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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake (Utah Child Photography)

Three stunning beauties, four hours filled with giggles and swooning, two creative geniuses, uncountable yards of fabric, and one incomparable location = Unforgettable!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A White Christmas (Utah Professional Child Photography)

If the last post was all about Musketeer number three, than this one is all about Musketeer number one (I'm two, and four has the audacity to live in Japan at present, so no Christmas photos for her...sniff sniff) I've known these girls' mom since 1983 (what, has it only been 27 years?), and now I see so much of her in her middle child it's a little unnerving. I know we were all hotties back in the day, but I still can't believe how beautiful our spawn are. Crazy beautiful, all of them. Thanks again to L for helping to install our new furnace! And thanks, K for giving me complete creative license on these. You're a gem.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December Blues (and greens) (Utah Family Photography)

After being chastised severely by one of my closest friends for not updating my blog more, I am repenting and posting. Yes, I know, It's been forever - but I am going to play the December card here. Photography is such an awesome job, I love it! But honestly, December is one of those "hang on by your finger-nails and hope you make it through alive" kind of rides in this business. The blog always suffers. Anyway, my apologies!

Below is one of my other closest friends, and my oldest and most loyal client. Big T always kids around about being my "number one fan," but in all seriousness, I think he's earned the ranking. I have been creating artwork for this couple since 1994, when I painted their first portrait in my high-school oil painting class (ha ha ha!! The grey brick wall remains one of my all time faves!) Someday I'm really going to have to do a C&T through the years post just to prove how much I really have photographed you two. Thanks for being my number one fans!

Your card turned out so awesome this year!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Random act of Kindness & Generosity (Utah Family Photography)

Sometimes I'm completely blown away by the generosity of others. This evening I got to help my long-time friend, fellow U of U art department graduate, and photographer with her family portraits. We went to a local urban street, and I was setting up in front of what appeared to be an abandoned building. Imagine my surprise when two charming men popped out of the doorway, and asked what we were doing. I asked if we could have permission to shoot in front of their building, and they kindly said, "Sure!" After we were done there, one of the gentlemen asked if I would like to see a really cool brick wall to use. We followed him through an alley-way and finished up our little portrait session. I was kind of in "photo" mode, so I didn't really look around until after we were done. The place was amazing! Graffiti walls, old peeling paint, brick and plaster everywhere... and I could tell it was all done to accommodate portraits. Come to find out, the gentleman is Al Thelin, another local photographer who has been teaching photography for over 20 years, and has at least double that experience behind the camera. He basically let me have access to his private outdoor studio free of charge for about an hour. What an amazing individual, and what an awesome experience.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pure Genius

I've been following Joe McNally's blog, and I tell you it is as good for me as church. This is a man who has been doing this blessed and accursed profession for over 30 years, and is pretty much a photography God. His post today is about common photographic mistakes, and I just about stood up out of my chair shouting "AMEN, Brother, I believe!" Check it out - you'll be a believer too.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Not Always Perfect (Utah Family Photography)

After a very fun session with six crazy kids, I was talking to their dad about photography, and some of the concerns I have about the current direction professional photography seems to be heading. We were discussing the recent phenomenon that has hundreds of people becoming hired photographers without any professional training, and very little experience. I related how I've spent the last 12 years getting every educational experience I could, and what a perfectionist I am with my own images - striving eternally for the perfect light, the perfect composition, the perfect expressions, etc. He seemed a little surprised and said, "Yeah, but I've always thought you were a pretty laid-back photographer. You always seem to capture my kids exactly as they are."

I've thought a lot about what he said. I don't consider myself a "life-style" or "photojournalistic" photographer. Most of the images I create are fairly planned and molded. I like to be able to control the variables and end with something timeless and beautiful. His comment made me remember that sometimes the unplanned portrait can be the best one after all. That being said, I will say that I think the image below has some awesome lighting, decent composition, and you can't beat those expressions! Pretty near perfection if you ask me. Thanks B&J. Good luck in your coming adventure.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Time Goes Marching On (Utah Family Photography)

The last time I created a family portrait for the A family, it was with my Hasselblad 501C. I remember buying that camera thinking, "this is the last camera I will ever have to buy." The medium format Giant has been around for decades, and I thought once I owned one, it would all be lights, lenses, and backdrops from there. Didn't quite turn out that way, did it? As a professional digital photographer, I'm looking at the realization that I will probably have to replace my camera every 4-5 years (if I'm lucky and the technology lasts that long.) I sold that 501C to be able to buy my current workhorse, and every once in a while I miss it, and wish I had held onto it. Not today, but sometimes.

"A" family, it was so great to see all the kids again! I still can't get over the shock of S driving the family van, and the knowledge that someday that'll be MY son in the driver's seat (shudder!) I usually don't like BW images in the fall landscape (seems kind of off the point to me) but this close-up of your faces seemed so timeless in the classic medium, I just love it - I love that you are all laughing, and that C FINALLY smiled for me. I'm sure I was being extremely ridiculous at that point.

One of my all-time favorite couple portraits. This images speaks volumes about your relationship, your family, and your lives.

I also loved our furry friends who were not spooked by us at all, and just ignored our loud obnoxious noises while muching away at the leaves. Too funny!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Blonde over Blue (Utah Family Photography)

I love this family. I've known the H family since we moved into our neighborhood over six years ago, and I think we've been discussing a family portrait for about that long. I get the privilege of working with their older daughters twice a week through our church, and they remind me so much of my sisters and I when we were young. Miss T reminds me especially of myself, in appearance and attitude. It was a pleasure to get to create a piece of art for their home. Thanks for being so patient, L while I processed these!

Man, I love these kids! Those smiles, those eyes! They are so loyal to each other, too - a tight, happy bunch of kids. :-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Resistance to Change (Model and Senior Photography in Salt Lake)

I took a fabulous class today from Ali of Rock That OCF. It was extremely painful... in a good way. I don't mean the class was painful (it was actually fantastic - well taught, lots of hands-on experience, fun people.) I mean the whole concept of off camera flash was difficult for me. I have used flash on location before, but this was totally different, with all sorts of weird aperture and shutter settings, and new equipment to learn. I struggled between learning something new, and doing things the same way I usually do them. Me and my clunky tripod, on shutter speed 1/10th of a second... it was actually pretty funny. Anyway, the verdict is in, however, and I definitely think this is a technique I can adapt into my routine when occasion demands. Just ignore the posing issues in some of these - I didn't take the time I'm used to taking to make everything perfect, and we were all sharing models, so I didn't want to be too overbearing. I mostly tried to shoot from the back of the pack when I could steal a pop of the Pocket Wizard. Thanks everyone who was in the class for a great day. I really wish I could have gone to lunch with everyone.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Being Flexible (Salt Lake Family Photography)

This session helped remind me the importance of being flexible. I usually schedule portrait sessions 1-2 hours before sunset, and lately I've been doing a LOT of location scouting to find really over-the-top fall leaf locations. M told me she wanted more of a green look, and the session had to be scheduled in the morning. She also wanted to stay close to home because of the early time frame we were working with. Fortunately, they have a fantastic back yard, and neighborhood, so we were able to fill all our requirements. In the end, I was REALLY glad we did stay close to home because Little Miss S (and yes, that S could easily stand for Sunshine!) was so much more comfortable there than she would have been anywhere else. It was the right call, and I love how personalized the session turned out.

Thanks once again R family for being so nice and patient with me - especially when I keep pushing for "just one more!" It has been a real pleasure getting to see your family evolve through the past couple of years.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Camp Half-Blood Campers

We got a little star-struck this evening. My Mom, kids, and I got to meet Rick Riordan, the author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians book series, the Kane Chronicles, and the new Camp Half-Blood series, The Heroes of Olympus. If you don't know already, we are major fans of Rick Riordan's books, and even have custom camp tee-shirts that we had made by Zeus Tees.

We read in the newspaper last night that The King's English Bookshop was hosting this ticketed event today, so I rushed up there this morning to get our tickets. Coolest... Bookstore... Ever! I have to say, I was dying to just stay and browse all day, but I had a preschooler to pick up, so I didn't get the chance. Anyone want to make a book date to go explore it with me? We met a few of the owners at the event tonight, and felt like we had just reconnected with old friends. They had great reading recommendations, and said they have signing events like tonight's all the time, especially with local authors. I got on their mailing list immediately.

Anyway, the event with Mr. Riordan tonight was fantastic! He spoke for a few minutes about how he started the Percy Jackson series, and why he decided to continue writing about Camp Half-Blood. He was so entertaining to listen to, and my kids were enthralled with every word he said. They were quoting him the whole time we stood in line for our book-signing. I printed my two Percy Jackson portraits that I did last spring, and gave him copies. I was so nervous, I can't even remember what he said to me!! Then my kids got to meet him, and I couldn't even remember how to operate the stupid point and shoot camera, and my hands were shaking so bad that all I got were two lousy photos that aren't that great, but at least I got a couple. All in all, it was a fantastic evening, and the best part was sharing it with my children.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Variety Show (Utah Family Photography)

Usually, when I photograph a family, I strive to achieve that one great image that will go on the wall, and be enjoyed for generations to come. There are usually many factors that try to get in the way of this: weather, lighting, cranky kids, hungry parents, etc. When this Dad booked a session with me, and informed me that they have six kids ranging in age from 2 to 17, I was prepared for a very difficult session. Boy was I over-prepared! This was one of the easiest families I've ever photographed. Everyone was on board, and in good spirits, and so fun to work with. I also had some amazing light this evening, which left me with no obstacles except my puzzle-solving skills which weren't bad that evening either. The result was we got some incredible variety, and several gorgeous family portraits. Good luck choosing, A&K!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

On the Bento Bandwagon

This post is expressly for my sister in law who insisted that if I started "bento-ing" that I had to post an image. What the blimey is a bento? Why am I taking photos of my kids' lunches? Why is my son's sandwich shaped like Yoda? Answers to all these questions can be found on my sis' blog: A Trip to Holland. She has some really great links from her post about bento lunches, and since she is an English major, she is much more enjoyable to read than I am, so go check it out. I think bentos are going to save the world.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Unexpected but not Unwelcome (West Jordan Family Photography)

I've spent the last couple of weeks scouting fall leaf locations for family portraits looking for prime autumn color. I had this location picked out for the V family, and we headed up tonight thinking it was going to be bright and sunny. And indeed, when we started capturing, it was. It only took about 15 minutes, however, for the weather to do a "180" and before we knew it, we were right in the cloud bank - and it was c-o-l-d. But the lighting and the clouds were so dramatic, I knew we had been given something special. The image that resulted was completely unique to anything I've done before, and my only regret is that I didn't have my family right there at that exact moment so I could have the same portrait for my own house. :-) Thank you so much, V fam for this!

And you claim you are "not photogenic." Shame on you.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Silver Lake Triple Header (Salt Lake Family Photography)

I've been up to Brighton so often in the past week I feel like I should buy a cabin there to save on gas. Actually, I'll take the cabin just for the fall scenery. It'd be well worth the price. I have so much to post I've got to consolidate, so I'll post a week's worth of work to conserve time:

My week started out with photographing one of my best friends, and in my opinion the Queen of Family Photography herself, Allison Watkins of English Photography. She has had so much influence in my life and on my career, I can't even begin to describe how nervous I was! Not in an "Oh, I'm going to mess up" kind of way, but in a "I've got to give her something spectacular!" kind of way. I think she is pretty spectacular, and her family is so good looking, that it really wasn't too hard. Thanks so much for this opportunity, Allison! I was very humbled and honored that you trusted this to me.

So I didn't think the leaves would last all week, but because of the hot dry weather, and not a lot of storms to blow them down, it still looked great by Saturday. Even though I have some great fall-leaf-background images of the B family, I just LOVED this close up and all their great expressions! You guys were so much fun. I can't remember if this was the "Jar Jar" image, but that whole thing just cracked me up!

This evening the gods of Fall finally showed up with the cold weather. I am not a cold weather fan, but even I thought it was about time! The AC in my van is broken, and I really didn't want to get it fixed until next summer, but good grief, this week was hot! Anyway, I want to give a great big thanks to the C family who answered the call of duty when I sent a desperate plea via email for another family to shoot in this amazing location. This is the first year I've ever shot here, and it is definitely on the top of my list now! I couldn't let the season's peak go without doing one more session here. Thanks for braving the cold, and for throwing things together at the last minute. It was well worth all the effort!

The high altitudes are just about done with their autumn displays, but the mid-altitudes are just turning, and the valley hasn't even started yet. I still have October sessions available if you want to take advantage of the amazing scenery. Call (801) 556-1661 to reserve your appointment.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Last-Minute Steals (Utah Family Photography)

Now through October first, I am running an Early Bird Christmas Card Event. Any portrait session is only $125, and that will include 50 of my stunning Christmas Cards (size and design limits apply.) My regular $400 deposit requirement will be waived for this event. Also, if you have already had your portrait session, and want to do a custom Christmas Card (any size or design), and if you order before October 1, you can receive 20% off your entire card order. Call me at (801) 556-1661 for more details.

Please note that I only have 3 days left available for Early Bird Sessions: September 27, 29, 30. Sessions are typically scheduled for around sunset to take advantage of the best light.

In conjunction with the Early Bird Event, I am spotlighting two locations: The first is Silver Lake at Brighton. The aspens and low brush are just turning gold, and I anticipate the leaves will peak in about 7-10 days. The advantage to this location is it's accessibility (nice level boardwalk - no hiking required. Great for older adults or young children.) The disadvantage will be it's accessibility (ironic, huh?) It will probably be fairly crowded. If you book one of my late September days, and choose Silver Lake as your location, I will waive the regular $30 travel fee. (Excuse the poor photo quality - all I had today was my iPhone!)

The second location I love right now is Fairview Canyon. Picture rolling hills of grass and sage accented by huge groves of Aspens. My sister lives nearby, and every time I visit her, I long to do a family session in this stunning scenery. The leaves will probably be prime in about 7-10 days from now, and will feature that signature Aspen gold. The disadvantage of this location is its 2.5 hour drive from my base in West Jordan. It would be a half-day adventure, but the drive through Spanish Fork Canyon is breath-taking. You could make a day of it complete with a picnic and your own photographic safari. If you want to take advantage of this unique, one-of-a-kind location before October 1, I will only charge a $30 travel fee, instead of my usual $100.
(Again, forgive the iPhone photo.... I was trying to relax with the kids and forbade myself from bringing my real camera. You can even see my fishing line on the left! For the record, one good nibble, no fish.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Utah Child Portrait)

I have The Children's Ballet Theater to thank for this session. Their end of the year performance of the Wizard of Oz prompted me to get the movie on Blu-Ray (insert angels singing and glorious light streaming from heaven - this movie is absolutely breath-taking on Blu-Ray!) and ever since, my youngest has become Dorothy herself. If you ever want to hear the sweetest thing in the world, come over and listen to her sing Over the Rainbow - guaranteed to make your troubles will melt like lemon-drops.

I have to give another big shout out to my costume designer who is so amazing and talented and totally gets me - words fail. Another thumbs up to both Lara and Cornbelly's who lent me their cornfields. Of all the corn mazes in Utah, Cornbelly's is by far the coolest and most family friendly I've ever seen. I can't wait for them to open October 1.