Posts Tagged ‘South Bay’

Watching ‘em grow – a five year tradition of family portraits

One of the great things about shooting family portraits is developing relationships. This year I’m shooting with a lot of families I have photographed on numerous occasions. In a lot of cases I only see the families once a year but documenting the family’s growth is an amazing experience.

A few weeks ago I shot Tracey and Carley. This marks the fifth year I’ve photographed them. The night before our shoot I bumped into Carley at the El Segundo High School football game. My heart dropped to think she was already in high school, but it turns out she’s still in 8th. Carley was nine years old the first time I photographed her in 2007.

Tracey and Carley’s photos are always special to me. I love photographing their relationship and always come away with endearing images that speak volumes.

This is also the fifth time we scheduled our shoot at a park and the fourth time at Polliwog park in Manhattan beach. This year I asked Tracey why not shoot at the beach? The answer was simple…Tucker. Tucker is Carley’s dog and has been with us for the past four shoots. Since dogs aren’t allowed on the beach we’re at Polliwog (again) and I’m trying my hardest to make sure that this year’s photos are unique.

The following is a collection of images I made over the past five years.

Here’s to tradition.

2007

Carley 2007- Age 9

2007

2007

Carley and Tucker -2008

Carley and Tucker -2008

2008

2008

2009 - Polliwog Park

2009 - Polliwog Park

2009

2009

2010 El Segundo Library Park

2010 El Segundo Library Park

2010

2010

2011 - Polliwog Park

2011 - Polliwog Park

2011

2011

Share

Maternity portrait sessions with Courtney and Jen

My first maternity session was about five years ago with my wife’s friend.  I shot it as a favor and as a test to see if I enjoyed the work and liked the results. I enjoyed the shoot and everyone was happy with the results.  I’ve been offering maternity sessions ever since.

Maternity sessions are an interesting niche. Some people love ‘em, some don’t. A few years ago I wondered why the disparity in opinions. I talked to a handful of women and previous clients and asked their opinion. A couple former maternity clients fessed up to not loving the shots at the time of the shoot. They thought that they looked fat in the photos. We all know that isn’t the case but when faced with 50-100 images of our bodies most of us will focus on what we don’t like. The clients that were honest about their feelings of not loving them at the time also raved at how happy they were to have done it, how much they loved the photos once their child was born and how grateful they were to have documented such a momentous time in their life.  That’s what we as professional photographers do; we make sure that those special moments and events in your life are documented in a way that is unique and special.

I really enjoy maternity sessions. The session is a collaboration that my clients are very much involved in. We look at examples of maternity photos and talk about the goals for the shoot. Are the photos for posterity, to hang on the wall, are we trying to create art?  For most women, other than their wedding day, a photo session devoted entirely to them is new and exciting. For me it’s the same feeling and planning I devote to a fashion shoot. For come clients it’s as simple as a couple’s portrait shoot out on location.  For other clients I set up a mini-studio at their home or have them in to my studio.

Over the past couple weeks I had the honor of shooting maternity portrait sessions with Jen and Courtney.  I’ve known both for a couple years and worked with both Jen and Courtney before they got pregnant. My session with Jen was about trying to get something creative and beautiful as well as shooting relaxed, timeless portraits. Jen and Courtney were photographed in my studio.

based on the advertisements for Heidi Klum's maternity line for Pea in the Pod

My session with Courtney was different in that there was not any pre-planned ideas or goals. Courtney makes her living as a model and we both knew that we would come away with something fun.

As I mentioned for some clients it’s just about having a fun family or couple’s session to mark the occasion. To see more examples check out the maternity portfolio on my Wedding and Family Website.

Share

It’s about the moment

Typically when I edit a wedding or family portrait session only the best images make the cut. My clients and I want to see smiling, happy faces. No one wants to see an awkward expression or a photo that would have been perfect if Dad hadn’t blinked.
The past six weeks have been full of family and children’s portrait sessions. The images that stand out aren’t the group shots that go on the wall, it’s the little found moments that show me, and my client, that what we were doing was fun.

I have never liked to have my photo taken and I take that feeling and try to make it enjoyable (or painless) for everyone involved. For the dad who hates to have his picture taken I move quickly. For the teenager who is too cool to be there, I show him that I can make him look good. For the mom who’s worried that her three year old won’t smile and look at the camera I show her that great photos can be had when they aren’t smiling or even looking at the camera.

The following two photos are of Mosantu and her mom Kate. Let’s just say that I was of no interest to Mosantu. She wanted to play in the ocean, not pose for pictures. She would get up and run for the water. By the time we were done, she was soaked and had a blast.

Tutu pulls a runner

Tutu pulls a runner

Tutu and Kate

Tutu and Kate

Shooting at a location having not scouted it first can make for a “challenging” photo shoot. In the case of the Armstrong’s, their backyard provided ample opportunities to get some unique shots.

Hayden, Parker and Carson

Hayden, Parker and Carson

Getting a fun and endearing shot of a brother and sister can be tough depending on their relationship. Grace and Jackson made it easy. My mom would have killed for a shot of me and my sister like theirs.

Jackson and Grace

Jackson and Grace

You can barely make out Jason and his grandma in this shot, yet it tells a story from that day.

Jason and his gradnma

Jason and his gradnma

Share

Holiday Family & Children’s Portrait Sessions

It’s been a busy couple weeks. With Phyllis of broadcastingbaby.com we’ve continued our partnership to offer packages that include the photo shoot and holiday cards and have managed to have a couple weekends of great shoots. The great thing I love about this time of year is the great variety of shots and personalities I get to work with.

First up, we have the Mahony brothers. When I was their age, a family portrait meant getting dressed up (in an outfit that my mom deemed appropriate) and trying to smile and look natural in front of a backdrop. With these brothers we get to walk around, take some shots and hopefully have a bit of fun. I try not to force things when I’m shooting kids and teens. If I push ‘em too far or try to force something that’s not for them I loose them. My goal is to make them look cool and have them walk away thinking “that wasn’t so bad”. Here’s the shot we got last year and I’m happy with the shots from this year.

The Mahony Brothers

The Mahony Brothers

This year I shot Annabelle, Lilly and Charlie again. Mom always does a great job of making them look great for the shoot. Getting three young kids looking cute, at the camera, at the same time takes a bit of luck and a small miracle. The great thing about shoots likes these are the stolen moments. The cute pic of all three ends up on the Christmas card, the other ones help us remember the fun.

Annabelle,  and Charlie

Annabelle, Lilly and Charlie

Lilly

Lilly

With most family portrait shoots I start with the “safe” family shots, then the safe brother sister shots and then I set ‘em free to have some fun.

Jackson and Grace

Jackson and Grace

In some cases it takes a while to get people to relax. Let’s face it, when a stranger points a camera at you and asks you to look natural – does it feel natural? Not for me. My goal is to get past the point, or at least get a few moments, where they forget I’m there.

Brooke

Bradford

Share

Revisiting

I was reviewing the images on my website and wanted to look back at all the shoots from the closeup portrait series. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the series. It was another exercise for me in portraiture. It was my second series and I used the same lighting, background and look for all of the shots. Most were shot wide open at F1.2 using natural light.

With all of my portrait or fashion sessions I like to take some time for both me and the subject to “warm up”. When I’m working with someone for the first time I try to get to know them and especially get them to relax. In the case of the closeup series I asked them to bring a wife-beater tank top and an outfit of their choice for some photo options. Most of these sessions lasted 15-20 minutes.

The first person I met and photographed was Anthonio, an inspiring actor and director. The image without the shirt was cropped and used in the series.

Anthonio_040210_013

Anthonio_040210_015

I met and photographed Noah the same day. The birth of his first born was eminent and because I had a two year old daughter at the time, I was able to relate to what he was about to experience.

Noah_040210_015

Noah_040210_008

Share

Architectural Photos, and using photos for marketing

A few months ago I was introduced to Lauren Shadid via Josette Murphy of About:Space. Lauren left a big architecture firm and is in the process of building a website for her firm. I was hired to shoot a couple of completed projects which will be showcased on her upcoming website. For architects and interior designers I spend a lot of time making sure that the color and the design of the space is accurate.

Like myself and other photographers, architects and designers are particularly attuned to how their project looks when photographed. They spend hours deciding on colors, materials, fabrics and lighting; it’s only natural that the same attention to detail would occur after the photo is taken. In a lot of cases we become accustomed to how an environment looks to the naked eye, we don’t notice the color of the light or the shadows but once we look at a photo we start to notice those details.

In the case of this Sherman Oaks dining room that Lauren designed there were a lot of factors affecting the lighting and color. In this shot of the dining room, the custom made table, made by Boudreau Custom Woodwork, was casting a lot of orange light onto the ceiling and walls because of the light reflecting off the table coming from the skylight. In Photoshop I removed the color cast to give the walls and ceiling a more accurate color. The following is a screen shot of my work in Photoshop. It’s time consuming work but included in the service I offer my customers.

Dining room before color correction

Photoshop screen shot with color correction layers and masks

Spending money on marketing for small business owners is never easy. I’m in the same boat. Like my clients, I want to know that the money and effort I spend marketing my photography is effective. I often meet potential clients that think “good enough” is OK for their business and marketing materials.  The great thing about architects and interior designers is that they know the power of photography and its effectiveness in communicating their work to potential clients.

Share