Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Yosemite Engagement Shoot: Merced Wedding Photography

Posted by David

Much of business these days is word of mouth. Melody and I have been blessed that so many of the people that our cameras have captured have gone on to say nice things about us. Probably one of the most humbling parts of referrals is that we often get them when doing pro-bono work at Gustine high. Budgets are tight and it's difficult for administrations to give kids the same experiences we enjoyed growing up. Melody will come home and say, “So what do you think about taking some pictures at a dance?” And that weekend we're off taking candids.

It was at a small dance organized by students, a Morp, or Sadie Hawkins for those old timers tuning in, that Adam's dad, said “Hey, do you guys photograph weddings?”

“Boy, do we ever.”

“My son is getting married and he's looking for a photographer.”

He put Adam in touch with Melody, Adam and April made their decision and then we did a one two combo meeting/shoot up in Yosemite because their wedding's right around the corner. Matter of fact, April's shower was the next weekend and it's always nice to have some engagement shots up at the shower.

Now, there are shoots that just come together. Everything falls into place and really the only thing you have to do is point the camera at a person and click. Then there are shoots where you have to prove your worth as a photographer. This was one of those shoots.

You see, everyone behaves differently in front of a camera. We all have our good sides, our not as good as the good side sides, specific light that looks best on us whether it be hard or soft, angles from which it's best to light us and ways in which we open up so that we can be captured on film (or digital) at just the right moment. As a photographer you have to figure out all of that each time you meet with a new client.

For the most part, photographers have a specific style of shooting. It's our default. When you get a subject for whom your default is matched everything goes off without a hitch. When you don't, you either adjust or come away from the day blaming your subject for not being good in front of the camera. Frankly, it's the photographer's job to figure out how to get great shots no matter what. Therefore, to come away with bad shots is not a failure of the person that was photographed, but the one photographing.

This is why the engagement shoot is so important to Melody and me. It's when we figure out all of that crucial information, good sides, lighting, angles, interactions, so that when the big day comes and we've only got 30 minutes to shoot portraits, we can nail it and move on with capturing memories.

I for one came away from this Yosemite shoot with a lot of notes, not because Adam and April have any not as good as the good side sides, but because I have to adjust how I shoot and interact with them. Melody on the other hand, well, she just nailed it. To that I say, “Pft!” But this is also yet another benefit of shooting as a team. Sometimes a shoot favors my default, others it favors hers, but a lot of the time, especially on wedding days when there's so much going on, it teeters back and forth between the two of us.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Way Back Machine and Turlock Family Portraits

Posted by David

Time to hop into the way back machine. During the hustle and bustle of the holidays we toooootally slacked on blogging our shoots. I'm going back through the archives and finding beautiful people to share with you as we don't like excluding anyone.

The 'H' family is just filled with beautiful people. And boy were they troopers. It was freezing that night as you'll be able to see in the first shot. It was one of those times where you understand what fingerless mittens are for, and apparently it's photography.

I went to Jr. High and High School with mom (Christie). Turns out that her husband Peter had been after Christie for years to get family photos. Luckily for both Peter and us, Christie noticed my posts on Facebook and finally caved in. Peter's Christmas present last year was family photos. I think my favorite part of the day was when we had mom and dad kiss. I wasn't sure who blushed more, the kids or them.

Next Up: Another engagement shoot. Don't worry, it won't be in the way back machine. More like the week back machine. And if you haven't signed up to the RSS feed, or Networked Blogs, there's no better time than the present.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Carlos and Megan E-Shoot: Merced Wedding Photography

Posted by David
  Before we get old posts up, like a great family shoot from way back in December, I wanted to get to an engagement shoot with one of our couples for this year. Carlos and Megan came to us via a referral by one of Melody's former students, going to show that the best advertising is word of mouth.

  Carlos and Megan are a lot like me and Mel, save for the fact that Carlos is a lot more comfortable in front of the camera than I am. During our meeting it was Melody and Megan that did most of the talking while Carlos and I nodded in agreement to most everything that was said. Our original plan was to meet up at a park in Turlock that had special meaning to the two of them for the engagement shoot. However, the weather being what it was, the park was in lackluster shape so the decision was made to hit our old standby, Stanislaus State.

  For those in the Turlock area, especially photographers, you know that Stan State is usually crawling with other photographers. And why not, the grounds are beautiful. The trick is setting up shots so that you're not looking at a picture of Stan State with some people in the foreground. I think we definitely accomplished that with this shoot. It also helps that Mel and I both attended classes there, so we know the campus a lot better than most.

  We're totally looking forward to shooting this wedding. It'll be a bit of a drive, but how can you pass up a wedding on a lake shore with such a beautiful couple?

  Here's the plan for the next week or so until we get caught up. Each time a new post goes up I'm going to go backwards one post and clean up old posts so that the images match the new blog layout. If you're on Facebook be sure to follow the link at the top of the page and add us as a friend, or sign up to the RSS feed at the bottom of the blog, or sign up to follow us via Networked Blogs also at the bottom of the blog. OR do all three!

Burning the Midnight Oil

Posted by David

Here's the kick-off of our renewed commitment to blogging our shoots. (Keep your fingers crossed). We've been doing a lot of work on the website, our proofing site, our branding and facebook presence, and especially our photography. Why just the other day Melody and I were out in the orchard practicing with off camera lighting. In fact, the discerning blog reader will notice that the blog layout has changed a little as well.

While Melody and our son slumber, I'm busy tinkering away with HTML and adjusting image sizes. The new layout places the emphasis where it should be, on the photos, letting us post images at much larger sizes and doing away with the distractions in the sidebar.

In the coming days I'll be going through the "Labels" section and cleaning that mess up. I'll also be doing some backposting as there were shoots that we had a great time doing but never got around to blogging. My theory is better late than never. I'll also be hooking the blog into Networked Blogs in Facebook so that our many FB friends can follow the blog there as well.

Also, a huge thank you to the folks at ourblogtemplates.com for developing this layout and then providing it to bloggers around the world for free. I'll be tweaking the code some, but I'd have no place to even start without their laying the groundwork.

So keep a look out. We'll be popping around the corner with a new post soon.