Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Satisfied Client

Here are a few words from our client about the Grandkids at church! session.

"These are tremendous!"

"We could not be happier with the photos . . . They are truly works of art!"

Friday, July 25, 2008

Grandkids at church!

One of our sessions this month included 7 grandkids and a miniature church. This miniature church located in Groveland, Illinois is well-known in the area for a place to tie that knot. We have shot a wedding or two there in the past, but not the kiddies!

This session, or event as I would call it, took about 1.5 hours and was fairly enjoyable due to the kids having good attitudes. Lucky us huh? My wife and I each had a camera and a few lenses close by knowing that we would be all over the place. We started 30 minutes beforehand by cramming into the tiny chapel and choosing the best place to shoot. This also involved where the lights are going to go, do we even needs them, and where are we going to be shooting from. I don't have a great shot of the entire interior, but here is a 35mm shot that reveals about half of the interior and a few kids not paying any attention to me! :) Tech specs are at the end of this post.

I shot that first image above as they were running into the church. Immediately after that shot I ran towards the church doors. As I got closer I heard one of the family members yell to the kids "don't go in yet, they (us, the photog's) may not be ready!" PERFECT! I got inside as the kids ran back out which gave me the chance to capture the shot to the left. I decided to sepiatone some images because we were told before hand that the kids would be dressed in 60'ish vintage type of clothing.
What was a surprise is that the night before we found out that we were NOT shooting at their home, but instead at this miniature church. I figure, "hey, it's better than a living room!" I usually go with "don't pass up a unique setting!"

We figured that since we were not in a living room that we would go outside and see what there was to play with. We said nothing and watched where the kids naturally ran to. There was this awesome tree that screamed for kids to climb. This opened up many opportunities to capture the kids playing and not being coaxed into "smiling." I went with a sepia-like toned image, but with more color. I really wanted to push the vintage feel for them. I wanted the images to look like they were shot at that time period.

There was also a well that we played at for quite some time.

We ended our session with headshots of each child, but right before that I couldn't pass up shooting the guys (and girls) together while sitting on the church entrance steps. I mean, the place was built for kids right? Maybe not, but it sure fit their heights! I processed this image much different from the others. It reminds me of pictures of my father when he was young. It's like the images had some sort of color overlay on top of a black and white.

Tech Info:
Images inside the church: Alienbee800 softbox for a main and an unmodified light bouncing off the ceiling for fill.

Images on the church steps: Alienbee800 to camera left to fill in shadows.

All other images: no studio lights, Canon 10d and 20d with various lenses.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

It may be dark, but lights are portable!

I'm always amazed by what can be done with photography. There are many dimensions to explore that allow control of any given situation. And not only control, but the ability to change what the camera is seeing compared to what is actually seen on the set with our eyes. This is where taking a picture turns into a vision being created. But, not all vision involves setting up lights and controlling everything.

This is a main factor that stands between me and my wife's approach to shooting. She is energetic in capturing the way life is. She creates wonderful images that posses feeling without ever having to setup studio lights or planning a shoot. (I'm actually quite jealous of her simplicity!) Check out her recent tear from her Tanzania trip.

I, on the other hand, have a vision of creating images that involve setting up lighting and controlling everything in front of the lens. I think what is more important than choosing your approach is to discover what approach you naturally fall into. Like they say, "knowing is half the battle."

When it comes to creating a vision, there entails a monster list of things to think over. But, other times it's very simple and takes little to create. It all depends on how big your visions is and also how well you stick with the K.I.S.S. rule.

I recently ran across some really fun in-camera color work from joserra puelles flicker account. Check out this link for some interesting approaches to in-camera color. It's subject matter that is right up my alley! (aaand not so much my wife's :)

If you know your vision isn't being reached, I suggest starting by finding people who you see have vision. If you want to think visionary, follow those who already think that way. I have many artists floating in my head that have great vision and direction when shooting. In fact, I added to the right hand column ("artists links that interest me") a bunch of links of other artists work that I personally enjoy. I hope you find a gem for yourself there.

The above is another image of Maria. This is one of those images where if you were standing there, it didn't look anything like this. It was totally dark outside. This was shot using one AlienBee as the main light and an off camera flash for a hair light. Almost as simple as my wifes approach! A big thank you to Jeremy Sparling for allowing me to use his flash and also for manning it during this shot!