GX2 Photography | Blog

Welcome to my blog!

This is the best place to keep up with everything that is GX2 Photography. Look for announcements, sneak peaks at my projects and favorite portraits, product reviews, updates, and my day to day musings on a variety of subjects within (and occasionally outside of) the photography world.

Your comments are always welcome and appreciated.



Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

January 10, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Very little in life causes more stress, anxiety, confusion, and anger than planning for a wedding. I've attended weddings as a groom, groomsman, father, guest, and photographer so I've seen it from all angles.

Planning starts months in advance. Rings are purchased, honeymoons are planned, venues are booked (it seems that church weddings are becoming a thing of the past), cakes are tasted and ordered, dresses are fitted, ordered, and fitted again, tuxes are rented, limos and horse drawn carriages are booked, invitations are mailed, flowers are ordered, Pinterest explodes as bride and mom look for decoration ideas to make at home (before finally ordering them from Etsy), and Uncle Joe is honored to be asked to shoot video of the blessed event. Whew! All done, let's get ready to celebrate! "Ooooops, we forgot the photographer..."

"Well cousin Mary's friend Betty from church has a niece who who just got a black camera from Wal Mart. Maybe she could do it? Or there is that guy that took five hundred pictures of baby (insert a name) and put them on a CD for $50. He even gave us the "full copyright" so we can print! Wait a minute, let's just ask all of the guests to take pictures and they can email them to us. That way we can have different perspectives and it'll be sweet and "personal. Better yet, let's just get on the Facebook Yardsale Site and ask those fine folks who we should use."


 "OK folks, Otis and Daisy are getting married and we are looking for a photographer to take pictures at the wedding. Looking for someone who does a good job but is cheap. Recommendations please!"


Then we get five hundred responses recommending four hundred different "photographers". How a rural community like mine supports four hundred photographers I have no idea, but that is a subject for another day.

Folks, that's just not how it should be. When your wedding is over and you've returned from your honeymoon, all you have to help you remember the day are your portraits. The dress is in a box in the attic, the cake is eaten, and the decorations are thrown away. There are only two things from your wedding that aren't disposable. Your rings and your portraits. It never ceases to amaze me that the same folks who spend huge sums of money to make everything look just right, will place so little emphasis on the one thing that will record the beauty for them! I can't tell you how many times I have had married women tell me that they wish they would have hired a good photographer for their wedding. I've also heard from a lot of young brides who ask me if I can edit their wedding portraits for them. Most of the time the answer is"no" due to copyright laws and to the poor quality of the original files.

You owe it to yourself to do a little research and hire the best photographer that your budget allows. Consider spending a little less on the dress and limo, and use the savings to hire a professional photographer. Friends, not all photographers are created equal. Some are just better at composing a shot than others. Some own better equipment (i.e. cameras, lenses, and lights) than others. Some have invested in training and made an effort to learn while others haven't. Some use state of the art editing software while others don't. Some use professional labs to make their prints while others use Shutterfly. A cute name and a Facebook page does not a photographer make!

So, what do you look for in a photographer? First look for someone who has shot a wedding before. Go online and visit their website. (If they don't have a website, keep moving! Note: a Facebook page is not a website). Look at their portfolio. Not just the wedding portion but the whole thing. Do the people in the photos look relaxed and natural? How's the lighting? It doesn't take a trained eye to determine if a photo looks good or not. Are most of the people in the photos friends and family? If so, that should set off alarms! Ask for referrals. Ask them if they use a "second shooter" (i.e. a second photographer to take shots that the main photographer might not be able to get). Meet them in person. A good photographer will always want to consult with you in person about such an important event.

How much should you spend? It varies widely based on location but a professional wedding photographer who only shoots weddings can cost $5000 and up. A professional photographer who shoots a variety of genres, including weddings can cost anywhere from $1,200 (on the low end) and up. A good hobbyist photographer may shoot a wedding for a thousand bucks. Beware of anyone who agrees to shoot a wedding for a few hundred dollars or less. The old adage "you get what you pay for" applies here!

In a nutshell, put as much effort into hiring a photographer as you do the dress and the cake. Like I said before it's all disposable except for the rings and the portraits!

Hopefully, I've helped someone to make a better informed decision. I'm available for weddings this year at the very reasonable rate of $1,349. I hope you will call me! If you'd rather use someone else, call me anyway and I will recommend a good photographer. Either way, hire a professional. You will be happier in the end!









Photo Booth Survey Results, 102 Beautiful Faces, and a Few Odds and Ends

January 20, 2014  •  1 Comment

Photo Booth News

Well, the results from our photo booth survey are in and they are very positive! Thank you to all who participated!

Here is a snap shot of the results:

Question 1: Have you, as a guest, ever used a photo booth at an event?

  • NO - 71%
  • YES and I would do it again - 29%
  • YES and I would not do it again - 0%

Question 2: If you were attending an event (i.e. wedding reception, company Christmas party, birthday party, etc...) and a photo booth was available, how likely would you be to use it?

  • I would most definitely do it and I'd drag my friends in with me - 86%
  • I would do it if my friends pushed me into it - 14%
  • Not likely at all. I hate having my picture taken - 0%

Question 3: You just joined three friends in the photo booth at a wedding reception for some fun pics, In what format would you prefer to receive your pics?

  • Digital download from the photographer's website so you can share the pics on social media - 43%
  • An all in one 2x6 photo strip of three to four pics - 43%
  • 4x6 prints of each individual pic - 14%

Question 4: If you were hosting an event, such as a wedding reception, birthday party, graduation party, company Christmas party, etc... would you consider renting a fully staffed photo booth capable of accommodating up to six or seven people at a time?


  • YES - 67%
  • MAYBE - 33%
  • NO - 0%


Please stay tuned for further details as we move towards our March 1 launch date!


102 Beautiful Faces


I have decided on a name for my "Faces" project. The working title was "Faces of Honor". I've decided to name it "102 Beautiful Faces". 100 is too common and Disney had 101 Dalmatians. 102 sounds like a great number. Of course it may change to 103, 127, or 355 before it's done! My first model is a friend of ours named Josh. He's 22 years old and sports a very impressive Old Testament class beard. I'm slightly jealous of his beard but am confident that my gray streaked beard will be just as impressive, if not more so, in time. It just needs time to grow! haha

I'm very excited about this project and I hope you will enjoy following my progress over the coming weeks, months, and even years.



Odds and Ends...


We are always looking for new items to add to our product line and we've found a few that we think our clients will really love. Look for us to start rolling those out in the coming days. We are also adding a line of "wall art" for home and office decor. I'm talking about all original stuff that you won't find anywhere else. I've been building up our catalog and we will launch that venture very soon!


Thanks for visiting. See ya next time!



Photo Booth On The Horizon

January 13, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Michelle and I are always looking for ways to improve and grow GX2 Photography. With that in mind we are planning several new things for 2014. One idea that we have been tossing around is a photo booth suitable for use at events such as wedding receptions, birthday or anniversary parties, company parties, graduation parties, etc... I'm talking about a large booth capable of accommodating six or seven people at a time, not a one or two seater like you find at malls and amusement parks. Stocked with props and accessories, this booth would be a great way to capture fun and lasting memories with friends and family. We are still working out the details but we envision a setup capable of providing almost instant printing capabilities and access to on line downloads. Our booth would be fully equipped and staffed so our guests would have nothing to do but have fun! With tiered pricing options it would be perfect for events both large and small.

In an effort to give our clients exactly what they want I am asking that you complete a short survey regarding our plans for a photo booth. This is the best way for us to decide what way to go with this project. It will only take a minute and it will be a lot help.

Click here to take survey


Thank you and we will see you at your next event! Don't forget to act silly!  :)

A Face of Honor

January 07, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

For the past few years I have had wanted to do a black and white photo study of interesting faces. I've put it off because even though I could see what I wanted to do in my head, I didn't feel like I had achieved the technical and artistic level to put together a project that I would be proud to display to the world. Over the past year though, I have tried to improve my skills by learning to use light and shadows to create contrasts and definition that we see every day with our eyes but doesn't always get transferred to photographs. (If that last sentence makes no sense call me and I will try to explain what I mean.) Through trial and error, watching lots of tutorials, book reading , and hours in the studio with my good friend, Mark Hicks, I feel like I am at a point where I can put my idea in motion and create the world's next great photo study! Or at least put together a set of photos that people will enjoy looking at and share on Facebook...

I am a people watcher and I love to look at peoples faces. Not just beautiful faces either. I love the scowling faces of self appointed tough guys (in a very platonic way of course), the wrinkled and lined faces of our aged, the scarred faces of those who have experienced a physical setback that hasn't dampened their spirit, the noble faces of the proud, and the mild faces of the meek. White, black, and brown. Male, female, and other. Young and old. Classically beautiful and beautiful in a way only a mother could love. In a nutshell, faces with character. Think "true grit".

Where will the photos be taken? Originally, I had planned to take them all in my studio using the same background, lighting, and camera settings for each photo. I've reconsidered that though as I feel like the logistics of doing that would be all but impossible to pull off. What if I see an interesting face in Osawatomie, KS? Am I supposed to pass it by simply because my lights and reflectors are sitting in my studio in Danville, KY? Nope. I've decided to shoot the photos wherever and whenever the opportunity presents itself, including the studio. The world is my stage!

Are you a candidate for the project? You might be. I already have about a dozen people on my short list and they will be hearing from me. I'll have my eyes open for candidates and I'd like to ask you to nominate interesting faces as well. I'm mainly looking for adult faces at this point but I won't rule out a child's face if it "speaks to me". (I'm paraphrasing something my wife said the other day. We were in a store and she commented that something "just wasn't speaking to me" [her]. I vowed to use it someday so there it is.)

Participants will be required to sign a release and will receive a 5x7 print for helping me out. I'm excited to get started and I hope that you will enjoy the results. Stay tuned for details and updates!

Oh, the working title for the project is "A Face of Honor". That is subject to change though.

2014 - I'm Looking Forward To A Fantastic Year,

January 01, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

It's a new year and with that we all have high hopes and expectations for happiness and success over the next twelve months. That is certainly true for me as I strive to become a better man, husband, and father. Achieving that will certainly translate to a more successful photography business.

Last year, I more than doubled my bookings from 2012 and I am confident at doing the same thing again this year. Michelle and I have several ideas for new products this year as well as some new services that we think you'll love. I will be rolling them out in the coming days and I would love your feedback on them. I'll also be tweaking last years packages just a bit based on client feedback to ensure that we are including the things you want at a fair price.

That's it for now. I wish you and yours a very Happy New Year and I hope you achieve all that you strive for! Check back soon as I WILL keep this blog going from here on out!  :)



We are located in Danville, KY and have served central Kentucky with high quality digital portraiture since 2008. Our specialties include Relationship Photography (i.e. families, children, engagements, etc...), Baby's First Year (i.e. maternity and babies), and Graduating Seniors.

We shoot on location at sites all over central Kentucky as well as in our studio.

Please contact us to plan your next set of portraits and join the growing number of central Kentuckians who rely on GX2 Photography as their photographer of choice!!


Thank you,

Eric Grate - Owner / Photographer

Michelle Grate - Owner / Studio Assistant                                 


GX2 Photography

1130 Faulkner Lane

Danville, KY 40422





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