Got a jump on 2013 with a few guys in the studio last week for some business headshots and wanted to try some alternatives to the usual way I pose and photograph portraits. While much of it has to do with the willingness of your subject to stretch or to move a certain way, it’s my job to make sure they look good, natural and at ease. These fellows were quite different from one another but the goal is always the same… make a few great shots they can use for their marketing materials and get a few outstanding ones for the blog! So here they are… you can tell by the last one we do have a lot of fun doing this!
Had quite the run of family portraits this past holiday season which is great for the old bottom line because things tend to slow down around here as the year comes to a close. When networking in late fall, I always try to mention how the holidays are a great time to get the family and extended family together for holiday family portraits especially when folks are coming into Portland from out-of-town or out-of-country like two of my families were this season. Whether coming into the studio or having the shoot at your home, the holidays are a great time for family portraits!
I was called to the Portland Community College’s Cascade Campus last weekend to shoot portraits of a young man who shares his story of growing up hungry for knowledge to young people overcoming barriers in their lives. I photographed him speaking to a group of about 40 students in an auditorium for about an hour, then pulled him outside for some casual portraits for his website and marketing materials. His story was quite moving.
From an African village, to Food Stamps in America, to Harvard Graduate School, Tamam says “It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish that matters.”
Like a kid with a new toy on Christmas morning I just had to try out the new Lastolite Triflash Bracket I picked up this morning from Pro Photo Supply. I also wanted to test how quickly I could shoot with three flashes rather than one and how good (or bad) the Canon ST-E2 Transmitter would work outside. Granted the light this afternoon was pretty flat and low with lots of medium gray clouds so the transmitter worked fairly well. I was shooting about three feet away with the flashes to my left on a lightweight Westcott stand. Camera was a Canon 5D, ISO 200, 1/200 @ f/2.8.
I didn’t do any posing with the kiddos obviously because they were so giddy with playing and it being Friday after all, that I just wanted to shoot quickly and put the flashes through their paces and keep the energy level high. It does strike me how much $ in flashes you can hang on the thing, where one Alien Bee 1600 monobloc will only run you about $360 so I do suggest a sandbag or gym weights in a sling when shooting with a white shoot-through umbrella as I was here. I can’t wait to use this ungainly thing more often!
Helping me out for a book project on Lighting, my friend Kathryn (a fine photographer herself) and her daughter Adrienne came to the studio and posed for several different portrait lighting styles: butterfly, split, loop, Rembrandt, etc. and kept their energy up throughout the shoot! At the end I wanted to make a shot just for them and this one became my favorite. I think what I really like about this portrait is their expressions, almost those “Mona Lisa smiles”, serious but friendly. If you spend a lot of time looking through lenses at people you will become attuned to very subtle difference in looks, expressions, postures and poses. I love the gentle hand Kathryn lays on her daughters shoulder, protective yet not firm, a strong bond that will never diminish.
Mother’s Day is a great time for portraits, either for moms themselves or as a gift for your favorite Mom! Come in by yourself or with your Mom for a portrait session or call the studio at 503 768-9878 and purchase a gift certificate. Mother’s day is Sunday May 13th, 2012
I put on a lighting demo in my studio last night for the PMPA After-Hours program. My studio in SW Portland can accommodate large and small projects just fine but when you pack it with over 40 people it gets downright cozy! It just so happened that a former photo student and current body-builder friend of mine needed photos last night for a $25.000 competition she is entering and since I needed some new sports portraits for my website and book, it was they say, fortuitous! Laura is also an incredible newborn baby photographer herself littlelaurajane.com. Since she is a strong photographer in her own right, she had no trouble posing for the group.
We had a great time discussing lighting theory, placement and my favorite ~ modifiers! The demo was a preamble to my full-day lighting workshop at Stage 13 on May 12th.
It is so rare that a photographer gets to see what they look like when they are working so it was really cool that Danny Abrego of Portland Reign Photography sent me these pics of me! Thanks, Danny
Here I’m shooting with my homemade DIY Speedlite Ringflash to add some soft fill for the more powerful Alien Bees studio strobes.
We’ll be exploring this and way more lighting techniques in the full-day Lighting & Portraiture Workshop May 12th at Stage 13 in NW Portland. Find out more info here or here. Hope to see you there!
Providence Medical Center called recently for some new portraits of two of their doctors who were going to be going out and speaking at medical conferences. They needed shots together and portraits alone. So, early on a Sunday evening when the hospital was quiet, we nearly had the whole lobby to ourselves which made picking locations quite easy. They didn’t have a whole lot of time so I took along Canon Speedlites instead of my studio strobes to stay nimble and shoot fast.
I have begun to shoot a lot more horizontal portraits and in a lot looser fashion. This has been fun and I am excited to see the results. It keeps my peripheral vision engaged and allows me to see compositions and settings that I might not have noticed before when I was going in to “just do a headshot”. I’m enthused to see where this new direction takes me and present three of my favorites here!