Sigh. Yep, this entry starts with a sigh. It happened. One of the worst things that could happen to a photographer happened. My hard drive crashed. Oodles and oodles of pictures that I hadn’t gotten around to backing up… gone. I’m not going lie, there were some sad little moments that involved tears, the many stages of grief, and definitely copious amounts of candy to help me through this sad, sad time in my life. However, things started to look up when I realized I have some IT-savy friends who took pity on me and helped me save my beloved memories. To say recovering “lost” files is a long process would be a great understatement. While not all files made it, I believe most were saved. While I’m happy that I got my files back, I’m also kind of happy this whole scary ordeal happened. (I mean, everything is a life lesson if we allow it to be, right?) I learned quite a few things from almost losing my work:
Back up regularly.
I know. This is the biggest no-brainer of all time. However, it’s so easy to get lazy and think things will be fine until “next time.” I’m not great with “next time.”
Candy saves lives.
Seriously, candy just makes me happy. Sugary candy. Not that chocolate stuff. My teeth (and dentist) probably hate me, but my inner seven-year-old is the happiest camper when that sweet, sweet sugary goodness is in my system. No judging. (This also may not have been a lesson, per se.)
Okay, maaaaybe I panicked a little bit initially. However, things turned out okay in the end. All that time wasted worrying and chastising myself for not backing up my work (albeit warranted) was time I could have spent playing with my dog, or napping, or candy-eating.
Remembering the past.
One of the coolest things that happened because of this whole ordeal was having to re-organize my photos. The process in and of itself is in no way fun (at all), but it’s so much fun looking over old shoots and remembering details of the day. It also gave me a chance to look over pictures that I didn’t initially like (for whatever reason), but now love. Weird how that happens. I guess that like enjoying a food as an adult that you hated as a child. (Vegetables not included. I still hate those. My inner seven-year-old is strong.)
Be your own inspiration.
I’m always nervous before a shoot. At least a little. Always. I’m a bit of a worrier. However, I always go through my work and have at least a few images that make me feel like I’ve set my own bar for myself higher. That’s an awesome feeling and very reaffirming. Sometimes, it’s great to be your own motivator and push past your own boundaries.
Sharing is caring.
Sometimes I forget to share. Each shoot is so different, and so much work goes into the behind the scenes, I just forget to update everything. (Bad, Brianna.) However, the “likes”, “+1s”, “retweets”, “shares”, etc. feels wonderful. Not in a “I’m super cool because a billion people acknowledged my stuff” sort of way; but in an “awesome, I just connected with someone else” kind of way. It’s like a little cyber pat on the back. (And who doesn’t like a pat on the back?!)
Speaking of sharing… below are some couples that I got to photograph in 2012. Doesn’t feel like it was that long ago. Fun days. Awesome people. Great memories. =)
Once again I got to photograph someone who seemingly lives in front of a camera regularly. Talk about relaxed! I went in with a particular game plan for what kinds of pictures I thought we’d get, and ended up with far more than I anticipated. My camera’s shutter button was definitely in overdrive this day as this creative fella moved from one pose to another, seamlessly. Color me impressed!
That’s not to say that one has to know how to “strike a pose” in front of the camera, mind you. In fact, I like photographing people that get nervous in front of the camera. Each experience is totally different, but it’s always fun to see where the session goes! My goal is always to capture a person’s true self in their pictures, and I love the journey to those pictures. For the record, the first picture in Francisco’s set above was one of my favorites from the day. It was between poses while we were talking. I thought it was an honest emotion and one that I was happy I caught. See? It pays to always have your camera ready on location, people! =)
What do you get when you mix a gamer with a swing, music, and a photographer? Why you get some fun photos, of course! No one can say gamers lack personality. Meet Trevor, a gamer full of personality and spunk!
The studio has a swing–which is cool on many levels–and I thought it would make for some nice, relaxed pictures. Trevor, on the other hand saw the swing a little differently. I appreciate that. =) Just goes to show, however, that nearly everything can be a prop and you can never really plan out a shoot perfectly. It also shows that a photo session can be whatever you want it to be. These were some of my favorite moments from that day.
Is it weird that I feel like I was shooting an album cover of some sort? Well, should this gamer decide to hang up him PlayStation remotes for a microphone, I think he’ll have some fun pictures to accompany his music! He has a little Kurt Cobain thing going…
Oh, there he is! Definitely ready for his close-up! For a person that just goes and goes, it was a lot of fun trying to keep up with Trevor’s expressions and movements in the studio. My shutter finger got a nice workout and I think I adequately captured the not-so-shy side of this professional gamer.
I photographed Kim while also testing out a local photo studio for possible future shoots. Kim came prepared with different outfits so we could maximize her session. It’s always interesting to shoot in a different location. This was my first time shooting in a rental studio and to say there was a learning curve to get acclimated to the new-to-me equipment would be a huge understatement! However, once we were all set up and ready to go, it was a fun time!
I think you can see that a good time was had. Kim was easy to photograph because she was always moving around and posing. Talk about making my job easy! I like the clean look with the white on white, but I’ll admit that I do wish that I used a different backdrop for this outfit so that it would stand out more. I thought there would be more contrast there, but you live and you learn, right? =)
The Designer with Style
My, oh my, how the time flew when I photographed this vibrant interior designer, Karen from Karen Grace Interiors! Karen’s proofs were full of pose after pose–very rarely was one directed by me, mind you. I felt like a fashion photographer on the set in Milan! (Or at the very least the photographer on an episode of America’s Next Top Model.)
Believe me when I say we both had a great time this session. Karen is so lively and free-spirited, and it absolutely showed throughout the entire session. We may have also done a lot of talking and laughing between shots, also, which aided in the good time. Ahem. Vegas rules apply to photo shoot conversations. You know, what conversations happen during photo sessions, stay at the photo session! Just kidding, but it was still a great time, and I hope we do it again!
Update your space in 2014
If you’re looking for an interior designer, definitely contact Karen Grace for her expertise. As the owner of Karen Grace Interiors, Karen can help turn your space into your space. She works hard to incorporate your style into your space.
“I want you to walk through the door of your home or office and immediately identify with your surroundings. Whether you’re at home or at work, my approach to interior design, combines color, space planning, and a wide variety of materials that make you feel special when you walk in your room. Ah, this is mine! It’s a place where others feel comfort, and love to gather. It’s a reflection of you.” -KarenGraceInteriors.com
Debunking Some Misconceptions about Head Shots and Portraits
When you think about head shots, do you automatically think about actors or people in the performing arts? I’ll admit it, I did. Even after I realize that I needed one! However, with technology becoming more and more prevalent in just about every industry, it seems the need to have at least one “go-to” picture is also increasing. Posting a profile picture for Facebook is one thing. That image could be just as casual, wacky, and outlandish as you’d like for the day. On the other hand, sifting through saved photos of funny faces, group shots, and just less-than-professional attire or settings in order to find ONE photo for your profile picture for professional use can be daunting. Been there. In my opinion, once you’re of the age where you can legally work, you should have at least one head shot that can be used for any professional needs. (I feel the same way about email, by the way. You can keep your “firstname.lastname@example.org” that you’ve had since you were 12, but once you’re of resume-writing age, you better have another email that is boring and simple.)
Similarly, there is another idea attached to the word “portrait.” Portraits aren’t just for holiday photos and engagements. Similar to the idea of head shots, I think everyone should have a “go-to” portrait image of themselves for easy posting/printing/etc. Notice I didn’t say “hanging” or “framing” in that last sentence. While plenty of pictures are taken with the purpose of adorning a wall, desk, or table, far more pictures are how shared digitally. The beauty of that, of course, is that it’s the gift that keeps giving: you can share that image with anyone at any time and you aren’t limited to the image’s resting place on your wall, desk, or table.
Who Can Benefit from Head Shots and/or Portraits?
- Head shots and portraits are great for any web presence you may have (ie. your website, online communities, Facebook, etc.)
- Head shots and portraits add character and personality to any printed material (ie. brochures, business cards, etc.)
- Your head shot can add that special touch to your email signature
- Head shots are great for any academic uses that require a profile picture (ie, Edmodo or Google)
- Head shots and portraits are great for senior pictures
- Head shots and portraits are useful when a simple, professional image is needed (ie. social media)
I absolutely love animals–especially dogs. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a dog that I didn’t want to immediately cuddle and kiss on the head. (Thankfully, I’ve never been bit!) With the cuteness of animals, it’s easy to want to photograph them and share that adorableness with the world. Believe me, I’ve done that plenty of times! So how do you get those money shots of your lovable pet?
Introduce yourself and your camera
It may sound silly, but pets know when something’s up–which can make them very wary. If you’re shooting a pet that isn’t yours, put in a little bonding time with the animal first. Keep your camera nearby and slowly start taking pictures. The pet may need to be eased into having its picture taken.
Drop down to eye level
You’re able to better show an animal’s personality by being at eye-level. The eye-level pictures also create a more intimate images. This might encourage the pet to come over to you, but that’s okay. Give it a little attention and then get back to the task at hand–pictures, pictures, pictures!
After taking a few pictures of your pet looking into the camera, make a funny noise (while still behind the camera) and watch their expression change. Keep snapping away as you make different noises and/or call the pet’s name. Be warned, however, depending on the pet, you may only get a shot or two in before the pet actually comes over to you to investigate! Then just get cuddles a-plenty. =)
Use treats and toys
Much like with little babies, if you wave a toy around the camera, the pet will look at the toy. The same idea applies with a yummy treat. You’ll probably need to take breaks so that the animal can still enjoy the toy or treat. Giving the pet a little playtime will allow it some breaks between shots that will keep your little star happy and available to keep posing for you.
Meet my sweet pup, Chloe!
Happy snapping. I’d love to see your work!
Realizing that I didn’t have any decent updated pictures of myself, I decided to bring out the good ol’ tripod and steamer for my backdrop! It was selfie time! If you have Facebook, Instragram, or even a camera phone, odds are you’ve taken the ever-popular “selfie”–or self portrait. While there are all kinds of reasons for taking pictures of yourself, there are things you can do to make your self-portraits better!
Tip #1: Use a tripod (or other sturdy, flat surface)
To avoid blur and have more freedom as to how much of you is seen in the picture, prop that camera on to your trusty tripod. No tripod? No problem! A nearby table or bookshelf can work, also. Keeping the camera in your hand can be pretty limiting. Reclaim your freedom!
Tip #2: Eliminate distracting backgrounds
If you don’t have a backdrop, using a plain wall works well to keep all eyes on what’s important in the image–you! It’s easy to forget about what’s happening behind you… until you see the image later and see that you were photobombed by some random stranger (or ugly building, or shiny glare.) The only thing that should be distracting in your pictures should be your gorgeous smile! =)
Tip #3: Use a remote or timer
If you have a camera remote, man, oh man, the fun you can have with self-portraits! If you don’t, having a timer on your camera is almost as wonderful. The remote makes is easier to keep snapping pictures without having to go back to the camera after each shot. However, using the timer means you don’t have to try to hide the remote, ninja style! Both are great in helping you move away from the camera and give you flexibility in what’s in your picture.
Tip #4: Cheat with a mirror
Setting up a mirror under the camera can help you to see what the camera sees! More importantly, a mirror will help you position yourself and pose in ways that look flattering and nice.
Tip #5: Crop, crop, crop
Just because you shot it, doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Crop that image so that your subject (*ahem* you, of course) is the main thing in the image. Experiment with how much to crop. A tighter crop is usually better, as it forces the viewer to only see what you intended–you!
Tip #6: Keep shooting
Even if you feel like you got “the one” keep shooing. Partially because that “perfect” shot isn’t always perfect, and partially because that sense of security could lower your guard and inspire other fun keepers.
Tip #7: Experiment
If you’re taking a selfie, then you’re probably alone. Experiment! Make faces, laugh, sing, turn the camera to a different angle–whatever. Take a chance! You’ve nothing to lose, after all. Worst case scenario, you end up with terrible pictures that you can delete immediately. No one will ever know. Best case scenario, you get some awesome pictures of yourself and your friends and loved ones think you’re a brilliant, artsy, photographer. (Don’t worry, I won’t tell!)
Megan was oodles of fun to photograph. There were lots of laughs during this day! (Oh the fun images that aren’t posted!) Aside from the good times, I loved that Megan was down for whatever. I think I could have asked her to climb a tree for a shot and not only would she probably ask which tree, but she’d most likely throw in a “how about I lay down on that branch?” (Not that I would ask such a thing. Unless it was a REALLY cool tree, of course!)
I think Tyra Banks would be proud of Megan’s ability to “smize” (smile with her eyes) in her pictures! Look out America’s Next Top Model, this teacher might need to make her debut! =)
Trevor was easy to photograph. This gamer was “camera ready” the whole time and made each picture look easy. Some people are just naturally photogenic–Trevor is clearly one of those people. I know he loves working in the video game industry, but I can’t help but think that Hollywood or the modeling industry is missing out on this charismatic, shining star!