Senior Portrait Reminders

Whether you’re the kind of senior that is about to graduate, or the kind of senior that gets junk mail from the AARP on a daily basis.  It’s getting that time of year to update your portrait.  It doesn’t matter if its going to be displayed on the fireplace mantle, or adorn your Facebook profile, you want to keep your image current.  Don’t settle for another selfie.  Impress others with your great looks.

Here is a couple of images from one of my recent portrait sessions.

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Choosing How You Want Your Image to Look.

There is a multitude of styles and looks that one has to choose from when processing their images.  Recently, to update my photograph on FaceBook  I processed the image below.  Using two different styles, one to smooth out details, and another to make them more predominate.  I finally choose on the image to the left, the smoother of the two.

Click on the image for a full view of the image.

It is very important that you and your photographer discuss how you want to have your photos processed.  Especially if your photographer has images in all kind of styles.  If your photographer specializes in one style (not that common) you can be more assured that your images will be like you see when you visit their website.  In the case of me as your photographer, I shoot a variety of different subjects, each requiring their own creative processing.  I can guarantee you, we will be having that discussion.

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The Next Step Dance Studio Calendar Pictures

I spent much of today processing my photos to be considered in The Next Step’s 2012 Calendar.  Here is what I came up with.

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Thinking of Maui.

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Wakeboarding with friends.

I had the opportunity to photograph some friends out on Lake Washington recently.  Here are some of the results.

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Experimentation with HDR

HDR is short for High Dynamic Range.  It is the most common term for the method of adjusting all highlights and shadows in an image.  If done thoughtfully the image can take on an appearance that is more representative to what the human eye sees.   When taken to an extreme, it can create a moody, surreal, emotional, awesome, and in some cases disastrous effect on the image.

Below is an example of several different approaches to the same photograph.  These are just a drop in the ocean on all the different effects that can be done using this process, but I want to provide some examples to draw upon.

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Letting Photography Enhance Simple Pleasures

Although travel photography ranks highest among my favorite types of photography, it is often enough the least sold images on my iStockphoto portfolio.  However, it rarely deters me from making sure I always have a camera with me on even the shortest of travels.

If the purpose in life is to explore, it’s the role of photography to record and document your discoveries.

The following image, captured on a recent spring trip to Utah is an example.  As the title of this article suggests, for me, hiking is one of life’s simple pleasures.

I would get out and hike whether my camera was with me or not.  It’s good exercise, it clears the mind, and gives you the opportunity to observe and explore.  Bringing along a camera gives me the ability to reflect on later and share my experience when its through.  If I have a helpful hint while shooting during your hike, it would be to have your camera out and ready to take the image with the easiest effort.  I’ve missed may great shots because I thought there would be a better image around the next bend, that the lighting would be better, or just out of photographers apathy.  Keep the camera in your hand, bring plenty of memory and a spare battery, and capture everything.  And when you get home?  Save, backup, and share.

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Sunsets and Studio Lighting.

The first time I shot using studio flash equipment was in September of 2006.  It was my first Mini’lypse shooting with other photographers from iStockPhoto.  With my first try at the lights I was instantly addicted.  There is something about the flash of the light, the sound of the strobe, and in the case of the ProPhoto lights I was using, the sound of the chime letting you know the light was recharged and ready to shoot again.  On that weekend I found my calling.

Since then I have built a full studio kit using Alienbee’s lighting.  This includes multiple lights, light modifiers, and battery pack.  (Essential for outdoor shooting such as below.)

You do not need a studio to achieve dramatic studio effects with the right lighting.  A friend of mine wanted to update his photo used for social media.  In this case Facebook.  We decided to go to a local Seattle park and find a space to shoot.  The following are a couple of my favorite images.

Both these images were taken about ten minutes apart.  If we were able to get to the location sooner, and set up faster there would have been even more unique images to capture.  But we were very happy with the results.

The images above were both captured with the camera as you see them and except for the watermark have not been adjusted in any way.

These are an example of what you could expect if you choose to have your portrait work done outdoors with a sunset in the background with

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Adventures in Wedding Photography!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of being a second camera for Lynette Smith of Lynette Smith Photography on a wedding shoot in the Wenatchee area of Washington State.  I went into this project with both excitement and a reasonable feeling of confidence.  Soon after the work began, I realized I brought something else.  Naivety.  It proved to be one of the most challenging, both technically and creatively, days of my photographic life.  Watching Lynette work and following her instruction provided great benefit to my experience and I know ultimately my work in particular.   If you are in need of a photographer in the Wenatchee area, I strongly recommend her work.

Specializing in Portraiture, I normally walk into a project where the expected result has already been envisioned, whether it’s by me or the client asking for a particular result.  I possess within my means the tools and knowledge to help achieve this result, including knowledge of the location, the lighting, the tools (camera and lenses), time of day and even the weather.  Schedules can be postponed or canceled if the conditions are not to the benefit of the shoot and its results.

Wedding Photography is a whole other game that has few of the above luxuries. You’re still walking onto a job that has expected and desired results.  You still have control of your equipment and your skill set.  But there are many more variables that factor into the process.  These can include an unfamiliar location that you’ve never been to.  Keep in mind, with a fresh set of eyes one can find lots of opportunity and creativity a new location may offer.  Sometimes however, those elements the photographer is searching for just may not exist.   Add to the mix a large group of individuals and their needs, can also contribute to the demand on the photographers best abilities.  Time also becomes a lot more important of a commodity.   There is a schedule that has been set and it may or may not have had the photographers input.  The wedding photographer is there to capture a mood, document the event, and ultimately tell a story with a well defined set of images.

From my observations during this wedding day event, there are other skills that are also of great need and benefit.  When looking for a photographer for your wedding, make sure the photographer possesses the skills to do the job right.  My list includes:  Organization, Adaptability, Problem Solving, Communication, Patience, Vision and most important of all, EXPERIENCE!  Lynette demonstrates these skills thoroughly.  I’m looking forward to working with her on future weddings and projects.

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The First Post

It is my goal to obtain the best results in-camera before finishing its processing using Adobe Photoshop or other image editing software.

In the above example, the image to the left is the original unchanged image and the image to the right is the final edited version.  I corrected the color to give it a warmer feeling which actually brought the color temperature to the same level as the lights is shoot with.  From there I added some white vignetting to brighten the corners.  Then the small blemishes, chapped lips, and two pesky hairs that went right down the center of the models face were removed.  And of course, then I branded the image with my logo.

The important thing, and what I strive to achieve, is to get the image as best I can first with the camera and lighting before changing a single pixel of information in the image.

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