Archive for March, 2011
So, here I am at the Junkyard in Gilbert, AZ again. Kayla wanted something a little more grunge and not cutesy (like green grass). The perfect place was The Junkyard! We toured around the junkyard taking several different shots in areas that I have overlooked before. She had several changes of clothing and had her besties there to help her out. Her changing room consisted of a few bales of hay and her friends were the doors. : ) We were extremely careful due to all the broken glass and nails (and a few chickens here and there). Kayla didn’t seem to be bothered until we reached the red little house near the chicken coop. Then, the smell hit her. Those dirty chickens were very smelly and ruining the photoshoot. :) Having her friends nearby was fantastic; they coached her, fixed her clothing, touched up her hair and make-up and encouraged certain looks. They were able to use inside jokes (and maybe a boys name or two) to bring certain emotions. I loved her audience and what they were able to do for me and for Kayla. The way Kayla gently held the old gas pump or slightly tilted her chin made me think she has been in front of a camera a time or two… I didn’t need to give any guidance-it flowed and was great! Thanks Kayla for allowing me to be a part of this awesome time in your life. I love your portraits, you look fabulous and congratulations on your upcoming graduation!
I am open and willing to share-just ask! I get a couple of emails throughout the week asking about a location or a process. I feel like there is this unwritten rule that you can’t ask other photographers their so called secrets. We all have our own styles, we are all working on our own styles. I am flattered that you would be interested in my work and want to know more about it. Please feel free to ask, leave comments or continue emailing me. Either way, I will provide the answers! In my humble opinion, I think it is crazy when people won’t answer questions or keep locations as a secret. That’s all I will say about that (trying really hard to keep my fingers from typing and typing and typing on this subject).
1. Where is the junkyard located? The junkyard that I like to visit is on the southwest corner of Ray and Higley in Gilbert, AZ. BUT, the last time I was there, there owner was not pleased. I did get permission 2 days in advance but the one to give permission (who is always there and barely speaks English) is not the owner. Apparently, the gentleman who tends the lot allows anybody to walk on and that has caused some damage and some loss. I chatted with her and she was understanding of my goals. If you anticipate shooting there, please ask a few days in advance. Please be courteous of private property. Don’t ruin it for those who do take precaution and use respect. You would hate to be in the middle of a photoshoot and be asked to leave. The place to park is on the side street which is west of the junkyard and across the street from Joe’s Farm Grill. One more word to the wise… get a liability waiver signed if you will be shooting there. There is too many opportunities for something to happen. There is barbed wire, broken glass, sharp metal, protruding nails, etc. It is a great place with textures, colors, grunge, and creative bliss. BUT, be careful.
2. How do you get your colors to pop? What actions do you use? I’m not an action girl… I like fast processes but I don’t like to pay for actions that work for everybody else. I like a simple color pop and usually the steps I do give me the look I like so I have created some of my own actions and they go something like this; 1. unsharp mask (portraits are at about 75, 2, 3 and other type images are at 15, 45, 5 and I tweak as needed). 2. curves layer (pulling down my darks just a tad and bringing up my highlights just a tad to increase contrast). You can adjust the opacity of your curves layer if it adds too much. That’s it. Well, generally speaking that is it. If skin needs to be touched up, I do that. Sometimes I run my own version of a vignette. AND sometimes I make a copy of the current layer and change it to be a soft light or screen layer (depending on what I need) and reduce the opacity to be around 20%. I used to run a Kubota action that I learned from Melissa Jill blogsite but I haven’t gone that route in a while. It was the KevX-process combo (not sure if that was the exact one that she was using) and I would then reduce the opacity to about 20% but it made the images too “cool” for me. (ha, cool meaning color). So, I suppose you could say my style is pretty simple. I love color. I like contrast. I don’t do any wicked processing on my images-it doesn’t represent me or my style. I’m not saying that I never will-but at this point in my journey I’m not. : )
3. Do you use Lightroom? Well, yes I do. I would never refer to myself as the LR master but I like what it can do for me-how’s that for selfishness? (I recommend following Jared Platt on Twitter if you are interested in learning more tidbits each day). I am obsessed with organization and LR gives me just that-control and organization. 1. load to lightroom and copy as DNG. 2. gently boost contrast 3. reduce clarity a bit on portraits 4. change camera calibration to camera standard on portraits (I don’t remember where I learned this but I like what I see with this simple change) 5. sharpen a bit 6. check color and exposure 7. sync them 8. review them individually to check for any spots, blemishes, etc. 9. move to PS to do the things mentioned above. I think that is what I do-I’m trying to step through it using my memory. : ) I am teaching a webinar on Lightroom in May. If you are new to LR or deciding if you want to use LR, come join me! Use this link to go to the registration.
Photo A Day is going strong! Here’s the Flickr page.
One of the best things about photographing high school students and seniors is seeing their ability to put clothing together. I am always amazed that I am far from having the latest styles hanging in my closet but I get to see individuality in them. Each one comes with a different flare and spunk, different colors and textures, something that reflects who they are at that time. Tori had some great shoes that sparkled-ahhh, just like her cute personality. I loved her sass and her giggles. I loved her dark hair and fair skin. I loved her accessories. AND, I was able to capture different sides of that spunkiness… Loved this morning with awesome models, beautiful light and fun personalities. And Tori, maybe I could borrow those shoes?
Make-up by Patrick Brannigan (love this guy!)
A tennis player and a good sport… meet Josh. Josh came on this cold Saturday morning with JD and I’m certainly glad he came to play. I really don’t know what I was expecting but this group of high schoolers were amazing. Josh let us mess with his hair, he played tennis for us and jumped a million times with hopes of getting a higher or better shot than the previous jump. He even played the part of asking Jaci out on a date for the love of a good photograph. I’m sure he is a great student and athlete. I’m sure he is a great friend. I’m sure he is a great son and treats his mom with love and respect. I can’t imagine anything else from Josh. AND, he is quite handsome. Josh, thanks for climbing on the trash cans, jumping again and again and playing tennis with the boring opponent named The Wall. Thanks for giving up your important sleep to come and shoot these images!
Skyris could be one of the sweetest teenagers I have ever met. Have I ever told you about the teenagers that I grew up with? The other teenagers in my home? I love my dear family BUT let’s just say I am NOT excited about raising teenagers-or I wasn’t until I met Skyris. There is hope for darling AND sweet teenager-ness. It seems that Skyris is unaware of how darling she is. Shall we talk about her eyes? Yes, let’s do. There is a smile even within her eyes that I loved. We always hear, “smile with your eyes,” and I understood it when I saw her. Her shy approach toward photographs really works for her. She did a fabulous job and was ready and willing to go for round two in the afternoon (what other teenager would want to do that?). Thank you Skyris for coming and sharing your Saturday morning with me. You are beautiful.
Her hair was styled by Tami Rhoton and her hair by Patrick Brannigan, who were both wonderful. If I could always work with people as prompt and reliable and talented as those two I would be truly blessed!
So, you meet people for the first time after what started as an online relationship… Before you know it you are doing things that you never would have imagined. Get comfortable and let me explain.
I arrived in Vegas on a Sunday evening where I was planning to connect with Kelli. I actually enjoyed sitting around, catching up on my Words With Friends games and doing a great amount of people watching while waiting for her delayed plane. She finally landed safely and she was the only one that I knew-and by “knew” I don’t mean that we were from the same school, neighborhood, or even city. Kelli and I started our relationship as teacher/student. We officially met (that real life thing) in October when she happened to be in Arizona with her husband on a romantic weekend getaway (in Arizona? ok, whatever works) and I in Arizona to shoot some mini holiday sessions. We realized our paths were crossing and planned a quick meet-up. We dined at Joe’s Farm Grill between our daily business and duties and then we went on our merry ways. So, there we were at the airport together laughing with anticipation about our upcoming week at WPPI. We arrived at MGM Grand and I met my roommates, Brianne Hall and Jaclyn Davis (who actually arrived later due to some well, ummm… wrong flight problems) who were more adorable than their avatar would show and we all headed to dinner to meet up with some other graduates from Kelli’s mentorship. Many of the women and I are virtual friends-we help each other through our online forum offering suggestions and ideas for our businesses. There we were. Together. At the same table. In real life. That moment when you get to put a one inch avatar together with a real face is life changing. You should try it.
After some digestion and relaxation, we headed back down to meet up with Leah from Go4Pro, Spanki Mills, Noelle Reynolds, Anna DeMille, Carrie Rainey, Stac Worthington, and Angela Richardson all of whom I had never met online or in person before (thank you Kelli for the nudge). Within moments of our chit chat, trying to get passed the awkward first meet-up moments with a million loud people around us and a ring a ling ding on the slot machines surrounding us, we determined that it was time to take our party to the hotel room. Yep. See what I mean about this… First call was pajamas and then it got crazy from there. Once you have pajamas on, you can’t promise that anything good is going to happen. For instance, I don’t know that I have ever eaten so many chocolate eggs in one night. Anyhow, before we knew it, there was jumping on the beds, mock boudoir sessions (complete with cotton socks, sweat pants, a DJ and a lamp), and cinematography all happening in that MGM Grand, 20 floors up.
The good news about all this was that 1. laughter is good exercise. 2. I now have fellow photographers that I call friends (who are uberly talented and gifted). 3. we lost sleep from the very first night… no need to adjust later. 4. I learned the beauties of lamp light and a good DJ. I think it is safe to say that WPPI will make it on my calendar next year. My first year was no let down and it can only get better, right? I was surrounded by people that inspired me and challenged me to do things, understand things and change things. All in all,What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas. (AND… Well, what is a post without my Photo A Day update?)
This group was nothing short of talent. One minute I turn around and the skateboard action is happening. It was hard to decide where I needed to focus my camera. Have you ever heard the term, “I have eyes on the back of my head,” mostly when your parents try to convince you that they can see what you are doing even when you think they can’t? Well, I was wishing I had eyes on the back of my head and a camera to go along with it. Josh was one that I was trying to capture a REAL smile. What is a real smile when you don’t know the person? You know that smile that either leads to a laugh or is just at the end of a laugh? We were teasing him about a cute girl walking by in the background at which time, my sister/assistant says, “yep, she is here,” and walks behind me. We got him to laugh and me too. Clever Lindsey! I will have to try that one again. What I learned about him is that he was able and willing to do anything I needed-with a real smile. : ) He is witty and quite talented on the skateboard. He and his brother JD were great and I feel lucky and blessed to have them be a part of the crew on this particular morning! Thank you to their dear mother who is passionate about pictures like me. Without her, I could not have these fabulous boys to shoot! Also, thanks to Ami for the referral/suggestion. She said they were awesome boys and she was right!
More of these beautiful high school models… I have found a new favorite niche. Although, everything is my favorite. Everything I get my hands on-even outside of photography, becomes my favorite. : )
Anyhow, so there I was photographing this gal, completely stunned that she knew exactly what to do before I even needed to say anything. She moved, shifted weight, tilted her head, held poses and moved on. I was looking at these high school students thinking I wasn’t too much older then they were (or at least that’s how I felt) but the truth is, I was in high school many moons ago. I watched them have fun and laugh and hang out together all while I was feeling that high school was just a few months ago for me. : )
I left clothing up to the models. I told them to let their style shine. I’m glad I did because I could never choose what they chose for themselves. Don’t you love her choices? I am in love with color and when she showed up with her colors, I was thrilled! Mykee is a dancer too. I should have guessed since she had the movement thing down so easily. She is darling. DARLING. It was a privilege to spend the morning with her. It was a blessing to have her with the group. I learned from her as she comfortably stood there showing me what it is like to be a model. I am excited to share these photos with her! Thanks Mykee for being a part of this for me!
I looked around the room and quickly determined that I was the minority… I was under the age of 50 AND I was female. (Which by the way, I get the same feeling when I walk into Tempe Camera in Tempe, AZ where most employees and customers are sporting grey facial hair and a scarce amount on their heads.) I embraced our differences and picked a seat squished between two grey goatees (or something like that, I was too focused on the show that was about to begin). I chose the closest empty seat and asked if it was available. Lucky me, it was. Then, I became aware of the chitter chatter surrounding my existence regarding how many years in the field, what type of work was being created, what contests were won and what famous photographers were their heroes. I felt like those around me were fluffing up their feathers, determining who was the alpha. I kept to myself, anxious to learn all that I could because I wanted to be the only one who knew that clearly I was not a flash diva, not even a lamp lover. I was there to learn and soak up, like a sponge, all the information I could hold, retain and use. Hence my reason for signing up the minute I saw promotions for The Flash Bus!
What I learned at this conference was something so simple yet so difficult. There is not ONE way to do light. Light is light. Some have a tactical approach, some have a faithful approach. The tactical approach describes David Hobby, who is a light master, has a fabulous blog, Strobist, where you can learn every about using flash and more and he has years and years of experience. His new approach to photography and blogging is very unique and inspirational. I yearn to know what he knows and think like he thinks. The faithful approach is Joe McNally. I was immediately at ease with Joe. See that, like we are friends… JOE. Anyhow, I never felt like Joe was trying to earn his superiority (is that a word). We all know him and respect him and he too has many years in the field. He was a photographer for Life Magazine so he obviously is qualified. : ) Part of my love for Joe came when he told us that he says, “Let’s see what happens,” several times during his shoots (all while keeping his assistants wondering why he hasn’t figured it out after 35 years) . He has faith that it will be something cool based on his vision and then tweaks it if it didn’t work out. Joe McNally blog is a fun way to see his latest leaps of faith. : ) Joe inspired me to stop trying to get it perfect-just go for it. I have a tendency to over study and over research. I need to put it in action now and tweak it as I go. I loved the different approaches, I loved the different schools of thought, I loved the inspiration and I loved their passion for getting the light right! I also loved the open question session at the end where we were able to put our minds at ease, learn more about them and feel like we got our money’s worth. :)
As I am typing this out, it leads me to my next thought and possible post… natural light vs. other light. Hmmmm…
High school. choir. skateboard. friends. style. dates. Facebook. roofs. talent. weekends.
Meet JD. He was referred to me during my high school model search and I couldn’t be happier. I didn’t know JD before this chilly Saturday morning but I feel like I got to know a piece of him. A very small piece of him. Clearly he had done this thing a million times before, been in front of the camera! He was casual, relaxed and was able to strike up a phone conversation on demand. Now, that is skill! He had confidence and photographing confidence is a fun experience. (Ya know, if he would allow me to-I’d love to meet him at a skate park and follow him around.) I loved the shots, with the shadow, and wished I had more time to watch him try out his tricks and awe his audience! What I now know about JD is that he can be friendly to anyone-even if it is 8:00am on a Saturday morning, he can skateboard with ease, he is a singer, he is a great brother, he is not a fan of make-up, he has an easy-going personality and enjoys hanging out with friends. Thanks JD, for giving me some time on your busy Saturday morning!
So, what do ya say about my skate park idea? : )