Sunday, February 28, 2010

Allison and Jerry's Winter Wedding.

Yesterday, I had the honor of photographing Allison and Jerry's wedding in St. Clair Shores. I've known Allison since I was a little kid, and as my sister's BFF, she was around quite often. She found a great guy in Jerry and I couldn't be happier for them. Their love for each other made me feel warm on the inside, even through the blistering cold weather outside. A big thanks to Allison, Jerry, and their whole wedding party for being good sports throughout the photo shoot!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Self interview, part 3.

Q: With Spring and Summer approaching, what are some things you are looking forward to?

A: The only way I can answer this question is without breathing, here it goes... warm weather, riding my motorcycle, lots of weddings, not wearing a jacket, taking the top off my Wrangler, barbecuing, playing with our lab in the backyard, summer parties, green trees and grass, open windows and fresh air, taking walks with Haley, getting rid of my Michigan mayonnaise tan, vacations, swimming, getting another nephew (or niece), bonfires, and softball! Pant, pant, pant...

Q: What's your favorite ice cream?
A: Double superman in a waffle cone please.

Q: What are the top-ten played artists in your iTunes library?
A: Here they are in order of appearance; Ray Lamontagne; Damien Rice; Ben Harper; Cat Stevens; Dave Matthews; Counting Crows; Pearl Jam; Radiohead; The Beatles.

Q: Regarding photography, how does your personality change when you look through the camera?

A: I love to use humor to lighten the mood and capture the special things that happen in between the smiles. After my photo shoots, I always get the "Wow, that was a lot more fun than I thought it was going to be!" or "I hate getting photographs taken but that was great." Getting someone to laugh, then capturing that exact instant, is priceless.

I bet you can remember getting your picture taken at some point in your life and the photographer didn't say a word. He/she grabbed your hands and unnaturally posed them, tilted your head so it looks like you have osteoporosis and said "Cheeeeeese". How awkward is that? Not only is it uncomfortable for you during the shoot, it almost always shows in your photos. Having a good personality goes a long way as a photographer.

Photographs just turn out better when everyone is having fun. It's plain and simple!

(Allison and Jerry, 2009)

(Matt and Amber, 2009)
(Lindsay and Travis, 2009)

Q: How do you feel about digital manipulation and to what extent do you utilize it?
A: I was just asked this during a recent meeting with a potential client. They wanted to know how much of my photography is photoshopped, and how much is the actual image. Although I use Adobe Photoshop from time-to-time, most of my editing is done in Adobe Lightroom. Basic adjustments such as exposure, contrast, sharpness, saturation and cropping are done inside Lightroom. 95% of my photos don't even see Photoshop. I only digitally manipulate a photo under certain circumstances. These would be if a client asks for it, if the photo has something that's distracting to the viewer (i.e. awkward telephone pole, obnoxious gum wrapper on the ground, fly-away hairs, lint on shirts), or if I need to resize the photograph for larger prints. If someone is bending or looking a certain way, sometimes there might be a roll or double chin. In those instances, I'll edit the photo to make them look more natural. In the end, it's all about making the client happy.

Q: What has been the single biggest obstacle against growing as a photographer in whole?
A: Time. Along with being a photographer, I'm also a full-time emergency nurse. While I love being a nurse and helping others in need, I'm not passionate about it like photography. 2010 is a pivotal year for my business, as I hope to make the jump into working full-time as a wedding and lifestyle photographer. With this year already starting off on the right foot, I'm shooting for the stars.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Best of friends.

Our year-old, black lab loves the snow. As soon as the ground is covered, Rayla is whining at the back door to get out and play. She mindlessly sprints in circles while kicking up tons of snow dust behind her. The only thing she loves more than playing in the fresh snow is hanging out with her boyfriend, Lewie. I've never heard a dog cry so loud until I brought Rayla to Lewie's house for the second time. Ever since then it has been the same thing. It is seriously ear shattering! At this point, the only thing to calm her down is to see Lewie.

As soon as her paws hit the pavement, the reunion begins. It starts off with lots of hugs and licking, then quickly turns into a full-on chase. They probably run over 2 miles in pursuit of each other. It's so much fun to see the joy and excitement on her face as she plays. I'm glad she connects with Lewie so well because it's really hard to keep her busy during the Winter months.

After about an hour or so and lots of wrestling, it's time to say goodbye. As I wipe Rayla's paws and pack her into the Jeep, Lewie sits on the driveway to see his girlfriend off. The minute I start my car, she's laying in the seat snoozing away.

Here are some photos from her play-date today. Lewie is a labradoodle and an incredibly smart dog. In the summer, he gets his hair cut down to nubbins and he's about the same size as Rayla.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Self interview, part 2.

Ok, I'm back for another round of questions. I have a coffee in hand and Light in August singing in my ears. Let's get started...

Q: What are your favorite subjects/things to photograph?
A: Weddings! I love photographing weddings. It's the best job ever. Each wedding is really special and everyone gets dressed up so they're looking great. It's such a happy day that it's hard to not find someone smiling or doing something memorable. It's literally a photographer's playground!

Q: What does photography mean to you?
A: Photography means telling a story with images, plain and simple. The old adage, "a picture is worth a thousand words", holds a lot of truth in my perception of photography. It's more than just closing the shutter a thousand times. It's about recreating the past, by capturing the now, in a unique way using different techniques I've learned over the years.

(Lindsay and Travis, 2009)

(Matt and Amber, 2009)

The direction of light, cropping, and camera angle each add a unique flavor to the story of a photograph. And those are just a few examples of the infinite tools in a photographer's bag. My intent is to capture a "sense of existence" and to evoke emotion from the person looking through one of my albums.

Q: How technical is your photography?
A: The only time I get really technical in my photography is when I'm working with strobes or difficult lighting situations. This is mostly during newborn shoots or indoor portraits. Otherwise, when I'm photographing an event such as a wedding, I try to keep the focus on the action happening in front of me. There's nothing worse than missing a special moment because I'm too busy fidgeting with the settings on my camera. I have a pretty good knack for knowing when something big is going to happen, so I prepare my camera in advance... then I snap, snap, snap!

Q: Describe what black and white photography means to you?
A: The simple answer is, I love it! If I had to pick black and white or color for the rest of my photography career, I would choose black and white. Without a doubt, it's the most powerful way to tell a story. Colors can easily distract a viewer from what's going on in the picture. When an image is black and white, you really take the time to look at the emotion on people's faces. You see intricate detail that you wouldn't normally see. It's clean and unobstructed... beautiful!

(Photoshoot with Jules Bianchi in New Orleans, 2009)

Q: Tell a little secret about yourself that no-one knows...
A: Ok, here it goes. I'm horrible at basketball. Seriously, I'm pitiful. If you have ever seen me in person, then you'd know I'm really tall and have somewhat of a lanky build. You might now be thinking to yourself, "Well, you can't be that bad. All you have to do is toss the ball 2 feet and it's in the net." Wrong. I couldn't throw a basketball into a hula hoop while standing on a step ladder for a million bucks.

I do have a theory on why I'm so bad though. It's my long arms. Really! They are so long, when I shoot the ball, I have to constantly adjust the trajectory from the time it's near my body until the time I let go. It's just too far for me to stay on target.

It's time to give my typing fingers a rest. Stay tuned for part 3!
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