Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Engagement Photo Session - More valuable than you may realize

I believe the value of engagement sessions is not completely understood. This is a great opportunity to “try before you buy”. You get answers to any questions about a particular photographer’s personality, style, professionalism, etc., over the course of a 1-2 hour session. By the end of the day, or session, you’ll have a good idea if you can work with this person over the course of one of the most stressful days of your life. 

This is also valuable time to practice being in front of the camera for an extended period. There's no stress, you're not rushed, and you can totally be yourselves without the massive pressure you're going to have on your wedding day. If you've planned your wedding day schedule too tight, and you inevitably run late, you will wish you had taken the opportunity to capture romantic, and intimate portraits like the ones typically taken during the engagement session. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Portrait opportunities are everywhere

When I'm contracted to photograph an event, my first obligation is, of course, to fulfill the client's requests. It can't just stop there. Today, there are so many people showing up events with expensive of digital camera equipment, it's hard to tell who's the professional, or who's been hired to cover the event.

There's always someone with cameras and lenses equal to or (depending on which camera body I brought) better than what I'm carrying. That means any number of people, eager to post something on their Facebook page, can produce images of equal quality to mine. Lacking the experience and training, if they take enough shots, they will come up with some pretty good stuff. That means I, and every other professional, always has to deliver something more.

One of the ways I do that is by turning the event into an undercover portrait shoot. I grab any opportunity to capture a great portrait within an otherwise candid photo moment. The shot featured was from a birthday celebration. The setting was High Tea at The Rotunda Restaurant, inside Nieman Marcus San Francisco store.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Studio Portraits - express yourself!

Portrait studios aren't as common as they used to be. Most major department stores had one, and there was at least one in every mall. The mall studios are still around, albeit fewer of them. However, most of their work is family portraits, and the occasional executive portrait.

Photographer's studios are becoming even more rare. There are still quite a few of us that are still holding on, or have joined forces in collaborative cooperatives, where they can share time and space at a much lower cost.

Wherever you find them, take advantage of the opportunity to create something out of the ordinary. Express your imaginative side and explore a not so conventional look. Photographers will frequently jump at those opportunities because it gives them a chance to experiment at well. We can try out the latest lighting or posing techniques we just learned about, or play out "what-ifs" with light setups we don't normally use.

Bring props, or changes of clothes. Ladies, take advantage of the services of a makeup artist to create a totally different look. Go outside your comfort zone in the privacy of a studio environment. If you don't like what comes out, at least you tried it, and no one else ever has to know. I'm betting you're going to love what your photographer created, and won't be able to wait to show it to your friends and family.