Archive for October, 2012

Welcome back to Olde Town Conyers!  This place offers many backdrops, colors, architecture and surfaces to choose from.  This time we’re photographing Stacie and Matt for their engagement photos.  The word ‘retro’ kept creeping into the pre-photo conversations.  Matt, in the Navy, would be wearing his dress blues and Stacie dressed like a WWII bride waiting for man to come home.  We even wanted to recreate the famous VJ Day Times Square Kiss photo.  Olde Town seemed like a logical choice.

For this first image I was seeking to get the ‘distant’ look from Matt, a feeling many military couples face each day.  Using a shallow depth-of-field (aperture at 2.8) and a macro lens I focused on Stacie as the subject and distanced them about five feet to create the effect.

This next photo I was trying to capture a sense of tenderness.  Wedding and couples photos always seem so natural when I ask one of them to make an adjustment to a collar or button on the other’s clothing.  All the guard is let down and natural looks are revealed.  I like the slight hint of Matt’s reflection in the window to the right side of the image.

This last one has earned a permanent spot in my portfolio.  Using layered masks I converted the base image to black and white and then the raster layer was masked and painted only to reveal the couple in color.  I was trying to make it look as if they stepped into an old photo.  The image is reminiscent of the famous VJ Day Times Square kiss photo, though not exact in the pose.  I think it evokes a similar emotion.  Unfortunately every time we tried to take the photo we had to rush as cars would come down the street, but as soon as I saw this image on the LCD I knew we got it.

Congratulations to Stacie and Matt!


One of the biggest challenges when doing wedding photography is coming up with creative poses that look natural.  Often people feel awkward when forced into poses that don’t seem realistic.  Last week I had the opportunity to photograph Kimberly and Michael for the wedding portraits.  The best part of working with this couple was how the naturally posed and came to the shoot prepared with how they wanted to look in their photos.  The following photo was captured as I was setting the frame of the image and just before I had to give any instruction on the pose, Kimberly and Michael naturally rested in a pose creating a wonderful scene.

The backdrop was the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.  The gardens offered seemingly limitless opportunities for photographing a wedding couple.  Our day started with bright sun, creating a challenge in itself.  The following photo was captured as the bride was adjusting her veil.  That moment of adjustment created a well-lit scene offering the proper level of shade on her face preventing harsh sun contrast.

As the morning progressed, the clouds began to roll in, blocking the harsh sun but at the same time creating lighting issues.  The following photo was taken in the Japanese garden, offering some shade (requiring some fill flash).  I wanted to capture the couple with the architectural elements of the area.

Still in the Japanese Garden, a moment of intimacy was captured as Kimberly adjusted Michael’s tie for the next photos.

Crossing a bridge, unique perspectives and depth-of-field became part of the scene.  This photo was taken after some of the more formal posed photographs as we were walking to the next location.  I spotted the scene and asked the couple to hold still for a moment to capture the shot.

Our time was wrapping up and the clouds had blocked any remaining sunshine.  Here I utilized a secondary strobe flash with an orange gel filter to add warmth to what would have been a cold photograph.  The splash of orange enhance a tender moment between the couple.

Up to this point in the day we had very little opportunity to capture close-up images of the couple.  We were closing in on the end of our time in the garden and I had to keep asking, “Just one more photo?”

This final image was on our walk back to the front of the gardens.  We were searching for a park bench to capture the couple sitting in a relaxed pose.  Michael began whispering in Kimberly’s ear as the scene unfolded.  The clouds backed off for a moment still offering some comfortable back-lighting for or final shot.

Congratulations to Kimberly and Michael.  We wish you the best in your lifetime together.


Family Portrait – Newmans

Being able to take an artistic and technically proficient photograph is only part of the job.  Scouting areas, coordinating with the client and having a reasonably pleasant personality are also just as important.  If a photographer appears unprepared, is running late and isn’t much for conversation, it doesn’t matter how good he is, people won’t hire him.

First, I’m nearly late for my photo shoot with the Newmans.  I took a right when I was supposed to take a left.  Second, the areas I scouted were occupied by a large group.  Third, being late and finding all my scouted spots taken, I found myself in an ornery mood.  Only two things can be done – improvise and get over it.  As it turned out, we found some dramatic backdrops at the same location and though we had to wait for the occasional fisherman or hiker to pass through the background, we were able to capture some solid photographs.

I returned to the orange gel on one of my strobes again.  I liked it so much the first time, I figured I’d try it again, and the accents on the photos paid off.  I am very appreciative of photographers utilizing available light and recreating the purest light possible, however, I don’t like to be like every other photographer.  My photos need to be different and unique.  When I asked Terran what she had in mind she said, “Something different, but not so different that Mom won’t understand.”  Right up my alley.

Panola State Park at Alexander’s Lake offers a number of unique perspectives.  This location is a retired golf course.  Our first location ended up being a tee box (red, I’m assuming).  The lake offered a great background, though the late day sun created some challenges with a washed out sky.  A couple maneuvers and we captured a nice moment with the family.

A quick walk down the cart path we found a wood bridge which crossed over from the tee box to what would have been the green.  This bridge offered unique perspectives and I wanted to try and capture a high-drama look, sharp lighting and have the bridge (which looks like a path in the background) be a metaphor for the journey families take together.  You can see the impact of the orange gel strobe on the right side and the white umbrella strobe on the left.

Halfway across the bridge there is a drop point for those golfers (much like me) sinking one into the lake.  Here we tried a few shots of the family, but the intense sun created too many obstacles.  We were able to catch a few shots of the boys here.  I switched from a fixed 50mm to a macro-vario 70mm to try and get a more pronounced depth-of-field.  Unlike the bridge above, the goal was to eliminate some of the background and focus on the subjects.

It’s October in Georgia, and that means some days will be hot, others will be cool.  Today chose hot.  With it being over eighty-degrees, it was time to have a seat in some shade for the final poses.  Again, I wanted the metaphor of the “family journey” to be in the shot, but the narrow bridge made it a bit of a challenge.  The photo of the Newmans at the bridge above could be interpreted as arriving, or about to depart, this one could depict a moment along the journey.

Many thanks to the Newmans for letting me photograph their family portraits.  If you would like to have your family portraits done by us please contact us.  We’ll be happy to talk with you about the variety of options available.

Senior Portraits – Zach

Senior portrait season is in full swing.  This week I photographed Zach.  We returned to Olde Town in Conyers, Georgia.  This photo shoot offered unique challenges finding suitable lighting.  The late day sun offered sharp contrast on the backdrop.  In fact, the contrast in some photos was too much.

The best part of photographing in Olde Town are the numerous choices for backdrops.  There are colorful buildings and all sorts of stone / brick buildings.  The next photo was taken in a narrow alley using two strobes.  One strobe was on an umbrella flash, the other served as a bounce of the adjacent wall.

As we were wrapping up our shoot, the sun showed up through the trees, giving a unique highlight.  We had to shoot quick before the sun moved lower and we lost the contrast.

This last photo was pleasant enough in color, but I opted to convert to black and white, cranked up the shadows and cropped tight.  Post process also included adding a platinum effect and a bit of Gaussian noise for some added drama.