Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Get Connected: Wishing a photography friend prosperity and happiness!

Today is the last day that my longtime friend and photo colleague Lisa Piellusch will be working her day job! Tomorrow, she is taking the leap and becoming a full time photographer with her company, Picture Your Life Photography -- something that I and so many of my readers have long dreamed of doing ourselves. I want to wish her all the best in happiness and prosperity as she realizes her dream.

I have seen her family portraiture and event business grow over the last couple of years, as our paths have been very similar. Even her company name is similar to mine! We've congratulated successes, commiserated when things didn't go as planned and shared resources to help us become the photographers we are today and we will each become in the future. I couldn't have a better supporter who continues to encourage me daily, commenting on my blog, critiquing my photos and being the best fan I think I have on Facebook. And it blows my mind that we have never met because she lives in Canada.

I'm so proud of you Lisa and all you have accomplished! Good luck and best wishes to you. I'm looking forward to you blazing this path for me and others.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Get the Job Done: First out-of-state assignment; First Quinceañera

a recent cover of Quinceanera Magazine

Tomorrow, I will be shooting my first Quinceañera! And as it turns out, it's also my first photographic assignment outside of Colorado, since the event will be held in Nebraska!

The Quince, Quinceañera, or Quince años (English: "fifteen years"), is a coming of age ceremony held in some Latin American cultures on a girl's fifteenth birthday and is similar to a "Sweet Sixteen" party. Friends and family attend the event recognizing the honoree's transition from girl to young lady.

I will be documenting the celebration for the lovely Miss Ali, the daughter of a close friend who has been following my work for many years now. When Ali's mother, Caroline, asked me if I could shoot Ali's Quinceañera, I was thrilled! The last time I saw Ali, she was just a little girl. She has grown to become an amazingly beautiful young woman and I feel honored to be able to participate in such an eventful year for her that included her first prom and her own Quinceañera.

I remember attending several of these colorful events as a child growing up in Texas. Comparable in scope to a wedding, the celebrated teen dons an expensive, unique gown akin to a wedding dress often in brilliant shades of color with flowers and decorations matching the scheme; a grand reception is held, and a live band or DJ is hired. Ali's celebration will include her "court of honor," a mass of Thanksgiving, a barbeque, a traditional father/daughter dance and a group waltz.

The scenery includes a family farm, country roads and greenery -- all of which should provide some great background for portraits. Please wish me luck on my first out-of-state gig! And thank you Caroline for trusting in me to capture this memorable time in your daughter Ali's life.

Here are some photos taken by Lisa Renee Photography Inc. to give you an idea of the kinds of images I will be shooting:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Instructor's Tip: Window Light Portraits

I hope you enjoy this week's "Instructor's Tip" by one of my favorite instructors, award winning nature photographer Russ Burden. I personally have a ton of trouble exposing to maintain white details especially when shooting things such as skiers on snowcapped mountains. To learn more about how Russ captured the above image, join him on one of his photo tours. Visit Russ Burden Photography to get more information.

Photo by Russ Burden

Window light is often used in portraiture. Its advantages are the convenience, ease with which to work and low cost. Its disadvantages are the reliance upon the weather, light levels are usually low and backgrounds may be cluttered with furniture or wall hangings. Working around the disadvantages, the advantages far outweigh them based on the beauty of images that can be made.

The light emitted from a north facing window is very delicate in nature. Not receiving direct sun, it’s soft and easy to work with. Effectively, the light is similar to that from a studio soft box. How close the subject is placed to the window impacts the overall quality. The closer the model is, the greater the contrast between the highlights and shadows.

If north facing windows are not available, any window can yield similar results by diffusing the direct sunlight with a white sheet or shower liner. Lace curtains work well and can be incorporated into the composition for effect. If the window is included in the image, make sure what’s outside is in harmony with the mood of the image. Additionally, realize that much of the exterior portion will be overexposed. The size of the window will have a direct impact on the quality of the light. The bigger the window, the broader the light. This translates to a less contrasty image.

The attached photo is an atypical window light shot to get you to think outside the box. I used direct morning light filtered through slotted blinds. It’s a set up I did for a stock shoot. I encourage you to experiment with different subjects photographed in different window light conditions so you’ll better learn how to read and utilize all types of light.

Check out Burden's "How To Tips" featured on Outdoor Photographer's website. The seven that are dated February 4th are his. Just underneath the articles, be sure to click on page 1 to see an additional 9.

Don't forget to check Take Great Pictures for Burden's most recent tips. On the home page, click on the "Photo Tips And Techniques" button in the left hand column. Additionally, check out his "Digital Tip of the Month" found by clicking on the Digital Photography button.

To learn more about this subject, join Burden on one of his photo tours.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Get Out There: Get a business headshot and win a free session at my exhibit photo booth!

Tomorrow, I am two of my photography colleagues, Jason Peckovitch and Chris Platz, will be hosting a photo booth at the 2010 Success Summit & Expo at the Colorado Convention Center, 10am - 5pm in the Korbel Ballroom.

We will be at Booth No. 420. Studio lights and a background will be set up for attendees to have a business portrait taken for a nominal fee. Photos will be professionally retouched and printed on the spot for up to $15 for an 8x10 or pay $25 for a high resolution digital download.

Leave your business card for a chance to win a free hour-long photo session valued at $75.

Here are examples of business portraits I shot of exhibit coordinator Carla Ladd:

Don't know what to wear? Choose an outfit that you would wear when meeting with clients. When a photo is a portrait of a person (or a group of people), the photographer wants the viewer's eyes to go to the face(s). That means that the faces in the image need to be the lightest part of the photo. Avoid white or very colored blouses or shirts. Men should select a shirt with at least some color; i.e, blue oxford cloth. People with very dark complexions might want to consider deep colors like black.

Conservative clothing in mid-range and darker, solid colors such as blue, brown, gray, red and green will flatter both male and female faces. Avoid busy patterns, large amounts of white or very bright colors. Use the clothing as a frame to draw attention to your face. Tailored suits in wool or linen work well, but watch out for fabrics that wrinke. Simple, classic styles will remain fresh even as styles change.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Get Connected: My studio featured on an event center website!

It's been a long wait, but the results are fantastic: Picture Your World Photography is featured on The Bella Sera's event center in Brighton. The Bella Sera launched its newly developed website yesterday, and it includes "Real Weddings" photo montages. My studio is featured on the second page, showcasing images taken during Patience and Jack's wedding in January.

This is a fantastic honor and I can't thank event owner Elisabeth Montoya enough for her support of my photography. The Bella Sera limits its preferred vendors to three per category. But her inclusion of my photos in her website's montage as well as her own word of mouth referral will undoubtedly expose hundreds of her clients to my services!

"Your photos look amazing, and I truly hope this will bring you more business at Bella Sera. I would love to work with you again and see you capture even more beautiful shots here. Although we limit our preferred vendors to 3 per category, I will be recommending you to clients who I KNOW will be a great fit for you."

Thank you so much Elisabeth! I can't wait to shoot more events at such an amazing site filled with sweeping staircases, balconies and plenty of Tuscan old-world flair.

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