Archive for August, 2009

24
Aug
09

Still Life – Flowers

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Mostly, I shoot people – for my business and  for fun. But I do enjoy the taking a break and shooting other things, like flowers.

In shooting flowers,  my approach is similar to what I do in portraiture. I’m drawn to bold colors, with simple and clean layouts. What is different is that I find myself shooting in very close, often just focusing on a small part of the flower. 

I’m using the word focus in two senses. The first meaning is focus as in concentrate on or emphasize. But I’m also talking about photographic focus – what part of the image is in focus and sharp. In the image above, although it may be hard to see on the blog, the stamen on the right is really the only thing that is tack sharp. I used a macro (close-up) lens, which gives a very narrow depth of field – that is, a small part of the image will be in focus. Our eyes don’t work this way, we see with a fairly wide depth of field. But if we are in close on a lily and just looking at the stamens, the rest of the flower and certainly the background is out of focus figuratively – in our mind’s eye if you will.

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In this image, we see parts of  two lilies in side view. The stamens in the back are really fuzzy, but we know what they look like, from the ones in front.  Having part of the image in focus and part out of focus can help to create a sense of depth – three dimensonality – in the picture.

I know very little about flowers. I do marvel at the delicacy and beauty of the stamens, and the richness of color against the rest of the muted colors of the lily. 

Here’s one last image, with perhaps the narrowest depth of field of any of the pictures. If you saw this one alone, it might take a minute to figure out what the picture is. I like this somewhat abstract feeling. It lets us just enjoy the shapes and colors, and perhaps also let our imaginations run wild.

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20
Aug
09

Corporate Headshots

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I don’t care for the term corporate headshot. Couldn’t we say professional portrait?  Headshot seems quick, impersonal, haphazard.

Whatever we call it, some of my work involves photographing people for businesses large and small. This picture was one of four taken for the partners of a financial services firm, that will be used on their website.

A business portrait usually tries to project the the style and culture of the organization. If we see a picture of an executive on a website or in an annual report that works well, we get a sense, sometimes subconsciously, of what the business is all about. The photograph literally puts a “face” on an organization that might otherwise seem, well, faceless.

Bigger companies put a lot of time and effort in these pictures. Think of images you’ve seen of CEOs of big corporations. The expression on the face, the body language, the clothes, what’s shown in the background, the colors – everything is designed to  instill us with an impression about the company.  None of this is left to chance.

My work in this area is mostly with smaller firms. Usually I have a bit more freedom in deciding how to portray the person. My goal is to avoid a look that appears contrived or staged.  Bringing out the subject’s personality is key. And a smiling, open and welcoming appearance, such as in the gentleman above, will hopefully make just the right impression on the viewer.

If you have a need for portraits for your business, I hope you will think of Blake Robinson Photography.

15
Aug
09

Don’t bother reading this post….

One of the reasons to have a business blog is the possibility of getting hits through Google searches, and thus more clients. Most of my clients come through word of mouth, but occasionally someone finds me by an Internet search, either reaching my website or this blog.

A nice feature of a WordPress blog is that you can track how many “hits” the  blog gets each day. One of the frustrating things is that you can’t see who’ s visiting. It’d be nice to be able to thank visitors and perhaps ask them if they’d be interested in doing a shoot.

On Google (and other search engines), the number of times a certain phrase appears on a website or blog will influence where you show up if someone searches, for example, for “Fairfield County Photographer.” There are services designed to help you increase traffic, to game the Google system as it were. The goal is to show up as one of the first listings on the first page of Google search results.

But I’m going to try something different. Today, I’m going to just list a bunch of phrases, in hopes that these will lead to more connections  from web surfers. Who knows? It might help. I’ll report back. And, in a few days, I’ll write a blog post that I hope you will bother to read!

Here goes:

Fairfield County Photographer, Fairfield County Portrait Photographer, Darien Photographer, Darien Portrait Photographer, Westport Photographer, New Canaan Photographer, Norwalk Photographer, Greenwich Photographer, Connecitcut Portrait Photographer, Connecitcut Fashion Photographer, Connecticut Editorial photographer, Connecticut Product Shot Photographer, Connecticut Headshot Photographer, Connecticut Commerical Photogrrapher, Connecticut Studio Photographer, Blake Robinson Photography, Blake Robinson Connecticut Photographer, Blake Robinson Fairfield County Photographer, Fairfield County photography, Darien Photography, Norwalk Photography, Wesrtport Photography, Weston Photgrapher, Wilton Photographer, Southwestern Connecticut Photgrapher, Norwalk Studio Photographer, Darien Studio Protographer, Fairfield County Studio photographer.

07
Aug
09

High School Senior Photos

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One of the really fun parts of my photography business is shooting high school senior photos.  This post includes some images from a recent shoot with Kay.

A little bit about the market for high school photos. In most schools, one photography firm, usually a big national operation, has the exclusive rights to shoot yearbook pictures.  Some of the kids choose to have additional pictures taken for the yearbook or just for fun. While I generally don’t disparage the competition, a lot of this work is pretty mediocre, produced by high volume photo “mills” without a lot of creativity or imagination.

Some kids choose to hire their own photographer.  For the work I do with high school children, I work hard to create images that are unique, fun and capture the personality of the girl or boy. When I’m working with a girl, I usually bring in Maria Dominici, a fabulous makeup artist with over 20 years experience. See Maria’s website, by clicking here. Maria worked with me on the shoot with Kay. _DSC0107

Here’s how the process works for the  photoshoot. Generally, we’ll have a couple of phone conversations and/or meet before the shoot to talk about pose ideas, outfits, and even props we might use.  (The flowers in the images below were a prop idea of Kay’s mom.) From the beginning, I really want the kids to be comfortable and see the whole experience as a fun project.

With my shoot with Kay, I took about 300 pictures. After the shoot, Kay and her mom looked over the unedited images to make their choices. I expected they’d pick about 15 images.  Happily, they choose close to 40 pictures.

Next, the editing  work in Photoshop. This involves cropping, color correction, adjustments to contrast, removing blemishes and a host of other changes. I still try to keep the images as natural looking as possible.

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I take a lot of pride in my work and will spend as much time as needed at the computer working on the images – sometime as much as 45 minutes on one picture. Then, I’ll make a disk of the images to give to the client. If prints are needed I’m happy to make them, or the client may choose to make prints on their own. The client owns full rights to the images and may as many prints as they wish.

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It was hard to choose just a few images from the shoot to include in this post – Kay looked so beautiful in so many of them!

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One might think high schoolers would be self conscious and awkward having their pictures taken. My experience has been just the opposite – they enjoy the process and generally don’t take themselves nearly as seriously as we adults do. Kay, for example, was an absolute joy to work with. Her infectious smile came naturally. It never occurred to me to suggest a smile – it was always there.

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I hope you will keep me in mind, gentle reader, if you know of any high school-aged children who would be interested in a photo shoot.  It’s a wonderful age and the images can be a lasting witness and record of this special time in life, to be enjoyed for decades to come. 

 While this shoot was in the studio, I often work outside as well. Whatever the client wants, I try to be as accomodative as possible.  Thanks for reading this somewhat longer than usual post. And many thanks to Kay for being such a lovely, happy and smart young lady – and a real pleasure to shoot!

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