Monday, June 30, 2014

Aaron & Megan | Anniversary

Aaron & Megan were one of my very first "clients" - theirs was my first engagement session and I had only shot one other wedding as the lead photographer before their wedding. I sometimes think I should hire Megan as my agent - she's such a loyal supporter. :-)

And given that they are stinkin' adorable, I was super happy that they decided to have an anniversary session! I'm not sure, but anniversary sessions just *might* be better than engagement sessions. There is a whole year (or more!) to grow more in love and have a deeper relationship, not to mention just so completely comfortable with each other. Hoping to be doing more of these in future!

Megan & Aaron, you two are loads of fun. Thanks for getting in front of my lens again!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Q&A | Answers

Quite a few questions came in last week! Mostly photography related (nobody asked anything about my cat... hmmm :-). Sooo... here we go!

Do you have any tips for posing couples?
I'm sure there could be a whole class taught on this, but here are a few guidelines I use:
- Keep the man posed in a more upright position, and pose the woman with bent limbs. I'll often have the guy stand directly facing me with feet planted, and have the girl with one knee bent/relaxed, at an angle. I usually have at least one of the guy's hands in his pocket unless he's hugging her.
- Mix it up with standard poses and a more life-style approach (walking, etc.). Gives them a chance to relax and also adds diversity to the collection of final images!
- Often the best images come in between actual poses, when they are just being themselves. I try to talk a lot during sessions to keep things relaxed and invariably I say something dumb, or trip over something and that sparks laughter. Always shoot through laughter!!

How far do you travel to photograph weddings?
Right now I only travel for personal friends/acquaintances. But you're always welcome to ask if I'll make an exception. Shooting a wedding in France would be pretty tempting. ;-)

I'm curious now... what do you order at Dairy Queen?
A chocolate chip Blizzard made with cone dip. I've tried lots of other things but I keep coming back to that! Why mess with a good thing?

What lenses are your favorite and why?
Oooh, tough one. I'm fond of all the lenses I use for their different purposes, so it does depend on what I am shooting. But my 50mm 1.2L is the lens that stays on my camera the most. It's a great focal length for candids, portraits, pictures of my cat... very nearly anything. I also adore the 85mm 1.2L for portraits, though I don't own that one yet. The 100mm 2.8L macro is amazing for anything close up and also makes for beautiful intimate closeup portraits. In other words, I kinda love them all. ;-) I am not a big fan of super wide angles, so my favorite lenses are longer focal lengths.

How does this whole lens distortion thing work?
This is partly why I don't care for wide angles. The wider the angle of your lens, the more you will see distortion around the edges. Think of it like a glass globe. The wider the lens, the more of the globe you are using, and if you look at the edges, things will begin to look a bit stretched out of proportion. (Does this answer your question, Moriah? Or were you hoping for something more in-depth?).

How do you decide what lens to buy next? Do you ever rent a lens to try it first before purchasing?
I try to think of where I have a "hole" in my current gear. I used to just have a 50mm, and I decided to buy the 100mm because I could use it both for a different look for portraits, and for macro. I already have local, inexpensive rental access to a 30mm, which was the other one I was debating between, so I decided against that. Then, yes, I rented it (the 100mm) to make sure it really was the one I wanted to get. I absolutely rent the lens before buying.

How did you get started in photography?
I picked up my mom's DSLR and started taking pictures of flowers and was hooked. I expanded to shooting food for fun, but never thought I'd be a portrait - much less wedding - photographer. Until I tried it. :-)

What is your favorite thing to photograph - engagements, families or weddings?
Probably engagements and anniversaries. I love having two people who are in love and the interaction between them, in a relaxed setting. Weddings and high school seniors run a close second, though!

Could you post some of your very first photos and talk about what you did to improve?
Oh, yikes. Haha. This could be humbling. :-) Eva, this is not an avoidance of your question - I am just going to save it and do a separate post about it!

What are your top lighting tips that you have learned along your photography journey?
The best thing you can do is to learn how to deal with difficult light (i.e. harsh sunlight). I used to run like a scared rabbit away from bright sun, but shooting a lot of weddings over the last years has made me get over that, when there's often no choice but to be shooting portraits at 2pm! Positioning your subject with their back to the light source is usually my favorite way to do it if it is bright midday sunshine, and expose for the skin. When it's sunset and glowy, I love backlight then too, but it is also pretty when the sun is a little off to the side.

Thanks to the inquisitive readers who provided fodder for today's post! Be on the lookout for that "then & now" post... *nervous laugh* ;-)

P.S. Last chance to snag some fun photography stuff before I put it on ebay next week!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Jacob & Jessica | Wedding

Years ago, before I was even doing photography as a business at all, and certainly before I'd shot any weddings, Jessica told me she wanted me to shoot her wedding. I laughed, flattered that she liked my pictures that much, but also thinking that scenario was pretty unlikely ("Me? Shoot a wedding? Ha! I only take pictures of flowers!" Haha. Much has changed :-). Well, fast forward several years and here I was, a professional photographer, and she was engaged. I got the email from her: "I get to ask you the question I've waited years to ask - will you shoot my wedding?" Uhhhh, let me think about this for a nanosecond... YES! It was so wonderful to shoot a wedding of someone who has followed my work from the very beginning and was so committed to me and my style - not just hiring me because I'm a friend who takes pictures, but because she truly loves my work in particular.

And this wedding... Oh, it was just dreamy. First off, her dress. was. incredible! She got a tulle dress and then had a custom bodice put on to it (by the inimitable Lily!) using lace from her great-great-grandmother's jacket. WOW. It was too stunning! Combine that with a perfectly lovely day, beautiful bridesmaids in mint dresses, gorgeous light in a lush green park, and a reception on a river boat... yeah, it was fabulous! Jacob & Jessica, thank you so very much for entrusting me with capturing your amazing day. May the Lord bless your life together!

There are probably too many pictures in this post... but I don't care. :-P THANK YOU to Laura for her stellar second-shooting-dress-fluffing-keeping-me-hydrated skills! As usual, I included some of her captures as well!

Her mom tipped me off that she was in the sanctuary by herself, practicing. When I asked her if she was ready, she gravely replied, "I don't think I've quite got it yet."

Dad's first look at the bride! He couldn't wipe that grin off his face. :-)

Love candid moments like this!

Their reception was on this fabulous river boat, The Spirit of Peoria! SUCH a fun venue!!

So much beautiful food!

Cupcakes and cheesecake by the amazing Simply Grace

Instead of the traditional clinking of the glasses, guests had to sing a love song at the mic. :-)

One of my favorite sequences of the day. *melt*

That's Jessica's nephew... completely adorable and very mic-happy. ;-)

We snuck out on the deck as the sun went down for a few more portraits and I'm SO glad! These are some of my favorite photos ever.

The crew let us go up to the top level!

Wedding Dress: David's Bridal with alterations by Mode de Lis
Bridesmaid Dresses: OK Bridal
Ceremony Venue: Providence Church
Reception Venue: The Spirit of Peoria
Florals: Floral Designs Ltd
Hair & Makeup: Cori Rivas at Studio 117 & Kathryn Loughman
Cake/Cupcakes: Simply Grace

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