Monday, July 30, 2012

and a cover

Taking more images than you think, to really work the subject, can pay off.  Most of the time it is because working the shot gets you into a deeper mode of creativity, but with Nikki, it gave another photo editor options.  This original photo shoot (original post here) for Christianity Today resulted a couple images that Rejuvenate Magazine also liked.  They wanted images for not only an inside profile, but the cover as well.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

found image - the curse of knowledge

I was cleaning out my hard drives (starting to fill up!) and found this image.  I do not remember being particularly struck by it when I took it.  But with time, I now see it for what the image is, unattached from my experiences in capturing it.

This is the post from the original photo shoot.  It shows you what I was distracted by instead of seeing the photo.  Some people call this the "curse of knowledge"  Your own experiences flavor the photo in a way the view will not be effected.  In this case, a little time away from the experience allowed me to see just the photo and not the memories associated with it.


Monday, July 16, 2012

stef and aaron portraits

Stef and Aaron are a great example of how a pre-wedding portrait session really helps relax the couple before the wedding.  Photography wise at least.  

I do not like my own photo taken at all (is that why I am a photographer?) So I understand when people are uneasy about me pointing a camera at them.  Throughout the portrait shoot, it was amazing to see Stef and Aaron relax, trust that what I was getting was their 'good side' and also let me into their relationship.  This happened just naturally after a couple locations when I just let them sit and have a moment.  After I showed them how I captured that moment.  "Oh wow, that is pretty cool actually," they would say.

That became our formula for the day: show them where to sit/stand, let them have a moment, capture it.  As we advanced into a higher level of comfort and trust, I started to dictate more of the moments.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

emma grace

If you have been wondering where I have been for the past week...this is where.

I promise, I will try not to make this into a baby photo blog of my daughter.

But that may be hard to do.


Friday, July 6, 2012

camera button friday - story behind the image II

Every once in a while, I take a shot that I think I will like before I even see it on the computer.  Sometimes it doesn't really look as good as I thought, but this one did.  This is a shot from Sarah and Wayne's wedding from earlier this summer.

When I first walked into the reception hall, I noticed these stairs.  They had a lot of potential because of the big window behind and the great lines that were in the foreground and background.  But I was also worried about the light and having to many lines growing out of the couples heads.

After the normal portraits were done and we were about to go inside, I remembered this location and mentioned to the bride that there was a potential shot over on the other side of the building.  She was willing to try it if I was.


I only took the bride because it was a bit of a complicated shot and having two people to place in the scene was going to be hard.  In hind sight, I think it was easier than I feared.

My first thought was to figure out how to fix the lighting.  The obvious choice (because I have done it a lot before) is to expose for the background, and then use an off camera flash for the subject.  Below are my two exposures; one for just the background (it is ok if the foreground and subject is to dark) and the other is adding in my flash (there is a landing landing above that was perfect for it) to illuminate Sarah.  (Simple shoot through umbrella, radio triggered on manual.)

(Yes, I know she has lines growing out of her head, this was a test shot.....I probobly wasn't even looking through the camera.)

At the same time, I was also thinking about my composition.  This post here, is where I started to think more about composition from a different angle.  Literally.  Not just how you arrange the items in your frame, but actually changing your perspective by stepping back.  The realization came one snowy day while taking pictures on my porch.  As I stood out on it I was trying to push myself to show the scene different, so I took a step inside the door to create this.

So for Sarah's shot on the stairs, I already had practiced (and more than just the snow day above) on how to step back for a different perspective.

Also, in the back of my mind, was a tutorial that Steve Salt and I had taught during a composition class for the Black Hawk Photo Group.  Below is a shot I took (while modeling) as everyone else worked the angles of the stair well to create interesting leading lines.  I bet you Sarah looked more beautiful than I did on her stairs, but that is not the point, the point is to train yourself to see.

So before the image of Sarah on the stairs was created, I had already practiced many of the techniques, mindset, and tricks to create this image.  Proof that practicing, just for practicing sake, pays off when you are needing to create stellar images.  So if you are shooting weddings, or just wanting great low light shots of the grand kids, know how to get the shot before the situation presents itself.  Raise your chances that you will succeed by practicing on your friends, on the cat, or stuffed animals, whatever.  It will be worth it when the "real" opportunity arises.

There is another "story behind the image" here. I think I like this series and may try and do more....


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

happy 4th

Have a happy 4th of July!

Fireworks are always intriguing to photograph.  Each year, I see more people trying to photograph them on their i-phones.  This is possible but the problem is that people are NOT using a tripod (or any other stable platform.)  You really need to have something to rest your camera on because you want a long shutter speed to capture the trails of the fireworks (5-20 seconds, depending on your taste.)  In the photo below, the shutter opened just before the launch (you see it going up) and stayed open until after the firework had completely exploded (you see the entire length of the stream.)

It is actually a lot easier to do this on smaller shows (like this one I photographed last night) because large shows have a lot of fireworks going off at the same time, so the fireworks start to overlap and it becomes messy, like the photo below.  Similarly, I should just stop trying to take photos of the finally, it is really hard because it get to become a mess of light with indistinguishable fireworks.  This is the resulting photo of last nights finally.  (I wasn't going to show anyone this but it makes my point.)

You also know that I love context, so for me, adding more "scene" to the fireworks creates a more compelling image.

So, if your town has fireworks tonight, take a tripod or something to prop your camera on for a long shutter speed.  Also, before you head out, learn how to shoot with a long shutter speed with your particular camera, take it into the dark bathroom if you have to.  

Then when the finally comes, enjoy it without your camera.


Monday, July 2, 2012

sarah and wayne's wedding

Outdoor weddings can be beautiful, but they have an inherent risk to them.  The morning of Sarah and Wayne's wedding, that risk was becoming a reality.  After a full night of heavy rain, and a morning that didn't look any better, the clouds parted and gave way to a great day to have a wedding.