Whats Hot

Monday, October 5, 2015

Santa is Coming! And we are so excited!

It is time to book your Santa experience! I actually only have 5 spots left as of this morning. Don't be disappointed by missing this magical event - reserve your visit by calling 801-556-1661 or email Kris at krisdoman@me.com. Click here to see some of last year's Santa images.  photo Santa Promo.png

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Dear Damien and Libania, It has been a delight getting to know you over the years, and an honor being your photographer. You are a marvelous couple, and so much fun to be around. I hope we have many visits in the future to your beautiful apartment and its view of cows! Come see us after your big South America tour. You'll always have a room in our house (but no views of cows, sorry.) Oh, and thank you so much for allowing Kitty to take part in your special day. She is still talking about being able to photograph her first wedding, and that it was in Switzerland! You gave her a very special experience, and I am indebted to you. Hugs and kisses, -Kris  photo grou001-002.jpg  photo grou003-004.jpg  photo grou005-006.jpg  photo grou007-008.jpg  photo grou009-010.jpg  photo grou011-012.jpg  photo grou013-014.jpg

Monday, September 14, 2015

Love and Horses

When Tyson and Severine invited me to Switzerland seven years ago to photograph their wedding, I had no idea how that event would effect my career or my life. Not only have I been given the gift of being able to photograph beautiful people in jaw-dropping scenery, but the friendships I have made there are truly precious to me. This summer marked the third time I've been able to visit with these people, whom I consider to be closer to family than friends. They are seriously some of the most hard-working, generous, and loving souls I know!
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I've known horses are a big part of Severine and Tyson's lifestyle, but it wasn't until this last visit that I actually got to bond with their magnificent equine babies. Severine is a therapist, and she allows her horses to take part in the healing process for others. I don't know why it surprised me, but I was blown away by their individuality and personalities. They are really just like people - intelligent souls occupying a physical body. I want to introduce you to these fantastic animals:

This is Didje. She had a sad history of abuse before Severine adopted her (in spite of the advise from many friends that she would never be able to live a docile life.) Well, don't tell Severine she can't do something unless you really want it done - she will out-stubborn anyone! Severine spent years re-training and loving Didje, and she saved her. Didje was the horse I got to groom and ride, and I'm telling you, I LOVE this Queen of Horses! She is truly a regal and magnificent soul, with a proud but gentle spirit.  photo 150818mercerat_0351.png
And that brings us to Didje's daughter, Dadjik. She is the baby of the family, and one gets the impression if she could wear diamonds, she totally would. She is young and energetic, and frankly a little moody - but that's all normal for any teen. Dadjik has the most beautiful poise and posture, which I'm sure she inherited from her mother. And she's a red-head, so… yeah.  photo 150818mercerat_0272.png
This is Garijo (Gary Jo in English). He can be shy, a bit anxious, and he definitely did not like being in front of the camera. I love this image of Severine soothing him (she truly is a horse-whisperer.) You can see so much emotion in his face - just like a child.  photo 150818mercerat_0314.png
And Diouc (Duke). Sweet, sweet Diouc was Severine's first love. He has been with her longer than Tyson has. He is getting pretty old, and lives life at a slower, wiser pace than the others. Diouc is fantastic with children, and he let my daughter learn to gallop bare-back on his shoulders (which may have been the highlight of her entire life so far.) We had to photograph him with the whole family because he's been with everyone from the beginning.  photo 150818mercerat_0412.png
And finally, Tyson's boy, Picasso. What a couple of jokers. These images made me laugh out loud when I was processing because they are pulling the exact same faces! The first impression Picasso gives is of his imposing size. He is a big horse! I'm already vertically challenged, but Picasso makes me feel like a dwarf. But he really loves the camera, and frankly hogs the attention at every opportunity.  photo 150818mercerat_0461.png
Caring for their horses is hard work - but working hard always has more benefits than costs, and I envy the connection T&S have with nature in their every-day lives. I love my home, but I miss these beautiful people and animals.  photo 001-002_2.jpg
PS How amazing is the loft S&T are working on in their beautiful home? We had rain for a couple days so we had to find an indoor alternative for the kids' portraits. This is the coziest place to hang out, and next time I visit, I'm really hoping the sauna is ready! :-)  photo 003-004_1.jpg

Friday, September 11, 2015

Santa is Coming!

I will have details about this year's limited-edition Encounters with Santa early October. Enroll in the email newsletter (see the sign-up in the sidebar to the right) and you will get the info first. I'm so excited to see the Jolly ole' Elf again!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Grandma's Garden is cool and casual!

Grandma's Garden is pretty much my favorite (and exclusive!) place to shoot in the summer. We have an incredible pale-pink hollyhock this year, along with the white cone flowers and July lilies in flaming reds and oranges. I am waiving ALL session fees for the garden this year with minimum print purchase. Call me to schedule your back-to-school portraits or a small family session for free! 801-556-1661  photo 20150630 GG.png

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Class of 2015 - Let's get it started!

I'm so happy when I get to photograph high-school seniors. Gorgeous youth! So much optimism and excitement! This is my first senior of this season, and I can't think of a more lovely way to start things off. M, you have so much beauty and soulfulness to share. Thank you so much for letting me bask in your happiness for a few hours!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015


I've been in the studio a lot this winter. Which is odd because I don't have a studio. I rent studios from my friends, which is a great deal, but each studio has its own nuances and quirks. This studio is located in Layton, and is an all-natural-light space. This makes color-balancing tricky because there is bluer light at the floor and yellow light at subject-height. It is also a very forgiving light, and when chasing an almost-three-year-old around, it's nice not to have to worry about them running out of the light. This is my good friend and photographer, Erin, who is absolutely radiantly expecting her second daughter in May. Go check out her new website she's been putting long hard hours into updating.  photo 001-002_1.jpg photo 003-004B.jpg

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Creative Process

I've had many people ask me how I get my ideas, or how I get creative. So, since I just posted about print competition, I thought it might be fun to discuss how I do my conceptual images. The origination of an idea starts in a different place for each image. Sometimes, I draw inspiration from film or literature. Many times I am drawn to art history, or there is just a technique I want to try. In today's case, the inspiration began with a haircut. One of my good friends left her daughter in the care of a close family member, and came home to find out something had gone horribly wrong, and hair was lost. If you have had a child in the toddler years, chances are you've gone through something similar. When she posted on Facebook about it, I thought it would be really fun to document an event that could be taken as a negative experience, and transform it into a great portrait.

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After arranging a shooting time, I was thinking about mood, and style, and what I wanted the image to say. I decided I wanted something dark, not really pretty, very moody, timeless, and possibly even a bit disturbing (since that is how I felt when my own daughter cut her hair.) So last night I had 30 minutes between running kids to dance and karate to browse our local thrift shop, and I found a dark, old little dress (which I had to cut off the obnoxious and huge pink gingham collar) and some trim that would easily cover my hack job. I wanted everything to be done in harmonious color, so I stuck with the brown palette. Then I found an old copper pot and I got thinking it would amp up the emotion if I had something dead in the pot to add to the disturbing feel. Since dead things are a bit hard to find, not to mention icky, I grabbed an old sunflower that I found on my walk later in the evening. Then I changed venues from Memory Grove (where everything is beautiful and blooming right now) to Wheeler Farm (where I knew I could find a dark brown wall that would match the colors in the dress.) This whole thought process and execution took place between about 4:00-8:00 pm yesterday night.

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Today on the shoot, it was just a matter of putting everything together. Our little model wasn't very happy, but since that was the emotion I was going for, it was actually perfect. She hated the dress, and it took much coaxing and painting of stories to get her to wear it. Then I set up my strobe and soft-box to add a direction of light, and I noticed that the sun was bouncing off the white front of the box onto her in a perfect lighting ratio, so I just used it as a reflector and kept the power off.

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After that, it was just a matter of finding an expression (which, as I said earlier, was lots easier than asking for smiles.) and choosing my favorite image. I liked the hands in the image on the right better, and the expression on the left, so I did some Photoshop magic to make the final composite.

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Then it was tweaking the mood and lighting to suit the emotion I had in mind at the start, and voila! A portrait that I'm really pleased with. I loved creating something a little off my normal track, and pushing myself a little.

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Thanks so much, K for giving me full artistic license and trusting me to do it right! :-)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Competition Season is here again

I love photographic competition. I hate it, and I love it. Of the 20 people who read my blog, most of you know I've been involved in professional competitions for almost as long as I've been shooting. I've had some really great successes and some pretty pathetic scores, but overall the experience keeps me pushing myself to become better - learn more. This year I am entering a whole new category called "Artist", as well as the Photographic Open at International Print Competition. This category not only judges your skills in photography, but compositing, painting, and other digital manipulation skills. I have never put so much time into images for print comp as I have with my Artist prints, and it means I have to come up with 8 prints instead of just 4 this year. It is a BEAST.

This last week I went to my adopted home - The Professional Photographers of Idaho in Boise. I have been a member of their group for three years now, and every time I make my Mecca journey north, I swear it's an energy-rich zone specifically for me. A lot of it has to do with the people (ok, most of it) but I think there is something geographically "hot" about Idaho that stimulates and inspires me like nothing else. The convention was completely tailored to me this year, with Painting and Compositing classes (Oh my word, thank you so much Nicholas and Cheri!) and I really wanted to test my print case locally before sending it on to IPC in June. I was fortunate to do very well in the competition (I was honored with Master Photographer of the Year, Court of Honor, and a Judges Choice ribbon plus the placings below,) but more importantly, I got some really good feedback on a few adjustments that I can make on my prints to improve their chances down the road. Three cheek kisses to all my Idaho friends. I love you guys.

I can't post my images on Facebook because I am friends with many judges, and I don't want them to have to DQ themselves from judging my work. So, since a few of my friends and family want to see my comp images, I'm posting them here (since I'm pretty sure the judges for IPC don't read my tiny little blog.) with my awards from PP of Idaho. So pretty much, this post is for my Mom. :-)

"Phoenix Rising" Category: Master Electronic Imaging - First place
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"Who Will Buy This Wonderful Morning?" Category: Master Electronic Imaging - Second place
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"Cold Shoulder: Category: Master Electronic Imaging - Third place
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"Somewhere in Time" Category: Master Portrait - First place
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"Return of the King" Category: Master Portrait - Second place
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"Quartet" Category: Master Portrait
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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Experiments in Old School

I have long been a huge admirer of Julia Margaret Cameron. When I was a university student, I was (unbeknownst at the time) extremely lucky to see an actual JMC print. It has haunted me ever since. She dressed people up in costumes and made portraits that evoked emotion and classic iconography. Is it any wonder I'm drawn to her work? Something about her total and purposeful lack of technical perfection is a siren song to me - who tries to micromanage every single detail.
I have done several photo sessions inspired by JMC, and after purchasing a fabulous lace dress from Hale Center Theater's costume surplus store, I felt it was time to revisit her again last weekend. I also felt like it was time to shoot film again after a 10 year break. I only have one yard-sale film camera (an Olympus OM-1n) so I bought me a roll of Kodak Tri-X and begged my youngest sister (who has always been keen to be my top model) to spend an afternoon breaking it in with me. Turns out the shutter sync is NOT 1/125th of a second as is evidenced in over half the roll of images which turned out like this: DOH!
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Ok, Perfectionist Kris, breathe!! It's all just for fun anyway. It was indeed fun to go back to the format I learned on (even though it was excruciatingly irritating to try to look at the back of the camera and seeing NOTHING but the back of the camera…) Some film images did get exposed well enough to be used. Here is a comparison of the same pose. The image on the left is a digital capture, processed in Lightroom and on NIK Silver Effects Pro (Tri-X preset). The right image is the actual scanned Tri-X negative. I posted this earlier on Facebook with a poll to see if anyone could recognize and identify the film image.
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To my surprise, the overwhelming majority incorrectly identified the LEFT image as the film image and the right as the digital capture. It was a fascinating result, and I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do with this information, other than make sure I Google the OM-1n's shutter sync before I expose my next roll of film. I'd love to hear your thoughts on either Julia Margaret Cameron, shooting film, or your thoughts about my experiment in the comments below. Until next time! -Kris.

Friday, January 30, 2015

A womans best friend

 photo 141205mccandless_093.jpg  photo 141205mccandless_274.jpg  photo 141205mccandless_063B.jpg  photo 141205mccandless_208.jpg Another "balmy" December day with this lovely lady and her furry baby, Charli. I am in desperate desire of having a dog right now. I've always been a cat person, but I think since I'm beyond the baby stage with my kids, and it's way too early for Grandkids yet, I need something to fill in that gap. Miss Charli was so adorable and obviously the most loyal and loving companion M could ask for. I think I would go for something smaller though, as I want a lap warmer while working on the computer. It's still a fence and new flooring away, but if I were to get a dog, what kind do you recommend?

Unusually warm winter makes great portrait opportunities

 photo 141212ovard_083.jpg  photo 141212ovard_170B.jpg  photo 141212ovard_225.jpg  photo 141212ovard_319B.jpg Man, only a couple of weeks of cold and then can you believe this crazy winter? It's been so mild and relatively warm - I can't complain about our January now! Being a photographer is definitely a seasonal job, but this winter it has been incredibly easy to make great portraits in spite of the bare trees and cold. This session was done last December when it was 55 degrees, and even though we had a bit of chilly wind, it was still so much easier than it could have been. I love the tones and color harmony of this family's clothes and the background. I had the distinct privilege of getting to see the final framed portrait in G's home, and I'm telling you, nothing beats seeing that finished portrait in it's place on the wall! Thanks, O family for all the great fun and amazingly easy faces to photograph.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Winning over the Winter Blues

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Ah, January. We have such a love/hate relationship. I don't know if it's a lack of vitamin D, or the post holiday let-down, or just dealing with the cold in general (I'm definitely not a cold fan) but winter has never been my favorite time of year. However, the past few years I have come to appreciate the stark beauty of nature in the winter, and I recognize that there are some very unique photographic opportunities in this season. There is also something about the New Year's resolution thing that makes me feel just the opposite of ambitious. So this year I have resolved not to make any New Years resolutions. And it's helping.
Then yesterday was such a brilliant, gorgeous day. When I dropped my eldest off for school, the sunrise was so beautiful, and the full moon was setting in the West. It was one of those "Man, I wish I had my camera!" kind of moments that I usually let drift by. This time, however, I actually did something about it and got my camera out to make a photo. It had the effect of making me feel really productive and achieving goals and everything! And the past two days have been bright and sunny and I am feeling great today.