At the end of every year, I like to reflect on the pictures I have produced and set goals to improve on my skills and knowledge. I did not take as many pictures this year as in past years, only about 20,000 frames. Also, I did more corporate work and generally I am not able to show those pictures publically. While I did not take as many, I feel that my quality is better than in past years. Below I discuss a few of them so you can understand my thinking about pictures. I have also tried to have a few examples of different kinds of activity. If you want to see the full selection, go here!
This is a simple headshot done in the studio.
I like this picture because of its simplicity and the great smile of the client. Beyond knowing how to make a camera and lighting work, my most important task is to help the client feel comfortable with me taking their picture. Many people are nervous when they come and that is natural.
I like this picture because the lighting is more dramatic, Again it is very simply lit with a couple of lights, but the colors work well and the client has a nice relaxed smile.
I like this picture mostly for the great moment, one can feel the couple’s joy. But also the details of the wedding dress are well preserved (important detail for memories) and the sunlight differently catching the soap bubbles yielding an array of colors.
This picture is my collection of favorites because it is a ‘ family’ portrait with the bridal party done at a wedding in an unconventional way. There are multiple layers and despite the broad range of light, I was able to avoid losing detail in either the high lights or shadows. The bride and groom are gazing into each others eyes and the family members are focused on them. In some ways, I think this picture will become more important to the couple than a ‘first kiss’ picture over the years, as they remember some of the people who honored them on their wedding day.
This bride was a lot of fun and she had decided she wanted some formal bridal shots in the studio. I have included this picture because I wish more brides would choose to have formal studio pictures done. I did this a few days before the wedding and it adds a very classy feel to their wedding set. In reality, once this moment has passed, it is gone forever so why not spend just a bit of time to capture the memory for future enjoyment.
I like the bride and groom exchanging looks as she climbs the stairs to be with him. The full glory of her dress is shown and the curved railings create a converging line feel wrapping them together as a married couple.
In most of my portrait sessions, I attempt to get a variety of looks. The top picture was for a senior picture for submission to his college, but did the bottom as well to create a sense of the power of our youth. I cropped it tight to provide a sense of tension.
I always try to get a picture of the rings with the wedding invitation. I have grown weary of laying the rings on the invitation to take a picture. For this one, I decided to try to stand them up on the invitation. I don’t think this will be feasible all the time, but I liked the symbolism:
1. The tension about what will happen to those rings, will they stay up, is symbolic of the natural pre-wedding jitters
2. The rings leaning and supporting each other is an important essence of the role people play in a good marriage
3. And finally the standing imagery is strong and forceful as if saying ‘we will be strong together; apart, fallen and weak.'
When I arrived at this location for the wedding, the phrase ‘Field of Dreams’ kept running around in my head. I like the spacing of the individuals highlighting their individuality, but their walking out of the corn field together amplifies that they all have dreams. Compositionally, I have followed the rule of 1/3’ and I love the combination of colors: white, blue, yellow, green and black.
A private moment shared by the bride and groom on their very busy wedding day. I like the framing of them with the window and shutters as it enhances a sense of privacy. Away from the bustle of the day, I wonder what they are saying to each other during this wonderful moment in time.
Consistent with my comments about ring shots, I wanted to shoot some bridal party pictures that were different than from standard fare. This garden provided some different and unique opportunities and my desire for this picture was to create a casual, ‘we're just hanging out feeling, but in great dresses and tuxes!' The wind proved helpful as it blew the veil out just as I took the picture. For me, this is a picture one can study for a while, looking at the expressions, how people are standing, pondering why some crazy photographer did not arrange them in a more tidy fashion, and finally what is behind that door.
I like this picture for a number of reasons, but the most important is the sense of spontaneity, the imperfect placement of the subjects, the holding of hands as they walk along the path. I think you can also see the different personalities of each child in their expressions. Compositionally, the path forms nice leading lines pulling you into the picture and the subjects' faces are placed along the upper 1/3 line.
This family portrait picture was one of several in the session that included some with them all huddled together. I choose to select this one as one of my 2014 favorites because it highlights the concept of coming together while each person still retains much of their individualism. Also, you might ask how I got the youngest child to give me such a nice bold pose which in my mind visually binds all of the characters together. That is a secret sauce recipe that may be revealed at some time in the future.
And my last, but not least, favorite picture of 2014 is this one. I took this with my Sony alpha 7R (I will be writing a blog about this camera in the next few weeks) and it was a totally spontaneous moment between two people enjoying very important pastimes: snuggling, comforting and tasting wonderful freshly cooked chocolate chip cookies. This image reminds me to be thankful for my lucky life and the wonderful people are fortunate to be safe and secure. The serenity and quiet stands in such stark contrast to much of what is happening around us in the world.
There are more pictures that are in my 2014 collection. You can see them by going to my 2014 Favorites gallery.