recently was telling a story about a photographer that yelled at a venue manager, complaining the lighting in the venue was terrible. The venue brought up all the lights they had, (which the Bride hated) and the photographer still complained. The truth was the photographer was shooting a night reception, in a historic building and he had not brought any lighting equipment.
“There is a huge difference between a trained photographer with real photographic equipment, and someone who takes your money, knowing there are things they can not do. But they take your money anyway knowing all they have to do in the end is hand you a disk and walk away. Remember that is really all they agreed to. . . a disk not quality finished images. Think about it, in their agreement, if they even have one, have they promised great photography?”
Check out the D. Pierce Studio Quality Guarantee.
How D. Pierce Studio shines as one of the Best in the South East:
A great photography team like Derrick and Laura are actually involved in making your day unforgettable. Like something as simple as your dad walking in to see your gown for the first time, (which we recommended to you during our consultation) you wouldn’t want to miss his expression when Dad sees you. . . there‘s only one first time. We may softly say if he seems distracted, ‘well in just a few hours your little girl will not be just your girl anymore’. . . boom, in that one moment his facial expression softens showing what he’s really feeling. We’re a part of making your wedding, gently pulling emotions out and helping everyone to be in the moment which is really hard for some. It’s all the hundreds of little things that make a photography team great and that changes okay shots into stunningly beautiful wedding images.
Well they must be doing something right because D. Pierce Studio, Derrick and Laura, as well as their crew have developed a following over the last several years, and as much as they love traveling all over the world to do Art Photography and Weddings. They truly prefer the rhythm and soul of the South and the spectacular weddings here. “It’s different from any place in the world” they both agreed whole heartedly. “The heat can cause havoc on weddings, but at the same time it forces us to be more creative and more caring toward our Brides and Grooms and their families.” The invitation has been extended to all Wedding Couples, “come on down South and let us capture your passion and excitement, so you can relive every delicious moment of your wedding day, again and again.” Let them show you the poetry of their creative Eclectic Southern Style photography.
Derrick is a true artist, with a fantastic eye. Loved working with he and Laura. Would recommend them over and over again.