Sunday, March 30, 2008

My TOUGHEST Customer

That would be me, of course!

When the other photogs and I were demo-ing in the studio the other night, we all agreed that we don't especially like getting our photo taken!! I think it's extra hard for photographers to be "subjects", because we KNOW exactly what the photographer hopes to get, and we probably worry too much and don't relax enough. I am no exception. In fact, I'm extremely shy in front of the camera and pretty much have one big smile and that's it. I get embarassed! An excellent photograph reveals your inner self, it shows something, and unless you get comfortable, it's hard to get there, which is why I'm the toughest one to please.

So, with this (and an future ad campaign) in mind, I choose one of the people I feel completely comfortable in front of, my close friend Hannah, to shoot some headshots.

Hannah is a massage therapist and has a naturally good eye. She's assisted me at weddings, she's modeled for me tons of times, and did I mention she gives a killer massage? So I hooked her up with the best settings and equipment, a trusting subject (me), and her eye and energy.
Look what she captured!

I like this one, but do you know that famous picture of a "bigfoot" walking? This totally reminds me of bigfoot. This is my bigfoot impersonation...
Hannah thinks this is a total nostril shot, but I think it's a great snow eating shot!

What I learned is that the photographer has a lot of control over making the subject comfortable, but not ALL the control! That's why it's soooo special to find a photographer who feels like a friend, and why we photographers love clients that trust us like a friend, too...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Studio 36 After Party!!!!!!!!

After MeRa Koh's Pictage User Group Meeting on Tuesday, I finally extended an invitation to my photographer buddies to come see my studio, dubbed Studio 36! First, we took turns with the camera and saw what a softbox to the side can do.

Then I got to show them how a grid works when doing pregnancy shots. So naturally we put fabric under our shirts and pretended to be pregnant:
And after a fascinating exercise on the topic of catchlights, we ended up talking about flash recycle time and how to maximize the ability of your flash so that you can capture all three of the pivotal bouquet tossing moments, the "about to toss" the " toss in the air" and the "catch." Master at improvisation, you can see that not having a real bouquet didn't stop us. This "before" moment is by Carol:
This "during" shot is by Amanda,
And a dramatic catch, captured by Sara!

We really spent the majority of the time TALKING about TONS of topics. This was evident by the fact that we spent THREE HOURS and only shot 100 frames (between all 4 of us)!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

My Latest Wedding Consultation

A couple of nights ago I headed up to Ballard to meet with my old friend Ryan and his radiant fiancee, Celeste. I'd have an image to post to show, but we all talked straight from 7pm to about 10:45pm, I'm afraid I crammed too many stories in too short a time! lol What can I this age, it's kind of just who I am! So I just thought I'd draw a little picture for you... And don't even get me started on them; they are genuine, loving, creative and original (did I mention talented and foxy?)So it's with great pleasure that I'm announcing that I'm doing their wedding this summer in MONTANA! I've never been there but always wanted to go! And you'll just have to wait until later in the year when you see what their wedding is going to be like. It will be unlike any other wedding I've ever seen and I'm chomping at the bit to get there!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

OMG...I ATE my BUNNY!!!!!!!

Before I get to today's pictures, here's a memorable moment from Easter a few years ago. My daughter had a vivid imagination and played with her chocolate bunny for a long time before it ever occurred to her to try to eat it. She bit off the top and only then, realized the horror that had just occurred at her own hand to her little friend. However, once she got used to the idea of it being FOOD, she happily chopped down the rest of it...but can you believe that face?!?

Even though we had a perfectly lovely Easter egg hunt yesterday at Grandma's, I couldn't help but have the "Easter Bunny" make a quick visit to our own rainy back yard this morning wearing whatever we had on, plus a coat.
But check out this RAD bunny made out of bread. Even though my mother-in-law is ridiculously gifted in the kitchen, she actually bought this at the bakery. Somebody out there has got to do this for their own. We should have a bread bunny making/photography contest next year! You could go to the grocery store, grab a tube of raw dough or biscuits and take a picture of your creation..

And with plenty of germans in the family, extra special German chocolate always makes an appearance...umm um!

Monday, March 17, 2008

"Special Paper" or What I did this weekend, or are you a parent?

We FINALLY went down and got wills written up. I'm no lawyer BUT I do know that ESPECIALLY if you have children, you need to have a well-written will that says who you want taking care of your finances and your children if something bad happens to you, your spouse, or both. Do you know what the estate attorney said when I asked, "What happens if both parents die and they don't have wills? Who's in charge?" He replied, "Whoever gets to the courts first." WHAT?!? DO NOT ASSUME THAT WHOEVER YOU WANT IN CHARGE WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE IN CHARGE OF YOUR STUFF AND KIDS!! Soo, if you've put off this mundane chore (I did for about 9 years!), it's time for me to bring it to your attention again. Besides resting easier, the other cool part about having a will is the SPECIAL PAPER they use. You have to keep the ORIGINAL will super safe because a copy of a will is practically worthless. You need the original, and they can tell it's original because of the SPECIAL PAPER...ooohh aaahh (both of these shots taken with my Lensbaby 2.0)

And if "special paper" doesn't excite you like it does me, then how about getting to go out and buy a little safe, too, to put your special papers in? Don't get one too small; the smallest standard safe you buy at the office stores are smaller than 8.5x11inches so papers have to be folded or smushed. So get the size bigger. I like the one I just bought today that's shaped like a file drawer:

Just imagine how relieved you'd feel if you had an awesome firefighter kneeling there with your safe and was like "hey check it out. your irreplaceable papers are still okay".....

Friday, March 14, 2008

Kayla's Senior Shoot

Last week I met up with Kayla and her mom for her senior photoshoot. We got lucky with a handful of days with good conditions so we went down to Ruston Way. She was a natural and we had lots of ideas..Check out how awesome the final shots turned out!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

This past Sunday, my grandparent's house was burned to the ground. However, this was not a tragic event. It was a planned burn executed by the local fire department. The house had been damaged by the recent flooding, and the homestead land would be much more marketable without the structure. I understand. Sometimes things just need to go. Still though, all I can say is that it was WILD to see this picture my uncle took of the house where I remember playing on the floor while everybody watched football, or sitting on laps at the table where I watched the grown-ups play Pinochle:

Last year I was forwarded this image of the SAME house and I am just amazed at the amount of time one house can be in one family. That little boy? That's my grandfather.

I am constantly reminding my clients that shots that seem ordinary now, grow with meaning over the years. I joke with my family portrait clients that "if you've got a cute porch, it's mandatory I take a family photo of you on it." But I'm starting to think cute porches aren't even mandatory anymore--we should all have a shot like this in front of the house.

Monday, March 10, 2008


So Emily cracks me up. Her mom (one of my first brides from back in the day) brought in Emily for her Two-Year-Old portraits last week. She tosses out the cutest, most expressive facial expressions!

But I think this shot is my favorite from her shoot:
There is something about the curl of her little fingers and the "step-turn-look" she's doing (especially with her stuffed animals lying on the ground) that makes me MELT!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Answer-What was that thing from yesterday's post?

It's a special work surface (read: modified stump) for bending metal...Why would someone want to bend metal? I can think of two reasons, 1. making car parts from scratch, 2. making your wife cool gifts like this:

Last night he graciously demostrated how his carved-out-stump-on-a-stand is a valuable metalsmith's tool. First, you take sheet metal and cut a circle out: Then you place it over one of the holes you carved out of the stump and whack it:
Then you roll it and squish it between these two heavy wheels:
Voila! And now you've got a bowl about an inch deep!

Isn't that interesting? I think it's interesting. Though I couldn't resist throwing in this shot of hubbie's hair:

Monday, March 3, 2008

Fun with the Foreakers & See My Husband & Can You Guess What This Is?

Yesterday was a GREAT day. I really wanted to go look at this house with my friend/realtor, Steve and his wife. The house was a HOOT. I mean, I'd have to say I'm an expert on knowing how a photograph can show all of the GOOD things and hide all of the BAD things, but this place was hysterical. First, it was built in 1971 and hadn't been updated. So it had the awesome room-to-room intercom system. Okay I secretly admire that. But these people took the word "customize" to a whole nother place...let's just say these homeowners weren't afraid to cut a holes in walls in random places. The attached garage looked normal but when you open it up, it's like 10 feet deep! You can't fit a car in it! I wasn't disappointed; it's just that the online pics and stats made it look so good!!
And guess what? I want to say CONGRATULATIONS to Steve and Carol because today is their one year wedding anniversary!!! Guess who was their wedding photographer?

After I got back home, I brought my camera out to the garage to show my husband this crazy house. My husband is a homebody/craftsman type. He's not totally opposed to being photographed, but out of matrimonial courtesy, I shoot him quite sparingly. But like I said, I had the camera out there so I documented the thing he just made from scratch. Can anybody guess what that is?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

So Humbled...

I just got this message from Julie in Binghamtown, NY, and it touched me so much I had to share. How many of us have felt like this in the beginning?

Hi there,

Just wanted to let you know I still visit your sites often.. and dream..
I wanted to thank you for all the encouragement and tips you gave me back in october, I did three weddings in the past 4 months, and now our baby was born jan 18th and is now 6 weeks old.
I want to continue doing some weddings, and have been asked but, I guess it's not the cup of tea I dreamed it to be, friends say its just the people who asked me weren't so cooperative, or photogenic for that matter? yeh.. well, u know.. im bad..
but your tips and thoughts and everything were so helpful, I even pasted them in my journals so years from now looking through and back I'll remember you.
I think I'm just gonna focus on my family right and not so much on myself and photography.. perhaps when the time comes, dabble at photographing children and families? Who knows.. but again, keep up your good work, and thank for being so nice and understanding, I wish there were more outstanding people out there like you."

You can bet I emailed back with my signature encouragement!! First weddings are hard and yes, you rarely have the ideal situation of lots of time, cooperation, and beautiful venues/things to shoot. It can be discouraging and you can really blame yourself and your confidence can take a big hit. I told Julie to listen to her friends!!They're probably right! And for goodness sakes, don't feel bad for taking risks and don't give up! Take it slow, and try to discover what you shoot the best and what you LOVE to shoot (usually the same thing)! Then I referred her to Mera Koh's DVD,"Refuse to Say Cheese". What better way to relax and develop confidence and style than focusing on taking photographs of her beautiful newborn daughter??

My ad in South Sound Wedding & Event Magazine!

So in the current issue of South Sound Wedding & Event Magazine, you'll find my ad featuring my bride Tatiana!! I included the cover so you'd recognize the issue when you saw it (cover shot by It's so funny...I'm forever grateful to her modeling for me at my booth last September at the Puyallup Fair, which is where this shot of her was taken! I had a red chaise lounge, studio lights flashin', etc. I really didn't expect to USE the images, we were really just foolin' around having a great time and talking to fairgoers. But this one was so awesome and luxurious looking, I knew it had what it takes to make a memorable ad! Oh and also in this issue they published two more of my wedding images!