Working with natural light

    When I first started doing photography, I did a lot of photo shoots using just natural light. It was nice to focus on composition and getting familiar with the camera, without having to deal with a lighting kit. I feel that if you try to focus on too many things, it can feel overwhelming. Now that I’ve been doing photography for a while, I’m much more adept and comfortable incorporating studio lights.   Before you plan your photo shoot, there are some factors that you should keep in mind.   Time of Day The mornings or late afternoons tend to offer the most flattering light. The sunlight is not as intense and it’s not directly overhead, creating distracting shadows on your model’s face. I have done shoots in the middle of the day, and you can make it work. The most important thing is to be aware of the shadows. Shadows can create a cool effect. Just be patient with yourself and get creative. The second photo is from a shoot I did at a junkyard. It was the middle of the day, and I was really struggling with the shadows. Eventually I made it work, but I […]

The Importance of Trying New Things

Visiting The Mediterranean I’m not a landscape photographer. I’m much more comfortable photographing people. Landscapes are challenging for me because it’s hard for me to capture the enormity of what I see. I have to select which part I want to put in the frame. However, I admire landscape and architectural photography, and when I travel I experiment and give myself the opportunity to learn and make mistakes.   In September I went on a Mediterranean Cruise and visited Italy, Greece, Malta, and Turkey. I used the time to experiment with landscape photography, but I didn’t put any pressure on myself to get the perfect photo. I simply wanted to use the time to break out of what I usually photograph.   My biggest fear as an artist is making a mistake. Striving for perfection often prevents me from stepping outside my comfort zone and trying new things. The reason I’ve grown to love travel photography is that I don’t consider myself a travel photographer, so it’s okay if the images don’t meet my expectations. There is something therapeutic about picking up the camera and exploring new places.   Every place I visited felt magical to me, but, if I […]

My Top Five Favorite Places to Photograph

In the past, I’ve been very grateful to other photographers who have shared locations they have used for their photoshoots. Location shoots are a lot of fun, but they do require some planning. For me, I’ve always looked for places that offer a variety of different looks. I also wanted to find locations in different parts of the greater Phoenix area, so that I could more easily accommodate the models or clients. So without further ado, here are my favorite places to photograph. Downtown Phoenix     I have say that Downtown Phoenix is my favorite place to photograph people. There are so many cool graffiti and other textured walls that make for some awesome backgrounds. Since there have been a lot of construction and changes to the area, I do scout the location before a shoot. For example, there was a really cool graffiti wall and, shortly after I did a fashion shoot there, the art had been painted over. The area that these photos were taken were around Roosevelt and 5th street. This is one area where I haven’t really worried about it being too crowded because there’s a few blocks of nice photographic spaces. If you’re creative […]

Chester

I’m sure I have mentioned this before in an earlier post, but, as a photographer, I always like challenging myself. I’ve photographed animals before, but not very often. Photographing animals, particularly wildlife, is a whole genre and style of photography in itself. When I visited Alaska, I took a workshop where we learned effective tools for photographing landscapes and wildlife. At one point, the teacher showed us a photo that he had taken of a newly born eagle. He said that it took him 4 years to get that photo. It takes an incredible amount of patience and a bit of luck to get those kinds of photographs. I don’t see myself backpacking through the woods with a heavy duty telephoto lens anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try to photograph animals when I can. Growing up, I lived in a neighborhood where people had horse property. I love horses and so I asked Chester’s owner if I could photograph her horse. Chester, the beautiful auburn horse, was easy going, but also very shy. He liked to stay close to his girlfriend, Velvet. I kept my goals for this shoot very simple because the space I was sharing with the horse […]

Arizona in the Spring

  I was really glad that I took the time this spring to go on some hikes and take road trips. I realize we got a lot of rain this past winter, but it was still shocking to see so much green and wild flowers on the trails. Unfortunately, my lenses are more for portraiture, so I wasn’t able to show the great expanse of greenery and desert, but I still had a lot of fun. These excursions gave me a greater appreciation for the desert.

Bones

I found these remains in my backyard. I don’t usually experiment too much with black and white photography, but I felt like these skeletons looked better with that effect. Now I understand why I see so many owls and golden eagles in my backyard. Apparently there’s been quite the buffet in my backyard.

Photo A Day Challenge

You might think that as a photographer I get behind the camera every day, but there are many days where I’m just sitting in front of the computer editing, writing, or scheduling shoots. Last year I heard about the Photo A Day challenge and for about month I tried it out until I got caught up with life. This year I joined a Facebook group where photographers are invited to post their daily photos. It sounds easy enough, right? Some of us have a closer bond with our devices than with humans. However, there are days where I’ve completely forgotten or just didn’t feel inspired to take a picture. When I saw this challenge on Facebook, I decided to give it another try. I started the challenge on New Years Day (naturally), and I’ve learned a few things about myself as a photographer. I’m very hard on myself with everything I do. Some self criticism is helpful, but too much pressure, for me at least, leads to stagnation. This challenge is forcing me to let go of some of that pressure and allow myself the freedom to try new things and even make mistakes. Sometimes I get frustrated because I’ll be stuck behind […]

Alaska

I have to thank my father for this shot. It was our last day on the ship, and, as I was packing, I heard my dad yelling for me. I went to the window and I saw this view, which was going to be gone in a matter of minutes because the ship was moving. I quickly grabbed my camera, adjusted some settings, and composed the shot in less than a minute. This is still one of my favorite photos from my portfolio. Sometimes you just get these moments where everything falls into place.