Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Flash Lights

August 27, 2011

Over the past 2 years I’ve worked hard on finding and honing my style of shooting. Its an ongoing process, but I constantly seek to challenge, push and improve myself as a photographer. I love to shoot natural light. In my opinion its the prettiest most flattering way to capture your subject. And while it definitely took me a lot of time, a lot of practice and a barrage of mistakes, when I finally built up my knowledge and confidence, when I was able to get it right and use it to my advantage, it had the effect of illuminating a subject in a way that is warm and soft, or if you prefer, added a little pop of drama. However, having said all that, there are definitely times when it is not possible to work with natural light. Day has a habit of turning into night and not all rooms can be radiated by a wall of windows. So in situations like that, its best to bust out your flash.

Now here is where it got tricky, at least for me. The principles of flash and all things flash and light related, just felt so complex and intimidating. It was partly the math. Yes, working with flash requires a math brain, I on the other hand, do not have a math brain, hence my feelings of complexity and intimidation. But I eventually got tired of the intimidation and the discomfort. I got tired of the average photos I captured when I needed to bust out my flash. So I decided it was high time I man’ed up and learned to better use my flash. As luck would have it, this week the wonderful Brett Jarnagin, a master of all things flash, was holding a workshop here in Atlanta and with absolutely no hesitation, I signed up. I was so excited. I felt like I was going to a place where I’d be handed the answers to life’s deepest questions. Goodbye flash complexity and intimidation. But it wasn’t easy. My head was definitely spinning as Brett talked distance, degrees of placement and fractions of light power, but once we got out onto the Atlanta streets to shoot, things started to slowly make sense.

We took turns shooting. And each time it was your turn, you had to come up with not just the pose for your model, but the flash set up and creative ways to illuminate the model based on everything we’d just been taught. It was a total pressure cooker situation that elicited my inner fight or flight response. Mentally I was choosing flight. Get your purse Shinks, and get the hell out of here, but I stayed, pushing through the fear and discomfort. And I learned. Some of my images were awful, like straight up AW-FUL, but as the day progressed and things started to click, my images got better. Here I’m choosing to share just the better. Cos trust me, you don’t want to see alternative. In my next post I’m going to be sharing some behind-the scenes images, that way you’ll get to see the struggle and various flash set-ups that went into capturing the images your about to see.

This is the wonderful Casey, Brett’s wife who doubled as our model and assisted with any and all of our questions and queries. This was one of the first shots I took. Not bad.

Here I got a little braver and set up multiple flashes to capture this image.

This is little Billy and she was such a trooper. She stayed with us all day and well into the evening, rocking a full-length wedding dress in almost 100 degree heat. She worked it like a pro and held pose as I moved flash stands and adjusted light levels to capture this image.

Later in the day the fabulous Tina arrived and at this point I was getting a little more comfortable with the equipment.

I think this is my favorite shot from the day. Now I just need to remember how I set it up.

Bringing in some night sky.

This was shot under a highway over-pass next to a very busy road. Scary, but I like how the image turned out.

Out With The Old

June 30, 2011

It was my first “professional” lens and for a long time it was my only lens. The Canon 24-70mm 2.8. When I bought it I felt legit, like a real photographer. I loved it and the images I was able to deliver using it. Over the past year and a half however, my shooting style has evolved and as I began to invest in new lenses, I started to reach for my 24-70mm less and less and finally not at all. But I couldn’t let it go. I continued to pack it in my equipment bag. It was my security blanket. If I ever got in a pinch, I knew I could trust it to deliver.

Over the past few months I thought constantly about selling it and investing the money in to a new lens. A lens that I would use regularly and one that was proving to be a necessity with each wedding I shot. But I just couldn’t bring myself to let it go. Finally, 2 weeks ago after struggling through some detail images at a wedding I was shooting for my friend Tessa, I decided now was the time to cut the apron strings. I needed a marco lens much more than I needed the security of carrying around my 24-70mm. So scary and all as it felt, I sold it. Now I know technically this scary deed happened a couple of weeks ago, but today was the day I reaped the benefits of my bold decision with the arrival of 2 new lenses. The Canon macro 100mm 2.8 which is going to be amazing for capturing the details of a wedding dress, bouquet and of course wedding rings. And the 24mm 2.8, which is perfect for wider angled images. Sad and all as I was to let my 24-70mm go, I have to admit, I’m less sad now that I have these 2 bad boys in my arsenal of equipment. Scary decision to let go of an old friend? Check.

I took the marco for a test drive today by photographing my own engagement ring and eternity band. And can I just say, I LOVE IT.

My 2 new bad boys.

Vintage Signage

May 31, 2011

Last week after I posted the photos from Melissa & Kevin’s engagement session, I got a couple of e-mails about their adorable “Save the Date” sign. This sign was custom made for the couple by the amazing Cheryl Westerkamp at My Primitive Boutique.

In the run up to the session, both Melissa and Kevin had expressed their desire to have a”Save the Date” photo that was personal, reflected who they are as a couple, and the theme they have planned for their October Wedding. So I immediately hit up Etsy.com. If you’ve never been to this website then you’re obviously not a shopaholic girl with a passion for the uniquely vintage. Its is most definitely mecca for the shabby chic. But this website lead me Cheryl who makes the most fabulous “Vintage Cottage Style” decor, and as soon as I saw her work, I flipped. It was exactly what I was looking for and perfect for Melissa and Kevin. The only problem? We were 4 days away from the shoot, and all of Cheryl’s signs are hand-made and customized, so they would take some time. But I had to have one. I immediately e-mailed Cheryl to explained the situation and within the hour she had e-mailed me back to say she was on it. 3 days later I had the sign and the very next day we did the shoot. I cannot thank Cheryl enough for stepping up to the plate like that. She made me a very happy photographer. Thank you so much Cheryl, your a total rockstar.

Azura Wedding Albums

November 12, 2010

The hunt started several months ago. The hunt for the perfect wedding album to offer my brides. Something that was elegant, classy and completely timeless. Something they could pull out many many years from now and show their grandchildren. And while I’m certain that within 30 years, the dress, suits, shoes and head-pieces might appear a little dated, everything about their album would remain completely ageless.

The hunt eventually brought me to Azura Albums, who I was amazed and happy to discover are right here in Atlanta. Their albums were exactly what I was looking for, simple, elegant and ¬†hand made using the highest quality leather. The perfect showcase and eventual heirloom for all of my couples. Lek and Shelly are the fabulous brains behind the operations at Azura and a nicer couple you could never meet. They took the time to sit down and educate me about each of their products. The thickness of the pages. The UV and sticky finger protection applied to every page. The touch feel and smell of the genuine leather covers and the personalized imprinting. Then it was on to the factory floor to get see first hand how all of the albums are put together. It was so cool and very reminiscent of a primary school field trip. Seeing the time, care and attention being put into every album design, preserving the wedding day memories of many couples was very exciting. For me the album is so important. Its what The Husband and I treasure most from our own wedding day. When the food has been eaten, the champagne drained, the flowers wilted, the dress a little too tight in the waist and the shoes completely worn out from dancing, the album is the one thing that helps your wedding to live on. For me its important that all my couples walk away with similar memories and that’s why I’m happy to now be adding Azura albums to all my wedding collections. Cos memories should not stay trapped on laptops and cell phones.

Some of the Azura album options.

Every element of the album process is done by hand.

This I loved. All the lettering for cover imprinting. Very old school and vintage. Made me feel like I was part of a period movie based in old time London.

The amazing Shelly and Lek, thank you both so much for your time, education and tour.