I first met Randall Peek at the 2013 Grease Festival, where he was chronicling the event as its official photographer. I had previously seen his work on display at the Bakery at Elkmont, instantly became a fan, and then fell in love with the picture here on the cover that I have affectionately nicknamed “The Barefoot Bride.” An excellent photograph, in my view, doesn’t just capture an event or memory, it tells a story. Or perhaps, it invites you to tell its story. To me, the cover article illustration of this bride on her wedding day is perfect, from the dear dirt on her little bare feet, to the laciness of the hammock, to the depth and tranquility of the pastoral scene in the background. It is one of Randall’s favorites as well.
One of the definitions of “whimsy” is “playfully quaint,” and the word also includes the idea of humor. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Randall loves to shoot outdoor weddings because he says they are “more laid back,” and, on the practical side, “the lighting is better,” he told me. The “Barefoot Bride” shot was completely unplanned. Randall and his second shooter were on site to get ideas for photo opportunities, and the “set” for the “Barefoot Bride” leaped out at them. The rest is history.
Randall got his start in photography as a kid, where he went to outdoor car shows in Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi. He began to learn his trade in the early days of digital photography, had an old Panasonic, (which at the time was the digital equivalent of a Brownie camera,) and began to hone his craft through other photographic venues. He became a member of the North Alabama Photography Guild, and as a result has had the opportunity to photograph such unusual sites as the old Tennessee State Prison, where the Tom Hanks film entitled The Green Mile was shot. As a Guild member, his work is routinely critiqued, and he has won some competitions. Besides the Tennessee State prison, they have shot such places as the Huntsville Botanical Gardens, and in addition Randall’s work has appeared in magazines. The Guild also helps its members trouble shoot photos so they can be in a state of constant improvement. By the way, the days of Randall’s old Panasonic are long gone, and these days he uses a high end Nikon to make the fondest photographic dreams of a bride and groom come true.
Randall let me know that shooting weddings has become highly specialized and many photographers won’t do them because they are labor intensive, the shoot can last for hours, and weddings in general can be very stressful. Maybe so, but Randall likes doing them. I asked him why, if I were the bride, mother of, or the grandmother who was picking up the photographic tab, should I come to him?
“I treat my customers like they are family, and try to make wedding shoots fun for everyone,” he said. He then added that he believes “everybody should have the chance to have nice photos.” He does his very best to price his services reasonably and still be able to produce the highest quality wedding package. One of the ways that he keeps his rates down is to work by the hour. That way, a bride and groom can plan with him and determine beforehand what shots are the most important to them, and they can decide what kinds of shots will fit in their budget. If the couple has a list, then Randall can move more quickly.
Most of Randall’s business comes by word of mouth. “People contact me and ask if I do weddings,” he said, and also wants people to know that he does portraits and maternity shots. Referrals are the fastest way to build business, and as a result Randall is gearing up both for Valentine’s Day and wedding season. His Sweet Heart Session is going to be held on Saturday January 25th in plenty of time for Valentine’s Day. The session will last for 20 minutes, and for $40 you will receive 5 edited digital images. For more details or to schedule a session, go to www.RandallPeek.com. The sessions will begin at 10 am. He did a similar type of event for the holidays, and it was a great success. If you are in the market for a memorable, affordable wedding photographer, portrait or Valentine’s Day photo, Randall Peek Photography is ready to help with style.
Randall Peek Photography
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner