Monday, November 29, 2010

Fall Portraits

Several weeks ago while spending time at my aunt and uncle's house the topic of portraits came up. They mentioned how they hadn't had a family portrait taken since their kids were young. It was a great opportunity for me to work on my portrait skills and learn how to direct my subjects, which was a lot more comfortable to get used to doing with family. We had the perfect morning with great fall colors to round out the photos.

My uncle had his hip replaced which makes some sitting positions uncomfortable and difficult to stay in. To try to eliminate his pain, and make his smiles more natural we tried a few standing poses.

Close up of the kids for a little something different then the standard school photos.

Haley was a great model, with a natural smile and very easy to direct.

They are pleased with the photos and I was happy to have another portrait session to learn from. My grandmother will be happy too, she has some photo Christmas presents on the way.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I became a photographer because I found it to be one of the things I was good at and enjoyed at the same time. I became a photojournalist because I liked the excitement of it, something new and different everyday. Some days I try to find ways to make a difference in the world. Then there are days like today that, to some individuals, I made a difference in their world.
Today I photographed a closure ceremony at a church who had their last worship in their old sanctuary. The congregation had memories of the times they've spent in the current sanctuary but were filled with excitement for the new sanctuary to open it's doors next Sunday for the first time. Their excitement overflowed towards me. Every person I talked to from the moment I arrived till the moment I left was thrilled that I was there to help document and tell their story. When I went to ask the pastor if I could photograph through the worship there was no hesitation to a yes. Many people came up to me to ask when the pictures will be in the paper or just to say thank you for being there. Usually I would be bashful to photograph during a time of worship but it was such a positive atmosphere that it made the situation comfortable and enjoyable.

Days like today help remind me that it doesn't have to be world breaking news to be important and to help make a difference in the lives of others.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Today I was sent to cover an event at a small park in the middle of a city block. A group of college students are working to improve the park, with the help of the kids who spend their afternoons there.
Since I had a large amount of time I could spend at the park and I wanted to make interesting photos I thought about some suggestions from the critique I had at the end of my internship. One of the suggestions I was given was that I could be edgier with some of my photos, to be more daring about how I shot them. I always am looking for unique angles but today I tried to think about taking it to the next level. I tried more angles, played with light, and in camera crops.
This photo I really like the angle but I'm not positive on the crop. I unfortunately don't have any more of the boys head which would help to complete the image.

I liked the colors of the mural on the wall as several of the boys raked the leaves. I didn't submit this photo for the paper because I couldn't make a decision on how I felt about the photo since you can't see the boys face.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Sunday I photographed a marching band competition for the Morning Call. The competition went all day but there was only one local band that I needed to cover. Till the band arrived and started their warmup the sun was setting. As I watched the band warm up the color guard behind them caught by attention. I choose one of the color guard members who was away from some of the other girls and was warming up with one of her flags.
As I photographed I moved where I was positioned to eliminate as many distractions as possible, including an instructor to the left of the girl and a light post to the right. Once I found the cleanest background and best angle to feature the setting sun I dropped my shutter speed to silhouette the girl. As she focused on her routine I fired away, not knowing what kind of turns and moves she would do next. Once she had completed her routine I flipped through and found this image, which I was pleased with.

Unfortunately till it was the bands turn to compete the sun had set over the horizon and the stadium lights didn't make for any unique photographs as the natural light did.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Vocal Headshots

I was recently contacted by a friend from high school who was panicking that she needed some photos done as soon as possible. She's applying to grad school for vocal performance and part of the application is a headshot and full body shot. Growing up around the performing arts I knew what kind of photo she was looking for and was pleased for the opportunity to keep improving my portrait skills.

We both were unsure of the full body photo and decided to work through that pretty early in the shoot. It was hard to find a pose that was natural and showed off her physique and personality. Her dress had pockets which helped her to fall into a natural stance.

It took me a while to figure out exactly how I wanted to light her but once I got comfortable with a set up I added some color to show her off more and hopefully pop out from the background.

For the headshot I was looking for something tight, clean and with her face well lit to show off her features. Went through a whole set of images not pleased with my light. When I laid a mirror down on the table that she was gently leaning on it brought helped the light to fill in some features I felt were missing. We both loved the result.

She had mentioned during the shoot that she liked her blue eyes and was hoping her blue dress would bring them out so a blue gel was the perfect addition to many of my images. Here's my favorite image.

It was another adventure in my portrait work and I am starting to get better at vocalizing what I would like my subject to do and where I need the lights for the look I'm going for. Anxious to try again.