Archives: 2009/06

Harlow: Music Row’s Salon Jun 30th | Vendors We Love!

Whitney and I recently had the opportunity to photograph one of the coolest salons in town. Harlow is a hip salon on music row that has a taste for very classic and retro styles. They also have a knack for having fun.

We first met a few of the ladies of Harlow at a recent fashion shoot for Premier Bride Magazine. We were really excited once we found out we have similar tastes and styles. We also found out that we are business neighbors. We both love the Midtown/Music Row neighborhood.

Harlow has some great packages for weddings. They will take care of your hair and makeup needs and will treat you right on your wedding day.

So, here is what happened when Dove and Harlow got together for a shoot at the salon.

Not everything was serious. This crew knows how to have a lot of fun together.

You probably have already noticed that the look of these photos are a bit different from our normal use of natural light. We loved getting creative with our off-camera lighting. I have to admit, being I was busy moving strobes around, I felt a little left out because I did not have the time to pick up a camera. However, I am very proud of Whitney’s shots and glad that we can make a great team when we do projects together.

Owners Eva Marie Clarke and Shana Dyer have a great vision for their business and have definitely created one of the most unique salons around.

Heather & Chris


Katie & John

Jodi & Julianne

Thanks Harlow for letting us be creative with you!

- Peter

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Art Inspiration: Inventor of Oil Paintings Jun 29th | Art Inspiration

Jan van Eyck

Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and Giovanna Cenami

Oil on Wood, 1434

(images from

I’m so excited about sharing this painting with you guys! It is one of my favorites for so many reasons. The artist is Jan van Eyck, and the title of it is Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and Giovanna Cenami. There is so much detail in this painting, and so much to be said about it that I will not be able to get to it all. Also, I want to clarify that there is a lot of debate about the meaning and circumstances of the painting, so you may find different information out there than what I have shared.

What I love most about this painting is all the detail and symbolism that has gone into it. Many art historians speculate that this is a wedding portrait of sorts, that they are taking an oath to each other. The artist signed the painting, “Jan van Eyck was here” which suggests that it might even be a sort of legal document of an important oath, which you can also see in the position of their hands. There are other symbols that point towards an oath of marriage. The dog in the front, which is a symbol of fidelity, and the shoes that have been removed which represents holy ground that they are standing on.

There are also witnesses to this oath which are reflected in the mirror behind them. There is even more evidence that this is a religious ceremony of sorts by the image of the rosary and the passion of Christ which is shown in the circles around the mirror.

When I look at this painting and I think of my own work, I am reminded that there is much that can be said in a traditional portrait. Each detail should be important, each object you decide to include in an image has the ability to tell a story. What is important to the bride? What can you include that will give viewers a hint of what is going on at an event that you are photographing? Are there things that should be excluded? What does the pose say about this person? Think about this the next time you photograph someone, and see if you can add just a little something extra that can make the viewer see deeper into who they are looking at.

-Whitney Carlson

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Cedarwood Wedding: Erin & Jonathan! Jun 23rd | Weddings

There were so many great things about Erin & Jonathan’s Cedarwood Wedding that I can’t wait to share with you soon. One of the things that I noticed most was how important family is to them. Sweetness just comes out of the two of them and I don’t think I’ve seen a groom quite as smitten as Jonathan. I love this image on Cedarwood’s beautiful grounds.Whitney Carlson

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Art Inspiration: Prehistoric Art Jun 22nd | Art Inspiration

One thing that I love about art is the stories that it can tell. You can find stories about the subjects, about the artists, and about the culture that they live in. Sometimes the stories told are deliberate and factual. Sometimes the artist don’t even realize the stories they are telling. By looking at artwork there is so much that we can learn about our history, and about the history of others around us and others that came before us. I remember in my Art History classes thinking that studying Prehistoric art was one of the most boring lessons I had to sit through. I wanted to see beautiful, well developed paintings, not these cave scribbles and ugly statues. But what usually happens when you grow up is you realize the importance of this work and what you can learn from it.

Even though there is little still known about the purpose of these cave paintings from Lascaux, you can see the importance of hunting in their life. It is how they survived, what they did to live.

c. 15000-10000 BC. Lascaux, France

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With the Venus of Willendorf, again we see how mere survival is a part of their culture. It is commonly thought that these statues represent fertility, or the ideal woman that would be able to reproduce.Venus of Willendorf
c. 24,000-22,000 BCE
Oolitic limestone
43/8 inches (11.1 cm) high
(Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna)

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I am sharing these because it is the beginning, it is our history as artists. It is where it all started from and now we have the tools to capture so much more. A wedding photographer captures what things are like at this point in history. What people wore, what was important to our culture. But most importantly, they capture an individuals family history, how two families joined as one, what specific people are important to them, and the emotions people were feeling on that day. Look at your images and think about what stories will be told because you were there. Whitney Carlson

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The Contemporary Album Jun 19th | Products

When designing your wedding album, one of the first decisions we have you make is what style of album you want. Do you want to go with the more timeless, traditional matted album or do you want to go with the contemporary graphically designed album? Both are great choices, so you can’t go wrong either way. It just depends on what look and feel you want for your wedding album. All of our albums are custom designed for each client, so no two albums are ever the same. We make sure that each album we design is as unique as our couples.

We recently received Jaime and Nathan’s Contemporary Album from their wedding at Cedarwood and the office was buzzing the day it came. There were ooo’s and awe’s from everyone. It turned out so lovely that I wanted to share some pictures of it with you. Be sure to view the design of the inside of the book here to see what the online proof looked like.

Audrey Phillips, Studio Manager

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Emily & Jeremy’s Wedding in Lebanon, TN Jun 18th | Weddings

You probably have noticed that we have been posting a lot of blogs lately. Our goal is to just keep them rolling!

Emily & Jeremy had one of the most heart-felt ceremonies we have ever been to. I wish I had the room to show you all of the photos we have from it. They were married in the church Emily grew up in and it was such a pleasure seeing so many life-long friends attend.

It’s fun what you can do in Sunday school rooms.

Emily’s Dad was so excited to see her. This is one of my favorite photos.

If you have never been to Lebanon, you are missing out on a town full of historic places. It’s great to see all the revitalization the town is putting into these old buildings.

These guys were hilarious. They were trying their hardest to make the female photographers blush. Luckily, the Dove crew is not easily embarrassed.

Whitney had no problem getting the girls to bring out their sass. Truly a fun bunch!

Emily’s parents.

Once again, Nashville Event Lighting pulls off another great display. This time adding some great ambiance to The Mill.

Maples Wedding Cakes: have we said enough about them? AMAZING!

Angela Proffitt had the entire day running smoothly for Emily & Jeremy. Angela is so calm. cool. and collected. I do not think I have seen someone run a tighter ship. Hooray for Angela!

Here is Nashville Event Lighting’s amazing centerpiece along with flowers by A Village of Flowers.

Jeremy’s brother was the life of the party. This is one of many crazy photos we have of him breaking it down on the dance floor.

Congratulations Emily & Jeremy!

- Peter

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Photography Tips: Cameras Jun 17th | Photo Tips

Even before someone asks “the lens question”, I get asked “the camera question”. As in, what SLR camera should I buy? There are so many things I could comment on about cameras, but I am going to try to keep this as simple as possible, without too many confusing specs and comparisons.

My very first SLR camera was a completely manual Pentax film camera. I LOVED this camera, and brought it everywhere with me. Everywhere just happened to include Madrid, Spain and on my flight home someone stole my camera and all the film I had shot over there. I cried. A lot. Thankfully, I have never had a camera stolen since then, and with digital, I always back up my cards right away! After my Pentax, I found a film Nikon that I enjoyed, and also took great photographs.

Soon it became time to purchase a digital camera, which is where I had to make a choice. Would I stick with Nikon, which was my film camera, or would I go Canon? In the end, I decided to go Canon and have never looked back. The main reasons for my choice was that I had used both a Canon and Nikon digital camera and I simply just liked the Canon better.

So, what does this mean for you? It means that whether you choose Canon or Nikon, you will be able to make quality photographs if you know how to use your camera. It also means that even though I like Canon, you may decide you like Nikon better! So try out both, and see what feels better to you. However, remember that once you choose what brand you are going with, it will be hard to switch later.

With that said, here are my suggestions. These are all Canon cameras, but most of them have a Nikon counterpart that is similar.

When you are choosing a camera, don’t worry about all the extra features. The Pentax that I loved had zero automatic, zero extra features, and it served me very well. People have asked me what is better, the Canon Rebel XS or the Canon Rebel XSi which is about $100 more. The main difference is that the XSi has more features which you don’t necessarily need, so save that $100 and put it towards a lens!

If you are really serious about sticking with photography, I would suggest skipping the newest Canon Rebel and purchasing one of the prosumer x0D lines. These are a great line of cameras that are built to last longer than the Rebels and are so high quality that many, many professional photographers use them. You can also purchase the older models for the same price or less than the Rebels, and take home a much better camera. If you have $1200, you can purchase the newest in the line, the 50d. If you don’t want to spend as much you can purchase the 40d for under $800 on ebay, the 30d for under $500 on ebay, and the 20d for around $300 on ebay.

I hope this helps you not only decide on a camera to use, but also helps you see that you don’t need a fancy camera to take good photographs! Here is one of my favorite images from when I first started out using the Canon 20d. This image is straight from the camera. No editing was done to it.

-Whitney Carlson

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Jenny & EJ: Nashville Governor’s Club Jun 16th | Weddings

Photography was very important to Jenny and EJ, and on the day of the wedding they let us schedule close to an hour for portraits of them together! We had so much fun roaming around the governors club, playing with bubbles, and climbing hills. But this simple one at the side of the house is my favorite… This really is how Jenny and EJ looked at each other all day :)

We will share some of the wonderful vendors that helped with their day once we post their whole blog!

-Whitney Carlson

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Art Inspiration: A little background Jun 15th | Art Inspiration

I am very excited to start the inspiration section of our blog! This is something I have wanted to do for over a year, and am so happy to finally get it rolling. I want to use this first blog to give you a little insight into my background and why this is so exciting for me. For those of you that don’t know, I went to University of Georgia where I received a degree in Art Education. It was my first major, and it never changed because I loved it! However, once I did my student teaching, I realized that the public school environment was not the place for me. I wanted more personal one on one interaction that public schools just did not afford. I would love to tell you more about how I came to be a wedding photographer, but that is another story for another time! I wanted to share this with you because it was through studying art that I began to see the world in a whole new light, and to see all the possibilities that photography could bring. I learned to paint, to draw, and to sculpt. But I was never able to express my self in these mediums the way I could in photography. The funny thing was, though, that even though my strength wasn’t in painting, I LOVED to study it and the stories behind it. I still remember visiting the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam when I was 16, and almost coming to tears when I first laid eyes on a real life Van Gogh. You could see the brush strokes, the passion and movement behind them, and you could almost feel what he was feeling while they were being painted. I will never forget that experience.

So, my friends, I want to share some of these artists that have inspired me through the years. I want to show you painters, sculptures, and photographers that have influenced the way I shoot. And through this, I hope you discover someone that you love and that will inspire you.

Here is an example from the first artist I loved:

Vincent Van Gogh

Oil on Canvas


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Wedding Vendors: Brides by Sugar Drop Jun 12th | Vendors We Love!

So I was one of those brides that did not want a long engagement. Ben, my husband, popped the question on June 19th and we were married on October 27 of 2007. So as you can see I did not have a lot of time to plan a wedding, and I knew that finding the right wedding dress was the first thing I needed to do.

I had heard rumors about the sale rack at Brides by Sugar Drop in Brentwood, but could not believe it when I actually saw it. Beautiful wedding dresses for $60, cash and carry. Plus there was a whole other rack in doors with dresses that were marked down. In order to move inventory and make room for the new season, Ms Carol puts dresses on sale often. However, if you are not in need of a bargain, they also have a wonderful selection of really gorgeous full price, high-end dresses. Another great thing, other than their prices and selection, is that their customer service was amazing! Since they are a smaller shop they can give each customer the personal attention that they deserve. Ms. Carol spent 5 hours helping me try on dresses and would even hold the back of the dress so that I could see what it would look like after it was altered. Because they don’t use the clamps on the back, all of their dresses are in beautiful condition right off the rack.

Recently, I was able to recommend Brides by Sugar Drop to one of our Dove brides. Sarah’s first wedding dress was not working out and she was 6 weeks from her wedding and did not know what to do. I recommended she go see Ms. Carol and check out their dresses. She emailed me a few days later and was excited to tell me that they had taken great care of her and she had purchased a dress that she loved.

So if you are still looking for a wedding dress I would definitely check out the hidden gem of Brides by Sugar Drop in Brentwood. I can say without a doubt that they will take great care of you. They have dresses in all styles and price ranges.

Below are some pictures of Sarah and myself in our wedding dresses from Brides By Sugar Drop.

Have a great weekend!


Audrey Phillips: Thanks Linda! Sugar Drop really is a great place, and I love the location for these shots as well. ;) (Jun 16th - 10:02 pm)
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Nashville Wedding Photographers, Whitney & Peter Carlson are Dove Wedding Photography.
Our wedding photography portfolio and information can be viewed on our portfolio site.

Dove Wedding Photography
2827 Azalea Place
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 730-7716

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