Welcome to the Derek Johnson Photography Blog! Check in often as I chronicle many of my client portrait sessions, share product previews and share my experiences in photography and life in general.

Posted on Apr 29, 2015
Posted in Creative

My birthday session with Erika was AMAZING!! Erika Hogan, owner of New Attitude Performing Arts Center is quickly becoming my favorite person to photograph! Now over the last two years we’ve had multiple opportunities to work together on different photographic projects. Now I had to opportunity to photograph Erika herself as part of her birthday present to herself – a Marilyn Monroe inspired portrait session.

We discussed the concept and tossed around ideas for attire. I had great vision for location, lighting and I thought we were all ready to go. Last minute location issues completely shut down my plans and I was scrambling for a Plan B. After taking a close look at her three outfits a grand idea hit me and Plan B was underway.

Check out the results below. Amazing makeup from one of my Beauty Team members, Kathy Robinson, amazing studio lighting and natural location and AMAZING subject rocking the look.

 

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Posted on Apr 09, 2015
Posted in Creative

I had the pleasure of doing another dance photoshoot with the beautiful and talented staff of New Attitude Performing Arts Center in Rock Hill, SC. My two daughters have attended the dance school for two years and I’ve developed a great working relationship with the owner Erika Hogan and we’ve collaborated on some great creative photo shoots.

Erika and her staff were in need of some updated headshots for the website and of course I was happy to put together a creative shoot to capture the ladies in motion. Check out the NAPAC staff below and see some of the creative shots we captured during the shoot.

Owner: Erika Hogan

Rock Hill SC Dance Photo Shoot with Erika Hogan

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Dana Generette

Rock Hill SC Dance Photo Shoot with Dana Generette

 

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Chay Raines

Rock Hill SC Dance Photo Shoot with Chay Raines

 

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Margarette Kochergo

Rock Hill SC Dance Photo Shoot with Margarette Kochergo

 

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Kimberly Cook

Rock Hill SC Dance Photo Shoot with Kimberly Cook

 

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These ladies are beyond talented and work great as a team, not only teaching children to become great dancers, but also taking amazing photos!

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I’ve developed my own fantasy capture with dancers called, “What If Everyone Had the Force?” I’m a Star Wars fan for life and I love seeing the Force being used on the big screen.  During our last shoot we tried some creative captures of “Force Lifts” and they turned out great! Here are a couple from this shoot and I love these as well.

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Posted on Apr 02, 2015
Posted in Seniors

I’m super excited about this new E-book that I’ve developed just for my prospective senior portrait clients. Even if that isn’t you, I’m sure you have a friend, acquaintance or family member with a high school (or college) senior who may be looking for the right photographer.

 

Well let me share some valuable information with you to help you avoid 7 costly mistakes most people make when selecting a photographer for their senior portraits.

 

See this is not a “close my eyes point to a number on a listing and go with it” type of decision. You child’s senior portraits can be so much more than just a few awkward poses in front of an impatient photographer. You’re child’s senior portrait session could turn out to be the experience of a lifetime, part of those epic moments that will define her senior year.

 

I want to give you some information that you can use when shopping for a great photographer. Of course I would love for you to choose me as your child’s senior photographer, but even if you don’t I want to make sure you are armed with the right information to make the best decision.

So please share this information with someone you love and by all means contact us soon so we can talk more and possible set up an epic senior portrait session for your child.

 

 

So hopefully you found the information helpful and it has empowered you to go out there and find the best photographer for your senior. If you think that one could be me then let’s chat right now. You can find out how to contact me HERE.

If you’d like to learn more sign up for my free periodic newsletter where I send out great articles like this one as well as all the latest offers and other great information on portrait photography and life in general. Sign up below!

 

Posted on Mar 26, 2015

Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas are full of beautiful locations to have a portrait session. From rural farming land to the urban Uptown region, there are so many places in this town to really have a great portrait session. I love on location shoots for various reasons but mostly because my clients and I can determine which location really works well with their personality, chosen attire and the overall look they want to achieve in their portrait session.

 

So here are 10 of my favorite locations in and around the Charlotte, NC  area for on location portrait sessions.

1. The Boardwalk at the University Hilton Hotel

I’ve done a ton of portrait sessions here and the look is amazing. It can be quite busy on the weekends, but some careful placement and patience yields amazing images at this location. From family sessions to senior prom and creative sessions, this location always delivers.

Collin Shirley (Class of 2016) Senior Portrait Session

Collin Shirley Senior Portraits at University Hilton Boardwalk Collin Shirley Senior Portraits at University Hilton Boardwalk

2. The Fort Mill Dairy Barn – 

Also known as the Anne Springs Close Greenway, this is the spot if you’re looking for a beautiful rural setting. This sprawling area has so many different backdrops for that country look and feel. You may even be able to get a beautiful horse in your background.

 Ashley Joseph Senior Portrait Session at the Fort Mill Diary Barn Ashley Joseph Senior Portrait Session at the Fort Mill Diary Barn Ashley Joseph Senior Portrait Session at the Fort Mill Diary Barn

3. Tyvola Business Park – 

This is off the beaten path and not in an obviously picturesque place, but this gem is tucked away on the back side of an office complex and has beautiful water features and lush greenery throughout. Best of all is that it’s secluded and not well-known so you’re not waiting for “moving scenery” to pass by.

Dasia Toole Senior Portrait Session in Charlotte NC Dasia Toole Senior Portrait Session in Charlotte NC Dasia Toole Senior Portrait Session in Charlotte NC Dasia Toole Senior Portrait Session in Charlotte NC

 

4. Baxter Village in Fort Mill, SC – 

Right in the heart of Fort Mill, SC this collection of shops and eateries is nestled right in front of a beautiful, quaint community of homes.  Cute shops line both sides of the streets and there are plenty of amazing spots to create beautiful images.

Cynthia Vu Model Shoot in Fort Mill SC Cynthia Vu Model Shoot in Fort Mill SC Cynthia Vu Model Shoot in Fort Mill SC

 

5. In or Around Your Own Home! – 

I have so much fun surprising people with wonderful portrait locations in and around their own homes. You’d be surprised how the right composition and lighting can create an unlikely location that yields amazing images.

Cynthia Vu Model Shoot in Fort Mill SC Cynthia Vu Model Shoot in Fort Mill SC Cynthia Vu Model Shoot in Fort Mill SC

 

6. Your School Court or Field –

As long as we can safely and LEGALLY access the court or field of your sport we can capture you in your element and create some amazingly edgy and dramatic sports images.

Christian Hatcher Football Session in Charlotte NC Christian Hatcher Football Session in Charlotte NC Christian Hatcher Football Session in Charlotte NC

 

7. Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC –

Winthrop’s campus is BEAUTIFUL and I have not even scratched the surface of amazing places to shoot. If you’re a native of the Rock Hill area I’m sure you could show me some amazing places that I hadn’t even thought of.

Quaneshia Dance Portraits on Winthrop University Campus Quaneshia Dance Portraits on Winthrop University Campus Quaneshia Dance Portraits on Winthrop University Campus

 

8. The RiverWalk in Rock Hill, SC – 

The proximity of Rock Hill, SC to Charlotte, NC and the fact that I live right in between the two means that I have the both to two cities with beautiful locations all around. This  gem is also full of character and drama for late evening portrait sessions.

Kuria Carr Senior Portraits in Rock Hill SC Kuria Carr Senior Portraits in Rock Hill SC Kuria Carr Senior Portraits in Rock Hill SC

 

9. First Ward Park in Uptown Charlotte – 

With the tall beautiful buildings of Uptown Charlotte in view this is a perfect place to capture the beauty of the park environment and still incorporate an urban feel.

Ishona Kinard Model Shoot in Uptown Charlotte NC Ishona Kinard Model Shoot in Uptown Charlotte NC Ishona Kinard Model Shoot in Uptown Charlotte NC

 

10. A Cool Edgy Indoor Location –

I typically like outdoor locations for my sessions but ocassionally I’ll find an edgy indoor location like this dance studio where my daughters dance. The black wall is funky and makes a creative backdrop for this fun session.

Group Teen Shoot in Rock Hill SC

 

These are just a very few of the hundreds of locations in and around Charlotte for having a portrait session. Maybe you have a favorite park or location where you would love to have a portrait session.

 

Posted on Feb 18, 2015
Posted in Family

 

Hey Class of 2015 seniors or anyone that knows one – Are you ready to finish your senior year with a bang? Check out this offer that is still good for the month of February!

 

 

DJP February Senior Portrait Promotion

 

 

So what should you do now? Contact me now and let’s book your session.

Well maybe you’re not interested or don’t have a senior at home right now. Share with family and friends who have seniors and be rewarded for your referral. Check out my amazing Referral Program HERE!

REMEMBER, THIS OFFER IS ONLY GOOD THROUGH THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY. CONTACT ME TODAY BEFORE THE MONTH ENDS. 9 DAYS LEFT!

Posted on Feb 13, 2015
Posted in Family

 

Happy Valentines Day Everyone! Enjoy this day with your loved ones. We at Derek Johnson Photography wish you all the love this day and every day can bring you.

 

You couples: Love hard, love always, love right

You young people: love your parents, love your siblings, love your friends

 

All: LOVE GOD AND WATCH HIM LOVE YOU MORE!

 

The Johnson Family

 

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Posted on Feb 11, 2015
Posted in Tween_Teens

Diamond and I had an amazing teen portrait session in Uptown Charlotte a few months ago. Diamond is one of the young people in my youth ministry at New Life Fellowship Center. She was a winner of one of my Instagram Photo Contests and we met up at an Uptown park for her session.

The weather was gloomy but it added to the drama of the lighting I was using and made for some great images.  It was threatening rain the entire time and we were losing daylight quickly, but we made our way around the park and got some amazing images. I loved Diamond’s outfit and she had plenty of blingy accessories compliments of her mother’s jewelry box!

Diamond quickly learned about what I’m known for during portrait sessions – going all out to demonstrate poses that I want my clients to do. My philosophy is, “Don’t say it, show it!”. Diamond is already and lively giggly young lady, but seeing me with hands on hips or over my head sent her over the edge. She couldn’t stop laughing at me. We really had to take a minute in between images so she could compose herself. Always a fun time at my portrait session and the beautiful images show it.

Enjoy!

 

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Posted on Feb 07, 2015
Posted in Uncategorized

 

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This is the second session I’ve done with the lovely and talent Quaneshia, AKA Two Key. We first met during a creative photo shoot at the New Attitude Performing Arts Center dance studio. My two girls attend the dance studio and we’re developing wonderful partnership together. Quaneshia was amazing during our creative shoot so I invited her to participate in teen portrait session on location.

 

We met up at the beautiful campus of Winthrop University on a sunny Sunday afternoon and had a ball. Since Quaneshia is a dancer and I had already seen her talent during our first shoot, I knew I could count on her to bring some killer poses and dynamic dance moves for the session.

 

Check out her images from that session. I’d love to creative some equally amazing images with your teen or high school senior. Click on the link at the bottom of this post to contact me so we can talk about your portrait needs.

 

Thanks,
Derek Johnson

Posted on Feb 02, 2015
Posted in General

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  So our little guy is 2 years old today! We’re so grateful for how God has brought DJ from a 12 week early preemie to a very busy and healthy toddler. it’s been an amazing journey that started on January 29, 2013. You can read his story and learn more about his first days and weeks here. So now Dj is clearly growing and developing and making progress by leaps and bounds. With the assistance of speech and physical therapy he is quickly figuring his body out and making it do some amazing things – things that we would prefer it not to do. This 2 year old photo adventure captures how very busy and excited to move DJ is now. We started outside in the back yard but the brisk air and afternoon shade had DJ chattering and very distracted. We captured a few images in the back yard and front yard and then finished out in the living room. DJ took to this little rocking chair that I purchased years ago as a prop for kid portraits. He couldn’t sit still on the chair at all but he did stay in one place for me to capture some great images. His mother keeps him impeccably dressed – so much so that I find myself jealous of many of his outfits and struggling to dress up to his standards. That’s how I prefer it though, having a little GQ man by my side.   Check out his images below and leave him some birthday love in the comments section!

Posted on Jan 22, 2015
Posted in General

 

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Hey Everyone! Another amazing family portrait session with my favorite family!

Oh how I just love this family I’m blogging about today. I’m blessed enough to say I’ve been photographing the Austin family – starting with Jacarada and her sisters for over eight years now! It so great to see how we’ve practically grown up together! Whenever I get together with the Austin family, I know the images will be simple and clean and I know they will be dressed to IMPRESS. 

Austin Family Portrait Session in Charlotte, NC

Family portrait session from years ago when the kids where much smaller and a couple of family members hadn’t made their appearance yet!

 

The kids have grown up so much since this image as you’ll see in the images below, but they are still a joy to work with every time.

 

And, it goes without saying, JB and Robin are lifelong family friends, not only as loyal clients but brother and sister in Christ. The family has grown with the addition of young Dorion Jace. I had to pleasure of photographing his mommy’s belly before he got here and now it was time for us to come together again and have some fun. I

 

When JB called me to take their photos again, I knew it would be like a family gathering – my family and her family interacting and having fun making beautiful images.

 

 

Okay, enough reliving the moment. Check out the amazing Austin family!

Austin Family Portrait Session in Charlotte, NC Austin Family Portrait Session in Charlotte, NC Austin Family Portrait Session in Charlotte, NC Austin Family Portrait Session in Charlotte, NC Austin Family Portrait Session in Charlotte, NC Austin Family Portrait Session in Charlotte, NC Austin Family Portrait Session in Charlotte, NC Austin Family Portrait Session in Charlotte, NC Austin Family Portrait Session in Charlotte, NC Austin Family Portrait Session in Charlotte, NC Austin Family Portrait Session in Charlotte, NC Austin Family Portrait Session in Charlotte, NC Austin Family Portrait Session in Charlotte, NC