It’s not always easy…

Our # 1 goal is to capture the senior’s personality, hobbies and interests at 17-years of age. We have a personality form that I have each client fill out. Sometimes it’s not always easy to “interact” and I have had this happen lately with a couple of clients. Not sure if it’s an age thing? During our consultation we pre-plan the photo session and bounce ideas off each other. The personality form gives me inspiration and helps me get to know the client a little better… and if nothing else gives me ideas to talk about with them.

While talking with Shelby, I realized she was unique. On the personality form under “childhood ambition” she wanted to be a mermaid, she really wanted to be a mermaid, that didn’t surprise me, I’ve heard that before from my own children... “Her Perfect day”: sleeping. Her “proudest moment” was waking up before 5pm. Her “wildest dreams” to go to Hogwarts. I asked her to describe her fantasy photo: a Jedi underwater. It was a little bit of a challenge connecting with her and at one point I wasn’t sure we were the photographer for them. But I like thinking outside the box, she was uniquely different and I wanted to capture her unique look. Shelby also wrote down she liked the color purple and the forest. Her mother wanted a water look, so that inspired me and I took it and ran with it.

 Shelby has a fantastic look, comfortable in front of the camera and was great to work with. And she likes photography as well. Looking back I’m glad we are all a little different; what a boring world we would live in if everyone liked the same things.

Thanks Shelby for helping me think outside the box. It was a pleasure working with you and your mother.

I love my job!

I really like different challenges and during the course of the day sometimes you get some unique opportunities. I had a client just stop in one day. The lobby was full of high school seniors The client went on to explain what he wanted 9-images with and without smoke, on a white background and the product changes 6-different colors. He wanted to publish the pictures on Amazon. I was a little pre occupied and I normally don’t give a price immediately but this time I did. An hour later while sitting at my desk I realized this was not going to be an easy product to photograph and I seriously underestimated the job. Live and learn. I still enjoyed the project, didn’t make any money but it was a great learning experience. White on white, smoke and had to show color??? I called a photographer friend, Pete Burg, who does product work regularly and he shared with me a few tips on how he would do it. Thank You Pete.  I need complete control to do multi exposures, one for the exterior of the product the other for the colors, blue, red, green, purple and red in complete darkness. I would then blend the images together in photo shop.

Here is the final product. There is no replacing experience, knowledge and having the equipment to do product work like the Ultrasonic Aroma Diffuser.

The State Baseball Team 1977

It took 37-years to get the 1977 St. Cloud High School State Baseball Champion team photograph to be displayed at the St. Cloud High School gym. I can't believe it's been 37-years.

I’m proud to say the St. Cloud High School 1977 State Champion baseball team photograph should be on display by mid to late August.  I'm excited that it will finally be up for viewing. Congrats to the team from 1977. Thank you Kim Glasscock & Mr. Hague for finally seeing this project through.

Have camera will travel

Have camera will travel, I love my job! Downtown Orlando’s 13th floor of the Regency Bank building... what an incredible view. I knew we had to use the cityscape as a background in their conference room.

UBS Financial commissioned us to photograph their staff of professionals. None of the staff were available until after the market closed. I was hoping for a good market day… happier, better expressions. Show me the money… Like most executives after the market closes they just want to go home.

Sandy and I arrived early, scouted the location, set up and were ready for the first executive by 4pm. We captured 4-6 different poses of each professional and went on to the next person. I feel our experience played a major role with this photo assignment

I love the variety of  assignments my job offers, I have found through experience that now I tend to focus (no pun intended)  on what I like to do best, this photo shoot is one of them. I enjoy meeting people and walking away from a job feeling very good about the product and service we provided. Thank you Ivonne &USB for the opportunity to serve you and your team. Wishing you ALL continued success.

The Boydston Family from…Coweta, Oklahoma.

This family commissioned us for their family portrait at the beach while in Florida. This time of year I have found mornings work best for a variety of reasons, 1) It’s not too hot  2) It’s not raining 3) There are not a lot of people to contend with in the background since it’s so early in the morning.

I know it’s not easy for a family on vacation to get up at 4am and travel east for a beach portrait. When a client makes that kind of commitment, you know it’s important to them.

I feel it’s worth the effort, watching the sunrise lends itself to some incredible lighting. You can’t duplicate God’s natural lighting. Another advantage is you get to spend some valuable family time. To me this is not work, it’s a passion. A passion to deliver the very best product.  I had a blast and was on a photographic high on the way back to the office. What a great way to start the day!

We had all the ingredients for a fantastic portrait session, good weather, good lighting, a nice looking and cooperative family along with good clothing selections. It was a fantastic morning. Thank you Sherry and family. It was a pleasure serving you and your family while in Florida.

Photo Tips101: FIRE WORKS

Photo Tips101: Want to take better firework images? It can be tricky, find a spot where you will have an unobstructed view. You may want to show people in the foreground or the landscape, that is subjective and up to you.  Another tip would be to make sure that there are no extra lights around, street lamp, signs, headlights, etc as the extra light can and will affect your exposure of the fireworks. Pre-aim where the fireworks are going to explode. It’s ok to shoot a little loose and crop in later on. In fact I would recommend a normal (50mm-lens) rather than a telephoto. Learn to see what your lens will see before looking through the lens. Most firework events last 10- minutes so you can watch the first few fireworks for your placement. Put your focus on infinity and leave focus on manual. You must have a tripod. No flash, ISO 200 at f/ 8-ll is a great place to start. Place your shutter speed on B and allow 4-6 second exposures. It’s ok to use long exposures if there is not light around you. Take a few practice shots to see how the exposures are working. For a variety of images, take one, then allow multi fireworks explosions in one frame/image. I have found it best to use a cable release as well so that your hand won’t shake the camera. Another trick is to take a black board large enough to block the lens so that you don’t have to keep opening and closing your shutter, I have even used my wallet. I would recommend that you bring a mini flashlight along with extra batteries and flash cards.

Meet the Smagacz Family:

This is my second largest family to date, 26-total. WOW! One of the many things I’ve learned over the past 30-years in photography is experience counts and you must remain flexible in this profession.

Lisa commissioned us to photograph her family from Brentwood, TN while in Florida on vacation.  What I have learned is, try to put as many “things” in our favor, time of day for outdoor portraits is vital, if there are small children you want to choose a time when  they are at their best and it’s also best to feed them before the photo session and clothing selections can make or break a portrait.

We scheduled the photo session on a Thursday at 8am. At 8am the sun is pretty high in the sky and can be difficult to find good lighting for a large family grouping of 26. I arrived early on the photo day and scouted the grounds and found this spot. I liked the depth it gave us, we set the group up on the cart path so they would not get the clients wet & dirty from the dew. I learned if I put my camera at a lower prospective it would not show the cart path. The location was not far from their vacation villa, which was a benefit for the grandparents at ages 79 & 75 years young.

You learn to improvise and make the most out of any/all situations. I recall way back in my early training that when you are in a difficult lighting situation… back-light! So I did, with a little help with a fill light off-camera.

What I’ve learned the past 30-years is everyone in the group needs to look good. Starting with mom, if mom doesn’t look good you are done! Happy momma, happy life.

What I’ve learned through my decades of photography is to listen to the client. Occasionally they have a few ideas of their own and I try to make it work.

One last thing from what I’ve learned through my time in the photography business is to have a plan. I start pre-planning the night before, I start getting my mind “set” into large family groupings by looking at past large family groups we have done, thinking about the ages of the children, wondering how mobile the grandparents are, etc.  It’s not always EASY putting together 26-people and making them ALL look good with lighting, posing and expressions, etc. This was not an easy task and certainly NOT for someone who has little experience with large family groups. But it was worth the effort, we now have captured their family vacation in 2014. Who knows if or when they ALL will be together again?