Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas is coming

So bring on the red!

As you can see, not everyone got the memo (or paid attention to it) but my point is, pay attention to what you chose to wear for a photo shoot (or advise your client). Solid colors with no logos work best. As you can see, my family is very cooperative about posing for the group shot. I am always surprised at having to tell clients how to line up, since my family is so accommodating. We usually even fall into "age order." But most people haven't spent their life being photographed by their nutty oldest sister, so they do need some direction. Looking for triangles within the heads is a good technique (unfortunately not seen in the haphazard photo above.)
This was a fun client that I shot the "whole" family - 20 members and then shot each of the 3 daughter's individual families. Each of the daughter's selected a different version of blue for their t-shirts so the large family shot looked like this:

I'm looking forward to a 13 year old birthday party/fashion portrait shoot next week.  I'm hoping the young women all come with fun hats, scarves and mittens and I'll do some nice portraits outdoors using reflectors and some fill light. I'll be sure to bring plenty of colorful scarves and mittens of my own in case the girls forget to bring theirs.
Think about what you wear this season. You may just get photographed yourself!
Happy shooting!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I am so blessed to have a big, healthy, happy family: My mom who is an inspiration to us all, four sisters, three brothers, a great husband, three daughters, numerous nieces and nephews, one who is in Marine boot camp right now getting ready to defend our country. God has blessed me with so many gifts, people, experiences and great times to enjoy with all.

I am thankful for all of this and more. May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember the great things in your life.  Happy Thanksgiving!
Love, Chris

Monday, November 22, 2010

Reviewing Some Things That I've Learned

I took the train to NYC to enjoy Indian food and a Broadway play with my youngest daughter and got the opportunity to read some photo magazines and re-read through all the notes I’ve been taking this past month. I cart around an old-fashioned spiral notebook with me everywhere I go and take notes but I hadn’t taken time to review those musings until now. These are some of the things I’ve learned recently:
            • Light is the key to a great photograph. A perfect subject is nothing without light and the QUALITY of that light is the most important factor. (Robert Rodriguez, Jr. )
            • Google calender something I need to investigate further. (John Ianelli)
            • My next purchase needs to be two additional hard drives and I need to organize them better. I also need to research off-site storage places. ( the Apple Store in Danbury, Ct.)
            • Things I should blog about – A look at behind the scenes, show off recent work, provide tutorials, interview other photographers, give reviews, pose questions to your audience. OK, audience, what would you like me to blog about? Is there something you'd like to know? Please, please, please respond.
            • If you are contacted by a prospective client by e-mail, respond to them with a phone call, not an e-mail. Make a personal connection. OK - tried that one this morning. Took more time on the phone but hopefully the mom feels more confident about my talent now than she did before.

     Well, it was great having time to catch up on the train, but it was even better getting to NYC at dusk and having fun getting some new photos. Thank God for high ISOs!
Have a blessed Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for the ability to shoot the beauty that is in this world as well as for the fans I've developed and the chance to share those images.  Happy Thanksgiving & keep on shooting!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Keeping up

I've been writing this blog to share photography tips and great places I've discovered to photograph for close to two years now. Sometimes I get a little off the beaten track but for the most part I'm hoping that there are a few folks who take the time to read what I have to say and maybe even look forward to the next installment. A week ago I heard a speaker talk about the importance of "Building a Community" and getting more people to follow your blog. So, aspiring photographer friends, please let me know what you'd like me to focus on (get it?) and how can I make this a better blog?

I made my first "tweet." Not sure where it went or if anybody noticed but I am trying to decipher the world of Twitter. I also posted a few images on Flickr. Again, it seems like a black hole to me at the moment but perhaps I'll get discovered there.... One can hope.

On a more productive note, I shot the American Society of Fundraising Professionals Award luncheon last week. It was a lighting challenge because it was such a large room and it had such a variety of lighting already. Still, I put a gel on my flash to try and prevent everything looking too yellow and I got some nice shots of some very impressive people.
Above is J. Douglas McDaniel, Director of Special Gifts for the Salvation Army, who won an the Outstanding Fundraising Professional award. Below him is a very enthusiastic  15-year old, Sara-Elizabeth Clark who was awarded Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy for all the work she has done both by raising money and bringing about an understanding of epilepsy. I found myself tearing up as I listened to the their stories of dedication, determination and selflesness. Sometimes it is an honor to be a photographer to document important events in the lives of others.

I was fortunate enough to get a couple of hours with Robert Rodriguez, Jr. the following day who showed me his gorgeous studio complete with large prints of his beautiful work and he shared with me some awesome details of his Lightroom workflow. He shared the names of some photographers to check out: Bill Atkinson, Brenda Tharp, Allison Shaw and of course, Art Wolfe. It's always great to go to great photographer's site to get inspired.

Happy shooting!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Absorbing great new information

What a great day! My head is bursting with information. I went to a TEP - that is Hudson Valley Professional Photographic Society of NY's (HVPPSNY) Talent Exchange Program - an all day learning experience for Photographers in Newburgh. I highly recommend making sure you get in on any advanced education opportunities that are available. The morning speakers was Lindsay Adler who spoke about lighting for fashion photography. Her basic message was break the rules and you can make anything work. She showed examples of a variety of lighting techniques and then gave a live demonstration with a model. Adler seemed to be a a font of knowledge as she confidently turned the subject matter to new media social networking (she's got a book on the subject, "A Linked Photographers' Guide to Online Marketing and Social Media"). Her enthusiasm and comfort with a large variety of networking programs made me excited about exploring more thoroughly the world of social networking. Stay tuned while I try and figure out how to tweet. She did encourage us to "Build a Community" - that is, to develop an audience who will participate in a dialogue and be our "voice" in letting others know it's worth following our blog.  So, that's your job if you are reading this.  She had lots of other great suggestions that I hope to incorporate in the coming days.

The afternoon speaker was Neil van Niekerk who provided insight at one flash photography for weddings which I really appreciated and hope to try out tomorrow when I'm shooting an award luncheon for a philanthropic group. 

All in all the day was great and I am so excited about the things I learned.

Here's a photo from last Saturday when I tried my hand at horse photography:
I am so blessed to grow as a photographer and I encourage everyone reading this to enjoy your growth as photographers as well!

Monday, November 1, 2010


As much fun as it is to TAKE pictures, there's a job behind that called "managing your photos" (Photo management). My task has become a bit more complicated lately since I am now working with Lightroom (I was working exclusively in Photoshop).  I USED to save everything in folders by year and then by month. Lightroom seems to have a design for me that I haven't quite figured out....thus I have managed to duplicate things and even seem to be missing one complete photo shoot.   The lesson I have learned here is that it is important to LEARN the program thoroughly and stay on top of all new innovations.

I went with a friend to Photo Expo in NYC last Thursday and was reminded that there are CONSTANT innovations in photography. The nice part was that some of the vendors were willing to explain things or tell us where to find additional help.  It was fun watching experts demonstrate how to use the Wacom tablet and to see how the pros utilize the newest HDR techniques. I purchased some paper samples and plug-ins that should help me to enhance my photos. The best part of the day was bright and early as we stood on the train platform and saw a magnificent vision as the fog sat on the Hudson River and the sun shone on the boats and the fall colors. Naturally I didn't have a camera with me. But, I woke up early Friday morning hoping to get a second chance at capturing that beautiful site. Naturally, Friday was overcast and gray. Definitely not the same conditions as Thursday. Still, I had fun hiking along the waterfront and trying to see what I could still glean from the cold, bleak day.
I guess my favorite picture from the weekend still goes to my beautiful niece, Brynn.  She can make anyone smile.....
Happy shooting, friends.