Wednesday, May 4, 2011


There are many different factors involved in a Portrait Photo Session.

The goal for this session was to create a variety of 'looks'. I won't post all of the different looks we shot, but there will be enough for you to get an idea of how the session went.

This shoot would give Nikki enough different looks to walk into a Modeling Agency with a decent portfolio for the agent to view.

We of course had a little bit of an advantage to start off because she is beautiful already so we didn't have to spend a lot of time with hair and make-up to start. And there are no major edits in post production. The only edits are simple adjustments in contrast to correct my own lighting dilemmas or possibly some cropping. And you will notice that one of the photos here is in Sepia Tone.

We started out with a white backdrop to contrast two different black outfits. In the first, we also went with the big floppy hat and scarf. In her hands (but purposely out of focus) is a huge diamond. The goal here was to frame her strong facial features, while keeping the rest of the picture soft. At some point, I would like to photoshop the white backdrop to a softer tone. The white may be a little too harsh.

In the second black outfit we decided to open things up a little. No hat. No wrap. Just a little highlight around her neck.

For the next two images think in terms of days gone by when women wore fancy hats with veils. This was a little tricky because the camera wants to auto focus on the closest objects, so some of the shots came out too much about the hat and veil rather than looking through to the beautiful eyes and smile that are behind the veil.

Since we were thinking of it as a 'period piece' I decided to make one a Sepia Tone:

I was also determined to get a shot that was more severe. Something along the lines of an Old School Marm. I thought this would be the hardest look to get from her, but Nikki's dance background apparently comes complete with incredible acting ability! She totally pulled this off better than I expected.

We actually got a bunch of serious 'business' type shots as well while she was in that outfit. This next shot was among those, but with a little bit of a mischievous twist. It reminds me of the slow motion scene in the movie where the nerdy student imagines the librarian taking off her glasses and letting down her hair, just before he is awakened from his daydream by the school bell!

Next we decided to just have some fun, with a few casual shots. Again, this is where Nikki made my job very easy. Any agent or photographer would likely hire her based on these next two images, just because it appears in these shots that she is easy to work with. (Which was exactly the case!)

As you can see, modeling is a career opportunity for her!

We took several shots using props of all sorts. Here you see 'The Girl Next Door' with her Teddy Bear.

There were a few extreme close-up shots that I haven't posted here, and some of them are very interesting. This one is a close-up, but not too extreme. Could be used for many commercial purposes or even as a head shot, background shot or stock photography shot.

There were many other shots that we didn't get to take. I definitely want to experiment more with some dramatic lighting. The kind where only part of the face is showing. And I would like to get some outdoor nature shots. Maybe in the summer.

I am trying to convince Nikki to pursue a modeling career. Hopefully she will be inspired by these shots as much as I am.

Thanks for a great session, Nikki!

To see more photos from this session go to: .


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lights In Motion...

I have always been fascinated by movement. Many of my images are of Dancers in motion. But today's post is focusing on Lights In Motion.

At one time or another everyone has been to the Carnival, Fair or Circus. Even if you don't enjoy going to the Carnival, you have seen them set up in a field somewhere around town.

One of the main attractions of the Carnival is the Ferris Wheel. Although the Ferris Wheel seems to be the center piece of the Carnival, it has been my observation that hardly anyone ever rides it anymore. Maybe people want to ride something a little more exciting. I imagine that the Carney Folk keep the Old Beast around because it is great advertising. You can see it from miles away.

As you can see, it is quite majestic, especially in the night sky.

Behind the Ferris Wheel is another ride. I can't remember the name of it, but it is very colorful. It swings and turns. When it is is motion it is a lot of fun, or so it would seem from the screaming.

If you blow up the above image, you will see some interesting things. Obviously, the ride in motion is fun, but you will also notice that there are two people in the photo. They were looking at the animals in the Feeding Corral. What is more interesting is... the people that you don't see. While I took this photo, there were a bunch of people walking around the street in the middle of this photo.

Look more closely and you will see a ghost image of some legs and feet. The two people looking at the animals (and the animals themselves) barely moved, so they may seem a little fuzzy. But the people who where walking from one ride to another hardly even register in the photo. The camera doesn't recognize that they were there.

Then I moved to the other side of the ride to get a closer view.

From this vantage point you can catch even more of the looping motion!

Another fun ride is one that spins so fast that the centrifugal force pins you to the machine while the ride uprights itself. I remember being a child and convincing my Mom to ride this one with me. I told her it was the 'best ride in the park'. She was pretty mad at me after that. Here it is just getting started:

Then it starts to upright itself:

And then it really starts to spin:

Finally someone decided to ride the Ferris Wheel, so I got to photograph that in motion, too. There is something very Romantic about the Ferris Wheel. Maybe that's the other reason the Carney Folk keep the Old Beast around... for the Hopeless Romantics!

Since I was experimenting with Lights In Motion... I decided to try one other potentially fun idea. While in a time delay shot, I manually zoomed the lens which added another dimension of movement. I had the circular motion of the Ferris Wheel and then added the 'forward' movement of the manual zoom. The effect is similar to what you might expect from Captain Kirk asking Scotty for Warp Speed:

As always, feel free to click on the images to enlarge them to get better details.

I am in experimental mode right now with the photography, so if there is anything that you would like to see... send me an e-mail and I will try to find the time to add it to my list.

Next I will add some Portrait shots from a shoot I did last week.


Peace and Love,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Engagement Photos...

I recently had the great privilege of shooting Engagement Photos for Nicole and Ryan.

They have asked me to shoot their wedding in March 2011 and when I suggested we shoot some Engagement photos first, they were a little reluctant. But after a little arm twisting they finally gave in. My goal is to photograph them several times between now and the wedding. The idea is that by March they will be so used to me being around snapping photos that I will be totally invisible to them by the Wedding. That way they will be so comfortable with me being around, that their Wedding Photos won't seem staged, posed or fake.

I offered several suggestions, but told them that the best photos will be the ones of "them being themselves."

We set out on a beautiful Autumn day in Salem. Our first stop was to play in the leaves at Salem Common.

You can see in this photo that they are very much in love!

I also wanted to get a few shots in Black and White.

When we got to the spot of the Proposal, I was treated to a reenactment (complete with a surprised reaction)!

Ryan is a 'take charge' kind of guy and decided he didn't want to wait until March. So he took matters into his own hands! (Almost leaving without Nicole's purse...)

After convincing Ryan to be patient, they strolled off on the Journey of a lifetime...

We made a little stop at the Bandshell.

And then we wandered down to the pier by the Lighthouse to admire the Full Moon. How Romantic.

And having a little fun.

And here they are gazing off into the Future... There is a definite possibility that the two of them will sail off into a sunset just like this after they are married.

(Nicole and Ryan: Don't forget to continue having special moments like these after you are married! I am looking forward to capturing more of these moments at your Wedding.)


If you or someone you know needs to capture some special moment, call me.

Also keep in mind that if you want Christmas Card photos taken (or other holiday cards) we will need to do those soon so you will have time to go to print!

Also, my Photography Website is coming along nicely... keep an eye out for the official announcement that it is up and running.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Peace and Love,

Friday, October 15, 2010

Family Photo Shoot Part 2...

Here are two of the photos that I got when I went back to take some shots in the Pumpkin Patch.

There were a bunch of different poses and designs, but it always seems to me that the shots where the kids are having fun always seem to come out the best.

To me, the more organic the shot is... the better. When shooting people, if they seem self-conscious or uncomfortable it comes across that way in the photo. As I said in the last post, it's good to shoot people in a setting where they feel at home or comfortable.

I am still looking for interesting ideas for my website portfolio.

Enjoy. Off to shoot some Foliage....
Peace and Love,

Family Photo Shoot...

There are several challenges to doing a Family Photo Shoot. The first obvious hurdle is scheduling a time for the whole family to be together. Of course the larger the family, the more difficult it is to work around play dates, dance classes, hockey practice and work schedules.

Once we find the perfect time, we still have the challenge of trying to keep everyone's attention focused on the task at hand. It is inevitable that someone will get cranky or want to be somewhere else or to be doing something else. There are two ways to prevent this from happening. First, timing is everything. Making sure everyone is having fun and is interested in what is happening is good, but you have to make sure that you work in some little breaks for everyone. The second trick is a little sneakier. Recruit the kids to be 'helpers'! If they think they are in charge of something, they will be more likely to participate.

In this particular shoot, we started off with the Family Photos first. This helped loosen everyone up and helped the younger kids be a little less shy.

I had another secret weapon in my arsenal on this shoot, too. Sully (the family dog) is very friendly. When I got down on to one knee to shoot up at the family, Sully came over and started to lick my face. This made everyone laugh. It broke the ice and even the little ones were a little more relaxed after that.

We tried several different locations around the yard. On one hand we had many options to choose from, but we also had to work around the sun. I love to work with the natural outdoor lighting, but we had to be aware of direct sunlight (to avoid squinting eyes and unwanted shadows).

In this location they are sitting on the stairs to the barn. It is a bit formal, hands folded in the laps.

Here I had them stand up away from the building and lean on the railing (much more casual).

Next we decided to work with the parents for a few quick shots so the kids could see how 'easy' it was.

Once the kids saw how much fun we were having they were happy to join in!

One of the tricks to working with kids is to get them in as natural an environment as possible.

And then give them a chance to do something unusual or even a little daring.

In the midst of all the shots, it's good to get several different focal lengths from full body to close ups.

Some shots can be salvaged by cropping. Originally, this was a shot of the family on the barn stairs (as seen above), but several of the other family members were either not looking at the camera or had eyes closed or something, but this little angel was perfect. Rather than scrap the whole photo, I just cropped her out and used it as her close up shot.

Again this shot is cropped. She was not only laughing at the scene (Daddy had a live chicken), but she had just turned to me, to make sure that I was getting the shot!

Sometimes the best shots are not the ones you pose. When I took this shot we were 'officially' finished with the Photo Shoot. She was just playing on her tractor and happen to look back as I walked by. Luckily I still had my camera around my neck and was fast enough to snap this candid.

We wanted to get a picture of the youngest child on the swing. At this point we were having a pretty good time. She may have been showing off a little (which is much better than being shy). I think that she was trying to trick me into thinking that she was falling off the swing... which actually worked because when she saw the expression on my face she lit right up!

Here is another shot that was technically post Photo Shoot. I was just chatting with her Mom and glanced over. There she was just watching us talk. When I lifted the camera (which was still around my neck) I was rewarded with a smile.

I got this one while we where in between locations. Moving from the swing to the chicken coop. Yes we took pictures with the chickens too, but I'm not posting them here today... I had to pick and choose. We got a lot of shots. Maybe some of them will end up on the 3000 Words Photography website (which is still under construction).

Sully was happy to be included in the event.

So I decided to take a shot just for Sully to send home to his Canine family and friends, showing off his new family. I thought it would be fun to possibly hang a small photo on the Family Photo Wall, too. Of course, this one would be down at Sully's eye level.

As I said, there are a lot of photos that I didn't get to post here. This was a lot more fun than I expected. I actually went back a few days later to get some shots of the kids in their pumpkin patch. Maybe I will post them another time.

I plan to be out taking some Fall Foliage shots in the next week or two. If I get any good shots-- I'll post them.


Peace and Love,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wedding Photography...

Last month I shot my very first Wedding. I have to admit that the idea of shooting a wedding was quite stressful. It's not like other photo shoots. You can't stop in the middle of the ceremony and say, "Can you do that again? I wasn't ready." Or, "My battery just died." Or any number of other possible things that could potentially go horribly wrong.

Luckily, I had some serious help for the day. My sister Colleen (who has shot other weddings for friends) and my nephew Michael (who is an artist and budding photographer) were both there to cover all the angles.

One thing that I have found, not only in business but in life in general, is that organization is the key to success. My two eager assistants thought I went a little overboard when I showed up with a list for each of them. It was a "Shot List"... things that I wanted each of them to be in charge of. And I also had a Battle Plan for where each of us would stand during the important parts of the ceremony, as well as when we should be 'floating' to get some good candids. And when to check on the batteries and memory cards (in case anything needed to be changed out or recharged).

Not sure why they thought it was funny... They also got an e-mail the week before with a checklist of things to do the day before the wedding. Things like reformatting memory cards so that we would be working with fresh cards, cleaning lenses, recharging batteries and a whole host of other things.

I admit I felt a little like Vince Lombardi. But in the end... it was the right thing to do. We ended up doing a pretty decent job I think.

You be the judge...

I've got some of the photos posted here to give you an idea of the work. Colleen spent the pre-wedding hours with the Bride and her Court. The report I got back the following week was that she went 'above and beyond' the call of photographer duty. Even though I gave her strict instructions to be as invisible as possible. But according to the Bride, she was glad Colleen was there!

Michael and I hung out with the Groom and his Groomsmen. Our job was much easier. Guys don't take nearly as long to get ready... and are a lot less stuck on the "Traditional" things that are 'supposed' to be done.

So we went off to take some other shots of the accessories around the Wedding Site. Some background shots...

This, for example, is a Close Up of the flowers that were in one of the baskets that the Flower Girls were carrying.

And I managed to confiscate the Wedding Rings for a while to take this shot of the Rings in the Basket of Flowers:

We got a bunch of these kinds of shots. I will likely have an Album of many of these shots on the 3000 Words Photography website... as soon as I build it!

One of the things to be on the look out for: The Moment. And there are lots of them. People wiping tears, a tender hug, a kiss, a hand shake. And yes... we caught a bunch of them. Again, too many to put them all in this Blog Post. Keep an eye out for them on the website.

Here are just a few of my Favorites:

The moment the Groom sees the Bride:

Just look at him. It is so clear that he is in love. In fact, after spending a few days with the couple (rehearsal dinner, dress rehearsal, wedding day) it is quite clear not only that they love each other, but that they will indeed survive the madness of married life.

Another of my favorite Moments is the Bride walking down the aisle. This wedding was outdoors so the aisle was a pathway of rose pedals that the Flower Girls so skillfully left for her to walk on. The Father of the Bride was very instrumental in keeping the Bride from panicking (as Brides tend to do on their wedding day).

In this next shot you can see what a perfect setting they had for an outdoor wedding. The mountains in the background and the weather both added to the Magic of the day.

Of course, in the search for Moments, it's not just the serious Moments that make the day. There are a whole host of Fun and Funny things that happen that make the day memorable.

In this shot, the Ring Bearer decided to be 'helpful' and start to pick up the 'mess' that was left behind by the Flower Girls! In the middle of the ceremony he just started picking up the flower pedals and putting them back in the basket. I tried my best to stay focused on the ceremony, but decided that it was futile and had to snap this shot.

Speaking of Fun Shots... I love to get contrast shots in much of my photography work. In this shot, I actually caught a little foreshadowing. Here, the Groom is holding the Bride's Flowers. It made me think of all those future shopping trips. You know what I'm talking about. All those husbands standing outside the dressing room door, holding their wife's purse. Don't pretend like you haven't seen it before!

I caught another Fun Shot when one of the Flower Girls was either bored or feeling a little mischievous during the Group Photo Shoot of the Wedding Party. She is about to drop some of the left over rose pedals on one of the Groomsmen.

OK, I admit that this next one was staged... but I just wanted the Bride and Groom to have a photo of something unusual that they did on their wedding day.

And a little advice to anyone who wants to shoot a wedding. The wedding day is 99.9% about the BRIDE. So always be sure to get some close-ups of the Bride. And any shots that you take with a group, the bride must be in focus. Even if half of the people in the photo are out of focus (because you are using a wide aperture)... the Bride MUST be in focus. Unless of course you are softening on purpose for effect.

Here is a bit of a close-up on the Bride:

This shot was totally my sister's idea. The bride with all of the flowers from her Bridesmaids on her train:

And a close-up of just the Flowers on the train:

Another good idea to keep in the back of your mind when you are shooting, is to take a few shots with some space on the side so that you can use them later to add text. For example, this photo could be used as a Thank You Card or as an e-card to thank people for for sharing their day:

This shot is just for Background. Sort of a reminder of the Event. But if you can get a somewhat artistic shot it helps. And when the moon is co-operating... it is a good day to be a photographer.

And speaking of the moon... During the Dress Rehearsal I got this shot. In the scope of good photographs-- this shot is not special. The bride and her dad are kind of far away. And someone forgot to bring the rehearsal flower arrangement (so she carried a bottle of beer as a substitute for fun). But there is something about the Bride and her Father walking down the 'aisle' with the moon in the background that really moves me.

Here is a classic wedding shot of the Bride in the window. My sister got a bunch of these kinds of shots. In the mirror, in the window, with the Bridesmaids getting dressed, adding accessories, doing hair, doing make-up, etc. Again, many of these will probably make it to the website Wedding Album. But I'll put one up here for now.

Here is another shot she got of the Bride and Groom. She really got some great candids. My sister specializes in shooting people in motion. She does a lot of sports photography.

And she got plenty of the Kissing Couple:

My nephew on the other hand (as I mentioned earlier) is an artist. He has stacks of sketch pads with lots of original art. He doesn't just draw what he sees... he draws what is in his head. So he has an eye for finding the 'artsy' shots... like this one of the invitation:

And this 'artsy' shot of some of the flowers that were around the Wedding Site:

Here is a shot he got of the Ring Bearer upstaging the rest of the Wedding Party:

And to top it off, he got (what I call) the "Money Shot". We each got some photos of The First Kiss... but he was positioned perfectly to get the shot without interference. I was standing right in front of the Bride and Groom, but because of the 'head tilt' all I got was a lens full of hair, arms and veil. Michael was behind them and got the full on shot.

He also got some other great shots through the flowers from behind the Wedding Party that seem like goofy shots until you add the Ken Burns effect to the Slideshow.

If you are not familiar with the Ken Burns effect. That is when you take one photograph and start looking at it from one part of the photograph and then the Slideshow moves to another part of the photograph. Sometimes it pans from side to side or up and down or sometimes it zooms in or out. You have likely seen this effect used in documentaries (which Ken Burns is famous for creating).

All in all I think it's safe to say that my sister and nephew and I have a potential family business going on here. I am looking forward to other projects with them.

I would like to thank Cassandra and Pete for letting me share their Wedding Day. It was a beautiful and moving ceremony. And to make it even more enjoyable... it was well organized!

Keep an eye out for the 3000 Words Photography Website.

My main goal is to focus on Destination Photography. But feel free to keep me informed of any Events that are happening that would make good subject matter. And please forward my contact information on to anyone you know who needs photos taken.

The next post will be about a Family Portrait Shoot I did a few days ago. I'll post them when I finish with the post production editing.

Thanks. Enjoy the Photos.

Peace and Love,

Note: Just a reminder that you can click on any of these photos to enlarge them (to see more detail).