Archive for the 'fun' Category

23
Jun
11

our perceptions of people in pictures

Today I’m posting three more images from my recent fashion shoot with Nicole. If you missed the post from June 15th, you can see it at Beauty Lighting.  If you go back and forth between the beauty shots and these images, the look is very different – not just because Nicky’s hair is pulled back in the beauty images. The lighting makes a huge difference in how we perceive a portrait image, as do many other aspects of the picture. I believe there’s lots of subconscious stuff going on as we view photographs.  The colors, the pose and expression, the closeness to the subject and our own experiences and memory of people we’ve seen in real life, movies, etc. all impact how we respond to an image.

Here’s an experiment. Choose one of the images in this post. Spend some time looking at it. Try to imagine what the subject – Nicole – is like. What is her personality? How does her voice sound?  How old is she? What are her interests? What are her dreams? I’m guessing you can conjure up a pretty full and detailed description of Nicole in your imagination. Now look at one of the images from the June 15th post. Does your perception of Nicole from the beauty image differ from how you imagine her after looking at the first photograph? How does it differ?

Let me know how this experiment turns out for you!

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15
Jun
11

three teens surprise dad for father’s day!

Can you keep a secret? If you recognize these kids, do NOT tell their dad about these pictures! These teenagers (along with their mom) decided they wanted to surprise Dad on Father’s Day with some new family photos.

So, last week, we did a shoot at their home. It happened to be miserably hot, but the kids were just great – very patient and willing to work hard to get good images.

As any of you know who try to corral teenagers, it’s difficult to find a time where they are all available. 3PM in the afternoon was that time. I would have preferred to shoot closer to dusk, to get a warmer light, but these images worked out fine. We set up in open shade to avoid the harsh sun of mid-afternoon, and then used a flash unit on a stand to bring some light into their faces.

We mostly shot out in the yard, but did a few headshots in the living room, such as the one on the right.

With the group shots, I always take a lot of pictures. With three people, the chances that one person is in the middle of a blink or doesn’t have a good expression is pretty high. So, the more pictures you take, the better the odds are that you will have enough “keepers.” I took over 300 images in this shoot. As it turned out, I didn’t need so many – the kids were smiling and looking great in almost every picture. Isn’t this a fabulous looking trio of kids?

10
Jun
11

photography for dating sites

This week I wrote a guest blog post for my friend, Sandy Weiner. Sandy helps women with the dating scene and her business has a fabulous name: Last First Date. Check it out!

Here’s my blog post for Sandy: Why Stunning Photography is Important!

04
Jun
11

“Slinkies” recognized

My photograph “Slinkies!” won an Honorable Mention in the 53rd Annual Darien Art Show last night.  I’m honored and humbled! There is some great work in the show – painting, sculpture, multimedia as well as photography. The exhibit runs through next Saturday. For details, see Darien Art Show.

26
Apr
11

dogs in the vineyard!

A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of photographing some wonderful oil paintings to go into a book. The paintings are by Stuart Ferrell, an amazing painter of dogs – and other subjects. The story revolves around some dogs who go to work for an actual vineyard in Virginia. The vineyard, now under new ownership, has decided to use the image above for a wine label. I can’t wait to taste the wine!

In the picture above, the dogs, who have been hired to guard the vineyard, are asleep as a variety of creatures and critters look on. If you’d like to buy Stuart’s fabulous book, contact her at stuartcferrell@gmail.com.

Faithful readers know how much I enjoy doing headshots, and there are some lovely headshots in Stuart’s book, including my favorite one, below.

14
Apr
11

an actress talks about her shoot

 A photo shoot can be intimidating for any of us, even those that are used to being in front of the camera – or on stage. In my studio, I’m aiming for a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere – this helps in creating engaging and natural images. Recently I had the pleasure of shooting with Alisson, a very lovely and accomplished actress. Alisson was kind enough to offer to write up her experiences of the shoot:

Alisson one

“A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to sit for Blake as a model.  While I had done some “modeling” before (it’s kind of a stretch to call it that—I had lots of photography major friends in college who needed someone, anyone, to take pictures of), it had been years since I did more than a casual shot for Facebook. 

Blake and Maria Dominici, a fabulous makeup artist, made the process fun and stress-free.  The three of us and Sam (an 8th grade student who was shadowing Maria as part of a career mentoring program at her school) talked through the ideas for the shoot—what Blake was hoping to accomplish, what I was looking for, and what Maria could bring to the table.  Blake started prepping the studio, and Maria started working on my face. 

Alisson two

I’d never had my make up professionally done before, and now each morning is a disappointment at my own abilities compared to Maria’s.  But she gave me some great pointers, and after Maria worked her magic and I looked in the mirror, I could not believe what she accomplished.   

Once I was made up and outfits were chosen, the shooting began!   Blake’s studio is neat, welcoming and only slightly intimidating (I had seen those big lights before), with big windows and beautiful natural light. 

Alisson three

By connecting his digital camera to a laptop, we were able to look at the images as we went along – shown immediately on a big 17-inch screen.  Not only was that helpful to me as a model to get the right pose (“Ok, I see—I need to keep my shoulder low”), it was also very reassuring—“Wow!  That’s a great shot!” 

 It helped me feel more involved in the process.  I felt like the photos were something Blake was creating with me, not of me.  Additionally, I got to choose the satellite radio station! 

The first order of business was to create a headshot I could use (as a community theater actress, I always need new headshots), which Blake was happy to provide.  It was a great way to ease into the day, as the photos were mostly me sitting and trying to keep my head straight.  Easier said than done at times.  But Blake was very patient with my crooked gazes. 

Then came the beauty shots.  The straps of my dress pulled aside for a classic bare shoulder look, and these amazing lighting effects Blake created—I looked flawless.  I was shocked, truly shocked, at how I appeared on the computer screen as he flipped through the photos.    Maria stayed in the room to reapply powder and help however she could, which made me feel quite comfortable and supported. 

Another change of outfit, beautiful red lipstick applied by Maria, and a green background—now some fashion work.  The idea of shooting fashion style

Alisson four

photos terrified me (um, no one is about to mistake me for a runway model), but it was nothing like I feared.  A cute dress and encouragement to smile and make funny faces ensured I had a blast.  And some absolutely beautiful shots came out of it. 

A final outfit change and more fashion full-body shots.  For this last look I refluffed my hair and got to work.  Spinning, laying down, sassy faces, and playing with my skirt ended the day with a final round of fun photos.

My day with Blake was filled with lights, lipstick, yummy cookies, hairspray, music, beautiful photography – and fun.  Blake and Maria were professional, patient and casual yet focused.  We were chatting and laughing throughout our time together.  It was a great day.  I cannot wait to go back for my next shoot!”

Alisson five

17
Mar
11

Five Photo Tips

I hear this a lot:  “I have a digital camera, but it’s a bit overwhelming. the camera just sits in the box. What can I do?”

1) Read the Manual. OK, you never read manuals; I don’t either. Well, you really should read the camera manual. Your digital camera likely has an amazing set of features – yes, perhaps way too many. But going through the manual and being aware of the features can help you when you later ask: “Can I do this with my camera?” I know my camera very well, but I carry the manual with me at all times and refer to it often.

2) Venture out of Auto Mode. You’re thinking this is easy, I’ll just set everything up on auto mode and won’t have to make any decisions. Your camera will likely take OK pictures, but just OK. Learn about shutter priority and aperture priority (it’s in the manual!) and try them out. It’s easy to do with a bit of effort, and your pictures will look MUCH better.

3) Get Closer. Pictures of people – and most other subjects – will benefit by getting in closer. Walk in or zoom in. It will simplify the image, add impact and engage the viewer more deeply. In this image, I started with a full body shot. As I kept shooting closer and closer, the picture got better.

4) Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Take lots of pictures. They’re free. Take a shot, change a setting on the camera, and shoot again. Which image works better? Move around and shoot the subject from a different angle. You’ll gradually find out what works – and especially what works for you. Henri Cartier-Bresson, the famous French photographer said, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”

5) Enjoy! Little kids can pick up drawing easily and have fun from the very beginning. Adults who take up drawing mostly struggle with a lot of anxiety and critical self-judgment. Photography is the same way. Act like a kid – just relax, let go and shoot. Shoot what you care about, shoot what inspires you. Keep shooting and I know your work will get better by leaps and bounds!