Thursday, July 9, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
These softboxes are ideal for me. Most of my shooting is done in the field, on location...weddings, events, portrait shoots. I can pack up my portable studio, drive to my shooting location and unpack and set up for the shoot in mere minutes.
Do you need new headshots? Modeling comp cards? Family portraits? Corporate portraits with power? Call me. 727.504.9425
Monday, January 5, 2009
I had some free time from shooting over the holidays and wanted to work on my modeling photography. I've done some before, of course, but have been studying lighting setups courtesy of http://www.strobist.com/ and "The Moment it Clicks" book by Joe McNally. Both are great sources of information on photographic lighting. Both are also inspirational in their approach to photography and lighting.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I know that's not an earth-shattering statement. Everyone that has a dog loves them. It goes with the territory like the warm greeting at the door when you get home, like the puppy dog eyes you get when it's dinner time, like the creative sculptures you get to pick up every day.
One woman I heard recently put it best: "I could never give them as much as they give me".
What do they give me?
Incredible affection and attention.
Great photo ops.
This is a photo blog, right?
I take my 6-year old German Shepard/Chow mix Ruby to the dog park at Boca Ciega Park almost every day. When I began doing that, I just loved to watch her play with the other dogs, run off some of her extra weight and get stroked and petted by other dog lovers there who cannot resist her sweet disposition and incredibly pretty face.
She thinks it's a human park where she can soak up attention from other dog-lovers.
I think it's a photo op just waiting to happen.
I normally go to the dog park about 4:30 in the afternoon. It's when many people are starting to get off work and get their dogs out to play after being home alone all day. It's also the time when the sun is beginning to get lower in the sky and the dog park is losing the afternoon light that illuminates it. Subsequently you must shoot with higher ISOs and slower shutter speeds to capture the action. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. In the shot above, I'm "panning" with the dogs as they run, or moving my camera and body at the same speeds as the dogs are running and clicking the shutter with a relatively slow shutter speed. In this case, it was 1/40th of a second. The results are that you get the blurred backround, which makes a person sense the movement of the dogs. You also get blurred legs on the dogs which helps to illustrate the speed at which they're running.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Chris and Dawn met at roulette table #12 at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City.
Dawn and Chris pose in the setting sunlight.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Charley told me it's something they had been talking about: documenting Lindsey Rose as her hair started to return after her initial bout with chemotherapy. He said they'd love to do a shoot with her. But, was she up to it?
I loved it at least as much as she did. I was shooting someone far more important than any celebrity, bride and groom or news story I've ever shot.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Some weddings almost shoot themselves.
(click any photo for larger version)
That was the case last weekend when Teresa and Matt got married at the Esperanza Mansion along the Finger Lakes in Bluff Point, NY.
As you can see, Teresa is model-beautiful. Matt is, heterosexually-speaking, the same.
The mansion is also a gorgeous locale for a wedding. It sits high on a hill, with one wing of the Finger Lakes stretching out below it. It makes for a great backdrop, although that's not as important to me when photographing a wedding as capturing the love between the couple and the joys shared between the families and friends who come to celebrate the union.
This group was the epitome of great people. Many times when you're shooting a wedding, you've never met the family and friends of the couple, so you're an "outsider" trying to fit in, make people comfortable with you and most importantly: Capture great photos. In this case, I hadn't even met Matt and Teresa until I showed up at the Mansion a few hours before the ceremony. We had done all of our conversations via email or on the phone. Since it was a referral from another couple's wedding, along with the fact that they were in NY and I in FL, we hadn't met in person. They trusted my work and dedication to my clients.
By the end of this wedding and reception, I truly felt as if I had made some friends from among the guests. That's a wonderful by-product of wedding photography. This is Teresa's brother Michael and his girlfriend Tori. They're two of the people I bonded with during the day. I even tied Michael's tie for him while shooting Teresa's "getting ready" photographs. And Tori has already emailed me asking me if they could get some of the photos I took of them during the day.
So, why did this wedding almost "shoot itself"? The answer is sprinkled all through this writing. Gorgeous couple, great friends, great fun, great location, friendly family members and a beautiful baby boy, Seth, Teresa and Matt had brought into this world. He's a very lucky kid. He'll be raised in a wonderful home, with loving parents and doting family and friends.
I fell in love with him immediately. I think he did the same with me.
Seth couldn't keep his eyes off of me. We actually had many laughs during the day when Teresa and Matt were loving on him and he couldn't stop looking at me. The admiration was entirely mutual.
A few words about technique:
One of the things I learned in my initial photojournalism training way back in 1984 in the US Navy was "shoot the action, shoot the reaction". In other words, during a wedding, the ceremony and the couple is not the only thing you should be photographing. The shot below is one example. Teresa's father is all man, yet couldn't contain his emotions during the ceremony. If you click on the shot to make it larger, you'll see the redness in his eyes. He showed overwhelming emotions of watching his daughter get married and I'm sure he tried to keep them supressed. He wasn't entirely successful as you can see. The people At the wedding are there for a reason: They're important to the couple and deserve to be in the final albums. Shoot the guests relentlessly.
Shoot the action...shoot the reaction.
I have many techniques that I like to use when shooting weddings. I had mentioned before that I like to use a 200mm lens on one of the cameras I shoot with during a ceremony. That allows me to stand back, out of the way, but still pull in the beauty and joys apparent in the faces of the bride and the groom. I also use it to shoot the exchange of the rings. There's something more powerful about this close-up of the exchange to me than of a wider shot. As a photojournalist you should always shoot the wide shots and the tight shots that show the details of the wedding in ways that people perhaps didn't notice. From their seats 12 feet away, no one could see this intimate look at the ring exchange, but it's such an important detail to me to capture.
Many times I change this shot to a black and white image. I think it's a timeless, classic way to show this, but in this case I left it in color due to the wondeful greens of the lush valley that was a backdrop for the ceremony.
One more trick I'll share with you. When i shoot the kiss, I don't just shoot the kiss. I like to mesh the "action-reaction" shot with the actual kiss-at-the-end-of-the-ceremony shot. It shows the kiss, of course, but also the reactions of the guests who are watching it.
I also love to do this photo in black and white, but deliver the color version of it as well.
Here are a few other portraits that we shot while the guests were eating their meal. I don't like to keep the couple away from their guests but in this case, Matt and Teresa had already eaten, so I dragged them out to the front of the Mansion to do a few more portraits while everyone else was served and ate their meal. They were both troopers and even laid on the grass for me. I don't know if they got grass stains on their clothes, but I do think these shots are worth it.
The sun had set when we shot this last series of portraits. The portraits on the grass were shot with a silver umbrella, bounced with an SB-800 flash set at 1/4 power. The shot with the blue, set-sun, misty light over the Finger Lakes in the backround was shot with a shoot-through, white umbrella with the flash set at 1/4 power. Notice how soft, romantic that light is?
(Thanks to www.strobist.com for teaching me how to use my sb-800 Nikon flashes to their fullest. )
Many photographers don't like to and will not shoot weddings. I can understand why. They can be stressful because you're being trusted to document one of the most important days in a person's life. Gear can fail. You might meet a "Bridezilla" who likes to rant, complain and make people miserable.
I've never had either of those in my life.
I always carry backup gear for everything I bring to photograph a wedding and it's tested, cleaned and re-tested before every wedding. I've never met a "Bridezilla" either. Perhaps it has a lot to do with my calm nature, but I've been fortunate.
I don't get stressed about shooting weddings. I feel totally confident that no matter what the day brings, I'll be ready to deliver heirloom photographs. I've been doing this a long time and always look for the fun, beauty and emotion of a wedding shoot.
I LOVE shooting weddings. Teresa and Matt's day was a perfect example of why.
Like Matt is here, however, I do enjoy a cold brew at the end of the evening.