Tag Archive: Olde Town


Trying to become a sustainable business in the competitive field of photography means understanding the elements of running a business, promoting, marketing and delivering a product people will want.  The dilemma is is how easy it is for a competitor to enter the market and the hysterically low barriers of entry digital cameras has created.  Translation, anyone with a digital camera can say they’re a photographer and compete.  Often they compete only on price making it difficult for everyone else.  I’m no exception to any of this.

With this in mind it’s important to distinguish oneself as different and worth the investment by the consumer.  The only way to do this is to innovate, create and always push the limits of one’s skill to the next level.  That’s exactly what I tried to do with our shoot with Victoria.  In this shoot we tried to explore new poses and angles to create more dynamic images.  I like to think we made a good stride forward this time around.

The above shot was take with Victoria one stair-level up.  The goal was to capture the growing vines and foliage int he background while keeping a keen focus on the subject.

The above image was take with Victoria sitting in front of a store-front.  We took the photo from an elevated level and tried to keep a shallow depth of field.  Post processing included some blue-black vignette and some light cross-processing.  One of the big obstacles on the day was the wind.  I had to keep timing the shot as the wind blew Victoria’s hair one way or the other.  A short time into the shoot I quit fussing over where her hair was because I started to notice how it created variety from shot to shot.  A natural hair-dresser of sorts, primping and making adjustments in-between shots.

Up to now, I almost always forgot about the hands.  I’ll pose people in groups and focus on their face, but the hands always add a more human element.  In this pose the simple use of the hands, having Victoria lean forward and shooting close created an image full of personality.  The image below tries to capture a similar element.

The final image, below, was an experiment.  Victoria is sitting on a yellow bench with a yellow brick backdrop.  I was not impressed with the colors after looking at the processed image.  I wanted to create some drama so I converted to filtered black and white (orange), heightened the contrast and shadows, converted the image to negative, added a mask layer and filled with gradient black and white.  When I converted the image from negative again, this was the result.  I added a subtle platinum process to it for a little extra drama and thus was the final image.  This one below is the latest addition to my portfolio.

Hello Olde Town, my old(e) friend!  When Aaron and I arrived at Olde Town Conyers last Saturday morning we were stunned to find roving crowds following photographers.  In fact, it was just plain surreal.  So many photographers trying to make a living snapping cute little photos of children, families and a couple oddities.  Maybe it’s time to start scouting some new areas for taking photos.

 

Having said that, we had the great privelage of photographing Stephanie, Jimmy and Micah last week for their family portraits.  In our constant effort of improving and always learning, the lesson of the week is on babies.  Micah, an adorable four-month-old was cooperative enough, just, he was very unimpressed with the photographer and the idea of smiling was about as realistic as a tidal wave striking Conyers, Georgia.  Lesson learned: Have a toy that has lights, makes noise and grabs a baby’s attention on hand at all times!

This photo of Stephanie and Micah was nice enough on it’s own, and with some cropping added some tenderness to the image.  I added a touch of cross-process for a splash of drama and there it is.

This photo of Stephanie and Jimmy is one of my favorite poses, however it’s getting a bit old.  I call it, “Stalker Dude” where I place him in the background and use a real shallow depth-of-field to blur him a bit.  The good news is most of my clients who are women love the style.  The bad news is most of my clients who are men don’t much care for it.  We’ll see if I choose to keep using it.

One final shot of the three all together.  Nothing real fancy hear other than it’s simplicity.  Sometimes a photo just doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles to be effective.

 

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!

 

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.

Options as a photographer are almost limitless.  There are nature scenes, urban landscapes, macro, commercial products, weddings, portraits, baby and the newly emerging ‘expecting family’ portraits that have become all the rage.  As an emerging photographer I have to be careful not to get in over my head and be selective about what types of jobs I’m willing to take on.

This weekend I had the privilege of photographing Paul’s senior portraits.  Paul is a musician and wanted to be photographed with his guitar.  With this in mind I wanted to experiment with strobes and gels of different colors to emulate the on-stage look and feel.  After some practice I landed on orange and blue gels for the contrast.  The following image utilized a bounce umbrella strobe and a direct strobe with orange gel.  Notice the effect on Paul’s face as the two lights contrast on each side.

I continued with the on-stage look with a full frame shot, this time the orange strobe set-up behind Paul and the bounce in front.  This little alley in Old Town Conyers made for a unique collection of textures, nature and urban all in one photo.  Note how the splash of orange hits the left side and down to the bricks.

I’m not usually a fan of retro style photos and seldom use the cross-process technique common with Instagram photos.  However, in the scene below, I gave it a shot and it looked right.  It’s funny how in post processing a photographer will look at an image over and over and something will seem missing.  Just one chance click on the mouse and the image jumps to life.  That’s what happened on this one.

Not a traditional portrait, but still one of my favorites.  Here I utilized a stronger direct strobe with the orange gel.  I was going for the gig scene and less a portrait.  Again, the varying textures in the background lend the image to urban or even country and inspire the musician feel to the image.

Paul was kidding in the following shot, only for the benefit of shocking his parents, but I couldn’t resist capturing this playful moment after making him sit on railroad tracks for so long.  The scene felt like it deserved a black and white treatment, added grain for texture and then coloring with platinum to get away from the drabs of greyscale.

This last image was a disaster in color.  The two competing strobes had too much contrast and the colors conflicted instead of complimented.  Most photographers know that when the color isn’t right, maybe there’s a chance in black and white.  Because the strobe utilized a strong orange gel (close to red) and blue, it lended itself well to black and white conversion.  I can remember using red or blue flash bulbs during a black and white photography class to get differing levels of contrast in my images.  This poorly lit mistake turned into a winner when converted to black and white.

Every time I post to this blog about a photo-gig I’ve had, I try to make it both a learning experience for myself and those visiting.  This entry was all about experimentation with color and strobes.  As a photographer I can certainly create good images for good customers and follow safe paths, or I can keep pushing the limits of my own skills and keep trying new things.  I learned a great deal from this effort and look forward to using the creative process again in my next one.