Archive for November 2009

Why I flew to San Jose to shoot family portraits

A few weeks ago Katie emailed asking about shooting some new family portraits. (Katie and her family live in San Jose) I’ve had the pleasure of photographing her family five times over the past three years. Usually the shoot coincides with a visit to the area. Since I didn’t have any near-term plans to fly to the bay area she decided it was worth the extra cost of a plane ticket to have me come up. It feels good when your clients speak about your work with actions like that.

We started off with the twins while big brother Connor finished his nap. And for the record, the twins decided to hold each other’s hand.

Colin & Logan

Colin & Logan

Then we swapped. Twins went down for a nap while Connor and I went to have some fun.

Connor

Connor

Connor

Connor

Next Aunt Mable (her real name is Annie) and Charles came by. Charles was a little hesitant, because like most of us, we don’t like to have our photo taken. For one of their first poses they came across really stoic. Seeing that pose made me think of the painting “American Gothic” and with the help of a few props we made an attempt.  The use of props and humor helped liven things up a bit.

An attempt at humor using the painting American Gothic as inpiration

An attempt at humor using the painting American Gothic as inpiration

San Jose Rose Garden

San Jose Rose Garden

After our session at the house we headed to the San Jose Rose Garden to meet the extended family. It never fails. Whenever I try to get a shot of the grandparents and their grand kids there’s always a meltdown.

Murphy's law.

Murphy's law.

More extended family and great moments.

Callie and Carin

Callie and Carin

Lucas

Lucas

Tim and Callie

Tim and Callie

Julie and Annie

Julie and Annie

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Recently I met with a local photographer that only shoots property photos for real estate agents. He doesn’t photograph people. Our introduction was a good one because he was willing to refer agents who need head shots to me. Realtors in particular tend to use their likeness all over their marketing material. My suggestion and professional advise is that if you plan on using your photo to help market your business make sure you hire a professional.

The above mentioned photographer said that a lot of his clients ask for a “quick headshot” while he is photographing the home. “We’re here, you’ve got a camera let’s just take a few pictures.” It’s not that easy. He knows that his strength is not working with people, giving direction, trying to convey a message or feeling with the photo of a person. A headshot or executive portrait shouldn’t be an afterthought.

When considering getting a head shot or business portrait ask yourself some questions. What will I use the photo for? Do I need a different look for my website and business card? Should I wear a suit and tie or my favorite Hawaiian Shirt? (the answer to the latter is almost never) Will the images be photoshopped? Will the images look better if they are retouched? Should I bring wardrobe options so that I can get variations or multiple images?

Earlier this month Carlos called me to update his headshot. Carlos is a real estate agent with Keller Williams based out of the Beverly Hills Office. We shot several looks so that he could have different images for different applications. He’ll have a photo for his website as well as a different photo for his marketing efforts on social networking sites like facebook and linkedin. He also decided that professional retouching would be advantages. The second image shows image before and after retouching. The photo on the left is displayed as it came out of the camera. In this case a $2500 camera with a $1800 lens. Does the quality of the camera gear matter?  A little bit, but the illustration is meant to show the quality and amount of work that goes into a photo to make it look professional.

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Before and After Professional Retouching. Shot with Canon 5D and 70-200 F2.8IS

Before and After Professional Retouching. Shot with Canon 5D and 70-200 F2.8IS

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Emily’s Closeup Portraits

While I was waiting for my model this morning I came across some tear sheets I had saved of Martin Schoeller’s work. For those of you who don’t know his work check out this gallery page.

The goal of the shoot wasn’t to shoot this type of portrait but I felt inspired enough to shoot a few frames before we went with the shoot as we had planned it. I started with a giant softbox but didn’t think being that close with that much in focus was flattering. I ditched the strobes and just used the light coming through the garage door with a sheet of foam core to bounce some light back. These shots were made at F1.2 so the depth of field is super shallow. The dept is so shallow that with her eyes in focus her eyebrow is already soft and out of focus. I liked them enough that I felt inspired to share. I’ll post more from the shoot later.

Emily Pledger Portrait - 1/400 at F1.2

Emily Pledger Portrait - 1/400 at F1.2

Emily Pledger Portrait - 1/400 at F1.2

Emily Pledger Portrait - 1/400 at F1.2

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Samantha’s Quinceañera

So now I know.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of shooting my first Quinceañera. Samantha is my friend Dave’s daughter.  I had a vague idea of how the evening would progress but what struck me after I got there was that this event was the size of a small wedding.  When I arrived at St. Vincent’s Church there were several limos and three photo sessions going.

For those who don’t know the Quinceañera is the coming of age ceremony celebrated. The event is celebrated with a Catholic Mass and a reception. An old tradition during the reception is for the father to present his daughter with her first pair of high heels.

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To see a short slideshow of photos from the event check out the following website.

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A Rocky Start – introducing Kainoa

Back in July I met and photographed Malia and Lopaka. We came away with some great maternity shots including this one.  At the time we had penciled in another photo shoot for the baby shortly after he was born. But….there were some complications.  He got stuck. I forget the terms Malia used but he was halfway out and got stuck, some crazy nurse ninja moves were performed and he made it into the world safely.  He was born August 10th and weighed 8.5 lbs. The nurses took him to the NICU to check him out and found that he had a congenital heart defect which would require surgery. While in the hospital waiting for the surgery he got an infection which affected his organs and pushed the surgery.

Malia and Lopaka

Malia and Lopaka

That was four months ago. He finally left the hospital a three month old boy and this past weekend we finally met. He’s strong, happy and doing well.

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Giving Back

Help-Portrait

Help-Portrait

A few months ago a photographer began a movement called Help-Portrait. The goal is for photographers around the world to take a day and use our gifts and skill to give back to people in need. The idea was picked up and promoted by a lot of blogs and websites and the concept was inspirational.  If you’d like to help in any way, mark December 12th on your calendar and send me a note.

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