The Photograph that is Everywhere and How It Got There.

Few photo shoots, especially these days, have unlimited budgets. As a photographer working with small town advertising dollars, I had to get creative in more ways than one. While New Bern has a pretty good travel and tourism marketing budget for a town it’s size, 30 some professional models for one shot were not included in it. And there were 6 shots total. Finding 30 people that could volunteer their time was also difficult for the staff at the New Bern CVB, aka

The final shot for this campaign was set for Thursday evening on the deck of Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant. Thursday nights included a live band along with good food and a beautiful view of the Neuse River. Tom Lewis, art director with High Tide Creative and I went out early to establish the best view. 

That is where my 12 ft ladder with a tripod ball head mounted to the top, was set up and remained for the rest of the night. Once the camera was placed in the ball head it was not removed until it was too dark too shoot anymore. This was critical because the only feasible way to have the deck full of people having fun, no empty tables and waiters in all the right places was to take over 300 photos as people arrived, ate, moved around, finished their dinner, left and new patrons came in. I knew it was most likely going to take several different frames to get all the key elements and those elements would have to be combined in post and the closer one framed aligned with another the better.

Tom got a little antsy early on as the crowd was slow arriving and the light was not what he had in mind. I assured Tom that as dusk settled in the light would be perfect. I had added a couple of 1K hot lights to add some contrast and warmth to the existing deck lights. As far as the crowd, he just had to trust that it would all work out. Well it did work out as more folks showed up to hear the band and enjoy the late summer evening. And by blending parts of 14 different photos to create the one final image that I have seen used more times and in more places than any other photo I ever took. Most of the time I never see the actual use of a photo.

The first time I saw the photo in use was on a billboard on Hwy 70 outside of Kinston. Ironically I was on the way to New Bern. It has been used on the website. I’ve seen it in Our State magazine. I’ve seen it in several publications displayed around New Bern while visiting there. I live in Raleigh now but New Bern is my hometown. Of course it is also on the website, and is used on their Facebook and Instagram accounts regularly.

When my daughter Lily was younger she liked to go to Barnes and Nobles for the books. But we would also go to the magazine rack and see if we could find one of my photos in something. Often we did.

When my wife Nancy, Lily and I were on the way to Boone for Lily’s wedding we stopped at the Northwest North Carolina Visitor Center. So I had to challenge Lily to see how long it would take to find one of my photos among the dozens of tourism publications on display. Sure enough, in a minute or two I found the photo in the 2017 North Carolina Travel Guide.

Recently a guy called me from a construction company about doing a shoot for them. Turns out the guy’s father is one of the men standing in the photo.

Charles Register is a North Carolina photographer and videographer with over 30 years experience producing quality, creative imagery for corporations, advertising agencies, magazines and small businesses in boardrooms, resorts and remote locations around the world.  Emphasis on travel and tourism, master planned communities, lifestyle, environmental portraiture, architectural photography, scenic landscapes and golf courses. Contact for assignments at 919 414.8235 or and please visit