Saturday, February 21, 2009

Family session


Here are a few images from today's session with a family of 5. I had photographed the youngest boy last year, and I made mom promise to get the rest of the family in for a nice B&W session.

These boys, and the family as a whole, are just gorgeous. The oldest boy just has such an interesting energy about him, and the middle son is all play. I had a blast, but photographing a family like this requires that you have to be fast moving. It didn't leave me much time to try and satisfy the artist in me, but with the previews complete, I know they are going to love these images.


Oh, yeah. Here is the mother of those 3 boys, and the youngest is just turning two. No way I'd believe she has 3 children, much less 3 young boys.


As alwyas, click the pics for full size images.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Why Black and White

I've often been asked if "fine art portraiture" really means that I just shoot black and white, rather than color. The answer to that, of course, is "no". Now, I'll readily admit that many of my studio images are in black and white, but the reverse is also true in that most of my location work is in color. There are also times when I'll shoot an entire session in either color or black and white, with no mix between them.

I definitely consider myself an artist, and not a "photographer". An artist is one who creates, who envisions, and is capable of reaching an audience regardless of the medium. Most importantly, an artist is one who can do all of that consciously. To me, a photographer is one who captures what is in front of them, without any thought to the end image before the shutter is pressed.

My style of photography is based upon being able to capture more than just a likeness of an individual. I try to capture mood, and evoke thought. With child subjects, I try to give the viewer a glimpse of that child as they will be, and not just as they are now. With seniors, I try to capture vitality, energy, and the evolution that takes place as one turns from an adolescent to an adult. With families, I try to show the bonds and relationships between members. Each of these types of subjects requires different thought processes and different methods to capture the desired effect.

So, why black and white so often in the studio? The reason for that is simple. As human beings, we all have biases. That includes color bias. Some people favor red, some blue, some green, and some may even like orange. A black and white conversion removes any color bias of the viewer. It strips all of the distractions in everyday life and exposes the core of the subject. Combine the control studio lighting provides, with the power of an image removed of any color bias, and the results are devestatingly powerful.

Also, as an artist I visualize in black and white. When I want to focus on a specific element, and determine how to capture what I want, the first thing I do is remove color from my mind's eye. Once I've lost the distraction of color, I can clearly see how to light, how to pose a subject, and how to compose the scene within my lens. I can then start to visualize the scene in color, and if the scene maintains it's integrity, I'll capture and display the image in color. If I feel the image is not as strong in color, then I'll push onward to capture, edit, and display in black and white.

The final decision to photograph as color or black and white is really a factor I have no control over. It typically is a result of clothing, lighting conditions, or background elements that cannot be overcome. To make color images in these situations would destroy the integrity of the photograph. It would counter the mood I wanted to set, or cause distractions I did not want.

In sum, the best answer I can give as to why so many of my images tend to be in black and white, is that it is the best way for a viewer to see something as I see it in my mind. It is the sharpest tool that I can use to ensure the end result is pure, and evoke that raw emotion that will instantly bring a mother to tears. It is one of the reasons, along with lighting, posing, and composition, why people will stare transfixed at an image and absorb the beauty captured within.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Commercial work


Today was a bit of a departure for me. I spent the afternoon doing commercial work for a local print company. The images were going to be used for brochures and such, and not portraiture in the traditional sense.


I was very challenged during this shoot. The lighting at the location was primarily florescent, which is the worst kind of lighting for a photographer. Florescent lighting actually has several color temperatures throughout a single sine wave, and if your shutter speed is too fast, you will typically end up with a horrible green or yellow cast that is not easily fixed. I was basically left with two options: use strobes, or try to balance for the fluorescent lights. Each option has it's pros and cons.

In the end, I have several GB worth of images, and I think the client will be thrilled. They have a bunch of great stuff to work with and update this manufacturing company's marking material.

Of course, I did take a bit of an opportunity to play a little bit, and stretch my artistic side. BTW, shooting welding is TOUGH. The light is changing constantly, and usually the environment isn't the most appealing from an aesthetic perspective.


Click on the images for larger sizes.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

"Pitch-ur" time


This little one is my daughter. I was setting the lights for a maternity session, and my little girl wanted her picture taken. She often gets very excited when she sees me with my camera, and always tries to get me to photograph her. I had a little time to kill, so I asked her to pose for me, and she climbed up on the chair. I threw her a stuffed bear, and I was able to get 4 frames before she was tired of sitting for daddy.

She is just too precious, even if I do say so myself. Thankfully she looks like her mom.


click the link for larger sizes.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Miss December 2008


This is Steph. She recently was voted by an online community as having the best looking bike during a recent "Bike of the Month" competition. As her prize, she was given a photoshoot, and the opportunity of having her and her bike placed in a calendar.

I had a blast with this shoot. Steph brought her boyfriend, and we threw him into the mix and used him as a prop. Both Steph and her boyfriend were just a ton of fun, and the 3 hours went by far quicker than I had realized.


As for the bike, it is a beautiful 2006 MV Agusta Brutale 910S. It's got sexiness and attitude. Just don't call it a Ducati!


Be sure to click on the links for larger sizes.