Sunday, May 29, 2011

Friends Are Family: A Ripon and Manteca Wedding

Posted by Dave

I'm substituting a lot of words for a lot of pictures on this wedding. Why? Because Marcy loves photographs. She loves them so much that during the formals one of the groomsmen chimed in with, "I'm just surprised to see someone with a bigger camera than Marcy." It was telling of how Johnny's friends, whom he counts as an extension of his family, have welcomed Marcy into the fold. 

While there were plenty of tears, from bride and groom down through the wedding party and guests, we're going to focus more on the smiles and laughter. Enjoy.

The ceremony was at a lovely little farm house in Ripon, CA.
Johnny lights up around kids. While many grooms have to be reminded to take pictures with children, Johnny was quick to seek them out.

Bride's maids jockeying for position.

Friday, May 6, 2011

creativeLIVE wrap up

Posted by David
This is where I talk about the most important part of my creativeLIVE experience. Unfortunately for you, those parts happened off camera. Thankfully, you've got me here to tell you about them.
So what was it? The rooftop shoot? The critique? The test where I botched my shutter speed? Nope, none of those.

The most important part didn't come until after the cameras were turned off on Sunday. We gathered around Zack and Chase and just absorbed everything they had to say about making it. I half listened and half watched in awe as Chase spoke. The man embodies diplomacy and enthusiasm like no other. Frankly, watching him on the internet is nothing like meeting him in person. He has this energy about him that is infectious. When he leaves the room you feel like you can jump off of the building and fly.
Zack even asked us while Chase spoke, "Now when he talks, do you doubt anything he says?" The answer was a unanimous "No."

Fear as a Constant:
The thing that both Zack and Chase bring to any situation is the illusion of confidence. Sure, they know their gear, they know their reciprocals, they have the experience, but when it comes right down to it, they're still running scared just like all the rest of us. There is no guarantee in the business of art. And as it has been said time and before, you're only as good as your last shoot.

Before creativeLIVE, I was basically afraid to be afraid. We assume that those ahead of us on the food chain don't have fears, that they've somehow moved beyond them. It's not that they don't have fear; it's that they have different fears.

Chase told us that every time he cuts a huge check for a new venture in his business he's looking fear straight in the eyes. At dinner on Sunday night, Zack told us about how he was consumed by fear before his first appearance on creativeLIVE. Throughout the weekend he referred to how he wrestles with fear all the time. I mean think about it, imagine being up on the roof of the creativeLIVE building trying to capture the shot, and the sun is just hanging there, not doing what it does in Georgia. What's running through your head at that moment even if you've done that shot as many times as Zack has? "Ah crap!" is what I'd be thinking.

I Fear, but I Move Forward:
There came a point either Friday or Saturday night when all my fears and apprehensions settled. There was no great epiphany, nothing that I can reproduce for you. I simply realized that I was meant to be there. I could go into all the reasons why I felt that way, but they don't really matter to you. It is only necessary that they matter to me.

As soon as we stop telling ourselves that we don't belong where we are, that we're hacks, uncle Bob's with camera's or AMWACs ruining the party for everyone else, a powerful thing happens: we accept that we are there and that it is up to us to get the job done.

As I'm writing this, a track is playing, completely by happenstance on Pandora: Hayling, by FC Kahuna. I've never heard it before. It's a sort of mellow, deep bass, techno mix. The kind you can zone out to while working. The main line that runs throughout the track goes like this, "Don't think about all those things you fear, just be glad to be here." That sums up my feelings at the end of creativeLIVE perfectly.

Comfortable is Cubicle Work:
Of course I did have help settling some fears. Zack definitely settled some of them for me. I no longer fear our portfolio. I don't fear my ability to interact with a client. I especially don't fear my knowledge of my gear. I've come home freed of those fears but with a far more important lesson: it never gets easier. If it does, then you're doing it wrong. Comfortable is cubicle work. Art is always pushing boundaries, both society's and your own. If this is the life you choose, be prepared to wake up every morning and face the crooked toothed little hobgoblin that sits on your shoulder, his eyes aglow with the desire to undo you. You can either choose to run and hide, or give him a Chase Jarvis sized smile and with the smoothness of Zack Arias say, "Let's go to work."

Speaking of which, here are some shots from my last day:

In closing, I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone at creativeLIVE and the Arias family. To Meg for tackling her fear of the camera to come up and give us honest critiques and even more so for her candid look at the stress that can be created by having two creatives in a relationship. To Susan for reminding us that we were chosen to be there. To Kenna for keeping things so fun. To Craig, Celeste and the crew for the amazing work they do. To Todd for chatting and Kate for her help. To Chase for hanging out and giving us some insight. To Zack for being so real. Your candidness is more inspiring than any other photog's use of fancy modifiers, gizmos or gadgets. And finally, and most importantly, to my wife and son without whom I wouldn't have even made a video.

Now let's get back to making art.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

creativeLIVE Day Two

What’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned after two days of creativeLIVE? I suppose it would be that Zack Arias can read my freaking mind!

Okay, so maybe he’s not reading my mind, maybe he’s reading my blog!

Okay, so it’s probably not that either. Maybe it’s more like everyone, even someone that has been doing this for as long as Zack, deals with fear. His openness about it, his willingness to share and show all, even the shots he’d never deliver to a client, is refreshing. It’s an open invitation to be honest with yourself and to take a chance with whatever comes your way.

Something else I’ve learned is that you just have to do what you know how to do, and then build on it. On day one I tried to snap some behind the scenes shots and quickly gave up. Today started out a lot like yesterday when it came to taking pictures. I took a few shots of break dancing and was about to throw in the towel when I thought about the above and Zack’s mantra, “Know the limitations of your gear.”

Rather than trying to duplicate what Zack was doing, I realized that I needed to create my own shots. Hence today’s photos. I hope they turn out alright on your screen. I’m working off of my laptop which is usually used as a video player for our son.

Day three is going to be chalk full of business and branding, and it’s also going to be test day for the students gulp, and critiques (double gulp). Watching Zack and Meg pick us apart should be more than worth the $99 to download the entire course.

These ladies are hard at work monitoring the chat rooms. ;o) 

Producer Celeste should really be in front of the camera more often.

Head in a clean spot.


Quality lens care.

Okay, seriously, Celeste should be in front of the camera more. She has an open invitation to shoot with us in California if she's ever down our way.

I have no clue. An iPhone photo of and iPhone photo? iPhone users do strange things. 

The challenge. Who can fold the monster diffuser?

Not Zack. Which is why he's not the assistant. (Unfortunately I could, so I guess that means that I'm on the wrong side of the camera). 

This lady is way too much fun.